Less Than a Truckload

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LTL freight shipping definition.

Less than truckload freight shipping (LTL) is used for the transportation of small freight or when freight doesn’t require the use of an entire trailer. This shipping method can be used when freight weighs between 150 and 15,000 pounds. 

When shipping LTL, the shipper pays for the portion of a standard truck trailer their freight occupies, while other shippers and their shipments fill the unoccupied space. There are several benefits to shipping via LTL.

 

Benefits of LTL shipping.

    • Reduces costs: When booking an LTL shipment, you only pay for the portion of the trailer used. The rest of the price is covered by the other occupants of the trailer’s space. 
  • Increases security: Most LTL shipments are packaged onto pallets before being loaded onto a truck. One well-packaged pallet has a better chance of remaining secure than shipments with multiple smaller handling units.
  • Additional service options: When shipping via LTL, you can access special services like liftgates and inside pickup and delivery.
  • Tracking: LTL carriers offer tracking capabilities through the bill of lading number, PRO number, PO number, shipment reference number, and pick-up date range, to name a few. 

 

Factors that determine LTL shipping rates.

    • Location: Generally, the further the distance, the higher the price. 
  • Dimensions: The dimensions and weight of the shipment help determine the freight class, which directly impacts rates. 
  • Mode: LTL shipments can be expedited, typically for an additional fee.
  • Type: A shipment that requires special handling or equipment (perishables, fragile, hazardous items) will likely lead to higher costs. 

 

When to choose LTL shipping.

    • LTL shipping is ideal for businesses with freight under 15,000 pounds and does not require a full trailer.
  • Consider LTL when looking to maximize cost savings.

 

I am preparing LTL shipments.

    • Dimensions: Round up to the next inch when measuring a shipment’s length, width, and height. Accurate measurements are critical for carriers to maximize their capacity and for you to avoid adjustment fees.
  • Documentation: The bill of lading should be completed as accurately as possible to give to the carriers when they arrive. This document acts as a receipt for the goods that are being shipped.
  • Packaging and labeling: Load goods onto pallets to condense and protect your shipments. Heavy items should be placed on the bottom of pallets or crates, and a label should be placed on the side.

 

 Additional LTL shipping services.

    • Expedited: Request an expedited freight quote when you need goods to arrive at their destination more quickly than the standard transit time.
  • Liftgate: Used when freight exceeds 100 pounds and the receiving location does not have a dock for the shipment to be moved directly off the truck.
  • Limited access: This service is required for deliveries heading to locations with limited access for carriers, such as construction sites, camps, rural areas, strip malls, etc. 
  • Inside pickup and delivery: If the carrier needs to enter the building to obtain the freight to load or complete the delivery by bringing it indoors, you will need to ask for this service. 

 

Common LTL shipping questions.

    • How does LTL work?  LTL shipping operates on a hub and spoke model where local terminals are the spokes, and larger central terminals are the hubs or distribution centers. 
  • What’s the difference between LTL and FTL? Freight that does not require the entire space of a truck is known as LTL shipping, whereas full truckload shipments take up the room or weight limit of a whole trailer.
  • Should I ship a parcel or LTL? If you are shipping over 150 pounds, consider LTL. Shipping LTL with a freight service provider means competitive rates and expert advice.

 

 

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