Transportation Tips | Consolidated Shipping vs. Designated Loads

Companies and individuals shipping goods frequently face a logistical dilemma. Should you send all your freight in a single designated full container load, or ship it as a component of a larger shipping order which includes other, unrelated freight? Pros and cons accompany both decisions.

Designated Loads

Today Americans often encounter the expression “designated loads” when evaluating the weight-bearing capabilities of various materials. A steel bridge may support trucks weighing up to a specific, limited amount of tonnage, for instance. Within the logistics industry, a customer’s “designated load” may (or may not) constitute a “full container” (or “FCL”) shipment.

Shipping all your goods together as the only items within a single, secure standard-sized shipping container holds some advantages. You won’t need to worry about opening, unpacking, and re-packing the shipment as it travels to its destination. Shipping can occur expeditiously and directly. If you ship a partial designated load, you may discover yourself paying very hefty shipping rates indeed for the luxury of sending only your goods within a container which could hold more items.

Consolidated Shipping

A growing number of shippers had discovered the benefits of consolidated shipping. Including more than one shipment within a single container or truckload helps smaller shippers take full advantages of the economies of scale. This is the same technique employed by cheap long distance moving companies transporting numerous loads of household goods. They simply pick up loads from 3-4 customers along a single moving route, then drop the loads at the moving destinations along the way, making the most efficient use of gas and time. Today sophisticated computer programs assist specialized shipping consulting companies and freight brokers in isolating the best, fastest routes and the most cost-effective commercial carriers for sending consolidated shipments across the nation and throughout the world.

Consolidated shipping does hold some disadvantages, however. First, this service may not exist in certain remote locations. If you need to send an order of widgets to a rural or wilderness destination outside the flow of commercial traffic patterns, you’ll likely obtain much faster service by dispatching a partial load in a designated container rather than awaiting a consolidation opportunity. Second, to take advantage of the cost-saving benefits of consolidation, it helps to work closely with a full-time shipping consultant. These firms have invested in high tech scheduling and logistical tools, allowing them to discover attractive money-saving opportunities for their customers.

Two Useful Ways to Ship Merchandise

Which method shipping suits your needs the best, consolidated shipping or designated loads? The answer proves highly individualized. It frequently depends upon the nature of the shipment, the ultimate destination and the availability of commercial carriers, storage depots, and packing and repacking services. Even the recent consolidation of some large transportation fleets may play a role in individual customer decision making within this developing field.

Today a staggering array of automated processes help ensure the timely arrival of shipped items: from fully Internet-connected warehouses to advanced digital tracking systems, logistics companies have benefited from the advent of the IoT (the “Internet of Things”). This streamlined technology promises to assist customers in enjoying even faster delivery networks in the future!


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