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The real cost of damaged freight

05.20.2021 | By Todd LaFond | 5 min. read

Higher pricing is just the start—damaged freight, customer complaints, and pollution weigh heavily on your business.

Nobody loves freight claims, but they’re a standard part of frequent freight shipping. Depending on your shipping method, you could see as much as 10% of your shipments written off with a freight claim

While you can certainly minimize your risk when it comes to freight claims, costs like labor, cargo disposal, storage, surcharges and accessorials, and those related to freight class have a significant effect on your freight pricing, too. 

While it’s possible to prevent high freight costs with a little planning, other factors are harder to control, like damage claims, customer satisfaction, and environmental costs. In a world where you need to optimize shipping costs at every turn to stay competitive, it’s important to minimize damaged freight whenever possible. 

Understand how these three issues impact your shipping rates—and how you can fight back against the cost of freight.

Freight damage claims

When you’re moving thousands of pounds of goods from one location to another, it’s inevitable that something will occasionally go wrong. But you’ll pay more in damage claims depending on your freight-shipping method.

For example, some freight-shipping options are more notorious for damage, including: 

  • Partial truckload (PTL): This shipping option passes shipments through one to two warehouses with regional freight consolidators.
  • Volume less-than truckload (VLTL): This method has the highest amount of handling, which means more damage. VLTL shipments pass through one to seven terminals. 

Truckload (TL) and shared truckload (STL) have the lowest damage claim rates. If you continue to ship your goods via PTL or VLTL, the damage costs add up over time.

Customer satisfaction costs

Did you know that 13% of unhappy customers tell more than 15 people about their bad experience? Even if broken cargo isn’t your fault, customers see your logo on the product and blame you for delays, cancellations, and damage. 

Since 59% of customers have higher expectations of vendors than they did a year ago, you need to provide a consistently excellent freight-shipping experience. Otherwise, you risk wasting more money chasing down new customers, which is a drain on your budget.

Environmental costs

While environmental costs can sound like somebody else’s problem, they have a real effect on both your business and your personal life. 

Every time you file a freight claim, you have to remake and reship those goods. In addition to remaking the goods at your factory, paying for labor, and reshipping them, you’re also creating environmental problems.

Transportation is responsible for 50% of nitrogen oxide emissions in the United States and 3.1% of global CO2e emissions. These greenhouse gas emissions are projected to cost retailers $1.3 trillion by 2026 in the form of conflict, displacement, and insecurity. 

The more damaged freight you have, the more claims you file and the more harm you cause to the environment. Over time, this will increase your freight costs significantly.

Shared truckload: the best way to prevent damaged freight

Damaged freight costs your business an unbelievable amount of money. The best way to avoid paying all of these hidden costs is to prevent damage in the first place. 

While truckload shipping is an efficient way to ship freight with a low damage rate, not every shipper can afford TL. Between container shortages, higher fuel prices, and the high cost of full container loads, TL pricing isn’t in the budget for many shippers. 

Shared truckload shipping is a more convenient way to ship freight while minimizing damage. In fact, STL comes with a shockingly low damage rate, competitive with that of TL. 

Our shared truckload service, FlockDirect™️, is a streamlined way to share trailer space with other businesses. But three important factors separate FlockDirect from other freight-shipping options, minimizing damage and saving you more money.

1. Fewer stops

FlockDirect has fewer delivery addresses than the VLTL mode. As a result, the freight sees less handling and less damage. Your shipments are never split up, so everything arrives on one truck at one time. This means your freight is handled upon only pickup and delivery—never in between—and arrives at its destination unscathed.

2. Hubless shipping

Other shipping models, like PTL and VLTL, pass your shipments through multiple facilities before delivery, significantly increasing your damage claims. But STL is a hubless shipping mode. FlockDirect bypasses the LTL freight-shipping terminals and PTL consolidation warehouses that can damage freight during processing.

3. Advanced algorithms

Most freight-shipping options don’t optimize your shipment, but FlockDirect does. Our solution pools midsize freight from multiple shippers that are traveling in the same direction. Our technology looks for the best possible combinations to optimize routes for faster shipping and less handling, streamlining your supply chain in the process.

This means the trucks are filled to capacity. Everything is stacked safely to ensure less shaking, falling, or movement that can lead to damage. This is why STL has a very low damage freight rate.

Make damaged freight costs a thing of the past

Shared truckload shipping is better for shippers, carriers, and the planet. While damaged freight will always be part of shipping goods to your customers, you can significantly minimize your shipping costs with smarter options like FlockDirect. Flock Freight® is the only provider that guarantees shared truckload service. 


Get faster and safer shipping without damage — try FlockDirect now.