Several factors can impact the cost of freight shipping, including your shipment’s weight, dimensions and any special handling requirements, such as temperature or shape. Additionally, you may notice that the cost of your shipment changes depending on which state you are shipping to or from. Yes, that’s right, freight shipping prices do vary by state. See why and how freight shipping prices vary by state and what you need to know to help you save money and stay within budget even when you’re shipping across the country.
The Role of Carriers in State-to-State Pricing
Just as the details of your shipment will impact its rate, the details from within the freight shipping industry also play a large role in pricing your cargo moving between states. Here’s what we mean. Take a look at carriers. Some carriers are not national, meaning they only ship within a certain region of the country. Because of this, shipments often begin with one carrier and end up with a different carrier in order to get your cargo to its destination. In addition, every carrier has its own way of determining freight rates, that means your freight rate could fluctuate when your shipment requires the use of multiple carriers.
Also, the economic conditions of certain states during certain times of the year impact the carrier’s capacity needs. States exporting a lot of freight means limited capacity on trucks, which means higher rates for prime truck real estate. States with lower volumes of imports and exports means usually cheaper rates.
Why Do Freight Shipping Prices Vary by State?
Like we just mentioned, every state has different regulations and types of cargo, such as cargo with special equipment requirements or hazardous materials shipments, that often impact freight shipping rates. You’ll want to look at numerous economic factors within a certain state to get a sense of what their freight shipping rates could be. Let’s take a look at some of these economic factors:
Busy Peak Seasons for Certain Industries
May states like Arizona, Florida, Mississippi and New Mexico see an impact on freight rates during produce season. The volume of produce they either export or import plays a big role in rates during produce transport season. Lumber states like North Carolina see pricier rates in the fall months. Timing and place play a huge role in figuring out freight rates.
A state’s overall infrastructure heavily impacts freight rates. Busier, highly populated states like Illinois or New York that see high volumes of shipments have higher prices. The number of ports, hubs, and railroads a state has can make it smarter and more affordable for shippers to choose intermodal freight shipping, which helps you save some money. Delaware, Kansas, Oklahoma, and California are examples of states with plenty of ports, hubs, and railroads.
Distance is a classic determining factor of freight rates. Alaska and Hawaii are usually pretty far and remote places, shipping to them costs a bit more than usual. Cross country shipments on multiple carriers will increase your bill at the end of the day as well.
What do Arkansas, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Pennsylvania, South Dakota and West Virginia all have in common? They are dominated by rural areas. Rural areas are usually more difficult for truckers because some destinations have special requirements.
Additionally, residential locations usually don’t have forklifts or loading docks, so a liftgate will be needed. Suburbia is tough to maneuver for truckers, with narrow streets and low-hanging trees. Farms and other limited access locations can be found in these rural areas. All of these costs extra for shippers since they are accessorials that expand past the base carrier shipping services of curbside pickup and delivery.
Another classic determining factor for freight rates is fluctuating fuel prices! The higher a state’s fuel prices, the higher your rate will be to ship. For example, California’s higher fuel taxes and costs means higher rates for LTL shippers.
Get a Shipping Partner Who Can Help!
If you are frequently shipping between states or you’re considering opening a warehouse location in a particular state, you’ll want a third-party partner who can guide you through all the ins and outs of the shipping industry. FreightCenter is a third-party logistics company (3PL) who has the capacity and expertise to get you personalized shipping solutions for the most affordable rates in the business, no matter where you’re shipping to!