Strive Blog

Unused Roll-Up Capacity Offers Shippers a Huge Savings Opportunity


Smart shippers understand that they can secure large freight savings when their freight can fill a carrier’s empty backhaul run. One large untapped opportunity is with the roll-up capacity of private fleets. Our research indicates that just 50%–65% of these backhauls are getting filled, so private fleet managers are willing to offer very aggressive rates to squeeze revenue from these empty trips.

Just how aggressive? Between 20%–40% off what you would pay for a standard swing-door trailer delivering the same lane. But you may need to adjust your approach slightly to capitalize on these savings.

Adapt Your Operations to Leverage Roll-Up Capacity

Most shippers default to 53’ swing door trailers when requesting carrier capacity because they know these trailers will maximize payload. Shippers shy away from roll-ups because the doors eat up space near the back of the trailer, potentially reducing the pallet count. But for cost-conscious shippers that want the savings, a slight adjustment to shipping schedules is all it takes.

Let’s say you lose 4 pallets per shipment using roll-up capacity, but you save $300 per shipment versus a swing door delivery. All you have to do is ship an extra load every 9th shipment. You’ll save $1,700 to ship the same volume of freight. Roll-Up Savings

In many cases, your actual savings in the above scenario will be $2,400 since you won’t require the extra shipment. Most shipments don’t use all available space on a trailer, so the roll-up would be able to accommodate the full load.

Partner With a 3PL That Can Source Private Fleet Capacity

Swing doors are the industry standard for common carriers, so if you want to tap the savings potential of roll-ups, you need to access private fleet capacity. Walmart, for instance, has 50,000 roll-up trailers in its fleet. They, and other large retailers, actively seek backhaul partners and work with brokers to fill capacity.

Most freight brokers aren’t working closely with private fleet managers to document their backhaul capacity in order to match it with load demand. However, modern 3PLs are doing this. It may be time to start challenging your broker if all they are doing is matching your shipment requests with what they can find on load boards and their limited common carrier contacts.

You want a 3PL partner that is using technology to match your needs with the market’s hidden capacity, including roll-up capacity.

There are thousands of private fleet managers who are hungry for backhaul partners. They are the key to 20%–40% freight savings. What you need is a 3PL partner that can help you make these connections.

The Next Step to Savings

Shipping On the RoadIf you are only using asset-based carriers for your freight, you are missing out on the opportunity to fill private fleet backhauls at a lower rate. Shippers that are open to a relationship with a 3PL can take advantage of more capacity. The additional supply means a lower price – one that more accurately reflects current market conditions. The best 3PL’s will make sure that shippers are always paying rates below the market average.

Putting It All Together

To explore the savings potential of roll-ups, identify a technology-driven 3PL partner whose base of carriers includes private fleets, and then provide them data for your lane of concern. They can determine where matches exist for backhaul capacity and provide the estimated savings.

For more information on the savings potential of roll-up capacity, read our eBook Roll Up and Save.

Roll Up And Save - Free Transportation Brief