People like to use the saying “patience is a virtue” but in this fast paced world it seems like an antiquated idea. We are now conditioned to expect an immediate response to most of life’s problems. Millennials, am I right?
The freight industry is a dinosaur in this regard. Especially the less-than-truckload (LTL) branch of the industry. Shipping LTL is not designed for instant gratification, in fact it is plagued by delays. Delays frustrating enough to make you yell “Where the hell is my freight?!”. Some of delays are avoidable and having a strong understanding of the differences in carriers can help to mitigate some types of delays.
However, there are some delays, like weather-related delays that are less avoidable. Knowing what you’re in for can really help you better anticipate what might be in store when it comes to delays. Let’s go over some common delays that can happen when shipping LTL.
Weather-Related Freight Delays
Mother Nature can be a vengeful lady. She can throw you curveballs that can really muck up your freight. Excessive rain or worse snow can slow drivers in transit to a snail’s pace. Bigger natural disasters like hurricanes can cause regional shutdowns for days at a time. Those slowdowns can have a ripple effect that can affect freight all over the country and if the storm is big enough and causes enough damage even further down the supply chain.
Most customers don't fully understand the scope of the freight industry and all the things that can cause delays, but weather-related delays are easier to understand than others.
Delivery Appointment Delays
This is an odd one. Some consignees (the person receiving the freight) require an appointment be made before they accept the freight. This is true for a lot of grocery warehouses and distribution centers.
Most carriers won’t schedule an appointment for delivery until the freight is on hand in their terminal. This usually means the delivery is usually pushed a day or even two days if they need to schedule with a software like Retalix. Delivering to a residential address will in most cases require an appointment as well. Be aware of these rules when adding a delivery appointment to a shipment.
Backed-up Terminal Delays
Think of LTL carriers' infrastructure like the nervous system in your body. You have main hub where the headquarters for the company is and usually its largest terminal and distribution is. The brain if you will. Then you have a whole bunch of smaller terminals and distribution centers spread out over the country that the trucks all feed into before they are dispatched out for deliveries.
Sometimes these terminals fall behind with getting all the shipments through on time, which causes a chain reaction and slows the whole system down. Little things like a dispatcher being sick or a broken forklift can really muck up the working of one of these terminals and slow a shipment down. There is little you can do on the shipper side of things to speed this process up. It’s a waiting game. Patience is key.
Shipwell can help!
These are just some of the things that can slow down the shipping process. A whole host of things can happen between pickup and delivery. The best rule of thumb is to take delivery dates with a grain of salt and understand that things can go wrong. LTL shipping is not for the impatient. The more flexible you are the more delightful an experience you will have.
And if you'd like to have a more delightful freight experience, you can reach out to us during normal business hours at 512-333-0898 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.