How Does LTL Shipping Work?

Transporting cargo is one of the main services being offered by shipping companies. Having various types of customers with specific requirements, shipping companies offer these people 2 shipping methods. Each shipping method has its own unique qualities which meet the customers’ requirements. 

Less than truckload shipping (LTL) is one of the methods utilized by most individuals and some businesses. It has a complicated process that shipping companies need to implement. Reputable shipping companies are known to fulfill LTL shipping transactions with the least possible errors. This article will discuss the complicated process being followed for LTL shipping services.

A Summary of Reasons Customers Choose LTL Shipping

LTL shipping is a shipping method that uses a complex process. It differs with FTL shipping in all aspects. There are a number of reasons that would make customers choose LTL shipping over FTL shipping. It is important for people to know more about these reasons to get a clearer view of LTL shipping as a service. Here are some of these reasons:


1.  Customers will always find the most cost-efficient way to ship their cargos.

2.  LTL shipping is usually the cheaper option if a customer has a relatively fewer number of items that need to be shipped. This is because with LTL shipping, the shipping rate for each customer will be computed based on the total amount of space on the trailer that their cargos will be able to use up.

3.  However, it should also be considered that the total weight of the cargo of a customer should not go over the limit for a trailer to be allowed to transport any cargo. Normally, the total load limit of a trailer to be allowed to travel within the province of Ontario is 44,000 lbs. Even if the cargo will not be able to use up all the space of the trailer, if the weight limit is reached, the customer may already be availing FTL shipping.


1. There are businesses or individuals who are concerned about the status of the environment. These customers tend to avoid going with FTL shipping.

2. Since FTL shipping involves dedicating a trailer or truck to be used to transport cargo of one customer, this would mean that availing such service will employ more trucks to transport cargo for individual customers. This, in turn, will have a negative impact on the environment in the long run. Fuel consumption increases as more trucks will be travelling to fulfill their delivery schedules. This increases the emission of carbon dioxide, which will increase the rate of global warming.

3.  With LTL shipping, since multiple customers share the use of one truck, this is a chance to limit carbon dioxide emission. Using fewer trucks to ship cargos decrease the carbon footprint.

No need for urgency

1.  This can be relatable to customers that are trying to avoid paying for high shipping fees.

2.  When there is a time-constraint for cargos to reach their destinations, LTL shipping is not the ideal shipping method to fulfill this. However, if there is no urgency to have the cargo transported, the quantity of items included will not be able to fill up a trailer, and the total weight of the cargo is not enough to reach the allowed limit for the trailer to be allowed to transport the items, then this is a scenario where LTL shipping is the most cost-efficient choice.

3.  People should always remember, shipping companies have a lot of things to consider before they are able to give a formal price quotation. They have to look into their bookings to check if there are other customers who have cargo that would be delivered to areas that are close to the destination of your cargo. This will determine the estimated time and date of delivery for all the cargos going through the same route.

How Does LTL Shipping Work?

After you have made the decision to choose LTL shipping as the method that would fit your requirements, you must then prepare all of the items that will be included in the cargo. You will need to be diligent in going to various shipping companies to have a way to compare price quotations for you to find the best deal. You may refer to the following on how the LTL shipping process works for you and the shipping company:

  • One of the prerequisites that you must attend before going to a shipping company is for you to gather any relevant information about the items included in your cargo. The classification of the items must be declared since there are specific types of products which may be imposed with a harmonized tax as imposed by the laws in Ontario. By gathering information on the items, the shipping company will be able to plan out how they would arrange the cargo into one of their trailers. For fragile items, they will need extra care which may also add up to your expenses. Furthermore, if you are sending the cargo to another cargo, you may need to discuss customs-related requirements. You may need a customs broker to help you prepare any documentation and compute for the taxes and duties you might have to pay for.
  • You should also decide if there is a need for the shipping company to pick up the items from your house or warehouse. You may need to ask if they offer a pickup service for LTL shipping. You should inform the shipping company if there are specific requirements needed by your items when they arrive for pickup so that everything can be set up beforehand.
  • Once a price quotation is given to you, it is recommended that you go to other shipping companies and follow the previous steps. You may need to do this if you want to get the best deal possible.
  • After finally deciding on a shipping company, you may now finalize and pay for any fees, insurance, taxes, or customs duties so that the transaction can continue.
  • You may bring the items to the shipping terminal or the shipping company may pick up the items from your location.
  • The truck will then bring the items to the shipping terminal first or go directly to the main distribution center. LTL shipping services follow a hub and spoke distribution model. This means that transactions are made at different shipping terminals owned by the company. All the cargo received from these terminals (spoke) are sent to the main distribution center (hub) for processing before they are sent out to the final destinations.
  • In the main hub, cargos are sorted and transferred to trailers that would be delivering cargos to a specific area. Customers should be informed that during this process, the items will be unloaded from the previous trailer and loaded into a new trailer. Even if the members of the staff follow strict rules in handling the cargos, there may still be a chance for accidents that may cause some of the items to get lost or damaged. This is why it is advisable to take advantage of insurance so that the shipping company can reimburse you if there are any unfortunate accidents along the way.
  • When all cargoes are loaded and properly secured into the trailer assigned to deliver to a specific area, the truck is now ready to leave the main hub. The delivery will follow a route schedule where a cargo may be delivered first before the others. The truck usually drops off the cargo closest to them before moving on to the next destination. Customers should also know that there is a possibility that some of their items may undergo unloading at a different destination. This usually happens when their items are blocking the path of the cargo that needs to be dropped off. Their items will be loaded back to the trailer before the truck leaves and goes to another destination. There may be a possibility for some items to get lost or damaged during this step.
  • Finally, when the truck arrives at the destination set by the customer, the items are unloaded from the trailer and loaded into the house or warehouse. There should be someone to receive the items and sign the delivery receipt form that will be presented by the driver or any of the staff assigned to fulfill the delivery.

LTL Shipping Services Follow Strict Guidelines to Ensure Safe and Secure Delivery

LTL shipping is a service that is meant for smaller businesses and individuals who need to transport their items to their customers or any other preferred destination. It may seem that LTL shipping poses a great risk due to the possibility of handling the cargos at multiple occasions. However, people must also consider the strict management systems followed by the staff of shipping companies within their terminals and main distribution centers. Reputable shipping companies ensure that they will do excellent work in fulfilling any of their transactions. This is why customers keep coming back and entrusting them with their shipping concerns.

As one of the most trusted shipping companies within the province of Ontario, RoadLINX has always made it a point that we do not disappoint any of our customers. We do our best to fulfill any type of transaction given to us by our customers. If you are in need of LTL shipping services, you may contact us at 905-760-1141.

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