What to Expect for Flatbed Trucking Rates in 2017

as published on LinkedIn

flatbed trucking rates

Flatbed trucking rates might surprise shippers in 2017. According to transportation economist Noel Perry, trucking rates look set to climb between 5-7% through the year. This might seem odd since freight rates have been down since 2015, but several factors will lead to increases.

Lower rates forced a contraction of the market. Carriers stopped ordering new trucks. Production dropped at truck manufacturers. Where the demand for more lanes and vehicles had been big in the past, the low volume of shipping in recent years required carriers to cut back.

Now, as the supply of vehicles matches demand with what looks like an increase in shipping on the horizon, rates will naturally rise. As Mr. Perry mentioned in his forecast, “Now’s the time to begin thinking about managing in an environment that’s 180 degrees from the environment we’re in right now.”

Higher trucking rates, including flatbed trucking rates, appear almost certain for next year. With this in mind, what can you do? Maybe the simplest approach would be to increase your anticipated shipping spend by 7%. But really, who wants to do that? And frankly, that’s not what we recommend.

Here’s what we do recommend…

#1.      Coordinate a fleet of flatbed trucking services.

Start now and line-up flatbed carriers for all the lanes you know you’ll need. This will ensure you don’t waste time looking for a carrier and services when the need arises and urgency is high.

#2.      Review and reorganize your shipping plan.

What you did in 2016 or even 2015 may not be the most efficient distribution channels for you in 2017. Review last year and look ahead to this next year to find new efficiencies in your shipping program.

#3.      Plan to partner.

Perhaps the best way to offset or possibly even negate trucking rate increases involves finding a great flatbed logistics partner. For less than the cost of bringing on new staff, you can work with a team of trucking professionals who can help with steps #1 and #2, plus eliminate the extra work of handling claims.

And a partner gives you all these resources with a single phone call. That means you don’t have to spend time looking for answers. The experts are on the other end of the phone (or email, if you prefer!).

Whether you handle the work with your own internal team, or decide to reach out to a freight broker, take Mr. Perry’s advice and plan for a change. If you’d like to some help with this, call one of Longshot’s Logistics experts for a brief, no obligation conversation. Or click to contact us.

Benefits of Truckload Brokers

Truckload brokers deliver big benefits to companies of all sizes. For SMBs, a freight broker is like having a full shipping department. For large enterprises, a truckload broker can cut costs and simplify supply chain management with advanced reporting and strategic recommendations.

A good freight broker offers a complete range of services for truckload or both truckload and LTL shipping. With so many services, businesses of all sizes get customized logistics solutions. They deliver benefits like:

truckload brokersFast Quoting

A truckload broker has partnerships and access to hundreds of truckload brokers and owner/operators. Rather than call two or three carriers to get a quote, a business can get multiple quotes with a single call or email to its freight broker.

Lower Rates

Freight brokers negotiate rates with carriers so their customers don’t have to. It’s like a reverse bidding process where carriers bid for the customer’s business.

Powerful Shipping Software at No Cost

Truckload brokers use transportation management systems (also called TMS) to manage their hundreds of carriers and owners, their services, rates and tracking. All of the information in these systems is available to customers, but many brokers offers services to manage all freight expenses. TMS offer transparency into the process that makes this a big value-added feature for many companies.

Simplified Claims Processing

Sometimes freight gets damaged. When it does, a freight broker can help process the claim. Their expertise makes the process simple and painless. This allows companies the ability to focus on their customers.

Data-driven Logistics Solutions

Businesses of all sizes benefit from the reporting offered by a truckload freight broker. Track a single shipment, do an on-time performance review or evaluate the supply chain for an entire year. With this data, freight brokers can help customers develop new strategies to lower their shipping costs.

RFP Assistance

Freight brokers work with many carriers but are not committed. Their benefit comes from helping their customers. So with their logistics expertise, they can help companies with their logistics RFPs to find the best carrier and arrange the best services for every shipment.

Where to Find Truckload Brokers

You can find truckload brokers online. Once you do, we recommend you pick up the phone and make a call. This allows you to get an immediate feel for the company’s expertise and customer service response.

Many freight brokers have designated account managers who will be happy to meet with you in person or virtually. Invest a little time today to find a freight broker, and you’ll save yourself hours and dollars on all your freight in the future.

How to Get Fast Trucking Quotes

fast trucking quotesFor fast trucking quotes, don’t fill out online forms. That might seem contrary to all the ads, but it’s true. For a fast trucking quote, pick up the phone and make a call.

Don’t get us wrong, we love it when we receive an email from someone looking for a trucking quote. But in the time it took to complete the form, it would have been possible to make a phone call, provide the information and address any questions that might come up. And that doesn’t even include the time it takes to wait for someone to return the email with questions or a freight quote.

Now, whether you call or submit a form, you can provide specific information to speed the process. Here’s the key information to provide to your freight broker or truckload carrier.

City, State. For truckload services, skip the zip. Be ready with the city and the state of both the pickup and delivery locations.

Weight. When you call, have the most accurate shipment weight you can. Heavy loads and flatbed especially can incur big additional fees if the weight exceeds standards.

Dimensions. This factor is key for flatbed trucking quotes. Even one inch beyond legal restrictions and costs can be substantial. Now, while you can’t change the size of a shipment, especially an over-size one, it’s best to know all the details so you can work with your carrier or freight broker to find the best service and lowest cost.

Class. This element is determined by freight density, shipment value and liability and the overall ease of loading it onto the trailer. To figure out density, determine the volume of the shipment. Then divide that number into the weight of the shipment (W ÷ volume).

Description. This information is vital, particularly if your shipment contains perishable goods, hazardous goods or material in need of special handling.

Fast Trucking Quotes Made Easy

Online or by phone, trucking quotes can be easy to get. It really comes down to how much time and money you want to save. You can call truckload carriers and get quotes to find with the best price for the service you need.

Or you can call a freight broker. They can sort and filter carriers who ship from your location to your destination with the services you require and produce a list of quotes. And that’s all in one phone call or online form. Freight brokers also can assist with analytics and reporting to help develop strategies to lower freight costs in the future.

Carrier-direct or truckload broker, online or by phone, having the above information ready will get you the fast trucking quotes when you need them.

Truck load Shipping: What is it?

truck load shippingTruck load shipping involves moving an amount of similar cargo of a large enough quantity to fill a semi-truck trailer or an intermodal container. It delivers one customer’s freight dock-to-dock. Full truck load or FTL as it’s often called may also include flatbed, refrigerated, heavy haul, or hotshot freight.

There are several factors that separate truck load from partial truck load or LTL shipping.

Freight Handling. Once truck load freight gets loaded, it does not get touched until it reaches its destination dock. This differs from LTL freight that may get moved on and off a trailer on its way to the customer. Partial truck load ships more like truck load as the freight, once loaded, stays in place until it reaches the customer dock.

More Shipping Options.  Truck load shipping can handle more types of freight. Perishable freight can ship in a refrigerated truck. Large freight and heavy haul can go on a flatbed truck. Hazardous materials can ship with the special attention they require. LTL freight and partial truck load typically only ship in a trailer without the ability to accommodate special freight needs.

Faster Delivery. As truck load freight ships from dock-to-dock, it arrives faster. LTL freight makes many stops before delivery and can stop at multiple hubs on the way to its final destination. Truck load shipping serves one customer and goes from point-to-point making it a faster delivery type for long hauls.

One note on truck load delivery speed…its speed depends on it being a planned shipment. Unlike LTL freight which ships the same day, truck load needs to be arranged in advance. That’s one reason LTL is often described as a faster type of freight. The immediate solution for a business with a large amount of freight and a need to get it out the same day is partial truck load shipping.

Lower Risk of Damage. Since truckload freight doesn’t get moved after loading, there is much less risk of damage to the freight compared to LTL freight.

How to Get a Great Truck Load Shipping Service

There are really two ways to arrange truck load shipping. Call truck load carriers until you find one with the service and rates that match your need. Then you can negotiate the rate as needed.

The second option is to call a truckload freight broker like Longshot Logistics. Freight brokers work with hundreds of truck load carriers and owner/operators. Their software allows them to filter carriers to identify the ones who offer the service you need. Then they can get you already negotiated freight quotes and identify lanes with discounts to save you money, all with one call.

Where Can You Find the Best Truckload Rates?

If you’ve got a truckload shipment, you want the best truckload rates, right? Of course, you do. The challenge is finding them.

Let’s start with where you won’t find them. You won’t find the best truckload rates on the internet. Yes, you can do a search and you’ll find ads for companies as well as results on your Google page. If you click an ad, you might even be directed to a page where you can key in a little information and get a free quote. (Like you see at the side of this page.)

truckload rates

Online forms and internet ads are great ways to find a company and get a fast quote. But don’t expect to get the best truckload rates.

Several factors determine your best truckload rate. Yes, price is one factor, but it’s not the one. Another vital factor is delivery time. And yet another is post-delivery support.

Before you can know what your best rate is, you need rate the value of the price. For example, you wouldn’t choose the lowest rate if you knew it would result in an unhappy customer due to a delivery mishap, right? If customer satisfaction comes first, then make sure to consider other factors before price.

After all, many factors can influence a truckload rate. Weight, class, delivery distance and urgency are only a few. Urgency for example is often a customer-determined factor.

Another factor most companies overlook is post-delivery support. If something happens during delivery, will it become a head-ache for you and your customer? After all, even if the mishap isn’t your fault, you need to deal with it.

So before you even look for a rate, ask these questions:

  • How soon does my customer need the delivery?
  • Does the shipment have any special needs?
  • How important is support to me and my customer if something should happen?
  • Will this be a one-time shipment or do I have an ongoing need?

And then, the final question –

Carrier-direct or Truckload Broker?

One-time shipments or shipments that will always be the same cargo and go to the same destination may be a good reason to go carrier-direct. If your needs will vary, a truckload broker may be a better option. Companies like these have access to hundreds, sometimes thousands, of truckload carriers and owner/operators who may be ideal for your freight.  And most of these carriers and owners “bid” for your business through a freight broker, so you get the lowest possible rate.

Freight brokers also have experienced logistics experts who can walk you through shipping all different types of freight. Many even help with post-delivery issues like when you need to file a claim.

Plus, they often provide logistics analytics and reporting. Data like this helps to identify areas where you can lower your truckload rates. Based on this, they may even be able to work with you to develop strategies to lower your entire supply chain budget.

Now You’re Ready to Go Online…

Once you determine the best option for you, now you can go online to do a search. Once you find some options, then here’s what we always recommend – call them! A phone call can answer all your questions faster than a back-and-forth email exchange.

In the end, the best rates won’t come from an online form. But the online form is a great place to start a conversation to get you the best truckload rates possible.