is VERY important you understand freight class. If you incorrectly classify
your item to be shipped it can be reclassified by the freight carrier.
Disputing this is difficult, time consuming and you will be charged the
difference (usually without a discount).
National Motor Freight Classification® (NMFC®) is a
standard that provides a comparison of commodities moving in interstate,
intrastate and foreign commerce. Commodities are grouped into one of 18
classes—from a low of class 50 to a high of class 500—based on an evaluation of
four transportation characteristics: density, stow-ability, handling, and
liability. Together, these characteristics establish a commodity’s
By analyzing commodities on the basis of the four transportation
characteristics and ONLY on the basis of those characteristics, the NMFC
provides both carriers and shippers with a standard NMFC number or code by
which to begin negotiations and greatly simplifies the comparative evaluation
of the many thousands of products moving in today’s competitive marketplace.
you don’t have an NMFC number/code listed on your BOL, there is a good
possibility that your freight will be reclassified. Some carriers will assign
an arbitrary class if there is no code listed on the BOL, often outlined in a
carrier’s rules tariff. This, along with the proper code, will
greatly reduce the possibility of additional reclass charges.
forget we are participants of the National Motor Freight Traffic Association
which means we have access to multiple ways of obtaining the correct NMFC
number/code for your shipments. If you have any questions or doubts regarding
your product’s freight class, please reach out to the LTL Team.
Did you know that certain types of commodities
cannot be shipped via LTL carriers due to governmental regulations and that LTL
carriers can refuse to accept certain items as a matter of company policy? In
many cases, the root issue is liability — certain items are too valuable and/or
high target items for theft to make them worth the risk to handle and
Items of Extraordinary Value:
Carriers have different policies regarding these items and they may be willing
to accept certain items if they have the appropriate insurance coverage and
specialize in the transport of valuable merchandise.
Restricted or Prohibited Items:
Another group of items that LTL carriers may refuse to transport are those
excluded by government regulations or due to being extremely hazardous in
nature. In addition, carriers that lack the proper storage and stowage
equipment to maintain the proper temperature will refuse certain items, such as
refrigerated items. Finally, certain items (such as canoes) may be prohibited
by certain carriers because of their size, shape, difficulty to stow and
difficulty to handle.
Do your homework and research LTL Carriers Carefully!
Restricted Commodities are listed in the Rules
Tariffs of each LTL Carrier. To give you an example of how complex some of
these Restricted Commodities sections are, please visit FedEx’s “Prohibited and
Restricted Articles” section of their rules tariff by clicking the link: http://www.fedex.com/us/freight/rulestariff/prohibited_articles.html
Make sure to address specific questions to the
carrier you are considering. Within the world of LTL carriers there is a
great deal of specialization. For instance, some carriers specialize in the
transport of perishable items or hazardous materials. If you have items to
transport that fall into both of these categories, you may be forced to hire
two separate LTL carriers.
Whatever company you choose to move your hard-to-handle item(s), make sure to
do your homework. Make sure you select a freight company with a solid track
record, solid liability coverage, and solid maintenance and quality control
processes to ensure top performance.
In addition to being careful of unexpected charges to watch out for when shipping an LTL load, it is important to keep your BOLs clean and precise so that you are not confusing carriers or being charged incorrectly.
When shipping LTL freight, make sure your BOLs are clean and precise prior to sending them to your shippers. Extra language in the special instructions section of BOLs only causes billing issues. Take a look at the below examples where the BOLs are very busy and not easily readable:
Let’s stop putting so much traffic in the special instructions!
PU# is fine, but not 3 times
PU instructions FCFS is not needed and does not protect you or the customer from charges
If the carrier is delayed due to the shipper you will be charged regardless
If they can’t get in timely or for another reason they will skip the pick-up
“No APT needed for LTL shipments” – This is unnecessary information because if the consignee states appointment is needed it will be assessed
The carrier already assumes appointment is not needed.
This includes daily routines between consignee and carrier
If a consignee isn’t always open during regular business hours, some LTL carriers will have that particular address flagged for appointments no matter what we have on the BOL
Headings: “BOL SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS:” “PICKUP DIRECTIONS” “PICKUP NOTES” “PICKUP INSTRUCTIONS” “DELIVERY INSTRUCTIONS” should be consolidated or removed all together
Again, “FCFS DELIVERY” is not needed and does not protect you or the customer from charges
“1000-1600” – By putting hours on the BOL, some carriers may flag the shipment for an appointment because standard LTL operating hours will always be assumed
If the carrier’s cut time from the terminal is 8am and this consignee is close to the terminal then this should be flagged because they would have to wait 2 hours prior to attempting delivery
“MUST CALL” – This verbiage may be mistaken for notify or an appointment because some LTL billing clerks may not catch the remaining portion due to the busyness of the BOL
“No additional accessorial will be approved without prior authorization” – This wording is irrelevant because the carrier will always charge based on their rules tariff and/or contract with the paying party
Now that you have cleaned up your BOL, you can’t stress enough to your customer: “Make sure this BOL is handed to the carrier so that no additional charges occur!”
It is important to educate
shippers and consignees so they know what to expect at the time of pick-up and
delivery, but it is equally as important to remind them of potential unexpected
charges and things to watch out for when shipping an LTL load.
you know that many customers get invoiced at a much higher rate due to their
shipments being “hit” with Cubic Capacity, Exceeds Linear Feet, or Oversize
Dims? All three of these things are different and very expensive so pay close
attention to what your customer is shipping.
This is when a shipment is greater than 750 cubic feet and an average density
of 6 or less (some carriers are 4 or less).
Example of a Cubic Capacity load:
6 Pallets at 2600 lbs., each pallet is
48x48x55, cubic feet is 768, and the density is only 5.91
This shipment would get “hit” with cubic
capacity without a quote.
Linear Foot Rule
Each carrier has their own version of the linear foot rule. If your shipment
equals more than the LTL linear foot rule for that carrier then it will get
“hit” with the “exceeds linear feet” fee.
Example of Linear Foot load:
5 pallets at 5000 lbs., each pallet is
49x49x50, and because the pallets cannot be placed side by side this
shipment takes up a little more than 20’ of space
Each carrier has an over dimension rule; most LTL carriers are 12′. The
oversize accessorial should be applied to any shipment 12’ or more. You can
find the “Linear Foot Rule” for most carriers by looking at their carrier
tariff on their websites.
Any pick-up (P/U) entered after 2:30 PM local time should be called into the carrier to insure availability, otherwise the request will roll over to the next day
Lift Gate P/Us must be called into the carriers because Lift Gates are not readily available at every terminal
All Container Freight Stations and Airline P/Us require Delivery Order and Entry paperwork (3416 document), these need to be sent 24 hours in advance because drivers will need these documents in hand prior to P/U
P/Us are not Guaranteed
All carriers require a 2 hour window for P/Us
P/Us are done in the afternoon because drivers have to deliver freight before they can start pickups
If your shipper needs an AM P/U it is best practice to call the carrier to set something up which will most likely incur additional charges
The shipper must have our system generated BOL to provide to the driver at the time of P/U or our rates will not apply
This is not something the carrier will have via our P/U requests in BTMS
If an LTL driver needs to reference a P/U number, it is best practice to put that number on the first line of the shipper name. Please see the example below:
ABC Distribution Co > Ref # 123456
4567 Main Street
Anywhere, NY 10014
Transit times and delivery dates are estimations and can be delayed for many reasons
Add an additional day if a shipment is interlined
Add 2-3 days if a shipment is traveling by rail
Stress to your customers, if the shipment must be delivered by a certain date and time, spend the extra money and have a the shipment guaranteed
If “Guaranteed” is not on the BOL at time of P/U no adjustments can be made to the invoice
Volume Shipments cannot be Expedited or Guaranteed
Re-delivery Rates are based on weight and can get very pricey
is imperative to make sure the consignee is ready to accept the freight so
that additional charges are not incurred
It is very important to educate your consignee BEFORE the
freight is delivered about what the process will be like. Will they need a
liftgate? Will the driver be helping unload the freight in any form or manner?
By asking these questions in advance, and by making sure that the consignee and
you are on the same page, you can minimize additional charges on your invoice.
On the delivery receipt/proof of delivery (POD), issues
should be notated if you suspect that the value of the product has been
compromised. Make sure to notate any damage to the packaging, and/or
missing product. Having these notes on the POD makes it easier to file
a freight claim with the carrier. Claims can take quite a long time so
anything that you can do upfront saves time down the road.
Another tactic you can take is to refuse the shipment upon delivery if damage is present. Refusing a shipment means that the consignee does not accept the freight in the condition presented – meaning you will eventually file a damage claim. This will alert the carrier that something is wrong with the shipment and that they should get in touch with the appropriate party. Make sure you use this tactic responsibly, because if a shipment is not damaged the carrier can actually tack on a redelivery fee. Yikes!
of the most common additional services on a POD include:
Lift Gate – Hydraulic lift on the rear of a truck used to assist in the unloading of freight.
Inside Delivery – The driver is only responsible for moving the freight off the truck. If the driver helps move the freight more than a few feet away from the truck, even if it’s not “inside,” then an Inside Delivery fee may apply. Be very careful with this one because the terminology can be misleading and it varies by carrier.
Limited Access (Residential) – This is up to the carrier’s discretion, however, there are locations that will always be deemed limited access. If a business is run from a home, or is in a residential area, carriers may charge this fee.
Sort/Segregate – Certain locations may require a carrier to sort and segregate a shipment. This is additional handling beyond the normal duties of a driver that will incur additional fee(s). This charge is especially prevalent in grocery stores or distribution centers.
Detention – With most LTL carriers, the first 30 minutes from when the driver arrives are free. Any additional time is subject to an additional detention fee. Again, the length of this “free time” as well as the charge for it varies by carrier.
So the next time you sign a POD when receiving your
shipment, be sure to review it and see if any additional services listed
are being used. If a service is pre-printed on the POD, then the need for this
service was most likely known in advance. However, if the driver marks
that an additional service was performed, then there will be an additional
charge. In some cases, it may be good practice to have your consignee obtain a
copy of the POD themselves.
Reconsignment – Here’s a shipping term that you might
be familiar with if you’ve ever had a change of plans with your freight. A
reconsignment happens when freight that is already in transit is re-directed
from one delivery location to another. This charge can vary based on how far
apart the delivery locations are. For instance, if the new location is just
down the street, the charge will probably be minimal. However, if freight was
heading to California and is being reconsigned to Florida, you will be in for a
hefty reconsignment fee.
We get a lot of groans when we have to quote people for the cost of a reconsignment so we wanted to highlight the process so you can educate your customers as well:
have to send written authorization to make the change to the carrier. A Bill of Lading is a legal contract, so any
changes made must be in writing. Authorization must be made by the shipper or
paying party always.
carrier will enter the information into their online system and image your
rating analyst reviews the request, verifies that we have authorization to make
the change, and completes the request.
is sent to the terminal who currently has, or if it is in transit, who will have
labels have to be generated and put on the freight.
Typically, your charges end up being broken down into the cost from origin to reconsignment point, and reconsignment point to new destination, and fees for marking and tagging of the freight. If your freight has to backtrack, you will pay for every mile it has traveled.
GREAT EXAMPLE: If it was originally to go from NY to CA, but then once it reached Chicago you turned it back around to PA, you are paying NY to Chicago and Chicago to PA, not just NY to PA.
Important points to note as well:
If you are not the shipper or paying party, you cannot use your
authorization to make changes to the BOL.
If your name doesn’t appear anywhere on the BOL, see #1 above.
If the driver arrives and you say that it needs to go to a different
address across town, this constitutes both reconsignment AND redelivery. And it
can’t be done without authorization, as above.
This process actually represents a significant amount of labor time and fuel. Even a local reconsignment (change in address within a local terminal service area) requires these steps.
All carriers want to make money on this deal. Nothing is done at cost.
But time is money, and the cheapest option is to always do it right the first time.
From time to time you may run into a drop trailer with one of your LTL shipments.
A drop trailer is a trailer that is left at a location for an indeterminate amount of time. It’s “dropped,” and picked up later. Most of the time, a drop trailer is used at locations that ship or receive often enough to fill up or unload a full trailer in a week or even a day, depending on production. The location doesn’t matter as much as the amount of freight that is moving in or out of the specified location and the agreement in place with each LTL carrier.
Think about it like this: Let’s say you have a shipment going to a warehouse that multiple manufactures ship to as well. This warehouse has pre-established relationships with a handful of LTL carriers. In order to save time and money they will consolidate and reduce traffic flow to their receiving docks by collaborating with LTL carriers and advise them to only “drop” a trailer at their location when the LTL carrier has a full trailer. This could potentially delay your expected delivery date.
There are numerous ways in which the LTL carriers can handle a drop trailer situation, but the main thing to keep in mind is that your shipment may not deliver on time due to it being a drop trailer which may also change the way in which the PODs are received from the consignee. Due to the nature of drop trailers, PODs are usually handled differently and will almost always take longer to receive considering the consignee is unloading a full trailer of shipments from multiple shippers.
Though the use of drop trailers isn’t exactly common, it’s not something to be afraid of when it comes to your LTL shipments. A little understanding goes a long way. Here are some things to keep in mind when dealing with drop trailers:
Drop trailers can sometimes lead to delays. Before you panic about delays, remember that the manufacturer is often very aware a drop trailer is being used, and so should the buyer. Don’t be afraid to ask if the shipper or consignee have any drop trailer processes in place so you can educate your customer as well. Most drop trailer situations do not revolve around freight that is time-sensitive. If your freight is on a tight schedule, make sure to use a different carrier.
Not all carriers do drop trailers. Just because one carrier uses a drop trailer at a certain location doesn’t mean that EVERY carrier uses a drop trailer there. Trailers belong to carriers, so if you can’t afford to have a drop trailer on a shipment, simply look at using a different carrier. It may not be the cheapest of the bunch, but there will always be options available.
Stay away from perishables. For obvious reasons, if you’re shipping perishable items, make sure you’re not dealing with drop trailers.
Practice is essential to increasing success on sales calls, and one excellent way to practice is to have a “dress rehearsal” with a coworker or trusted peer. There are certain things you can do to make the role-playing situation the most helpful preparation for the sales call.
Set a clear objective. Setting a defined objective for what you want to get out of the practice call, what skills you’d like to improve, and what you’ll have as a goal in a similar real call.
If you’re role-playing with a mentor, have them model the skills you’d like to work on in that session. You can also try to model the individual skills you’d like to work on, and then practice putting them all together in a full simulated situation.
Remove the fear of failure. Role-playing helps remove the fear of failure in the real-life situation by creating a space to practice various techniques. If a method doesn’t work, you can then use the role-play situation to workshop what went wrong and how to change it. This allows you to fail and learn from it without jeopardizing a sale or relationship with a customer.
Role playing can also be helpful in the role of observer or customer, because you are able to see how various techniques play out and what it’s like to be on the other side of the sale. It can help you to identify what you’d like change about your current sales presentation – either by offering new techniques to incorporate or showing you what doesn’t work and should be removed.
You can also provide and receive open, objective, and constructive feedback from your partner in the role-play exercise. This feedback is an essential part of the process, and a huge benefit of role-playing and “dress rehearsals”
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