When Your LTL Freight Needs To Move Fast: Guaranteed and Expedited LTL Shipping

Author: Cheryl Swain

I need my LTL shipment to move quickly. What are my options?

In the LTL world, there are many ways to guarantee your freight moves quickly.  Each LTL carrier has their own set of options (and rules for those options).  Let’s say you need your freight to deliver next day, by a certain timeframe, like 8AM, noon, or by close of business at 5PM.  Not all delivery points can be next day, but if it’s important, there are even air carriers that can accommodate long hauls in a short timeframe.  In general, you have two options – schedule an expedited LTL shipment (which moves faster than a standard LTL shipment) or a guaranteed LTL shipment (which comes with a guaranteed delivery date and time, and if they aren’t met, the cost of your shipment may be refunded, depending on the carrier.)

What kind of cost will I experience for speeding up my delivery with an expedited shipment or having a guaranteed delivery time?

Guarantees are much less expensive than expediting a shipment.  If a shipment is scheduled to deliver in two days and you want to guarantee that, the cost will be minimal, but the reward will be great.  Some carriers will completely remove all freight charges if the shipment doesn’t arrive by the specified time.  To enforce this, it’s imperative that the proper information is on the bill of lading the carrier receives at the time of pick-up – so as long as you play by the rules, this is a great option. For shipments that require next day delivery, you will often have to pay to expedite the shipment.

Can volume LTL shipments be expedited?

Unfortunately, volume LTL shipments play by different rules and cannot be guaranteed or expedited.  If you want to ship a larger shipment with general LTL pricing, you can maintain the timeliness of your shipment.  However, if a volume quote is obtained, all bets are off.  Volume shipments move with capacity and they can’t be guaranteed - in fact, you can’t even go by the standard amount of time in which an LTL shipment would normally arrive.  Some volume shipments take weeks to arrive at their final destination.  Never ask for a volume quote if timeless is essential!

How can I get the best rates for guaranteed and expedited shipments?

It’s important to be flexible if you’re looking for the best rate.  For example, if you prefer to only work with larger LTL carriers, you may be limiting your options;  if you broaden your horizons, you may find great carriers that provide first-rate guaranteed or expedited services.  By working with a 3PL (third party logistics) provider like Trinity, who has contracted rates with many different carriers, you can easily find the best solution for your guaranteed or expedited LTL shipping needs.

Categories: Logistics, LTL
Tags: ltl service, ltl carriers

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