Trucking Services Made Simple With a Trusted Freight Forwarder
If your company needs to haul freight over long distances, you’ve probably wondered how you can do so at the best price and highest quality. Some companies attempt to go it alone and hire a trucking company by themselves. Invariably, this leads to logistical headaches and increased paperwork that only serves to slow down their supply chain.
A freight forwarder can help take care of the logistics and find a trucking service that matches your needs exactly.
Why Are Trucking Services Necessary When Hauling Freight?
Hauling freight is a process that requires a great deal of attention and expertise. Without it, you’ll face a variety of challenges that could result in damage or total loss of your cargo. Below are the top reasons why you need trucking for your shipments:
1. Large Freight
A quality freight trucking service will know how to handle large freight, such as machinery and equipment. Since companies transport these materials on a flatbed truck, they must be secured appropriately. Trying to move such large items on your own or with an inexperienced firm could result in damaged cargo or other accidents. With over 1,000 fatalities occuring each year due to flatbed trucks, you’ll want to use a professional trucking service for everyone’s safety.
If you transport vehicles, you’ll want to go with a trucking service, as they can haul them more cost-effectively and efficiently. These large trucks will require a skilled driver as the trucks’ maneuverability is limited due to their heavy cargo.
2. Oversized Loads
Trucks can only transport a certain amount of weight safely. Trying to load a truck on your own or reaching out to a company that hasn’t undergone sufficient vetting could lead to legal issues. Additionally, oversized loads can increase the likelihood of a truck breaking down or causing an accident. A trucking service will work with companies that never allow their drivers to haul loads over the maximum allowed amount of weight.
3. Easy Transfer at the Shipping Dock
Unlike a train or plane, a truck can pull up directly to the shipping dock at a warehouse or other building where they can pick up the cargo. Other methods of shipping will require an additional step to get the freight to it. Additionally, a container can be preloaded by the warehouse, making it easy for a truck to pick up the cargo without delay.
4. Port-to-Warehouse Made Easier
Trucks are an excellent option for getting cargo from a port to a warehouse. A port will often have machines that pick up the container and place it directly onto a truck. This method makes for a faster shipping process, as the containers don’t need to be unloaded and then reloaded to make it possible for the cargo to be shipped.
How to Choose the Best Trucking Company for Your Business
Instead of attempting to set up a trucking network on your own, let a freight forwarder trucking service handle the logistics of transporting your freight. Knowing how to choose a trucking company is a complicated process that a freight forwarder takes off of companies’ plates so that they can focus on other important issues.
If you do want to attempt it on your own or if you’re curious about the process, here’s a brief outline of what goes into the shipping process:
1. Order Tender
The first step is to send your order to a freight broker for pickup. They will then collect all the information that they need. Regardless of whether the shipping is for a regularly scheduled event or a one-time order, you’ll need to provide handling instructions, equipment, compliance standards and consignee preferences along with your location and contact information.
2. Freight Scheduling
A freight broker will then take your information and put it into their freight management system. They will then schedule pickup and delivery and find a trusted carrier to handle the cargo. As they’ll have built their network of carriers out of those who can provide the best service, you can be confident that they’re finding you the perfect match.
If you try to do this on your own, you’ll need to do research on carriers and find one that can meet your needs. Instead of contacting a brokerage, you’ll reach out directly to the carrier. This will be a much more time-consuming process, and you will not have a wealth of data and information to assist like you would with a brokerage.
At the point when a scheduled order is ready to be picked up, the freight broker will speak with the driver to ensure that they have all the necessary information. In this conversation, the driver will have all the handling requirements explained to them again. Finally, the freight broker will provide pickup information.
A freight brokerage will actively communicate with the carrier during the loading process. After the loading process has been completed and the carrier has signed a Bill of Lading that ensures they take responsibility for the cargo, the freight brokerage will verify the case and skid count. Additionally, they will ensure that the destination displayed on the bill is correct.
In transit, the brokerage will be in contact with the driver and track their progress with GPS. If there are any weather or traffic delays along the way, the freight brokerage will assist the driver in finding alternate routes and communicate with you to keep you updated.
6. Unloading and Delivery
At the delivery point, the driver will document the arrival time to protect themselves against any extra charges. After the unloading is completed, a consignee will sign the Bill of Lading, including any notes about shortages, damages or overages. Once they sign the bill, they will be responsible for the product and will document the time the unloading was finished.
After the carrier sends their invoice to the freight broker, along with any other relevant paperwork, the broker will then send a bill to your company. Without the freight brokerage, you will need to handle all the paperwork and billing with the carrier yourself.
How To Qualify and Compare Trucking Companies
When a company, especially a small to medium-sized one, looks to hire a trucking company, they often fall into the trap of only looking at the quote. While the price is a great place to start, it’s not the only point that you should consider. The cheapest option may not give you the same quality of service, resulting in unintentional costs associated with damage to merchandise or delays to deliveries.
A freight broker company understands that the best trucker is not always the cheapest — sometimes a quick response trucker is best, for instance. If you want to find a trucking company, there are a few ways that we determine if a trucking company is right for a client:
- Work history. An experienced company will know how to get your merchandise from point A to point B in as little time as possible without any damages. A newer company will still be sorting out their routes and delivery process, which will make for higher amounts of damage and delays. Additionally, an established company will generally have better training programs for drivers, ensuring that they remain safe and efficient.
- Rating. You’ll want to look into a companies’ record and see if there are any ratings or reviews of them available online. While you should take any online review with a grain of salt, if there’s a pattern of dissatisfied customers, you may want to steer clear. Their low rating might indicate why they offer such a low price for their services.
- Load size. Some trucking companies will only accept full-size loads while others will be open to partial loads. If you can see yourself needing both sizes, you’ll want to find a company that can do both rather than relying on two separate companies to handle different load sizes.
- Equipment and staff. Knowing how much staff and equipment a company has to handle orders is crucial. An understaffed and under-equipped company will end up costing you more money, as they will not be able to complete tasks in a timely fashion.
- Availability. Ensure that a company will be available to handle all of your shipping needs before you select them. You don’t want to have multiple contracts with multiple trucking companies because they aren’t available to take care of all your shipments. To reduce extra paperwork or logistical headaches, you’ll want to go with a trucking company or broker that can always be available for your shipping needs.
How Complicated Is Trucking?
Depending on the freight and the needs of the shipping company, trucking can be very complicated. There are lots of issues that can come up in the transportation of goods, and you’ll need to work with an experienced trucking service that knows how to react to them to avoid ending up with a story of trucking gone wrong.
You’re probably wondering what makes it so complicated. There have been many challenges in recent years to trucking services that you should be aware of:
- Trucking labor shortages. Recently, the United States has been experiencing a shortage of truck drivers, making it difficult to find companies that have the staff to handle all of your shipping needs. Additionally, this shortage in workers has led to increasingly higher wages for truckers to entice new ones and retain experienced ones. If you go into the industry on your own, you’ll have to stay on top of the current trends for pricing and transportation costs.
- Safety concerns. Several safety issues come with trucking. Inclement weather can put drivers in danger and delay shipments. Drivers also experience challenges related to fatigue stemming from highway hypnosis, hectic work schedules and a need for more rest. Like most drivers, truck drivers can get distracted by GPS alerts, other drivers, being on their phone and other issues.
- Changing regulations. The trucking industry is always subject to evolving laws and regulations that can impact a company’s trucking practices significantly. Along with the trucking industry as a whole facing changes to regulation, states will have their ownlaws that drivers and companies have to be aware of and follow. If you ship products outside of the United States, you’ll need to be aware of sanctions and the effect that other countries’ regulations will have on the trucking process.
To avoid these complications, you can establish a relationship with a freight forwarder or broker who will be able to handle the process for you. This sort of relationship is critical if you want your shipping process to be as smooth and straightforward as possible.
Is The Trucking Industry Dying?
As technology advances with drones and air freight becoming more prevalent, trucking careers are beginning to fade. In 2019, the industry hit a rough patch, as issues like overcapacity, a drop in trucking loads and a decrease in consumer spending have impacted it for the negative. Despite these numbers, the increase in retail spending recently signals a reversal of these negative trends.
However, the bigger problem does not relate to supply and demand, but the shortage of drivers that makes it challenging to meet the needs of the customers. The lifestyle of a long haul trucker is a hard sell for companies, as truckers have to be away for long periods and have to go through a costly trucking training program.
Another challenge to new drivers is the long hours combined with low pay, which may cause them to seek employment elsewhere. The lack of qualified drivers entering the industry to replace retiring drivers puts supply chains at risk, which in turn negatively affects the economy.
Despite these challenges, trucking is still a major player in the transportation of freight. Close to 72% of the nation’s freight is transported by truckers. Additionally, in 2017, the industry generated over $700 billion in gross freight revenues. In spite of the challenges, trucking is staying relevant as a method of transporting goods. As these statistics show, there is still a significant demand for trucking services. There will likely continue to be demand for freight trucking for the foreseeable future.
The bottom line? While it might be a stretch to say that trucking is going to die anytime soon, it is facing significant problems that put those involved in it at risk. If you need to ship freight, you’re likely going to need to use a truck at some point. Having someone on your team that knows the ins and outs of the trucking industry is crucial for getting your freight to its destination in the most cost-effective and timely way possible.
With the difficulties involved in the trucking industry, Universal Cargo can act as a middle man to assure your imports and exports get from point A to B seamlessly. Universal Cargo can make sure you partner your freight with the right trucking company. With our commitment to putting your needs first, we can meet any challenge that transporting freight can throw at you.
If you’re ready to make a request for our commercial rate, all you need to do is fill out a short form on our website, and we’ll send you a quote as soon as possible.