Your business needs to ship through a region known for maintaining below-freezing temperatures for several months on end. Unfortunately, your business does not have enough product to fill a truckload — which puts your shipped goods at even greater risk of sustaining freeze damage.
When you are shipping less than a truckload, or LTL, you need to take extra precautions to protect your items during the winter season. Here are a few tips to get you, your business and your products through the cold temperatures safely.
Work With LTL Carriers During Winter Months
During times of year when your freight is at risk of experiencing freezing temperatures, you might pivot your operations to take advantage of the knowledge and skill of LTL carriers. These carriers understand how to optimize their load, combining different shipments into the same container as a means of reducing cost, reducing environmental impact and improving efficiency. Thus, when you use LTL carriers, your freight is less likely to ship in a semi-empty trailer, and the fuller the trailer, the more time it will take for the interior to fall in temperature.
However, LTL carriers do make multiple stops to deliver their different loads at varying destinations. The additional time required for each stop might once again put your shipped goods at risk of freezing, especially considering that the trailer doors will be open to load and unload freight. To combat this, you should strive to work with LTL carriers who understand these risks and offer services to keep your shipped goods safe all winter long.
Using Protect From Freeze Services
High-quality LTL carriers will offer some type of freeze protection service during the winter months, allowing shippers of freeze-sensitive goods some peace of mind. This service guarantees that shipping containers will not fall below a certain temperature — and certainly will not freeze — during their journey. Warming methods can vary from carrier to carrier or depend on the distance to the destination; some may use extra insulation in their trailers and packaging while others might install heaters to keep freezing temperatures at bay.
Typically, freeze protection services add additional costs to your shipping expenses, though the extent of that cost will depend on the carrier. Some charge a flat rate per shipment while others calculate the cost using the weight of your shipped goods.
As you look for an LTL carrier partner, you should evaluate their pricing system to determine whether their freeze protection will fit in your shipping budget.
Scheduling Shipments Proactively
Some carriers do not operate on the weekends — and any freight they are carrying will sit at a standstill during Saturday and Sunday. In the winter, those extra days of no movement increase the chances of a dangerous and damaging freeze.
In addition to working with carriers to ensure transportation and delivery even over the weekend, you might try to plan your shipments to depart from your facilities early in the week, on Monday or Tuesday. Then, it is much more likely that your goods will arrive at their destination before the weekend.
If you struggle to plan shipments with such accuracy, you might benefit from working with a logistics partner. Experienced logistics companies have established relationships with carriers and can more adeptly negotiate rates for shipping, storage and freeze protection services, potentially saving your company a significant amount of money while keeping your freight safer from damage due to freezing.
Investing in Quality Packaging
Shippers have little control over the shipping process once their goods are in transit, but they do have full control over packaging. High-quality packaging designed to insulate against low temperatures can make all the difference between safe, undamaged goods and frozen goods, especially when you are shipping LTL.
In addition to insulating packaging, which should hold onto heat and prevent goods from dropping below freezing, you might consider adding freeze indicators within your packaging, which will help you determine whether your shipment did experience a freeze event. If your goods are damaged due to freezing, you can refuse to accept shipment and begin the process of filing damage claims with your carrier to mitigate your losses much more rapidly.
LTL shipping can be cost-effective and convenient, even in the wintertime when low temperatures can put freight at risk. By knowing how to navigate LTL shipping when temperatures drop, you can get your goods from here to there at less expense.