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Middle Mile Delivery Explained

Published on
3/19/2024
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When handling matters such as delivering and shipping, business owners and managers need to know which stage of delivery they'll be involved in: first mile, middle mile, and last mile. When you work with B2B shipping, you’ll likely be involved in middle mile delivery.

Keep reading to learn how it works, and how to make it as smooth of a process as you can.

Middle Mile Delivery Defined

Each of these stages plays a large part in the transportation of goods. Middle mile delivery, also called second mile delivery, involves the transportation of something from the warehouse or distribution center to the fulfillment center. 

Simply put, the middle mile is the transportation link of the supply chain that gets finished goods to their final destination before consumers have access to them. It’s generally always B2B, and generally only in situations of a business needing to acquire mass-manufactured goods. 

Middle Mile Delivery vs. First Mile Delivery

First mile delivery is the first step in transporting goods, where cargo is hauled from its origins to a warehouse or distribution center. This first stage is generally considered the most broad-reaching, as a single manufacturer can ship materials worldwide.

Middle Mile Delivery vs. Last Mile Delivery

Last mile delivery is the final stage in the logistics process. Last mile takes the product from the fulfillment center and brings it to the purchaser—either the individual customer or business entity. 

Related Article: Last Mile Logistics Explained

Potential Issues in Middle Mile Delivery

As with all stages of shipping, middle mile delivery can be done fast and efficiently, but it also has the potential for problems and issues. Getting ahead of these issues can improve customer satisfaction and your bottom line.

Freight Delays

This is usually the stage of shipping where goods need to be transported over the longest distance. This is often done via full truckload delivery or less than truckload (LTL) freight.

In a nutshell, LTL freight involves multiple LTL shipments from multiple businesses hauled in a semi truck trailer in what’s referred to as a line haul. Eventually, these multiple shipments will end up being separated at the fulfillment center and readied for last mile delivery.

Related Article: How Does LTL Shipping Work?

The disadvantage to LTL freight is that it can cause backups. Semis generally don’t get to leave the distribution center until they’re full in order to save on costs. Waiting to fill the trailer with multiple LTL shipments can cost time.

The alternative to LTL freight is hotshot trucking. It cuts out the line haul completely, so you can get your shipments faster, and directly to your shop or job site. Open Road is a delivery marketplace that connects small businesses with professional hotshot drivers. Receive or deliver LTL shipments on your schedule. Reach out today to sign up.

Coordination Can Get Complex

Once again, middle-mile delivery doesn’t deal with either the manufacturer or the receiver at the final destination. But that business still needs to coordinate middle-mile logistics as it’s their order of materials or goods that sparks the rest of the delivery chain. 

That means that if there’s a hiccup at the warehouse, on the road, or at the fulfillment center, the business owner needs to figure out a new timeline and talk to the customer about it. 

Skip the Middle-Man of Middle Mile Delivery

Why navigate the pitfalls of traditional middle mile delivery if you don’t have to? Open Road is a delivery marketplace that can handle first, middle, and last mile deliveries quickly, efficiently, and safely.

It’s simple: post a job on our user-friendly platform, and get your LTL cargo delivered as soon as you need it. Whether you’re a roofer waiting on a pallet of shingle to finish a job, or a retailer waiting on a large shipment of merchandise, we can help. 

Contact us today to get started

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