Shipper Best Practices

Checklist for shippers: How to make freight more attractive to carriers

Securing reliable and economical freight can be a challenge, so it’s important for shippers to make their freight as attractive as possible.


Securing reliable and economical freight capacity can be a challenge

When there’s a national or regional shortage, it can put shippers in an even bigger bind to ensure their loads get from point A to B. When carriers have several options for loads out of a given location, it’s important for shippers to make their freight as attractive as possible to increase acceptance rates.

Freight can be assessed on two fronts: its driver friendliness and its supply chain efficiency. These two important characteristics impact how carriers and owner-operators view and ultimately select your freight.

Here's what you can do as a shipper to help make your freight more attractive to carriers:

Driver incentives

  • Make loading and unloading freight efficient

    At-the-ready gate guards, clearly marked signage, staged loads and prepared paperwork helps drivers enter and exit the facility efficiently.

  • Make amenities accessible for drivers

    If drivers are forced to spend time at your facility because a load isn’t ready, restrooms, break areas and safe designated parking make a shipper or receiver more desirable. Large facilities often offer these kinds of accommodations specifically for drivers; smaller facilities can also meet driver needs by making on-site amenities readily available.

  • Allow flexibility for pickup and delivery

    Offer flexible pickup and delivery windows. Shippers who offer weekend pickup and delivery availability along with expanding appointment time options when compared to those who don’t will increase the likelihood of attracting a truck in a tight market.

  • Improve freight characteristics

    For asset providers, drop and hook freight along with preloaded shipping containers will increase the “curb appeal” for drivers and carriers looking to make decisions about which freight to pick up.

Supply chain efficiencies

  • Provide forward visibility

    3-5 days of lead time, with at least 24 hours of advanced notice of load ready times and accurate forecasting of anticipated surges, make freight more attractive.

  • Minimize load changes

    Frequent load changes, cancellations or short lead times can negatively impact carrier planning. Allow carriers to suggest alternate pickup or delivery times to help secure freight capacity.

  • Maintain smooth volume of freight

    Consistent freight patterns throughout the week help providers to have a reliable flow of equipment into and out of a facility.

  • Offer regional networks

    Evaluate your supply chain to assess whether or not there are freight patterns that can be optimized for round trips, or consistent flows within your network. Freight that represents a leg in a round trip has an extremely high chance of being dispatched in order to take advantage of the rest of the trip or tour.

When there are limited transportation resources available and getting your load covered is critical, it’s important for shippers to assess their supply chain for carrier attractiveness. For more ways to maximize your load acceptance, email

Published September 2020

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