Local Girl Scout Troop Brings An Exciting New Game to Their School

June 7, 2018 at 1:32 PMLeah Palnik
Gaga Pit Opening 2018

If you’ve never heard of gaga ball, you’re not alone. But to millions of kids around the world, it’s the hottest game on the playground right now. The game, played in an octagon pit, is simple. Similar to dodgeball, the goal is to be the last one standing and players use a soft foam ball to knock out their opponents.

Gaga ball is a fast paced game that keeps kids on their toes. Once in the pit, players hit the ball with one open or closed hand without throwing, carrying, or dribbling. Players are out if the ball hits them below the knee at any time.

The best part of the game is how inclusive it is. You don’t have to be the tallest, the strongest, or the most athletic to join in the fun. The games also have a fast turnover so everyone can have a turn, and even after getting knocked out, it’s not long before you can jump back in again.

That’s why when a local Girl Scout troop contacted PartnerShip about helping to sponsor their gaga pit project, it was an easy decision. Supporting our community is important to us and providing a place where kids of all abilities can come together is a great way to do it.

The Girl Scouts of Troop 168 in Westlake, Ohio saw a need in their community for something that would bring kids together and make everyone feel included. Girl Scout Tina Cirincione said she first learned of gaga ball from camp and knew it would be perfect for their Silver Award Project. From there Tina and her troop members began developing a plan. They researched possible locations and reached out to members of the community to put their plan into action.

By working with the city of Westlake and Westlake City Schools, Troop 168 selected the grounds of Dover Intermediate School to build their gaga pit. This is the first gaga pit in Westlake – a huge accomplishment for the girls and their school.

On a beautiful spring day, the gaga pit officially opened. At the site on Dover Intermediate School grounds, the Girl Scout troop invited everyone who supported their project to join them as they celebrated this addition to their community. Members of Westlake City Schools, Mayor Dennis M. Clough, and other community leaders joined the troop to celebrate.

The members of Girl Scout Troop 168 were beaming with pride while Mayor Clough congratulated them on a job well done. Then it was time to jump in! The girls played the inaugural game and it was immediately apparent how much fun they were having. Even the adults played a round, proving it truly is a game for everyone to enjoy.

Now that the gaga pit is open to the community and in a location that makes it easily accessible to kids in the area, it’s sure to attract a lot of activity. There aren’t many games that bring kids together the way that gaga ball does. Most organized sports require a certain skill level or will separate boys and girls. The way gaga ball is played allows for kids of all different backgrounds and skills to play together. Sports play a very important role in developing self-esteem, improving social skills, and staying active so having a game that can include kids that may otherwise miss out is a huge win.

Girl Scout Troop 168 did an amazing job on this project. From gathering support, to making a plan and building the gaga pit, they put in a great deal of hard work. What Girl Scout Troop 168 did for their peers can serve as a lesson for all of us. Supporting your community in a small way can make a big difference.

Your Guide to Proper Packaging

May 30, 2018 at 2:20 PMLeah Palnik
The Ultimate Guide to Proper PackagingProper packaging is a critical step in the shipping process. Just one mistake can expose your shipment to costly and time-consuming damages. Not only do you need to use quality materials, but you also need to package your products in a way that will increase strength and durability. Packaging is not a one-size-fits-all game, but it does start with some basic best practices.


Small Package Shipments

When picking a box for your products, you want one that is in good condition (no holes, rips, or dents) and is sized just right. There should be just enough space for the needed cushioning and no more. If you use a box that is excessively large you run the risk of being charged according to your dimensional (DIM) weight, which can get quite pricey.

How you cushion your contents will depend on the product you’re shipping. In general, you can protect the contents of your package with bubble wrap, foam cushioning, paper pad, or packing peanuts. This will help to prevent damages caused by movement and vibration that occur during transit.

Then it’s time to seal and label your package. Use packing tape rather than duct tape or masking tape, and seal your box using the H taping method. Remove any old labels from the box and place your label on the largest surface. Labeling is an important step for proper packaging, because it helps get your shipment to the right place without any unnecessary delays.

Freight Shipments
When deciding how to package your freight, consider the size and weight of your shipment and how it will be handled. What kind of protection will it need? Will it be on a dedicated truck or will it be moved on multiple vehicles?

Palletizing your freight will give it a solid base and will make movement on and off the truck easy and safe, making it a good choice for many different types of loads. Wooden pallets are the most common, and are typically recommended by carriers like FedEx and UPS Freight. However, you may consider metal, plastic, or corrugated pallets depending on what you’re shipping.

For the cartons on your pallets, make sure the contents inside are packaged properly with the needed impact protection and each carton is labeled with the shipper and consignee information. While stacking, you need to consider how it will affect the strength of your shipment. Start by placing heavier cartons on the bottom with lighter boxes at the top, and distribute the weight evenly. Use an aligned, column pattern while stacking and make sure there is no overhang.

Once your pallet is stacked, you’ll want to secure it with stretch-wrap and banding. The stretch-wrap should go around the cartons several times and be twisted every other rotation for increased durability. For banding, use sturdy steel, rayon, polypropylene, nylon, or polyester straps.

You may also want to consider crating if you’re shipping fragile freight. First, select a crate that is constructed from quality lumber. Most carriers will recommend plywood rather than oriented strand board (OSB), medium-density fiberboard (MDF), or particleboard. You also want to make sure your crate is sized appropriately, with excess space kept to a minimum.

Proper Packaging Is Key
Avoiding damaged freight and a claims nightmare starts with proper packaging. Along the way, you’ll also save yourself from costly DIM weight charges and increase the durability of your shipments. The time you spend up front to make sure you have proper packaging will be well worth it. Get in-depth instructions by downloading our free white paper – The Ultimate Guide to Packaging Your Shipments!


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Top 10 Trucking Movies of All Time

May 24, 2018 at 10:37 AMPartnerShip

It’s an argument decades old: what is the best trucking movie of all time? When you work in logistics and shipping, it’s an even more passionate argument.

“It’s gotta be Kris Kristofferson and Ali MacGraw in ‘Convoy!’” “Nope, nope, nope! Patrick Swayze in 'Black Dog.' “What about ‘Breaker! Breaker’ with Chuck Norris? That’s as good as it gets.” “Seriously? Burt and Sally in ‘Smokey and the Bandit’ is the best of the best!”

Everybody has their favorite and since we couldn’t definitively settle the argument, the freight and shipping pros at PartnerShip decided to vote on it and create our own list of the best trucking movies in history.

So here it is: Our pedal to the metal, shiny side up, cross-country driving, east bound and down “PartnerShip Top 10 Trucking Movies of All Time” list.

#10 - High-Ballin’ (1978)
Two truck drivers fight off a gang of hitchhikers who have been hired to drive them out of business. There were so many trucking movies in the 1970s that it actually spurred a nickname for the genre: trucksploitation!

High Ballin’ Movie Poster
Starring: Peter Fonda and Jerry Reed

#9 - Duel (1971)
A terrified motorist driving a Plymouth is stalked on remote and lonely California canyon roads by the unseen driver of a 1960 Peterbilt truck. This was the full-length film directing debut of Steven Spielberg.
Duel Movie Poster
Starring: Dennis Weaver, Jacqueline Scott and Eddie Firestone

#8 - Black Dog (1998)
An ex-con tries to start his life over as a truck driver but when his family is taken hostage he is forced to transport a shipment of illegal weapons. Fans of big rigs and big explosions will dig this one.
Black Dog Movie Poster
Starring: Patrick Swayze, Randy Travis and Meat Loaf

#7 - Over the Top (1987)
A struggling trucker who arm wrestles on the side to make extra cash competes in the World Armwrestling Championship to win the grand prize of $100,000 and a brand new truck to start his own trucking company. The music, montages, and hair alone scream 1980s!
Over The Top Movie Poster
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Robert Loggia and Susan Blakely

#6 - Breaker! Breaker! (1977)
A trucker, who is a martial arts expert, goes looking for his brother after he disappears in the small corrupt town of Texas City, California, which has a nasty reputation for entrapping truckers. If you like movies that feature a guy in bell bottoms side kicking drunken cops in the chest repeatedly, this is the film for you!
Breaker! Breaker! Movie Poster
Starring: Chuck Norris, George Murdock and Terry O’Connor

#5 - Convoy (1978)
Which came first? The song “Convoy” or the movie “Convoy?” This movie is based on the song by C. W. McCall and Chip Davis. So now you know; the song came first. The plot involves a corrupt official, truckers and a convoy. In the late 70s, you couldn’t escape the CB radio craze.
Convoy Movie Poster
Starring: Kris Kristofferson, Ali MacGraw and Ernest Borgnine

#4 - Every Which Way But Loose (1978)
A trucker with a pet orangutan named Clyde gets involved with the law, bikers, and a female thief. Hilarity ensues. Actually, Clyde steals the show in this one.
Every Which Way But Loose Movie Poster
Starring: Clint Eastwood, Geoffrey Lewis and Sondra Locke

#3 - Big Trouble in Little China (1986)
Directed by John Carpenter, so you know it’s weird.  An all-American trucker gets involved in a centuries-old mystical battle in San Francisco.
Big Trouble in Little China Movie Poster
Starring: Kurt Russell, Dennis Dun and Kim Cattrall

#2 - Maximum Overdrive (1986)
A comet causes a radiation storm on Earth, causing machines to come to life and turn against their makers. A group of survivors holed up in a
North Carolina truck stop must fend for themselves against a horde of murderous trucks. That could happen, right?
Maximum Overdrive Movie Poster
Starring: Emilio Estevez, Pat Hingle and Laura Harrington

#1 - Smokey and the Bandit (1977)
It was a neck and neck race with Maximum Overdrive, but Burt and Sally pulled it out at the end to claim the #1 position in the “PartnerShip Top 10 Trucking Movies of All Time” list.

The Bandit makes a bet to transport a load of beer in record time and picks up a hitchhiker along the way. His enemy for 1 hour and 36 minutes is Sheriff Buford T. Justice. In 1977, “Smokey and The Bandit” was the second highest grossing film behind Star Wars! 

Smokey and the Bandit Movie Poster
Starring: Burt Reynolds, Sally Field, Jackie Gleason and Jerry Reed

We hope you enjoyed our light-hearted list of the best trucking movies ever. All of the main characters in these movies had one thing in common: they had a job to do, and so do we, to help you ship smarter and stay competitive. Next time you need to move freight, whether it be local or cross-country, LTL or truckload, or four hundred cases of beer from Texarkana to Atlanta, you can count on the experience of the shipping experts at PartnerShip. We might not be movie stars, but our service is worthy of an Oscar!

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We ❤ Our Carriers! The April 2018 Carrier of the Month Is…

May 18, 2018 at 10:17 AMPartnerShip
We ❤ Our Carriers! The April 2018 Carrier of the Month

At PartnerShip, we love our carriers. We offer quality service to our customers because of the quality of our freight carrier partners; if it weren’t for them, our customers couldn’t ship and receive their freight in a timely and cost-effective way. Simply put, our carriers help us help our customers ship smarter. 

This month, we celebrate our first-ever Carrier of the Month, Royalton Star Inc. of Parma, OH! They have been in business since 2009 and operate 12 trucks.

The Carrier of the Month program recognizes carriers that go above and beyond in helping our customers ship and receive their freight. PartnerShip truckload team members nominate carriers throughout the month that provide outstanding service in communication, reliability, on-time performance and flexibility to our shippers, receivers and our team.

For being our April 2018 Carrier of the Month, Royalton Star receives lunch for their entire office, a sincere letter of thanks from our team, and a snazzy framed certificate to proudly hang on their wall! The gestures may be small but the appreciation is huge!

Interested in becoming a PartnerShip carrier? We match our freight carriers’ needs with our available customer loads because we understand that your success depends on your truck being full. If you’re looking for a backhaul load or shipments to fill daily or weekly runs, let us know where your trucks are and we’ll match you with our shippers’ loads. If your wheels aren’t turning, you’re not earning.

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Is it Time to Consider a Drop Trailer Program?

May 14, 2018 at 11:58 AMPartnerShip
Is it Time to Consider a Drop Trailer Program?

Is it time for your business to consider a drop trailer and / or drop and hook freight program? The current capacity crunch and driver shortage has caused serious issues in many businesses’ supply chains and has increased the demand for drop trailer and drop and hook shipping programs.

What is a drop trailer program? It is when a carrier brings a tractor to the loading dock and picks up a previously loaded trailer. Drop and hook takes drop trailer shipping one step further. A carrier will arrive with an empty trailer to drop, pick up a loaded trailer, and continue on to the destination.

Many shippers are now considering drop trailer programs mainly because of the new hours of service rules issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) which are more strictly monitored by the ELD mandate.

Before the change to the hours of service rules, if a driver waited three or four hours or more while their trailer was loaded, they could make up the time by driving more hours. Now, with an ELD required for every tractor, load time and detention is a significant consideration because it cuts into the 14-hour on-duty shift rule.

To illustrate, if a carrier has to drive an hour to the shipping origin, then wait five hours to get loaded, that means he can only drive for 8 hours after leaving for the destination. If he averages 60 mph, he can travel 480 miles. If the same driver picked up a loaded trailer, he could drive 10 hours before reaching the 11-hour driving limit. If he averages 60 mph, he can travel 600 miles.

A drop trailer program can also have a significant impact on the efficiency of your supply chain. Drop trailer programs help shippers and carriers plan more effectively for deliveries and outbound shipments so it is important for them to align their schedules. Without drop trailers, a carrier must arrive within a narrow appointment window for employees to load or unload the trailer. Depending on how the appointment fits into their on-duty schedule, and considering traffic conditions, weather, breakdowns and other unexpected events, the driver could be forced to wait for hours, or miss the appointment altogether. In these situations, late delivery fees, detention fees, and a negative vendor scorecard are typically the unpleasant results.

Drop Trailer Benefits for Shippers:

  • Smoother supply chain operation. You can load or unload a trailer at your convenience or when staffing levels are adequate; no more paying overtime to load or unload when a truck is early or late.
  • Great for time-consuming loads, like floor-loaded freight.
  • Avoid costly driver or truck detention accessorial charges.
  • Higher on-time delivery percentages. On-time freight departure times substantially increase the odds of an on-time arrival.
  • Decrease fines. With strict retail Must Arrive By Date (MABD) requirements becoming more common, drop-trailer shipping can help your carrier arrive on time and minimize the fines associated with missing a delivery window.
  • Better retailer relationships. When you fulfill MABD requirements, your vendor scorecard improves and you are seen as a more desirable vendor partner.

Drop Trailer Benefits for Carriers:

  • Better planning. You decide when you pick up (and drop off) trailers.
  • No more waiting to pick up a load or be live-loaded; spend more time driving to the destination.
  • Great for time-consuming loads, like floor-loaded freight.
  • Higher on-time delivery percentages.


There are a few circumstances of which to be aware when considering a drop trailer program. There may be an initial cost to implement a program. Every trailer that a carrier takes out of over-the-road service is lost revenue, so to recoup it, there will be a cost for a drop trailer, either on the front end or back end (or both). Of course, this cost will pay for itself because there should never be any detention fees.

Drop trailers should not become warehouses; the maximum time a trailer should sit is a week. In most drop trailer programs, trailers turn two or three times a week.

Finally, there is a lot of up-front work to implement a drop trailer program. Not all carriers do drop trailers so finding one that does can be time-consuming. Trailers make carriers money so if one of your carriers doesn’t want to drop a trailer, simply look at using a different one.

A drop trailer or drop and hook program is a perfect opportunity to use a freight broker. Working with a broker allows you to tap into their network of carriers and take advantage of their expertise in finding carriers that will drop trailers. The truckload shipping experts at PartnerShip will work with you to find a drop trailer or drop and hook carrier and get you the best freight rates possible. We know the lanes, we know the rates and we will help you ship smarter. Contact us today to learn more about setting up a drop trailer program!

ELD Enforcement: Are We There Yet?

May 7, 2018 at 10:13 AMJen Deming
ELD Mandate Compliance: Are We There Yet It's been just over a month since the "soft enforcement period" has ended for ELD regulation, and while the shipping industry is seeing huge improvements with compliance, there are still a number of challenges facing shippers. While most of the crunch was felt at beginning of the year, when the initial ELD deadline went into effect, it's going to take some time before we see the industry normalize. As we head into the summer and a heavier shipping season, what can shippers and carriers expect to encounter along the way?

According to several reports, it appears that the majority of carriers are now using electronic logging devices to track their hours of service, with as many as 95% becoming ELD compliant. While many small carriers originally insisted that they would not comply and figured it was time to make their exit, the capacity crunch and need for experienced drivers has boosted the trucker's market, outweighing the inconvenience of switching over. According to a DAT Solutions survey, over 60% of these carriers have added the compliant devices within the past three months, following the deadline date.

Survey respondents are, however, confessing that the ELD mandate has a huge impact on day-to-day business, with 87% reporting that the mandate is changing the way they prioritize loads. The most significant factor impacting carriers? A significant increase in detention time – basically any time taking over the given 2 hours. Many shippers fail to recognize that time for loading/unloading freight counts as active "on duty" hours for the driver. The strict HOS (Hours of Service) rules can decrease an already limited amount of hours available for transit time.The good news is, with trucker time being more accurately logged, drivers can now prove exactly how long they were held up during loading. Carriers then have leverage to choose precisely who they want to ship with, and determine who may create problems for them on future loads. While this creates a positive environment for truck drivers, it can leave shippers in the backseat. But don't fret, there are several things shippers can do in order to to create appealing loads for carriers, which we will get into a bit later.

The data taken from the ELD devices can actually help shine some light on existing safety issues within a fleet. Predictive modeling can determine safety concerns that may arise in the future, such as probability a truck may be involved in a roadside accident. By looking at historical data, it will be easier to determine potentially dangerous routes, trucking equipment, hours of operation, and operators. So far, utilizing data in order to better determine areas of opportunity for increased driving safety is the most positive application of the new mandatory ELD technology.

So what's to come? As expected, with drivers spending less time at the wheel in one run, transit times will continue to lengthen. This means that drivers have to take less loads per week as well, with 67% stating that they drive fewer miles than they did before the devices. Parking space is in a crunch as well, with more trucks spending mandatory rest breaks at stops. This is also related to yard congestion, or several trucks arriving on time for delivery within a small window. Proper warehousing protocol and smooth receiving and loading procedures is crucial. It may be a good idea for shippers to extend their warehouse hours to offset the congestion. Having properly staged freight ready and waiting with an adequately sized team can also help decrease time spent at the loading dock, freeing up hours available for your driver to be on the road. Another option for shippers is to consider drop trailer freight programs. A carrier will haul a tractor to a shipper's loading dock and pick up a previously loaded and left behind trailer. This can increase efficiency by decreasing detention time and likelihood of deadhead.

One thing is clear: the initial push-back from owner-operators to make changes in order to become ELD compliant has mostly disappeared. Those originally looking to leave the industry are adapting to new policies and procedures, but there is still a significant learning curve. The biggest take-away is the impact of detention time and a newly invigorated intolerance for running into overtime. Drivers are vigilant, and shippers need to be even more prepared for a smooth and quick load time. PartnerShip can help businesses manage LTL freight moves and connect you with vetted, reliable truckload carriers. Stay competitive and ship smarter with PartnerShip – get a quote today!

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Potential Shipping Issues: How to Be Proactive

April 25, 2018 at 3:07 PMLeah Palnik
Potential Shipping Issues: How to be Proactive

When you deal with freight, there will always be some shipping issues that are out of your control. You can’t stay with your freight throughout its whole journey, and there are a number of sticky situations you might find yourself in. However, if you know how to prepare for some worst case scenarios, you can position yourself to bounce back quickly.

Weather
One of the most common disruptions that can cause shipping issues is the weather. Storms and other severe weather patterns can have a significant impact on a carrier’s delivery network. When one area is hit, it creates a ripple effect that’s felt all over. Especially during hurricane season and the winter months, it’s important to keep an eye out. However, even in milder months, you can’t let your guard down because Mother Nature can be unpredictable.

If possible, give yourself a buffer zone for transit time. Build in extra days, especially for time-sensitive shipments. That way, if a storm hits and your shipment gets delayed, you’ll still be in the clear. It’s also a good idea to work with a broker to gain access to additional resources in a pinch. You’ll be able to expand your carrier network and lean on them when capacity is tight.

Cargo theft
Criminals targeting your freight are getting savvier and are constantly finding new ways to hit shippers. Dealing with cargo theft is a nightmare, and it can happen to anyone. Especially if you’re shipping electronics, raw metal materials, food items, pharmaceuticals, or other highly targeted commodities. Thieves are not only surveying ship yards for arrival and departure changes, but are also engaging in sophisticated scams. Some are posing as transportation companies, using counterfeit documents, or working an inside job.

To be proactive against cargo theft and the shipping issues that go with it, there are a few simple things you can do. Ensure your driver is using a locking system that includes a variety of locks, from king pin locks, air brake valve locks, and glad hand locks. Using GPS tracking is also a good tactic to keep an eye on your freight and make sure it’s where it’s supposed to be. Overall, it’s important to carefully select transportation providers and warehouse staff.

Cyber attacks
Every time you turn on the news it seems like there’s a new cybersecurity issue. Unfortunately, the shipping industry isn’t immune. The technology that is on trucks nowadays can leave them vulnerable to ransomware and malware that could shut down the vehicles and put your freight at risk. Cyber attackers could potentially be targeting your freight for theft or could be looking to shut down a carrier’s service in hopes of securing a ransom.  

The risk of a cyber attack affecting your freight right now is slim, but cybersecurity issues are becoming increasingly prevalent across all industries. While prevention is more in the hands of your carrier for cyber attacks on trucks, staying educated and planning ahead is key. Create a plan that details what you would do in the event your freight gets caught up in the middle of a cyber attack. That way the contingency protocol is clear and you’ll have resources readily available.

Damages
Dealing with damaged freight involves a lot of heartache. Not only are you out your product, but you also have to deal with the nightmare that is the claims process. You may experience damages that are visible upon delivery or damages that are concealed, meaning they aren’t discovered until after delivery. Luckily, as far as shipping issues go, this is one you have some element of control over.

Preventing freight damage starts with proper packaging. If you’re the shipper, don’t be afraid to spend a little extra cash upfront to ensure you’re not spending more after the fact. Be conscious of the weight capacity of your chosen container and invest in quality materials. Then choose packaging that is sized right – with just enough room for the contents and the necessary impact protection. If you’re palletizing your shipment, make sure your items sit squarely on the skid with no overhang. Weight should be evenly distributed with heavier boxes on the bottom, and everything should be completely secured to the skid with banding, stretch-wrap, or breakaway adhesive.

If you are receiving the shipment, make sure you’re following the proper procedures for accepting freight. Inspect your freight immediately and notate any damages on the delivery receipt. File your claim as soon as possible and make sure you have all the necessary documentation. Any small misstep can lead to your claim being denied, so it’s critical that you’re thorough.

Some shipping issues will be beyond your control, but that doesn’t mean you’re completely out of luck. By educating yourself and being prepared, you can mitigate the impact. The shipping experts at PartnerShip have seen it all, and we’ll help you navigate through the toughest issues. Want to learn more about how to tackle freight challenges? Check out our latest white paper!

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Laying the Foundation: Construction Shipping 101

April 9, 2018 at 2:13 PMJen Deming
Construction Shipping 101Warmer weather is finally creeping in and that means construction season will soon be upon us. Shipping in the construction industry is characterized by tight deadlines, oversized hauls, multiple stops and complicated loading and unloading – and unfortunately, a crew can only build as quickly as the materials arrive. Whether building a new home, sports arena, restaurant location or corporate parkway, there is a unique set of challenges for shippers who are trying to transport their materials to and from a staging area to an active construction site. It's important to know what to expect in order to anticipate any possible setbacks that can complicate your plan of action.

The product and materials being shipped to a construction site or for a building project vary wildly. Lumber, roofing material, windows/glass, dry wall, flooring, natural stone, plumbing fixtures/electrical components, home appliances, and landscaping elements are all commonly shipped construction loads. Additionally, the specialized equipment and large machinery necessary to build needs to be moved from rental location or site to site. Though the product materials may vary, a common denominator for many of these shipments is size of the load and tendency to be over-dimensional, particularly as it relates to width. Understanding and selecting the proper carrier and trailer type is essential in getting your loads transported safely and securely.

If the building material or equipment IS oversized, you will most likely need to obtain a permit, which can have different requirements depending on the state. You will need to adhere to the requirements for each state that your shipment travels through, so it's important to review requirements for each state beforehand. Maximum legal length for trailers is 53 feet; width is 8.5 feet. Maximum height is 13.5 feet and max weight is 40 tons. It's important to note that weight maximum is based on a per-axle limit, so sometimes simply readjusting the load can keep your shipment legal. Most frequently, if a load is determined to be oversized, it is due to over-dimensional width.

Pilot or escort cars are required in most states for loads that are over 12 feet wide. In many states, traveling with oversized shipments requires transit to take place during daylight hours, with nighttime restrictions in place up until 30 minutes before sunrise and 30 minutes after sunset. Keep in mind, as well, that traveling during weekends or holidays is often prohibited and varies by state. All of these factors help contribute to the importance of knowing your exact route and researching the requirements for each state that your shipment will be moving through.

On smaller shipments of a few pieces at a time, it may be possible to ship via LTL freight rather than a dedicated truck. Just like when delivering to schools, churches, or military base locations, active construction sites can sometimes incur "limited access" or "non-commercial" fees. These are charges similar to residential delivery fees that are common with most national LTL freight carriers. Unfortunately, these fees can be unpredictable as some carriers may charge, and others may not. Typically the fee is passed on by the carrier depending on the situation at the time of delivery; for example, extra time and effort spent in accessing the site for unloading. The difficulty in planning for the charge can be an added frustration for shippers.

Moving via LTL carrier service can also be difficult due to restricted items and limited coverage on high-risk materials such as glass or electrical equipment. It's also super important to be sure you have accurate dimensions, as many of these products will be classed based on density. One final note relates to the security of the shipment. These larger and potentially fragile LTL shipments may be specially crated and packaged, but depending on the length of transit, there is still a risk of damage during loading and unloading at terminals throughout the course of transit. A partial or dedicated truck may be a less competitive rate, but shippers could save money in the long run by avoiding damages and shortening the transit time.

Businesses looking to move construction equipment and materials can expect to experience quite a few "oh ship!" moments unique to the industry. Planning, researching, and serious attention to detail can help offset any unexpected difficulties that challenge your timeline – not to mention your patience. Rest assured, you aren't alone. The shipping experts at PartnerShip are familiar with the distinct challenges that come with shipping construction materials. From understanding the proper trailer type you need to helping classify your freight, we mind the details so you don't have to.

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How to Select a Freight Broker: Top 8 Factors Shippers Should Consider

April 3, 2018 at 11:54 AMLeah Palnik
How to select a freight broker

Selecting the right freight broker to manage your shipping can make or break your business. You want to be sure they are up to par and will be able to address your needs. The relationship between you and your freight broker needs to be built on trust and communication – not unlike personal relationships. And just like when you’re dating someone new, you want to make sure they check all the right boxes. Here are the top factors shippers should consider when selecting a freight broker.

1. Licensed through the FMCSA
First off, to ensure the freight broker you’ve chosen is credible, check that they have a license through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). It is a federal law that anyone arranging transportation for compensation must have a federal property broker license issued by the FMCSA. You can check here if your selected freight broker is properly insured.

Licensing involves a number of strict criteria, including bonding and insurance requirements. Insurance requirements vary but cover things like loss and damage or property damage. The bonding protects you against fraud or other unlawful actions that the broker could commit by providing opportunity for compensation.

2. Specializations that match your needs
Most freight brokers will offer a number of services and work across a variety of industries, but that doesn’t mean they are all equal. When selecting a freight broker, ask what kind of experience they have shipping your products and if they specialize in the mode you typically use. If they’re familiar with your industry or have experience shipping your product, they’ll know exactly what to look out and understand how to get around some of your common challenges.

3. Insurance options and claims assistance
Dealing with lost or damaged freight can be a nightmare. When you select a quality freight broker they will not only provide the option to purchase additional insurance, but they will also offer assistance in the event that you need to file a claim. It’s a full time job understanding everything you need to know about filing claims and a lot can go wrong. Selecting a freight broker that offers protection and can help get you a fair resolution is invaluable.

4. Strict vetting process for carriers
The freight broker you select should only work with the most reputable carriers. Before working with a broker, ask about their vetting process. Do they verify the carrier’s operating authority and safety rating? What would disqualify a carrier? They should be checking the carrier’s history and safety ratings through trusted sources like DAT and the FMCSA.

5. Recognized and certified in the industry
The Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA) is the premier organization for third-party logistics professionals and holds its members to high set of ethical standards. A quality freight broker will be a member of TIA and will have staff members that are certified through the Certified Transportation Broker (CTB) Program. There are also a handful of other affiliations that can show you the credibility of a broker. Select a freight broker that is in good standing with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and is recognized through industry affiliations like the NASTC Best Broker Program and Truckstop.com’s Diamond Broker Program.

6. Tracking options
Freight visibility is essential when choosing a freight broker. Using tracking systems allows your broker to keep an eye on your shipments and handle any hiccups before they become major issues. Tracking also helps protect you against cargo theft, giving you added peace-of-mind.

7. Long history in the business
Freight shipping is complex and can be tricky, which is why you need a master, not a novice. A more established freight broker will not only have more experience, but will also likely have deeper carrier relationships. Freight brokers that are newer to the scene likely won’t have a proven track record or the same kind of buying power a more established broker will.

8. Overall value
It may be tempting to choose the freight broker that gives you the cheapest quote, but sometimes you get what you pay for. Working with a broker that offers quality services can be worth the extra cash. Instead of considering price alone, consider all of the other factors, including customer service, quoting tools, claims assistance, tracking capabilities – and then determine what they are worth to you.

Working with an experienced freight broker that can meet your specific needs can make a world of difference. With the current state of the industry it’s more important than ever to have a broker in your corner that can effectively navigate through a capacity crunch. As an experienced broker, PartnerShip helps you ship smarter with competitive pricing and quality service. Get a quote today.

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4 Freight Challenges That Will Actually Better Your Business

March 27, 2018 at 1:30 PMJen Deming
4 Freight ChallengesThere are many stressful parts of freight shipping, and for businesses shipping regularly, it can seem the challenges are never-ending. From shipment delays to damaged freight, it can seem there is a definite lack of control once your pallet leaves your dock or doorstep. Informed shippers can turn these frustrating obstacles into positive opportunities to take back control of your shipping processes, and better your business in the long run.

-Late freight is a very common issue for shippers, and one that can often affect the relationship between your business and your customer. Fortunately, it is also one of the easiest challenges to avoid, and it all boils down to transparent communication between you and your chosen carrier. It may appear that you are at the mercy of your vendors with regard to your inbound shipping orders for supplies and raw materials, but you don't have to be. Setting up routing instructions with specific requirements and chosen carrier preferences is something you can and SHOULD discuss with your vendors, that way your needs are met and you can rest easy. Most carriers offer online tracking services through their company websites, and you can always stay informed by setting up alerts and notifications by either text or email, so you can stay informed about the transit status of your freight. Selecting the appropriate service type is another way to avoid late freight. Different service levels are often determined by transit timelines. Time-critical and expedited shipping options can help get your shipment where it needs to, at an accelerated rate. Another way to avoid delivery delays is to be sure you are familiar with your shipping locations. If there a short window for dock hours, or pick-up/delivery appointments are required, and you don't make the carrier aware when scheduling the shipment, you can bet on a missed or delayed delivery.

-Damaged or lost freight is every freight shipper's worst nightmare. Accidents happen, and every freight shipper will most likely experience damage to their product, especially as volume and frequency increases. If you are seeing repeated incidents, or a frequent occurrence, it's possible that there may be an underlying issue--improper packaging. Even minor adjustments can make all the difference in a long transit where shipments are being loaded and unloaded at several terminals and different trucks.

-In the unfortunate event that your shipment is damaged, the last thing you want to worry about is compensation for that loss in order to repair or send a replacement product. In order to receive compensation from a carrier, it is necessary to prove that they were at fault or negligent. It's crucial to take as many pictures as possible to prove the product was in good condition prior to pick-up. Even if you are able to win the claim after filing, oftentimes the payout leaves a little to be desired. The amount of coverage is often paid out at a fixed dollar amount determined by commodity and class, and there are endless rules and exceptions. The headache can be avoided if the shipper is proactive and obtains supplemental cargo insurance to cover the cost of the load. Many providers do not require the carrier is proven negligent and shippers can avoid carrier tariff loopholes such as restricted freight classes.

-It's a tough time for shippers. With the ELD mandate deadline behind us, many carriers still do not meet minimum requirements, thereby restricting the number of available carriers on the road. With truck drivers unwilling to risk the run as law enforcement officials crack down on non-compliant carriers, an already limited truck capacity is tightened further. Carriers that DO happen to have available trucks are asking a premium, and with options limited, they will get it. Shippers need to take control and shop rates among carriers, but that takes time, patience, and industry knowledge--and that's where working with a 3PL can come in handy.

There seems to be no end when it comes to obstacles that shippers encounter. Getting your shipments delivered on time, safely, and smoothly seems like a no-brainer, but once that pallet has left your dock, control is pretty much out of your hands. But it doesn't have to be. A quality 3PL provider can serve as an extra set (or two!) to make sure you are shipping smart and staying competitive. The team of experts at PartnerShip have taken a look at the most common problems shippers experience and how they can actually BETTER your business. Download our free white paper today!


Download our free whitepaper: 4 Freight Challenges That Will Better Your Business