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How 3PLs Work with LTL Carriers

December 8, 2020
5 min read
Less Than Truckload
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3PL’s and LTL Carriers are competitors, right? The relationship between 3PL’s and LTL carriers probably isn’t what you imagine it is. 3PL’s that aren’t 100% asset-based typically utilize the larger LTL carrier network to move their clients’ shipments. The 3PL benefits by being able to offer their clients multiple carrier resources from which to choose. The carrier benefits because the 3PL is utilizing them for LTL transportation.

LTL Carriers, for the sake of this article, are trucking companies. These companies move goods on pallets throughout the United States. According to, approximately “15.5 million trucks operate in the U.S. Of this figure 2 million are tractor-trailers.” Additionally, ” LTL shippers account for around 13.6 percent of America’s trucking sector.”

In some cases, larger clients will engage with a single LTL carrier directly. This most often happens when the client ships a high volume of LTL and, because of it, receives special pricing from their carrier. The benefit to the client is that they receive preferred pricing on LTL shipments. The downside, however, is that by relying on a single LTL carrier relationship, the client will never know if they are truly receiving the best rate for their LTL freight. In instances where their preferred carrier is unable to meet the client’s shipping demands, the client is then forced to go through the onerous process of calling other carriers for quotes on their LTL shipment.

The 3PL Advantage

The total cost of product movement from facilities to end-users can be extremely high if not properly managed. Unexpected increases in transportation and logistics cost directly impact bottom-line profitability. So, how can a shipper best get their products delivered seamlessly i.e., in the original condition, to the right place, at the lowest rate, and on time? Working with a 3PL might not solve every shipping problem, but they can solve a lot and save a lot.

LTL shipping is a great way to ship, but it’s not without its headaches.

  • The LTL/Partial Truckload quoting process is onerous. It’s time-consuming and doesn’t always yield the lowest rates.
  • Tracking and Tracing with LTL isn’t as easy and seamless as it is with parcel shipping.
  • Customer service can be tricky, especially when shipments are late, arrive in less than ideal condition, or don’t arrive at all.
  • Pricing is constantly changing so it’s hard to know if you’re getting the best price from a carrier.

In simple terms, a Third-Party Logistics Provider (3PL) consolidates carriers and manages the headaches above for their clients by offering:

  • Simplified LTL Quoting Process – At Amware, we offer clients the use of our proprietary transportation management system (TMS), Amrate. Clients who use Amrate simply enter their shipping information once, then receive quotes from all of the available carriers. That by itself is a huge benefit as it completely consolidates and streamlines the onerous LTL quoting process.
  • Support: As a 3PL, Amware clients receive the benefit of Amware’s direct support. Clients don’t have to worry about dealing with the carrier’s customer service or shipment issues. Amware’s customer service team handles it all on behalf of the client.
  • Cost Savings on LTL Shipping: Because Amware offers a ton of carrier options
  • Minimized Risk: The risks inherent in warehousing, shipping, and tracking is significantly minimized when a 3PL monitors your shipments throughout the process, offering transparency and visibility.
  • Technology: Amware’s cloud-based software, Amrate, offers everything from shipment tracking and tracing, up-to-the-minute carrier management, and freight bill audit and payment, to customized reporting and claims resolution – all on a single platform.
  • Rates – Unlike some other 3PL’s, Amware will allow clients to import existing “preferred” rates from their current carrier, or they can use Amrate’s rates. Either way, clients get the best of both worlds.

So whether you’re working with an LTL carrier directly or need help with LTL shipping, consider the advantage a 3PL might offer as they work with most of the LTL carriers already. If you’re ready to save up to 30% or more (annually) on LTL, click below to request a free trial of Amrate 7.0 and see for yourself how this powerful TMS can increase your bottom line in 2021 and beyond.

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