The name of the game in logistics is finding that precious middle ground of reduced cost without compromising quality or on-time delivery. When it comes to shipping pallets less than a full truckload, most shippers assume their only option is an LTL or less than truckload. However, a growing service is referred to as volume quotes.
Since the volume quote is generally considered a new type of over the road type of truck shipment, there are more questions or myths than accurate facts. To ensure you have the best access to factual data, here are a few facts about volume quotes and how they compare vs traditional LTL shipments.
Essentially, a volume LTL quote provides shippers with the benefits of a full truck load or partial truck load with the cost-savings often associated with less than truckload services. For the shipper, it provides added flexibility while the carrier benefits by filling gaps with existing LTL shipments to maximize space. In many ways, it’s a win/win situation for all parties involved. However, there are a lot of details that future volume quote recipients need to understand before considering this method.
• A Volume Quote would be considered as a single shipment that is greater than 5,000-pounds, six pallets or more, that will take up 12 to 32-linear feet of cargo container space. Sometimes carriers categorize these dimensions as partial truckloads, however, the volume quote requirements vary between carriers. One easy way to determine if a volume quote is warranted is if your shipment will take up 20 percent or more of the truckload.
• With Volume LTL Quotes the shipper will typically pay the rate for the actual space their commodity is consuming in that shipping lane. In most cases, it results in a lower shipment cost vs. an LTL shipment.
• Volume Quotes will usually be expedited quicker by a carrier – as they are basically filler for an existing route. They also tend to be dock-to-dock shipments and don’t often get off-loaded at a terminal.
A volume quote service is also beneficial to a shipping company. First, it provides services that other carriers will lose. While they typically don’t receive full value for the shipment, it does fill gaps in LTL shipments. Essentially, this is staying true to the economic concept of 75% of $100 is better than 100% of nothing. Plus, the carrier has the right of refusal – if the deal is not advantageous to the carrier they don’t have to accept the volume quote.
In a word – no. The Volume LTL Quote is not well known in the shipping industry. In fact, many carriers would prefer if the general public was not aware of their existence. The typical LTL shipment serves the needs for several customers on a daily basis, so it’s not going to be replaced by the Volume Quote of partial truckload anytime soon. Generally speaking, if you’re shipping less than six pallets, the standard LTL is your best option.
There are several differences between a volume quote and a standard less than truckload shipment. First, as we noted above, there are specific requirements for a volume quote. The volume rate may commence when 750 cubic feet of cargo space has been occupied. A volume quote offers a shipper multiple benefits over an LTL including:
• Cost: A volume discount by definition is provided to an entity for larger than normal purchases. For shippers, the volume quote is cost-effective because it also tends to save them from cubic capacity charges once the delivery has been made. Those charges are usually factored into the volume quote.
• Easy to Book: The Volume Quote can take less time to arrange and gain an estimate than a full truckload shipment, as it’s based on the availability of existing routes.
• Reduced Freight Damage: The Volume Quote shipment tends to be point-to-point, which means less opportunity for off-loading at a depot. Since most damage occurs during freight swapping from one container to another, the potential of damage is reduced with a volume quoted shipment.
Carriers and shippers alike can benefit from working with each other to plan volume quote shipments. While the volume quote is not offered by all carriers, a smart shipper can work with a proven 3PL provider to help them determine the best rates possible for each shipment.