What to Look for in a Freight Quote? When obtaining a domestic or international freight quote, it may seem like nothing more than a laundry list of exorbitant charges. In fact, if you don’t use professional Landstar agents, you may be wondering what charges aren’t included. So, what are the actual costs associated with a quote and what should you look for? The simple truth is that a freight quote includes every single detail involved with shipping freight from one place to another. Let’s take a closer look at the costs, so you can make an informed decision. Let’s begin by talking about how a freight quote is established. Shipping today is much different than it was only fifteen years ago, when a freight company had specialists devoted to preparing quotes. Today, forwarding agents and shipping brokers use specialized freight calculation software that produces accurate quotes in no time at all. Obviously, the main costs are going to depend upon the weight or volume of your freight and the distance it must travel to reach its destination. However, there are many other details that affect the overall cost. Generally, a trucking company or rail carrier will cost less than a boat or air cargo shipment. However, if speed is the name of the game, then an air cargo carrier may be worth the added expense. After choosing the ideal mode of transportation, there are more options for you to choose from. If you are using rail or ocean transportation, Landstar agents will determine your load volume and suggest the size and amount of containers you will need. For instance, many transporters use both 20-foot and 40foot containers. Of course, the smaller the container, the less the quote will be. Many times, your shipment will not fill a whole container. In these cases, they are classified as Lcl or Ltl, which stand for less than container and less than truck. If you are shipping internationally and your load is not sizable enough to fill an entire container, transportation brokers will often arrange the shipment with an Lcl company that will consolidate and palletize the shipment with others. The details of your load and its volume will then be entered into the freight calculation software, after which the freight forwarder will contract with an Lcl carrier to transport your shipment. Your shipment may also be subject to a fuel surcharge that is based upon the weight of your load and the current fuel cost. Beyond volume, your shipment is also priced on the class of your freight. Understandably, some freight is more costly to ship than others. The density of the load is another factor that can affect the transportation quote. For instance, a container of rebar will be more expensive to transport than a container full of Persian rugs. Additional pricing factors include any special handling instructions, the fragility of the items, and whether or not the load contains hazardous materials.
Of course, insurance is also included in the quote. You may take out limited liability insurance, but this is often not enough to cover the value of the shipment. Conveniently, the Landstar agents that arrange your shipment can handle the insurance aspect of the shipment as well. There are other variables, such as whether you need the freight to be picked up, whether warehousing is required, and whether the shipment will be unconsolidated and shipped to multiple locations, that can also affect the quote that you receive. It may seem complex, but the entire process is simplified by the professional freight forwarders who handle these transactions on a daily basis.