9 Tips for Cheaper Freight


Here at FreightExchange we’re all about helping business find ways to make their freight cheaper. We are all about making it simple so you can get on with more important things, like running your business. Here are our top 9 tips for cheaper freight.

Tip 1. Make freight part of all of your decisions

Your supply chain is your lifeblood and should be as efficient as possible, so be sure that key logistics considerations are taken into account when making important decisions. For example, when you decide where to manufacture or purchase your products, or which international market to sell to, research how easy and cheap it is to ship from that location to your customers. Any savings made by a lower manufacturing cost could quickly be undone by expensive and difficult freight.

Tip 2. A great freight forwarder or customs broker can help you make great decisions and minimise costs

A great freight forwarder can help you understand the costs and benefits of shipping and can be an invaluable supply chain management partner. A good forwarder will get to know your business, and help your logistics be as cost effective and efficient as possible.

For example,  a customs broker or freight forwarder can provide advice to importers about any schemes that are available to minimise or defer any duties and taxes that apply to your goods.

Whilst taking advantage of any such schemes, never be tempted to mis- or under-declare your goods as the penalties are severe and all your future shipments will be scrutinised more closely and will result in ongoing delays.

Tip 3: Always try to send your shipments as a full load

Sending your goods as a full load is always a cheaper and better solution. Your goods will travel when you want them to, and the risks of delays are reduced as there won’t be problems with another parties goods making up a full shipment. Don’t assume that you have to have enough goods to actually completely fill a container or truck for a full load (FCL or FTL) to be cheaper than a less than full load (LCL or LTL). There is a tipping point where the full load becomes cheaper particularly when you bear in mind the greater convenience, speed and lower risk.

Tip 4. Always book as far ahead as possible

Like most things, if you leave booking shipments to the last minute you will generally pay more. Whenever possible book confirmed freight space as far ahead as you can so you have access to as much capacity as possible. By planning ahead you may also be able to amend your schedules to allow access to cheaper options.

Tip 5. Use enough packaging to protect your goods, but not so much that it costs you money in freight charges

Think carefully about how you package your goods. Obviously it is vital that you use packaging that offers your goods protection and makes sure they arrive in perfect condition. However, using excess packaging will cost you money, because freight is charged by volume instead of weight for large but light packages.

Volumetric weight is calculated by multiplying length, width and height and then dividing it by a factor which varies by mode of transport and carrier. If the result of this calculation is greater than the actual weight of the shipment, that’s what you will be charged.

You can read more in our post on “Useful Tips for Packing Pallets”.

Tip 6. The cheapest option isn’t always cheapest!

“Penny wise, pound foolish” could be the byline here. By all means shop around for the most competitive freight price but also look at the bigger picture. There’s no point in shaving a few cents per kilo off the freight cost if you then have to spend hours of your time loading or unloading a container instead of running your business.

Tip 7. Don’t rule out moving your goods by air

Air freight is expensive, however your goods arrive much more quickly meaning your customers get their products faster, pay you more and sooner. On some routes air freight can actually be quite competitive especially if you have some flexibility about when goods move.

Tip 8. Don’t overlook the big companies

Whilst the major integrators (FedEx, UPS etc.) charge a premium price they do offer you a really simple shipping service. All you have to do is prepare the shipment and it arrives at the final destination with almost no further effort on your part. This is another example of looking beyond the cost of freight to the total cost of shipping.

Tip 9. Never forget about insurance

In almost all cases carriers will not cover the cost of the goods you give them to move. Freight carriers typically operate with limited liability, which means you will get a relatively small amount of money per kilo if your freight is lost or damaged. It is therefore essential that you purchase insurance to cover your goods appropriately. You can usually buy this from the carrier but if you are shipping regularly you should look into buying a Marine or Cargo policy to cover all your shipments which is more cost-effective.