Logistics Faceoff: Which Delivery Method is Better – Rail or Truck?

If you are planning on shipping your freight via ground shipping, you are probably choosing between rail or truckload shipping. There is no “wrong choice” per say, but there may be a more ideal choice for you depending on your company’s goals. Conserving energy, time and resources is no doubt important for your business and supply chain, so it’s important to weigh your delivery method options. Consider the pros and cons of both rail and truck shipping methods.

railRail
Pros: 

  • Very secure
  • Fuel efficient
  • Shipment size
    • Intermodal sizes and weight (including Tare)–
      • 20’ –    52,900 lbs max
      • 40’ –  67,200 lbs max
      • 45’ –   67,200 lbs. max
      • 40’ –    67,200 lbs max
      • 53’ –    67,200 lbs max

Cons: 

  • Transit time is longer
    • Average shipment time from California to New York is 8-10 days

Trains are superior in the realm of energy efficiency for shipments over land. A train’s steel wheels produce very little kinetic friction. On the other hand, a truck’s thick tires create heavy static friction. This means that a truck’s engine consumes more fuel. Trains also move at a slower pace, which greatly improves fuel consumption. The aerodynamic drag caused by moving a heavy freight at fast speeds is diminished via rail. Therefore, if your concerns for supply chain management heavily rely on the energy efficiency of your vehicles, and if your shipment is a medium to long distance route, rail shipments may be more ideal.
truckingTrucking
Pros: 

  • Quick transit time
    • Approximately 4-5 Days shipping time from California to New York.
  • Quicker availability

Cons: 

  • Higher fuel charges
  • Limited size,
    • 53’ FTL Van
      • 26 standard 48×40 pallets
      • max 45,000lbs
    • 48’ FTL Van
      • 24 standard 48×40
      • Max 45,000lbs

On the other hand, time is money. If your company is fast-paced, a train’s lag in time can make all the difference. Because trains move slower than trucks, those who rely on quicker delivery times may choose the faster truck. Trucks are also more flexible, because they are not reliant on railways. They can operate on any roadway throughout the continent.

In short, the answer to the question posed in the title of this article is: it depends.

Both shipment options have pros and cons. STC Logistics’ Intermodal Service combines Ocean, Rail and Truck to offer door-to-door transport in North America. If you choose Rail shipping, keep in mind that you will most likely implement Intermodal Shipping in order to transport your items to and from the rail yard. Weight plays a major factor in transporting goods. By utilizing more than one mode of transportation, you can experience the benefits of both modes of logistics. The team at STC Logistics can handle the drayage, rail negotiation and transport of your intermodal shipment.
For more information on Select Transportation Logistics’ Intermodal Service or to request a quote, contact us today at ratequote@shipstc.com

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Preparing Your Freight Shipment for Delivery

If you are shipping freight, you need to keep several factors in mind when taking the time to prepare your shipment. Freight shipments can include large boxes or palletized items, usually with a minimum weight.  Depending on the packaging, you will have to prepare them in different ways.

To determine if you should palletize your freight, keep in mind that minimum billable charges can impact the billing of your shipment. Palletized freight keeps a multi-piece shipment together and protected from damage. Each pallet is considered one piece. However, non-palletized freight is categorized by boxes or containers, which aren’t secured. Each box or container is considered one piece.

Packaging

Preparing a Palletized Shipment

  1.  Select a pallet. Pallets should be large enough that they can accommodate your freight without any part hanging over. If any piece hangs over the edge of the pallet, your shipment will be susceptible to damage.  Consider a pallet with four-way forklift entry. They are the preferred pallet because they improve handling.
  2. Stack your packages on the pallet. Put a label with complete address information, on each box or container. Align the boxes in columns for greatest stability when stacking. Keep the top layer flat and avoid a pyramid shape.
  3. Secure your shipment to the pallet. Use banding or strapping in order to secure your boxes to the pallet. Use stretch wrap to prevent the pieces from getting separated from the load.
  4. Label your shipment. Your pallet should have the address information on it, including shipper postal code and the consignee’s information.

Preparing a Non-Palletized Shipment

  1. Ship your items in corrugated boxes, crates or containers. Consider double boxing your items if they are heavy.
  2. Remove all labels, tags and markings from boxes that are being reused.
  3. Protect your items. Use at least 2 inches or more of cushioning material to protect the items from each other and the edges of the container.
  4. Securely seal the boxes with reinforced tape.
  5. Label each piece with complete address information, postal code of the shipper and the consigner’s information.

Whether you are sending a freight shipment near or far, STC Logistics is here to help the process go as smoothly as possible. Our 24/7-customer service and 36 status checkpoint system monitors your freight every step of the way. Contact us today with further questions or to request a quote.

Which Mode of Transport is Right For Your Freight Shipment?

The goal for business owners is to minimize transportation costs and meet customer demands demand for their products. Transportation costs are dependent on the distance between the source and the destination, the selected method of transport and both the quantity and size of the shipped product.

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The U.S. boasts four million miles of roads and a railroad network that could circle the globe several times. Our country’s complex transportation systems allows decision makers several options when shipping products. Choosing the best one requires knowing the pros and cons of them all:

Ground

The infrastructure of the roads in the US plays a major role in handling cargo across the nation. Shipping products via truck is the most common mode used in logistics in the US today.

Pros

  • Cost effective
  • Fast delivery
  • Great for short distances
  • Ideal for transporting temperature-controlled products like perishables or pharmaceuticals

Cons

  • Shipment subject to traffic delays
  • Trucks susceptible to bad weather and delays

 Ocean

Large volumes of trade can be imported/exported through ships on ocean vessels. Through waterways, ships transport cargo from one country to another. STC offers LCL (less than container load) and FCL (full container load) via ocean.

Pros

  • Ideal for transporting heavy and bulky freight
  • Great option for products with long lead times
  • Volume advantages to pricing
  • Seasonal advantages to pricing

Cons

  • Extended transport schedules
  • Difficult to monitor location of goods in transit
  • Shipments susceptible to Customs restrictions

Rail

Through rail shipping, large volumes of freight can be moved in a short period of time. Intermodal shipping is becoming a very popular service in recent years. Freight shipping is carried out on trains and then transferred to trucks and/or planes.

Pros

  • Only 1-3 additional transit days compared to truck service
  • Cost effective alternative to ground services
  • Safe and reliable

Cons

  • Suppliers and customers not always located near a freight rail depot
  • Intermodal shipment may be needed to accommodate the final delivery
  • Extended transit times when compared to truck schedules

Air

Flying your product to its destination provides a swift solution for your company. This method is commonly used by businesses with time sensitive shipping needs, and air is one of STC Logistics’ signature services.

Pros

  • Fast delivery, usually between 24 and 48 hours
  • Reduces lead time
  • Immediate recovery from airport for swift delivery

Cons –

  • Higher cost
  • Flight shipments susceptible to Customs restrictions

No matter which transportation method you choose for your company, STC Logistics’ extensive network ensures that your goods arrive promptly and safely, every time. If you still aren’t sure how you should ship your products, we can help. Our experts at STC Logistics are industry leading Commercial Freight Specialist and can help you decide the best shipping methods for your company. Contact us today for more information or to request a quote.

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Top 3 Considerations for Shipping Pharmaceutical Products

Shipping pharmaceutical products is more complicated than shipping any other item. There are specific guidelines and regulations involved in shipping. It’s important to take the necessary steps to ensure that the pharmaceutical products are intact and useful to the end consumer after shipping.

There are a number of things to keep in mind when choosing a logistics company to ship pharmaceutical products:

  1. Temperature Control – Temperature is a primary concern when shipping pharmaceuticals. Products must be shipping in containers that are well insulated. Temperature-controlled shipments ensure that delicate pharmaceuticals are kept in optimal conditions.
  2. Security – Pharmaceutical cargo types are susceptible to theft and can be extremely dangerous, depending on the type of pharmaceuticals. The greater the number of people who handle the freight, the greater the likelihood that the shipment would be lost, damaged or stolen. Direct, non-stop routes ensure that the delivery is secure with the least amount of handling. Other important security precautions that a logistics company should take into consideration are cameras in the warehouse, satellite tracking and total visibility.
  3. Proper Licensure –When choosing a logistics partner, verify that the company has all of the proper licenses and equipment necessary to ship pharmaceuticals.

Using a third party logistics company can help your pharmaceutical company pinpoint the exact mode of transportation necessary for your highly valuable products. ShipPharma is a pharmaceutical shipping provider servicing pharmaceutical companies and their fulfillment partners. With ShipPharma, appointment deliveries are guaranteed to arrive in a two-hour window. Additionally, customer service reps are carefully trained to manage your shipments while maintaining the software.

pharma shipping

For more information on ShipPharma or to find out more information on shipping requirements for pharmaceuticals, contact STC Logistics today.

Five Tips for Freight Shipping Success

Freight shipping is an option that can save businesses time and money. A reputable third party logistics provider (3pl) has a vast network of carriers, discounts and insurance options that will help make freight shipping a hassle free experience. If the items that you are shipping are bulky, over-sized or on a pallet, then you are in need of a freight shipper.

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Here are five tips to ensure your freight shipping success:

  1. Streamline your processes. The best way to prevent logistical nightmares is to streamline your internal management process and outsource task related job functions. Allowing your logistics partner to use their network and systems enables you to stick to your core competencies. A third party logistics provider can decrease your company’s lead times, improve rates and allow you to step back and focus on the bigger picture of your company. A quality 3pl will provide real time updates for your shipment online and also be able to integrate with your systems. This will enable you to keep on top of your product pick to delivery at all times.
  2. Choose a Provider. Make sure that before you choose a logistics company, you understand their basic service packages, pricing structures, turnaround time. Another important thing to learn is how/if the vendor can handle large-scale distribution/rollouts. A good 3pl will be able to coordinate these large projects efficiently while offing volume discounts.
  3. Consider freight dimensions. Dimensions should be rounded to the nearest inch and include width, length and height. Carriers rely on freight dimensions to determine the number of individual loads for a specific truck.  Dimensions are essential information in order to know the various shipping options a good 3pl should have.
  4. Be mindful of packaging. Crating or palletizing your freight shipments will ensure that your freight is not damaged in transit.
  5. Label your shipments clearly. Every box or crate in your shipment should have a label which indicates both the shipper and consignee complete address. If your packages get separated, a clear and informative label will be necessary. Additionally, you may add shipper and consignee phone numbers, bill of lading number, carrier pro number and the date shipped. Online pickup requests can provide you with an electronic bill of lading that can help streamline the pickup process.

If you’re not sure who to select for your third party logistics provider, you may need a checklist of information to help you out. It is critical that your logistics vendor is superior with customer service, integrated technology and service flexibility. Download STC Logistics’ free checklist, “What to Look for in a Third Party Logistics Company,” for more information on 3pl providers. If you are ready to move forward, Contact Us today.

Four Tips to Maximize your Logistics this Holiday Shipping Season

STC_Holiday ShippingLogistics during the holiday season requires a significant amount of planning. The holiday season begins on November 1, but businesses and logistics providers should begin preparing in October, and in some cases, even earlier. 19% of consumers begin their holiday shopping in October and 40% are holiday shopping during November. High demand for products means that logistics vendors must ensure that the products are able to reach the end consumer.

In the United States, it is important to bear in mind holidays such as Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Christmas. Shipping around the holidays creates a significant amount of traffic, so it’s important to keep in mind international holidays as well.  The challenge for companies is to successfully accommodate the demand that the peak season brings.

Keep in mind these four following tips when planning your holiday season logistics:

  • Be Proactive – Being proactive about holiday planning is the best way to make it through the holidays smoothly. It’s important to stay in tune with vendors during a rush period.
  • Remember last year’s mistakes – Keep in mind the issues that the last holiday season brought and remedy them. This is an effective way to avoid previous mistakes.
  • Be Flexible – Flexibility is also important. Handling shipments as early as possible ensures that customers are satisfied even if there happens to be a delay in shipment.
  • Bring in backup – Many companies choose to meet this demand by relying on the help of logistics service providers. Effective supply chain execution is the difference between getting products to customers on time… and not. By reducing the amount of goods that arrive late to retailers, companies can avoid discounting their products after the holidays to move them out of stores.

STC Logistics offers a highly efficient, round the clock operation to help alleviate the demands of the holiday season. Our extensive network ensures that your goods will arrive to its destination promptly and safely. Our Customer Service professionals work with you to determine the best and most cost-effective way to get your shipment to its destination. Click Here to request a quote for your holiday shipments.

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Welcome to Logistically Speaking!

Welcome to Logistically Speaking – your resource center for shipping and logistics!

Logistically Speaking is dedicated to providing companies with important information about shipping their products. Our blog posts will cover a wide range of topics including how you should ship, when to ship and news within the logistics industry. If you want to learn more about how to streamline your company’s shipping, we’ve got you covered!

STC Logistics is a Total Source Solution for handling all of your transportation needs. Our accomplished representatives provide expert consultation for even the most complex traffic departments. This experience, combined with our vast network of nationwide secure cross-docking facilities, gives us the knowledge you need about your company’s logistics. We are committed to providing superior, flexible logistics solutions, and we are ready to share our expertise with you.

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