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Freight Consolidation Services: Shipping That Saves Time and Money

Last Modified: February 22, 2022
Shippers can use freight consolidation services to save time and money by combining multiple LTL shipments into one trailer. Learn more about these services and how they can impact your business.

By

Jacob Lee
February 17, 2022
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Freight consolidation services are used as a solution to managing the stressful process of moving multiple LTL shipments. For shippers needing to send multiple shipments to the same location or who need to keep costs down, it can provide an easy alternative to non-consolidated shipping.

Freight consolidation services give shippers the ability to manage multiple LTL shipments by combining the shipments into one trailer. Benefits of consolidation services include efficiency, cost savings, convenience, and more.

As a prominent company in the logistics industry, we have extensive knowledge about freight consolidation services and how they can help your business.

What is a Consolidated Delivery and How Does It Work?

A consolidated delivery refers to shipping multiple LTL shipments in one trailer. This is a much more convenient option compared to shipping multiple LTL shipments in multiple trailers. Consolidated shipments are assembled from smaller LTL shipments at a consolidated warehouse creating an FTL shipment.

Once the consolidated delivery arrives at the distribution center or similar location, each LTL shipment is unloaded from the trailer. Afterward, each LTL shipment is placed on the delivery truck or trailer and delivered to its final destination.

You can learn more about LTL and FTL shipments in our article FTL vs LTL Freight Shipping: What’s the Difference?

What Is a Consolidation Warehouse?

Freight consolidation services - boxes in a warehouse

A consolidation warehouse is a storage facility that is owned and run by a third party. The consolidation warehouse is fairly similar to other types of warehouses and distribution centers.

What makes a consolidation warehouse different is that it specializes in combining smaller LTL shipments into consolidated shipments. Consolidated warehouses are designed to help accommodate the constantly changing demands of customers in a manner that is quick and efficient. 

Freight Consolidation Options

There are a few different ways that consolidated freight can travel to its destination. Consolidated shipments can travel by air, ground, or sea. Each one has its own unique benefits and drawbacks. 

Air Freight Consolidation

Airfreight consolidation transports multiple shipments onto one aircraft. The combined shipment will have the same master waybill while the individual shipments will have their own unique house bill. 

This form of consolidated shipping is faster than both ground and ocean shipping. While consolidating air shipments will bring down costs, this form of consolidated shipping will be the most expensive. 

Ocean Freight Consolidation

Ocean freight is an excellent option for shipping extremely large goods using containers. Multiple LTL shipments will be able to fit in the containers that are transported by a cargo ship. 

Ocean freight consolidation is a much cheaper option than shipping by air. The downside to ocean freight consolidation is transit time. Due to port congestion over the last year, many cargo ships have waited on the coast of ports for months at a time. 

Ground Freight Consolidation

The final freight consolidation option is ground freight. This type of freight option delivers freight to places ships can’t dock and where planes can’t land. 

The final delivery of just about every type of freight will be made using ground transportation. The downside to shipping by ground is that this form of freight transportation has the most frequent shipping delays. 

Looking for a solution to move truckload freight? R+L Global Logistics handles truckload shipping. Let us know when and we'll handle the rest.

How Does a Consolidated Delivery Benefit a Shipper?

A pallet is loaded into then back of a truck

There are many advantages of freight consolidation that are beneficial to the shipper. Not only does consolidated shipping allow shippers to consolidate multiple truckload LTL shipments, it also makes the shipping process cheaper and smoother.

Saves on Costs

The most appealing benefit of using consolidated shipping is the cost savings. Without freight consolidation services, a shipper with an LTL shipment will be forced to utilize the space of the entire trailer. That shipper will still have to pay the same amount to use a trailer whether the shipment takes up a full truckload or not. 

With consolidated freight services, the shipper doesn’t have to pay for multiple trailers to transport each one of the LTL shipments. Consolidated shipping only requires the shipper to pay for one full trailer that is carrying all of the LTL shipments.

Saves Time and Improves Efficiency

Consolidated shipping typically reduces transit time for shipments. Rather than waiting for numerous smaller shipments to arrive, the shipper only has to wait for one. Even with the current delays in the shipping industry, waiting for one shipment is much better than multiple. This is sometimes referred to as deferred shipping.

Using consolidated shipping also eases the amount of responsibility on the shipper. Instead of having to complete paperwork and track multiple shipments, the shipper only has to worry about managing one shipment.

Convenient for Customers

Consolidated shipping is convenient for the customers because they get their goods. This helps improve the relationship between the customer and the shipper. Since customers want their goods as fast as possible, they’ll keep using a shipper that can transport their goods to them quickly. 

Reduced Risk of Damage

Another great advantage of using freight consolidation services is that it helps reduce the risk of damage to the freight. When multiple LTL shipments are being transported using different trailers, then each shipment has to be loaded and unloaded again. 

With all of this loading and unloading happening between all of the different trailers, the chances of your freight being damaged from an honest accident are higher. Keeping all the LTL shipments in one trailer reduces the possibility of damage greatly. 

Would I Benefit From Consolidation Services?

A forklift ready to pick up several pallets

Consolidated freight services have many benefits. However, using these services might not be needed depending on the circumstances of the shipper. Therefore, it's best to consider what you need and what you don’t before you choose to make a consolidated freight shipment.

Some things you should consider are:

  • Dimensions of the freight
  • Weight of the freight
  • How fragile the freight is or any other special care it requires
  • The volume of freight you need to ship

Consolidated freight is a great option when shipping extremely long packages that exceed 108 inches in length. Packages that weigh over 150 pounds can be part of a consolidated shipment as well.  

Another circumstance where it would be a great opportunity to use consolidated freight services is when you're transporting oddly shaped freight. Awkwardly shaped freight could include items like furniture.

If you are transporting multiple shipments that are fragile or require special care, consolidating them is the best option. It's better to have one trailer full of fragile freight than to have multiple shipments of fragile freight that are mixed in with other heavier objects. 

Consolidated freight is a good option when shipping a large volume of goods because it will keep costs low. There’s also the added benefit that the goods will be more secure being shipped together than shipping all of them separately.

How Many Many Pallets Can Fit in a Consolidated Shipment?

Boxes stacked on pallets in a warehouse

To demonstrate how useful consolidated freight services are, consider the length and weight limit of the most commonly used dry van trailer. The average length of a dry van trailer is 53 feet and can carry up to 4,500 pounds of weight. 

The average amount of space that an LTL shipment takes is about 12 feet. This means about four LTL shipments will take up 48 feet of a dry van trailer which leaves about 5 feet leftover.

The table below shows how many pallets will be able to fit within four LTL shipments within a 54ft dry van trailer based on their dimensions.

Pallet DimensionsPallet Length In FeetHow Many Pallets Can Fit in Each LTL Shipment Stacked Side-By-SideTotal Amount of Pallets in 53ft Trailer With 4 LTL shipments
40”x48”3.3ft8 pallets32
48”x48”4ft6 palles24
48”x40”4ft6 pallets24
42”x42”3.5ft6 pallets30
36”x36”3ft8 pallets32
42”x31”3.56 pallets30

Utilize Freight Consolidation Services With R+L Global Logistics

If you need freight consolidation services, R+L Global Logistics has you covered. Among other services, freight consolidation is one that we offer to our many customers. 

Specifically, we offer ground freight consolidation services that will help save you money when you need to ship. Another benefit to using R+L Global Logistics is that we will transport just about any type of freight. 

Get onto the path of using freight consolidation services by filling out your free quote on our truckload page.

Looking for a solution to move truckload freight? R+L Global Logistics handles truckload shipping. Let us know when and we'll handle the rest.
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