dry van

Dry Van 201: Enhancing Dry Van Shipping Strategy

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Matthew Schore
Dry Van

There are 13 million trucks registered in the United States, and nearly a quarter are dry vans. Compared to other trucks out there, the dry van is the most common and versatile – and with reason. In our Dry Van 101 article, we explored the basics of dry vans, their dimensions, and their importance in the trucking industry. More importantly, we discussed ensuring you choose the right dry van and how to negotiate to get the best rates for your dry van.

Choosing the right dry van type for shipping and doing that with the best possible rates in the market is crucial. Because of the complex logistics industry, you will need well-thought-out solutions to make the most of any logistics operation. This is the crux of this article. We are exploring advanced strategies for optimizing dry van shipping and how A.N. Webber’s approach is the right solution for you.

Advanced Load Planning and Optimization

Cargo comes in different types, sizes, and conditions. How you arrange the cargo, especially when it comes in thousands of cartons or packages, will largely determine how much container space you can utilize, the ease of the loading and unloading process, and the safety of the cargo. A certain container may carry 4,000 cartons, and another may carry 4,050 cartons. The difference could mean getting another truck or delays until a bigger container arrives.

This ability is known as load planning, and it is a game changer if you want to optimize your dry van shipping. Thanks to technology, carriers and shippers can leverage sophisticated techniques to enhance the load-planning process and make it more efficient. Here are some of them:

Modeling and Visualization

Modeling and visualization software lets you create virtual representations of the truck bed. You can simulate placing and arranging the cargo differently until you get your desired effect. The software also allows you to analyze weight distribution to avoid overloading specific axles and parts of the truck bed.

AI and Machine Learning

With artificial intelligence, you can analyze current data and shipping conditions to help you with predictive modeling. This could include the weather, road conditions, and shipping urgency. You could also leverage machine learning to analyze historical data of past shipments of different products and the challenges encountered. It will help you develop more efficient loading strategies.

Load Securing Solutions

These solutions can recommend optimal placement and type of packing material to secure the cargo and prevent shifting and damage during transit. This way you can minimize material usage during packing, ensure more loads are packed, and, most importantly, ensure they arrive safely.

Benefits of Technology in Load Planning

Technology has always been a great friend of logistics and supply chain management. It comes in handy in load planning for several reasons and primarily to ensure the cargo is loaded and delivered optimally. The other benefits are:

  • Maximized space utilization of the container or truck bed.
  • The elimination or reduction of damages on the cargo.
  • Enhanced safety of the cargo during loading, transit, and unloading.
  • Data-driven decision-making that promotes efficiency during the load planning process.

Navigating Market Dynamics for Better Rates

Although the current freight market is quite dynamic and competitive, there are certain strategies you can leverage to secure competitive rates in your dry van shipping. Here are some of them:

Market research and trend analysis: Knowing the market conditions and trends is critical to get better rates. This is mainly because it will guide your negotiation and pricing process.

Strategic sourcing: You want to source or partner with well-established players or brokers in the industry for a long time or to carry large amounts of cargo. This way you can leverage the economics of scale and negotiate better rates.

Optimizing shipment operations: Streamlining shipping operations can reduce costs. This allows you to negotiate lower rates because the operations are less complicated.

Leveraging more tech solutions: Technology applied to the dry van shipping process helps make the entire operation as seamless as possible. It also helps appropriately utilize resources and time, enhancing your ability to command better rates.

Dynamic pricing: With this model, you can tag your pricing according to prevailing market conditions. This way you have nothing to lose. When the market is more volatile, it will reflect on the pricing. It will reflect on the pricing when it is much more stable and less competitive.

How to Use Data Analytics for Smarter Shipping

Smarter dry van shipping reflects an efficient shipping process that prioritizes the customer’s needs first. One of the key ways to achieve this is through the use of data analytics in the end-to-end shipping operation. Here is how to use it:

Risk Management and Proactive Planning

With data analytics, you can identify potential disruptions that could derail the dry van shipping operation. This allows you to proactively plan and implement alternative shipping solutions. You can also identify fraudulent or suspicious shipping patterns. This will help mitigate potential losses and protect your business’ reputation.

Identify Customer Preferences

Data analytics lets you easily spot customer preferences and streamline an operation to suit the customer. This will also allow you to offer personalized shipping experiences for the customer, boosting satisfaction and brand loyalty.

Carrier Performance Analysis and Comparison

With this tool, you can better evaluate the performance of your carriers, find out which of them are doing great, and reward them accordingly. This could be with more workload. For the carriers not doing great, it allows you to work with them to get better. Your operation will benefit greatly from these.

Customized Solutions for Complex Shipment

AO Smith, a water heating and water treatment manufacturer, needed a dry van shipping company to transport cargo to and from its factories safely. However, carriers have let it down in the past. It had previously dealt with brokers and trucking companies with inefficient carriers, drivers, and trucks. AO Smith also had issues with unstable pricing, which caused many problems.

When the company partnered with A.N. Webber, things changed. It went from bad to good in no time. Now, AO Smith had a partner that had its back, was very responsive, and, most importantly, was up to the challenge.

A.N. Webber’s Approach to Customized Logistics Planning

At A.N. Webber, we understand that logistics challenges may vary from industry to industry and company. Not all cargo is created the same, but that doesn’t mean one logistics partner can’t provide streamlined and customized solutions for each challenge. This is what we do best at A.N. Webber.

Whatever the nature of the cargo, we have a truck for it. Our dry van shipping segment has solutions for unique products, such as those that are temperature-sensitive or require open decks. Do you want a speedy delivery or do you have cargo that may require some expertise to load/unload? We have just the right solution.

A.N. Webber uses the data you make available to us to determine the best truck to transport your cargo, the best route to take, and how to optimize the load planning process so we can charge you less for more.

Mitigating Risk in Dry Van Shipping

Cargo can be prone to theft or damage during the dry van shipping process, which is why it is essential to apply the appropriate measures to prevent these.

Carrier selection: When choosing carriers, always ensure they are reputable and have the infrastructure to give you the required shipping service. Companies may be too big for some carriers; in that case, it is crucial to find those with the necessary resources, expertise, and experience.

Cargo security measures: Implement security measures such as seals, tracking devices, and surveillance systems that will give you a hint of foul play during the transportation or dry van shipping process.

Collaboration and information sharing: Partner with carriers that can promote or ensure information sharing throughout the shipping process. This will guarantee that you have the necessary transparency and visibility.


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