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4 Things to Consider When Booking Freight Loads

Finding the best freight loads for your trucks to haul doesn’t have to turn into a nightmare. With technology consuming every industry, nowadays, time-consuming tasks are turned into fast and simple activities.  

Booking loads are not an exception. New apps have permeated the industry to help carriers and truckers quickly access real-time loads in an easy manner.  

Methods for booking loads 

Carriers don’t have to rely only upon extensive load boards. Many other methods can alleviate load booking tasks, like: 

  • Freight brokers that connect shippers with truckers. 
  • Hiring dispatcher services directly that have industry experience and take care of the entire process. 
  • Access to government contracts. 
  • Networking. 

Now that you’ve taken care of the searching part of the process, the evaluation stage begins.  

In many cases, booking the load becomes more critical than actually analyzing its requirements or specifications, which may lead you to overbook and not have the capacity to execute them.  

What should you consider before booking a freight load? 

To avoid this from happening, let’s take a look at four things you need to consider when booking your loads: 

1 . Right Equipment  

2 . Shipment Weight 

3 . Available Hours 

4 . Load requirements  

1. Right Equipment 

In some cases, to ensure the shipments’ safety, you will need additional equipment to load and unload them. Some of the special equipment required could be: 

  • Liftgates are necessary when the pick-up or delivery location does not have a loading dock, for example, residential areas or retail stores.  
  • Forklift or lift truck when the merchandise is packed on pallets.  
  • Conveyor is used when there are too many heavy boxes to load or unload. It reduces the risk of the cargo being dropped or damaged when loaded manually. Using a conveyor is also safer for the workers as they don’t have to handle the heavy lifting, which could affect their health.  

These are some of the necessary equipment to handle different types of freight loads, and there are many others such as slip sheets, ramps, straps, dunnage, and more.  

So before booking a load, it is essential to check if the cargo will need any of the equipment mentioned above to ensure the equipment is handled correctly and delivered in optimal conditions.  

Not having the specific equipment could delay your pick-up or delivery process, ultimately damaging your professional relationship with the companies involved and end customers. 

2. Shipment Weight 

Weight regulations for oversized, overweight, and heavy-haul freight can vary depending on the state you’re shipping through or on.  

Before booking a load, it’s essential to check the shipment’s overall weight, including the tractor weight, chassis, container, and cargo.  

Complying with weight regulations will avoid logistic problems, fines, additional costs, or even lawsuits if an accident occurs.  

Why are Weight Regulations Enforced? 

There are four main reasons why Weight Regulations are enforced: 

1 . Safety. 

2 . Preventing damages to the roads, bridges, and buildings. 

3 . Environment protection. 

4 . Manage or reduce traffic. 

Even though there are many regulations, there’s no universal maximum cargo weight. This is why it’s crucial to check out the rules in your state’s Department of Transportation to determine each specific case.  

For example, generally in the US, a 40-foot truck’s gross weight should be less than 80,000 lbs., meaning the cargo weight should be roughly 45,000 lbs.  

3. Available Hours 

The available hours are a vital aspect of the entire process as they refer to your drivers’ health and safety. Regularly checking and keeping up to date with the hours your drivers have available is critical before booking any load. Ensuring that your driver will be able to pick-up and deliver the shipment within their time limits will allow you to comply with FMCSA regulations and maintain a healthy and safe environment within your truckers.  

If timing is too tight for the driver and you’re not considering possible delays or any issues along the way, then it’s best not to book the load.  

Check out the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Hours of Service Regulations to be up to date on hour limits and comply with the norm.  

Key Elements of HOS 

11-hour driving limit: The truck driver may drive a maximum of 11 hours after ten consecutive hours off duty.  

10-hour limit: The truck driver may drive a maximum of 10 hours after 8 consecutive hours off duty.  

14-hour limit: The truck driver may not drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty, following 10 consecutive hours off duty. Off-duty time does not extend the 14 hours.  

15-hour limit: The truck driver may not drive after having been on duty for 15 hours, following 8 consecutive hours off duty. Off-duty time is not included in the 15 hours.  

30-minute Driving Break: Drivers must take a 30-minute break when they have driven for 8 cumulative hours without at least a 30-minute interruption. 

Complete HOS Regulations. 

4. Load Requirements 

Often, shippers or receivers will add specific information on their required documents or in the notes field. These specifications need to be considered and reviewed thoroughly for an overall experience.  

The information added in the documents may be the receiver’s contact information, specific information on the cargo that’s being shipped, particular instructions, and more.  

After considering these four aspects, you will be ready to book the best freight loads for your truck drivers, taking an informed and well thought out decision that will avoid further inconveniences and the possible detriment of the relationship with your end client.  

Even though this may seem simple, it can be incredibly time-consuming. We all know that time is money on the road, which is why Plus Power exists. We take care of all those details with our Plus Power Carrier Manager, so your business can maximize revenue per mile and spend more time making money. 

For more details about our Plus Power Program head on over to www.mypluspower.com.