From chocolates melting in the heat to pharmaceuticals degrading in the cold, the delicate balance of temperature-controlled shipping is a dance Echo Global Logistics has worked hard to master.

Frank Hurst, Echo’s executive vice president of less-than-truckload, has been a big part of that work. He joined FreightWaves’ Mike Baudendistel and Grace Sharkey on a recent episode of The Stockout to discuss some of the challenges in the refrigerated LTL segment, as well as Echo and Roadtex’s road map for the future.

Within this space, Hurst explained, even minor temperature changes can have major consequences. He emphasized Echo’s commitment to precision and reliability in a mode that requires both.

Echo’s approach to temperature-controlled logistics

Echo’s acquisition of Roadtex led to a significant enhancement in the company’s capabilities within the temperature-controlled logistics sector.

When managing perishable items, precise temperature control is critical. Roadtex’s robust infrastructure, which includes temperature-controlled warehousing and a reefer fleet, has been integrated into Echo’s logistics framework. That means Echo can now offer clients a more diverse range of shipping solutions that focus on maintaining a 45-to-60-degree Fahrenheit range.

“We understand that it can be somewhat daunting delivering into mass merchants and big-box retail,” Hurst said.

The challenges go beyond standard logistical tasks and delve into strict appointments, required arrival dates (RADs) and rigorous quality standards.

For Echo, this means not only managing the transportation of goods but also ensuring that each step of the logistics process aligns with the specific needs and regulations of these retailers.

Hurst said that means the process must involve a meticulous approach to scheduling and meeting RADs, or there can be a heavy price to pay. Fines and chargebacks from retailers for noncompliance with these standards can significantly impact the total cost of transportation.

Navigating the freight market and positioning for the future

Echo’s approach is not just about moving goods from point A to point B. It’s about comprehensive supply chain management.

“One of the big differentiators is for shippers to look at their total cost of transportation,” Hurst said. “Not just the move itself, but to include their inventory levels, to make sure that they’re expediting the time from their shipping dock to the shelves for the consumers.”

With a network of more than 50,000 carrier partners and a technology-driven platform, the company is well equipped to respond to market shifts while upholding high service standards.

Additionally, the potential for consolidation opportunities in reefer LTL is an area where Echo has innovated. Hurst discussed how Echo’s acquisition of Roadtex has enhanced the company’s ability to consolidate LTL shipments into truckload where feasible.

This not only optimizes transportation efficiency but also addresses the service-sensitive nature of reefer shipments. Additionally, Echo is exploring the viability of refrigerated intermodal transport.

In short, Echo feels its suite of solutions is poised for continued growth. As Hurst noted, Echo is not just responding to current market conditions but is proactively shaping its services to meet the future needs of the logistics industry.

The post How Echo Global Logistics is mastering temperature-controlled shipping appeared first on FreightWaves.

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