The Ultimate Guide to Expedited Shipping

Expedited Shipping Guide

  • Expedited shipping basics
  • History of expedited shipping
  • Expedited shipping and other options
  • Freight shipping cost calculations
  • Freight shipping for your industry
  • Solve your expedited shipping emergencies

You don’t have time to wait.

When something goes wrong – a part fails and you don’t have a replacement on hand OR you require a piece of equipment ASAP – you need an expedited shipping service that you can trust to get the job done.

You’re losing money by the hour, tensions are high and you have to find a solution NOW.

Consider this scenario:

You’re in charge of a construction site. To get the job done more quickly and efficiently, you’ve brought in extra workers. You’re patting yourself on the back because you’re keeping costs down and everything is coming along without a hitch. Until it isn’t.

An important piece of your machinery fails and you need a replacement part ASAP. If you can’t get fast transportation for your part, you’re paying guys who can’t work and money is going down the drain.

You need the customized solution that expedited shipping companies can provide.

This guide will give you all the information you need to have a better understanding of emergency shipping and give you advice for choosing the right expedited shipper to work with.

Let’s jump in!

Shipping Mistakes to Avoid

1. Expedited shipping basics

Before explaining expedited shipping, it’s important to have an understanding of freight because that’s WHAT is being shipped.

A definition of freight

Freight is a commodity that’s shipped by air, ground or sea. It refers to large quantities of cargo that are too large to be shipped by common carriers.

What is expedited shipping?

Expedited shipping is a process that moves freight that needs to arrive faster than a normal courier can deliver it.

In emergency situations, there simply isn’t time to wait for more common, slower methods.

How does expedited shipping work?

One of the most convenient aspects of freight logistics is that you don’t have to work with a local vendor.

You can choose an expedited shipping service that’s across the country, in a neighboring state, or the next town over – it’s up to you.

Plus, the emergency transportation company will take care of all the details for you.

You don’t have to know HOW the shipping process works – you can pass your need along to them and they’ll handle it, whether you need expedited next business day, second-day air, or anything in-between.

2. History of Expedited Shipping

You may be surprised to find out that the history of freight shipping extends as far back as the 15th century, though it wasn’t significant until the 1700s.

At that point, countries like Spain, The Netherlands and England started to broaden their global empires.

This expansion required moving goods from one place to another.

Cargo was carried by carts and wagons pulled by horses. Needless to say, it was a slow and dangerous undertaking.

The industrial revolution

Shifting to the development of expedited shipping in the United States, it wasn’t until the industrial revolution that airplanes, steamboats and trains were used to get materials from Point A to Point B.

Before steamboats were a viable alternative, rafts and flatboats were the methods of water transport.

This was even more time-intensive and strenuous than a horse-drawn wagon, because the crew members had to paddle the whole way.

The invention of steamboats – and eventually cargo boats – revolutionized the way critical shipments made it to their destinations.

From steamboats to today

By the 1830s, steamboats were common practice for moving cargo and freight.

The Erie Canal revolutionized transit. When it was completed in 1825, freight transportation became much easier – and less costly, though there was still no such thing as expedited next-day shipping!

In addition to man-made waterways, the railroad forever changed the way goods (and people) could get from one place to another.

Though it got a rocky start, after 1830 when a standard T-shaped rail was introduced, railroads expanded industry and significantly lowered shipping costs.


As paved roads became more popular in the 1930s, trucking became a viable option for shipping cargo and freight.

The late 1950s and 1960s brought a true revolution to expedient shipping when the Interstate Highway System was introduced.

The industry has continued to grow and now dominates freight shipping.

Air freight

The first cargo flight took off in November of 1910 and went from Dayton, Ohio to Columbus, Ohio. It was carrying 200 pounds of silk.

It took 57 minutes and set a world speed record.

It was expected that air cargo would take off, though it really didn’t become popular until after World War II, in 1945.

Moving cargo and freight by air didn’t become a staple until the 1990s, but with the rise of the internet – and the ability to track flights in real time – shipping by air has become a more reliable and accessible option.

Services like expedited overnight shipping are now commonplace.

3. Expedited Shipping And Other Options

There’s a difference between expedited shipping and mailing a regular parcel.

A parcel is a small package that can be handled by companies such as UPS or FedEx. The expedited shipping price is determined by the weight and/or dimensions.

Parcels can be dropped off at a number of convenient locations where it will be picked up by a commercial carrier. Or the vendor will sometimes provide pickup services, too.

So, what distinguishes an expedited parcel from freight?

Anything that exceeds 150 pounds and 165 inches in length plus girth is considered a freight shipment.

Where the big names can’t keep up

UPS, FedEx, and DHL expedited shipping are a far cry from the services freight logistics companies can provide.

It all comes down to speed of delivery, and these carriers can’t match the flexibility and swiftness that’s offered by a true expedited delivery service.

When emergencies come up – an integral part fails and processes are stalled – you need a replacement NOW.

You’re losing money by the hour and you don’t have time to wait for UPS or FedEx.

Freight Forwarding 101

It’s important for you to understand the difference between international freight forwarding and domestic freight forwarders.

Let’s take a look at what each of these unique services, how they differ, and what that means for you.

International Freight forwarder

To put it most simply, an international freight forwarder is an organization that facilitates importing and exporting of goods across the globe.

If you need to ship something from the U.S. to France, Germany, Australia or India, you’ll need an experienced international freight forwarding company.

Domestic freight shipping

A domestic freight forwarder, or expedited shipping provider, can ship your materials throughout the U.S. via land, sea or air.

There are numerous benefits to choosing a commercial freight shipping vendor:

  • Flexibility. Your critical transportation can be shipped any time of the day or night.
  • Dependability. It’s a more reliable method of expedited domestic shipping.
  • Customizable. You can get your materials shipped according to when and how you need it.
  • Options. For example, emergency overnight shipping, expedited ground shipping, and many other choices to meet your unique needs.

Shipping Mistakes to Avoid

Freight forwarder options

When it comes to expedited freight shipping, you need options – and you’ve definitely got them.

Check out these services to meet your unique needs.

  1. Ground freight services

Despite what you may think, air freight isn’t always the fastest – or most cost-effective – choice.

There are several different ways your critical cargo can be moved from Point A to Point B over the ground, quickly and without delay – by ground.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these options.

Ground expedite

Ground expediting your cargo is a wise choice when your pick-up and delivery spots aren’t close to an airport, your shipment needs to go out in the middle of the night, or it’s just plain quicker to move your materials by ground.

Ground expedite includes:

  • Exclusive Truck. As the shipper, only your cargo will be on the truck. That means you don’t have to worry about extra stops or your materials being handled unnecessarily.
  • Truckload: One- and Two-Man Team. Your goods are the only shipment on the truck. The driver or drivers pick up your cargo and take it directly to the destination. Other than rest breaks for the driver (if he’s not part of a two-man team) and refueling, the truck doesn’t stop. In the case of a two-man team, the drivers take turns driving and resting, which means the truck can keep rolling.
  • Weekend/after hours. Things break down after hours and on the weekends, too. With this ground expedited shipping option, it’s no problem.
  • Hotshot. This emergency freight is for one customer and is needed immediately.

B. Air freight services

Sometimes, moving your important cargo by air is the best way to get it where it needs to go due to the customization that’s possible.

Here are your air freight options:

  • Next Flight Out. This means your cargo can be sent out round-the-clock, on the next available flight. When you choose this option, your materials can be delivered to you or you can pick them up.
  • Same Day Air. With Same Day Air, your emergency shipment will be picked up whenever you need it, and it will arrive the same day.
  • Next Day Air. This option is also highly customizable. Your cargo can be delivered at any time of the day or night.
  • Second Day Air. When you need a cost-effective choice for a shipment that’s too critical to be sent via UPS, FedEx or another option, but isn’t a critical emergency, this is your best bet. It allows you to choose the specific time of the delivery (on the second day) OR, you can choose delivery any time, which saves money, as well. Rest assured, you’ll still receive the same great level of attention.
  • Air Charter. This is hands down, the quickest, most-customized way to move your cargo. And, of course, your freight is the only thing on board.

Making an informed decision

You don’t have to know which option to choose. You just need to know what you need shipped and when you need the item shipped by – as well as any budgetary restrictions.

The professionals at an expedited delivery service will help you find the best solution.

4. Freight shipping costs calculations

Charges are calculated on a per-shipment basis.

Because of the “one-off” nature of expedited shipping and the availability of flights, drivers, etc., the rate will be unique for each situation.

Usually, an expedited shipment is quoted each time it is arranged.

5. Freight shipping for your industry

You may be surprised by the number of industries that require expedited transportation.

Oil and gas companies

Oil and gas companies often need pipes or items that are necessary for pipe repair, such as fittings and gaskets.

For example, when oil workers are out in the field and a pipe springs a leak, they’re able to patch it, but a patch won’t hold long-term.

A new pipe or the components to repair the pipe need to be delivered to them ASAP.

Companies like ExxonMobil, Valero, Citgo and Shell regularly use freight-shipping services.

Nuclear power companies

In the power nuclear industry, time is money.

It costs $1.5 million PER DAY when a nuclear reactor is shut down.

Obviously, getting the parts needed to avoid a hitch is crucial.

Here are some of the situations that the power nuclear industry faces, requiring emergency shipping.

  • As soon as you see a need, you have to have the necessary backup part/component before you can make the repairs.
  • Sometimes, the solution requires shipping a part from one plant to another.
  • When workers are painting parts inside a nuclear reactor, they require a very specific type of drop cloth that’s approved for use inside a nuclear power plant. One thousand pounds of this drop cloth is often shipped at once.

STP Nuclear, Entergy, Exelon, Southern Nuclear all use domestic expedited shipping to avoid costly downtime.

3rd Party Logistics (3PL) companies

Ninety-five percent of this service is trucking.

These companies often specialize in meeting the needs of power plants and refineries.

The cargo they carry is usually big, bulky, and heavy – or it’s needed on the same day.

Companies like Ardmore Logistics, Malark, LPS Globaltranz, SAA Logistics all utilize expedited delivery to get what they need, when they need it.

Construction management companies

What happens when a construction crew is on a job site and they get behind or need to complete a job, but they’re missing one specialized part?

The project stalls and money is lost.

Remember the scenario already discussed that happens all too frequently: Often, workers are sent from other locations to help with a certain project. If a part fails or machinery malfunctions, the job can’t move forward and you end up paying people to wait around.

Kiewit, Fluor, Furmanite, Bechtel are examples of companies that need the services of an expedited delivery company.

Facility parts & repair companies

If you’re responsible for maintenance and repair inside a plant or for ensuring the production line keeps moving along as it should, you’re familiar with the necessity of fast shipping.

Sometimes your need is to have a back-up part in stock so your process doesn’t have to stop while you wait.

But when the time comes that a part fails and you don’t have a replacement part, you’ll need to shut down production until the new one arrives.

These are the times that FedEx and UPS just won’t cut it and you need the same-day service that an expedited freight shipping company partner provides.

Some of the companies that commonly need emergency shipping services are Motion Industries, Lamons Metal Gaskets, Sunbelt Supply, Colt Services, Wesco.

6. Solve your expedited shipping emergencies

When the pressure’s on and your production goals are threatened by a mechanical failure, you may not know where to turn.

But you don’t have to go it alone. There’s help available – at any time of the day or night.

Let’s take a look at the qualities you should seek in an expedited shipping company that can become your go-to in times of need.

24/7 service

Work with a company that is available for your critical shipping needs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


Some expedited transport companies will make commitments they can’t fulfill and your business pays the price.

Choose to work with an expedited delivery service that gets your critical shipment to you on time because they have the industry experience and proven track record to deliver – every time.


Without good communication, there could be dire consequences.

When you need something NOW, you need to know that your shipment will arrive on time.


Even with the most organized process, you can experience a hiccup.

Your expedited shipping service should be able to address any issues head-on and work quickly to come up with a solution.

Customized problem-solving

Every situation is unique.

Thinking outside the box is the norm.

A great expedited shipping company will be able to find the best solution for your needs – including your budget.

Getting started

When time is of the essence and your productivity (and profits) are on the line, you need an expedited freight transportation choice that provides you with a customized solution.

The days of horse-pulled wagons and steamboats are long gone. With today’s sophisticated ground and air freight logistics, you have options.

If you haven’t worked with an expedited shipping company to help solve your shipping emergencies and time-critical shipments, now’s the time to explore your options.

Understanding expedited shipping basics, how costs are calculated, and the difference between expedited shipping and other modes of transportation is crucial for you to make informed decisions for the good of your business.

No matter what industry you’re in, knowing where to turn when you need an emergency shipment will give you peace of mind and reduce downtime.

Contact ATM Freight Services for all of your emergency transportation needs. Our experienced team will work with you to move your freight in the quickest and most budget-friendly way possible.

Give us a call today at (888) 462-3452

Shipping Emergency Mistakes to Avoid Ebok