Moving freight using full truckload shipments is one of the most economical choices for businesses. Still, that transportation option is not always the best choice since many partial shipments are typical within supply chains. Which leads to the question, how can I save money when transporting a partial load? The answer is simple, consolidated shipping.

Consolidated freight shipping combines several individual shipments going to the same geographical region into one truckload. Then when the truck arrives at the consolidated center, the loads are separated and shipped to their final destinations. The purpose of this mode of transportation is to offer a more affordable shipping option to businesses moving less than a full truckload of shipments. 

Continue reading to learn when to use consolidated shipping and how it compares to full truckload freight.

3 Reasons to Use Consolidated Freight Shipping 

Consolidated freight works well when you only have a few pallets. It’s a cost-effective and efficient option for both small and large companies. If you’re unsure if this is the best option, consider these reasons why consolidated shipping might make sense for your circumstance.

#1 You’re Paying for Unused Space 

If you’ve been paying for full truckload shipments, and there’s extra space, then you’re losing money. Whereas when consolidating your shipments, you only pay for the space you use. 

#2 You Want to Maintain Control During the Shipment Process

When consolidated shipments arrive at the drop-off location (before moving to their destination), the staff performs a quality control check. During this time, the team will inform you about any potential damage or problems. This allows you to handle the situation before it arrives to the customer. 

#3 You Need to Maintain Delivery Consistency 

Many consolidation centers give you the option to store inventory until it’s ready to ship. So, you can keep extra products at the center during high-demand shipping. Then when you’re ready to send a shipment, the freight is ready to go—allowing you to fulfill orders faster and arrive on time (or even early). 

Consolidated Freight vs. Full Truckload Freight 

The most significant difference between consolidated and full truckload (FTL) freight is whether you share the space with others. 

Although they do share some similarities, both options use semi-trucks, provide special services, and will ship using palletized freight or floor loaded. Review the breakdown below if you’re trying to determine which option is right for you. 

Transit Times

Consolidated: Stops at the consolidation center and then loaded onto a new vehicle for delivery. Unless expedited delivery is requested, transit times typically are longer than FTL. 

FTL: Ships directly, with minimal to no stops. 

How Cost is Calculated

Consolidated: Cost depends on:

  • Type of commodity 
  • Freight class
  • Special services 
  • Transport difficulty 
  • Trucking lanes

FTL: Cost depends on:

  • Freight class
  • Origin and destination
  • Shipment date
  • Truck capacity 
  • Trucking lanes

Types of Freight That Works Best

Consolidated: The freight that works well with this type of transportation is:

  • Less than 10 pallets 
  • 150-15,000 pounds 
  • Durable cargo 
  • Flexible pickup and delivery windows 

FTL: The freight that works well with this FTL is:

  • 10+ pallets
  • Over 15,000 pounds 
  • Fragile cargo 
  • Time-sensitive 
  • Specialty freight and needs a temperature-controlled or refrigeration truck 

Working with a First-Rate Carrier 

Whether you need consolidated or FTL shipping, finding a superior carrier is critical to ensure safe and on-time delivery. At Beitler Logistics Services (BLS), we continue to build partnerships to provide you with the best and most cost-effective transportation to virtually any market in the United States (see our nationwide coverage map here).  

Contact us to talk with a BLS team member to learn how we can assist with your transportation needs today.