Choose your shipping company wisely

Messages
957
Location
Battle Creek, MI
Fair warning, rant ahead. I don't ship anything on a regular basis and my motor freight shipping experience is minimal. I bought some stuff at an auction for my brother and I shipped it motor freight. It was one pallet, 2 used electrical motors that I made a pallet for. I used all 2x4s, bolted the motors to the lumber, but one thing I didn't do was put runners across the bottom. I didn't have any 1x4s and 2x4s are too tall for a pallet jack to roll over. This is of importance later and I blame myself partially for what happened.

I obtained quotes from multiple companies on their websites, FedEx Freight, UPS Freight, Estes, R&L Carriers, YRC, etc.. They are close to my location in Michigan and the quotes were outrageous, $2200 for 1 pallet that I put for 1500 lbs (on the conservative side because I don't have a floor scale). I went through a website called Freightquote, and the quote through the website using Estes was around $350, dropped at their terminal. I looked up YRC, and their quote was right at $200. I called customer service if I could weigh it at the terminal and then ship so I had an accurate weight. Sure no problem. I drive 1.5 hrs only to find out they don't do any sort of shipping paperwork at the terminal, its only done online. I call customer service again, and the representative on the phone said go back inside the terminal and use their computer to create the shipment. Go inside, nope we can't help you, we are using all of our computers right now and don't feel safe you using our stuff with Coronavirus going around.

I said well I will just use my phone only to be informed that the website doesn't work on the final page of paying for the shipment, so you need a computer. I didn't bring my laptop, so with the customer service manger's approval, she creates the shipment for me over the phone and sends an email to the terminal. They take my shipment and we are done. I talk with the service representatives manager and said that she saved from having to drive another 3 hours and commended her for outstanding customer service. Also, it only weighed 1140 lbs, $169 shipping fee.

About 10 days later, the shipment arrives to South Texas, my brother calls to pick up and nope its still on the trailer. 6-7 days go by and finally they bring it out, only to be received damaged. My dad signs for without checking it, so its too late. My best guess looking at the pictures my brother took, they double stacked it, and it fell off because its so heavy on one side, and the fan shroud and fan blade for the motor cracked. It even broke the lumber in two places, so it clearly fell off of something. Just the fan blade is a $200 part. I was going to file a damage claim, but my brother hasn't gotten around to sending me a quote that I can turn into YRC and at this point it doesn't matter. I partially blame myself because I didn't realize how reliant shipping companies are on using those bottom boards for stacking and making sure the pallet doesn't fall off of something.

Okay, we got the items, we can fix it, lesson learned about why YRC was so cheap. Then I received a bill in the mail last week that I was past due 30 days for a surcharge for a limited access delivery fee, $75. They said they delivered it to a farm, which is considered limited access, regardless of the size of said farm or how much room an 18 wheeler has to turn around. My brother and dad's place of business is a cotton gin, not a farm. A farm is land you grow crops on, a cotton gin is a commercial processor of cotton. They also have more than enough room for an 18 wheeler to turn around, the business owns three themselves.

I called the number on the bill, explain my viewpoints, and the guy says send me an email with said viewpoints and I will open a dispute on your behalf with the billing department. Great. Get an email back that they declined it. They looked up the tax records for the address and said it was zoned a residence and the best they could do was reduce the fee from $75 to $60. I replied back to explain that they didn't look up all the tax records and there are two tax ids at that location, one is a residence, one is a business. Also ask if YRC charges a limited access fee for lumber mills, paper mills, textile mills, all of which take a raw agricultural commodity and turn it into a marketable product, same as a cotton gin. The person responds that I must follow their rules like everyone else and offers no other help than to call another number.

To shorten the story, I called and the customer service representative looks at the businesses Facebook profile, Google maps, asks if there is a sign (which there isn't) and says maybe the driver thought it was a residence because there isn't a sign. A cotton gin typically has multiple steel buildings, and has a large footprint in area and no one in their right mind would confuse it with it being a residence, even with a house located on the premises. She calls the terminal manager from which the item was delivered, and she knew my dads business by name and said no its not a farm and she will take care of it. Apparently it was a new driver that classified the delivery location as a farm, which started the whole process.

My main beef is not that the driver made a mistake, but the general attitude that you are at fault from a few select people regardless of how much of a case you can build to show them those charges don't apply. The one guy in the collections department hid behind their policies, "well it says here in tariff number such and such that farms are considered limited access and you owe us the money." I called the customer service number and they couldn't give me a definition of what a farm is! The only person that makes that determination is the truck driver. I can see why companies like Amazon do so well, their customer service department is miles ahead of YRC.

Overall, if there is a significant savings in shipping, build a forklift operator proof skid, and don't need the item in the next two weeks, I would use them again. I will try a competitor first to see if the experience is any better, and if not then the I'd rather spend more money on making the skid operator proof instead of taking chances that a higher priced freight shipper won't damage it.
 
Messages
4,491
Location
SW Ohio
I don't use YRC at work.... I did, one or two times. Luckily there are dozens and dozens of options.

As far as stacking, yeah, you can put "do not stack" stickers on the pallet, you can note this on the BOL, but when they move freight from terminal to terminal, they WILL maximize the space any way they can. Good carriers actually use decking to create (2) "floors". Best you can do is arrange your freight so that they can't put stuff on top of it but it's hard to stop them from putting yours on top of others (and unless it falls, who cares).
 
Messages
1,019
Location
Northern New York
I inspected their freight at a US Canada border crossing since the 80s and got to know the drivers very well. I never saw one of them that wasn’t a straight up first class human being. They work their tails off and many I knew never seemed to be in a rush to retire. I knew one guy who worked till his third wreck when they forced him. Age , heavy smoking and Parkinson’s finally got his employment pulled.
YRC is a result of multiple mergers over the years. They used to be Reimer, Roadway and Yellow freight. Since the 90s they gobbled each other into one company. A lot of pension funds got 🤬adjusted I was hold on more than one occasion.
YRC hauls a lot of commercial contract freight......as well as everybodies everything A-Z . Having to climb in those Trailers every night I came to notice around 2010 the cross border shipment were frequently double tiered on those side rail steel cross braces. That made even getting in there sometimes hazardous, always a major pain. No ****ed way I’m sliding under 1000 lb pallet of oil well control heads all shifted around sitting on 2 steel runners.
They do have multiple drops so the warehouse crew does their best to load so the freight is more or less in order Of delivery saving the driver some hassle unloading . The double stacking is no doubt just another example of squeezing another nickel out of the trip. Too bad but it’s a cut throat business . New ones keep popping up while the old guard gets absorbed.
 
Messages
4,491
Location
SW Ohio
They do have multiple drops so the warehouse crew does their best to load so the freight is more or less in order Of delivery saving the driver some hassle unloading .
They don't double-stack in the (local) delivery trucks, only the terminal-to-terminal trailers have that done. How do you unload freight on the 2nd deck with a pallet jack, for instance ?
 
Messages
9,990
Location
Bye
They don't double-stack in the (local) delivery trucks, only the terminal-to-terminal trailers have that done. How do you unload freight on the 2nd deck with a pallet jack, for instance ?
You make sure that the stuff on the 2nd deck is for places with forklifts?
 
Messages
4,491
Location
SW Ohio
You make sure that the stuff on the 2nd deck is for places with forklifts?
Not really that easy. The folks loading the trucks can't possibly know this. Forklift could be out of service. Delivery order (sequence) can get changed due to timing, delays, etc.

Even at the trucking company's terminal, unloading double decks is almost like Tetris. You unload (2) pallets from upper deck, remove the deck, unload (2) pallets on the floor. Then repeat that a dozen times.
 

D60

Messages
120
Location
Colo
Interesting read. I ship a lot for a large corp. Fortunately they arrange the freight, but they always lean toward YRC, and I figured it was because they're the cheapest. YRC is kinda hard for me to deal with, and when freight has been damaged, it was them.

That said, I've found ANY freight company can damage ANYthing and it often seems like they TRY to damage stuff, as much as I want to hope that's not true. If I overbuild all my crates and pallets it seems to be BARELY adequate....

Also I've built pallets before w 2x on the bottom....in this case it was XPO and the driver didn't bat an eye, he just slammed the pallet jack up and over the 2x and drug it to the front of the truck.... That said, I don't make a regular practice of this - it seems like poor form
 
Messages
589
Location
GA
I manage logistics. This is very typical for all the freight lines. They don't want your business, they want corporate volume business and even then the last few years it's been their market. I'm surprised you got the rate you did. That's close to minimum rate with most of the carriers.
 
Messages
4,491
Location
SW Ohio
I'm surprised you got the rate you did. That's close to minimum rate with most of the carriers.
I had to go back to the first post to see and yeah, that's low. Like really low for any weight going from MI to TX. LTL rates are funny.... I actually just shipped from southwest Ohio to Laredo for $250 on a 800# shipment. Even better, or worse, is my local carrier hands it off to Southwestern Motor Freight because they don't go to TX. Usually those hand-offs make their rates uncompetitive.

They all charge those stupid-high rates like $1500, $2000, and so on and then give you a 92% "discount". I've always asked their sales reps what is the point of that and they just shrug their shoulders and say it's how they do it.
 
Messages
589
Location
GA
They all charge those stupid-high rates like $1500, $2000, and so on and then give you a 92% "discount". I've always asked their sales reps what is the point of that and they just shrug their shoulders and say it's how they do it.
Yep they all do that. Maybe they think it makes the final number look really low! :LOL:
 
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