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Is Expedited Freight Service Worth It? Timely Shipping Help

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Expedited shipping with R+L Global is faster than the standard movement of freight or packages. We have you covered.
What Is Expedited Shipping?   |   Benefits of Expedited Freight   |   Disadvantages of Expedited Freight   |   Cost of Expedited Shipping   |   When To Use It   |   Our Services
Published: May 11, 2020
Last Modified: August 30, 2023
Author: Jacob Lee

Is expedited freight service worth it? As a shipper, it can be difficult to determine whether this operation is essential. There are many benefits and disadvantages that come with using expediting services. Businesses will need to weigh all their options before deciding if they want to use this delivery method.  

According to the American Trucking Associations, expedited freight services offer significant advantages for shippers. It allows businesses to send swift deliveries in guaranteed time frames that greatly satisfy customers. However, the expedited shipments are often more expensive and typically aren’t the best option for shipping in bulk.

Businesses should understand the ins and outs of expedited freight shipping before they can decide whether it’s worth using.

What Is Expedited Shipping?

Expedited shipping offers a swift delivery solution in the realm of truckload transportation. Distinguished from standard options, this method prioritizes speed, ensuring goods reach destinations quickly. When businesses use expedited shipping services, they can expect their cargo to arrive at the final destination in 2 to 3 days.   

If cargo travels in an 18-wheeler, the truck is unlikely to stop along the route. The carrier may also hire two drivers to transport the load. This allows prevents the violation of Department of Transportation (DOT) driving time regulations.

Most freight options aren’t this quick. Therefore, a shipment is only considered expedited when a company chooses to speed up the delivery of their cargo. While this method of sending freight has many benefits, there are some downsides that businesses will need to consider. 

Is expedited freight service worth it? The semi trucks traveling down the highway at night shows it is

What Are the Benefits of Expedited Freight Services?

Expedited logistics services help shippers send their cargo within a short span of time. That said, there are many other benefits that businesses can enjoy when they speed up their deliveries. 

These include:

  • Guaranteed delivery windows
  • Decreased warehouse storage costs
  • Enhanced cargo safety

Shippers should have a thorough understanding of these benefits to fully appreciate how expedited transportation will help their operations. 

Fast Delivery Times

Expedited transport can move goods very quickly. Fast shipping is something that can come in handy in a variety of circumstances.

These include:

  • Time-sensitive deliveries
  • Last-minute orders
  • Inventory management
  • Replacement parts

For perishable goods or other items with a limited shelf life, fast transportation ensures products arrive in optimal condition. Expedited freight services also helps shippers get their freight to a retailer or grocery store before the expiration date. 

Last-minute orders may necessitate the use of this transportation option. When a customer places an order requiring immediate shipment, expedited services can meet those tight deadlines.

Fast freight transport can also help with inventory management. If a business practices Just-In-Time (JIT) product strategies, expedited shipping can help them maintain low stock levels and reduce storage costs.

Industries that rely on machinery or equipment cannot afford lengthy downtimes. Expedited shipping of replacement parts can prevent prolonged operational disruptions for buyers.

Guaranteed Delivery Windows

Another benefit about expedited shipping services are the guaranteed delivery windows. Standard transport options offer a more flexible time-frame. With expedited services, shippers can expect their goods to be delivered within a 2 or 3 days. 

Benefits of this perk include:

  • Predictability
  • Less uncertainty
  • Customer satisfaction

Knowing exactly when a shipment will arrive aids in planning logistics. This helps customers prepare before cargo arrives. When using standard transportation methods, shippers can be met with vague timeframes. Expedited shipping services removes this problem by providing the exact day of delivery. 

Guaranteed delivery windows result in increased customer satisfaction. Buyers appreciate knowing when to expect their orders, leading to positive reviews and repeat business. Even if an expedited load does arrive late, trucking companies will give shippers a refund. 

Decreased Warehouse Storage Costs

Rapid deliveries can curtail the duration goods reside in a warehouse. This efficiency can translate to substantial savings, especially when storage costs accrue with time.

Some reasons why expedited services limit these expenses include:

  • Reduced holding
  • Lean inventory
  • Better inventory turnaround

When shippers use expedited logistics, goods won’t be kept in a warehouse for very long. Less time in storage translates to fewer expenses tied to utilities, security and space utilization.

Expedited shipping supports Just-In-Time inventory models, keeping stock levels optimal. This makes storage costs lower for businesses. Expedited freight services also help with frequent and faster shipping. Therefore, goods don’t stay in the warehouse very long before being sent. 

Enhanced Cargo Safety

Enhanced cargo safety is another benefit of expedited freight services that shippers will be able to enjoy. Some businesses might worry that fast transport will result in rushed and careless handling of cargo. Fortunately, freight will be handled very safely when a shipper chooses expedited services. 

Some ways cargo will be protected include:

  • Dedicated routes
  • Reduced touchpoints
  • Safe packaging

Dedicated routes help guarantee safe handling of freight. These paths are often direct and non-stop, which reduces the amount of opportunities for cargo mishandling or loss. Reduced touchpoints results in less cargo handling. This lowers the chance of freight being damaged while in transit. 

Many carriers use safe packaging for freight, regardless of the transport option chosen. Therefore, shippers can rest easy knowing their freight is will be protected. 

Another way to protect your cargo is with blanket wrap shipping. This method of defense will keep your cargo safe. 

A semi truck traveling on a bridge

What Are the Disadvantages of Expedited Shipping Services?

Expedited freight services have a variety of benefits. However, there are some aspects of this transportation method that shippers won’t find appealing. 

These include: 

  • Limited capacity and availability
  • Increased risk of wear and tear
  • Less flexibility for changes
  • Inefficient for bulk shipments

Understanding the downsides will help businesses decide if expedited freight services will help their operations. 

Limited Capacity and Availability

One of the downsides of expedited shipping is limited capacity and availability. This makes scheduling the service very difficult.

There are a few reasons why there is limited capacity and availability:

  • High demand
  • Fewer vehicles
  • Peak seasons
  • Route restrictions

Many shippers throughout the U.S. use expedited delivery. This creates high demand for the service, which can make it difficult to book a load. Expedited services often operate with a limited fleet tailored for speed and efficiency, potentially resulting in fewer available slots.  

Peak seasons can make it even more difficult for shippers to transport their freight using this method. Many companies use this expedited deliveries during this time of the year. Therefore, capacity and availability is even more limited. 

Another problem is route restrictions. Not all locations are serviced by expedited routes, leading to limitations in where cargo can be sent. Therefore, shippers might not be able to use this transportation method to send freight to customers in hard to reach areas. 

Less Flexibility for Changes

Despite the efficiency that comes with expedited shipping, there is much less room for customization and flexibility. This can create concerns for businesses that need to make changes after a load has already been sent.

Expedited services limit flexibility for the following reasons:

  • Tight schedules
  • Change fees
  • Limited redirection 
  • Packaging modifications

Using expedited shipping can create a variety of concerns due to strict timelines. Therefore, businesses won’t have the opportunity to make alterations after the freight has been dispatched. Alterations could also come with additional expenses. Many shippers will shy away from modifying their loads to avoid change fees. 

Once cargo is en route, redirecting it to a different address can be difficult or impossible. This is due to how quickly freight will need to be sent to the final destination. Packaging modifications can’t be made to shipments. After freight has been sealed and sent, making alterations to the contents or packaging becomes unfeasible.

Inefficient for Bulk Shipments

Using expedited shipping services is good for smaller loads, but isn’t the greatest for bulk loads. This transportation method doesn’t provide the same amount of benefits to larger loads for a few reasons. 

This includes:

  • Higher costs
  • Space limitations
  • Load and unload delays

Even if a carrier offers expedited transport for bulk shipments, businesses may choose not to use the service. Moving large quantities quickly can significantly drive up the price, making it cost-prohibitive for some companies.

Limited space is another problem that makes expedited delivery more difficult for bulk shipments. This type of service uses specific vehicles optimized for speed, which might not accommodate large or bulky items easily.

Finally, loading and unloading bulk shipments is more difficult and time-consuming than smaller volumes of freight. This may prevent carriers from delivering within two to three days. Therefore, transportation companies may not provide expedited services for bulk shipments of freight for this reason. 

Higher Costs

Expedited shipping services can be fairly expensive compared to standard transport methods. Moving freight quickly through the supply chain can be difficult for carriers. Therefore, they will charge a higher rate. 

Other factors that can raise expedited freight shipping costs:

  • Fuel surcharges
  • Special handling
  • Remote locations
  • Time of booking

Expedited shipments might include surcharges due to fluctuating fuel prices, especially if urgent delivery is required over long distances. Freight that needs special handling can result in additional fees. These expenses can be charged for cargo that’s transported in unique containers or temperature sensitive goods. 

Delivery to far away locations will drive up costs. Moving freight within two to three days is much more difficult when the final destination is in a hard-to-reach area. The time of booking has an impact on expedited shipping expenses as well. For example, costs will rise if freight is booked during peak seasons.  

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How Much Do Expedited Logistics Services Cost

As with other transportation options, the cost of expedited freight shipping can vary. Carriers charge differently and the characteristics of the cargo can change the final amount. That said, we’ve provided some data on the average amount shippers can expect to spend when they use this service. 

The Average Cost of Expedited Transport Based on Shipping Speed

Shipping SpeedAverage Cost
Same day$50 +
Two day$30
Three day$20

These costs are the average amount, which means shippers should expect to pay more or less depending on their carrier and unique load. Businesses will need to conduct additional research before picking a carrier to move their expedited cargo. 

If you’re worried about price, consider reading our article on how to negotiate freight rates. This guide will help you reduce your costs. 

Semi trucks leaving a port at night

Is Expedited Freight Service Worth It? When To Use Expedited Shipping

Understanding the pros and cons of expedited shipping is important. However, it’s also good for businesses to know what logistical circumstances will require this transportation method. 

These include:

  • Time-sensitive deliveries
  • High-value shipments
  • Emergency restocks
  • Perishable goods
  • Seasonal demands. 

When there’s a hard deadline, such as an event or product launch, delays can have significant repercussions. Therefore, many businesses in these situations will use expedited shipping to ensure their goods arrive in time. 

For goods that have a high value or replacement cost, ensuring the products arrive quickly is imperative. Businesses that deal with these valuable goods may use expedited delivery to get their products to customers in a timely fashion. 

There’s always the chance a company might need an emergency restock during operations. When inventory runs low, businesses use expedited shipping to keep their stores and warehouses stocked. 

Companies that sell perishable goods can also benefit from expedited shipping. These types of products have an expiration date. Therefore, it’s vital that perishable goods get to the customer before going bad. 

Finally, seasonal demand may necessitate expedited transportation. This often occurs during peak season. Despite prices for this service being more expensive during these parts of the year, many companies use this method to move their goods in these dire circumstances.  

Regardless of the transportation option you choose, you’ll always need the correct documents required for domestic shipping. Our article on these important types of paperwork will show you which ones to use. 

Expedited Shipping With R+L Global Logistics 

USA Truckload is ready to be your provider of expedited freight services. We offer this shipping option to all of our customers that need to move freight quickly. Our network of professionals will be able to transport your cargo to the final destination in the time frame that you expect. 

At USA Truckload, we provide a variety of other services:

  • Drayage
  • Standard truckload shipping
  • Consulting

With our drayage services, you’ll receive port-to-door and door-to-door services, ensuring cargo reaches the final destination seamlessly. Standard truckload shipping is a reliable way to move cargo when you’re not constrained by strict time-frames. If you have questions about transporting freight, then our team will be able to assist you during a consulting session. 

If you’re ready to get started with one or more of our services, then fill out your RFP today. You can also call our team at (866) 353-7178 if you have more questions or concerns regarding our operations. 

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