UPS Freight: Get Better UPS LTL Rates

ups freight The UPS Freight division of UPS is one of the largest groups within the massive UPS empire. UPS? You’ve probably heard of them. They’ve become the defacto choice for small package ground shipping throughout the United States. But what most people don’t know about UPS freight is that they offer excellent LTL rates as well. In fact, UPS less than truckload rates are some of the best in the business in terms of reliability and affordability. They are everything their brand name promises them to be. UPS freight quotes are not one of the main freight LTL carriers like Roadrunner or R&L Carriers. Because of their size, they operate on a different scale than those carriers (and Roadrunner and R&L are some of the biggest LTL carriers in the country). But UPS freight is a global company.
They employ not only trucks, but trains, planes, boats, and basically anything else that moves, to ship UPS freight across the world.
You can imagine how exciting it is for us, then, having the option to offer their services to our customers across the United States. I think most people or companies that are newer to freight shipping probably end up going with either UPS Freight or Fedex Freight because they aren’t aware of the other options out there. Both these companies are at the top of the game in terms of technology options, integration, tracking and performance. But if you’re a residual shipper, and especially one who uses a bunch of different carriers, it’s worth it to throw UPS freight in the mix. UPS LTL quotes come across basically the same way as any other LTL carrier. They’ll supply you with rates dependent on freight class, pickup locations, and total weights. You can use your TMS to schedule the pickup and track the shipment, and then watch until it gets delivered. Bottom line: UPS freight can give you options. It’s not just small package, parcel shipments for the guys in brown.

Reefer Freight | Truckload & LTL Refrigerated Shipping Quotes

reefer freight Reefer Freight is the codeword for “Refrigerated Freight,” and the systems and practices in place for reefer freight, versus a regular LTL or Truckload shipment, or even something like an overnight shipping quote, are very different. So if you’re looking to set up a one time only refrigerated shipment, or if you’re preparing to get into reefer shipping full-time, there are some basic facts you need to know. Luckily, you’ve come to the right place…

What’s Reefer Freight? How’s it unique?

Reefer freight is shipping speak for “Refrigerated freight.” Anytime you’re shipping freight that needs to be temperature controlled, you’re going to need to get a reefer shipping quote. Reefer can be applied to all sorts of transportation modes (truck, train, ship, intermodal, etc.), but for today’s purposes we’re going to stick with LTL (Less-Than-Truckload) and Truckload refrigeration. Reefer freight is unique in a number of ways including equipment, quoting, and in-transit practices. Let’s dive into some of these differences.

Breaking Down Reefer Equipment

In freight, we use the term “equipment” to describe the trucks that will be picking up and delivering the shipments. The normal truck used in freight shipping is a dry van, usually one that’s 48 or 52 feet in length. Though these trucks can be insulated or ventilated, they won’t be able to hold the particular temperature the way a reefer truck will. A refrigerated truck is equipped with a cooling system that will keep the cargo of the truck at a desired low temperature. These refrigeration systems are often powered by a small engine on the truck, though you may also run into the use of carbon dioxide in the form of dry ice to keep the truck cool. These reefer freight trucks come in a variety of sizes depending on your needs, from full size 52 ft. reefers, to smaller box trucks used primarily for LTL shipments.

Getting Reefer Quotes

Because reefer trucks are rarer than your standard dry van, reefer quotes are more expensive than your standard LTL or truckload quote. These refrigerated trucks are more expensive to produce and run (because of the additional power needed to keep the truck cool), and therefore their shipping quotes are set at a higher price. Because of their availability, it’s also more difficult to get a reefer truck for pickup. You’ll need to be flexible in your pickup dates, and make sure you plan accordingly. Reefer freight shipments, as a whole, are more sensitive than your standard truckload or LTL shipment. You’ll want to have your shipment absolutely ready at time of pickup, as each minute a reefer truck idles, is another dollar out of your pocket. When it comes time to ship, you’ll still need to package your shipment correctly with boxes and pallets. The trucks will still load and unload via freight docks, so you’ll still need standard warehouse equipment such as a forklift.

The main thing to remember about reefer shipping quotes, is their higher price.

Final Thoughts on Refrigerated Shipping

If you’re looking to get a reefer freight quote, you should reach out to a freight broker. They’ll be able to negotiate a fair rate for your shipment, and the good ones will track your freight in transit and make sure it gets delivered. They’ll also be knowledgable about particular “hot” or “cold” markets for refrigerated shipping carriers, so you won’t be paying higher costs than necessary. Reefer quotes will vary based on capacity, shipping seasons, and geographic locations. Most reefer trucks will keep frozen items throughout transit, but you’ll need to confirm with your broker and carrier of the temperature ranges available for your shipment. Reefer shipping is much more common in truckload shipping than LTL. If you’re looking for LTL reefer quotes they’re out there, but be prepared to pay a premium price. If you’re shipping full truckload, make sure you’re using a reputable carrier with sufficient insurance. And if you’re moving perishable items. Most carriers won’t take onions (smell), potatoes (messy), and other stuff, so make sure you’re moving the right stuff before you schedule the pickup.

Intermodal Shipping: A Different Way to Move Freight

  intermodal shipping Contrary to popular belief, intermodal shipping is not rail shipping. The process of getting freight quotes, moving freight, transit times, etc., is completely different from rail. Rail/tracks access is a must for shipping via rail. Obviously, not many shippers have this access. We use intermodal shipping to get around this.

Intermodal Shipping is a process for shipping that combines rail and truckload.

Most of the time, the freight will not leave its container from pickup to delivery. The container will be moved from truck to rail and back to truck again; never leaving the container. Here’s some other things to know about intermodal:

Packaging is Key

Because the container will be moved (rather than the pallets inside like in LTL), dunnage and blocking/bracing materials are very important. The idea behind intermodal packaging is to keep movement inside the container to a minimum. Items must be crated or palletized (no loose boxes), and must be secured.

Intermodal Shipping is cheaper for longer distances

The rub, however, is that the transit time is longer. And once an item is picked up and in transit, there’s no stopping the freight until it’s delivered. Consequently, intermodal shipping is for items that are not time-sensitive.

The weight limit for this type of shipping is 42,500 pounds

Anything over that will need to be broken up into multiple containers and shipments.

Getting a quote is similar to truckload shipping

To get the most accurate quote you’ll need: pickup and delivery locations (lanes), product description, weight, pallet or crate count, value, and the urgency level that the freight needs to be delivered. It’s very rare to receive a same-day pickup (at least 24 hours is needed to plan a pickup), so patience is a virtue in intermodal shipping. The good news is that intermodal capacity is known a week in advance, so you have plenty of time to plan.

There’s a long list of things that cannot be shipped intermodally…

So you’ll need to check with your freight broker to see if you product is one of them. Some popular items that cannot be shipped include: fruits, vegetables, fish, medicines, over-dimensional products, rockets, batteries, hazardous material, furs & pelts, tobacco products, and motor vehicles. So yeah, lots of stuff. We’ve covered the basics of intermodal shipping in this blog, but there’s always more to learn. For more information, contact our truckload team. They can get you a freight quote, and see if intermodal shipping is an option for you and your shipments.
vetting freight carriers

Vetting Freight Carriers & Why It’s Important

vetting freight carriers
Old School…
Who’s vetting your carriers? Well, who are you? (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?) I really wanna know (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?) Does this sound familiar? Yes, it’s one of greatest songs from one of the greatest Rock & Roll bands of all time, The Who. But it’s also one of the most important things to think about when selecting a freight carrier to move your load. At FreightPros, we use a vetting process that combines several of the largest and most trusted online carrier databases (DAT & ITS), the FMCSA safety rating, the CSA history, and our own internal carrier database. These are five incredible sources of vetting power we use to research a carrier before putting them under FreightPros load. What does vetting mean? We run each carrier’s authorities through these databases and cross reference them against what we find through our other tools. The carrier must meet our requirements through each of these tools and databases before we place them on a load. We also want to know what the carrier’s hauling history looks like before we contact them to haul a load. Not every carrier has a defined or detailed history listed, but when we do come across an entry, good or bad, we take that into account when considering whether or not to do business with them. Is this the system perfect? No, there will still be carriers who will clear the vetting process who provide less than desirable service. But by combining all five of the resources mentioned above, we have the best odds at placing your freight with a reliable carrier. Beyond using these tool and resources, we’ve also developed a methodology that we apply directly to each shipment when coordinating and negotiating the load details with carriers. We want to make sure the information we have about the specific truck is as accurate as possible. To accomplish this we have an internal checklist we run through with each carrier and hold the carrier accountable for these details. This allows us to identify potential issues early on in the life of the load, and gives us the time to mitigate them thoroughly. Why does this matter to you as a shipper? Simply put, your freight is always at risk while in transit, no matter who the carrier or broker may be. But what you have to ask yourself is: Has that carrier or broker done all they can make sure my freight is in the best position possible to arrive on time, intact, and with a company you trust to get the job done? CC Image Courtesy NCTRUCKINGITEMS! via Flickr

GPS Truck Tracking Benefits Customers, Carriers, and Brokers

gps truck tracking

“Where is my truck???”

As a member of the FreightPros Truckload Team, this seemingly simple question can cause the biggest issues. Between cell phone dead zones, sleeping drivers, language barriers, and busy dispatchers, getting a location on a truck can be a headache. However, knowing the current location of our trucks is paramount in making sure our freight stays on schedule. As the digital age progresses, one solution that is becoming more prevalent is the use of GPS truck tracking systems. GPS tracking used to be a service that only large, asset-based companies could provide, as it was very expensive. But over the last 5 to 10 years, applications have been popping up that are able to use driver’s cell phones for tracking. This has made GPS tracking a realistic possibility for companies of all sizes. With GPS becoming more common, it is important to understand how it will benefit all parties involved. This includes customers, carriers, and brokers.

GPS Truck Tracking

Customers  You have access to the location of your freight in real time. When things are going good, you can rest easy knowing your truck is on schedule. And while delays and breakdowns will always be a part of trucking, most disastrous situations can be avoided with proper communication and expectations. GPS truck tracking gives us another tool to be proactive with our solutions. Carriers The benefits are simple, we’ll bug you less! While carrier relationships are incredibly important to us, we know drivers/dispatchers get sick of us calling all the time for updates. Automated coordinates on the location of trucks limits the number of phone calls and distractions for carriers. Brokers The biggest benefit for us is time. While tracking trucks will always be a large chunk of our day, with GPS we can quickly look at how all of our loads our progressing, and prioritize our day accordingly. It also empowers us with accurate and verifiable information that we then pass on to the customer. As transportation freight brokers, our goal is to provide the best customer experience through transparent and accurate information. GPS truck tracking is another tool that makes providing a quality freight experience possible.

See how much time and money you'll save by having our pros help manage your freight.