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Shared truckload: creating a bright future for freight shipping

06.25.2020 | By Justin Turner | 4 min. read

Shared truckload service creates supply chain efficiencies by combining freight from multiple shippers on one truck and moving it on a technology-optimized route

Shippers, do you have strict delivery requirements to meet? Have delays or accessorial fees haunted you in the past? What about damaged shipments, or worse, lost freight? How disappointing to deal with issues like these after investing precious resources to manufacture and distribute your products. Why not select a shipping mode that gives your freight its best chance of delivering on time and intact? It might prevent some difficult conversations with unhappy customers.

Carriers, do you find yourself hauling half-full trailers more than you’d like to? What if you could earn more by topping off your truck with freight from several shippers? Wouldn’t you want to maximize profitability if the job didn’t take you out of your way or leave a dent in your hours of service? There’s a way to increase your revenues and build efficiency into work that you’re already doing.

Shared truckload is the solution

Shared truckload (STL) takes a familiar concept (sharing) and applies it to the trucking industry to help shippers and carriers move freight on their own terms and create optimal shipping outcomes. By giving shippers the power to decide how their freight moves and incentivizing motor carriers to efficiently transport more shipments, the STL approach flips the outdated freight system on its head and offers an innovative alternative.

With shared truckload service, shipments that are traveling on a similar route move on the same truck. Freight travels directly from its pickup location to its destination — without passing through hubs or terminals. This process provides shippers, carriers, and the planet with more benefits than any other mode.

Reliable transit and cost savings for shippers

The shared truckload method enables shippers to deliver damage-free loads on time. With STL service, shippers share the cost and deck space of a full-size trailer and guarantee the efficiency of truckload (TL) service, minimizing delays. Plus, shipments never leave the truck until delivery, so the risk of damage is about zero. By keeping trucks full of freight from more than one shipper, the STL mode offers TL service at a better rate.

Higher earnings and untapped possibilities for carriers

Shared truckload service benefits carriers, too, maximizing their profits. STL shipping empowers carriers to fill their trucks to capacity with loads from multiple shippers and pays more than standard one-pick, one-drop truckload freight. By partnering with a freight broker that offers STL service, carriers can boost revenue streams in any economy.

The shared truckload method also supplies carriers with loads that they wouldn’t otherwise have access to, helping them grow their businesses. With STL transit, large and small TL carriers can choose from loads in the less-than truckload (LTL) market segment, where there’s little TL competition. There’s only one question left to answer: Why not play in a space that increases your fleet’s chances of filling entire trucks? The environment will thank you for it.

Greener shipping for the environment

Shared truckload is the most efficient freight shipping mode, and you need only to look at its environmental impact for proof. For context, transportation (the movement of vehicles) is the number one source of emissions in America, emitting 3.8 trillion pounds of carbon dioxide every year. Moreover, freight trucks account for 23% of American transportation and 6.67% of the nation’s annual carbon emissions. Shipping freight comes at a cost to the planet. From an environmental perspective, it’s never been more important for the trucking industry to make the most of deck space and fuel.

Luckily, shared truckload service optimizes trailer space and moves freight hubless to eliminate wasted trips, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by up to 40%. This mode also:

  • Removes the need for carbon-intensive and energy-consuming LTL hubs.
  • Erases the environmental risks of remanufacturing and reshipping goods that had previously been damaged in the hub-and-spoke system.

Shared truckload is the only freight mode that’s designed to reduce the trucking industry’s carbon footprint. To learn more about this sustainable shipping approach, download our “Inefficiencies and Green Shipping Solutions in the LTL Freight Industry” white paper here.

STL beats the TL and LTL shipping modes

As you optimize your company’s shipping logistics, you may be wondering how shared truckload service compares to the TL and LTL modes. Besides reading this blog post that explores this topic in detail, here’s a quick review of these two shipping methods:

  • Truckload: A freight mode in which one truck moves loads from a single shipper directly from their pickup locations to their drop-off locations.
  • Less-than truckload: A freight mode that transports freight through distribution centers and terminals before delivering it to its final destination, using the hub-and-spoke model.

To determine which mode is right for your shipping purposes, it’s important to understand the role of load size in each one. The industry typically uses weight, pallet quantity, linear feet, and freight class to categorize load size. Here’s the rundown:

  • Shared truckload: Is ideal for four to 22 pallets that measure 8-44 linear feet and weigh up to 36,000 pounds, regardless of freight class.
  • Truckload: Transports freight that weighs 15,000 or more pounds and includes more than 10 pallets on a full-size truck, regardless of freight class. 
  • Less-than truckload: Hauls shipments that are less than 4,000 pounds or six pallets and don’t fill a full-size truck to capacity, with careful attention to freight class.

The takeaway? Shared truckload is the most flexible mode and the ideal solution for load sizes that fall between TL and LTL. Not only does STL service accommodate truckload shipments of any weight, pallet quantity, and freight class, it moves them more efficiently than the other modes.

Use transportation services that load the entire trailer

In conclusion, driving partially full trucks is wasteful. The shared truckload mode mitigates this problem and provides a smooth experience for shippers and carriers. Shippers leverage the same TL service that they know and love for a fraction of the price, while carriers secure LTL freight to maximize profits. By avoiding the eco-unfriendly hub-and-spoke system and grouping shipments from several shippers on one truck, STL service promotes sustainability and corporate responsibility. These benefits are invaluable, especially at present.

Flock Freight® is the only logistics provider that guarantees shared truckload shipping. Our proprietary algorithms match your shipment to an available carrier, pooling it on one truck with other freight that’s heading in the same direction. In addition to providing the benefits above, our STL solution gives shippers control over their pickup and delivery dates and carriers a dedicated support team.

Enjoy the benefits of shared truckload for your business.