Tips for working with interline LTL carriers

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Many LTL carriers utlize interline relationships to grow their network and service their customer’s better. While this is a great strategy for the carriers to service customers in new markets, customers may experience a reduction in service caused by back office issues. Here are some tips we that can help customers take advantage of these services and avoid delays.

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Where do the issues come from?

Interline carrier services are more susceptible to delays and lack of visiblity due to issues with hand offs between the carrier partners. Here are some tips for customers who want to support their core carriers or take advantage of favorable rates that often come with indirect points.

#1 Know what you are buying.
The best way to do this is by asking the booking carrier if they will be using an interline carrier along the way or if the lane is an indirect lane. Carriers are not being deceptive by not coming out and telling you. The booking process is fast and there is a lot of information exchanged quickly. As the buyer you have to know the right questions to ask. LTL carriers are happy to tell you if they service the delivery point direct or indirect. Often this can be found by reviewing the carriers coverage map.

If you are BAM Freight customer, when booking in our system it will tell you if the carrier’s service is direct or interline right under the carrier’s rate.

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#2 Clarify special services up front.
If you are purchasing any special services, especially ones that will be performed by the interline carrier you should ask the interline carrier about those prior to dispatching the load or calling in the pickup. For example, if your carrier is going to use an interline carrier for a lift gate pickup and the interline has no lift gate trucks, that’s very important to know.

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#3 Monitor the handoffs.
When booking the shipment understand when the actual handoff will take place. Usually the carrier’s customer service or dispatch will know this. Then watch the shipment in transit on the carrier’s tracking site. Make sure the handoff takes place and you get the correct pro for the receiving carrier. Call the receiving carrier and ensure they have all of the necessary information in the system.

Carriers serve some points indirectly by partnering with interline carriers. Often this has cost advantages. There can be delays caused by communication issues between carriers. Make sure you know when you are purchasing an interline service, clarify special services up front and monitor your hand offs.

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Dave Stevens

Dave Stevens

Transportation Executive with experience in developing processes and controls for early stage start up companies. Specialties include: Sales, Marketing, Transportation, Trucking, Brokerage, Project Transport and Rail Operations.,Organizational Design, Process Development, Accounts Receivable Management, Leadership, and Business Start-ups.

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