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Freight Consolidation Services: Saving Time and Money

Resources > Freight Consolidation Services: Saving Time and Money
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.
Published: February 17, 2022
Last Modified: August 28, 2023
Author: Jacob Lee

Freight consolidation services are a solution to managing the stressful process of moving multiple LTL shipments. For shipper’s 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.

According to the FreightWaves, freight consolidation services streamline trucking operations by combining multiple shipments into one. It can be used for air, ocean, and ground transport. Consolidation services offer a variety of benefits, such as saving on costs and providing a very convenient delivery option for customers.

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

What Are Freight Consolidation Services?

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 LTLs and FTLs 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. 

If you want to ship freight in bulk, then check out our article on Costco pallet requirements.

What Are Freight Consolidation Service Companies?

Freight consolidation service companies specialize in combining multiple smaller shipments from different businesses into a single, larger shipment. Many of these businesses are also referred to as third-party logistics providers or 3PLs. 

These companies are able to:

  • Maximize truck capacity
  • Streamline logistics
  • Enhance efficiency

Freight consolidation service companies have a deep understanding of the truckload shipping industry and logistics principles. They possess the necessary expertise to effectively combine shipments and ensure smooth operations.

Freight Consolidation Options

There are a few different ways that consolidated freight can travel to its destination. Each one has its own unique benefits and drawbacks. 

The types of consolidation service that shippers can use include:

  • Air 
  • Ocean
  • Ground 

It’s important for shippers to understand these types of consolidation services to determine which is best for their needs.

Air Freight Consolidation

Air freight 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. 

You could also use freight consolidation with trailer repositioning if you and another shipper are in need of equipment.

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 combine multiple truckload LTL shipments, it also makes the shipping process cheaper and smoother.

Some of the benefits include:

  • Cost Savings
  • Time Savings
  • Convenience for Customers
  • Reduced Risk of Damage
  • Increased shipment security

We’ll explain these benefits of shipping consolidation services to help you understand what to expect when you choose this transportation option.

Consolidation Services Save 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 the LTL shipments.

Other expense that shippers can save on when using this service include: 

  • Fuel costs
  • Handling fees
  • Administrative charges

Regardless of how many shipments a sender of freight consolidates, they’re sure to experience impressive cost savings.

Shipping Consolidation Services 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.

Consolidated Freight Services Offer Convenience 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. 

The Risk of Damage is Lower with Freight Consolidation Services

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 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. 

Consolidated Freight Services Increases Security

Consolidating shipments into a larger delivery can enhance security measures. Keeping multiple shipments together will reduce the likelihood of theft. One load is less likely to be in danger as smaller orders of freight. 

Some of the threats that consolidated freight will be protected from include:

  • Theft
  • Loss

Shippers that want to keep their freight secure should use consolidation to make sure their shipments safe.  

Consolidating Freight Gives Customer’s Access To Experts

Freight consolidation service providers possess industry expertise and knowledge in managing consolidated shipments. Shippers can leverage this expertise to optimize their shipping strategy and gain insights into best practices.

3PLs that provide freight consolidation services have established relationships with a wide network of carriers. This means that freight belonging to shippers will be transported by a reliable company safely to the final destination. 

Consolidation service providers can also help with other areas of support, such as:

  • Freight management
  • Insurance
  • Tracking and visibility tools

When shippers consolidate, they’ll have access to expert support that will make the

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 for shippers to consider what they require and what they don’t before choosing 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.

Read our article on how to negotiate freight rates to pay less when you ship.

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

Different Types of Pallets

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

This will help you determine how much of a certain type of pallet you can fit on a dry van trailer.

Utilize Freight Consolidation Services With R+L Global Logistics

If you need freight consolidation services, USA Truckload Shipping  has you covered. We can combine multiple LTL shipments into one, saving you time and money.

We also offer some other services you will find useful:

With our large network of carriers located throughout the country, we’ll help you get your consolidated shipment to the final destination on time.  As our services show, we’ll 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. You can also contact our team (866) 353-7178 if you have any questions or concerns.

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