Is Shipping Consolidation Right for Your Company?

Published on
Dec 21, 2022
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A common goal for every shipper is to reduce costs and improve efficiency and speed—especially with consumer demand for same-day delivery. It’s also common to have partial (PTL) shipments that need to go out to meet said demand. Unless you have a highly specialized (and likely expensive) carrier, you’re probably shipping and paying for empty space. One solution is consolidated shipping. In this blog, we’ll break down exactly what shipping consolidation is and why it may be a good option for your company. Plus, we’ll discuss how Flock Freight can help you consolidate shipments in real time and optimize your supply chain.

What is shipping consolidation?

Shipping consolidation, also known as freight consolidation, combines multiple shipments into one full truckload (FTL). Typically, freight is picked up and brought to a consolidation warehouse in a central location for each shipment’s final destination. At that warehouse, the freight is unloaded, organized, and sent out for final delivery.While the article will focus on shipping consolidation via ground transportation, there are two other shipping consolidation methods:

  1. Air: Both the fastest and most expensive option, not to mention it emits far more CO2 than ground shipments.
  2. Ocean: Great for large shipments and cheaper than air. Shipping consolidated via ocean containers can be a great option for international shipments.

It’s important to note that ground is the cheapest option of the three, though it has the highest potential for delays.

Benefits of consolidated shipping

Consolidated shipping is picking up steam as a strategy for shippers due to its many advantages. By consolidating shipments, companies save more, move freight out in real time, and avoid freight class requirements. Here’s how:

Cost savings

The biggest way you’ll save with consolidated shipping is by only paying for the space your freight takes up, and you’ll share the shipping cost with the companies who are using the remaining space.

Move freight in real time

With consolidation, you can ship your freight out as soon as it’s ready—eliminating the need to worry about having enough warehouse space to store it. By having your freight stored at a consolidation warehouse, it can provide more flexibility with your own inventory.

No freight class requirements

Reclassification fees are becoming more common–and expensive. Consolidated shipments don’t require freight class, meaning there is no risk of incurring reclassing fees.

Drawbacks of consolidated shipping

Although shipping consolidation has a few advantages, there are still some challenges you may encounter. It’s time-consuming. The added step of consolidating and de-consolidating a shipment takes time. When your shipment arrives at the distribution center, it must be organized and sorted. The time this can take can vary and needs to be accounted for in your planning. It’s difficult to find a carrier. Finding a reliable and trustworthy carrier who is willing to deliver consolidated shipments can be hard to find. Since the consolidation process is not simple, carriers may shy away from consolidated shipments. It can also be difficult to find carriers willing to offer a fair price. It can result in damage and loss. Consolidating shipping can reduce the number of touchpoints a shipment has, but the process of consolidating and de-consolidating can still result in both damage and loss. Carriers will often try to squeeze shipments together onto a truck that don't fit on or stack things that shouldn’t be stacked resulting in damage.

Consolidate shipments with Flock Freight

When it comes to shipping consolidation, there are many services to choose from. The best one? FlockDirect®. Through this service, Flock Freight delivers on both the benefits of consolidated shipping while also solving the drawbacks. Flock Freight has a network of over 10,000 trusted carriers who are incentivized to move consolidated shipments by earning more per mile. Flock’s patented technology matches locations, schedules, and compatible shipments. Our technology combines the freight before pickup, creating a shared truckload (STL), that ensures your shipments move directly to their destinations.Additionally, you only pay for the space you use, know exactly when your shipment will arrive, and can move any size shipment. Let’s break these down further.

Only pay for the space you use

When you ship with Flock Freight, you only pay for the space you need—never wasting money on empty truck space.

Skip warehouses

With Flock Freight, your shipment won’t have to stop at a warehouse, limiting the chance of damage or loss, and leading to a faster delivery.

Know exactly when your shipment arrives

Track your shipments in real time and know exactly when your shipment will arrive. You’ll also have full control over pickup and delivery dates.

Move any size load with Flock

Literally any size load. Fragile, bulky, abnormal dimensions, floor-loaded, non-palletized, too big for PTL, but not too small to fill a full truck…the list goes on. Whatever you need, Flock can deliver. 😉

Is freight consolidation better for your business?

Shipping consolidation is a cost-saving and efficient way to combat supply chain challenges for any business—though it is most ideal for businesses that ship PTL frequently. The best way to know if freight consolidation is better for you is to try it out with a partner you can trust. Learn more about how you can save with Flock’s STL solution and start shipping today.