Frequently Asked Question
What services does Access America Transport offer?
We offer full truckload (van, flatbed, reefer), less-than-truckload (LTL), heavy haul, intermodal and supply chain management services.
What areas does Access America Transport cover?
We move freight throughout the entirety of North America. This includes all 48 contiguous states, Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, all US & Canadian territories and most areas of Mexico. Access America can move your pallet or excavator from Nuevo Laredo to the oil sands of Northern Alberta.
How many years have you been in business?
Access America Transport has been in business since 2002 and has become an hundred million dollar company in that time. We have been recognized in several national publications for our growth.
What is an “expedited” shipment?
An “expedited” shipment is one that requires delivery faster than the standard transit time. If you would like an “expedited” quote on your shipment, contact your Access America Transport freight consultant.
What is a Volume LTL shipment?
A Volume LTL shipment is one that does not require a full 53′ truck. Usually a volume shipment will be 7 or more pallets and heavier than 7,000 pounds. Volume pricing is more often less expensive than standard LTL rates, and normally offer faster transit times.
What is BOL?
A Bill of lading (BOL) is mandatory documentation that provides Access America Transport
What is freight class, and why is it so important?
Freight class is the category of your freight defined by the National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA). Freight class is also referred to as NMFC (National Motor Freight Classification). Freight classes are assigned based on an evaluation of density, dimensions, ease of handling, and liability. LTL carriers use the NMFC to determine freight charges. If you do not know the class of your shipment, please contact your freight consultant.
How do I know which LTL carrier to choose?
Access America Transport has taken the guess work out of this decision for you. We have discounts with over 45 LTL carriers. When you use Access Manager for a quote, you will not only see which carriers service the lane, but also their pricing and transit times.
Does the Access Manager require a log-in and password?
Yes, the Access Manager does require a log-in and password in order to receive quotes. Of course quoting is always free, and is another added benefit of using Access America Transport for all of your shipping solutions. The Access Manager works as a full service tool by allowing you to quote, ship, track, and even report. Please contact a freight consultant today to receive access to the Access Manager.
May I have a copy of your brokerage authority?
Access America Transport is licensed by FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration), whom licenses all transportation intermediaries. It is illegal for a motor carrier to offer and broker your freight without proper authority to do so. We can provide proof of certification at your request.
What is your dispatch process like?
Our dispatchers are communicating over the phone as well, speaking directly with the drivers to dispatch them to your facility and following up to make sure they loaded and delivered on time.
How many employees do you have and how many offices?
Access America Transport has 7 offices and over 150 team members providing a seamless and fully transparent operational coverage of North America.
What are your payment options?
Access America Transport allows customers to pay via direct deposit, ACH, check, credit card & wire transfer. We offer our carriers quick pay, direct deposit, checks and Comchecks.
What steps do you take to ensure carrier compliance?
Access America Transport has tightly controlled management of their carrier “vetting” process and continued monitoring. We practice due diligence by partnering with reputable and safe partners.
What associations do you belong to?
Access America Transport is a member of numerous industry and trade associations including: Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA), National Industrial Transportation League (NITL), The Intermodal Association of North America (IANA), National Private Truck Council (NPTC), National Shippers Strategic Transportation Council (NASSTRAC), Better Business Bureau, American Trucking Association (ATA), Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce and the Chattanooga Regional Manufacturers Association.
May I have your shipper and carrier references?
Absolutely, just ask- Access America has D&B Open Ratings score of 93. We have thousands of satisfied customers and carriers.
May I have a copy of your surety bond and insurance certificates?
Access America maintains a $10,000 surety bond as required by law. Most 3PL’s and freight brokers carry contingent cargo as an added layer of protection for shippers, and some even carry liability insurance. Access America Transport goes above most of our competitors in these areas as we carry 1 million in general liability, 1 million in auto liability, 5 million in excess liability, ½ million in cargo as well as ½ million in worker’s compensation. We believe our risk management is one of the most thorough in the industry.
What type of quality control plan do you have?
Access America Transport is an ISO 9000:2008 certified company. Our outlook on quality is based on continuous improvement and world class customer service.
How do I know if my shipment is over-sized?
It is easy to tell if your shipment is over-width. In all US sates, anything exceeding 102” in width is considered a wide load and will require permits. It is a little harder to determine whether a load is over-length. In most states, a load is over-length if it exceeds 53’ in length on a 53’ trailer, or if it exceeds 52’ in length on a 48’ trailer. As for over-height loads, that depends not only the individual state regulations, but also on the dimensions of the trailer that the freight is loaded on. The deck height of the trailer will of course affect the loaded height. In all states east of the Mississippi River, the legal loaded height limit is 13’6”. In most states west of the Mississippi, the legal loaded height is 14’.
How do I know if my shipment is “overweight”?
In most states, the maximum legal gross weight of truck, trailer, and load is 80,000 lbs. An average truck weighs about 20K lbs and an average van, flatbed or stepdeck weighs 13K to 15Klbs. That means the maximum weight of the load is around 45K to 47K lbs. If the load requires a more specialized trailer like a lowboy, then you will have to account for the extra weight of that particular trailer. If the loaded weight exceeds 80K lbs, then it will have to be permitted.
How is shipping an over-sized/overweight load different than shipping a legal, non-permitted load?
Shipping a permitted load is a much more complicated matter than shipping a standard legal load. It is essential that you give the transportation provider a very detailed description of the weights and dimensions of the load. It is always recommended that the transportation company is provided with drawings and pictures to help them determine the most appropriate equipment for the job. The type of truck and trailer used with determine the loaded weight and dimensions, which will then determine the cost, routes, transit time, etc. Loads permitted for over-dimensions are generally limited to daylight travel, so transit time is longer than you will find with legal shipment. Also, travel is prohibited in many states around major holidays. Many cities have curfews during typical rush hours, when over-dimensional loads are not allowed to travel within the city limits. All these factors and more combine to make permitted loads very tricky. However, an experienced transportation provider will explain all this at the time of the quote and prepare the shipper for what to expect.
What are non-divisible loads?
Non-divisible loads are single pieces that cannot be divided into smaller, lighter components. States will generally not provide permits to move over-dimensional or over-weight loads if the over-dimension/overweight value is the product of multiple pieces. For instance, you cannot place to 6’ wide pieces side-by-side to make a 12’ wide load; you cannot load to 30’ pieces end-to-end to make a 60’ long load; you cannot stack a 7’ tall crate on a 7’ tall crate to make a 14’ tall load; and you cannot load sixty 1,000 lb valves on a trailer to make an overweight load.
What is a superload?
A superload is a load that exceeds certain extreme dimensions and weights in a given state. Because each state designates its own rules regulating over-dimensional loads, a superload in one state is not necessarily a superload in another. Generally a superload exceeds 120,000 – 150,000 pounds gross weight; 120’-150’ in length; 15’-18’ in width; or 15’-18’ in height.
What is a NMFC number?
This is an item number that is required by an LTL carrier in order to determine the type of product being shipped. The NMFTA assigns a NMFC item number to every product along with a freight class.
Is shipping by rail cheaper than trucking?
Shipping by rail can be cheaper than trucking given the right circumstances. The ideal situation is when there is rail access at both the origin and the destination, the distance is at least 1200 miles, there is regular volume, and there is at least a 1:3 railcar-to-truckload ratio. Both flatbed and van freight generally follow these guidelines. If there is no rail access at origin or destination, if the linehaul is shorter than 1200 miles, if it is a one-time project, or if only one or two truck’s worth of material can fit on a car, then rail shipping is less likely to be the better deal. However, there are plenty of exceptions, so it is always a good idea to get a rail vs. truck cost analysis.
How do rail transit times compare to trucking?
Rail transit times are usually 3-4 times longer than an equivalent trucking lane. This can vary widely depending on a number of factors. Many times cost is not the only factor in determining whether to ship by rail or truck. Many times the savings present by using rail is offset by the costs of a 21-day transit time.
I have heard that railroads are difficult to deal with, is that true?
It is not so much that they are difficult to deal with, but that they work in a completely different culture than trucking companies do. Rail transport pre-dates trucking by some 75 years. With rail transport there is different terminology, different time scales, very little competition, and fewer alternative choices for routing and scheduling. Rail carriers are tied to their tracks and can’t take detours or make unplanned stops. It takes a professional with experience working with railroads to make a rail shipment go smoothly.
What kinds of railcars are available?
There are as many types of railcars as there are trailers, if not more. There are gondolas for shipping loose machinery, gravel, coal, etc. There are hopper cars for shipping aggregates, powders, and grains. There are tankers for liquids, powders, and gases. There are flatcars for machinery, lumber, pipe, steel etc. Boxcars can be used for pallets similar to freight put on van trailers. There are piggyback cars for hauling van trailers and auto haulers for vehicles. All these cars have sub-specialty groups as well, that are designed for specific kinds of freight.
Who provides the railcars to the shipper?
Railcars can be obtained through the railroads themselves or from private car leasing companies. Linehaul prices from the railroads are usually cheaper using private cars, but you also have to pay a monthly lease payment for the right to use the car. Leases generally last from 1-5 years.