LTL Shipment Tracking: When, Where, and How It Works in Your Logistics Operation

Handing a shipment off to a carrier or a logistics partner is an act of faith. Both parties agree on a transit time and delivery date — but, in the end, there are many unknowns. Will weather, a port closure, or an accident on the highway interfere with the delivery schedule? How will you know? And how quickly? What exactly are the implications for your business and your end customers?

Today’s logistics landscape is fraught with complexity and volatility. As supply chains have grown to span thousands of miles and multiple tiers of trading partners, the risk of disruptions has grown exponentially. A single missed or late delivery, at any node, affects the entire value chain. Whether it’s an inbound shipment that keeps your plants running, or an outbound delivery that protects a critical customer relationship, any surprises along the way can have disastrous impacts.   

That’s why we’re seeing growth in demand for real-time track and trace capabilities, especially among our less-than-truckload (LTL) customers at Redwood. LTL is known for its complex rate tariffs, carrier-specific accessorials, and ambiguous pickup and delivery schedules, and our LTL solutions address each of these. 

By enabling real-time tracking and tracing of LTL deliveries through one of our visibility partners, Redwood can tell exactly where a critical shipment is at any moment in time. When a disruption occurs, Redwood proactively connects with our customers to resolve the issue and get the delivery back on track as quickly as possible. Whether Redwood needs to change a route, switch carriers or rely on its own network of physical assets, our Modern 4PL structure enables an immediate, collaborative response. 

While many carriers and some 3PLs support track and trace only via electronic data interchange (EDI), this technology doesn’t enable true real-time tracking. Because EDI information is updated in batches every few hours, there could be a lag in recognizing and responding to a disruption.  

That’s why, as a full-service 4PL, Redwood leverages a more advanced method, based on application programming interfaces (APIs) built directly from our tracking partners’ systems into your ERP, TMS, or WMS via RedwoodConnect. These interfaces allow different software programs to communicate with one another in real time. With your internal systems linked directly to Redwood and relevant partners, you get real-time visibility into shipment status letting you know when there’s something to address. 

Throughout your shipment’s journey, you’ll receive automatic status updates as it’s dispatched for pickup, in transit, out for delivery, and signed off at final delivery. If any milestone is missed, Redwood proactively alerts you and works collaboratively on a resolution, in real time.  

Track and trace helps increase the security of your shipments while decreasing costs. From product counterfeiting to cargo theft, real-time visibility increases your awareness of what’s happening at every moment your products are in the air, on the ocean, or on the highway. It also cuts down on production delays, wasted resources, and customer turnover. 

As shippers recognize the value of real-time visibility, more and more are exploring the use of track and trace. It’s not surprising that the global track and trace solutions market, currently valued at $3.5 billion, is growing at 19.3% annually — and projected to reach $14.3 billion by 2030. 

While there are many standalone track and trace solutions on the market, a Modern 4PL like Redwood can easily configure dedicated APIs that deliver this capability directly into the systems you already use, seamlessly and cost-effectively.  

What can track and trace do for your cost and service outcomes? Does this feature make sense for your business? Reach out to us today and start exploring the benefits of real-time visibility for your LTL shipments.