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Ten tips for shippers who want to reduce their haulage costs

Mar 3rd, 2015

As a shipper, you naturally want to keep your haulage costs down. So you shop around suppliers and try to find the best price and service combination. But have you considered how your own process might be adding costs to carriers? Often unsuspecting shippers have requirements which they don’t realise will add costs to carriers. And these costs will be reflected in any rates you as a shipper are quoted for your lanes. So it is very worthwhile to engage and discuss with your carrier about how you can both potentially improve efficiency and save money. Here are some of our top tips for shippers:

  • Consider your route from the perspective of a carrier. A carrier considers that a truck is an asset that must be utilised as much as possible; would you keep your factory with no work for long periods, would you have staff stand and not work for long periods, would you give employees a job for half a day and pay them for the day? We would guess not!
  • Are your collection times really tight or is there some flexibility? The more open and flexible your collection times, the better for carriers who can arrange collection to suit their schedules.
  • How efficient is the collection site, particularly at loading and getting trailers on their way quickly? The less time the carrier wastes sitting on site waiting to be loaded, the better!
  • Consider how much booking effort is required by the carrier for your loads and if you can reduce unnecessary admin which is additional cost which they will factor in.
  • Is the delivery a "time slot"? Again this requires your haulier to arrive early and wait for their slot if to be on time so if there is any flexibility, let him know.
  • Is the delivery time sensible based on the drive time from the collection point? Again time can be wasted here as the driver naturally arrives early and has to wait.
  • Choosing the right lead-time can be significant - a two driver truck could be necessary to make the delivery or can you bring forward the collection and use single manned trucks.
  • Check capacity and whether it affects trailer type - sometimes a haulier will use a mega for additional capacity but you may pay proportionally more for it - it could be cheaper to use a regular trailer and put the rest of your load on a part load basis.
  • Think about the notice period for orders - in general less than 48 hours' notice becomes an express movement at higher cost - can you give 3 days' notice to make planning more efficient and reduce empty kms?
  • Before you re-tender a route aiming to get a lower quote than you are currently paying, go back to your carrier and ask where savings can be made - they should be able to advise.

With a little care and consideration for the supplier, you as a shipper can save more money than by tendering again and again - engaging with your carriers to optimise the whole process chain is likely to give you bigger wins than constantly chasing after lower rates.

Ten tips for shippers who want to reduce their haulage costs
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