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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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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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.

Key Considerations for Shipping High-Value, High Risk Freight

April 27, 2022 at 1:25 PMJen Deming

If you're shipping high-risk freight, you know that your load is valuable and easily-targeted by cargo thieves.  Understanding which factors can impact the security of your freight is the first step in protecting yourself against theft. In our newest video, we take a look at the three most important variables smart shippers must address to safeguard their high-risk loads and minimize loss.

5 Freight Broker Benefits You Can’t Afford to Pass Up

March 23, 2022 at 9:45 AMJen Deming
5 Freight Broker Benefits You Can’t Afford to Pass Up

If you’re shipping freight, then it’s likely you’ve heard the term ‘freight broker’. But maybe you’ve wondered what they actually do or why you should bother using them. A freight broker acts as an intermediary between a shipper and a carrier - they help shippers find quality transportation providers for their loads. Brokers, also known as 3PLs, can manage every step of the shipping process and help alleviate some work, especially if you’re low on time and manpower. Whether or not you consider yourself a seasoned freight shipper, here are five freight broker benefits that will help level-up your shipping procedures.

Benefit #1 – Freight brokers offer guidance if you’re just getting started

If your business needs have shifted recently, and you need to start using services for larger loads, your shipping department may be a little stuck getting past the basics. Stepping up from shipping small packages to shipping freight is an entirely different ball game. Packaging and pricing strategies differ, as well as the amount of work your team needs to put in during loading. Now is the time to look for assistance from experts, because by going in blindly, you may encounter a variety of pitfalls that result in damaged shipments or expensive bills.

Freight brokers can help get you started off on the right foot by getting to know your business and what you need to ship. They can assist by researching freight classes and determining any special equipment or packaging needs. A great broker can also help with quoting and booking procedures, by scheduling pick-ups and getting all parties any necessary paperwork. After pick-up, they will proactively track your shipment and provide updates, so you can stay on top of your freight’s progress. 

New freight shippers can be surprised how many checkpoints a load will encounter throughout transit. And with that, how many chances something may go wrong. For issues along the way, such as transit delays, inspections, or missed deliveries, freight brokers can troubleshoot quickly. Fixing these obstacles can take a lot time, a bit of run-around, and quite a few phone calls, so working with a broker can help shippers avoid that stress entirely. Many freight challenges stem from a lack of communication between shippers, consignees, and carriers, so brokers can act as conduit between the three and clear up matters quickly.

Benefit #2 – Brokers are your inside access to better freight rates

If you could save money on your freight shipping, you’d do it right? Better prices sound appealing, but it can be hard for small and medium-sized businesses to have enough clout with a carrier to get great discounts. 3PLs have strong shipping volumes, and working alongside one can be that extra boost you need to access better pricing. Freight brokers can both leverage carrier relationships for discounts (passing them on to you), and may have a broader pool of carriers that offer budget-friendly options. 

To really evaluate where you are at with your freight spend, brokers can also conduct audits on your current procedures. By looking at your past invoices, brokers can identify any areas that you may be spending more than average and check for opportunities to cut costs or increase efficiency. For example, by reviewing accessorial charges like recurring liftgate fees that are being implemented by the carrier, a quality 3PL can help identify potential solutions to eliminate or offset those costs. This may mean suggesting equipment solutions at your warehouse, or looking into alternate carriers who charge less for extra services. There are many ways you can manage your freight budget, but without expert assistance, you may be stuck wasting money while trying to find solutions.

Benefit #3 – Brokers are your advocates in the case of freight claims

Freight claims are a dirty word in this business, and a top stressor for any shipper. Should you find yourself in that predicament, however, working with a freight broker can give you a leg up during the claims process. Freight carriers can be difficult to work with – their primary goal is to limit payouts whenever possible. Because there are so many steps and policies you have to follow, it’s best to have an expert on your side who’s done this a few times before.

A broker can often help set you up for success by making sure you have as many pieces of documentation backing up your claim as possible. They can educate you on the process and make sure you’re submitting the proper paperwork and adhering to any necessary deadlines. A qualified broker can help you understand the differences between carrier liability and freight insurance, and be your advocate during any negotiations and follow-up. 

Benefit #4 – Freight brokers give you access to more quality carriers

Freight brokers work with many different carriers, and by using a broker, your pool of shipping options broadens greatly. This is a great benefit on a variety of levels. For example, if you’re experiencing consistent issues like damages, timeliness, and reliability with one of your carriers, having access to some new options could be just what you need to eliminate the problem. 

With the worldwide freight crisis hanging overhead, it’s also a smart move to have as many carrier options available as possible. Many shippers have found it challenging to secure a quality carrier that meets their needs and budget. The more options you have, the more likely your freight is going to be picked-up and delivered on time. 

Benefit #5 – If you’re stumped on a load, they’ve got options

Freight brokers are experts at putting out fires - they’ve seen it all. If you have a shipment that needed to be delivered yesterday, brokers can help navigate expedited options that balance service level and budget needs. Or maybe your load needs a specialized piece of equipment like a box truck or flatbed. A freight broker will be able to quickly access a large pool of carriers to ensure you have the coverage you need. For any kind of tricky freight loads, a quality broker can help guide you through the process. 

The case for using a freight broker

Gaining the benefits associated with working alongside a freight broker can be a game-changer for your business. The ins-and-outs of freight shipping can be complicated, and while you can try to navigate them on your own, it’s always better to have an expert on your side. PartnerShip can help guide your team and help answer any questions you may have on whether working with a broker is right for your business.

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