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Shippers can select the best shipping mode to manage demand, cost, risk, and service, leading to a more efficient supply chain. An efficient supply chain is one that cost-effectively meets customer needs. With two-day (or less) delivery becoming the retail standard for customers, balancing cost and meeting customer expectations is no small feat for cargo companies and carriers. According to a recent study, 55% of consumers seek same-day shipping.

Despite recent advances in technology and automation, operational inefficiencies in the supply chain still impact the system. Finding out the proper shipping method is part of the challenge faced in today’s supply chain. Shippers and carriers must work together to identify and facilitate the most reliable modes of shipping to keep everything smooth.

Every year, businesses in the U.S. spend an estimated $7 billion on truckload freight that ships with unused trailer space — the equal of five out of every 100 truckloads moving empty. This means that choosing the proper shipping method comes at a high cost and is highly important when contributing to an efficient supply chain. There are three standard modes of shipping:

Less-than-truckload (LTL),
Truckload (T.L.), and
Shared truckload (STL).

Each mode has its time and place and comes with benefits and risks. Less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping is beneficial for companies as it is cheaper than truckload shipping. Companies can divide shipping costs with other shipping freight on the same truck, making LTL shipping the more budget-friendly option. This shipping method can take longer to reach its final destination, but skilled transportation companies will work to pair shipments together on a truck-based on destination.