Understanding LTL Freight Shipping: Explained

Posted on: 13 December 2023

LTL shipping, or less-than-truckload shipping, is a popular mode of transportation for businesses that require to ship goods that take up less than a full trailer. The mode offers an option for shippers to transport their products at a relatively lower cost compared to other means of transportation. LTL shipping can be a complicated and confusing method of transportation when you are not familiar with the industry's key terms and the process involved. Luckily, this article provides an insightful guide to LTL shipping, explaining the process and terms you will need to understand.

What Is LTL Shipping?

LTL shipping is a form of transportation that allows businesses to send freight without needing to fill the entire trailer, saving them money on transportation costs. LTL carriers consolidate multiple LTL loads and transport them together. Traditional truckload shipments are less suitable for smaller freight, and that's where LTL shipping comes in. LTL is suitable for shippers whose freight weighs more than a certain amount or is relatively large enough to fit in a parcel carrier. LTL carriers transport multiple shipments of varying sizes, and that’s why freight class and weight play a crucial role in LTL pricing. When your freight takes up less space, you pay less, and vice versa.

LTL Freight Pricing

When it comes to LTL shipping, pricing varies from carrier to carrier, making it essential to understand your options when pricing freight. Carriers determine pricing based on several factors, including freight weight, distance, and freight class. Freight class is a category determined based on weight, density, value, and nature of cargo. The higher the freight class, the more you will have to pay to move your freight. Therefore, it is critical to identify the correct freight class to avoid extra charges resulting from reclassification.

LTL Carriers and Services

Several LTL carriers operate throughout the United States, providing diverse services based on locations, costs, and the type of shipments they handle. Some carriers provide regional LTL services, while others operate throughout the country. In addition, some carriers offer specialized services such as lifeboat or trade show transportation. Therefore, it is vital to understand a carrier's service offerings to ensure they align with your business needs.

LTL Carrier Pickup and Delivery

Once you have selected a suitable LTL carrier, it's time to arrange for pickup and delivery. LTL carriers typically offer pickup services with advance notice, making it crucial to plan accordingly. When preparing for pickup, you need to gather all the necessary documentation, including bills of lading and packing lists. Delivery times may vary depending on the destination and distance, and you will need to account for lead times when planning your shipment.

For more information on LTL freight shipping, contact a professional near you.