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What are Shipper lead times?

In the context of truckload transportation and freight brokers working with their shipper customers, a shipper's lead time refers to the amount of time between when a shipper requests a truckload shipment and when they need the shipment to be picked up and delivered. The lead time can vary depending on the nature of the shipment and the shipper's specific requirements.

For example, a shipper may have a lead time of several days or weeks if they are shipping a large volume of goods that need to be picked up from multiple locations and consolidated before delivery. Alternatively, a shipper may have a shorter lead time if they are shipping a smaller volume of goods that are ready to be picked up immediately.

It's important for freight brokers to understand their shipper customers' lead times so they can work to find carriers who are available and able to meet the shipper's delivery schedule. By understanding the lead time, freight brokers can also help their shipper customers optimize their shipping schedules and avoid unnecessary delays and expenses.

For freight broker's, lead-times also impact truck rates. If a shipper has longer lead times, you can book a cheaper truck usually when you have more than a 48-hour notice (depending on market conditions). If the lead time is a couple of hours, a freight broker will often go for speed to service the customer, at the potential expense of higher rates.