We've had a lot of news this year about tightening truckload capacity and constantly changing LTL rules and pricing. Unfortunately, today is no different.
Multiple LTL Carrriers have recently updated their tariffs to include a new definition of "Over-length" items. Traditionally, a single shipping unit becomes over-length once the unit exceeds 10 feet. Most, if not all, LTL carriers have this rule and apply an extra charge to the shipment if something exceeds 10 feet - maybe $75 - $100 on average. They do this due to the extra labor and handling involved with this types of shipments and the reduction in trailer utilization. It makes sense.
Some carriers have now defined over-length as anything over 8 feet in length. This adds quite a dilemma for our clients as many frequently ship units that are 8 feet. Our concern here is coupled with the recent heavy adoption of "dimensionalizers" - scanning equipment that the carriers have invested in to exactly measure and weigh shipments.
Our real concern is now when our customer indicates a pallet is 8 feet, but it ends up being maybe 96.5". That half-inch will trigger an over-length charge now on these LTL carriers under their new rules and it's going to quickly become very frustrating!
The first course of action we always take is to negotiate around new rules as best we can, but in this case (for now), those carriers involved are absolutely refusing to adjust.
This new set of rules, which we expect to be adopted by ALL LTL carriers in very short order, is consistent with what we've been saying for years now - LTL Shippers need to make absolutely certain their shipments are deadly accurate going out the door! It's really the only way to ensure correct rating and ultimately billing.
If you are utilizing a Transporation Management System (TMS), it is critical the system recognizes this change and accounts for your potentially over-length items.
As always - we'll keep you informed as things keep changing!
In the meantime, should you like to discuss this issue or others, don't put off for tomorrow what you can improve today! Reach out for a brief consult!