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Guide to Freight Shipping Aluminum

Resources > Guide to Freight Shipping Aluminum
Need help freight shipping aluminum by the truckload? See how a strategic freight partner can help get this versatile metal on the move.
Published: January 12, 2021
Last Modified: August 28, 2023
Author: Ask Truckload

As one of the most used, versatile metals in the world, aluminum in its form before being produced into other goods is an extremely popular item that is valuable to many different forms of manufacturing. Suffice to say, freight shipping aluminum is something that all businesses should be very concerned with since products — in unfinished or finished form — can become damaged if not handled the correct way.  

Freight shipping aluminum can be done in a variety of ways — by boat, truck or rail — and luckily is not a very complicated process. The biggest thing you’ll have to solve is making sure you can get it here not corroded by moisture or all banged up and your business will be able to thrive with the all-around metal.

Different Forms and Properties of Aluminum


Aluminum was once considered a precious metal more valuable than silver due to it being very hard to mine. However, by the turn of the 20th century, advances in mining technology allowed the naturally occurring element to be recovered in much greater quantities. In present day, it is one of the most ubiquitous metals used for an extremely wide variety of different things.

Any construction will see aluminum used in some fashion while aeroplane and automobile parts are often crafted from this material. From cans to foils, kitchen utensils to window frames, aluminum is the go-to metal for many products — and with good reason.

The many favorable properties of aluminum lend to its great usage:

  • Low flammability and ability to ignite
  • Durable
  • Malleable, which makes it easier to work with
  • Ductile, meaning it can be easily formed into many different shapes, including wire
  • Non-magnetic
  • Can conduct electricity and heat
  • Reflects radiation
  • Can be formed into an alloy to increase its strength
  • Corrosion resistant

With the prevalence of the metal and its numerous positive attributes, it’s no wonder why it’s been a popular commodity to craft objects out of.

Transporting Aluminum

If you are purchasing aluminum to have in the U.S., there’s a very good chance it’s going to come from China. In 2019, there were 64 million tonnes produced in the world, 36 million of which came from China. That was almost 10 times the amount produced by the next most prolific country of India, which was credited with 3.7 million tonnes made.

The United States, by contrast only produced 1.1 million tonnes, so your company should be prepared to import it. From a trip overseas, this means ocean vessels will get it to U.S. shores. From there, the two most common methods of transportation will be truck or rail — or even a combination of the two, referred to as intermodal transportation (meaning two or more methods to complete a single freight delivery).   

Now that we’ve established where your aluminum is likely to come from and how it will arrive in America, let’s look at what should be considered while the actual shipment is taking place. One of the biggest things to be concerned with during the transportation of aluminum — or really most metals — is moisture. While this usually means water, humidity can play a huge part in possibly corroding the metal before it ever reaches your business.

While heat won’t ruin aluminum under normal conditions found across Earth’s climates, the ideal situation for aluminum to be transported is in a cool, dry place — but mostly a dry place. The other thing to be mindful of is that care is taken during shipping, since aluminum can scratch or dent easily. This is more for mostly finished or finished aluminum products since it might not matter if the metal becomes damaged if it’s going to be processed heavily once it reaches its final point.  

Freight Shipping Aluminum With A 3PL


Now that you know what shouldn’t be done during the freight shipping of aluminum, let’s look at the characteristics of what you should look for in a third-party logistics (3PL) provider. This is a company that will handle many facets of the transportation, handling and final delivery of your valuable freight, so you want to know as much about them as possible.

For instance, a good 3PL company will be set up with good communication tools at every point in the process. Whether that’s planning the movement of your freight, having processes in place to allow you to view your freight’s position as it moves across the land or even excellent and readily available customer service for even the most minor of questions, you shouldn’t feel like you’re in the dark about anything.

Also, look at the total value of what’s being offered. Sometimes the cheapest rate among freight carriers will not be the best for what you’re trying to accomplish. Look at several different rates and also what comes with those. You want the most bang for your buck, of course, but you also don’t want anything unexpected to occur because you were fixated entirely on the freight shipping cost. Also, time is money. In this regard, a 3PL company’s habit of on-time deliveries should be taken into account. The company should be able to provide you some data on how often their shipments are delayed in reference to the agreed-upon delivery date.

There are lots of things to consider when picking the aluminum you purchase but, as you can see, it’s just as important to analyze who will be getting the metal to you.

Freight Shipping Aluminum With R+L Global Logistics

Now that you know everything there is to begin freight shipping aluminum, it’s time to have R+L Global Logistics — the best in the business — handle your shipment of this valuable metal. We can handle any distance or sized load with our team of responsible and proficient drivers.

Whether it’s aluminum ingots to be brought to a location for processing, the semi-finished product, or aluminum ready to be used in its final form, R+L Global Logistics has the knowledge and resources to make your truckload delivery on-time, in perfect shape and at a competitive price. For those times that you need your shipment even faster, whether it is planned or unplanned, we offer expedited freight shipping to get it there quicker.

With every aluminum shipment moved as freight, you’ll receive real-time delivery tracking so you can see where your load is at any time. This is coupled with our 99.5 percent on-time delivery rate, so you can have great confidence that your aluminum will reach its destination before or on the agreed-upon date.

So when you’re ready to start freight shipping aluminum, partner with R+L Global Logistics to fulfill your company’s needs. For a free quote with no obligations, call us at 866.353.7178 today.

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