Consolidated shipping is when multiple LTL shipments are combined together and shipped in the same trailer. Once the shipment arrives it gets broken down into several individual LTL shipments. These shipments are then loaded onto new trucks and sent out to their final destinations. Consolidated shipments can be made up of the freight from multiple shippers or it can be one company combining multiple LTL shipments to be broken up closer to their destination.
All of the same modes that can ship LTL can also ship consolidated loads: refrigerated, expedited, and even intermodal. As a result, this means that any time you are shipping LTL it is worth looking into the consolidated options as well. There are many benefits to implementing a consolidated shipping strategy that make it very worthwhile. However, there are also some challenges that can complicate things if you don’t know to look out for them.
The Benefits of using a consolidated shipping service.
The potential savings is the main advantage of shipping freight consolidated and comes as a result of several factors. Number one is due to the fact that you are sharing the cost of the truck with the other shippers. If you were shipping straight LTL then you would have to cover the cost of the entire trailer. Additionally, with multiple LTL shipments converged into one, there are fewer opportunities for accessorial charges which means fewer surprise costs along the way.
- Reduced Damaged Products
Due to the reduced amount of touchpoints, there is less likely to be any damages to product when using consolidated shipping. On the other hand, normal LTL shipping uses the hub and spoke method to distribute the product. Consequently, there are more opportunities for the product to be damaged.
Consolidating your freight with others means that there are fewer trucks out on the road which leads to an improved carbon footprint. At Becker Logistics we find this benefit very important and is why we partner with SmartWay.
The Challenges involved in consolidated shipping.
- Added Operational Complexity
There are more time and planning that needs to go into executing a consolidated shipment correctly. As the shipper, you need to keep in mind of the extra steps involved (consolidation and deconsolidation) if you want the shipment to succeed.
- Finding a Carrier
As mentioned above, consolidated shipments add complexity to the shipment which is something that not all carriers want to deal with. The easiest way about this challenge is to partner with a transportation provider that has a large network of carriers and that will work for you.
Is consolidated shipping right for you?
Now that the pros and cons of consolidated shipping have been covered you can take a look at your shipping and supply chain and determine if it is a service that would benefit you. For some it requires too much of a time investment to plan it out, however, partnering with the right transportation provider can make the whole process a lot more simple.