16 min read

How to Increase Sustainability in Shipping

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Sustainability has been a popular term in almost every industry recently. As more businesses and consumers prioritize “going green” or becoming ecofriendly, sustainability will remain a priority. Evidence of this can be found in a recent Forbes study that discovered 92% consumers are more likely to trust an environmentally friendly company. Another recent study, conducted by GreenMatters, found that in last year, 25% more companies have touted the environmental and social benefits of their products and 40% of all companies now say they’ve taken action to improve the sustainability of their operations.

It’s no surprise that the LTL (less-than-truckload) shipping industry is putting a heavy emphasis on sustainability, both for benefits pertaining to the environment and efficiency in a tight capacity market. So, the question is, what can companies do to lower their environmental impact without disrupting processes and decreasing their profits?

Below are two major ways that LTL shippers and carriers can increase sustainability while maintaining (and even improving) their operations and bottom line.

Reduce Paperwork with Automated Documentation

With so many industries transitioning to fully digital processes, customers expect, even demand, complete digitalization. That being said, the LTL industry continues to handle more than 85% of all shipments with paper-based processes on both the shipper and the carrier side. These manual, paper-heavy procedures present both shippers and carriers with a major obstacle in improving performance, decreasing costs, and creating environmentally friendly solutions. Unfortunately, moving away from outdated procedures has been a struggle for many companies.

In an effort to help companies adopt digitization in shipping, the Digital LTL Council has championed automation technology that allows for paperless processes. One of these technologies is electronic Bill of Lading (eBOL). This innovative technology, which is key to reducing costs for both shippers and carriers, is a win for the LTL industry as a whole. In fact, it’s estimated that the shipping industry alone could save $4 billion a year if 50% of the market adopts electronic Bill of Lading. The potential savings isn’t a surprise considering that most shipping errors are due to incorrect or misplaced paperwork.

With a shipping automation platform like MyCarrier, shippers and carriers don’t have to needlessly waste paper and ink printing out documents. Invoices, quotes, research documents, etc. can all be digitally created and shared between departments with the click of a button. With increased document visibility, everyone is always on the same page.

On top of creating major process efficiencies, getting rid of unnecessary physical paperwork is just plain better for the environment. The shipping industry is one of the biggest industries in the world and moving away from paper BOLs will likely save thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of trees per year.

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Save Fuel Through Route Optimization

Determining line haul routes are more complex than truckload since each shipment must pass through multiple locations before reaching the end customer. Without shipping automation technology, shippers hand their requests to the carrier (usually after 4pm), the carrier returns to the terminal in the evening, and the order isn’t processed until much later on. With this outdated process, carriers aren’t able to adequately plan for optimized routes. This not only costs more money and wastes fuel, but increases the potential for increased freight handling (which often leads to increased damage).

One benefit of using a shipping management platform like MyCarrier, is that carriers get complete information from shippers 6-8 hours earlier than other methods. This allows carriers more time to route a direct, economically efficient way. Earlier information in the day allows for agile adjustments as the market moves, creating valuable real-time data. With earlier complete data, carriers are also able to run more directs, streamline headhall and fill up backhall lanes. Optimizing routes not only reduces costs for both carriers and shippers, but substantially decreases carbon emissions impact as well.

Takeaway

In the current tight capacity market, both LTL shippers and Carriers are turning to digital platforms that not only provide a frictionless end-to-end shipping process but generate sustainability as well. MyCarrier is proud to offer technology that creates a better LTL shipping process…and ultimately, a better world.

 

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