A Shipper's Guide to Time Critical LTL Holiday Freight

A Shipper’s Guide to Time Critical LTL Holiday Freight

truck driving in the winter weather on a road with snow

Shipping freight that requires time definite arrival during the holidays can be challenging. However, with an optimum combination of knowledge and technology, managing last minute holiday shipments can be less stressful. To help you ship with intelligence this holiday season, below are three of the top points to know when planning your time critical shipments.    

1. Shipping Information Required by Carriers (for LTL Freight) 

There are a number of required data elements to receive accurate freight quotes.
These items include but are not limited to: 

  • Origin city, state and zip
  • Destination city, state and zip
  • Required pickup date and times
  • Required delivery date and times
  • Number of pieces, pallets or crates
  • Dimensions of pieces, pallets or crates
  • The NMFC
  • Total gross weight (all pieces combined)
  • Description of the commodity (if hazardous cargo, provide the UN# and packing group)
  • Special instructions on pickup or delivery such as lift gate, inside delivery, debris removal, appointment required, after hours delivery, protect from freeze, etc. 

2. Ensure the Freight is Properly Packaged 

To avoid damage, confusion and delays, LTL shipments should be palletized, strapped or banded, stacked heaviest to lightest vertically and shrink wrapped. These packaging best practices will help freight remain intact as it is handled throughout its journey from origin to destination.

Additionally, the shipment should be properly labeled on all sides of the freight. Complete shipper and consignee information should be on every piece of the shipment and the information should match the Bill of Lading (BOL) exactly. It is also important to include labels such as “This End Up” or “Do Not Stack” as needed. 

3. Leverage a TMS for Visibility into the Best Combination of Rate and Service

A TMS (Transportation Management System) can save tremendous time and yield cost savings by providing a holistic view of shipper options. A TMS essentially aggregates rates from numerous pre-loaded carriers, includes transit time information and allows a shipper to book with the carrier directly. With the use of a TMS, shippers can compare carriers by price and delivery windows in a single system, streamlining the process and empowering smart shipping decisions. A TMS also provides shippers with the ability to track shipments through final delivery, ensuring visibility and creating peace of mind during the hectic holiday shipping season. 

Another very important note when planning freight shipments around the holidays is understanding that many LTL carriers typically observe certain days around the holidays as non-transit days. Therefore, in order to verify the projected delivery date based on the carrier’s schedule, it is best to contact your local Ascent Global Logistics representative. 

While the above three tips can help shippers at the last minute, it is best to plan shipments as far ahead as possible. 

Contact our team of LTL shipping experts for a quote, more information on our intuitive TMS or help with supply chain planning.


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