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Knowing How to Handle These 4 Things Will Save You LTL Costs

by Hannah Cross, Operations Manager on May 11, 2017

less than truckload costs

Do you ever ship less-than-truckload (LTL) loads to trade show exhibit halls, construction zones or to a residential area? These are just a few of  the many unique deliveries you may encounter that could add additional charges to your shipment. It’s good to be aware of these costs, so you or your customers aren’t surprised if they appear on a future invoice.


I’ve been helping LPS’ customers navigate all kinds of shipping scenarios for some time now, and with this article, I’d like to share information you’ll find helpful when planning. I’ll review liftgate charges, limited access locations, convention center deliveries and construction zone area shipments.


Liftgate Charges


If you’re shipping a load that weighs more than 100 pounds and you don’t have the necessary equipment or tools to safely load or unload the truck on your own you may be required to use a liftgate, truck pickup or delivery. Liftgate charges can be anywhere from $50 to $100 depending on the carrier’s tariff.


The truck driver may help you unload, but they are technically not required to if the load is 100 pounds or more. In most cases, the driver would put the load on a liftgate, especially if the drop-off location doesn’t have a loading dock. For instance, we frequently pick up and deliver goods to various auto recyclers that have large warehouse or garage doors, yet, lack a trailer-high loading dock. The liftgate is then required in order to lower the pallets off of the truck and onto the ground where a forklift can then access the freight and move it inside.


A liftgate fee may also apply if a load in excess of 100 pounds, is picking up or delivering to a residential location.


Limited Access Locations


Sometimes you may have a limited access area where you can’t maneuver a 53-foot or 48-foot trailer with a liftgate for unloading the freight. In this scenario, we’ve arranged for a smaller truck to intercept the load and transfer the cargo. The intercept point can happen at a terminal or another convenient location. School zones, strip malls or storage facilities could also be challenging for large trailers.


Pro tip: When you know a delivery must be made to a limited access location, find out as much as you can about the site in advance.


Trade Shows and Convention Centers


Shipping trade show booths and related equipment to convention centers can offer its own set of challenges. Shipping to busy convention centers must be carefully planned and choreographed. Thousands of trucks can converge on a convention center as a show is being set up. To manage the chaos, trucks are assigned arrival and unloading times (appointments).


Truck unloading and booth set up are usually handled by union labor that charges by the hour. Some trade shows will also have “preferred” carriers it wants you to use. Plan ahead to make sure a show isn’t mandating specific carriers, or you’ll be unloading your truck and loading the shipment into another at a nearby parking lot.


Make sure your company’s booth number is on every crate, so workers know exactly where to place them in the warehouse and on the show floor, things like that. Large convention centers such as Chicago’s McCormick Place will have multiple shows operating concurrently.


If you’re working with a 3PL, choose a company with experience providing logistics support for trade shows. These firms, like LPS, know where the “potholes” lie and could save you a lot of money. The paperwork alone for trade shows is daunting. 


Construction Zone Deliveries


Occasionally, shippers may have to deliver loads to a construction site. If that happens, a carrier will assess you a construction zone fee of $50 or more. Sometimes these fees can be a surprise, such as when a customer was charged for orange cones in the parking lot. (Apparently, the presence of orange cones signified a construction zone.)


We eventually had the fees reversed after visiting the site, taking a few pictures and presenting the argument this wasn’t a construction zone.


Construction zones can be tricky because sometimes there isn’t a physical address. The address could be in the middle of a road that’s under construction. When this is the case, make sure you deliver the shipment at the agreed upon time—between 2 and 4 p.m., for example. If you mistakenly miss a delivery time, you could get hit with a redelivery charge.


Again, these are just a few of many unique circumstances you could encounter when arranging LTL shipments. Keep reading the LPS blog for ideas and insights on how to handle many for shipment types.



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