Photo by Robson Hatsukami Morgan
Freight forwarding in the U.S. is a $60 billion dollar industry. It involves everything from ocean liners to airplanes to transport cargo from point A to point B.
Trucking is one of the top ways to get items safely to their destination without spending a fortune.
Using the wrong freight forwarding company could be the most expensive mistake your business ever makes. The key to getting the best out of your supply chain process is treating your freight forwarding company as a partner, not a vendor.
Check out this overview of why freight forwarding for trucking is an excellent business decision.
What is Freight Forwarding for Trucking?
Freight forwarding is the process of shipping goods intended for international trade. For trucking, this involves transporting goods on their way into and out of the country.
Not all trucking companies can handle the demands of freight forwarding. International shipments have special requirements that vary based on the shipment type.
This can be a big deal, as making a mistake can lead to hefty fines.
To avoid penalties, you’ll need to work with a company that can cross international borders to make deliveries. These companies know what it takes to handle an international shipment and can help your business stay compliant with federal laws.
Determining Routes for Hazmat Materials
The Hazardous Materials Transportation Act of 1975 (HMTA) defines hazardous material as anything that can pose a danger to people or the environment.
For example, shipping oil and gas can be dangerous if the driver gets into an accident. The oil could cause an explosion that destroys highways, cars, and nearby buildings.
Drivers need to know how to safely navigate the roads when carrying hazmat shipments. Local governments limit where you can drive when carrying hazmat materials.
The trucking company you hire should have experience working with hazmat to help you avoid late deliveries. They can also protect you from expensive fines by avoiding hazmat penalties.
Both you and the driver have similar responsibilities in protecting the materials you ship. For example, you’ll need to make sure all shipments are labeled with warning stickers.
The driver needs stickers on the vehicle that tells others he is carrying a hazmat load. Partner with your trucking company to get feedback on your security plan in case anything goes wrong.
Experienced trucking companies will save you thousands, sometimes millions, of dollars in fines. The civil penalty for a violation of hazardous materials transportation law increased to $81,993 per day for each violation.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) performs random inspections on a variety of factors like whether or not the truck is in good condition. A quality trucking company keeps their vehicles in good condition to avoid any issues.
Handling Oversized or Heavy Shipments
Freight forwarders will help customize shipping arrangements to accommodate oversized shipments. They can serve as consultants in helping you find the least expensive solution for your freight.
When trucks are too heavy, they can damage the roads. Most bridges have weight limits to keep trucks that are too heavy from crossing.
Truckers who don’t know how to transport oversized shipments could cause bridges to collapse. Work with a trucking company that knows where the best routes are for heavy carrying equipment.
Some heavy equipment requires additional measures to secure the load. For example, you might need more straps to keep the equipment in place.
Experienced freight forwarding companies have these items available for you to use. Work with your freight forwarder to create a checklist of the supplies you’ll need to make sure everything is safely tied down.
If anything needs to be special ordered, a good carrier will have relationships with vendors that can get you the best deal on the parts.
Improve Your Supply Chain
How much space do you need for your shipment? Is there a way to consolidate your orders to create a less expensive shipping process?
Partner with your freight forwarder to determine the best supply chain solutions for your business. The trucking company can arrange for the pickup and delivery of your cargo from ships and airplanes.
They can make sure the shipments come with the right paperwork and coverage. This is one of the main reasons freight forwarding companies make good partners.
They can double-check details for you that you wouldn’t be to handle on your own. Carriers who don’t have experience could create twice the amount of work if they overlook a document.
Freight forwarders decrease the need to hire additional staff to help you manage the supply chain process. Your trucking company will keep you updated on loading, transit, and delivery.
When to Hire a Freight Forwarder
There’s no shipment too big or too small for a freight forwarder. You can deliver a single pallet just a few miles away and still receive the attention to detail you would with an international hazmat shipment.
This is because freight forwarders pay more attention to the details of everything they carry. One wrong move could cost them insurance, licensing, or result in DOT penalties.
Hire a freight forwarder when you need a logistics partner who will help you boost your overall supply chain productivity.
Productive companies increase their bottom line by keeping expenses low. Efficiency keeps your business thriving no matter the level of competition in your industry.
Partner with an Experienced Trucking Company
Freight forwarding carriers are regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). In order for any trucking company to provide safe, effective services, they need to be in good standing with the FMCSA.
Never work with a carrier that has outdated paperwork or expired insurance. They may use cheap prices to lure you in, but then you’ll end up paying more in penalty fees.
For more information on partnering with an experienced freight forwarder for your next shipment, contact us today.