Tips to Avoid LTL Shipping Problems

Tips to Avoid LTL Shipping Problems

Less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping offers a cost-effective approach to transporting packages along your supply chain. To run a successful business, you need an efficient logistics system that considers common shipping issues and provides preventive actions when necessary. This article highlights how to avoid LTL shipping problems to improve your bottom line and stay competitive.


Common LTL Shipping Problems  

There are various problems that businesses often encounter when using LTL shipping services. Examples include missing freight, delivery delays, damaged products, hidden charges, ambiguous documentation, poor contract terms, and limited carrier networks. Understanding the causes behind these issues and having the ability to identify warning signs will help you implement strategies to keep their occurrence to the barest minimum. The section below discusses efficient ways to avoid LTL shipping problems to keep your business running smoothly.  


Invest in a Transportation Management System (TMS)  

Investing in a transportation management system (TMS) helps businesses simplify their logistics procedures and efficiently manage daily shipping processes. It assists business owners in selecting the most suitable shipping mode for a package and the best carrier based on several factors, including the LTL quote, distance, and expected delivery time. A TMS enables companies to manage all their transportation-related needs from a single platform and provides real-time visibility into events happening at each stage along the supply chain. It also optimizes delivery routes for multi-leg carriers so businesses can make the most of the available shipping infrastructure.  


Some TMS systems offer global trade management functionality by providing information on customs regulations and tariffs. A transportation management system will reduce logistics errors, shorten delivery times, and improve customer satisfaction.  


Properly Package and Label LTL Shipments  

Proper packaging and labeling are essential to ensuring that your shipments arrive at their destinations in perfect condition. Here are some things to pay attention to when preparing your packages for shipping:  

  • Invest in quality packaging materials to protect your products during transit and save you the stress and costs of dealing with broken or damaged goods.  
  • Use cushioning materials like foam peanuts, bubble wrap, molded fiber trays, and cardboard dividers to fill the spaces between items in a box.  
  • Only use four-way wooden pallets (not plastic or corrugated cardboard) with a sturdy deck of boards covering them.  
  • Stack the heaviest packages on the bottom of the pallet and the lightest on top to keep it stable. 
  • Put a slip sheet between every third layer to ensure even weight distribution.  
  • Turn the stack of boxes into a unified package by shrink-wrapping the pallet.  
  • Ensure you label each pallet with all the required details, such as your phone number and the recipient's address and contact details.  
  • Include additional labels for special handling requirements, such as "This end up" or "Fragile," so shipping workers know how to handle the items and reduce the likelihood of damage.  

Measuring Your Freight's Weight 

To receive an accurate quote, you must include the specific weight of your shipment. If you have a scale on hand, no problem. But what if you do not have access to a scale large enough to measure the weight of your freight? Or, what if the items you are shipping do not fit on the scale? Don't worry! Be creative; there are other ways to calculate weight.  


Review manufacturer specifications   

Manufacturers are the best source of information on their products. Their websites and user manuals should list a great deal of information, such as product weights. If their website or manual does not include that information, a simple phone call to the company should provide the answers you seek.  


Go Back to the Basics   

You have options if you do not have a large enough scale to measure your item's weight and the manufacturer does not include weight specs to help you determine the shipment weight. You can weigh the raw materials the products are made from. This method may be tedious, but it will get you an accurate number. A precise number helps you avoid additional costs if the weight is off.  


Doing the Math   

Let's say you are shipping several of the same item. If you can figure out what one of the items weighs using one of the above methods or a non-freight scale, some simple math will help! Just multiply the weight of one item by the number of items you are shipping. Just like that, you will know how much your shipment weighs. 


Remember the Packaging Materials   

Do not forget that the weight of all packaging needs to be included in your final shipment weight. Remember that a standard 48×48-inch pallet can weigh up to 50 pounds. When calculating weight, add 50 pounds for each 48×48-inch pallet. Forgetting the pallet weight in your total weight could result in a significantly higher freight bill, harming your bottom line.  


Carrier Weight Limits 

Additionally, you must understand the weight limits of your choice freight carrier because shipping companies charge extra fees for packages that exceed the specified weight limit. Sometimes, these fees can cost up to twice the price of a regular shipment, especially if the carrier is planning for a specific cargo total weight. Companies are warned that if the weight is so excessively off that the carrier cannot meet the Department of Transportation (DOT) weight limits, they may outright refuse to load the freight onto their trailer. This will add a significantly higher cost to your shipment.  


Take Carrier’s Reliability Score into Account 

When selecting your carrier, it is important to consider their reliability score. This score considers their timeliness for drop-off and delivery, and damage claims. You want the highest score possible.


Knowing Where Your Freight Is Going and What Services You Need  

Where is your freight going? Is it going to a commercial location with a loading dock and a forklift? Or is it going to a residential address where additional equipment is needed to unload the shipment? 

You must accurately answer these questions to know precisely what equipment you need and avoid additional costs from your carrier if you mistake the location type.  


What Services Do You Need? 


Lift gate service 

Lift gate service is an additional shipping option where the truck the freight company uses has an electric or hydraulic platform on the back of the truck that helps lower the shipment at the final location. This allows the receiver to move the cargo without needing a forklift or other equipment. This can also be a great option when shipping fragile or bulky items.


Inside pickup/delivery 

With inside pickup/delivery, you pay a little extra to have the freight carrier enter your facility to pick up or drop off the shipment. This ensures your freight is loaded and unloaded with care, reducing the risk of damage to the goods. 


Trade show 

If you're sending your goods to a trade show, many freight companies offer specialized services for large shipments. These services include loading and unloading assistance, setting up and breaking down displays, packing and unpacking services, and storage and delivery coordination.  


By considering all your shipping options and opting for additional services, you can ensure your LTL shipment arrives on time and in good condition.  

Improve Contract Negotiation Resources  

To avoid paying excessive amounts for LTL or FTL shipping, improving the terms of your shipping contract through negotiation is essential. Ensure that you understand the carrier's exact rates by weight and size. You should also discuss the duration of the agreement, how missing or damaged packages will be handled, and the presence of accessorial charges that may be added to base rates, such as sorting fees, fuel surcharges, fees for managing fragile or hazardous items, etc. Negotiation aims to get the best rate possible, not necessarily the lowest one, as you also have to consider the carrier's operational costs.


Learn More About Freight Audit & Payments  

25% of freight bills contain errors that can negatively affect your profit margin. Freight audit involves examining and verifying freight bills for accuracy. Learning more about freight audits and payment helps you avoid paying more than you should for shipping. After receiving the bill for your shipment, you should check the shipper and carrier information, Bill of Lading (BOL), tracing number, shipment weight, and price. Ensure that there are no unusual additional fees on the invoice and verify the price of every service you are charged for.  


Expand Your Carrier Network  

Freight carriers keep the supply chain moving by facilitating the movement of goods from the manufacturers to the final consumers. However, many LTL shipping problems are caused by the inadequacies of these logistics companies. Expanding your carrier network can help you avoid several shipping-related issues by giving you diverse options based on track record, transport routes, customer service, shipment type, costs, delivery strategy, and transit times. Different carriers have varying strengths within their operating regions. A multi-carrier network allows you to play to these strengths and offer personalized shipping services to your customers all year round.  



Utilizing a carrier quoting portal, like, can also be beneficial when avoiding LTL shipping issues. They can provide instant expansion of a carrier network with pre-negotiated rates. It is like but for freight shipping. 

With GoShip’s vast carrier network, customers can pick the perfect LTL shipping provider for their freight management and ensure they avoid LTL shipping problems.  

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