3 Blunders That Can Sabotage Your Blind Freight Shipment

September 22, 2022 at 1:17 PMJen Deming
3 Blunders That Can Sabotage Your Blind Freight Shipments Title Graphic

LTL freight shipments come in many forms, but one of the most confusing types you may have heard of is blind freight shipping. In blind freight shipping, the identity of the shipper, receiver, or both parties is hidden. It’s most commonly used when a business is shipping orders directly from the manufacturer to the customer.

If you think that sounds complicated, that’s because it is, but there are distinct advantages to taking this route when arranging a freight shipment. The most common reason a business would choose to do this is to keep other parties within your supply chain confidential from your customers, such as manufacturers or distributors. The idea is that they would then be deterred from going directly to those sources for a product instead of your business. Sounds good, right? Well, the challenge is that managing blind freight shipments can get pretty dicey, and most missteps fall within three major areas.

  1. Blind Freight Paperwork Mistakes

    Properly preparing and distributing freight shipping paperwork is a stumbling block for many shippers, on even the most standard loads. In blind shipping, up to three separate BOLs must be prepared, depending on which parties aren’t being disclosed. In double-blind shipping, you will have one for the shipper, one for the receiver, and a conventional BOL for the carrier’s use. All three of the BOLs should include accurate shipment details, including weight, dimensions, and product description. 

    They should also include accurate freight classes so that the load is billed properly. Each of them will, however, have slight but crucial differences to ensure your blind freight stays “blind”. A shipper’s BOL will have all of the usual info, but also include PO# or other identifying information. The receiver may be omitted in order to keep the customer anonymous. Likewise, on the receiver/customer’s BOL, the supplier’s identifying info and address will be concealed. The carrier BOL must contain all relevant information that is typically used on the BOL, including both shipping parties full information.Blind Freight Perks Graphic

    Failing to prepare BOLs properly, or handing them off to the incorrect party, can result in major headaches. A shipment can be misrouted or lost, billed incorrectly, or the blind freight’s purpose may even be defeated by accidentally disclosing parties to one another. The best thing you can do when managing a blind freight shipment is confirm that the carrier has all of the accurate details when setting up the shipment, including the true addresses of both shipping parties.

  2. Not Accounting for the Additional Costs Associated With Blind Freight 

    It’s always smart to assume that if a shipment has any extra services or needs “special” attention, a carrier is going to add some extra fees for their trouble. Due to blind freight shipping complexity, there are extra costs associated with this service. Every carrier charges different amounts, and we’ve seen them anywhere from $50-$150. Check your carrier’s website to determine costs. As seen here with YRC, cost is stated clearly, as well as instructions to prepare a blind freight shipment per their standards. Research these fees and make sure you’re building them into your budget to avoid surprises.

    On top of regular fees for the service, you have to remember that any errors you make when arranging a blind freight load can end up costing you even more. For example, if you handed off the wrong BOL, and the address is incorrect, rerouting and redelivery fees may apply. This can really inflate your final bill, as well as create on-time delivery complications and stress with your customer. 

  3. Not Being Aware of Blind Freight Restrictions

    Just as we see with blind freight costs, requirements and restrictions on these types of shipments can vary with each carrier. Some carriers have a pretty relaxed approach, while many need additional paperwork or approval beforehand. It’s always important to notify your carrier that a shipment is blind at the start of the process so that you can iron out details. 

    Many carriers, such as YRC, require a form or document to be prepared online before pick-up, so that an “official” notice is on file for the request. Carriers may also require paperwork to protect their interests in the case of blind shipping. There may also be a waiver to sign, notifying you that while they will do everything in their power to honor the request, if something goes wrong, it’s not on them. Some may even include stipulations, such as a note that re-delivery will not be attempted due to issues associated with paperwork errors. It really just depends on the shipper, so be sure to visit carrier websites and search for policies on blind freight shipping. If there isn't information made front and center, always download the latest rules tariff and read the fine print. It's not fun, but it may help you avoid mistakes.

Blind Freight StepsEnsuring You Avoid Any Blind Shipment Blunders 

While blind freight shipping can sound totally overwhelming, the opportunity to use this type of freight service should be considered for anyone working as a “middleman” between customers and suppliers. A great freight broker can help manage all of the details, including paperwork and communication between all parties to ensure accuracy. With the right assistance, you can be sure that your blind freight shipment will go smoothly. If you think your business might benefit from blind freight shipping, get in contact with a PartnerShip freight expert to learn more.

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Meet the People Who Help You Ship Smarter: Amanda

August 30, 2022 at 9:35 AMLeah Palnik

If you’ve ever wanted to know more about the people who help keep your freight moving, you’re in the right place. It takes creative problem solving and years of experience to expertly navigate the world of shipping. At PartnerShip, we’re proud of our team members who use their expertise to help our customers ship smarter. One person who fits that bill is Amanda Bixler.

Meet Amanda

Get to know Amanda
As the Customer Service Manager, Amanda helps her team and our customers ship smarter by staying current with issues in the industry and sharing what she learns. Assisting her team with handling difficult customer situations, creating shipment quotes, scheduling shipments, and running shipping analyses are all in a day’s work for her.

Outside of work
You can’t keep Amanda away from the water. When she’s not kayaking, you can find her walking the beaches to collect Lake Erie beach glass for making jewelry. She also loves spending time with her family. She’s happily married to her husband of 10 years, Trevor. She also has two daughters - Autumn and Alexis, and two Grandbabies - Lillyana and Xavier.

Some shipping wisdom
Amanda has been with PartnerShip for 7 years, and her team is often the first call when a shipping issue arises. As a Certified Transportation Broker (CTB) she is well versed in what to look out for and how to keep your shipments running smoothly. We asked her for her thoughts on a couple of key questions.

  • What industry trends are you seeing that you think shippers should be aware of?
    The demand for shipping continues to increase daily. There is more freight than there are drivers to move it. The freight is often being put on the rail resulting in longer transit times. I proactively inform my customers of these potential issues so there aren't any surprises.

  • If you could give customers one piece of advice for smart shipping, what would it be?
    I often tell our customers to package their freight in a manner in which it can be identified easily in the event it is lost/damaged.

The demand for shipping continues to increase daily. There is more freight than there are drivers to move it.

How to apply these tips to your freight
Amanda’s insights touch on one of the most pressing issues in LTL freight shipping today - longer, more unpredictable transit times. This has become an unfortunate reality of the business. While much of that is out of your control, the best thing you can do is plan ahead and work with a quality broker so you have an advocate in your corner. If transit times have been a pain point for you recently, we have some resources you may be interested in:

Another reality of the business that Amanda mentions is dealing with missing and damaged freight. If a carrier loses or damages your freight while in transit, it can feel like so much is out of your control. However, you can take some precautionary measures and educate yourself ahead of time on the actions to take if you need to file a claim. To get you started, check out these resources:

The benefits of working with a knowledgeable team are undeniable. If you could use a freight expert on your side, contact us today.

The Full Scoop on Inside Delivery

August 24, 2022 at 10:13 AMJen Deming

When you don't have a loading dock for your freight, your options can seem pretty limited when it comes to delivery. Luckily, many LTL freight carriers offer inside delivery - a convenient service that comes at an extra cost. Learn all about inside delivery in our newest video.

5 Impactful Ways to Maximize Your Small Logistics Team

August 19, 2022 at 8:06 AMJen Deming
4 Freight Mistakes You're Making This Summer and How to Keep Your Cool Blog

These days, businesses are expected to do more with less, and that doesn’t stop at freight shipping. Small logistics teams need to be efficient multitaskers, and the demand to juggle so many responsibilities can be overwhelming. As a business owner, you can help set your logistics team up for success with a little extra planning and five tactics to maximize a small workforce.

Tip #1: Stay on top of industry updates and make resources available 

Staying in the loop with freight industry news is great advice for any-sized shipping team, but it’s extra important for those operating with limited manpower. Be on the lookout and be proactive about communicating updates that are released by carriers, such as tariff changes, rate increases, service interruptions, and deadlines. Commit to publishing a regular newsletter or bulletin that communicates these changes. Post them in your warehouse and breakroom along with notices of any upcoming holiday service disruptions. 

Be sure to implement regular training sessions with staff. It’s also best practice to keep a running list of solid freight shipping resources that your team can refer back to, as needed. 4 Freight Mistakes You're Making This Summer and How to Keep Your Cool BlogWith a small logistics team you’ll need to ensure your everyone has at least a base level of knowledge for each shipping function.

Tip #2: Prioritize your relationship with the carrier  

While larger businesses may be able to operate on a more transactional level with carriers, developing relationships with transportation companies and their drivers is super important for smaller teams. By strengthening these connections, a business is more likely to become a shipper of choice, which is key when your logistics staff may run into unforeseen challenges. The current state of the freight industry can present obstacles. Limited truck availability means a carrier can either choose to move or pass up your freight, and in this volatile market any leg up on the competition can help. 

Offer amenities for drivers like Wi-Fi, plenty of overnight parking, and free coffee. Be friendly and flexible with arrival times and communicate any delays or hang-ups. Paying it forward and becoming a preferred customer with the carrier can go a long way. A happy driver is more likely to help bail your team out in times of trouble or go the extra mile to help out.4 Freight Mistakes You're Making This Summer and How to Keep Your Cool Blog 

Tip #3: Be extra mindful of minimum charges for LTL shipments

Smaller businesses generally ship smaller LTL loads, so it’s extra important that your team understands minimum charges to avoid sabotaging your freight costs. Minimum charges are the lowest prices that a carrier will set for its’ service and are implemented to offset operating costs. Each carrier may refer to the charge differently, but they are commonly known as an “Absolute Minimum Charge” or “Minimum Floor Charge”. Usually, the charge is applied for loads that are under 500 lbs.

In order to get the most bang for your buck, there are a few strategies that your packing team can implement. Maximize the amount of available pallet space by improving stacking technique and planning the layers of your load. Pack like-sized products together to improve density and overall volume. 

Keep in mind that you can optimize your freight by consolidating loads. There may also be additional opportunities to group multiple small package orders into one, larger freight shipment. Review your smaller parcel shipments and determine if there are openings to use a freight service for cost savings and better efficiency.

Tip #4: Spend your money on quality loading equipment

It’s probably a pretty safe bet that if you’re working with a small logistics team, you’re likely working with limited resources. That may include restricted dock space – or a complete lack of a dock. If that’s the case, it’s critical that your team and warehouse/loading areas are well-stocked with fully functioning, safe loading equipment. 

Investing in equipment like forklifts, pallet jacks, dollies, hand trucks, and hoists are all necessary to help with the loading process. More importantly, these tools can help avoid costly accessorial fees associated with extra services like liftgates and driver assist fees. While these loading supplies may have a high initial cost, this one-time expense can spare you hundreds of dollars in fees and help avoid overtaxing your team.

Tip #5: Work with a freight broker to access more savings and the right answers

You don’t have to tell us twice – freight shipping is super complicated and can be a lot to manage. It’s impossible to know everything when you have limited time, workforce, and resources. We know your small logistics team can pull out the stops, but partnering with a freight broker can offer invaluable help. Freight experts can help fill in any gaps when specialists are required, and offer competitive pricing options you may not typically have access to. 

Knowledgeable freight brokers can also help identify areas you may be spending more than you need to or are experiencing operational inefficiencies. The freight professionals at PartnerShip can supplement your existing workforce and help shoulder some of the weight so you’re not overtaxing your team.

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Meet the People Who Help You Ship Smarter: Dante

July 22, 2022 at 8:53 AMLeah Palnik

You might be familiar with PartnerShip and how our organization helps customers ship smarter. But we’re more than a freight brokerage business. The people behind PartnerShip and our collective expertise are truly what make the difference. First up, we’d like to introduce you to Dante Donofrio.

Meet Dante

How you might know Dante
As one of our Senior Account Representatives, Dante helps our customers move their freight. He works hard to collect all the important info about your shipment so he can match it with the best carrier for the job, at the most competitive price. Understanding all your specific needs - from required equipment to receiving hours - he leaves no detail unchecked to ensure everything goes smoothly.

Some shipping wisdom
Dante has been with PartnerShip for over 4 years and has witnessed first-hand what shippers are dealing with in these times of disrupted supply chains and unprecedented freight demand. We asked him a couple questions to share what he’s learned.

  • What industry trends are you seeing that you think shippers should be aware of?
    In the less-than-truckload (LTL) market, if you've shipped recently then you know that transit times are not what they were. Carriers are more often than not, NOT able to make their estimated arrival times and, unfortunately, there's not discounts for late shipments. Also, carriers are taking every opportunity to re-weigh, re-measure and even re-class your freight so it just comes back to accuracy and making sure you have the right classification, weight and dimensions. Our team does a great job of helping with freight class so that surprise rate increases from reclassification can be avoided.

  • If you could give customers one piece of advice for smart shipping, what would it be?
    Try to tell us more than we want to know about your freight. Small details can be important so don't be afraid of giving too much information. I love thorough customers who give us lots of information. That said, if you don't do that, be prepared for me to come at you with lots of questions but it's all in the name of getting your freight there and controlling cost!

Meet Dante

Something you may not know about Dante
Dante played guitar in a high school garage rock band but quit when he was working and attending night school. After a bit of a hiatus, he took it up again about 5 years ago and now even has a collection of guitars hanging up on his office wall. When asked if his life was made into a movie what the title would be, Dante says it would be “Shipper Guitar Hero”.

Your freight
With all the current challenges in the shipping industry, working with an expert like Dante is imperative. Reach out to our team to start controlling your freight costs and ship smarter. In the meantime, check out these resources that help you determine what details are important when you're preparing your shipment, like Dante advises:


4 Ways Consolidating Your Freight Will Make Your Life Easier

July 18, 2022 at 10:52 AMJen Deming

Combining multiple, smaller palletized loads into one larger freight shipment can really pay off in the long run. From saving on costs to increasing fulfillment efficiency, both your business and your customer relationships will benefit from well-planned freight consolidation.  

4 Freight Mistakes You're Making This Summer and How to Keep Your Cool

July 7, 2022 at 10:19 AMJen Deming
4 Freight Mistakes You're Making This Summer and How to Keep Your Cool Blog

Your LTL freight shipments have an arduous journey and can encounter any number of obstacles while traveling the long, winding road to their destination. Certain seasons of the year can lead to increased risk, and shipping in the summer is no exception. In addition to temperature sensitivity, there’s a variety of other factors that can make summer shipping extra prone to issues. We’ve boiled down the major summer freight shipping mistakes that you should avoid, to keep your costs and blood pressure low in the summer heat.

Mistake 1: Neglecting the boom in summer shipping volume 

Summer is a busy time for many industries, from retailers who are busy boosting inventory to farms and growers sending produce loads to grocery distributors. We see a huge increase of freight shipments hitting the road in the summer months. This can affect carrier capacity and make it even more difficult to find available trucks. Time-sensitive loads will be more difficult to cover, too, since last-minute truck booking will be harder to accomplish. It’s nearly impossible to understate how much this boost in volume affects the market.

Solution: Make your loads desirable to the carrier

To claim first dibs on your favorite carriers, you need to make sure that your loads are as appealing as possible. Stay in good standing with the driver – have a clear loading dock, organized loading process, and make sure your packaging is ideal and easy to transport. The main goal for a driver during these busy seasons is to get in, get out, and get on the road. The more time wasted on navigating your parking lot, loading your shipment, or collecting paperwork is going to set them back for the day. Making life easy for your carriers might be the boost you need to get your loads covered quickly in the summer.

Mistake 2: Assuming rates will be the same year-round

Freight rates are directly related to capacity, and in seasons when it’s extra crunched, you’ll see them go up. Other variables like fuel costs can fluctuate unexpectedly as well, so keep these factors in mind when you are building shipping costs into your customer orders. Always keep in mind that a freight quote you received months ago in preparation for a load will no longer be accurate. And if the freight rate is more costly in the present, you can’t exactly go back and ask for more money to cover the difference. 

Solution: Check spot rates regularly and build in extra cost

Your best tactic for getting an accurate estimate on freight costs is to run sample quotes periodically, through every season. Gather several from a variety of carriers, being mindful of accessorial costs and other extras. Take an average and use this rate to build in the cost of shipping in your customer orders. It’s always a great idea to cut costs as much as possible in less busy months, as well, to offset the increase during the summer. Creating a nice buffer for your budget can go a long way.

Mistake 3: Taking risks with temperature sensitive loads

It goes without saying that summer’s soaring temperatures can cause extra risk to your loads. Creating a protective environment for your product is key to limiting damages during transit. Frozen goods and fresh produce are commonly known risky loads, but items like pharmaceuticals, electronics, chemical agents, and more all need some extra love during the summer. Now is not the time to risk an “economy” or budget carrier for the sake of saving a few bucks.

Reefer Best Practices Checklist

Solution: Research and use quality specialty carriers 

Just as in any industry, freight carriers can leverage expertise and specialize, as needed. Make sure you are looking at carrier companies that are experts in temperature-controlled services and employ refrigerated vans. Understand that these types of specialized equipment are in high demand, and will be more expensive and harder to find. When reviewing reefer carrier options, ask questions on how the equipment is maintained, how loads are stored and separated, and what they do to address potential delays while in transit. Even if you have a product that may walk the line between needing a reefer or regular dry van, taking the chance during extreme heat isn’t going to work in your favor.

Mistake 4: Miscalculating summer freight transit times

If you haven’t figured it out already, shipping freight in the summertime can create a two-fold risk for your shipment. Warmer weather can cause product to deteriorate quickly, and capacity issues may lead to more delays than during slower times of the year. Combined with extreme weather, you have a recipe for disaster, namely damaged freight. Also, keep in mind that while many areas of the U.S. will welcome temperate weather in the summer months, other areas can experience heavy rains, impact from hurricanes and tornados, and severe drought or wildfires – all events that affect transit times.

Solution: Be extra mindful when scheduling long-haul shipments 

Planning and being proactive about any potential delays is your best bet for success. Try to avoid shipping over weekends and holidays – most carriers will stay off the road and your freight will be left waiting. By avoiding those blackout dates, you can help protect your freight and also keep your costs low – rates skyrocket for carriers willing to move loads. If your load is liable to deteriorate due to temperature or transit-time related risk, you should always opt for services that can offset those factors. 

Keep your cool this summer

Shipping freight in the summer doesn’t need to cause extra headaches and stress – it just requires better planning and a thorough knowledge of your product needs. By selecting the right carrier and equipment, planning for efficiency, and being proactive about truck capacity, you can minimize risk and ensure you’re shipping safely. The freight experts and PartnerShip can help answer any questions about your temperature-controlled loads and help navigate your summer freight successfully.


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3 Smart, Stress-Free Ways You Can Ship Freight to Rural Areas

June 29, 2022 at 12:00 PMJen Deming

Transporting LTL freight through rural areas is inefficient for the carrier, and can be challenging for you. When you're juggling long transit times, limited service schedules, and tricky accessorials, it can become overwhelming very quickly. Luckily, we've put together some best practices that can help you ship to rural locations, stress-free.

3 Warning Signs Your Business Needs a Freight Broker

June 14, 2022 at 11:01 AMJen Deming
3 Warning Signs Your Business Needs a Freight Broker Blog Post

Managing your growing business can present some unique challenges. On one hand, orders are coming in, your sales are increasing, and your customer base is thriving. The flipside to that success, however, may mean new operational issues that eat up your time and bottom line.

Shipping freight successfully during this growth period is a stumbling block for many business owners and logistics teams. You may find yourself needing more time and a larger workforce – at some point you may even wonder whether it’s time to outsource help. A freight broker can help manage many of your freight challenges, from overarching issues like lowering costs to tackling day-to-day issues like ensuring delivery accuracy. The bottom line is that you shouldn’t be stressing out more than enjoying the success of your business. If you’re experiencing any of these three signs your business needs a freight broker, it’s time to get the help from the experts .

Warning Sign #1 – You are making big mistakes when shipping orders 

More sales is something to celebrate, but trying to keep up with the increase in orders without accommodating the volume is impossible. To make matters worse, packing and shipping is a very detail-oriented business, and rushing to get orders out quickly means an increased chance for error. There’s plenty of opportunity for mistakes that can snowball quickly. 

Issues such as labeling or paperwork inaccuracies or even quoting errors can quickly escalate and create major problems. For example, something as simple as a wrong address on your freight shipment can, at best, cause delays. That means inconvenienced and aggravated customers. If your customer is paying for shipping, and you’ve quoted the cost incorrectly, you can’t go back and ask for more money – that’s your loss. You need to make sure you’re quoting freight accurately the first time by using exact details and the correct classification.

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Mistakes like these cost you time and money, as well as customer satisfaction, which is pivotal when you’re a growing business. If you’re seeing shipping errors like those mentioned above, it’s definitely a sign that your business would benefit from a freight broker. A quality freight broker has a dedicated staff of freight experts who can help offer advice and resources on how to tackle the details that trip up many freight shippers. 

A great freight professional can help you avoid mistakes by assisting with every step of the freight shipping process:

  • Offer guidance on product classification and freight NMFC codes
  • Collect competitive and accurate quotes from carriers who fit your needs
  • Create necessary paperwork for delivery 

Warning Sign #2 – Your billing department is becoming overwhelmed

Unless you’re an established, larger-sized business, it’s likely that your employees are juggling several different responsibilities. It’s not uncommon for a business owner to be playing the part of shipping manager and billing specialist to boot. Being burnt out and behind schedule is a pretty clear warning sign your business needs some help from a freight broker.

When your business is growing, it’s safe to say your shipment volume is increasing, and you may even be shipping with several different carriers or using a variety of services. Managing all of these invoices can be overwhelming, especially when you’re checking for accuracy, meeting payment due dates, and processing claims.

A freight broker can help simplify the billing process for your freight shipments by acting as an extension of your own team. Most will offer consolidated invoicing which can help cut down on billing chaos. You’ll also benefit from auditing services to double check for errors and savings opportunities. Should you experience damages, your broker can act as your advocate and help navigate the very particular requirements for filing your claim. Relying on these services can help shoulder some of the responsibility that your business just may not have the time or resources to do thoroughly on its own.

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Warning Sign #3 – Your shipping costs are digging into your bottom line  

Let’s face it, running a business is expensive, and while more customers mean a greater chance at making a profit, it can also mean that your shipping budget needs to increase. Between packing materials, labor, and freight transportation, these expenses can multiply quickly. 

It’s key to make sure your freight rates make sense for your growing business. This can be done through carrier discounts and other means like order consolidation or taking a look at what types of LTL service providers work best for your business. Securing discounts and identifying savings opportunities can be challenging, especially if you’re not running a large corporation or shipping huge volumes of freight daily. 

The great news is that through established carrier relationships and collective buying power, working with a broker can give your business access to higher freight discounts that are typically reserved for higher volume shippers. A quality freight broker will also a conduct cost savings analysis for your business to see where you are overspending on both inbound and outbound shipments. Lastly, they can also quote and compare among carriers to make sure you’re getting competitive pricing to help combat the current freight market.

Let us help you

Everyone wants to see their business grow and succeed, but keep in mind that as you do, new challenges will arise along the way. If you’re encountering major freight shipping issues like quoting inaccuracies, invoicing headaches, or rising costs, managing on your own may have run its course. These mistakes are signs that working with a broker may benefit your business, and PartnerShip can help get you started.

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3 Smart Ways to Ship Freight in the City

May 24, 2022 at 1:18 PMJen Deming

Too much traffic, too few parking options, and an overabundance of air pollution are all obstacles that shippers will encounter when shipping city freight. Before you jump in headfirst, make sure you are brushing up on these key strategies that can help avoid urban shipping headaches.