Is the cheapest LTL freight rate the best?
There are many factors to consider when shipping your freight.
1) Is my freight going to stay within 1 carriers system or is it going to be interlined ?
Many brokers will always quote the lowest price without thinking about if the carrier is going to hand off to another carrier to handle a portion of the transportation or delivery. In many cases when this happens shipments can be billed incorrectly by the other carrier, if damage or loss occurs the arguments start between the carriers on who was responsible for the damage, tracing becomes a real problem because you never know what tracking # to use, and deliveries can happen by carriers that you don’t want showing up at your company no less your customers.
2) Is my freight going to be insured while in transit?
Brokers rarely ask if the merchandise is new, refurbished, used etc. These are all very important when it comes to a loss or damage to shipments. Freight companies only insure new items at full value and for only pennies for used, refurbished items. When shipping anything other than new items always make sure that you have the ability to purchase freight insurance which of course will increase the cost, but will provide the coverage ( less a deductible ) if damage or loss should occur.
3) What is the carriers history for loss or damage?
All freight carriers can show that they have a low claims ratio. But until you have to deal with them you are never certain. Brokers should be able to let you know the carriers history based on their experience and history of claims paid. You certainly don’t want to use a cheap carrier who has a history of damaging or losing freight.
4) Is my freight going to move with a consolidator?
Over the past years these types of companies have become more of a player moving LTL freight. Consolidators put a group of LTL shipments from1 region of the country and put on a full truckload carrier to haul them usually across the country to deliver. They usually use local transport companies to pick up and deliver. Not a bad option but insurance, tracing and delivery time limits are usually limited. Be Careful with this option!
Always remember the above when you go quote your freight, because if any one of the above things happens you could lose a customer or be out a lot of money on damages or losses. Cheap should never be the most important thing when moving freight.