Canadian Shipper


Becoming a Best in Class Shipper – 2. Knowledge


Best in Class shippers possess an understanding of the following subjects.

 Modal options and trade-offs (e.g. Air, Road, Rail, Marine)

 Carrier selection and management in each mode of transport

 Routing guide preparation and compliance tracking

 Best practices in border crossing and border security (e.g. C-TPAT, AMPS)

 Freight rates and freight rate pricing systems (e.g. freight classes, dimentional pricing, fuel surcharge methodologies)

 Freight handling

 Freight management (e.g. pooling, consolidations, de-consolidations, network optimization)

 Carrier performance management (e.g. KPIs, dashboards, scorecards)

 Supply chain strategy and processes (e.g. warehousing, inventory management etc.)

 Transportation/Vehicle weights and dimensions

 Transportation technologies (e.g. transportation management systems, routing software, dock scheduling systems)

 Private fleet management

 In-house versus outsourced transportation

 Budgeting

 Trucking regulations in Canada, the United States and in other countries where products are sourced or shipped

 Customs brokerage procedures

 Freight invoicing and auditing

 Basic understanding of business functions (e.g. Accounting, Finance, Production, Marketing, Sales)

 Computer skills (e.g. Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Internet access, Social Media)

 Transportation law

 Transportation policies

 Government regulations

 Transportation safety

 Performance management (e.g. dashboards, scorecards, KPIs etc.)

The leading shippers capture this knowledge by preparing and maintaining written shipping manuals that detail all aspects of a company’s freight operations (e.g. locations of manufacturing facilities and distribution centres, hours of operation, loading and unloading processes, appointment and delivery times, drop trailer or live load and other key shipping information). The shipping manual outlines the company’s major types of freight shipments, how they are classified and measured (e.g. height, length and width), typical shipment weights and photographs. Any other distinguishing features such as types of material (e.g. hazardous), the state in which the freight must be maintained (e.g. dry, frozen, chilled etc.), their freight handling requirements (e.g. forklifts, pallet jacks) and loading requirements (e.g. do not load with chemicals) must also be documented.

Very few people are experts in all of these areas. To be successful, transportation professionals must have an understanding of what they know and what they don’t know. They need to know where to go if they require expertise in an area they don’t have. Specifically they should have completed at least a certificate-based program from a college (e.g. CITT, P. Log) or university (e.g. Penn State, Tennessee). They should attend the leading industry conferences (e.g. SMC3, CSCMP, Surface Transportation Summit) so they can remain current with the latest industry developments. Top performing shippers should subscribe to the leading industry publications (e.g. American Shipper, Canadian Shipper, Journal of Commerce, Logistics Management, Inbound Logistics) and network with other professionals in the industry.

Becoming a Best in Class Shipper is clearly a lifelong pursuit; it can be a very fulfilling career choice.


To stay up to date on Best Practices in Freight Management, follow me on Twitter @DanGoodwill, join the Freight Management Best Practices group on LinkedIn and subscribe to Dan’s Transportation Newspaper (


Dan Goodwill

Dan Goodwill

Dan Goodwill, President, Dan Goodwill & Associates Inc. has over 30 years of experience in the logistics and transportation industries in both Canada and the United States. Dan has held executive level positions in the industry including President of Yellow Transportation’s Canada division, President of Clarke Logistics (Canada’s largest Intermodal Marketing Company), General Manager of the Railfast division of TNT and Vice President, Sales & Marketing, TNT Overland Express. Goodwill is currently a consultant to manufacturers and distributors, helping them improve their transportation processes and save millions of dollars in freight spend. Mr. Goodwill also provides consulting services to investors, vendors to the trucking industry, transportation and logistics organizations.
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