LCL truck transportation: how to manage it correctly?

When we talk about LCL, consolidated cargo, we usually think of maritime freight. However, this modality exists in other types of transportation as well, as is the case of LCL truck transportation, which is an additional service commonly offered with LCL maritime services.

But, what is LCL truck transportation exactly?

LCL truck transportation is a combined type of freight transport that allows the optimization of the costs of shipments since the customer only pays for the space used in the truck. This means that different cargo belonging to different customers are transported together to different origins/destinations. In order to do this, trucks draw different routes to pick up/deliver goods at different points within an assigned area according to the terms previously established by the carrier.

It’s not unusual to confuse this conventional LCL truck service, with dedicated or direct transport services, where the cost represents the renting of the whole truck. These means of transportation do not mix different cargo but responds to the instruction of a single customer to transport his cargo to an exact point without interruptions. This type of service is the most common and also the most expensive, since the entire truck is paid for, regardless of whether the customer fills it up or not.

What should you keep in mind before hiring an LCL Truck transportation service?

In order to manage your LCL truck transportation service efficiently, it’s important to take into consideration the following tips:

1.  Always make sure to specify the type of goods to be transported, the number of packages or pallets sent, the dimensions, the weight, the exact pick up/delivery address, the type of customer: if it’s an industrial customer, if it’s a trading business or if it’s a particular person; the types of access, customer service hours and the specific needs they have when loading or unloading.

2.  When mixing different types of cargo from different customers, it’s important to use the correct packaging according to this type of transport. Likewise, you should always try to palletize your packages. This way, chances of experiencing incidents, such as damages, losses or crossings, are slimmed considerably. Sending bulk cargo or with inadequate packaging is never a good idea. It’s better to avoid unnecessary risks by investing a little more money in good packaging and avoid having to replace damaged or lost goods.

3.   It’s very important to bear in mind that in LCL truck transportation, the exact hours of pick up/delivery cannot be guaranteed. Routes are established within the same zone and the cargo is picked up/delivered in slots of at least four hours. If the service is needed at a specific time, an exclusive or dedicated transport would be more appropriate and, therefore, it wouldn’t be considered LCL truck transportation anymore. This information is of utmost importance when it comes to informing customers about transit times and pick up/delivery times of their cargo.

4.   If you require to have real-time information of the location of your cargo, and the exact time of pick up/delivery, LCL truck transport is not your best option because, when working with time slots and transit times (subject to variables), it’s impossible to ensure traceable information at all times. Therefore, the ideal would be to hire a dedicated or direct service, where the transport focused on the freight of only one customer.

5.   Keep in mind that, when mixing cargo of different customers for transport, the transit time of an LCL service is higher than that of a direct dedicated one, since the truck has to make a route through different pick up/delivery points that lengthen the times of transit from arrival to destination, unlike those transports that only go from point A to point B.

6.   Last but not least, it’s important to consider putting identifying marks on all packages, with name, address and telephone number of the owner of the freight, because if there is an incidence of crossing or loss, this helps to easily identify it and manage it faster and more efficiently.

LCL Truck transportation service is a very good alternative for the cargo that requires ground transportation and that doesn’t necessarily fill an entire truck. It’s common that this option isn’t always considered out lack of information about its management, but following these aforementioned tips, this alternative could be more economical and effective.