What Is Consolidated Shipping in Freight? A Definitive Guide

Consolidated shipping is a method of shipping where a consolidator combines individual LCL shipments from various shippers into one full container shipment. Participating in consolidated shipping earns the shipper preferred rates.

Multiple LTL shipments may be combined and shipped in a single trailer as part of consolidation shipping. Once the shipment has arrived, it is divided into several separate LTL shipments. Then, these shipments are loaded onto fresh trucks and driven to their destination locations. Consolidated shipments may consist of the freight from several shippers or they may be made up of several LTL shipments combined by one company and broken up closer to their destination.

Consolidated loads can be shipped using any of the same shipping methods as LTL, including expedited, chilled, and even intermodal. This implies that whenever you ship LTL, it is worthwhile to investigate the consolidated options as well. Implementing a consolidated shipping strategy has numerous advantages, making it highly beneficial. But there are also some difficulties that, if you’re not aware of them, could make matters more difficult.

The main benefit of consolidating freight shipping is the potential savings, which results from a number of factors. Number one is because you and the other shippers are splitting the cost of the truck. If you were shipping LTL straight, you would be responsible for paying the full cost of the trailer. Furthermore, by converging several LTL shipments into one, there are fewer opportunities for accessorial charges, which means there will be fewer unforeseen costs along the way.

After reading about the benefits and drawbacks of consolidated shipping, you can evaluate your supply chain and shipping processes to see if this is a service that would be useful to you. For some, it takes too much time to plan it out; however, working with the right transportation provider can greatly simplify the process.

Save on Costs with Consolidated Shipping

Benefits of consolidated shipping

Both consumers and businesses may benefit from consolidated shipping, which includes the following:

Reduced shipping costs

Businesses and customers can reduce shipping costs by grouping items into a single shipment. Some shipping companies provide flat rates for specific weights or categories of shipments, lowering the total cost for each item. This is particularly useful for international shipping, which may occasionally have higher costs depending on the item’s destination. Companies can increase their earning potential while simultaneously giving customers a better level of customer service by lowering shipping costs for both the consumer and the business.

Greater order accuracy

Consolidated shipping can also assist businesses in improving order and shipment accuracy. The business can make sure it accounts for every item by combining orders into a single shipment. In order for staff to check shipments before delivering them to the shipping carrier, each shipment generates a separate purchase order. A more precise delivery system might be appreciated by customers as it could result in more timely shipments, accurate billing and tracking information, and higher integrity for online orders. Order accuracy aids a business’s inventory management efforts.

Reduced risk of item damage

Companies can lessen the possibility of product damage by combining shipments. Companies can lower the risk of freight damage and enhance the overall customer experience by reducing the number of touch points, or locations where shipments are handled by people. When businesses ship multiple packages, the risk of freight damage may increase because each package interacts with other packages at different touch points and is packaged separately. Consolidated shipping guarantees that each shipment travels directly from the shipper to a consolidation center and then to the recipient.

Better quality control

A company needs quality control to make sure it meets customer expectations and creates products of excellent quality and value. By minimizing the amount of time that goods are in transit, consolidated shipping can assist businesses in enhancing their quality control procedures. Companies can lessen the quantity of defective products that leave the warehouses by identifying any product concerns before a product leaves the production facility or warehouse. Customers may value tighter quality control because high-quality goods offer the best return on investment.

Better customer service

Overall, consolidated shipping provides each customer with a better level of customer service. Customers receive more high-quality, intact products thanks to lower shipping costs, increased accountability for item integrity, quicker shipping times, and decreased risk of damages. Customer loyalty can be increased and the likelihood that customers will recommend the business or its products can rise with improved customer service. By exposing them to a level of customer service they might not receive from the company’s rivals, a strong customer service system can also assist the company in luring in new clients.

What is order consolidation in freight shipping?

By combining different orders into a single shipment, order consolidation in freight shipping is a technique used by businesses to lower shipping costs and the demands on drivers. With the help of this technique, businesses can combine all of a customer’s orders into a single purchase order, creating a tracking number for just one shipment as opposed to several. Consolidating shipping reduces costs associated with shipping multiple items through various carriers or in various loads while assisting businesses in ensuring the right orders reach customers.

Potential challenges of consolidated shipping

Consolidated shipping has many advantages, but there can also be some difficulties. Here are a few challenges to consider:

Spending more time planning shipments

Consolidated shipping can shorten shipping times and lower shipping costs, but it may require more time from businesses to plan the shipment process. Businesses take more care to ensure item integrity and invest more time in planning for quality control and shipping. Orders typically only ship when all of the items are available. There may occasionally be a discrepancy in the availability of various items on an order. Utilizing automation to create labels, generate purchase orders, and start producing goods for orders can help businesses cut down on planning time.

Locating the right carrier

Finding the best carrier for consolidated orders can occasionally be difficult because larger shipments may be more expensive or necessitate higher logistical precision. Some carriers don’t even provide combined freight shipping, which significantly reduces the options available to businesses. It can take a lot of research to find the right carrier, but the time invested now could pay off later. Finding the right carrier, despite the advantages of consolidated shipping, is a drawback that businesses can overcome by doing thorough research on all available options and finding the carrier before shipments.

Order consolidation vs. direct injection

If shipments meet the order threshold, a type of order consolidation known as “direct injection” exempts them from tariffs or customs duties. Anything below the $800 threshold is subject to duty in the United States. Although order consolidation and direct injection are similar, there are some important distinctions, such as:

Air shipments

Direct injection shipping almost always involves airfreight. Typically, airfreight is shipped in bulk to reduce the cost of the pilots’ wages and fuel. Bulk airfreight may occasionally be included in consolidated shipping, but it is not always included.

Customs clearance

Direct injection shipments must electronically clear customs, per customs regulations. This helps save time and money on customs checks. Consolidated shipments arent always subject to the electronic customs check.

Importer of record

In direct injection shipments, the “importer of record,” or the party accountable for the customs documents, is the customer. This reduces the burden on the sender. Consolidated shipping doesn’t always make the customer the IOR; occasionally, the shipper is still in charge.


What is the Consolidate cargo?

When several small shipments are combined into one truckload and delivered to the same location, this is known as cargo consolidation.

How do I ship with Consolidated freight?

Conclusion. The three types of shipping—land, air, and sea—all have a significant impact on our economy. Each provides advantages that the alternative mode of transportation might not. It is up to you to make an informed decision about the shipping method that will work best for your company.

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