The Ins and Outs of Bulk Shipping

The Ins and Outs of Bulk Shipping

Got a shipment large enough to fill up a semi-trailer? Or, maybe you prefer a dedicated truck for your partial load? Either way, you’re not alone. The Journal of Commerce reports that Full Truckload (FTL) shipping accounts for 56 percent of the annual domestic freight market alone. With so many large shipments being transported from point A to point B, how do you ensure that your bulk products are handled properly from start to finish?

Here are some tips and insights to help you make the most of your large-volume shipping experience, whether it’s something you do regionally or across the country, on occasion or as a regular part of your business.

FTL at a glance

When you’re doing large shipments that generally weigh over 150 pounds, it makes sense to consider your bulk shipping options. If your shipment is in the neighborhood of 10,000 pounds or more and is too heavy, fragile or high-risk for a less than truckload (LTL) service, think Full Truckload shipping. An advantage FTL carriers have over LTL carriers is that the freight is never handled en route. Once it’s loaded on the semi-trailer or in the intermodal container, your cargo is not moved until it reaches its final destination. The truck filled with your goods is transported directly from you to a single customer, whereas LTL shipments may be unloaded and reloaded as necessary to accommodate more than one shipper’s freight at different locations. For this reason, FTL shipments can often reach customers more quickly, safely and efficiently. It’s standard practice for Full Truckload drivers to transport freight at an average rate of 47 miles per hour, so when time matters choose FTL.

Labeling en masse

Now that you’ve made the decision to use a Full Truckload service for your large shipment, you need to ensure each container in your multi-unit order is correctly labeled. Printing multiple copies of the same shipping label for a multi-unit order, even if it will be the only shipment on the truck, can cause you to run into some problems in the long run. If you have 20 packages or pallets all with the same shipping label, you’re only going to be able to track one because all 20 packages/pallets are using the same tracking number. If one of those units gets lost or damaged on the customer’s premises, there’s really no way to trace that it even exists or where it might be. If you have a shipment that requires multiple units, you can usually print a series of shipping labels for the order that will mark them as different packages but the same shipping order.

Know your load

The size of your shipment, your shipping budget, how fast you need it delivered and how delicate your shipment is are all important factors to consider when selecting how to ship. If the shipment is large, fragile and it needs to reach a destination quickly, then FTL is the way to go. Transportation companies can give you fast and accurate quotes to help in your decision making ¾ as long as you have your wants, needs and product specs well-defined.