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What You Need for Domestic LTL Truck Shipment Quote

So you want to have the right information ready to go when asking a trucking company or other carrier service for a rate quote?

Look, I'll be honest, I'm not a logistics expert but I do know a bit about getting a price for transportation of goods within the United States. This process really does not apply to international shipments worldwide. Overseas exports and imports require additional information for transport that I won't include here.

Also, this is best suited for domestic (USA) LTL (less than truckload) shipments using common carrier trucking service.

Some transport services need more information, some need less, some need more specific information than I detail here. They will talk you through this process if this doesn't give you everything you need. That said, if you have this information below, you'll be off to a good start. Check with your preferred carrier or third party logistics company and if there is some other freight information they need they'll tell you.

These are the things at a minimum your carrier will want to know when you ask them to quote what it will cost you to ship goods via truck.

1. The address the goods are shipping from (typically they just need origin zip code)

2. The destination the goods are shipping to (typically they just need the destination zip code)

3. The gross weight of your shipment

4. Dimensions of pallets (height of load on pallet included) or packaging if floor loaded. This is especially needed if not shipped on a 48 x 40 (standard US) pallet.

5. Any special handling. This would include the need for the truck to have a life gate, refrigeration, basically anything out of the ordinary to load and protect the product. One rule we have is that we can not combine food product with other products with strong odors, that would be another example of special handling.

6. Probably this falls into special handling but let them know if the product is flammable, corrosive, etc any kind of hazard danger rating.

7. The amount of pallets / drums / boxes / packages.

8. Freight class. If you already know the freight class of the goods, tell the carrier who is quoting. It'll be a big help and will clarify some of the questions above. Freight classes are categorized from 50 to 500 and are established by the National Motor Freight Classification Tariff. Freight class helps carriers determine how much they charge you. Freight class takes the likeliness of your shipment being damaged, value of shipment, how easy it is to load and the size of shipment into consideration.

If you are unsure of your freight class there are plenty of websites out there that will give you guidance. The best resource though may be the trucking company or 3rd party logistics service themselves. They should be able to guide you through this and will save you some time especially if you trust they won't put you needlessly into a higher (and more expensive) class. The advantage of having your transport company quote this is that your goods are less likely to be reclassified. If you guess wrong and give your freight carrier the wrong class they might discover your error and then reclassify it to the correct class. You might wind up paying more than what was quoted.

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