Route Planning for a Car Shipping Company

What goes into Route Planning for a Car Shipping Company?

Over the past years, transport companies are adopting efficient ways to plan transport routes and schedules. The traditional route planning method no longer works as the car shipping company cannot address the real-time events affecting the consumers. Besides, fuel cost is rising, which has prompted shipping companies to embrace efficient ways of planning their routes […]

Over the past years, transport companies are adopting efficient ways to plan transport routes and schedules. The traditional route planning method no longer works as the car shipping company cannot address the real-time events affecting the consumers.

Besides, fuel cost is rising, which has prompted shipping companies to embrace efficient ways of planning their routes and schedules. Effective route planning ensures lower transportation costs and a smooth and reliable shipping process. 

With that said, a car shipping company should be able to plan routes to accommodate short-notice requirements of consumers, vehicle issues, and route availability. In this post, we’ll explain how the best car shipping companies plan their routes to provide efficient transport services to their customers.

What is route planning for a car shipping company?

Car Shipping Company Route Planning

Route planning is the computing process used by logistics companies to find an effective transportation method through several stops. It ascertains which route will be more cost-effective while transporting goods from one place to another. Generally, shipping companies use software or applications to compile routes for route planning.

What makes it different from consumer route planning?

A road trip to another city or state isn’t like a long-haul trucking route. Although route planning by a car shipping company entails the same multi-stops, the priorities, scale, and requirements are different. 

The car shipping company also has to consider the roads’ width, overpasses’ height, and vehicle size. Here are a few factors that go into route planning:

The number of stopovers

A truck travels across different cities, states, and sometimes cross-continent in a single trip. This means there will be lots of planned and overnight stops and driving breaks. On the other hand, Waze has a planning capacity of one-stop, and Google Maps has ten stops. This means the number of stops goes beyond these mapping apps’ capacity.

Time management

Truckers need to manage their workload, comply with regulations and track their long-haul trucking hours to get payment.

Type of vehicle

A consumer route planner won’t tell you the road width or bridge height. But a trucker doesn’t drive regular-sized vehicles. If they are driving an 18-wheeler, they won’t be able to pass a narrow lane or a low overhead bridge. Also, they can get stuck in a traffic jam due to bad route planning.

Car shipping delivery times

It’s not enough to just plan a route for a car shipping company as they also have to consider the estimated delivery time. Their trucks have scheduled deliveries to meet.

Why is route planning important for a car shipping company?

Route planning allows a car shipping company to reduce operating costs, boost productivity and save costs. It also enables them to provide more affordable transportation to their consumers. Here’s why route planning is important:

Car shipping route automation

Shipping companies use route planning software that factors weather and road conditions to devise the best route from the origin to the recipient’s place. This helps them save time and cost and provides their consumers with competitive shipping prices and an accurate delivery timeline.

Real-time tracking

Shipping companies always get real-time alerts regarding their trucking fleet’s position and availability. This helps them gain a better perspective and control of their fleet and drivers. 

Real-time updates in route planning also enable the car shipping company to contact their drivers directly and guide them through hindrances. Moreover, real-time tracking ensures that drivers do not take unnecessary breaks on the way. 

It updates ETA’s in real-time based on live data, making sure that everyone in the company has updated information about the delivery. Also, real-time alerts help a car shipping company maintain the delivery timeline and provide customers with live tracking.

Smart allocation of resources

Route planning enables smart allocation and dispatch of resources. The automation helps avoid costly mistakes and plan routes based on each vehicle’s load capacity and other capabilities. This, in turn, aids the car shipping company in choosing routes logically to ensure maximum deliveries in less time.

Accurately maps customers’ addresses

A route planning software uses a smart algorithm to self-learn the correct address by analyzing past successful and failed deliveries to a customer’s address. The software saves a successful delivery address to map a customer’s address accurately the next time. This helps the car shipping company reduce miles per delivery, thus reducing logistics costs and providing fast delivery to the customer.

Compliance with environmental regulations

Route planning supports sustainable practices. As it helps plan shorter and faster routes, it saves fuel costs and reduces carbon emissions. 

It also encourages a shipping company to provide environmentally friendly operations to shippers that support a cleaner and greener environment. In addition, route planning makes it easier to comply with environmental regulations set by different states. 

What does route planning for a car shipping company involve?

Whether you want car shipping overseas or locally, shipping companies plan their routes by determining the most cost-effective and efficient method of transportation. The companies consider many factors to deliver reliable results from the origin to the destination. 

But as a shipper, you’ll have to inform them about your requirements so they can deploy the best route for your shipment. Here are the steps shipping companies utilize to find the best route for their customers. 

Analyzing the nature of the load 

Shipping companies consider the delivery timeline and your load’s size, weight, and dimensions. These are essential factors to consider because of certain weight restrictions on transporting loads through trucks. 

So, considering the nature of the load helps the shipping companies focus on shipment costs, speed, and safety. They are also able to increase the efficiency of their pickup and delivery schedule and vehicle loading capacity. 

Identifying the best car shipping method

Once the car shipping company determines the nature of the load, it will identify the best shipping method to transport it. The size of the transport vehicle will depend on the nature and size of your shipment. 

But professional and experienced shipping companies will quickly identify which vehicle will be precise and safe for the job. They will also have the necessary equipment to strap your cargo and distribute its weight precisely on the vehicle. 

Choosing the final car shipping route

After analyzing the load and identifying the best shipping method, your car shipping company will shape the final shipping route for transportation. It will conduct route surveys, identify potential barriers to transport, and plan ways to avoid them. 

Common barriers to shipment include curfews, travel restrictions, and construction. Your shipping company will also acquire the essential permits and handle documentation for the transportation process.

Factors that can affect route planning for a car shipping company

There are some common factors that can affect route planning. Especially for oversized cargo, route planning is very complicated due to ever-changing conditions. But an experienced transportation company always considers these factors before putting the final plan on the table. These factors include:

Lengthy permit duration for car shipping

Without the necessary precautions, an oversized freight can snag wires, hit a low overpass, or side-sweep other vehicles. That’s why the state department of transportation has specific rules in place to regulate the size and dimensions of oversized cargo, such as machinery and cars. 

They also have other rules which state how and when a shipping company can transport oversized cargo. The state department issues a permit when a transport company satisfies these requirements. 

However, there might be variations in rules for obtaining a permit in different states. This will require the car shipping company to obtain a separate permit in each jurisdiction, resulting in a lengthy wait time.

Fuel costs for car shipping

Even as route planning optimizes the routes to obtain the shortest way possible, it’s not necessary that the shortest road can also be cost-effective. Additionally, war, pandemics, and other international issues can cause fuel cost fluctuations. This will automatically increase the price of fuel consumption, resulting in high transportation costs. 

Restrictions to load weight and dimensions

The permits issued by the state government to transport oversized loads have certain restrictions. There is a set maximum width of 102 inches for most cargo. But some states allow transportation of wider loads. 

However, the limits on the height and width of a load can differ in each state. Besides the dimensions, there are rules on how far a load can hang over the chassis. If the nature of the load is different than what is listed on the permit, it can cost you time and money.

Road construction operations

Most of the time, road construction operations are temporary and recurring. Therefore, they are hard to avoid. Especially mobile construction operations like a construction vehicle doing pavement painting are hard to pick up by routing software. The result is traffic congestion, which could result in a delay in shipment.

Peak hours

During peak hours, there is a high demand for transport, thus reducing the number of trucks and carriers available to transport goods. Also, there are more than usual trucks scheduled for delivery on the routes during peak hours, leading to congestion. 

This can cause transportation delays. The transport cost is also at that time. Moreover, holidays and events are also barriers to route planning, resulting in late deliveries.

Restrictions on travel and curfews

Travel restrictions across state and territorial lines, curfews, and restricted travel areas can affect route planning. There might be no short or affordable route available other than the one having travel restrictions. 

In addition, there are specific state rules about the time of day or night when a truck can travel on the road. This can result in delays and high transportation costs.

Requirements of route survey 

The shipping company would have to conduct a route survey to learn about overpasses, wiring, and any other hazards the loaded vehicle may encounter. They will also have to optimize the route by considering variables such as fleet and driver availability. 

Escort requirements

Based on the nature of the cargo and the planned route, a state may require the shipping company to hire an escort vehicle or police escort. Otherwise, the authorities won’t let the load pass. Escort vehicles must mount specific warning signs that conform to the states’ requirements from where the truck is passing through. 

Route Planning for a Car Shipping Company: The Bottom Line

Route planning uses historical data, costs, and the resources available to chart the shortest and most affordable route for shipping companies. It is crucial to plan routes as many factors, such as restrictions to travel, construction operations, and permit requirements can hinder the transportation process.

That’s why an experienced car shipping company like AFL always plans routes based on cargo requirements. Our robust network of transport partners makes it possible to avoid delays and provide a smoother and more reliable shipping process. 

We can also estimate ETAs for your shipment with high precision and provide you with real-time tracking. Regardless of your cargo size, our auto hauler can pick it up from your doorstep and deliver it to your desired location, saving you time and effort. 

We’ll listen to your shipping needs and carefully devise a route to provide you with secure, fast, and affordable shipping. Everything from documentation to clearance is our responsibility leaving you free to focus on essential tasks. Book your shipment today at the most affordable rate!


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