Regional Carriers ~ The Peak Season Solution

Posted on Oct 16, 2012 12:30:00 PM

The Peak Season Solution

It's Friday, December 21 at 6:00 PM, and you’re the distribution manager of a large e-commerce company. The national carrier’s last truck has just pulled away from your distribution center dock and you’re wondering how you’re going to get all the packages you have yet to process delivered by Monday the day before Christmas. Cyber Monday seems like a distant memory but you’ve still got this last peak season hurdle to surmount. What do you do?

While none of us has the luxury of a time machine to go back and change things, one course of action you could have taken was to add a regional parcel carrier to your carrier mix before the start of peak season. The regional parcel carriers operate in most large population centers and link the major cities of the US with next day delivery at Ground rates at distances up to 600 miles from their point of origin.

As their customers know, flexibility is the hallmark of regional parcel carriers. One of the most competitive features they offer is much later pick up times than the national carriers. That forlorn distribution manager could have had a regional parcel carrier pick up at 8:00 pm and still have satisfied his customers with shipments delivered by Monday December 24th.

Shipping Season OnTrac
In fact, some regional parcel carriers offer their very largest customers pick-ups on Sunday with delivery on Monday to Zone 4 destinations over 500 miles away. They also offer midnight pick-ups with deliveries that same day to Zone 2 destinations. This level of flexibility can provide your company with a huge advantage over your competitors. The very largest shippers are well aware of this and use regional parcel carriers accordingly.

The reason regional parcel carriers are able to offer this level of flexibility is because they are not tied to huge intra-continental line haul systems. Those networks often involve intermodal transport with limited departure schedules. The regional carriers operate on localized hub and spoke systems that link major metropolitan areas like Minneapolis with Chicago using tractor trailer line hauls with frequent departures.

Implementing the regional parcel carriers is much easier than you might think. They all have IT teams in place to help integrate with your shipping systems. And many of them have partnered with multi-carrier shipping software providers to create shipping modules that are the closest thing to plug and play in the shipping system world. And if you are concerned about limited dock door space, keep in mind that since the regional carriers can pick up much later than the national carriers, you can arrange a time for them to come after the national carriers have already departed from your facility.

Mark Magill, Director of Business Development, OnTracNow is the time to contact your local regional parcel carrier. The clock is ticking, it’s now October and on the day I wrote this article, there were only 55 shipping days left until Christmas!

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Author:  Mark Magill, Director of Business Development, OnTrac

Topics: regional parcel carriers, later pickups, eCommerce, Zone 4 deliveries, Ground Shipping