As you grow your business, your carbon footprint grows too. It's inevitable. The more products you have, the more distribution mediums you need. And the more of those you have, the more fossil fuel you burn, leading to potential environmental harm. However, that doesn't have to be true. Economic growth can be green by putting sustainability at the forefront of all our business actions. 

In this article, we will help small and medium-sized business owners, corporations, and non-profit organizations understand the importance of sustainable transport. More importantly, we'll elaborate on the necessity of sustainable transport, including sustainable logistics practices that aim to reduce carbon emissions.

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Green Logistics

With the growing demand for consumer goods, freight distribution has become a significant source of carbon emissions. Logistics suppliers have been opting for sustainable logistics solutions to mitigate the environmental impact of freight transport. 

Green logistics is a practice that promotes eco-friendly and efficient freight delivery and logistics procedures. Implementing green logistics seeks to reduce carbon emissions from transportation, packaging, and waste management.

But how do we attain green logistics? There are many, but here are two effective practices that can make an immediate difference:

Value of LTL in Sustainable Freight Transport

In transporting a relatively small amount of goods, less-than-truckload (LTL) transport is more efficient than a full-truckload (FTL) delivery. In an FTL delivery, you pay for the exclusive use of the whole truck. However, multiple shippers can share the spaces in a single truck upon delivery of freights using LTL shipments, making it less costly. Additionally, the use of LTL helps minimize the use of empty trucks, reducing carbon emissions.  

Efficient Transportation Modes at the Expense of Speed

There are other modes of transport you can choose to deliver your goods other than road transport. These modes include sea and rail transport. Sea transport utilizes ships that can hold a considerable amount of goods at a cheaper cost. On the other hand, trains in rail transport are fuel-efficient in transporting freight as they can store more loads and travel longer distances.

Intermodal shipping is another sustainable option for shipments with a flexible delivery timeframe. In intermodal transport, your freight is stored in a container and transferred using two or more modes of transportation. 

Intermodal transportation also allows you to take advantage of the lower delivery costs of sea and rail transportation while only using truck transportation for last-mile deliveries. Moreover, intermodal transport significantly reduces your shipment’s carbon footprint. For instance, trains emit less carbon per ton-mile than trucks with the same loads and distance traveled. 

However, this method demonstrates more modes of transportation, resulting in more time to get the shipment to its final destination. 

Transportation Software

Both logistics suppliers and shippers can now use transportation software to monitor and further reduce carbon emissions of shipment deliveries. Here are some of the software that you can use:

Carbon Emission Calculator

A carbon emission calculator can readily calculate the carbon emissions of your freight as it is transported from one place to another. In a carbon emission calculator, you only need to supply the means of delivery, shipment weight, and transport route to determine the carbon emission value automatically. The software also allows you to select two or more transport modes if you have opted for intermodal transport for your freight.

Digital Freight Matching

Digital freight matching (DFM) software allows you to find truck carriers that can readily transport your goods using your preferred truck types. A DFM provides you with transparent delivery charges and real-time freight shipping status. DFM can help cut carbon emissions by reducing the number of empty trucks on the road and making better truck space usage.

Route Optimization Software

Nowadays, delivery drivers can use route optimization software to find the most cost-effective and fuel-efficient routes for freight transport. A route optimization software can significantly improve the delivery driver’s productivity by potentially reducing the delivery time and distance while also increasing the number of transported goods. 

Sustainable Transport Practices

Several transportation companies have been opting for sustainable transport practices. These practices involve an active reduction of carbon footprints associated with logistics procedures.

Logistics manager explaining to a ground crew about sustainable transport practices

Sustainable Packaging

One way to mitigate the increase in carbon emissions is to employ sustainable packaging solutions. More companies have been using recycled materials in containing their products. 

Corrugated cardboards are now being used to protect the products instead of the traditional non-recyclable Styrofoam. The use of plastic materials, including the packaging size, has also been reduced to lessen waste materials further.

Eco-Friendly Vehicles

Some companies have shifted to using eco-friendly vehicles for sustainable transport, such as hybrid and fully electric vehicles. These modern vehicles have better engines that effectively minimize carbon emissions. 

Hybrid electric vehicles combine combustion engines and electric motors to provide better fuel economy. Fully electric vehicles are another sustainable transport alternative that demands significant investment from freight transportation companies. Though fully electric vehicles are costly, they emit no gas, thus significantly reducing their carbon footprint.

Digitalization

Technological advancements have been vital in raising environmental consciousness and reducing carbon footprints, notably in freight transportation. New transportation software products (carbon emission calculators, digital freight matching, and route optimization) enable you to monitor and reduce your shipments' carbon emissions.

Digitalization also allows companies to minimize paper consumption by replacing the traditional paper-based logistics materials, including proof of delivery and other shipment details, with an electronic copy.

Go for Sustainable Transport With Surus

As a product consumer or business retailer, you can help reduce carbon emissions by employing sustainable transportation practices. You can achieve this by using the most efficient mode of transport that matches your shipping needs.

At Surus, we can automate all of the above for you. We offer sustainable distribution solutions through proven-sustainable logistics and supply chain systems. With us, rest assured that your carbon footprint is always at a minimum. As Michigan's leading sustainable logistics provider with an eco-friendly fleet, we are committed to serving your distribution needs with the environment in mind. Get a free quote by contacting us right now.

There are a variety of ways to utilize freight transportation. You can use an enclosed trailer if your goods need to be covered up, a temperature-controlled trailer for perishables, or even an open flatbed trailer. An open flatbed trailer allows for the transportation of a wider array of goods and equipment as opposed to the other options mentioned earlier.

Flatbed trucks are excellent for hauling large cargo or equipment, but there’s much more to them than carrying bulk loads. If you are not familiar with open flatbed shipping, this article will cover the basics for you. Let’s jump right in.

 

Why Flatbed Trailers and When Should You Use Them?

Flatbed trucks or trailers are the perfect choice when you are working with wide loads, bulk cargo, or oversized equipment. The open nature of flatbed trailers allows them to be loaded from any angle, which is perfect for situations where you need to load cargo with a crane.  This also makes them a good choice for hauling cargo from shipping terminals. You can use a flatbed to transport just about anything, provided it doesn’t need to be temperature controlled. You should use a flatbed when the cargo you want to haul won’t fit in a traditional dry van trailer.

 

Types of products shipped on flatbeds

The main benefit of flatbed trailers is that they don’t have the same space limits that come with dry vans or refrigerated shipping. This makes them an excellent option for oversized shipments, like heavy machinery. Here are some common examples of products and equipment that are normally shipped on flatbeds:

One caveat with flatbed trailers is that the cargo will be exposed to the elements. Depending on what you are hauling and its size, you could cover your goods with a tarp, but that might not always be an option.

Driving with a flatbed isn’t quite the same as driving other types of trailers or trucks due to the way a flatbed’s axles are distributed and the type of cargo they haul. backing up with a flatbed trailer is far more complex than backing up while operating other vehicles. Driving with a flatbed is also somewhat more dangerous, but only when cargo isn’t secured properly. Thus, this is a job that requires patience and meticulous care.

When it comes to loading goods onto a flatbed, there are many complexities such as understanding the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR), as well as considering where on the bed you are loading the most weight. Different areas of flatbeds have different ratings. In general, you want the center of gravity to be as low as possible. That means heavier items are placed near the rear of the bed and above the axles.

Since flatbeds are open, they can be loaded from any angle. Usually, cranes or forklifts are used to load cargo on top of the trailer.

 

Flatbed truck vs train (and Trailer on Flatcar)

There’s another option to consider when it comes to cargo hauling, which is using a train. Trains are more fuel-efficient and can carry significantly more weight. However, they aren’t a great option if you are pressed for time, and they can be too expensive for short trips.

On the other hand, flatbed trucks have more predictable freight transit times and are significantly cheaper for shorter trips.

A third option is using a Trailer on Flatcar, also called piggybacking. This is where you load a trailer onto a train car and then use a truck to take it to its final destination, which offers the best of both worlds.

 

Why Use a Logistics Company to Organize Hauling Material on Flatbed Trucks

Flatbed trailer hauling isn’t for the inexperienced. You’ll want to work with professionals to ensure the integrity of the cargo, and to find the best route, whether trains should be involved, and prices available. Working with a logistics company allows your cargo hauling to be more efficient, which can lead to lower costs on your end and increased customer satisfaction. 

If you are looking for a logistics company in Michigan that performs flatbed shipping, then Surus is what you need. When you work with Surus, you’ll get expert consulting and solutions for your distribution needs. Contact us today.

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In the logistics and freight transportation industry, there are a lot of options to choose from when it comes to how exactly you'll get your cargo where it needs to be. You can go with temperature-controlled trailers, open-air flatbed trucks, or dry van trucks.

Choosing between one or the other can be difficult if you don't know what differentiates them or their pros and cons. We believe an informed individual makes the best decisions, so we'll share all you need to know about Dry Van Trucks in this guide.

What Is a Dry Van Truck?

A dry van truck or trailer is a closed box trailer attached to a semi-truck. They are the most common and popular shipping method you see because of how they keep the goods "dry" and protected from external elements like the sun, rain, or snow. In many ways, it's like a giant closed box on wheels. 

Dry van trucks are not temperature-controlled and are best for hauling dry cargo, like household goods and non-perishables. They are also excellent for eCommerce shipping due to their cost-effectiveness and plentiful space.

Dry Van trailers can be used for both full truckload and less-than-truckload (LTL) freight shipments, and they can haul up to 45,000 lbs. Some common types of freight for dry van trucks are:

Advantages and Disadvantages of Dry Van Truck Shipping

Dry Van has always been a popular shipping option, as it offers many advantages. But it doesn't come without its own set of disadvantages. If you are considering going with dry van freight transportation, you should consider the following pros and cons:

Pros

Cons

Why Use Dry Van Truck Shipping for LTL Shipments

If you have a small or medium-sized business, LTL shipments can do wonders for you. Foremost, this dry van truck shipping option allows you to save more money by delivering your goods in bulk sets (pallets) to strategic locations (distribution sites). 

This approach allows you to save a significant amount of money compared to parcel delivery or shipping your items directly from your establishment to your customer. LTL shipment also allows you to stream your goods continuously, allowing a steady supply in your distribution outlets. 

Although FTL saves you the most money, not every business is prepared to charter an entire truck. Small businesses forcing themselves to opt for FTL to save money may create supply shortages, making it an impractical approach. 

Shipment Pricing: LTL Freight Classes

One of the best things about dry van truck shipment is the consistent and fair pricing. The National Motor Freight Traffic Association publishes standard freight class codes and updates every three or four months.

The National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) codes help everyone in the logistics industry identify and quote shipments correctly. It also gives you an accurate estimate of how much you're going to spend. See the table below (the higher the class number, the higher the cost): 

Class Commodity Example Weight Range per Cubic Foot
50 Clean freight (bulk ingredients) 50+ lbs.
55 Bricks 35-50 lbs.
60 Car accessories & car parts 30-35 lbs.
65 Bottled beverages 22.5-30lbs.
70 Automobile engines 15-22.5 lbs.
77.5 Tires 13.5-15 lbs.
85 Crated machinery 12-13.5 lbs.
92.5 Computers 10.5-12 lbs.
100 Boat covers 9-10.5 lbs.
110 Cabinets 8-9 lbs.
125 Small household appliances 7-8 lbs.
150 Auto sheet metal parts 6-7 lbs.
175 Stuffed furniture 5-6
200 Aircraft parts 4-5 lbs.
250 Bamboo furniture 3-4 lbs.
300 Wooden cabinets 2-3 lbs.
400 Deer antlers 1-2 lbs.
500 Bags of gold dust Less than 1 lbs.

 

Choosing the Best Option for Your Cargo

Dry van trucks are perfect for all sorts of cargo. That's why most established companies have their own logistics department with fleets of dry van trucks – they're flexible, reliable, and incredibly cost-efficient. 

If you're a small or medium-sized business, however, there's no need to worry. You don't have to spend millions on owning a fleet. You can have your cargo delivered to wherever you need anywhere in the US through Michigan's top logistics company, Surus.

We offer competitive rates, a streamlined process, and experienced personnel. Contact us today.

Starting with the basics, intermodal shipping is simply using two or more modes of transportation. Utilizing intermodal containers, shipments are able to be moved seamlessly between cargo ships, trucks or trains. The advantages are plentiful, though it might be difficult to know how it tangibly affects the bottom line.

So, what are the business benefits of intermodal shipping?

Intermodal is a cost-effective, fuel-efficient, sustainable option when compared to long-haul trucking. Intermodal transportation has the available capacity needed by some and the consistent, reliable service expected by all.

While shipping by rail may sound old-fashioned, railcars hold significantly more load and offer more competitive pricing per mile than its counterparts. The cost is competitive, however, when freight needs to be moved long distances, rail can save businesses roughly .75–1 cent per ton-mile.

Many companies also consider their carbon footprint when choosing between freight shipping options. A standard truck can carry 80,000 pounds at a time and only gets around 7 miles/gallon, while rail can transport one ton of freight up to 500 miles on just a single gallon of gas. Having the option to move inventory in a way that is more sustainable, and only utilizing trucking in the last steps of delivery, make intermodal a choice many are making.

While local and regional shipping options are sufficient for some, intermodal transportation solves many capacity issues that companies may have. The consistency in service is not to be overlooked. Many drivers work on set schedules more closely aligned to office hours, having the option to ship via train means taking advantage of fully staffed loading docks that are equipped specifically for the incoming freight.

And intermodal shipping has come a long way with the adoption of 21st century technology. Rail has adopted automation technology that allows real-time tracking for every entity involved. This ensures the right people are where they need to be at the right time and on-time shipping and savings is passed on to the customer.

While businesses like Amazon and WalMart have perfected the free 2-day shipping option, many shipments cannot work on that model. Intermodal lead times can fluctuate due to many factors, so it is especially beneficial for shipments that have flexible timelines. Additionally, high volume and large capacity shipments have requirements that cannot be met with 2-day shipping style models. And while traditional trucking is not an option for every shipper, intermodal is.

For businesses looking for a cost-effective, sustainable shipping option, intermodal transportation offers benefits and rates that can’t be beat.

Around the world, the transportation and logistics industry is experiencing unprecedented disruptions and recent challenges have further stressed the supply chain. Consumer demand remains high – with no signs of let up – but the typical flow of goods is continuing to be delayed due to rapid swings in the labor market and restrictions placed on industries.

Transportation costs have increased dramatically for many reasons and those price increases are passed onto companies shipping their goods and consumers looking to make purchases. Workforce demands, driver shortages, regulations, and potential new emissions legislation that could mandate commercial vehicles in Canada and the United States toward battery-electric or zero-emissions are just a few examples of how these costs could be affected.

As organizations try to figure out how to work around the supply chain issues, there’s also the need to determine how to manage the transportation and logistics that go along with it – and ensuring the cost of it all works in favor of every party involved.

How can companies in need of transportation mitigate some of the costs associated with these lingering issues? And how can the transportation and logistics industry help pass savings along to organizations and consumers without sacrificing safety or service?

5 Strategies to Reduce Logistics and Shipping Costs

Be agile in how you’re willing to transport goods.

The mindset of, “this is how we’ve always done it,” has been confronted with so much change in the last couple of years. Prepaid, online, or upfront payments might only seem like minimal cost savings, but those savings can add up.

Consider packaging changes and be willing to adjust quickly.

Something as simple as packaging goods differently can allow for stacking, Tetris-like packing, and utilizing vertical space in a seemingly horizontal industry. 

Remain open to load consolidation.

Cut shipping costs on less than truckload freight with a third party that does the work to secure the most competitive rates, streamline shipment coordination, pick-ups, and deliveries.

Be willing to spend more to save more.

It might seem counterintuitive, but with current labor shortages, it’s important to weigh the cost of hiring additional help at potentially increased rates in order to fulfill demand. The benefits of being seen as a reliable delivery service can ensure continued business.

Find a transportation and logistics provider.

No two supply chains are the same and companies in need of transportation services can benefit from the relationships that are built by third-party logistics coordinators. Multiple pick-ups and drop-offs, expedited shipments, and just-in-time delivery service can help cut costs to companies used to handling shipments one at a time.

For Surus, company culture is a lived experience we engage in every day with the people around us. We understand that going into work in 2021 is an opportunity to work in an industry that we love, while also being an opportunity for growth and relationship building.

It’s important for us to create solutions for our clients, while also creating an environment for the people who show up every day to build a business right alongside us.

Our Vision

We are founded on the philosophy that good relationships and good business are one in the same. That goes two ways: relationships that we build with our clients, and relationships that we build with our teammates.

We strive to maintain a fun, vibrant, and honest company culture that not only supports our team members and their families, but also strengthens our local community, all while offering efficiency out of chaos for our customers.

We back this up with a few key values:

Collaboration
We work together, communicate honestly, and pick each other up when we’re down. We celebrate, support, and encourage one another. Our team is designed in a way that allows each person to be a complementary piece of our puzzle.

Integrity
We are honest and transparent about personal and company goals, and provide an environment that allows team members to be transparent, as well. We expect a lot from the people working at Surus – and we strive to live up to their expectations, too.

Family First
We take a genuine interest in and support the people who work for us, and the people who support them. For this reason, we aim to be flexible in all ways and remember that we are all human first. We embrace the good that every one of us brings.

Vulnerability
Eventually, we all make mistakes. It is important that when we fail, we learn from it. We will always try to laugh at ourselves and hope those around us are open to laughing at themselves, too.

Resilience
As we lean into our mistakes, humanity, and differences, our willingness to learn gives us the opportunity to encourage even more growth. Through creative problem solving and the space to take calculated risks, we connect and grow together.

We Want to Do Great Work

Our name comes from the bravest and strongest war elephant in the Carthaginian army. Like Surus the elephant, we are loyal, supportive, strong, and efficient. Above all else, we are a family of teammates and humans working to build relationships and a business that can be counted on.

When your business counts on it. Count on Surus.
© Surus, LLC.