What is LTL Shipping?

Posted on March 28, 2018

There are many benefits to less-than-truckload shipping

LTL shipping, or less-than-truckload shipping, is the shipment and transportation of freight that is smaller than an entire truckload of goods, but larger than a standard parcel shipment.

How Does LTL Shipping Work?

LTL shipping is used when a customer is interested in shipping freight that is less than what would fill an entire truckload. Typically, a full truckload is only considered when freight is over 15,000 pounds or more than 24 feet of trailer space is required. Anything less than that would be considered for LTL shipping, usually between 150 and 15,000 pounds.

Carriers work with LTL shipping in a number of ways. Oftentimes, a carrier will load in different LTL customer shipments on to one trailer to fill an entire truckload and deliver the freight routed around the country. Another common way to consider LTL shipping, it anything that is greater than what a “common” carrier like UPS or FedEx would be able to handle would fall to a more specialized carrier for less-than-truckload shipping.

When freight is shipped using LTL shipping, the system operates using large hubs or distribution centers and local terminals to maximize efficiency. Carriers use this system in order to pick-up and drop off shipments locally. Even though shippers may be sharing a vehicle, LTL shipments are handled professionally by carriers and each shipment has an individualized plan and transit.

What are the Benefits of LTL Shipping?

As a customer, there are many benefits to LTL shipping that will impact your decision on how to move freight around the country.

  • Cost Savings: More often than not, shipping expenses can cut into a customer’s bottom line. By using LTL shipping, a customer is essentially sharing the cost of a full truckload with other shipments. LTL shipping is much more cost effective than shipping freight that does not fit a full truckload by itself.
  • Eco-friendly: In a similar way that LTL shipping benefits a customer’s wallet, this method is also more environmentally friendly. Consolidating shipments and sharing the truck space with other shipments cuts down on the environmental impact and carbon footprint of the individual shipment.
  • More Service Options: When a customer works with LTL shipping, there are more options available for additional services. For example, a customer will be able to utilize lift gates for their freight and work with inside pickup and delivery. LTL shipping can ease logistics by giving the customer more options in delivery.
  • LTL Tracking: All LTL shipments have an estimate for transit days and arrival. Additionally, customers can track shipments in real time to check the progress of their freight.

How are LTL Shipping Rates Calculated?

When calculated how much it will cost to ship a LTL shipment, carriers look at the following criteria:

  • Distance of Pickup and Delivery: An important factor in the cost of any shipment is always the distance that the shipment travels. An LTL shipment cost is affected by fuel usage and distance traveled plays a main role in calculating fuel costs.
  • Shipment Specifications: Unlike with a FTL shipment, LTL shipments are reliant on their ability to fit in a truck with other shipments. The dimensions and weight of freight will determine how much a shipper has to pay a carrier for space in the truck.
  • Freight Class: When shipping items, it’s important to note how much liability lays with the carrier. This is often based around the density and delicateness of the freight. Any shipments that are lower in density and have a higher liability of protection will cost the shipper more.
  • Any Special Requirements: LTL shipments are individualized to meet customer needs. Managing the logistics is standard for any carrier, but factors like oversized items, hazardous material and residential pickup would increase the cost of the shipment.

At Beltmann Integrated Logistics, we have a professional team of specialists that can assist with LTL shipments, no matter how complicated. We are an industry leader in nationwide distribution, transportation, logistics handling and project management. Our team strives to be customer-focused in order to give the best experience and solution in the industry. Give us a call today to learn more about how we can help with your LTL shipping needs at 877-518-2863.

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