When your company participates in international trade, you can reach more customers, drive revenue, and expand brand awareness. However, if you’re not aware of all the intricacies involved in working outside your country’s borders, this can leave you open to mistakes and shipment delays.
Partnering with an experienced transportation and logistics provider, however, can help mitigate these headaches and allow you to instead focus on your core business. The concept of cross-border logistics covers all the planning, scheduling, transportation, and related services that are involved in moving products across international borders.
Ultimately, cross-border logistics ensures the seamless and timely delivery of goods to a customer. Learn more about the challenges facing companies making international shipments and how to select a cross-border logistics provider that will deliver the optimal support for your business needs.
Top Three Challenges of Cross-Border Logistics and Shipping
Even for domestic shipments, companies across industries are plagued with:
Ongoing supply chain disruptions worldwide
Insufficient workforce and hiring difficulties
Persistent inflation with the looming threat of economic recession
Negative impacts of climate change
Making shipments that cross your country’s borders can amplify these issues, while also adding three new concerns.
1. Customs: Delays and Regulatory Compliance
To ensure public health and safety, governments have regulations in place for any imports into their borders. These rules cover not only what products may enter the country, but sometimes a product’s allowed ingredients or overall quality, as well.
When your business fails to comply with customs regulations — or is unaware of them to begin with — this can delay your shipments, put you in violation of local laws, and potentially result in fines. Such delays will also leave you with dissatisfied customers. Working with cross-border logistics service providers will help you navigate international regulations, ensure all necessary paperwork and fees are in order, and lessen the risk of costly delays.
2. Managing the Expectations of Your Customers
With the prevalence of online shopping in today’s world, consumers are increasingly making e-commerce purchases from outside their home countries. Despite a product’s origins, however, customers want and expect rapid order fulfillment in addition to high-quality products. To maintain brand loyalty and company reputation, businesses must strive to ensure efficient production and shipping to deliver a positive customer experience. Optimized cross-border logistics can help you meet these goals.
3. High Shipping Rates
Not all businesses handle the product volume necessary to receive optimal rates on international transportation options. Rates for freight services by airplane or marine vessel can be cost-prohibitive if you’re not shipping large amounts or making frequent shipments. A company specializing in international transportation services and logistics, due to the volume of goods they handle, often has access to better rates, and they can pass those savings on to their customers.
How to Choose a Cross-Border 3PL Partner
Cross-border transportation has become a critical component of an increasingly interconnected global marketplace. It’s about more than just getting your products from point A to point B, however. Your chosen 3PL partner will have a tremendous impact on the success and reputation of your brand.
Third-party logistics (3PL) companies offer various services to provide packing, shipping, warehousing, and supply chain logistics support. The ideal logistics solution for your company will help you meet deadlines, streamline and scale your operations, save on costs and product waste, and achieve your business goals.
When trying to select the right cross-border 3PL provider for your individual business, consider the following:
Point-of-entry warehousing and cross-docking. In addition to asking yourself if the company ships to your intended location, also consider whether or not they have warehouses or cross-docking options near your points of entry. This not only adds a degree of convenience but can also help streamline your operations.
Bilingual staff. The optimal 3PL partner for cross-border shipments employs staff members who can speak another language. For example, service representatives who are fluent in Spanish and French can facilitate communication with shipping partners and customers in Mexico and Canada.
Less-than-truckload (LTL) consolidation capabilities. LTL freight consolidation for cross-border shipments can help you save on costs. By sharing trailer space with goods that have similar destinations and temperature requirements, for example, you increase efficiency and often receive better rates.
Mulder Brothers Brokerage: Experts in U.S. Cold Chain Transportation and Logistics
Since 2008, Mulder Brothers Brokerage has specialized in LTL transportation, 3PL logistics, warehousing, cross-docking, and more for the U.S. cold chain. Through our trusted carrier network, we provide efficient services for clients with refrigerated and frozen goods nationwide. However, we’re always looking to expand into new markets. If you’re looking for a trusted partner to handle your transportation and logistics needs, contact us today to see what the Mulder Brothers team can do for you.
Over the past few years, supply chain challenges and extended lead times have impacted virtually every industry. However, managing the supply chain for temperature-sensitive products can be infinitely more complicated. Being proactive in your logistical planning helps alleviate the stressors inherent to the cold chain. Learn how to better predict and respond to common cold chain transportation and warehousing problems.
Identifying Supply Chain Problems Before They Occur
Proper cold chain logistics will keep your operations on budget while ensuring that customers receive their orders on time and in full with no loss in product quality. To achieve this, it’s important to be aware of cold chain pain points to plan for or avoid.
Above all else, effective temperature management is critical for frozen goods, from initial loading and transportation through consolidation, cross-docking, storage, and final delivery. It’s not enough just to keep products cold; you must maintain steady temperatures to assure product integrity. Spoiled goods not only result in waste and lost revenue but also a poor reputation among customers.
While unscheduled repairs can throw shipments off schedule, logistics providers also have to plan for and work around routine truck maintenance. Freezer trucks and containers need regular maintenance to ensure their functionality and, by extension, the integrity of frozen goods. Equipment or electrical failures will swiftly compromise shipment quality.
Cold Chain Integrity
Diligent logistics management is essential to prevent disruptions and delays in the cold chain itself. Keeping things running smoothly from goods production to delivery will help safeguard against product loss.
Numerous laws as well as safety and quality standards govern frozen food transportation. Such regulations cover factors like proper temperature monitoring, documentation, and product labeling, helping you avoid costly recalls and fines. For Walmart suppliers, your must-arrive-by date (MABD) and on-time in-full (OTIF) scores are also essential, as falling outside a shipment’s expected delivery window or delivering an incomplete shipment can result in penalties or program expulsion.
Element of Human Error
Successful cold fleet logistics requires experienced professionals who understand proper industry protocols and documentation. Also, cooling technologies vary from one brand to another, so extensive training is necessary to ensure appropriate equipment operations. Drivers who aren’t familiar with cold chain equipment can put product quality at risk, and insufficient communication and inaccurate or incomplete records lead to costly mistakes.
It can be difficult to find less-than-truckload (LTL) and third-party logistics (3PL) service providers with not just the experience you’re looking for, but also the capacity to handle your shipment volumes. This can lead to higher costs, extended loading and unloading timelines, and delayed deliveries.
Proactively Responding to Cold Chain Logistics Problems
To circumvent logistical problems, it’s important to have a plan in place that encompasses temperature-controlled transportation, warehouses, and distribution centers.
Real-Time Temperature Monitoring
Technological advancements in modern monitoring systems allow you to oversee thermal conditions and fluctuations, the location of a truck or order, and related information. You can receive updates in real time for proven regulatory compliance, more effective logistics management, and the agility to make any necessary adjustments quickly.
When you take advantage of LTL shipments, your goods will share space on a truck or trailer with those of other companies. Combining multiple smaller loads with the same thermal requirements heading to the same final destination means not having to wait until you have a full truckload (FTL) shipment ready to go. LTL shipments can improve both efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
The more a shipment changes hands in the cold chain, the greater the risk of temperature fluctuations and communication errors. Streamlining cold chain transportation as much as possible mitigates these risks. Using internet-based systems to keep track of shipments’ progress, temperatures, and handovers reduces the likelihood of problems.
Finding a Trusted Partner Who Has Your Back
One of the easiest ways to guarantee product integrity, process efficiency, and successful project logistics is to partner with a transportation company with vast experience in the cold chain. They’ll be familiar with common challenges in the industry and will have all the necessary resources at their disposal to effectively and reliably transport your frozen shipments at the capacity you need.
How Mulder Brothers Brokerage Can Help
At Mulder Brothers, we specialize in cold chain transportation and logistics, providing Midwest pickups of frozen shipments for delivery nationwide. When you partner with us, you benefit from:
Temperature-controlled LTL and FTL capabilities
FDA-compliant, temperature-controlled warehousing and short-term storage
Successful logistical planning and order fulfillment for temperature-sensitive goods requires an in-depth understanding of the needs of your frozen freight as well as the various ways by which to safely transport it. While many products require refrigeration, frozen goods must consistently maintain sub-zero temperatures during loading, transporting, storage, and final delivery to ensure food quality and prevent product loss.
Multiple options are available for frozen freight shipping specifically, each with its own means of providing the necessary thermal conditions for cold chain transport. Learn more about how to ship frozen foods to help you choose the right method for your needs.
How Are Frozen Foods Transported?
Among the most important characteristics a mode of transportation can have in cold chain shipping is the ability to achieve and maintain appropriate temperatures for frozen foods. Not all transportation methods are equal to the task. The optimal type of transportation, carrier, and shipping container will depend on the goods you’re shipping, your timeline, and related factors.
Modes of Transportation
You have several options for efficiently and safely transporting goods in a temperature-controlled environment. Based on your needs, you can ship products by land, air, or sea.
Full 53-Foot Reefers
While the dry vans you see daily on highways are sufficient for protecting everyday products from the elements, they don’t manage thermal conditions, making reefers the right choice for frozen shipments. These refrigerated semi-trailers are designed to safely transport temperature-sensitive goods. With applications in last-mile shipping, they typically combine an external cooling unit with an insulated, enclosed container for precise temperature control. This allows reefers to prevent spoilage and conditions that could negatively impact the quality of perishable cargo.
If reefers provide last-mile transportation in the cold chain, railways serve as the go-between for ports and reefer fleets. According to an October 2021 GoRail piece by Betsy Cantwell titled “Explainer: Railroads and the Supply Chain,” railroads are responsible for transporting approximately 40% of long-distance cargo in the U.S. Shippers also use refrigerated railcars for some cold chain freight consolidation.
Airplanes are ideal for transporting goods when timing is of particular concern, such as with supplies for the medical sector. However, perishable foods can also require expedited delivery, with examples including shellfish and other seafood, fruits, and vegetables. Transporting such cargo by air ensures that the goods reach their final destination quickly while they still appear fresh to make the most of their limited shelf life. However, given the changing ambient temperatures in air travel, it’s important for such goods to be appropriately packaged to ensure product integrity.
Refrigerated Cargo Ships
Similar to air transport, cargo ships experience varying climates and thermal conditions. If not carefully monitored, these temperature fluctuations can lead to product damage. Cargo ships can use insulated sea containers coupled with thermal-control technology to mitigate these risks for safe frozen transport and optimal product quality.
Types of LTL Frozen Freight Carriers
Less-than-truckload (LTL) frozen freight shipping carriers are categorized by the temperature conditions that they, by law, must consistently maintain. These frozen transport carrier types include:
Isothermal carriers. With a cabin consisting of insulated floors, walls, ceilings, and doors, isothermal carriers reduce heat exchange between their interior and the outside environment.
Cold carriers. These carriers decrease and then maintain interior temperatures utilizing cooling technology. Based on vehicle type, that temperature typically falls between -4° and 54° F.
Refrigerated carriers. Refrigerated varieties lower the passenger compartment’s temperature to achieve and hold an external temperature averaging between -4° and 86° F.
Choose the Right Frozen Shipping Container
The best way to ship frozen food is in insulated frozen food shipping containers that safeguard against leakage. The insulation is essential for effective temperature control, while leak-proofing prevents a container’s contents or any internal condensation from escaping. Container size is also an important consideration. A well-sized container will help food remain frozen, but a too-large container that leaves excessive space around the product may not.
Contact Mulder Brothers for Your Frozen Food
Frozen logistics and transportation are critical to ensuring that frozen foods arrive at their destination on time while retaining maximum quality.
At Mulder Brothers, we provide efficient, cost-effective, and FDA-compliant solutions for shipping frozen goods. Our network of trusted LTL frozen freight carriers provides pickups in the Midwest, with shipping capabilities nationwide. With an extensive background in trucking and reefer transportation services, we provide reliable consolidation, cross-docking, and redelivery services. Mulder Brothers also works with cold storage partners to meet customers’ varied cold chain needs.
Contact us to learn more about the right method of frozen food transport for your operation, or request a quote today to get started.
Refrigerated and frozen products like foods, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, and more require strict temperature control during cold chain transportation and storage. This helps ensure product integrity, keeping goods safe for consumption or use while preventing costly spoilage and waste. The ideal cold chain transportation temperature range, however, varies depending upon the type of cargo you’re handling.
What Temperature Classifications Are Used for Refrigerated Freight?
For fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy products, medicines, and more, refrigerated freight temperatures can be divided into three distinct categories.
Transporting refrigerated goods at temperatures ranging between 40° and 60° F safeguards products against freezing with the side benefit of managing moisture while they stay cold. It’s applicable for consumable goods like chocolates and other candies as well as certain electronic components and devices.
This category encompasses a tighter temperature range of 36° to 39° F. Fresh foods and some types of medicines require this strict temperature range to maintain their quality and safety.
Requiring a temperature of 25° F, this category falls somewhere between chilled and frozen. Certain fresh meat products as well as some medicines are best stored at this temperature.
What Temperature Is Frozen Freight?
All frozen foods necessitate transport and storage at 0° F or colder to prevent potential health risks and a decline in product quality. However, “frozen” is actually broken down into two main frozen food temperature range subcategories.
Foods and products that must remain frozen should be kept at a temperature between -10° and 0° F. Examples of frozen goods include frozen dinners, meats and seafood, vegetables, and more. Be aware, however, that some cold chain carriers and warehouses categorize the frozen temperature range as -4° F to 14° F, so be sure to confirm the temperatures that your specific transportation and logistics provider uses to prevent any unfortunate surprises.
High-sugar foods like ice cream and sorbet call for a substantially lower temperature, as do biological samples and some vaccines. Deep-frozen products must be kept at temperatures between -22° and -13° F to prevent melting. To successfully maintain such temperatures even when a trailer is empty, companies need to operate a double-insulated trailer no more than three years old.
Maintaining Temperatures: Active vs. Passive Frozen Transport Technologies
Various technologies and cooling solutions are available for maintaining frozen food storage temperatures throughout the cold chain, depending on your needs. You can select frozen packaging for shipping that provides active cooling or passive cooling to control temperature.
Active cooling solutions utilize electrically or battery-powered temperature controls for more advanced thermal management. Such cooling systems are generally built into cold storage and transportation options and may use dry ice for coolant.
Reefers are one such example of active cooling. These semi-trailers combine the use of an external, active cooling system mounted on the front with enclosed and possibly insulated containers to effectively keep the appropriate reefer temperature for frozen foods. Reefers aren’t meant to freeze or cool but to maintain a specified temperature.
Passive cooling solutions utilize insulated enclosures, passively controlling temperatures within them. The insulation may come in the form of polyurethane, polystyrene, or panels that are vacuum insulated, and passive cooling containers may or may not use thermostatic regulation. Passive cooling options for frozen products include:
Dry ice. As solid carbon dioxide that retains a temperature of approximately -112° F, dry ice is an effective option for maintaining freezing temperatures in goods during transport.
Gel packs. These bags contain polymer gel or water, ensuring frozen products stay cold for longer than using traditional ice.
Eutectic plates. Also called cold plates, these reusable and versatile plates contain liquid, frozen to achieve a necessary temperature and keep products in their proximity cold.
Thermal blankets. These insulated quilts surround or are placed overtop frozen cargo, serving as a buffer against changes in temperature and keeping the goods’ temperature fairly consistent during frozen shipping.
Liquid nitrogen. Achieving extremely cold temperatures of approximately -320° F, liquid nitrogen is so effective at maintaining frozen temperatures over long periods that it’s applicable for such important cargo as organs or tissue samples.
Contact Mulder Brothers for Your Frozen Freight Transportation Needs
Quality frozen freight shipping services are critical for ensuring that temperature-sensitive goods stay within their acceptable temperature range, avoiding quality decline and product damage. As experienced LTL frozen freight carriers, Mulder Brothers Brokerage specializes in comprehensive transportation, storage, and frozen logistics solutions for less-than-truckload shipments of cold chain products. We’ve built a network of trusted carrier partners to provide clients in the Midwest and nationwide with reliable, FDA-compliant services and 24/7 support.
Contact us to learn more about our frozen freight transportation services or to discuss your individual needs.
Unlike many shelf-stable food products, fresh and frozen goods require extra considerations during shipping regarding acceptable transit timing and temperatures. Maintaining safe thermal environments in your cold chain by partnering with a knowledgeable third-party logistics (3PL) provider minimizes transportation expenses while promoting compliance with health and safety regulations, retaining product integrity and peak quality, and reducing spoilage and lost profits. Learn more about handling, transporting, and storing fresh and frozen goods, and how their needs differ.
Transportation Windows: Transit Time and Shelf Life
Shelf life varies widely depending on product type, preparation, conditions at packaging and shipping, and more. Ideal transit times for fresh food products are short to ensure that goods arrive at their destinations with maximum remaining shelf life. Fresh foods like fruits, vegetables, dairy, and meats are particularly vulnerable to shipping delays and fluctuating or insufficiently cold environmental conditions. With best-by dates ranging from days to weeks at most, even minor slowdowns or changes in the environment can result in products that are of lesser quality or even unsafe. Consumers are increasingly choosing fresh, organic, and minimally processed and preserved products, making reliable and effective fresh food transportation even more critical.
Frozen products are less constrained by the need for speedy delivery as they have a longer shelf life, but they do require a precise temperature range to retain their quality and remain safe for consumption. Shippers must carefully maintain the temperature of the goods’ environment from the frozen products’ point of origin to the end destination. Choosing transportation and logistics service providers who understand how to ship frozen meat, fruits, vegetables, and other goods will assist you in assuring the safety and quality of your frozen products.
Handling: Loading and Unloading
In addition to temperature and humidity control, fresh foods require additional care during loading and unloading to preserve quality and prevent damage like bruising. Careful pallet placement, stacking, and wrapping should be top of mind in maximizing protection for these vulnerable products.
Frozen food products are typically easier to manage in transit because they often have sturdier packaging and are less prone to damage with standard handling. Even small or brief temperature changes, however, can be disastrous in terms of both quality and safety.
Transportation Equipment for Temperature Regulation
Arranging experienced, well-equipped transportation services when shipping fresh and frozen food products offers the best opportunity for delivering them safely. Your chosen shipping partner should have the resources and knowledge to provide and maintain the necessary conditions during transit for your particular fresh or frozen goods.
Temperature requirements for fresh goods vary. Typically, refrigerated trucks or containers are necessary to maintain these temperatures during transit. To address ambient conditions, it’s beneficial to have flexible temperature control. Humidity, airflow, and ventilation must also be carefully managed to safeguard against condensation for optimal product freshness while preventing spoilage.
Frozen foods require tighter temperature control to maintain subzero temperatures and prevent thawing for optimal quality and safety. Service providers can achieve this through active temperature regulation solutions like reefer trailers or passive options such as:
Liquid nitrogen packs
Insulated packaging and containers in general help guard against heat transfer. While these solutions are robust, shippers should perform regular maintenance and calibration to ensure proper functionality and peak equipment performance. They should also have a contingency plan like backup cooling systems in place and make use of monitoring tools like temperature deviation alarms so that shippers can act immediately in case of temperature fluctuations.
The appropriate shipping conditions for frozen goods are generally consistent regardless of when and where those products travel. Safe transportation for fresh goods, however, will vary depending on external or ambient conditions and the shipping method. For example, foods that can melt, like chocolate, might require different shipping considerations in summer than in winter. Also, fresh products like fruits and vegetables are more likely to be available at certain times of year in different regions, and holidays can affect product and shipping demand as well.
Choose Mulder Brothers For Your Frozen Food Logistics
Experienced transportation and logistical providers with up-to-date technology, robust client and carrier support, an optimized transportation management system (TMS), and flexible less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping capabilities are best positioned to protect the quality and safety of fresh and frozen products. If you’re unsure how to transport frozen meat long distances, you’re interested in frozen warehousing, or you need dependable logistical solutions like multi-vendor consolidation, the team at Mulder Brothers Brokerage can help support your cold chain operations.
Since 2008, we’ve combined our extensive LTL frozen shipping and cold chain 3PL expertise with a network of trusted carriers, warehouses, and distribution centers to offer reliable, cost-effective goods transportation solutions for businesses nationwide. We and our partners adhere to all applicable FDA and related regulations for food safety, assuring proper temperature control and monitoring during product handling, transportation, and storage to protect your frozen goods’ integrity throughout the journey.
Contact us today to learn more about our capabilities for frozen goods shipping and experience firsthand our service-first commitment.
Businesses ranging from chemical supply companies and manufacturing operations to laboratories and hospitals need chemicals for any number of diverse applications. Transporting chemicals to customers, however, requires a higher degree of logistical planning than standard goods.
This is particularly true for those chemicals that are temperature-sensitive or would negatively impact the environment or an individual’s health should their containers incur damage. Certain phenols, acids, and related chemicals may combust if they overheat, while substances like alcohols and ethers can emit flammable vapors if they reach their flash point.
Proper temperature control in chemical transportation and warehousing is vital for maintaining the integrity and quality of chemicals. If stored improperly, the physical properties of a chemical substance may be altered, or a substance may become less stable or effective.
At Mulder Brothers Brokerage, we understand the complexity of temperature-sensitive product logistics from our work with frozen foods and related products. With an extensive background in temperature-controlled transportation and warehousing, our team is here to support customers with their cold chain needs nationwide. We’re committed to providing a Service First™ approach, offering reliable logistical solutions for frozen goods transportation with an emphasis on safety and regulatory compliance.
Safety and Compliance
When it comes to chemical transportation, there are strict rules regarding environmental and health protection as well as general safety requirements to prevent accidents and fire outbreaks. One example would be the Quality, Health, Safety, and Environment (QHSE) standards, as well as local and federal regulations on chemical handling, the necessary insurance one must carry, and the required documentation for such shipments. Chemicals are often accompanied by a material safety data sheet (MSDS), which documents the nature of the shipment, its potential hazards to humans and the environment, and how to safely handle the chemical.
The ideal logistics partner will protect clients from safety- and compliance-related liabilities by ensuring that carriers strictly adhere to all the necessary standards.
Mulder Brothers focuses on safety and compliance in all our operations, with an experienced team to ensure proper transport conditions and efficient, optimized logistics for shipments. We’re very familiar with ensuring regulatory compliance from our work in the consumable goods sector, which has its own safety standards. Our team works closely with a network of trusted third-party logistics (3PL) partners to meet all applicable regulations for transporting temperature-controlled products like frozen foods.
Chemical Transportation Services
In addition to compliance factors, shipping chemicals comes with strict temperature requirements. The safe temperature range for frozen goods, for example, is typically from -4° F to 14° F. If thermal conditions were to rise above that within a truck’s trailer, such products would experience degradation and no longer be safe or of sufficient quality to sell.
Mulder Brothers has years of experience in refrigerated and frozen transportation and cold chain logistics. We and our carrier partners employ a number of technologies and devices to ensure proper temperature control, including:
Refrigerated or reefer trucks
Double-walled trucks for optimal insulation
Motor-powered cooling systems for active temperature control on trucks
Dry ice, gel or liquid nitrogen packs, insulating quilts, and other passive temperature controls
Temperature monitoring systems for real-time data collection on thermal conditions
GPS monitoring for optimal cold chain management
We provide less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping services for clients looking to transport partial loads of temperature-sensitive goods. With LTL shipments, you share the cost of transport with other shippers and don’t have to wait until you have a full truckload ready to ship, making this service a cost-effective and time-saving transportation solution. Mulder Brothers also specializes in cross-docking, redelivery, and warehousing for frozen consumable goods.
Chemical Warehousing Services
Just as temperature-sensitive chemicals must stay within their proper thermal range during transport, such temperatures must also be maintained and closely monitored during storage. It’s important to work with warehousing services that can address your refrigerated or frozen storage needs.
At Mulder Brothers, cold chain transportation is our area of expertise. Currently, we partner with Cold-Link Logistics for non-chemical applications. The company operates four warehouses with capabilities for refrigerated and frozen storage for foods and related goods. Working with a logistics broker with its own warehouses allows manufacturers and shippers to streamline their cold chain, eliminating the need to locate and arrange for cold storage with yet another party.
Why Mulder Brothers Is the Right Choice
At Mulder Brothers, handling the details is what we do best, enabling you to focus on your core business.
Our team offers specialized transportation and 3PL logistics services to ensure the safe and efficient transport of a wide range of temperature-sensitive foods and products. Our commitment to safety, compliance, and customer satisfaction, along with our network of vetted carrier partners, allows us to provide turnkey solutions for clients in varied industries across the nation.
To begin serving customers in the chemical industry, we’ll be looking to expand our capabilities to accommodate their transportation and warehousing needs in the future.
Contact us today for more information on how Mulder Brothers can support your operations.
Since 2008, Mulder Brothers Brokerage has built relationships with trusted service partners nationwide, developing a network of consolidation facilities and regional distribution centers to facilitate on-time deliveries of temperature-sensitive goods. Our multi-vendor consolidation solutions, including cross-country freight tracking, data-based scheduling, and a consolidated pricing model, allow our clients to increase the efficiency, reliability, and flexibility of their supply chains.
What Are Regional Consolidation Solutions?
Mulder Brothers is a consolidation solution for the Great Lakes region, with strategically placed partners aiding in nationwide distribution. Unlike full-truckload (FTL) service providers, LTL consolidation companies like ours operate less-than-truckload shipments. This means that multiple shippers share the space on a single truck, with the truck’s cargo made up of smaller individual loads.
Through third-party logistics (3PL), we consolidate orders onto a truck based on destination and deliver cargo to distribution centers as part of carefully scheduled stops. The shipments are then broken down into smaller loads, moving on to regional warehousing and other network facilities or going out for last-mile service and delivery.
Our vendor partners all provide transportation, but as they’re regional operations, their services are localized. Some offer frozen and refrigerated storage options as well, regardless of whether or not a client also requires transportation.
For example, we work with a storage facility in Holland, Michigan, that provides over 150,000 square feet of warehousing space for frozen storage. Our partners’ services complement our own, helping customers overcome any service provider limitations with a streamlined, comprehensive network of consolidation solutions.
Mulder Brothers serves clients throughout the US from coast to coast with localized service partners and Mulder Brothers super-region facilities operating in the Great Lakes region, including:
Benefits of Working With a Consolidation Network
Through proven supply chain logistics solutions, our network of regional consolidation partners gives our clients access to reliable transportation services and temperature-controlled warehousing throughout the U.S. We offer our clients across the contiguous states the following benefits:
Improved efficiency and logistics management for a streamlined supply chain
Shorter transit times, resulting in on-time shipments and satisfied customers
Set, localized delivery schedules for optimal consistency
Trusted temperature management to ensure product integrity for cold chain goods
Scalable capacity to overcome truck space constraints for high-volume shipments
Reduced shipping costs
Minimal handling for reduced customer claims
Access to refrigerated and frozen storage even when a client doesn’t require transportation
Regional LTL Consolidation Services at Mulder Brothers Brokerage
Regional LTL consolidation solutions from Mulder Brothers create a more efficient and consistent supply chain. With a network of localized service partners spread across the U.S., we ensure that our clients benefit from reliable transportation and storage, superior logistical planning and supply chain management, and on-time delivery wherever they are, all at a reasonable cost.
We handle retail consolidation, cold chain trucking, and warehousing so our clients don’t have to. Contact us today to discuss your regional consolidation service requirements with a team member.
Since 2008, Mulder Brothers Brokerage has leveraged strategic relationships to deliver turnkey transportation and logistics solutions for our clients. Our team is experienced in refrigerated and frozen less-than-truckload (LTL) shipments, multi-vendor consolidation, redelivery, cross-docking, and warehousing. We also provide support for the Walmart Consolidation Program as an approved partner, transporting products between the company’s 47 regional distribution centers for frozen goods to ensure they arrive safely and on time.
As a key supplier of Walmart consolidation services, Mulder Brothers maintains high MABD and OTIF scores. Read on to learn about MABD and OTIF, their unique requirements, and how Mulder Brothers can help.
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What Is MABD?
Large retailers are part of a highly competitive market. Stores like Walmart depend on reliable shipments and quality products to retain customers, expand their consumer base, and replenish inventory on the shelves. It’s essential that their deliveries are accurate and on time. A Must-Arrive-By Date, or MABD, is a window of time during which a delivery is expected to be completed. If suppliers fail to meet the set MABD, they’ll potentially have to pay a large fee or chargeback on the goods. Mulder Brothers maintains highMABD success scores to remain in compliance with Walmart’s requirements.
MABD Window Explained
The MABD window is typically a 48- or 72-hour period during which a delivery is expected at a distribution center. Suppliers that complete shipments during the MABD window receive high MABD scores. Multiple factors can negatively impact your score, such as if a shipment arrives:
After the MABD window
Before the window
Incomplete or inaccurate
With poor product integrity (spoiled or damaged goods, etc.)
Any of the above situations are likely to result in a penalty as part of Walmart’s guidelines, often calculated as a percentage of the invoice value. Mulder Brothers’ attention to detail helps us meet expectations for accurate, on-time deliveries – our scores speak for themselves. Partnering with us will give you the peace of mind that product integrity will be maintained during all stages of the supply chain.
What Is OTIF?
OTIF, or On-Time In-Full, is a metric that Walmart established in 2017 for determining how often a supplier can meet agreed-upon delivery dates. Walmart can assess if your company is successfully making on-time deliveries of the exact products they ordered in the correct quantities or case numbers and to the right Walmart facilities. The goals behind the OTIF supply chain metric are not only to closely monitor suppliers’ abilities and performance but also to improve customer satisfaction and strive for continuous improvement in Walmart’s stores.
FTL and LTL Guideline Breakdown
In August 2017, Walmart began requiring full-truckload (FTL) suppliers to make deliveries 100% in full and within the MABD window for at least 75% of deliveries. Walmart raised the expected rate for delivering in the MABD window to a minimum of 95% in 2018.
Per Frock Freight’s annual shipper survey, however, just 55% of shipping companies achieved FTL shipping in 2022, so OTIF provides guidelines for LTL deliveries, as well. In 2017, suppliers for LTL shipments were required to make 100% in-full deliveries within the MABD window just 33% of the time. Over the past few years, this percentage requirement has continued to increase. Redwood reports that Walmart raised that percentage again in September 2020 to its current guideline of 98%.
Suppliers falling outside the acceptable OTIF standards are hit with fines to be short-paid monthly. These may include penalties equaling 3% of the case value or cost of goods sold (COGS) should anything be missing, or fees for early deliveries to prevent overstocking.
Differentiating Between MABD and OTIF
The transition from MABD to OTIF included several changes to the delivery requirements for suppliers. The three- and four-day MABD windows for perishables or general merchandise and consumables, respectively, were reduced to one- and two-day windows under OTIF. Not only does OTIF have tighter MABD windows, but it also emphasizes the “in-full” aspect of a delivery in particular. Suppliers working with Walmart must maintain OTIF compliance to avoid negatively impacting their scorecard and to remain in the program.
Where Can I Find a Freight Carrier That Can Meet Both MABD and OTIF Requirements?
MABD and OTIF standards benefit suppliers, retailers, and customers by enhancing shipment quality and streamlining deliveries for greater efficiency and customer satisfaction.
Mulder Brothers has a proven track record of meeting MABD and OTIF requirements, along with a background in trucking and a strategic network of carriers, to facilitate supply chain logistics for your company. We’ll work with you on load planning, route optimization, freight consolidation, chargeback auditing, and more, analyzing all components of your shipments to achieve the ideal solution for on-time, in-full deliveries.
To learn more about Walmart’s Consolidation Program and our capabilities, contact us today.
Cold chain logistics management requires seamless coordination to ensure that temperature-sensitive goods receive consistent and appropriate refrigeration during transport and storage. It’s critical for companies with refrigerated or frozen products to partner with a reliable cold chain third-party logistics (3PL) service provider for efficient and detail-oriented supply chain management. Read on to determine if 3PL is right for your business, what fixed and variable costs you should expect to encounter, and additional budgeting information to assist you when selecting a service provider for cold chain logistics.
What Is 3PL Cold Chain Logistics?
Cold chain logistics involves transporting goods like meat, produce, dairy products, medicines, chemicals, and more that require constant temperature control, and managing their transportation and storage through the supply chain. Handling all the routing, docking, warehousing, and additional cold chain details effectively without delays and resulting product loss can be overwhelming on your own. Working with an experienced 3PL partner can help you ensure that your products stay at their necessary temperature from initial loading through final delivery to maintain product quality.
Cold Chain Logistics Expenses
When using cold chain logistics companies, there are two primary categories of expenses for which you should budget: fixed and variable costs.
Also known as capital or standing costs, fixed costs remain the same in the short term, typically for a period of a year, regardless of the output volume, quantity, or transport distance. For example, every cold chain logistics provider will have fixed costs for:
Alternatively, variable costs will change depending on volume, quantity, and distance because these costs have to do with the amount of resources the provider must use to make the shipment. Also referred to as recurrent, running, or operational costs, variable costs in cold chain logistics include:
Supplies necessary for production
Piece rate labor
Billable employee wages
Fuel for trucks (pricing varies by state and distance)
Credit card company fees
Interplay of Fixed and Variable Costs
While they’re separate concepts and the same logistical factors may affect them differently, fixed and variable costs are each still dependent upon the other. For example, a logistics company can pay a fixed cost for their use of a truck, but the variable cost of fuel consumption will increase or decrease depending on the weight and size of the vehicle, as well as the travel distance and number of stops. You might also have paid for a certain number of trucks at a fixed cost, but end up paying for an additional truck if the original fleet is insufficient for covering a delivery.
Additional Costs and Financial Considerations
Beyond typical fixed and variable costs, there are several additional expenses, or accessorial charges, to consider. To avoid paying higher fees than expected, be sure not to overlook the following potential costs when considering a cold chain logistics company:
Reconsignment cost: Per-mile fee decided at the time of the initial quote
Lumper fees: Vary based on third-party unloading provider
Excess cargo insurance fees: Vary based on freight value, travel distance, etc.
Over-dimensional (OD) freight fees: Vary based on cargo dimensions, necessary permits, final destination, and more
Specialty equipment expenses: Dependent upon what pallet jacks, edge protectors, straps, wraps, and other equipment you’ll need
Truck order not used (TONU) fees: Ranging $200 to $600 (potentially more for specialized trailers)
Stop charges: Per-stop delivery rate of $50 to $100
Layover fees: Flat fee ranging from $150 to $750 based on equipment and length of delay
Driver detention compensation: Also for delays, with a per-hour cost of $50 to $150
Driver assistance fees: $100 to $250 when drivers help unload
Tarping charges: $100 to $150 to cover goods on open trailers
Tanker endorsement fees: Approximately $250 for transporting liquids
Hazmat fees: $150 to $200 for transporting hazardous materials
It’s important to remember that you can minimize accessorial cold chain supply logistics fees by planning ahead and working with the right logistics partner.
Mulder Brothers’ Cold Chain Logistics Services
Cold chain logistics is a complex process of reliably and efficiently managing product storage and transportation to ensure optimal temperatures and quality. When choosing a 3PL partner for your business, consider your needs, your budget, and the fixed, variable, and potential additional costs involved, as well as the partner’s capabilities and experience.
Mulder Brothers Brokerage has 15 years of experience offering nationwide cold chain coverage and best-in-class, 24/7 support to both customers and carriers. We specialize in frozen less-than-truckload (LTL) shipments, warehousing, cross-docking, and redelivery services to support your supply chain.
For more information on our capabilities and pricing, contact us today.
Third-party logistics (3PL) service providers can offer shipping, storage, and supply chain logistics support to streamline your operations, reach your goals, and save on costs. Learn about what 3PL entails, the benefits that outsourcing logistics management offers your business, and how to select the right 3PL partner for you.
What Is 3PL?
3PL companies manage the logistics of your supply chain so that you don’t have to. Their services typically include freight packing, shipment transportation, and storage, as well as options like brokering, consolidation, supply chain logistics, and more. 3PL companies have varying business models, though most are not asset-based, meaning that they have a network of vendor and carrier partnerships to arrange these services and necessary 3PL warehouses, distribution centers, equipment, and labor on your behalf.
When working with a 3PL service provider, you can expect costs related to:
Picking and packing
Storage and warehousing
Pricing will depend on individual factors like order volume, transportation distance, and any required specialty services like refrigeration in shipment or storage.
Benefits of 3PL
The external support of 3PL service providers offers your business and customers numerous advantages while keeping a competitive edge. Using 3PL providers gives you:
Access to experience and resources. Among the greatest of 3PL benefits is the ability to capitalize on the experience and resources of the provider and their network. They’re already familiar with the various documentation and regulatory compliances associated with transport, imports and exports, and more. Also, they already have the staff, equipment, vehicles, and warehousing resources to take on your job.
Budgetary savings. In addition to saving on your initial investment given the 3PL provider’s existing resources, having vendor partnerships helps in negotiating optimal pricing. Also, given the high volume these companies handle, they’re often able to pass those volume discounts on to you.
Operational flexibility to scale your business and expand your market. 3PL service companies offer you the flexibility to scale operations based on your current and future business needs and order volumes. Also, those that cover a wide service area already have facilities and warehouses ready should you want to expand into new markets, and you save time on learning a market’s nuances.
Ability to concentrate on your company’s core competencies. Outsourcing supply chain logistics to an experienced third party allows you to focus on the core of your business and what you do best, letting a 3PL provider manage shipping, storage, and logistical concerns.
Enhanced customer service and satisfaction. Partnering with a 3PL company leads to improved services and order turn times, which, in turn, have customers associating your brand name with reliability.
How to Select the Right 3PL Provider
Your 3PL partner will have a tremendous impact on your company’s supply chain, costs, and customer service. If you’re asking yourself how to choose a 3PL provider, important factors to consider include:
Provider capabilities. The 3PL provider should offer the services you need now, and potentially in the future. Particularly consider any specialty services, like refrigerated or frozen storage and transportation, less-than-truckload (LTL) consolidation, truck repair, etc. The logistics company should also be aware of and adhere to all industry safety regulations.
Pricing. In addition to having the services you need, make sure the 3PL company fits within your budget.
Reputation and experience. There are numerous ways to determine if a company is reputable. In addition to years of service, certifications, company mission statements, and online reviews, look for assurance metrics like on-time, in-full (OTIF) order fulfillment rates.
Service availability. It’s important that the 3PL company provides storage and transportation within your needed service area and timeframe.
Order tracking. Visibility and accountability are important, so the provider should offer the ability to track shipments during all order fulfillment stages.
Responsiveness and customer support. Customer service is at the core of a good business. Choose a provider who can identify issues before they happen for optimal logistics management and provide sufficient support to handle problems when they arise.
Scalability. One of the benefits of partnering with a reputable 3PL service is that they have the staff, equipment, and expertise to quickly adjust your logistical plan and manage any changes in volume or market. Partner with a 3PL provider that not only meets your current needs, but offers any services you may require as your business grows.
Technological advancements and security. Your provider should have the technology in place to process, streamline, and track an order from its placement to final delivery. Also, they should be able to adequately protect your company’s financial information.
Customized solutions. A one-size-fits-all solution isn’t the best fit for any business. Your fulfillment partner should be able to provide a supply chain plan tailored to your unique product and needs.
Why Mulder Brothers Is the Right Choice
Mulder Brothers Brokerage specializes in refrigerated and frozen transportation and warehousing, cross-docking, redelivery, and cold chain 3PL. Our extensive trucking background and success in multi-vendor and LTL consolidation services set us apart from the competition, as does our participation in the Walmart Consolidation Pool Program as an approved Walmart consolidation partner. We maintain strategic relationships with a network of trusted carriers and vendors that, along with our consolidation facility, allow us to serve clients nationwide. Contact us today to learn more.