Strive Blog

Beyond Truckload: Why Mode Selection is So Important


When it comes to transporting your freight, the instinct might be to call your broker and ask for a truck. But there are other options that can lower your freight spend, improve your customer service levels, or reduce your inventory holding costs.

Convert Truckload to Intermodal

Coverting truckload to intermodal can lower your freight spendIntermodal freight is any freight that changes modes at least once from it’s starting point to it’s destination. Typically, door-to-door intermodal services use truck and rail to move shipments. Most shipments that can go on a dry van are eligible to travel by rail.

Intermodal transportation likely won’t work for just-in-time or productions loads since transit times are slightly longer.

The best candidates for intermodal are shipments that have some flexibility in transport time. Intermodal shipments generally take 1-2 days longer than truckload for the same route. The cost savings are substantial though—the industry average is 20% savings compared to truckload.

Brokers with a robust transportation management system (TMS) have the ability to generate intermodal rates alongside truckload rates instantly. Your rep can present both options so you can quickly compare the difference in cost and transport time.

Convert Truckload to LTL

Sometimes it makes sense to break a full truckload into smaller LTL shipments. With the rise of e-commerce, business models are switching to on-demand inventory. Shipping in smaller quantities means keeping less inventory on hand, which reduces inventory holding costs. In addition, smaller shipments can improve your speed to market since you don’t have to wait to fill a truck.

Convert LTL to Truckload

For some businesses, the exact opposite is true. Converting smaller LTL shipments into a full truckload is also known as freight consolidation. Freight consolidation can reduce the total number of transactions, which means a reduction in paperwork, shipment preparation, and all of the other little things that add up to save you time and money. In addition, when LTL shipments are converted into a full truckload, there are less hands on the freight and less potential for damage.

The Bottom Line

Choosing the right mode for your shipment is important. Exploring alternative options to truckload allows you flexibility and gives you the ability to tailor your shipments to your customers’ needs. In addition, you can optimize your supply chain by improving speed to market and lowering your freight spend. For more information about how to optimize your supply chain, read our latest transportation brief.


7 Questions to Help with Supply Chain Optimization