Your Guide to the 2019 FedEx and UPS Rate Increases

December 17, 2018 at 3:46 PMLeah Palnik
your guide to the 2019 FedEx and UPS rate increases

FedEx and UPS rates will be going up in 2019, and it’s more important than ever that shippers know how to mitigate the impact to their business. In November, FedEx announced that its small package rates will increase an average of 4.9% as of January 7, 2019. In December, only a few weeks before the change is set to take place on the 26th, UPS announced the same average increase.

If you’re thinking that means you can budget your costs to go up by 4.9%, you are sorely mistaken. There is a lot to unpack with these rate increases. For starters, some services are increasing at a higher rate than others – meaning that depending on the services you commonly use, your costs could go up significantly more than the announced average.

Other factors determine how much more you will pay for your FedEx and UPS shipments in 2019. You will need to look at the new rates based on your package characteristics, as well as how far your shipments are being sent. Here are the released rates for 2019:

FedEx and UPS surcharges
The announced average increase only covers the base rates. You’ll also need to consider what fees and surcharges apply to your shipments. Many of these surcharges are increasing quite a bit. Here are the announced changes:

One surcharge to take note of is the Third-Party Billing fee. A couple years ago, UPS introduced this in response to the growing popularity of drop shipping. Right now if you use third-party billing, you will incur a charge of 2.5% of total cost. Beginning December 26, UPS will be increasing that charge to 4.5%. FedEx is leaving its Third-Party Billing charge unchanged at 2.5% for 2019. This is just one example of why it’s important to evaluate the changes that come out each year from UPS and FedEx. One small difference can have a huge impact on your costs.

The most costly surcharges continue to be those that apply to shipments that qualify as “Unauthorized” or “Over Maximum Limits.” If you send a package with UPS that weighs more than 150 lbs., exceeds 108 inches in length, or exceeds a total of 165 inches in length and girth combined, you’ll be looking at a $850 charge on top of your base rate. That same package will incur a $675 charge if you ship it with FedEx. Either way, you’ll be paying a huge premium to ship larger, bulkier packages.

Peak season strategies
It’s also important to note that ahead of the 2019 general rate increase (GRI), FedEx and UPS both announced peak season surcharges. For those larger packages, the carriers applied additional surcharges during the busiest time of year. A huge difference between the two, however, was an additional charge on residential shipments. UPS applied a $0.28 peak surcharge on residential ground shipments, while FedEx decided that for the second year in a row, it wouldn’t follow suit. If you’re a retailer that delivers a large amount of customer orders over the holidays, that charge can add up fast.

Trends in the small package industry
If you zoom out on all of these changes from FedEx and UPS, there are a few insights to glean.

  1. FedEx and UPS tend to institute similar pricing strategies. The carriers have a habit of matching each other when announcing average increases, and when one introduces a new charge or a different way to account for something, the other tends to do the same down the road. That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t matter which carrier you use. Instead, it’s important to stay on top of the changes and evaluate your options on a regular basis so you’re always using the service that works best for your budget.
  2. Many of the changes over the years have been put in place as a result of the ecommerce boom. With more shipments coming from online orders, comes more trends that strain the carriers’ networks. For example, ecommerce has led to more residential deliveries and more deliveries of oversized packages. That’s why you’ll see the carriers making changes that help them to recoup some of the costs associated with these trends.
  3. Both carriers have been making changes throughout the year, instead of just during the GRI. For example, FedEx and UPS both increased their Additional Handling surcharges ahead of the new year – in September and July respectively. When UPS first introduced peak surcharges for residential ground shipments, that was also done outside of the annual announcement. This just highlights how important it is for shippers to stay aware throughout the year.

We know you don’t want to comb through every tedious page of the 2019 FedEx and UPS service guides and compare them to your current rates. That’s why we did the leg work for you. In our free white paper, we break down where you’ll find the highest increases and explain some of the complicated changes you need to be aware of. If you’re looking for ways to offset the rate increases, we can also help with that. If you’re a member of one of the many associations we work with, you can get access to exclusive discounts. Contact us and we’ll find a way to help you save.

Your Guide to the 2019 FedEx and UPS Rate Increases

It's a Throwback PartnerShip Holiday!

December 17, 2018 at 2:25 PMJen Deming

It's the time of year for good cheer, gift giving, and family get-togethers. One of the best parts about bringing everyone together for the holidays is flipping through old albums and boxes of family photos to relive memories from holidays gone by. We wanted to share some of our team's favorite throwback holiday photos with you, and wish everyone the happiest of holidays from our family to yours!

Barbara with guitar
Barbara Teleha, Graphic Designer
Before flexing her creative muscle as the PartnerShip resident designer, Barbara was striking chords in checkered onesies and turtlenecks

Jennifer Hammersmith
Jennifer Hammersmith, Customer Service Manager
'Tis the season to be "married" and bright for Jennifer and her husband, Dave!

Jerry Spelic
Jerry Spelic, Marketing Director
Jerry celebrates with a themed tree every year: Meet Spencer Tree-cy

Christine Manda
Christine Manda, Freight Brokerage Sales Manager
Christine and sister get festive while rocking around the Christmas Tree

Holiday Hardmans
Brian Hardman, Senior Account Representative and Nicole Hardman, Senior Carrier Procurement Representative
The Hardman husband/wife team toast their first Christmas together

Leah Palnik
Leah Palnik, Marketing Manager
Leah celebrates the holidays with her childhood furry friend, Figgie

Shaunta Dennis
Shaunta Dennis, Customer Service Representative
Shaunta patiently awaits the arrival of her gifts - as an adult she makes sure PartnerShip customers get their packages on time

Keith Korhely
Keith Korhely, Senior Program Manager
Keith's buddy Gigi thinks she's all the gift that anyone needs

Jimmy Josh
Josh Arnold, Programmer Analyst
Josh offers an interesting take on Santa Claus at a past PartnerShip Christmas party

Bill
Bill Parhamovich, Account Representative
Bill recites his Christmas list to Santa, it may or may not include a Red Ryder BB Gun

Jen Deming
Jen Deming, Marketing Associate
Jen and brother Matt decide all they want for Christmas is EVERYTHING

Making merry memories is one of our favorite parts of the holiday season, and we look forward to what this year will bring! Happy Holidays from our family to yours!

6 Surprising Advantages of Rail Transport Over Road Transport

December 13, 2018 at 9:16 AMLeah Palnik
6 surprising advantages of rail

Road transport is a very popular mode for freight, but for certain loads, the advantages of railways are too great to ignore. If your shipment is moving over 1,000 miles and isn’t time sensitive, rail transport can be a very efficient solution for your supply chain.

Here are some advantages of rail transport over road transport to consider:

  1. Rail transport can be cost effective. Shippers who convert long-haul freight from road to rail, can save 10-40%. Rail has lower fuel costs compared to road transport, especially when shipping a high volume of freight. Rail also has less costs associated with drivers and typically has better costs for drop trailer programs.
  2. Shipping via train is more environmentally friendly. Trains burn less fuel per ton mile than trucks. According to the Association of American Railroads (AAR), freight railroads can move one ton of freight an average of 479 miles on a single gallon of fuel. On top of that, using rail transport over road transport can lower greenhouse gas emissions by 75%.
  3. Trains are capable of hauling large loads. Trains can handle high volumes of freight. In fact, one double-stacked train can hold approximately the same amount as 280 trucks. This can be very beneficial for shippers with large loads.
  4. Railways are reliable. Railways have standardized transit schedules and don’t share their tracks with the public like trucks do with the road. For that reason, trains aren’t hindered by traffic and weather the same way trucks are.
  5. Rail freight can be efficient. For many types of loads, the average transit time is comparable to that of road transport. While rail shouldn’t be used for time-sensitive shipments, it can provide very similar transit times for longer hauls.
  6. Rail options provide you with access to capacity. OTR capacity is tight. The driver shortage, HOS restrictions, and current market demand can make it hard for shippers to find a truck when they need it without paying an arm and a leg. Since rail transport can be more efficient and doesn’t have the same kind of limitations, this is a great way for shippers to find capacity.

Rail as part of an intermodal strategy
Using rail transport as part of an intermodal strategy can have significant benefits. Intermodal is the use of two or more modes for transporting freight. When combining road and rail, trains are used for the long-haul portion of the shipment. Trucks are used to bring freight from the origin to the terminal and then from the terminal to the destination, which is referred to as drayage. Commodities that are typically moved via intermodal rail include electronics, clothes, machinery, plastics, and lumber.

Limitations of rail
While rail transport can be a great solution for many shippers, it isn’t for every load. There are some limitations to consider. First, the shipper and the consignee should be no more than 100-200 miles from a major metro area that has a terminal. Also, there aren’t guaranteed transit times, so it’s not recommended for time-sensitive loads.

You also want to make sure that you aren’t trying to ship prohibited or restricted articles. Prohibited articles include commodities that are dangerous or could damage equipment, like carbon black, raw animal hides, and used auto parts that leak. Restricted commodities require permission ahead of time and may be constrained to certain lanes or subject to different pricing.

In addition, it’s incredibly important that you are using the proper block and brace techniques. Intermodal containers experience a great deal of movement during transit that could cause damages. If you haven’t blocked and braced your freight by rail standards you run the risk of a denied claim.

Is rail transport right for your freight?
If you think intermodal transportation may be a good fit for your freight, the team at PartnerShip is ready to help. We'll find the solution that best fit your needs, so you can ship smarter. Contact us today to find out what your options are and see how much you could save.

contact us today!

6 Sneaky (But Avoidable) Tradeshow Logistics Costs

December 4, 2018 at 9:32 AMJen Deming
Tradeshow Shipping Blog Image

Anyone who has ever shipped to an event is probably familiar with the special level of stress and frustration involved in coordinating show shipments. Tradeshow logistics is tricky business - not only are you juggling crunched timelines leading up to  the show, but shippers also have to be aware of the many potential hidden costs involved throughout the process. Any misstep can end up costing shippers in surprise freight fees. The good news is that most of these costs are avoidable, as long as you know what to look out for. We've compiled a list of the things you need to keep an eye on to protect your special event freight spend. 

  1. The cost of shipping to advance warehouse vs. show site 

    You have the choice to ship directly to the tradeshow floor or to an advance warehouse where your show materials are held leading up to the actual show start date. There are advantages and disadvantages to both, and as an informed shipper you need to weigh what makes the most sense for you. Shipping to an advance warehouse will give you more time to be flexible should anything go wrong or be delayed. Though material handling fees may be slightly higher, it doesn't cost more to ship to the advance warehouse. An added benefit is less worry about whether your shipment will arrive on time, and you get a leg up on the shipments arriving to the show site. Your shipment materials will be ready and waiting for you at your booth space when you arrive the day of set-up. 

    Shipping directly to site can be tempting to avoid these initial material handling costs, but keep in mind that hundreds of other event shipments will be arriving at the same time as yours. If you've never seen a show-site marshaling yard, think of a rush-hour traffic jam during the last weekend of holiday shopping season. It's not pretty, and hold-ups cost lots of money in detention fees. If your shipment arrives late, the team waiting to build your booth will pass on overtime charges. If you're running extra-late, springing for expedited transportation charges will cost you even more. We've said it before, and we'll say it again: plan ahead, and build in extra time. Make your decisions based on what realistically makes the most sense for your business.

  2. Delivering or picking up your shipment in overtime

    The exact time your tradeshow shipment is loaded or unloaded is critical, and meeting your target time will save you significantly. In addition to open dates for both the advance warehouse and show site, there is a window of hours called straight time. These are the hours, and days, your shipment needs to arrive for the show in order not to be hit with overtime fees. This window is usually restricted to typical work hours, 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, for most shows, Monday through Friday. Anything that arrives after those hours, or on the weekends, will be considered overtime and incur extra charges. It is critical to check in your exhibitor packet exactly what hours and dates are safe for your shipment to arrive prior to the show.

    You also need to make sure your specific check-in time is noted on the material handling form, especially if your carrier arrives early. Often, a truck will arrive the night before, ahead of schedule. If there's no time noted, the driver may check in and get loaded on overtime, and this will increase your bill significantly. A great best practice to stick to is writing "load only during straight hours" in order to diminish the likelihood it will be loaded outside of that time, as well as act as documentation to help your case should your freight be loaded during overtime and you want to dispute the extra charge.

  3. The price of damages and how freight insurance can help

    Shipment damage or loss can occur at any time. While carriers do everything they can to keep them from happening, it's just an unfortunate part of freight shipping. With your load moving in and out of several different terminals (especially if your freight is traveling a greater distance), your shipment may encounter a renegade forklift or a heavy-handed loader. That's why it is key to package appropriately and securely. Custom crates are a great idea, especially for furniture and other fragile booth materials. Imagine arriving to a show and your seating is damaged and unusable. Sure, you have the option to rent a couch but it's going to cost you thousands for rental in addition to any repairs you will have to spring for to get things in working order for the next show.

    Because carrier liability is limited, it's always a good idea to look into additional freight insurance as a secondary option. Tradeshow shipment yards, docks, storage rooms, and show floors are all very congested places. Accidents happen, and should they happen to your show materials, at least you know your freight's full value is covered. Just keep in mind that every third-party insurance provider has different terms, so read carefully and make sure you fully understand the coverage you are getting.

  4. Using the wrong NMFC and the risk of re-class

    Did you know that materials being shipped to events have their very own class code? Don't worry, unless you are shipping to tradeshows regularly, most shippers don't either. Instead of calculating your shipment based on commodity type (furniture, signage, etc), any item either coming to or departing from a tradeshow should be rated Class 125. This can very well mean that the class is different than what you may be using on other shipments, and as a result, the price could be different than what you are used to seeing. It is important to get this quoted correctly, so if you are tempted to use a lower code because it's what you are used to, beware the risk of re-class. You don't want to receive surprise charges/fees when the carrier catches on and your shipment is rated higher than you wanted. The good news is that many booth material items such as chairs or desks tend to ship at a class higher than 125 anyway, so using a preset tradeshow-specific class code may save you. 

  5. Material handling and drayage fees

    Material handling and drayage are common fees incurred by event shippers, and often the least anticipated. This type of handling refers specifically to transportation services from your carrier's delivery vehicle, at the dock, to your booth space. These services include unloading at the dock, moving your materials, as well as storing your empty containers for the duration of the show. Once the show is over, gathering the empty containers from storage as well as transferring the freight back to the loading dock will also incur fees. A top recommendation for tradeshow shippers is to crate your loads, rather than sending loose boxes. Some show decorators charge drayage based on how the shipment is packaged. Crating is the least expensive option and also adds protection against damage and loss by keeping your materials together. 

    Completing a material handling form is crucial to setting up your outbound shipment accurately. Shippers know to have an accurate BOL prepared, but a material handling form is what the decorator looks at. The carrier name for pick-up must be noted, otherwise you will fall victim to "forced freight." This means the shipment will be sent with the decorator's carrier of choice, and that can be pricey. If it's a carrier your 3PL works with (for PartnerShip, UPSFreight or YRC Freight) an LOA can be submitted so you will be billed at your discounted pricing. If not, then you will need to pay the bill direct to the carrier. 

    The tough part about drayage fees is that these services will be performed by a specific decorator that is under contract with the show. That leaves no room for shippers to negotiate with other options the way you might with transportation to and from the event location. However, there are ways that event shippers can try to keep these costs down as low as possible, particularly regarding packaging. The biggest factors determining drayage fees are weight and piece count. Each piece may be assessed a minimum charge, so make good use of palletizing or crating those loads! They are easier to transport to and from the showroom. Go lightweight for additional savings. Heavy building materials for your booth items will quickly increase your drayage bill, so stick to lighter more transportable building options for your booth tables and seating.  

  6. Shipping there and back for separate shows

    It pays to put the time in to accurately plan how much product, booth materials, marketing collateral, giveaways, and anything else you may need. Successful event shippers create a strategy for what needs to be done before, after, and during the show. Check into any information regarding the tradeshow traffic from past years. Talk to the event coordinators and point people to gauge what you think you will need. Anticipate and plan for a little extra, but don't over do it. If you are going to be shipping to another show, look into whether it is more cost efficient to move directly to the next event rather than scheduling a return shipment back home. Very often, the storage fees at the next show location's warehouse may be cheaper than it would be to ship home then ship back out. You will have added peace of mind, again, that your shipment will arrive with enough time before the show so that you can concentrate on and prepare for the next show rather than worrying whether it will arrive on time.

Managing tradeshow logistics can wear on the patience of even the most seasoned of shippers. Meeting deadlines and managing the details can be tough, and it can be tempting to step away and just hope everything goes smoothly. But, it pays to be diligent and well-informed, because that's the best way you can protect your bottom line from hidden tradeshow costs. If you're still feeling a little overwhelmed this tradeshow season, don't worry - the experts at PartnerShip can help. Call 800-599-2902 to speak with a tradeshow shipping specialist, or download our free white paper for more information about tradeshow shipping.

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The PartnerShip Carrier of the Month for October Is…

November 16, 2018 at 9:08 AMJerry Spelic
PartnerShip Loves Our Carriers! Here is Our October 2018 Carrier of the Month

The mission of PartnerShip is to help our customers ship smarter and stay competitive. The only way we can do that is to partner with great carriers and we love recognizing our awesome partners!

Our October Carrier of the Month is Doug Davidson Trucking LLC of Salem, OH. With 27 years of trucking experience, they specialize in oversize and overweight loads and operates a fleet of 11. They are fully committed to on-time pickup and delivery with safety as their number one goal.

The reason PartnerShip has a Carrier of the Month program is to recognize carriers that do an exceptional job helping customers ship and receive their freight. PartnerShip team members nominate carriers that provide outstanding communication, reliability, and on-time performance.

As our October Carrier of the Month, Doug Davidson Trucking gets lunch for their team and an official framed certificate to proudly hang on their wall.

Consider becoming a PartnerShip carrier because we try very hard to 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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Shipping a Piece of History: American Freedom Distillery

November 12, 2018 at 12:29 PMJen Deming

At PartnerShip, we've pretty much seen it all. Our freight specialists have helped shippers transport everything from specialty candy to baseball jerseys, DJ equipment to used tractor engines. Every once in a while, we have the opportunity to work on a load that is unlike anything we've shipped before. September brought us something extra special - a section of steel thought to be one of the few remaining pieces left of the World Trade Center.

American Distillery 4

The steel beam belongs to the remarkable group of men behind American Freedom Distillery in St Petersburg, FL. They are a veteran Special Operations Unit and were the first force to engage in Afghanistan during the aftermath of 9/11. The beam was gifted to the team and they thought it best not to be held in a private collection, but rather displayed for the benefit of the public as the nation continues to heal. The steel piece is being utilized in a brand new memorial titled "Rise St Pete" honoring those affected by the events of 9/11. Located in the Warehouse Arts District near the planned American Freedom Distillery location, the groundbreaking ceremony took place this past weekend, keeping a special connection to Veterans Day. The monument will spotlight the steel beam as its main point of focus. It will also feature an interactive fountain and copper recovered during the recent Statue of Liberty renovation.

American Distillery 5

The retired Green Berets have set up shop in St. Pete, which serves as a close-knit hub for many of the military community including retired vets and their families. After years spent serving together in the military, they've settled down with families and are tackling civilian life. However, they often talked about a lingering need - a common goal or objective that would keep them united even after their time in the military. That dream was prompted during a group trip to Yosemite where they visited a small craft brewery. While there, the men fell hard for the science, art, and discipline of creating small-batch craft spirits. The life-long friends had found a way to stay connected through a shared purpose, a method to ease into life as civilians, and a push to live the American dream that they had so vigilantly defended.

After several years learning techniques from experts in whiskey hot spots such as Kentucky, Tennessee, Ireland, and Scotland, American Freedom Distillery has mastered their signature spirit - Horse Soldier Wheated Bourbon Whiskey. The liquor is named after the elite group of horseback-mounted special ops teams leading the charge in Northern Afghanistan after the 9/11 tragedy. The bottle label features an image of the America's Response Monument, a memorial dedicated to the Special Forces heroes, and a special run of the whiskey will feature bottles formed in molds made of steel salvaged from the Twin Towers. The distillery and adjoining restaurant, America Neat Grill and Whiskey House, is anticipated to open early in the new year.

At PartnerShip, we are dedicated to moving each and every shipment safely and securely. But, sometimes there are very special cases that really stand out above the rest. It's not every day that you ship a piece of history. Want to stay connected so you can keep on top of what we are working on at PartnerShip? Follow us on Facebook!

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2018 Holiday Shipping Schedule

November 9, 2018 at 8:56 AMLeah Palnik
Holiday Shipping Schedule 2018

There’s no way around it – shipping during the holiday season can get hectic. Whether you’re sending packages to customers or shipping out several pallets, the holidays can affect your transit times. To help you prepare for this busy time of year we’ve compiled your important need-to-know dates for some common carriers.

Holiday schedules for LTL freight carriers
Before you schedule your shipment, make sure to account for the days your selected carrier will be closed. Below are some common freight carriers and their holiday schedules for the 2018 season:

  • YRC Freight will be closed November 22-23, December 24-25, and December 31-January 1
  • XPO Logistics will be closed November 22-23, December 24-25, and January 1
  • Old Dominion will be closed November 22, December 24-25, and January 1; it will have limited operations on November 23 and December 31
  • New Penn will be closed November 22-23, December 24-25, and January 1; it will have limited operations on December 31
  • Pitt Ohio will be closed November 22-23, December 24-25, and January 1
  • Reddaway will be closed November 22-23, December 24-25, and January 1
  • Dayton Freight will be closed November 22-23, December 24-25, and January 1
  • R&L Carriers will be closed November 22, December 25, and January 1
  • Estes will be closed November 22-23, December 24-25, and January 1
  • Central Transport will be closed November 22, December 25-26, and January 1; it will have limited operations November 23, December 24, and December 31
  • Roadrunner will be closed November 22-23, December 24-25, and January 1
  • Clear Lane Freight Systems will be closed November 22-23 and December 24-25
  • FedEx Freight will be closed November 22-23 and December 24-25, and January 1; it will have limited operations December 31
  • Holland will be closed November 22-23 and December 24-25, and January 1
  • New England Motor Freight will be closed November 22-23 and December 24-25, and January 1
  • AAA Cooper will be closed November 22-23 and December 24-25, and January 1
  • ArcBest will be closed November 22-23, December 24-25, and January 1
  • UPS Freight will be closed November 22-23, December 24-25, and January 1

Important dates to note for your small package shipments
As for your small package shipments, make sure you’re aware of the peak surcharges that UPS and FedEx will be applying. UPS will be instituting an additional surcharge on residential ground shipments from November 18 through December 1 and then again December 16-22. Unlike its competitor, FedEx won’t be applying a similar peak surcharge. Both carriers, however, are charging more for larger packages or packages that necessitate additional handling. FedEx will apply these surcharges November 19-December 24, while UPS will be applying these charges November 18-December 22.

For your FedEx small package shipments, check out the last days to ship, review important information on the money-back guarantee, and refer to the 2018 holiday schedule below.

FedEx Holiday Schedule 2018

PartnerShip holiday schedule
If you need help with a last minute shipment during this busy time of year or have any questions, we're here to help. Keep in mind, PartnerShip will be closed so we can enjoy time with our families November 22-23, December 24-25, and January 1. From our families to yours – happy holidays!

Just-In-Time Delivery Options You Need to Consider

November 7, 2018 at 10:46 AMLeah Palnik
just-in-time delivery options you need to consider

If you have freight that can’t afford to wait, just-in-time delivery can sometimes feel like a gamble. Will the carrier deliver on time? Will my freight be safe? Will it cost me an arm and a leg? Knowing your options before the need arises can make all the difference.

Many carriers will offer expedited or guaranteed LTL services. These vary based on transit times and delivery windows. Guaranteed services come at an additional fee and you can typically choose between morning delivery or end-of-day delivery. Expedited LTL freight services help to shave off one or two days from standard transit times. However, sometimes hot loads require even more assurances.

For just-in-time delivery, dedicated moves by sprinter vans, cargo vans, or straight trucks can often be a smarter option. Cargo vans and sprinter vans are great for moving smaller loads for short distance trips. Straight trucks are ideal for medium sized loads and can handle longer trips. Since these vehicles vary from your traditional tractor trailer, it’s important to be aware of their capacity:

  • Cargo van capacity is typically 2,000-5,000 lbs. and up to 8 ft.
  • Sprinter van capacity is typically 3,000-5,000 lbs. and up to 12 ft.
  • Straight truck capacity is typically up to 12,500 lbs. and up to 22 ft.

Advantages of expedited ground services
Capacity is just one way that dedicated vans and straight trucks differ from your typical freight services. Expedited ground services have some significant advantages for just-in-time deliveries:

  • You can get time definite delivery. Pick-up and delivery times are more accurate because your load is moved on a dedicated vehicle and often served by team drivers.
  • Your freight has less risk of damage. Your freight stays on the same vehicle the entire way and doesn’t share the space with other freight.
  • Your freight moves fast. Because of their size, vans and straight trucks can be loaded faster, can move faster, and aren’t limited by the same amount of restrictions that tractor trailers are.

Are these services right for your just-in-time freight?
Like any freight service, just-in-time delivery options aren’t a one size fits all. There are some types of loads that are better candidates for dedicated vans than others. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Size. What are the dimensions of your freight and how much does it weigh? Since sprinter vans and cargo vans are smaller than your typical tractor trailer, you need to know if your load will fit.
  • Destination. How far does your freight need to travel? Cargo vans and sprinter vans are better suited for shorter distance trips. Are you delivering to an area that’s hard to reach? Due to their small size and few restrictions, vans have better accessibility.
  • Delivery requirements. Do you have a specific delivery window you need to meet or do you have some flexibility? Shipping in a van will give you more control since the move is dedicated.
  • Risk of damage. Are you shipping fragile cargo? If safety is a significant concern, using a dedicated van can give you peace-of-mind. There are less stops and less freight on the vehicle to worry about shifting and impacting your cargo.

Shipments for manufacturing businesses are often good candidates for just-in-time delivery with a cargo van, a sprinter van, or a straight truck. With production efficiency being extremely important, these services can help keep an assembly line running by delivering a replacement part or new equipment exactly when they are needed. Manufacturers can also save a significant amount of money by having raw materials delivered right when they are needed instead of dealing with storage costs.

Another situation where dedicated vans or straight trucks can solve just-in-time delivery needs is with trade show shipments. Convention centers often have specific receiving times and restrictions that can result in hefty fees if not followed. Even worse, if your exhibit materials don’t arrive in time for the show or show up damaged, it can be hard to recover. No exhibitor wants to make an investment into a trade show only to be left without their booth materials.

Just-in-time delivery carriers and brokers
If you think you could benefit from just-in-time delivery with a dedicated van or straight truck, you need to work with the right partners. Not all freight brokers have relationships with carriers that have cargo vans, sprinter vans, or straight trucks in their fleet. Working with a broker that can’t offer these services can limit your options – and when you have a hot load, there’s nothing worse.

The carriers your broker works with also need to be reliable and extremely responsive. Make sure your broker has standards in place that require the carriers they work with to have a history of meeting delivery expectations.

Overall, a quality freight broker should help you ship smarter. When you work with our team at PartnerShip, you only have to make one call for all of your freight needs. We understand the urgency of your just-in-time freight and we know how to find you the delivery options that are best suited for your needs and budget. Contact us today for a free quote.


Not using the right service for your freight is just one thing that could be hurting your bottom line. Download our free white paper to make sure you're not making any of these common mistakes!
The 5 Most Common Freight Shipping Mistakes

Picking Your Pallet Type: How to Best to Support Your Freight

October 25, 2018 at 11:55 AMJen Deming
Picking Your Pallet Blog Post

Not all pallet types are created equal. While it's always smart to properly palletize your freight shipments, construction style and material can vary more than you'd expect. Some structures are better suited for certain types of loads. Before you can understand the best way to organize and stack your freight on a pallet, it's helpful to know the advantages and disadvantages of each type, so that you can better secure your freight and protect yourself against potential damage and loss.

Pallet Structure Types: Stringer vs Block
A stringer pallet is a pallet structure that uses "stringers" (2x4 or 3x4 pieces of board) sandwiched between the top and bottom decks to help support the weight of the load. Sometimes, stringer pallets are notched along the bottom deckboard to allow for partial fork lift entry on all sides. Otherwise, typical construction can limit mobility via forklift.

A block pallet uses around 4-12 blocks of solid wood or plastic to support the weight of the shipment resting on the top deckboard. Because the pallet construction uses multiple pieces with open spaces at the bottom, there is better allowance for forklift entry on all four sides, allowing for easier lift and mobility.

Now that we've covered the two basic pallet structures, shippers need to understand the differences in construction components  so your valuable freight doesn't get damaged. Different industries and commodities require different specifications based on the load. There are 4 primary material groups when it comes to pallet types: wood, plastic, metal, and corrugated paper. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages regarding cost, durability, availability, and sustainability.

Wood Pallets
Wooden or plywood pallets are the most recognizable and commonly used pallet type for a wide variety of industries.

  • Advantages: These pallets are the cheapest and also easiest to customize for a commodity's specific needs. They are typically reusable and can hold up in multiple transits. If they are damaged in transit, wooden pallets are very easy to repair.  They are easy to stack, and the used wooden materials are popular to re-purpose for mulch, paper, and other project construction.
  • Disadvantages: Wooden pallets become fragile after carrying heavier loads and are at risk to weathering, splitting, and splintering. This pallet type can be heavy and therefore more costly to ship. Wood is difficult to clean and porous, growing both bacteria and mold, so food, beverages, and chemicals aren't ideal commodities to ship using this type of pallet.

Plastic Pallets
Notably more expensive than wood, plastic pallets are a great all-around option for those shippers willing to shell out a bit more.

  • Advantages: While being the most lightweight of available pallet material options, plastic is still super durable and ideal for heavy loads. The material is easy to clean (safe for transport of food products) and are generally stress, heat, and weather resistant. Plastic pallets are easily recyclable and can be quickly ground down and turned into new pallets. Since they are often made of a single piece with no screws or other hardware, they can be safer to handle than standard wooden pallets.
  • Disadvantages: Plastic pallets are pretty inflexible. If they break or crack, it isn't cost efficient to fix, and they have to be melted down and remolded entirely. Because of this, and the effort that goes into making them, they are at a distinctly higher price point than some other pallet types.

Metal Pallets
Strong and resilient, this premium option is one the the least common pallet types, but a very sturdy alternative for certain industries.

  • Advantages: Metal (often aluminum) pallets are a great option used for transporting heavy goods because they are the sturdiest and most secure alternative. They are also excellent for businesses moving foodstuffs because of sanitation and safety. They do not break down or rot easily, and are not susceptible to warping or splintering like wood. They are less easily recyclable, but can still be melted down and reused.
  • Disadvantages: Up-front initial costs for the purchase of metal pallets is very high. While very durable, these pallets are also extremely heavy, so keep in mind the actual transportation cost may be higher as well.

Corrugated Paper Pallets
As the newest pallet type on the block, this environmentally friendly option is becoming more popular across a variety of industries.

  • Advantages: Corrugated paper pallets are lightweight but still strong enough for moderate shipments and typically less expensive than more commonly found wooden pallets. They are completely recyclable and transportation costs are typically lower due to their weight. Because they are intended to be "single use" by nature, they are more sanitary than wooden and plastic pallets.
  • Disadvantages: Paper pallets cannot withstand extreme weather conditions, and they are more easily damaged by forklifts and during loading/unloading. Because they are not very reusable, while they are cheap, replacement costs can get pretty high if you are shipping frequently.

While it's pretty common knowledge that you can better protect your freight by palletizing your shipments, it may come as a surprise to many shippers that there are so many different pallet types. Advances in the construction of the basic pallet have greatly improved both durability and cost. Pallet building materials and the engineering of the structure can literally make or break your load. If you would like to learn more about how to best package and palletize your freight, download our free white paper below!

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Common Accessorial Fees Explained

October 22, 2018 at 1:37 PMLeah Palnik

Additional services required outside of the standard shipping and receiving procedures result in additional fees called “accessorial fees” to cover the extra costs incurred by the LTL carrier. These fees make up just one part of your freight costs, but can be a challenge to account for since they are often applied after the shipment has been delivered. We’ve compiled a list of common accessorial charges with a brief description of each, so you can learn how to plan for them and avoid them when possible.

  • Lift Gate Service
    When the shipping or receiving address does not have a loading dock, manual loading or unloading is necessary. A lift gate is a platform at the back of certain trucks that can raise and lower a shipment from the ground to the truck. Having this feature on trucks requires additional investment by an LTL carrier, hence the additional fee.

  • Inside Pick Up/Inside Delivery
    If the driver is required to go inside (beyond the front door or loading dock) to pick up or deliver your shipment, instead of remaining at the dock or truck, additional fees will be charged because of the additional driver time needed for this service.

  • Residential Service
    Carriers define a business zone as a location that opens and closes to the public at set times every day. If you are a business located in a residential zone (among personal homes or dwellings), or are shipping to or from a residence, the carrier may charge an additional residential fee due to complexity in navigating these non-business areas.

  • Collect On Delivery (COD)
    A shipment for which the transportation provider is responsible for collecting the sale price of the goods shipped before delivery. The additional administration required for this type of shipment necessitates an additional fee to cover the carrier's cost.

  • Oversized Freight
    Shipments containing articles greater than or equal to twelve feet in length. Since these shipments take up more floor space on the trailer, additional fees often apply.

  • Fuel Surcharge
    An extra charge imposed by the carriers due to the excessive costs for diesel gas. The charge is a percentage that is normally based upon the Diesel Fuel Index by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

  • Advance Notification
    This fee is charged when the carrier is required to notify the consignee before making a delivery.

  • Limited Access Pickup or Delivery
    This fee covers the additional costs required to make pickups or deliveries at locations with limited access such as schools, military bases, prisons, or government buildings.

  • Reweigh and Reclassification
    Since weight and freight class determine shipment base rates, carriers want to make sure the information on the BOL is accurate. If the carrier inspects a shipment and it does not match what was listed, they will charge this fee along with the difference.

Your PartnerShip dedicated team of shipping experts is here to help you navigate the many nuances of LTL freight accessorials fees to determine which services you do or do not need and ensure the most cost effective price. Carriers generally publish a document called the "Rules Tariff 100" which provides a list of current accessorial services and fees. PartnerShip representatives are well versed in these documents and are happy to help with any questions you may have. 

Want a more in-depth look into freight accessorial fees and how to avoid or offset the added costs? Check out our free white paper

The Complete Guide to Freight Accessorials