Reweighs and Mixed Commodities

  • Reweighs and Mixed Commodities

    If LTL shippers need another good reason to get their weights, dimensions, classes, and descriptions correct on the BOL, here it is.

    Shipments of mixed commodities where the carrier finds a weight discrepancy are subject to an assortment of applications.  The basic application comes directly from the NMFC guidebook, Item 640, known as the “Mixed Shipment Rule”.  This rule states that when a carrier finds the BOL weight to be inaccurate, the additional weight is to be applied to the highest-classed item on the pallet.  So if you ship a CL70 and a CL175 item together, and your BOL weight is wrong, the extra weight gets applied as CL175.  Ouch!

    This may seem punitive, and it certainly can be.  Carriers who follow this rule as written will defend the practice as being the incentive to help push shippers to provide more-accurate BOLs.  After all, get your weights and dims and descriptions correct, no reweighs, right?   Other carriers take a more “customer-friendly” route and will apply any additional weight to the lowest-classed commodity.  That seems the better approach, as it encourages better shipper behavior without turning reweighs into their own profit center.

    Virtually every carrier takes exception to the NMFC’s Item 640 in their rules tariff, partly because it is a complicated rule and does have some consequential impact.  One common exception is the handling of reweighs with mixed commodities.  More and more, carriers are shifting towards applying a class-based density table to mixed commodity shipments, in some cases not just those mis-described but all density shipments.

    I’ll save the overall Mixed Commodity Shipment rule and LTL carrier exceptions for a future post, as there is a lot to cover.  It’s complicated, trust me.  And I will save LTL carrier Reweigh rules for another future post, as there is a lot to cover on that subject also.

    But for now, it may pay for you LTL shippers out there to do some auditing of your freight bills.  If you are not providing an accurate BOL to your carriers, you could be paying a lot more than you think based upon carrier rules.  Weigh your freight, measure your freight.

    Thoughts anyone?

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