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Understanding Freight Shipping Quotes

September 6, 2022
5 min read
Less Than Truckload
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We get a fair amount of questions from new customers about freight shipping quotes. A shipping quote is the first step in the shipping process. The shipping quote is generated by the carrier or 3PL and outlines and line items the shipment elements, including surcharges.

Elements of a Freight Shipping Quote Include:

Shipping Information

  • Pickup and destination locations for your shipment
  • Mode of transportation, e.g., truck
  • Equipment, e.g., pallets
  • Other details like weight, size, and description of goods

The prices included in these quotes are typically time-sensitive, i.e., they have an expiration date. And for the initial quote and the final price from the logistics provider to match, all information provided must be accurate

Bill of Lading

The bill of lading (BOL) can serve as a contract between the freight shipper and carrier. Via a BOL, the shipper presents the carrier at pickup time with all the shipment details (such as date, quantity in shipment, and freight classification). This vital document helps ensure that the freight shipment is handled and invoiced correctly from start to finish, and a copy of the BOL is kept in the shipper’s records.

Alternatively, a BOL can serve as a receipt for freight services.

How to Request a Freight Shipping Quote

In today’s internet-driven world, obtaining a freight shipping quote is relatively easy. Many carriers and 3PLs offer online applications and freight quoting tools that provide real-time or near real-time rates and quoting options.

Before requesting a quote, however, it will be necessary for you to gather basic information about your shipment, including:

  • Size and weight of items in shipment: exact, i.e., highly accurate information helps carriers determine the amount of truck space required. This is particularly important for Less Than Truckloadoad (LTL).
  • Distance: how far does the shipment need to go? Distance is used in fuel surcharge calculation.
  • Pickup location and delivery destination – urban pickup areas with easier access tend to be less costly than rural areas.
  • Timing: rush/priority deliveries will naturally cost more.
  • Seasonal weather: keep in mind that inconveniences caused by slower travel times and closed routes can incur extra charges.

Another word about weight: listed weight is used by carriers to determine how much freight can go on a trailer. Truck weight is regulated by the Department of Transportation (DOT), and inaccurate weights can lead to higher price adjustments.

How Are Shipments Labeled?

Getting your shipments delivered to the right place begins with the shipping label. It must always include the delivery address, names, and phone numbers of both the shipper and the recipient (consignee).

Distinctions between LTL, FTL, PTL, and Parcel

Less than Truckload (LTL): When the freight in a single shipment only takes up part of a trailer, it is LTL; the cost of the full truckload is shared with other shippers using the same truck

Full Truckload (FTL): With FTL, the freight shipment takes up the entire space in a trailer

Partial Truckload (PTL): Useful when the freight shipment won’t fill an entire trailer yet is too big for LTL; PTL shipments generally contain over seven pallets and/or weight 7,000 to 28,000 pounds, with the bonus of no freight class designation hence no add-on fees, and one truck for the entire transit time

Parcel: generally, parcel shipping includes smaller packages weighing less than 150 pounds that can be lifted manually and delivered individually.

Which Freight Carriers Offer the Best Rates?

Freight shipping rates vary from carrier to carrier. Businesses may have contracts with specific carriers, but many traffic and logistic managers still call preferred carriers for freight shipping quotes. A 3PL like Amware simplifies the quoting process by offering logistics and supply chain personnel a cloud-based transportation management software – Amrate.

Clients using Amrate input their freight shipment information once and receive rates from thousands of domestic carriers. The Amrate TMS saves time and guarantees that those using it will receive the most current and competitive pricing on their freight shipment.

If you’re spending unnecessary time on freight quoting, request a free trial of Amrate and see how much you could be saving in time and money! Clients using Amrate save, on average, 30% annually for LTL.

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