Some of these products are relatively low-hassle and can be transported by any old truck. Many others, though, are much more sensitive and require temperature-controlled vehicles. Examples of this include food products for both animals and humans, as well as other products such as medications and chemicals.
When a manufacturer is able to fill an entire temperature-controlled truck with products, delivery is relatively straightforward. But, what happens when they don't have enough to fill an entire truckload?
The first option would be for the manufacturer to wait until the trucking company has enough of a load to make delivery worth their while. This obviously could cause major delays in shipping.
The second option would be to pay increased rates to have the trucking company deliver the goods even though their truck isn't filled. This obviously would cut into the company's profits.
The third option is the one that is most realistic and used most often. It's called LTL, or less-than-truckload shipping. Below, we'll discuss how temperature-controlled LTL transportation and trucking works for all sides.
How Temperature-Controlled LTL Transportation & Trucking Works
With temperature-controlled LTL transportation and trucking, trucking companies are able to combine products from multiple manufacturers in one load of cargo.
This provides benefits to the trucking company, in that it allows them to maximize their deliveries per load, which increases their profits. At the same time, manufacturers benefit, in that they are able to pay typical prices for shipping without having to worry about delays due to not being able to fill an entire truck with product.
There's a lot that goes into coordinating the perfect mix of manufacturers and shipments for temperature-controlled LTL loads. That's why shipping brokers are often used to help both trucking companies and manufacturers alike create the right combination.
Temperature-Controlled LTL Logistics
There are many important things to consider in temperature-controlled LTL logistics. The first and most obvious is figuring out the right mix of products based on the refrigeration requirements.
Here are some of those considerations.
Degree of Temperature
Some temperature-sensitive products require full freezers. Others require constant refrigeration that can't exceed a certain temperature. These are quite significant different requirements, and it's not often that one product could sustain both types of temperature-controlled environment during shipping.
For instance, a product that needs to be kept frozen couldn't be combined with a product that needs to only be kept refrigerated. No matter how you slice it, one of the products would be in an environment that is not conducive for it.
Type of Temperature Control
Some products are very sensitive to their environment in terms of temperature, while others are less so. Those that are much more sensitive may require a temperature-controlled truck that has a backup source of power that ensures the cooling system is always running, even when the truck isn't.
Knowing this information will help brokers understand what products can and can't be placed on the same load as each other. Products that are less sensitive to temperature shifts, for example, might be able to be put on trucks that don’t have the cooling system run fully when, for instance, the driver stops to grab a bite to eat.
Timing of Shipment
Products that require temperature-controlled environments typically have to be delivered within a specific timeframe in order to maintain their integrity. This requires brokers to match different products based on this delivery window requirement.
The main consideration that must be made in this instance is how far the products are traveling, and whether the transportation or trucking company would be able to meet all the delivery stops within the overall acceptable timeframe for all the products in the load.
Some products are so sensitive that they can only be shipped with like products. Some foodstuff, for example, can only be transported with other similar foodstuff so as to prevent potential contamination.
Some medicines, chemicals and pharmaceutical products need to be shipped by themselves or with other similar products for the same reasons.
At the same time, many products that are temperature-sensitive must be packaged and handled in a very specific way. Mixing different types of products that have different sensitivity to handling could cause issues for drivers who may not be experienced with that type of delivery, or could get confused if there's a wide variety of products in one load.
How to Pick a Temperature-Controlled LTL Transportation & Trucking Company
With all this in mind, manufacturers and shippers might wonder how they can pick a temperature-controlled LTL transportation and trucking company that they can trust will handle their product well. As with any business relationship, it's important that you believe in what the company says it will do for you and your product, and trust that they will deliver on their promises -- both literally and figuratively.
The best avenue is to research companies who are not only experienced in LTL transportation and trucking, but that have direct experience with doing so in temperature-controlled environments. Simply being able to find a solid mix of products for a single load is not enough. The trucking company you choose must have the knowledge necessary and experience dealing with temperature-controlled shipments to ensure your product is delivered on time and safely to its final destination.
Trust GTO 2000 with Your Temperature-Controlled LTL Shipments
At GTO 2000, we can handle any load, for any distance at any time. We have contractual relationships with more than 14,000 qualified carriers, large and small, which allows us to find serve all clients and all transportation needs.
We have been servicing clients across the country for more than 40 years, and temperature-controlled LTL shipments is one of our specialties. Contact us today to find out how we can help you complete your temperature-controlled LTL shipment more effectively and efficiently.