5 Steps to Become a Premier Shipping Partner
The relationships between carriers and shippers have become extremely important in today’s shipping environment. With the driver shortage in the trucking business becoming a constant problem in the logistics industry, working well with freight carriers has become a vital component of supply chains and business strategies alike.
Doing whatever you can to create that bond and relationship with your carriers and shipping partners can make all the difference in the long run. We refer to these shippers as “premier shipping partners.”
What Is a Premier Shipping Partner?
A premier shipping partner is a supplier or a business whose freight and top-of-the-line communication are the most appealing to freight carriers. Being recognized as the premier shipping partner can ease many logistics burdens and will enhance your business operations. With a driver shortage, rising equipment costs and new regulations, shippers are in competition with one another to gain carriers’ business. It is more important than ever for shippers to find creative, appealing ways to attract carriers and become a premier shipping partner.
How to Become a Premier Shipping Partner
There are different ways to make your business and freight more appealing to established and professional freight carriers and to secure more capacity and better service for the future.
1. Avoid Detention
Shippers that find themselves regularly detaining carriers will struggle finding carriers to haul their freight, and especially to locate them. With active ELD’s in place, carriers are finding it easier to determine how much time the driver was idle at your dock, and often use this information to determine which loading docks they should avoid. Drivers can legally operate up to 11 hours behind the wheel. Those 11 hours are extremely vital to their business when you consider things like highway traffic, roadside inspections, weighing loads, loading and unloading, refueling, and maintenance work fighting against them. Shippers should consider expenditures in their dock operations to make the most of the carrier’s time. Improvements to loading docks will cost money initially but may lead to major cost savings each year, not to mention an up-tick in efficiency.
2. Offer Amenities for Drivers While They Wait
While this may seem a bit obvious, providing drivers with a restroom, refreshments and a break room is important to show the driver you care about them. Treating truck drivers as a partner in the process makes a big difference and will most likely lead to them moving a shipment for you again. Many drivers wait for more than an hour or two during the loading and unloading process, so giving them the resources they need to be comfortable is a great way to build a positive relationship that will last for years to come.
3. Provide Lead Time & Forecasts When Possible
When it comes to carriers, the further ahead you can book, the better. If you’re able to provide a five or even seven-day lead time to your carriers, then they have the ability to position their trucks and dispatch a driver with minimal costs. Along with providing forecasts, it is important to give drivers an idea of how accurate the forecast is. For example, if you forecast 450 loads but are only 23% accurate on your forecast, the carrier will plan differently than if you are 97% accurate.
4. Offer More Hours
Another way to become the premier shipping partner is to be available on off-hours and weekends. If drivers can travel during the day, evening, or weekends, you are helping maximize their 11 hours allowed behind the wheel, giving them the added level of flexibility. This can benefit both the truck driver and the shipper to get the shipment from point A to B as quickly and easily as possible.
5. Work With a 3PL
Few companies have the resources and services to constantly deal with freight carriers directly; that’s where 3PLs come in to play. Working with a reputable 3PL can significantly increase your chances of being chosen as a premier shipping partner. With more than 20 years of extensive industry experience and a network of over 30,000 freight carriers, C.L. Services can make sure to handle your communication with carriers and streamline your shipping process.
Director of Marketing & Media, C.L Services, Inc.