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Domestic Freight Shipping: Navigating the Growing Industry

August 26, 2023
5 min read
Transportation Logistics
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In recent years, the freight industry has experienced substantial and consistent growth, with projections indicating a remarkable 35% increase in freight tonnage within the United States by 2027.

Domestic Freight Shipping Explained

The term “domestic freight shipping” refers to the transportation of goods in large bulk shipments across the United States, primarily facilitated by trucks for ground transportation. This stands in contrast to global freight shipments, which involve additional modes of sea or air transportation, along with intricate tariff and customs documentation.

Characteristics of Domestic Freight Shipments

To classify it as a freight shipment, the following criteria must be met:

  • Dimensions exceeding 30″ x 30″ x 30″, or
  • Weight surpassing 150 lbs.

For smaller shipments, parcel shipping is the more suitable option.

During domestic freight shipping via trucks, goods are loaded onto pallets or directly onto the truck’s floor. The use of pallets offers advantages such as reduced damage and theft risk, as well as easy loading and unloading through forklifts or docks. Single stacking of pallets is possible up to a height of 48 inches, beyond which double stacking becomes necessary.

Loading docks at warehouses and storage facilities are designed to align with the typical height of most truck beds, facilitating efficient loading and unloading. In cases where elevated docks are unavailable, alternative loading equipment can be utilized. Alternatively, trucks equipped with liftgate services can be arranged for a fee.

Freight shipments that are floor-loaded require manual unloading rather than machinery assistance.

Varied Freight Shipping Methods

The three primary freight shipping methods are:

  1. Partial Truckload (PTL): Suitable for shipments containing 6 to 12 pallets, PTL serves as a middle ground between LTL and FTL options. The shipment remains on the same truck throughout the transit.
  2. Less-Than-Truckload (LTL): A widely used method involving the transportation of 1 to 6 pallets via multiple trucks from origin to destination.
  3. Full Truckload (FTL): FTL involves shipping 24 to 26 pallets directly from the starting point, such as a manufacturer, to destinations like fulfillment centers.

Effective Freight Shipment Preparation

Accurate and secure freight shipping relies on several key factors:

  • Pallet Size and Material: Pallets made of plastic or wood, weighing between 20 and 70 pounds, offer better quality and support. Properly sized pallets prevent damage from overhangs.
  • Alternatives to Pallets: Crates, containers, and corrugated boxes are viable alternatives, provided they can bear the package’s weight.
  • Labeling: While many top carriers discourage it if reusing alternate containers, old labels (especially barcodes) must be removed to prevent delivery errors. Boxes should be inspected for damage. New labels with the shipper’s address and phone number should be affixed to all sides of the pallet.
  • Dunnage and Sealing: Dunnage prevents item shifting and edge protection. Reinforced tape seals, seams, and openings for added security.

Thoroughly reading the freight carrier’s instructions ensures a smooth pickup experience once the shipment is ready.

Calculating Freight Shipment Costs

Freight shipment costs are influenced by factors such as distance, weight, and size. Special handling requirements, like refrigeration, lead to additional charges. Enhanced insurance and delivery to high-security locations also contribute to the total cost. The National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC), ranging from 50 to 500, provides a standardized pricing structure based on liability, density, handling ease, and storability.

Amware: Your Partner in Domestic Freight Shipping

As a comprehensive third-party logistics provider (3PL), Amware offers extensive coverage across the United States, with over 80% of the nation accessible within a day’s drive from their headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio. Their customized transportation management system (TMS), Amrate, empowers freight shippers to generate quotes from numerous carriers, saving time and ensuring the most favorable rates for their freight shipments. Request your FREE trial of Amrate below.

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