Shipping News: Getting
Furniture and Other Big Things From Here to There
By Laura Fisher Kaiser
Special to The Washington Post
Thursday, January 29, 2004
You always coveted Aunt Zelda's antique chaise longue with the
gilded swan motif, and now she wants you to have it. All you have
to do is figure out how to get it to your house from hers -- some
800 miles away.
No problem: That chaise is just a few mouse-clicks away from
Excerpts from this article...
Transporting a large, heavy, bulky object long distance used to
be more trouble than it was worth. Your choices were pretty much
limited to: finding a moving company with room on its truck -- a
time-consuming and costly process; schlepping it yourself in a
rental trailer or hiring someone to make the drive for you (and
hoping for the best).
But partly in response to baby boomers reaching
heirloom-inheritance age and partly due to long-distance buying
and selling on eBay and other Internet sites, a few firms have
cropped up to make the task faster, more efficient and, if not
always cheaper, less stressful.
Depending on the size of the goods and how far they have to
travel, they will likely be part of an LTL (less than truckload)
shipment, changing trucks and sometimes carriers at various hubs
around the country.
FedEx and UPS have expanded their services to include small
freight. FedEx Freight, which seems geared primarily to
business-to-business shippers, allows online setup and tracking of
shipments that weigh more than 150 pounds.
Some logistics companies aim to bring efficiency and
transparency to a fragmented market, where pricing can be complex.
Even though posting rates has not driven prices down, according to
industry experts, not all carriers want their rates made public.
For this reason, other online brokers such as American Freight
Co., which operates under a couple of Web addresses (www.FreightCenter.com
www.EZFreightrates.com), might e-mail you a lowball rate --
with extensive disclaimers -- but you must speak to an agent to