How to Arrange Freight Shipping

Arrange Freight Shipping

Arranging freight shipping is a complex task. Whether you’re a beginner or looking for a refresher, this guide will help you through the process of arranging freight shipping.

What is Freight Shipping?

Freight, also known as “Freight Shipments”, pertains to the transportation of goods or commodities in large quantities. While there is no set definition of freight, freight pertains to the movement of goods than a parcel shipment. The term freight also refers to the goods shipping, amount payable, the charge of transportation, and . The term encompasses the entire process of transporting goods.

What Classifies a Shipment as Freight

Goods being transported as freight generally are moved using pallets or crates. Utilizing air, ocean, truck, or train carriers, the goods are moved for commercial purposes. Occasionally, goods, such as furniture, may be moved to residential locations, but generally freight refers to a commercial goods movement.

General Freight Guidelines

Any shipment over 150lbs is generally considered freight. While freight comes in all shapes and sizes, the most attractive freight for carriers is on a standard pallet, not exceeding 96 inches high and heavy enough to cube out a trailer. Some types of freight will require special packaging and handling.

Oversized Freight

While the definition of oversized freight varies by carrier, there is a general rule that any piece exceeding 96 inches on any dimension is oversized freight. Freight that is overlength may be challenging to handle from a carrier. Any freight that exceeds legal limit laws will require permits and special handling equipment.

Arranging Freight Shipping

Freight shipping is complex. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert needing guidance, this section will discuss the process of routing a freight shipment.

Pack your Shipment

Whether a shipment is routing through LTL or Truckload, properly packaging freight is essential to the process. A shipper may believe that eliminating packaging to reduce costs is acceptable, however the risk of damage increases with less suitable packaging.

Package your shipment in accordance with NMFC guidelines. A general rule of thumb is to always palletize or crate your shipments. This gives the ability for a carrier or receiver to easily move the product around, without damaging the freight. Contact a local packaging expert for further guidance.

Identifying your Freight Class

Freight Class is a classification provided by the National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA), publishing a guidance for routing specific products. The freight class takes handling, liability, storage, and risk involved with moving a certain product. The lower the freight class, the easier and cheaper the product is to ship. Find more information on identifying the freight class here.

Identifying Services Required

If the carrier can not simply load/unload the shipment or require additional steps to transport the freight, then there is a special service required. Special service requests include liftgates, residential areas, delivery appointments, hazardous freight, and much more. Identifying the special services required early helps quote shipments accurately and avoids unnecessary delays caused by routing improperly.

Selecting the right Mode of Transportation

There are different ways to ship freight in the form of Modes of Transportation. A carrier specializes in a certain mode of transportation such as Less-than-Truckload, Final-Mile, Truckload, Air, Expedite, Ocean, Etc. Knowing the difference between each mode and selecting the right one for your shipment is important. Factors to consider include service capabilities, equipment offerings, reliability, pricing, risk, and much more.

Compare Freight Quotes

Different carriers will provide different services and price. Comparing the service, price, and transit times is vital for a shipper to effectively route freight. While this may seem overwhelming, a transportation management system helps to compare quotes side by side from many carriers.

Prepare Shipment Paperwork

A shipper must prepare the Bill of Lading and supporting paperwork. At time of pickup, the BOL is given to the carrier to guide the shipment in the process. This document is a legal document used for receipt of goods and has the shipment details, responsible payor, and special services required. Other documents to prepare, but may not be necessary, include packaging lists, pallet labels, commercial invoice (if shipping internationally), and other required supporting documents.

Schedule a Pickup

After the shipment is ready, tender the pickup over to the carrier selected. LTL Carriers require a 2 hour pickup window, and pickups are generally in the afternoon after deliveries. Being flexible with pickup hours gives carriers a better chance to pick up the freight.

Load the Freight

Once the carrier arrives, load the freight and provide the documents to the carrier. Once the shipment is on the trailer, the driver will provide a PRO number to the shipment. This PRO number will be the internal carrier tracking number for the shipment. It’s always important to keep a copy of the Bill of Lading for your records.

Additional Topics and Learning

The freight transportation industry is complex. To learn the basics of freight transportation, check out our transportation 101 guide that encompasses verbiage, industry standards, and discusses the transportation industry.

Transportation 101

Make Arranging Freight Easier with TLI

The complexities of arranging freight shipping is no challenge at TLI. Our TMS System, ViewPoint makes arranging freight easy by allowing shippers to automatically calculate density and freight class, compare rates simultaneously, create shipping documents instantly, and tender pickups. All in one system.

If any challenges do come up, our team of experts are ready to assist in the shipment. Giving you the power to arrange shipping yourself, with a team behind to back you up..