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Ship Freight From Philadelphia to Chicago

Ship Freight From Philadelphia to Chicago

In 2021, eCommerce accounted for 13.1% of all retail sales. Navigating shipping to retail outlets, wholesale customers, and distributors is more critical than ever. Now’s the time to strategize. What’s the best way to ship freight from Philadelphia to Chicago? How can you get your goods to their destination fast and keep costs low?

With the right tools, your strategy can handle supply chain disruptions. This is good, as disruptions are unavoidable. In a typical week, 38% of small businesses experience delayed shipments from domestic suppliers.

Fortunately, with a few smart moves, you can meet all of these challenges and more.

What Is Freight Shipping?

Freight shipping is the process of transporting goods and cargo. There are three parties involved in freight shipping:



  • The consigner

  • The consignee

  • The carrier

The consigner sends the goods, and the consignee receives them. The carrier transports the goods from one to the other.

Often, there are a few more parties involved in freight shipping. A freight broker, for example, facilitates the relationship between the consigner and the carrier. The broker works on the consigner’s behalf.

A 3PL service (or “third-party logistics” service) streamlines the technical and legal processes involved in freight shipping. This can include storage services, documentation, and booking.

Logistics Challenges to Ship Freight From Philadelphia to Chicago

Freight shipping poses challenges in three key categories.

First, there are challenges in determining the best possible rate, given current demand and supply costs.

Then, developing a timely, cost-effective route poses challenges. Freight shipping from terminals in Philadelphia to terminals in Chicago makes more routing and organization options available. But, it also increases the number of variables you must consider.

Finally, there are challenges involved in risk mitigation. What’s the best way to keep goods from breaking and protect cargo from theft?

Within these categories, a wide variety of challenges may come up. Ports can become congested, which causes delays. Demand forecasting can be off-base if the data is wrong or when unpredictable events disrupt supplies.

Shortages from labor to fuel to storage space can also throw a wrench into freight shipping plans. These surprises may force a carrier to re-route.

The best way to meet these challenges is with expertise. Thus, 3PL services are increasingly popular.

5 Tips and Tricks: Ship Freight From Philadelphia to Chicago Fast—For Less

When you ship from Philadelphia to Chicago, you can take advantage of some unique transport strategies. But, it’s vital to ensure the tools you use suit your shipment.


Here are five key tips to ship your cargo within the United States for less.

1. Determine Your shipment’s Freight Class

To estimate the cost of your shipment, you need to figure out your cargo’s freight class. The shipping industry standardizes cargo into 18 classes. Shipment classes are determined by six factors:

  • Liability

  • Handling

  • Distance

Once you determine each variable, you can figure out your shipment’s freight class with guides and tools.

The Department of Transportation offers guides as PDFs. You can also use Freight Center’s lookup tool to see where your goods fit.

2. Consider Nationwide Freight Shipping Methods

When shipping within the continental United States, you can ship by truck, van, rail, or air. The best route for your cargo may be intermodal. When considering the options, weigh the relative benefits of:

  • Physical Safety

  • Security

  • Truckload Shipping

  • Speed

  • Guaranteed delivery

  • Hazard management

  • Pickup, drop-off, storage, and loading services

Some modes, like shipping by truck, offer multiple shipping options. LTL shipping can be a way to save on shipping costs, as you can consolidate your cargo with other consigners.

Read more about freight shipping methods to determine which one’s right for you.

3. Get Freight Quotes From Several Reputable Shipping Companies

Shipping costs are also getting harder to predict. In a Morning Brew report last year, one business owner said the cost of a single import jumped to $22,000.

The previous year, an identical shipment was only $5,500.

Because of this fluctuation, it’s wise to compare multiple price quotes for each shipment. But, you must do it quickly: quotes are only locked in for twenty-four hours. Most consigners get freight quotes from one of the following places:

  • Brokers

  • Online exchange or comparison site

  • Independent carriers

  • Freight expeditors

  • 3PL service providers

Strategize to negotiate for a good quote. Consider working with other small businesses to ship as a group. With a larger shipment, you have more leverage in negotiations.

It’s also important to center data. How much will different variables cost you right now?

Finally, pay close attention to the fine print with each carrier. Don’t underestimate the benefits of value-added services. The lowest price isn’t right if there are too many hidden fees.

For more freight quote tips, read through our Freight Quote Guide page. You can also talk to a representative to learn more about how carriers and brokers set their rates, and what factors may impact your bottom line.

4. Pack and Palletize Your Load Safely

Pack and palletized your load in a way that minimizes your risk of oversize fees. Follow safety instructions to weight balance your load.

Packaging your goods correctly mitigates the risk that they’ll be damaged in transit or storage. Read all packaging and crating guidelines, including those on cargo securement.

Remember to use enough wrap.

5. Automate Documents and Get Insurance With One Click

Before transporting cargo from Philadelphia to Chicago, you might need cargo or freight insurance. Consider working with a 3PL company that offers a range of insurance options.

With or without a 3PL service, you’ll need certain documents each time. Automating and templatizing the documentation saves time and tedium. Aim to automate procedures for the following documents:

  • Bill of lading

  • Inward cargo manifest

  • Shipping label

  • US Customs invoice

Freight Tracking Options

Once your shipment is on its way, you can track it. To track your shipment, you’ll need the cargo’s PRO number or tracking number.

Some 3PL services, like Freight Center, make tracking easy with automated software. To use these products, you may need an ID for your shipment associated with the 3PL service’s program.

Shipping From Philadelphia to Chicago and Beyond

Trying to navigate shipping conundrums—like calculating the cost to ship freight from Philadelphia to Chicago—is one of the biggest challenges businesses face. Rise to meet the challenge with Freight Center.

Freight Center is an all-in-one 3PL company and freight broker. Our experts use real-time data to get you the best possible rates, with the right route for your goods.

Get an instant freight quote with our LTL/FLT rate generator. Or, contact one of our representatives through chat or by phone at 800-716-7608. We’ll work with you to deliver the goods.

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