It can be tough to get proper flatbed freight shipping. There are many moving pieces involved and plenty of options available. So, let’s first answer the question of why use flatbed? Flatbed is often used to ship freight that cannot be shipped in a standard dry van container. This can be either because the freight is too big to fit in the container or it is too heavy.
This post covers five tips you need to know in order to ship flatbed freight correctly. You have to know the details and the exact trailer type. Also, how to implement technology and background of the flatbed market. Lastly, when all else fails, find a shipping partner.
Know the Freight Details
First is knowing the details of what you are shipping. If you are using flatbed freight shipping you are most likely not shipping typical pallets. The carrier needs to know the details of the freight so they can guarantee quality shipping. One reason for this is because they will need to know if additional items are needed. These can be items to hold down the freight such as chains, straps, or tarps. Additionally, the driver needs to know the basic information of the freight. The dimensions and weight, along with any details about the pick-up and drop-off location.
Know the Flatbed Trailer Type
Second, you should know what kind of flatbed trailer you need. Flatbed freight shipping is a pretty broad term and there are multiple types that fall underneath it. A short list of some of the different types are: Stepdeck (single drop), Conestoga, Curtain Side, Hotshot, Double Drop (low boy), Removable Goose Neck (RGN) and stretch. So, before you start making calls to different carriers, you should know exactly what you need. Once you do, you can confirm that it is something the carrier can do.
Use Freight Technology
Next on the list, number three, is you should be utilizing some sort of freight technology. This applies to all modes of transportation but is worth mentioning again. The size of your shipping operation will greatly impact what kind of technology is worth investing in. Some of the main ones regarding logistics are Trucking Management Systems (TMS), Digital freight matching, and track and trace. Track and trace is especially beneficial and allows you to keep your freight in sight throughout the entire freight shipping process.
Understand the Flatbed Freight Shipping Market
Fourth on the list is to know the flatbed market and how it is impacted by seasonality. No other mode is affected by seasonality quite like flatbed freight shipping. The main drivers behind the increase of flatbed trailers is construction season and industrial production. Once there is construction and building going on it is going to be hard to find a flatbed trailer at a low price. Because of this, it’s generally better to work around this heavy season by either shipping beforehand or locking in on a contracted rate.
Partner with a Professional
The last piece of advice is to partner with a shipping partner that knows flatbed. As shown in the points listed above, flatbed freight shipping can be tough! It requires industry knowledge, time to research, and costly technology. As a result, it’s often no just easier but cheaper to partner with another company.