Do you know how Cubic Capacity can affect your shipments?
Almost every carrier we utilize through our LTL platforms
has a cubic capacity rule in their rules tariff that may affect any of your
shipments. LTL carriers impose minimum cubic capacity rules to effectively
counter very light, fluffy shipments that take up more than their fair share of
a trailer. In most cases, LTL carriers state that if a shipment consumes
750 cubic ft. of space or more, AND the shipment has a density of less than 6
pounds per cubic foot (pcf), it’s not paying its fair share. While the
rule varies dramatically amongst carriers, most artificially adjust the weight
to a minimum of 6 pcf, AND apply a class of 125 or 150 to the commodities being
shipped with their associated tariff rates. Most carriers use the 750
cubic feet as the threshold, but not all.
This week we wanted to clarify what to watch for with Cubic Capacity by
providing an example from XPO:
XPO is now enforcing their standard cubic capacity rules on all tariffs. What this means is that shipments requiring 350 cubic ft. or more of the trailer with an average density of less than 3 pcf will have the weight calculated differently then what the actual weight is.
Yes that is correct, the actual weight will not matter!
350 cubic ft. of the trailer equates to approximately 5.46 linear ft. of the trailer so you can see that we are severely limited on the amount of skids of LTL we can ship when the density is below 3 pcf.
As an example, for two pallets of LTL, cubic capacity would be calculated as follows. Please note that the carrier uses the actual height (96”) of the trailer when they look at the cubic capacity of the shipment, not the actual height that the shipment might be:
One skid = (40” x 43” x 96”) / 1726 cubic inches per cubic ft. = 95.67 cubic ft. x two skids = 193.34 cubic ft.
You can see that this falls way under the 350 cubic ft. rule so we are safe to ship this with XPO.
However, if you want to ship 4 skids, the cube of the shipment is now double at 386.68 cubic ft. which is outside of the cubic capacity limit. The only way you could ship this as an LTL shipment is if the density of the shipment was greater than 3 pcf.
Four skids with a total weight of 500 lbs., the density would be the 500 lbs. / 386.68 cubic ft. = 1.3 pcf.
If we shipped this LTL, we would be hit with the cubic capacity rule and our cost would skyrocket.
Four skids would have to have a total weight of 1161 lbs. or greater for us to be able to ship them as a standard LTL shipment with no problems. 1161 lbs./386.68 = 3.0 pcf.
Below is the actual excerpt from the XPO rules tariff:
Being a successful salesperson requires a lot of practice,
being able to envision making a sales call that results in sales success.
Confirming the sale requires a lot of confidence and belief that you can make
the sale and help the customer. The confidence you demonstrate when talking
with a customer about our ability to deliver the service they need has the
effect of transferring that confidence to them.
In the transportation industry, a lot of credit is given to
a salesperson who is a proven closer. That has always been my reputation – a
guy who always asks for the sale and expects the customer to say “YES.” Being
known as a “Closer” is a big compliment. The only downside is the negative
connotation of being a “closer,” when it is more accurate to call it
“confirming the sale.”
Whatever you decide to call it – there’s no magic to
confirming the sale. Right from the initial approach to the very end of your
presentation, bit by bit, you should be confirming the sale. It’s when you find
out if you did your job properly, but by following your instincts and
confirming the sale throughout the process then the customer will let you know
when it’s time to close the sale.
Though closing the sale should be the most natural part of
the process, it can be tricky. Below are some of our top tips for confirming more
Make your sales process a series of small “closes”
– this takes the pressure off of a final moment and makes it easier for a
prospect to agree to move forward. Getting your prospect comfortable saying “yes”
will help make the final confirmation of the sale more natural.
Research the customer first. If you understand your
customer’s business, their needs, and their current solution, you will be
better able to adapt your presentation to emphasize the strengths of your solution.
It is much easier to confirm a sale if you can make sure that your service
meets the needs of the customer and solves their problems and pain points.
Listen more than you speak. Put the customer,
and their needs, first. If you can put the customer first, they’ll feel valued,
and often times, listening to their problems and needs can give you extra
information for tailoring your sales presentation. People want to work with
people who make them feel valued and heard – so hear them, and they’re more
likely to say “yes” when you ask to work with them.
Work on making the confirmation process an ongoing and
natural part of your sales presentation and you will be able to close more
sales, more easily.
This week we want to switch gears and discuss the difference
between an appointment and a notify before delivery.
Appointments cannot be set until the freight arrives at the destination terminal.
Contact must be made with the consignee to deliver.
LTL Carriers will always make appointments, we cannot make the appointments for them. However, if they cannot get a hold of the consignee we may assist them.
We can’t stress enough how important it is to contact the consignee even if they are not your customer in order to understand their appointment process.
It is best practice to then get with the carrier to insure they are not having trouble setting up an appointment and causing further delays.
It is not the carrier’s responsibility to understand every consignee’s appointment process.
A great example of the above is Grocery
Warehouses: If the carrier needs to book an appointment online or reference
PO#s in order to get the freight delivered then we need to put this info as
clear and concise as possible on the BOL. This info must be entered on the “special
instructions” section under the carrier tab in BTMS.
Appointments can sometimes delay transit by 1-2 days with the freight sitting on the dock.
Don’t forget that LTL drivers depart from their terminals early in the morning and if an appointment cannot be set prior to their trailers being loaded, your freight will be left behind.
Regardless if “THE FREIGHT MUST DELIVER TODAY” the drivers will not go back to the terminal once they have dispatched for the day.
A few things to keep in mind with appointments:
Specific delivery windows can cause a driver to take an inefficient route which has a domino effect on all shipments for that day.
Some consignees may have Drop Trailer schedules set up with certain carriers.
Some consignees may have standing appointments set up with certain carriers.
Notify Before Delivery:
Your shipment does not have to deliver at a specified time and may arrive any time between the standard LTL hours of 8am and 5pm local time.
This is typically used when shipping to residences, storage facilities, or even businesses with limited dock space.
Drivers do not call ahead to the shipping location. This is done by a dispatcher or clerk at the destination terminal and sometimes even at the corporate offices of the LTL carrier.
This can cause a delay in transit while the freight sits on the dock until the consignee can be notified.
Due to the high amount of volume in LTL and depending on the size of the terminal, there could be multiple, even hundreds of shipments that need to be notified for the day.
If the consignee cannot be reached on the due date of delivery after multiple attempts, it is highly possible that the freight will be held at the terminal until contact can be made.
If you’re looking to set up a Delivery Appointment you’ll need to select that
particular service. But if you’re just looking for a “head’s up,” then Notify
Consignee is the accessorial you’re looking for.
Remember the 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 “transportability.”
These characteristics can be defined as follows:
Density (Weight, Length, & Height): Density is the space the item occupies in relation to its weight. The density is calculated by dividing the weight of the item in pounds by its volume in cubic feet. Your item’s volume in cubic feet is Length x Width x Height/1,728, where all dimensions are measured in inches. The density of your item = Weight/Volume, where Weight is measured in pounds and Volume is measured in cubic feet.
Stow-ability: Most freight stows well in trucks, trains and boats, but some articles are regulated by the government or carrier policies. Some items cannot be loaded together. Hazardous materials are transported in specific manners. Excessive weight, length or protrusions can make freight impossible to load with other freight. The absence of load-bearing surfaces makes freight impossible to stack. A quantifiable stow-ability classification represents the difficulty in loading and carrying these items.
Handling: Most freight is loaded with mechanical equipment and poses no handling difficulties, but some freight, due to weight, shape, fragility or hazardous properties, requires special attention. A classification that represents ease or difficulty of loading and carrying the freight is assigned to the items.
Liability: Liability is probability of freight theft or damage, or damage to adjacent freight. Perishable cargo or cargo prone to spontaneous combustion or explosion is classified based on liability and assigned a value per pound, which is a fraction of the carrier’s liability. When classification is based on liability, density must also be considered.
there is more! There are also Sub-NMFC codes which are noted with a dash after
the code (i.e. 41024-04). Make sure to confirm that the Sub-NMFC code matches
the correct freight class. Carriers sometimes overlook this, but it’s also
not uncommon for them to charge you at the higher class; whether it be the
class that was listed, or the class corresponding to the Sub-NMFC codes on the
BOL. These can often be disputed, but usually require a manufacturer’s
specification sheet and a packing list proving the correct class. That’s more
work for all parties and can be avoided by simply double-checking to make sure
your class and NMFC code match.
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
Being able to solve problems for your customers is one of
the most important skills you can have as a sales person. Solving problems will
require time, thought, and individual attention, but once you have a set of
skills in place, you can begin to handle problems quickly, easily, and
The first step should always be to actively listen to what
they’re saying. If you don’t understand the question the customer is asking,
how can you expect to provide a helpful solution or answer? You should make
every effort to clarify their question, problem, or objection before you even
start to formulate a solution. In the clarification process, hopefully your
prospect or customer will give you additional details that can help you solve
After you have defined the problem, you can begin to
brainstorm solutions and identify options. Once you have a list of options, you’re
better equipped to determine what will actually work for a particular customer
After you’ve come up with a viable solution, you should
answer the question head on, honestly, simply, and succinctly. Present the
solution and then, if accepted, implement it efficiently.
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.
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