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Should You Use Perishable Consolidation?

Convergence of Modern TradeWhat is perishable consolidation? It’s a method where a consolidator combines individual less than truckload (LTL) shipments that contain perishable goods into one full container shipment. When the full container shipment reaches the store, individual shipments are then deconsolidated into their original LTL shipments

Perishable consolidation may be one of the best kept secrets when it comes to transporting highly perishable and dated commodities. In fact, most people don’t even realize such a service exists. But it does. This type of transportation exists to benefit just-in-time products or programs, from regional produce distribution to a national juice program. But how do you know if this service is right for your needs? Ask yourself four questions.

What are the Benefits of Consolidation for Perishable Freight?

  • Cost: With consolidation, you only pay for the space you use, rather than for the entire truckload. So, if your freight only uses half or two-thirds of a trailer, that’s all you pay for.
  • Safety: Consolidation uses a model that significantly reduces the handling of your products as they move from shipper to consolidation center to store. Fewer touchpoints mean fewer opportunities for product damages. This can be especially important if your perishable freight is fragile, like certain berries or eggs.
  • Speed: Speed to shelves is vital with perishable freight, which, by nature, has a short shelf life. Consolidation can help get your freight delivered where it needs to be on a schedule you select. If you consolidate with a large provider that ships large freight volumes, you know that they send out deliveries frequently and can put your freight on a truck and on the road very soon after it reaches the consolidation center.

Will Perishable Consolidation Meet Your Needs?

Like any service, there are certain freight attributes that are best suited for this type of transportation. If you can answer “yes” to any of the following four questions, you may want to consider a perishable consolidation strategy for your next move.

  1. Do you regularly ship products that are dated commodities or time-sensitive?If your business revolves around perishable goods, look into perishable consolidation. This may include fresh produce, pre-packaged refrigerated foods, juice, and other similar products in the 33 to 50-degree Fahrenheit temperature band.
  2. Do your goods fall into the produce, food and beverage, or floral categories?Businesses who work in the fresh food, drink, or flower industries most commonly benefit from perishable consolidation, but others may apply as well.
  3. Are your products sensitive to ethylene or exposure to allergens?If your products need to be kept away from certain elements, it can be difficult to ship via consolidation, as you never know exactly what your goods will be grouped with on transit. A clear understanding of what your products may be co-mingled with can help ensure your product quality meets customer requirements.
  4. Are you unable to fill an entire truckload? 

If your perishable supply chain is large enough that you’re shipping enough goods to one location to fill an entire truckload, consolidation is unnecessary. By aggregating your volumes with other compatible products within your origin region into a variety of destination regions, you can more efficiently transport your perishable less than truckload (LTL) orders

Understanding Perishable Consolidation

With perishable consolidation, you’re often racing the clock. That’s why goods on a just-in-time model are ideal candidates for this style of shipping.

Perishable consolidation  means fresh product and efficient deliveries. Because of the nature of shipping these types of goods, set sailing schedules are often employed to ensure consistent delivery times and reliable service.

Learn more about utilizing perishable consolidation in your supply chain.