Huge Savings are Out There - 3PLs Know How to Find Them for You

Posted by Harriet Mills on Feb 14, 2019 11:14:48 AM

We all want to save money, right?  So how do we do that in the world of transportation and logistics?  A shipper probably feels like they are exercising his or her due diligence by getting rates from several 3PLs for their shipment. Then, by comparing prices and choosing the one that has given them the best service and best rate, they select a 3PL.

Taking the time to think outside the box, however, is sometimes a better overall strategy and can wind up saving you costs. Evaluating different shipping modes should be something that happens regularly ... if you are dealing with a full-service 3PL and you have a great sales representative.

 Piggybank Money1

If you have a 42,000 pound load of frozen food and it needs to get picked up from Blackfoot, Idaho, and shipped to a distribution center in Philadelphia, most shippers would say that’s a no-brainer. They would request a reefer truckload rate without a second thought, when in reality, temperature-controlled intermodal may be significantly less expensive, especially if the lanes are favorable for rail and there is no time crunch on the delivery date. 

According to a study done by Cleveland Research Company, shipments that have the potential to be switched from over-the-road to intermodal are around 45 million in the United States. Here are a few tips to help you know if your freight is a good candidate to consider intermodal.

  • Over 700 miles
  • High volume
  • Can be either dry or temp-controlled
  • Flexible lead time since rail sometimes takes longer than OTR, but not always

There are so many factors that go into rating a single shipment that it’s important to make sure you request quotes for all possible options, whether it be truckload, LTL or intermodal. You could be missing out on some substantial cost-savings! The sales staff at Choptank is trained to identify and offer all viable cost-saving opportunities.

Look at the variations in rates when a seasoned sales representative presents all the  options. *Below rates taken from random 2018 shipments (to show pricing variation only)

Chart 2


In some instances, consolidating freight also can save shippers money. One example of this would be taking several cold LTL shipments and turning them into a single, multi-drop reefer truckload (which requires loading them in order of delivery, of course). This works only if the destinations are within a certain distance from the straightest route going from pickup to delivery. This gives the customer better pricing and is a more efficient use of space for the truck. See example below…



Top 3PLs have invested heavily in the latest technology to find quick and efficient solutions for their customers. Track and trace capabilities such as Trucker Tools and other similar apps allow for visibility unlike ever before. Combine that technology with state-of-the-art transportation management systems (TMS) and freight brokers can find the best modes of transport at the best cost with the least probability of damage or spoilage. 3PLs have up-to-the-minute market intelligence so they know where the capacity is and where it isn't.    


3PLs spend time building and nurturing their relationships with large numbers of reliable, top-rated carriers. Companies like Choptank Transport have a thorough vetting process that helps  ensure a reliable, top-performing carrier network. With such a large number of carriers to pull from nationwide, 3PLs have negotiating power that individual shippers do not, enabling us to pass on savings to our customers. 


To summarize, 3PLs live and breathe logistics every day and are good at what they do. They have the resources, both in terms of manpower and technology, to be super efficient. Take advantage of that and ask them to help you save money whenever possible. 

These are the primary ways 3PLs can help you cut costs:

  • Consolidating shipments going to the same area
  • Negotiating the best rates with our extensive carrier network
  • Providing different modes of transportation when it makes sense
  • Accessing transportation intelligence through the latest information technology 

Have questions? Contact Us! 



Tags: Shipper News