Finding an Expedite Service Provider

Posted by Stacie Kilgore on September 23, 2021 - 8:39 AM
Finding an Expedite Service Provider

Choosing a company to handle your expedite freight

No doubt you’ve felt it. The adrenaline surge of a time-sensitive shipment. The rush to find a carrier who can handle the freight. The relief of a successful delivery.

In the world of expedite shipping, there’s no room for error. That’s why finding a quality expedite carrier is a critical task. You have to be sure you can trust them with your high-value, urgent and sensitive freight. And you need to know that whichever provider you choose will get it right the first time. With multiple companies offering expedite services, how do you decide which one to use? Start by learning what to look for in an expedite freight carrier, and see how your business can benefit from choosing the best fit.

Key considerations  

There are three big areas to think about when comparing expedite carriers: quality of service (i.e. will they know how to handle my freight and will I get proactive communication?), speed (i.e. will they be able to pick-up and deliver as needed?), and cost (i.e. will it be cost-effective for my business?). But how do you find that out? Think about these details and questions during initial conversations: 


Just like you look for qualified employees, the expedite partner you choose should have the right expertise. Reputable companies will easily be able to provide information about their history and give details on shipments they’re experienced in handling.

Questions to ask:

  • How many years has the company been in business?
  • Are they experienced with your industry’s freight (or freight with similar requirements)?

Younger companies can certainly provide good service, but longevity is a good sign of a proven track record. An established business combined with knowledge of your industry’s challenges makes for a well-suited logistics partner.

Visibility and security

Keeping a shipment safe and on schedule is a fundamental requirement. Before trusting a provider with valuable and urgent freight, you’ll need to see how its security and tracking technology measures up to what you’re looking for. 

You’ll need to know:

  • How frequently you’ll want updates on a shipment’s location
  • If you’ll need enhanced security

Starting with your needs and comparing them to what the carrier offers helps ensure you’re getting the right level of service and communication. And while it’s good to work with your expedite provider to find a solution that makes the most sense, don’t be afraid to ask for custom operating procedures — especially if you’ll be using this carrier extensively.

Capacity options

Make sure the companies you’re considering have the ability to handle your freight. Fleet size, where equipment is located, the typical length of haul the carrier is used to, and special certifications are all important factors.

Think about:

  • How many expedite shipments you typically have (each week, month, etc.)
  • If they’re usually short- or long-haul (and if any go outside the U.S)

Talk to the carrier about your shipment profile and make sure they’ll be able to accommodate your freight. If you frequently ship out of an area where they don’t often have capacity, it may be best to choose another carrier unless they can make some arrangements.

Flexibility and customization

Your business won’t stay the same size. Or always have the same needs. So it’s important to make sure the expedite provider you choose will still be a good choice in the years to come.

You’ll want to ask:

  • Will they have the ability to scale with your business?
  • Do they offer additional services you may need?

Partnering with a provider that has a range of capabilities will help set you up for success. As your business grows and evolves, your provider will be able to adapt and keep your supply chain running smoothly.

How to factor cost into the decision

Determining if an expedite shipment is cost-effective really boils down to one question: does the cost of not delivering outweigh the cost of shipping? In situations where even a one-hour delay can cost a business thousands of dollars — like an assembly line halting production due to broken machinery — the answer to that question is usually “yes.” And it’s important to take that into account when making a shipping decision. Utilizing an expedite carrier that can deliver on time, as promised is crucial for solving your logistics challenges. And while that doesn’t mean you have to choose the most expensive option in order to receive good service, sacrificing quality for a cheaper rate may wind up costing more in the long run.

Choosing a carrier and establishing a relationship

Once you’ve gotten answers to these questions, it’s time to make a decision. Choosing the expedite carrier that has the experience and capability to meet your current needs and will be able to adapt to any future growth or changes will benefit your business in many ways. Not only will you be able to trust that freight is moving quickly and safely, but you’ll know that you have a solid partner that can be relied upon in tough or new situations.

Trust ArcBest for expedite shipping

ArcBest® provides industry-leading ground expedite services through our Panther Premium Logistics® fleet. With more than 25 years of expedite experience, enhanced visibility and security measures, access to multiple equipment options, and a full suite of logistics solutions, we can provide the service you need. Learn more about ArcBest ground expedite.

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