Introduction to LTL Freight Shipping

Less than truckload freight shipping, or more commonly know as LTL, is used for the transportation of small freight. It is one of the primary choices when freight doesn’t require the use of a full trailer. LTL service is used by businesses for smaller shipments that only need less than a full truckload. As a common practice, LTL is used to combine shipping with other small shipments to fill up a truck.

When shipping LTL, you only pay for a portion of a standard truck trailer their freight occupies. Then other shippers and their shipments fill the unoccupied space. This shipping method is most suitable when freight weighs between 150 and 15,000 pounds.

Businesses choose this option when the demand from consumers for their product is only on average. That gives shippers an option and benefits that LTL can offer like no other shipping option.


LTL Freight Shipping


Benefits of LTL Shipping

LTL is a type of ground freight shipping that joins shipments together from multiple customers. But that is not the only reason why LTL is a primary option for business owners for their shipping choices. Here are the benefits of using LTL shipping:

  • Cheaper means of shipping due to reduced costs
    With LTL shipment, businesses only pay for the portion of the trailer used. With this, shipment may be transported for a fraction of the cost of traditional trailer shipments. You need not hire an entire truck for any exclusive shipment. Since only a fraction of a shipping trailer is occupied, the rest of the cost is covered by other businesses opting for this service. Normally these services are billed at a flat fee, or for a weight-based surcharge.
  • Security increased for shipments
    Most LTL shipments are put onto pallets before it gets loaded. With this, a shipment has a better chance of remaining secure compared to parcels that are out into multiple smaller handling units.
  • Options for additional services
    When shipping via LTL, you have special access to particular services. This includes liftgates and inside pickup and delivery for your shipments.
  • Real-time and secure tracking
    LTL companies often offer tracking capabilities. This is done through the bill of lading number, PO number, PRO number, shipment reference number and pick-up date range.


Disadvantages of LTL Shipping

Though opting to go for LTL freight shipping is a wise decision to make, it also comes with a few disadvantages. Do consider the following if you plan to choose.

  • Strict implementation of package guidelines
    Though this is generally what happens with trucking and shipping companies, there is a catch with regards to LTL shipping. It starts of the Pickup/delivery drivers getting on a route of their pick-up schedule. They then load up their trucks with packages and shipments from different businesses. As the trailer reachers a maximum load, it is sent back to the terminal for inspection of proper weight,  LTL Shippingpaperwork and conformity.
  • Longer Transit times for LTL freight
    Because of the process that is involved with LTL shipments, it generally takes up a long time compared to full truckload freight (FTL). Though LTL transit time isn’t directly related to the distance, it depends on the makeup of networks of terminals packages pass through. Also, delivery to remote areas will almost always add days to the transit time.



When to Choose LTL shipping.

Generally, LTL shipping is almost applicable to all types of businesses with freight services needs. But because of varying requirements that different people need, LTL shipping would be best for businesses that have freight below 15,000 pounds and does not require a fully loaded trailer.
Also, for people that are considering to have maximized cost savings, LTL shipping is the best option. With this, a shipment could be transported at less cost as possible.


Preparing LTL Shipments

  • Documentation
    Like any other shipping process, documentation and paperwork are of the utmost importance. It includes the processing of the bill of lading to be completed as accurately as possible. Certainly, you would need to be sure of al the details of goods that are being shipped.
  • Dimensions and Weight details
    Be sure to measure the exact length, width and height of a shipment. This helps and is critical for carries to properly maximize its capacity. Also, since some would ask for a per-weight based payment, be on-point as well when weighing your shipment. Accurate measurements are critical so that you could avoid adjustment fees.
  • Labelling and Packaging
    As part of the documentation, proper labelling and packaging ensure security and proper delivery of your shipment. You can load your goods onto pallets so as to protect and properly stack your packages. Place heavy to light items from bottom to top respectively. Place labels on the side where it is most noticeable and accessible.


Related article: Full Truckload vs. Less than Truckload Services

Factors that Determine LTL Shipping Rates

Here are some factors you need to consider as to the rates of LTL shipping

  • Location
    Distance from shipping origin to destination is always of great importance as it determines the final pricing for the shipment cost. All in all, the further the distance, the bigger the price.
  • Dimensions and Weight
    The weight and dimension of the shipment help determine the freight class and this affects the rates.
  • Mode
    You can opt for expediting your LTL shipments, but this comes with an additional fee.
  • Type of Cargo or Shipment
    If your package or shipment needs special handling, it will likely lead to a higher rate of shipping. This might include items that are perishable, hazardous and fragile shipments.

 LTL Freight Shipping


Additional LTL Shipping Services You May Opt for

Some LTL Shipping providers have extra services that might come in handy for specific businesses. Though not all shipment agencies offer such options, it would definitely be a plus to have these. Such services are: expediting, liftgates for freights exceeding a certain weight limit, deliveries that are heading to limited access destinations and many more.

Just like any other shipping process, preparing your shipment is a very vital part. Here is a list of details you need to prepare for an LTL shipping:



When it comes to LTL shipping, there are certainly good points to consider for a better shipping process. Compared to FTL or full truckload shipping, a business can definitely enjoy perks such as lower costs and a more cost-effective means of shipping. As many service providers now offer this option, it presents a bigger opportunity for growth for companies.

For your LTL shipping concerns, call us now! We would very much want to help you!

Related article: How to Choose the right trucking company in Canada

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