What is Freight Consolidation?

Less-than-truckload shipments, or shipments that do not fill capacity, are commonplace in supply chains. For manufacturers and shippers, freight spend represents one of the largest costs to the respective company. As the economy progresses and technology advances, businesses should actively look for ways to improve their practices from an environmental and logistical standpoint. Consolidated shipping, which is offered by National Retail Systems, Inc., is a go-to strategy for retailers that provides an opportunity for cost-effective transportation of goods and services. 

Freight consolidation is a logistics technique used when several small shipments, all being forwarded to the same location, are bundled and shipped together for increased efficiency. It significantly reduces freight spend by optimizing the capacity of the available vehicle and eliminating wasted space across excess vehicles. The higher the volume, the lower the cost per unit, which saves you and every other shipper involved time and money. Freight consolidation services with a third-party logistics (3PL) provider are an ideal option, where your load “shares the ride” with others on nearby routes.

How Loads are Built

Third-party logistics providers will typically receive orders electronically, and the information is fed into the 3PL’s warehouse management and transportation management systems (TMS). Aside from shipment optimization, a TMS provides visibility, business intelligence, and global supply chain talent needed to lower costs and gain a competitive advantage. A Load Consolidation Manager will then match orders based on factors such as destination, size, weight, and other requirements. 

Advantages of Freight Consolidation Services

Fewer Touches

With freight consolidation, your order is only touched twice before it reaches its destination. This allows for reduced risk, quality material handling, and complete distribution management. In contrast to LTL shipments, which could involve multiple trucks, the product is touched once by the 3PL and once by the pool provider. Using this system, your product is less susceptible to damage along its journey.

Quicker Delivery Time

Quicker delivery times are a hallmark of freight consolidation, as shipments are spared from going through the LTL hub-and-spoke network, which involves multiple touchpoints. A cross-country shipment that takes 6-10 days with LTL takes only about 3 days with consolidation services. 

Shipment Transparency

3PL systems offer real-time visibility into your order’s location, through tracking notifications for key events through to final delivery. National Retail Systems, Inc. will oversee the journey of your freight from start to finish, ensuring that the most cost-effective route is utilized. Multiple shipments usually ride on a single tracking number to be broken out at final delivery.


By using freight consolidation, fewer trucks ultimately result in reduced fuel emissions and congestion. When intermodal can be introduced, further improvement can be realized in the linehaul. This is especially beneficial as government regulations are continuing to grow more stringent for shippers, and those in the industry should take every opportunity they have to choose methods that are more eco-friendly.

Pricing Simplicity

Freight consolidation services have a more simplistic pricing strategy than LTL shipments. With LTL shipments, complex algorithms are used to find the cost per each shipment. However, with consolidation, the rates are simply based on miles traveled and the weight of your load. 

Expert Freight Consolidation from National Retail Systems, Inc.

If you are looking to consolidate your shipments and improve your logistics and shipping process, trust National Retail Systems, Inc. We are a privately-held 4th generation family company headquartered in North Bergen, New Jersey, with hubs located in several major locations throughout the United States. We have been providing consolidation and cross-dock services for the world’s leading retailers for over sixty years. Our 3PL services will assist you in efficient consolidation of your shipments- assuring reduced costs and your product successfully making its way into full truckloads. At National Retail Systems, Inc., we select the best delivery path and work with other trusted shippers to make sure your products and goods get to where they have to be. Contact us today to learn more and to get your products on the path to flawless distribution.

The Ultimate 3PL

National Retail Systems, Inc. (NRS) includes Keystone Freight Corp. & National Retail Transportation, Inc. (NRT). NRS is an asset based 3PL that has been providing logistics services for the World’s leading retail companies for 60+ years. Our hub locations include: New York & New Jersey; Los Angeles, CA; Inland Empire, CA; Savannah, GA; Columbus, OH; Greensboro, NC; and Baltimore, MD.