Shipping and Receiving Guide
LESS THAN TRUCKLOAD SHIPMENTS
Less Than Truckload (LTL) carriers typically transport shipments that
are under 10,000 pounds. Shipments from several different customers
are consolidated onto one trailer.
The rules and regulations of interstate shipping can sometimes
seem overwhelming in the deregulated environment we now live in. There
is much to understand
to keep things running smoothly.
For instance, you will need to know
how your product is defined by
the trucking industry, how to complete important shipping documentation
and the right ways to package and secure your freight. You will also
want to evaluate the variety of options that are available to you
for getting your freight to its destination as quickly and reliably as
This simple guide to shipping and receiving was designed
with you in mind to help you and the people at your business master
more common rules, regulations, and practices that go along with
successful shipping and receiving which can be crucial for businesses
We are sure that you will find the information and tips useful.
MOTOR FREIGHT CLASSIFICATION BOOK
The National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) is a publication
for motor carriers that contain rules, descriptions, and ratings
commodities moving in commerce. The publication is used to classify
freight for rating
In the world of interstate shipping, different types
of products are defined according to their makeup. Each product definition
a classification. The class of your freight plays a prominent
role in calculating how much your carrier will charge you for
Freight classes are catalogued in the National Motor Freight
Less than truckload carriers are compensated
on a price per hundred pound basis. The NMFC assigns one of eighteen
classifications for each item shipped; ranging from class
50 (slab steel) to class
(ping pong balls). The classes and weight breaks are illustrated
below. Rates are structured so that as the weight of your
the price per hundred pounds decreases. For very light shipments,
most less than truckload carriers will state a minimum charge
for the service.
Historically, the pricing for all classes
of freight was expressed as a percentage of the rate for class 100.
assigned a classification of 70 would pay 70% of the price
(per hundred pounds)
for a class 100 rate. While this proportional relationship
no longer reflects exact percentages, it does allow a comparison
of the relative
expense of shipping one product versus another.
four characteristics of every article of freight that are analyzed
to determine the NMFC classification.
In order of
- DENSITY- Rates are expressed on a price per
hundred pound basis so therefore the greater the density of a
hundred pounds will be.
- LIABILITY- The value of the
product, susceptibility of theft, susceptibility to damage, and to
into play in determining
the exposure to potential liability the carrier
will incur in transporting this commodity.
- STOWABILITY- How freight
stacks in a trailer. Carriers will load freight high and tight in
a trailer to best
facilitate the careful
and safe movement
of product. Freight that does not stack well
can increase the
chances of a freight claim.
- HANDLING EASE- How
easy it is for a carrier to move product on and off trailers and
across their shipping
often times require special handling and result
in increased costs.
Besides defining commodity
classes, the NMFC also assigns item numbers to each type of commodity.
The item number
not only to
the commodity itself, but to its; packaging,
material from which the
commodity is made, and other considerations.
The NMFC is an excellent reference book for the transportation professional.
shipper and carrier
responsibilities. The NMFC
- A list of carriers who participate
in the NMFC
- Descriptions of each item/commodity
- Rules specifically for shippers
- Packaging requirements
- Rules of handling claims for loss and
BEFORE YOU SHIP YOUR
- Prepare your packaging-
All goods should be protected
with the NMFC.
every piece clearly and completely- Complete
addresses on each
piece to ensure that
- Complete a bill
of lading- The bill
of lading is a
and the carrier.
name and address
of both the shipper and
the consignee, a
description of the product
quantity, class and
who is paying the
freight charges, along
with any special
a carrier- Carriers are usually
on the goods
you are shipping,
destined, the transit
and the costs
Diversified Transportation Services
with you to ensure
that the carrier
selected will be
- Place a
pick up- Once you confirm
the pick up with
Most carriers will have
a truck at
the same day.
The earlier you call,
more likely you
a same day pick
up. Our dispatcher
your bill of
lading to ensure that
handle your shipment.
THE BILL OF LADING
Your bill of lading is an important document. It is a contract
and it acts as a receipt for goods being transported. Take the time
out the bill of lading completely and correctly, since this will
help ensure error free delivery to your customer. A correct bill
will also help ensure that you are invoiced accurately for the services
Diversified Transportation Services can provide bills of
lading for you. They are available in the forms section on our web
be obtained from either your sales representative or our operations
As a courtesy, our operations department can either
fax or email a completed bill of lading for your shipment. Please review
of lading carefully
for accuracy and modify them as needed before signing them in preparation
of tendering the freight to the carrier. Diversified Transportation
Services makes no representation as to the accuracy of the information
on the bill of lading. You will be responsible to confirm the accuracy
of the information on the bill of lading before you release your
shipment to the trucking company.
Correct paperwork saves money. Even minor changes a carrier must make to shipping
documents may incur charges. Avoid these by being 100% correct on your bill
How a Freight Rate is Calculated: How Much Will it Cost?
are based on many factors, including:
- The distance the shipment is
- The shipment's weight
- The shipment's density
- The commodity's susceptibility to damage
- The value of the commodity
- The commodity's ability to be loaded and
The sample rate matrix below illustrates
how a carrier's rate table might look for rates between two zip codes.
are indicated across
the top. The classes are listed down the left side.
in the sample matrix how the rates increase as the class goes up. Also
note how the rates decrease as the weight break increases. There
is a similar rate table for every origin/designation zip code combination
serviced by a carrier. (C = 100 pounds, M = 1000 pounds)
Avoid billing corrections. Contact your representative to discuss
the NMFC and your product's classification.
Preparing Your Package
Proper packaging is a must. Don't ship your goods without proper
protection. Many claims and damages arise from improper packaging --
errors may eliminate or reduce your carrier's liability.
below should help you visualize the best way to package and secure
When possible, heavy, bulky items should be placed on pallets
for improved handling. To maximize carton strength, stack cartons on
vertically. You can secure cartons to a pallet with banding, shrink-wrap,
or breakaway adhesive.
Cartons should be stacked squarely on the
skid, with no overhang. Box flaps and corrugations should face up.
Make the top surface as
Stacking strength is lost when pallets are improperly loaded.
|Damage can occur if cartons overhang
the pallet, because there
is no support
for the freight in transit.
|Damage can occur when a pallet doesn't have
a flat top surface.
Place single containers on
an outside corner or ship them loose.
|Loads made from different size
containers may not be uniform
to have unit strength.
|Pallet overhang loses up to
32% of carton
|Interlocked pattern loses up to
50% of carton
|Misalignment loses up to 30%
of carton strength.
Save money. If you ship many small shipments consolidate them. Try
banding or stretch wrapping them onto a pallet. Your cost per hundred
will generally go down.
Shipping labels must be placed on every piece of your shipment.
The shipper and consignee information must match the bill of lading information
exactly, and your labels must be legible and complete.
Ideally, you should
place labels securely on both the long and short
sides of each piece. DOT hazardous material labels are required when
shipping DOT hazardous materials.
Unless specifically provided for elsewhere in the NMFC, address markings
must be located approximately as shown in the following examples. The
location shown indicates the top, a side, or an end. If more than one
location is shown, you may choose which one to use.
Receiving Freight: Clear Delivery
Receiving freight can be as easy as sending it if you
follow a few steps:
- Stay in contact with your supplier to find out when your
was shipped, what carrier it was given to, and an approximate arrival
- When the shipment is delivered, inspect it immediately for
obvious signs of damage.
- Compare the number of shipping units
received to the number listed on the delivery receipt.
- Sign the
delivery receipt. Be sure to make note of any and all signs of
possible damage as well as the number of pieces you are revieving.
driver will help you receive your shipment and answer your questions.
While the driver is there, compare the pieces of freight you are
receiving to the delivery receipt. If condition and quantity of
your freight is
acceptable, the driver will ask you to sign the delivery receipt. The
driver will give you a copy, and take the original signed copy with him/her
(as proof of delivery) for his/her employer's records.
A signed delivery
receipt with no exceptions, is called a "clear
delivery." Clear deliveries mean that there were no shortages or
visible damage at the time of delivery.
An invoice for the shipment will
be sent to the appropriate party soon after pickup or delivery has been
made, depending on whether the shipment
is prepaid or collect. Questions regarding the amounts shown on the bill
should be directed to your sales representative.
If a shipment is either
short or damaged, you should still accept the delivery. It's the
duty of the shipper and the consignee to mitigate
or minimize the extent of the loss. After you accept the shipment, take
steps to protect the shipment from further loss and file a claim for
the actual shortages or damages involved promptly.
Eliminate extra charges. Be ready to accept the shipment when the
carrier comes. Most carriers will add a "second delivery" charge if
they must make another trip to your business.
Claims and Exceptions
Although carriers strive to make sure every shipment arrives
intact and undamaged, problems do occur. If all or part of your shipment
or damaged, contact your carrier to file a claim.
All claims (damage
and shortage) must be filed within nine months of delivery. After
nine months, the carrier cannot accept liability. If
an entire shipment is lost and never delivered, the claim must be filed
within nine months after the shipment should be reasonably delivered.
Don't delay shipments at the border with improper documentation.
Shipments originating in Canada are subject to Canadian bill
of lading contract terms
and conditions. Contact your carrier's representative for more details.
Emergencies happen. From time to time, you may
find yourself up against a delivery date that just can't be missed.
Perhaps a factory needs parts
in a hurry to avoid production delays. Or maybe your customer is a
just-in-time manufacturer for whom tight control of inventory movement
For shipments like this, Diversified Transportation Services has a
solution. Contact us to find the right service that matches your time-sensitive
Save money. If it doesn't need to be there the next day, don't ship it overnight!
In other words, whether you are the shipper or the consignee, communicate
with your customer or supplier to make sure you both understand the shipping
Easy Access to Critical Information
Diversified Transportation Services puts customer service at
your fingertips! Just call us or log on to get rate quotes, keep track
of your shipments,
The Shipper's Info can show you how to:
- Get service routing information
and facility phone numbers
- Inquire on the status of a cargo claim
- Get up-to-date news highlights
from Diversified Transportation Services and the trucking industry
- Request proofs of delivery by PRO number
- And more!
If you need more specific information or have questions
about the topics covered in this guide, your local Diversified Transportation
Services customer service representative will be happy to help you. Call
any time to talk to one of our courteous, knowledgeable transportation
Improve your company's customer service. Visit us online
for shipment status and other inquiries.