How Appointment Freight Affects LTL Delivery Time

When it comes to customer service inquiries, the most common queries, by far, are those related to shipment tracking. Since so much of transport happens behind the scenes, it can be difficult to imagine how individual shipment factors can have a significant effect on delivery times, but, unbelievably, that’s exactly how it happens.

Luckily for our customers, there are simple ways to prepare and ship freight to improve delivery speed and efficiency. One such way is avoiding “appointment freight” when it’s not relevant or required. Believe it or not, the extra logistical steps required to schedule appointment freight can be a significant source of delay for some shipments. The extra step is also the reason there is an added cost for appointment freight.


It Adds a Step to the Process

When a customer requests “call before/appointment freight,” it adds a step to that shipment’s transit process. A surprising number of people are involved in moving freight. In fact, most shipments exchange hands at least a half a dozen times, coming into contact with customer service representatives, drivers, dispatchers, night billers, and dock workers between Points A and B. For “appointment freight,” the process also includes an appointment clerk who is tasked with contacting the consignee (the recipient of the goods) to establish a delivery time before the shipment is even loaded onto a truck.

So Much Depends on the Recipient

It may seem trivial, but the time it takes to contact the consignee and to schedule a designated delivery time can add significant delays, especially if the consignee is difficult to reach. In those cases, a shipment could sit for a day more than if it had been assigned as a regular delivery, simply because it’s waiting for confirmation of an appointment time.

It’s More Complex

Since this extra step of scheduling the appointment time with the consignee applies to “appointment freight” only, customers can easily limit delays on their shipments by not selecting this option, whenever possible. The added complexity is also why shipments of this type do not come with time-frame guarantees (like next-day delivery); it’s simply not possible to make promises when so much of the delivery timeframe depends on the consignee and is thus out of the carrier’s hands to control.

If your shipments don’t require specific delivery appointments to ensure that they get to their destination at a particular time, you can often improve the speed and efficiency of shipments by not selecting the “appointment freight” option when completing the bill of lading. It’s an easy way to make your shipping simpler and speedier.

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Gabrielle Wadhams

Gabrielle Wadhams

Gabrielle brings an outstanding work ethic to her management role in the RIST less than truckload (LTL) customer service department. Gabrielle has been in the business for many years as a Wadhams family member: granddaughter of the beloved founder Earl T. Wadhams ("Red"), and daughter of Steve Wadhams.