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Trailer Repositioning: Maximize Cost Savings With Efficiency

Resources > Trailer Repositioning: Maximize Cost Savings With Efficiency
Explore the concept of trailer repositioning and its impact on full truckload shipping. We’ll show you how this technique can lead to cost savings.
Trailer Repositioning Explained   |   Repositioning Service Prices   |   Trailer Load Out   |   Why Relocation is Used   |   Trailer Repositioning Solutions   |   Our Services
Published: June 22, 2023
Last Modified: February 21, 2024
Author: Jacob Lee

Trailer repositioning plays a crucial role in the world of logistics. However, many shippers are unaware this service is available to them. There are advantages of using trailer relocation that every business should know about.

According to the freight data provider FreightWaves, trailer repositioning is a strategic practice in logistics, where empty or underutilized trailers are moved to areas with higher demand. This strategy is often used to avoid deadhead miles. Shippers can also save money by using the load-out trailer repositioning technique.

Learn more about trailer repositioning and all the ways it can help you save when moving bulk shipments of freight. 

What is Trailer Repositioning?

Businesses who have operations around the U.S. might find that some of their warehouses are short on trailers. Equipment repositioning services allow them to move what they need to the locations it’s needed most. In some cases, shippers can also move freight shipments inside relocated trailers.    

When shippers use repositioning, they can: 

  • Enhance transportation efficiency
  • Reduce transportation costs
  • Minimize deadhead miles

While businesses are the beneficiaries of this service, there are other parties can take advantage of it as well. These include equipment leasing providers and carriers. 

Use your own trailer to move cargo with power only trucking services.

A port full of stacked shipping containers

How Much Does Trailer Repositioning Cost?

Although there are great benefits to semi trailer repositioning, it still costs money. A local move for a 53-foot dry van trailer can be as much as $500. The amount that has to be paid for this service can vary based on a variety of factors. 

Some of them include:

  • Distance traveled
  • Fuel expenses
  • Driver wages
  • Equipment maintenance
  • Administrative costs 

The distance between the current location of the trailer and its destination significantly impacts the cost. For example, equipment that travels between locations inside a state will be cheaper to reposition than one that travels from one state to another.

Another significant component that affects trailer relocation prices is the cost of fuel. The longer the distance, the higher the fuel expenses. Driver wages can also contribute to the cost of repositioning semi trailers. Truckers with specialized skills will be paid more for their work. If a driver with a valuable skill set performs relocation, the expense of the service rises. 

The maintenance costs for trailers can influence repositioning. Regular checks and repairs ensure that equipment is safe for transport. This minimizes the risk of breakdowns and delays. Finally, administrative tasks will influence rates for the service as well. These duties require time and resources, which contribute to the overall cost.

Some administrative tasks include: 

  • Completing paperwork
  • Coordination
  • Planning 

The rates that trailer reposition companies charge will vary with every shipment. That said, this logistics operation will always be a cheaper than the expenses that come with deadhead miles.

If you need help with the last leg of the transportation process, then check out our article on final mile delivery service.  

Trailer Relocation and the Load Out Technique

Trailer relocation is one strategy that shippers use to reduce their transport costs. Normally, reefers and dry vans are empty when they’re moved. That said, businesses can request that a trailer be  loaded with freight prior to trailer repositioning. 

This type of technique is called load out, and it involves filling trailers in one area to their full capacity before moving them to another location. Using this option is more efficient than relocating the equipment while it’s unloaded. 

Shippers that choose not to use load out will have to use multiple shipments to transfer their goods. This would mean additional fuel costs and more labor to move the loads of freight. Carriers benefit from load out because they’re still able to transport a trailer to a location where it’s needed. It should be noted that using this option will increase transit times. This service requires loading trailers to full capacity before they’re sent to another destination. 

Check out our article on Costco pallet requirements if you’re shipping goods to this major retailer. 

A dry van trailer backed into a loading=

Why is Trailer Relocation Used?

Trailer relocation is used to address imbalances in equipment distribution and optimize logistics operations. There are a few reasons why equipment might be needed more in one location than in others.

These include:

  • Seasonal fluctuations
  • Reducing transportation costs
  • Market expansion

Trailer repositioning is particularly useful when seasonal increases in demand occur. During the holiday season, customers in certain locations may desire specific types of products. 

Businesses that have goods located in warehouses in different parts of the country can use semi trailer relocation to transport goods and equipment to places where demand is high. We’ve provided some data on when consumers in the U.S. start their holiday shopping. 

Holiday Shopping In 2021 & 2022

MonthPercentage of Holiday Shoppers in 2021Percentage of Holiday Shippers in 2022
October 45%56%
November 42%35%
December 11%9%

Provided by Statista

This data can help shippers determine when they’ll need more of certain products and equipment. Trailer relocation is also used to reduce transportation costs. Shipping freight in equipment that’s being relocated is an efficient strategy because additional loads won’t have to be organized. 

Trailer relocation enables shippers to expand their customer reach as well. Moving this type of equipment to new regions or areas allows businesses to access new markets. This is especially helpful when a company opens a new distribution center in a different part of the country.

Trailer Repositioning Solutions for Efficient Freight Transport

There are a few different solutions that help facilitate effective trailer repositioning services. In some cases, only one of these methods is required. 

However, there are many instances where a combination of these solutions are used:  

  • Leveraging technology
  • Partnering with trailer repositioning experts
  • Using collaborative freight networks
  • Applying smart inventory management

We’ll explain how each of these methods are used to perform effective trailer positioning services. 

Leveraging Technology

Technology plays a crucial role in repositioning dry van trailers. For example, advanced logistics management systems can provide real-time information regarding the location of equipment. This gives shippers the ability to track and manage their fleet efficiently. 

Some types of technological systems that are used for trailer repositioning services include:

  • GPS tracking
  • Rout optimization software
  • Telematics systems
  • Automated alerts and notifications

Using GPS tracking systems allows shippers to monitor the transportation of trailers. Businesses can also use this information to prepare for the arrival of their equipment. Route optimization software utilizes algorithms to calculate the most efficient routes for trailer repositioning. 

These technological systems analyze factors such as:

  • Traffic
  • Distance
  • Delivery schedules

This helps transportation companies find the best route to use when performing reefer or dry van trailer repositioning. Better routes also mean reduced costs for shippers. Telematics systems are another useful solution that collects data on various trailer parameters.

Telematics can measure things like: 

  • Temperature
  • Weight
  • Fuel consumption 

The information that telematics provides helps shippers monitor the conditions of their equipment. This type of technology solution can also help transportation companies with route optimization. 

Automated alert systems notify businesses about critical events related to trailer repositioning, such as:

  • Arrival times
  • Departure times
  • Delays

The system also assists shippers with tracking and preparing to receive repositioned trailers and freight. 

Collaborative Freight Networks

Participating in collaborative logistics networks allows shippers to connect with other businesses in the industry. These networks facilitate the exchange of trailers and sharing of resources. Partnering with other companies can be very beneficial for businesses.

Some advantages include:

  • A larger pool of trailers
  • Improved asset utilization
  • Minimized transportation costs

Shippers that partner with other businesses can share trailers and combine loads. This leads to a more efficient movement of equipment and freight. 

Smart Inventory Management

While businesses often use inventory management systems to forecast demand for products, they also use it to determine when they will need trailer repositioning services. Customer demand for more of a certain commodity often indicates the need for more trailers.

Inventory management can be used to obtain goods that are highly requested and the trailers needed to carry them. This will prevent stockouts and reduce transportation costs for shippers. 

Our article on dry van rates will show you the cost to transport freight using this convenient transportation option. 

Streamline Your Freight Logistics with USA Truckload’s Logistics Services

USA Truckload can help you with just about any logistical service you may require. Our team of professionals is committed to delivering exceptional service. We have a vast network of carriers located throughout the country that move freight for our customers. When you book a load with us, we find a transportation provider that’s best suited to move your goods.

Some of the logistical services we offer include:

We guarantee that our carriers will transport your load carefully and efficiently. Experience the advantages of using USA Truckload services and unlock the potential of your logistics operations. You can start by filling out your quote form or by calling our team at (866) 353-7178.

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