Dry Van

Dry Van 301: Mastering Complex Dry Van Logistics

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Matthew Schore
Dry Van

In our previous articles (Dry Van 101 and 201), we explored the concepts and intricacies of dry van shipping and explained in depth why it is the preferred mode of trucking across the US. We also explored strategies for navigating the dry van shipping market dynamics and advanced loading optimization. In all that, we established that dry van shipping is one of the most versatile forms of shipping operation you can leverage.

However, with much versatility comes a certain complexity. While dry van services are common and easy to use, you will struggle to navigate the shipping process efficiently without mastering these complexities. This is the crux of this article. We will explore some of these complexities while sharing strategies you can use to get the operation working for you.

Identifying and Overcoming Complex Challenges in Dry Van Shipping

Although dry van shipping is common, complex challenges threaten to derail the entire process. In this section, we will explore these challenges and how shippers can leverage A.N. Webber’s expertise to overcome them.

Complex Challenges in Dry Van Shipping

In modern logistics and supply chain operations, complex challenges force you to leverage sophisticated technology or expertise. You can expect the same for dry van shipping.

Capacity Constraints

Your carrier may need the required infrastructure or resources to transport your cargo. Yes, this is mostly a quantity issue, but there are many cases when the cargo is too complex to transport in a regular dry van shipping operation. You will often require unique dry van vehicles or trucks; unfortunately, those may not be as readily accessible.

Regulatory Changes

The regulatory climate governing the trucking industry is constantly changing. This is to be expected, though. As we continue to make massive advancements in tech and other trucking infrastructures, it is necessary to change the rules to keep up. However, these changes can be inconvenient, especially when you fail to keep up with them. They make optimizing the shipping process tricky.


Visibility is desired in any shipping operation. However, it is not readily accessible. This is because of all the hoops one has to jump through. For a carrier to guarantee visibility, some level of investment needs to be made. Apart from the tech apparatus, the truck driver and broker also have to cooperate. Coordinating all these people can be too much sometimes.

Fluctuating Market Rates

The freight industry has massively fluctuating rates. This is primarily because of the volatile nature of the market. Whatever the case, though, it can be challenging to navigate, especially concerning finances. No one wants to embark on an operation with massively alternating costs. It makes planning and executing logistics operations difficult, which could inevitably lead to delays in the entire supply chain operation.

Risk Management

Risk is part of the dry van shipping process. Failure to effectively plan and mitigate these risks can be troublesome for your transportation process. To avoid them, you must have the right system in place. A contingency plan will not hurt either.

Strategies for Navigating These Challenges

These challenges persist in the dry van shipping industry. Each of them is enough to derail an entire logistics operation. However, there are solutions to them. We mentioned earlier that these complex challenges are usually ones that you will need the help of an expert or a tech application. We will show you how a partner with experience and expertise in the industry can help you. With A.N. Webber, your entire dry van shipping operation becomes much easier. Here is how you can leverage us:

Shipment Price Lock

Getting a fixed price in a volatile market like the trucking industry can significantly improve your logistics operation. Luckily, when you ship with A.N.Webber, fluctuating prices are not a problem. This is because we leverage our extensive resources to ensure our price for you doesn’t change, even if we have to take a hit.

Responsible Carrier Vetting

Many of the challenges we highlighted earlier are simply a result of wrong carrier selection. At A.N. Webber, we take it seriously because we know first-hand how devastating the wrong carrier can be to any logistics operation. We don’t just onboard anyone. We go through an extensive and robust process that keeps everyone informed about expectations and capacity. When we use a carrier to transport your cargo, rest assured they are the best in the market. If there is an issue with such a carrier, we do not hesitate to take full responsibility to ensure your goods get to where they need to be.

Real-Time Visibility

At A.N. Webber, we pride ourselves on high-level communication. We ensure you have regular and timely updates on your shipment. We have made all the necessary investments to guarantee 24/7 real-time tracking. This lets us inform you of your shipment's location and status whenever you need it.

Regulatory Updates

We know regulations can be a pain. But after nearly a decade in the industry, we have them under control. We are not worried about regulations because we take measures to ensure we are up to date on new policies. More importantly, we constantly study regulatory trends to help us get ahead of the regulatory bodies. This guarantees that we are not left hanging at any point.

Innovative Technology Solutions Transforming Dry Van Shipping

Tech is a good friend of modern logistics and supply chain management. With tech, logistics, and transportation have become so much more simplified. You also get to enjoy other perks, such as reduced risks and transparency. Here are some of the logistics technologies transforming dry van shipping:

Electronic Data Interchange

Communication is undoubtedly one of the fundamental tools in any logistics or dry van shipping operation. With this platform, you can streamline communication between core players in the shipping process, including shippers, carriers, and brokers. Now, you can say goodbye to all the errors and delays associated with paper-based processes.


Blockchain technologies hold all the players responsible for the dry van shipping process. Using them, you can create a secure and tamper-proof record of all shipments. This helps promote claims in case of damages. You can leverage them to build trust, enhance transparency, and ensure seamless customs clearance for international shipments.

Internet of Things (IoT)

This is one of the keys to ensuring real-time visibility in the dry van shipping operation. Thanks to this technology, every player across different levels of the shipping process can access real-time updates. This helps enhance the operation to be seamless. It also helps identify potential risks that could be detrimental to the logistics process on time. With the IoT, data is transmitted across the board simultaneously. With this, everyone involved in the operation knows about everything.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Thanks to AI and machine learning, applications can now analyze various traffic factors in real time. These factors include traffic patterns, weather conditions, and fuel efficiency, all of which can be used to optimize delivery routes. This way, you can expect faster deliveries and reduced transportation costs.

RFPs and Negotiation: Securing Optimal Dry Van Shipping Solutions

Getting a carrier can be tricky for a shipper or a broker. You want to ensure you get favorable terms and clearly communicate your expectations. But more than that, you want to ensure you develop the right relationship with these carriers. Here, we will show you how to go about that successfully.

Know your Needs

It is essential to know your needs before looking for or trying to partner with a carrier. Do you need an ordinary dry van truck, or do you want something more unique? Do you want a carrier that can travel long distances, or do you want a carrier that can transport your cargo into remote or tricky regions? Knowing your needs will inform your next steps. This way, you don’t settle for just any carrier. It will also help you communicate your expectations effectively.

Understand The Market

The freight market can be tricky and very volatile. Without a proper understanding of the market, you may suffer wrong carriers. This will often cause you to lose money and resources in your dry van shipping operation. Ensuring you have a good grasp of the market before venturing into it will help prevent fraud, loss, and waste of time.

Talk to as Many Carriers as Possible

Your first carrier may have the answers to your problem. However, it is advisable to explore the marker more. This way, you can ensure you have a plethora of options and better negotiating leverage. When negotiating with carriers, don’t just consider your situation. Strive to keep it fair for all parties. This will ensure you get the best from that carrier. You may not be the only one searching, and when you negotiate poorly, the carriers will not hesitate to abandon your transaction with another shipper willing to pay better. The consequences can be devastating.

Set Clear Service Level Agreement

Clear SLAs with your chosen carrier will help define expectations and performance metrics. These could relate to on-time delivery rates, communication protocols, and procedures for handling damaged goods. Well-established SLAs help you and the carrier know your roles and responsibilities. They are essential for running a seamless operation. Also, make the protocols part of your SLA to encourage visibility and transparency.

Innovation and Collaboration

Try to form strategic partnerships with the selected carriers. You can do this by locking them down long-term with shipping opportunities. This will incentivize the carriers to prioritize your business, even if they can get more pay elsewhere. Carriers will always pick the more consistent option. Strategic partnerships with these carriers are also a great way to enhance innovation and collaboration. In turn, you can expect more seamless operations that will cost less over time.

Collaboration as a Key to Success

Modern logistics and supply chain operations are designed with many moving parts, including the processes and parties involved. The goal is to have all of them work together to achieve a more optimal outcome. This has inevitably made the operations much more complex. However, you can't fault them because they have been so successful.

The secret, though, is collaboration between the leading players. They are the carriers, brokers, and shippers in the dry van shipping process. It is a no-brainer if you think about it. You have more efficiency and speed, cost optimization, risk mitigation, expertise, and innovation through collaboration.

However, to make collaboration work, there have to be some things in place. Chief of them are communication and transparency. These two are necessary for the operation to avoid suffering severe setbacks. At A.N. Webber, we know how to collaborate to achieve our desired results throughout the dry van shipping process.

We network and collaborate with over 12,000 carriers to ensure you have tailored dry van shipping logistics solutions. Our carriers cater to different needs, including special cargo, highly sensitive cargo, and high-value or oversized freight. We build that relationship so that you don’t have to. For you, this means no matter how unique your requirements are, there is always a palpable solution for you.

Navigating Regulatory Landscapes

As we mentioned earlier, the trucking or freight industry regulations are constantly changing. The dry van shipping company has to abide by this as well. Sometimes, these regulations create a complex web of protocols that make it difficult for the average shipper to comply. These regulations usually span truck and driver safety, sustainability, and cargo safety. All of these ensure the goods get to their destination (domestic or international) with zero problems.

Although the regulations can be challenging, we have perfected getting ahead. A.N. Webber leverages its experience and expertise to navigate these regulations and achieve seamless operations throughout the numerous shipping operations. As mentioned earlier, we have a system that tracks regulatory trends and new policies. We also ensure our carriers are always up to date on the same regulations to facilitate compliance. This way, you never have to worry about disruption due to our negligence.

Preparing for the Future in Dry Van Shipping

The future is sustainable for dry shipping operations. Sustainability is gaining momentum. Environmental concerns and customer demand are driving a shift towards cleaner logistics practices. Freight logistics companies and brokers are beginning to adopt route optimizations and renewable energies to reduce carbon footprints. To do sustainability effectively, shippers, carriers, and brokers must work to leverage expertise and create efficient solutions. Another key solution is to embrace tech solutions.

How Current Trends Shape The Future of Logistics and Dry Van Shipping

The world is changing, and dry van shipping is reacting to it. Supply chain trends like nearshoring and e-commerce are the new normal. Real-time tracking is no longer an option but a necessity. The current logistics and supply chain is all about technology applications and sustainability. More logistics operations are leveraging the former to streamline processes, enhance route optimization, and promote data sharing. Dry van shipping providers are no longer resisting sustainability; they are welcoming it and eagerly exploring the different avenues that work for them.

More supply chains are promoting biodegradable packaging and using clean energy to reduce environmental impact. Consumers also have high expectations. They want faster delivery times and flexible options like same-day delivery or pick-up. However, collaboration with last-mile carriers is critical to meeting these demands.


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