What Is Linehaul? 5 Advantages of Linehaul Transportation
Updated 23 March 2023
The movement of goods and services via trucks is an important part of the economy. Trucks, planes, trains and ships move millions of tons of raw materials, finished goods and other products every year through various trucking methods. In this article, we answer the question ‘What is linehaul transportation?’, discuss how it differs from other methods, explain some advantages of linehaul services and provide several tips on optimising it.
What is linehaul transportation?
Linehaul transportation is a logistics term that refers to the movement of goods and objects, or freight, between two points via truck, train, plane or ship. Freight often differs in size, weight and volume and the logistics for moving freight differ depending on these factors and the destination. For example, if you want to send a 10,000 kilogram object overseas, moving the object will be more costly and expensive than moving a smaller object within Australia.
Linehaul transportation is a branch of shipping logistics that helps companies determine the logistics for moving goods between specific points within a pre-determined timeframe.
What is a linehaul carrier?
A linehaul carrier is an organisation that participates in the linehaul process, providing shipping services, management, quality assurance and adherence to government regulations. Carriers are a crucial component in linehaul transportation because they perform process work and provide the necessary data for tracking linehaul logistics. Carriers adhere to Less Than Truckload (LTL) and Full Truckload (FTL), regulations to ensure swift delivery and quality care during the hauling process.
Why is linehaul carrier tracking important?
In order to generate accurate analytics of the linehaul process, carriers typically track the logistics of each delivery using digital software. In doing so, carriers ensure that they are meeting the requirements from customers and adhering to federal regulations. Linehaul carrier tracking also allows carriers to examine their hauling processes to increase efficiency and optimisation. For example, a carrier might track the travel times for a cargo ship sailing around the coast and a truck travelling up the coastal highway to learn which is more cost-efficient for the next delivery.
These insights keep costs down, provide valuable information for carriers and customers and can help carriers verify their compliance with government bodies.
What difference does a linehaul carrier make?
Linehaul carriers affect the shipping process in a variety of ways. Depending on the efficiency of the carrier, the hauling process can become less costly, more punctual and help increase customer confidence in the carrier. Linehaul carriers have an influence on:
Duration of delivery: The duration of each delivery depends largely on the carrier's efficiency and tracking. For example, a delivery can take less time if carriers notify the recipient of the estimated arrival time, so that they're ready to start unloading freight when it arrives.
Cost of transportation: Carriers have an impact on the cost of transporting freight because they track analytics for every delivery. This helps them determine the correct cost for moving freight and still being able to earn a profit for the company.
Freight movement: Linehaul carriers have a direct influence on the movement of freight because they control the methods of transportation. For example, a linehaul carrier with a significant fleet of cargo ships might control a majority of freight shipping across a specific body of water: controlling costs, shipping times and reducing competition.
Shipping to and from depots: Linehaul carriers ship to and from depots, which gives these companies more control over shipping times. Depots allow finished products or raw materials to safely await transportation under controlled storage conditions.
Shipping to and from sorting facilities: Linehaul carriers ship to and from sorting facilities, where companies sort raw materials and goods into groups for specific uses. For example, a retail company might sort thousands of specific retail items at a sorting facility and ship specific items to stores or storage depots for later use.
Carriers typically charge a premium for shipping services, called a 'linehaul surcharge'. The carrier typically bases this charge on the total distance between the pickup and delivery locations and the weight of the freight. The linehaul charge covers only these costs and excludes loading, unloading or transfer costs. The customer typically pays for these extra services if they're necessary.
The difference between long haul and linehaul trucking
Linehaul transportation includes linehaul trucking, which is a more efficient method of hauling large volumes of goods across long distances. Linehaul trucking differs from another common trucking method: long haul trucking.
The difference is that long haul truckers often spend days, weeks or even months driving to and from their destinations, whereas linehaul truckers work in shifts. This helps the carrier reduce worker fatigue, which may increase the likelihood of an accident. It also helps the carrier reduce the costs of long trips, such as petrol costs, food costs or hotel costs for long haul drivers.
Advantages of linehaul
Companies that use linehaul transportation typically have a more efficient freight transportation model versus companies that adhere to traditional models like long haul trucking. Here are some key advantages of linehaul transportation for freight carriers:
Typically, a linehaul carrier can deliver freight faster than traditional freight models. Carriers track the logistics of each delivery, allowing them to constantly optimise the freight shipping process to increase the promptness and quality of each delivery. For example, if a freight carrier is tracking its average speed per delivery, it can identify which roads or areas slow down vehicles and highlight a different route for its drivers to save time on the delivery and money on petrol costs.
Better customer relationships
With linehaul transportation, the movement of freight can be far more efficient, less costly and more punctual. This can help create better relationships with customers and the freight carrier, resulting in a more efficient supply chain. Freight carriers can charge less for each delivery and are better able to guarantee the quality of each freight delivery. Customers appreciate the reduced costs and prompt delivery of goods and raw materials that they need for regular business operations.
Linehaul carrier tracking allows carriers to track analytics for freight transportation. These analytics provide valuable insights into the shipping process that allow the carrier to reduce transport costs. The carrier can pass these savings on to the customer, charging less for efficient deliveries. For example, if a carrier tracks the performance of truck tires and concludes that Tire A is more petrol-efficient than Tire B, they can replace each truck's tires for a more petrol-efficient fleet and save money on maintenance costs.
Better communication between carriers and providers
Linehaul transportation helps connect the supply chain through analytics, which also allows for better communication between the carrier, goods providers, customers and other organisations involved in the shipping process. With greater communication and accuracy, companies can avoid errors, increase their understanding of the transportation process and deliver greater value. This level of communication creates a much stronger supply chain and helps reduce costs for everyone.
Fewer accidents or errors
With linehaul trucking, truck drivers work in shifts to avoid fatigue. This has several effects on the freight transportation process and the drivers themselves. Drivers work a typical shift, usually between eight or nine in the morning until around five or six in the evening. This helps prevent worker fatigue that can lead to more errors or workplace accidents. Allowing drivers to rest between shifts can make the transportation process safer, more efficient and less costly.
Tips on optimising linehaul services
If you're a freight carrier, optimising linehaul services for your company might be the key to saving money and optimising your routes, customer relationships and overhead costs. Here are some tips for optimising linehaul transportation:
Keep detailed records: Keep detailed records of each delivery, including weight, delivery time, assigned driver, destination and customer. You can also record the capacity of each depot or sorting facility and vehicle in your fleet to maximise your understanding of the company's shipping capabilities.
Reward drivers: Rewarding drivers with a competitive salary and benefits package can help increase their productivity, company loyalty and encourage qualified candidates to join your team. Offer rewards for high performance and extra effort to show drivers you notice their hard work.
Keep customers informed: Inform customers of delivery times, delays and other information about their freight. This helps support the relationship between you and your customers and promotes a more efficient supply chain.
Identify optimal routes: Identifying the optimal delivery routes on land, air or by sea helps you ensure that you're delivering freight on time while optimising the journey to control costs and save the company and the customer money.
Use the right software: Digital tracking software can help you track important analytics for each delivery and optimise your freight transportation process. There are hundreds of digital tools available for freight carriers.
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