LTL Freight

Save on space, save on cost

Trucking freight is a popular and affordable method of transporting goods, but if you aren’t careful, you could be spending more money than is necessary.

That’s where LTL freight comes in. LTL stands for “less than truckload,” a service designed for clients who need to ship by truck, but who don’t have enough cargo to fill one up or who have more cargo than parcel shipping can adequately handle. LTL freight companies, or other companies who offer LTL services, can help you save on the full cost of a truck bed while still transporting your goods quickly and efficiently.

In contrast to TL (truckload, also known as FTL or full truckload), you can expect a certain level of customer service from LTL companies. This can include door-to-door pickup and delivery, inside delivery and more advance notice of an incoming shipment.

LTL freight shipping stands apart from parcel shipping because it allows you to ship heavier loads – parcel shipping is restricted to items under 150 pounds. While parcel shippers often encourage clients to break down their loads into smaller, more manageable shipments, this causes unnecessary handling of the items, which increases the risk of damage. LTL services cut down on that handling, and may be a better alternative for keeping your merchandise safe.

How LTL Shipping Works

LTL shipping starts with a number of clients, all of whom have relatively small goods to deliver. An LTL freight company will send around trucks to pick up all packages on predetermined routes, and bring it back to a designated area to be sorted and transferred.

From there, the goods will be sorted into new transportation routes, and will be taken on the next leg of their journey. The process continues until all packages reach their destinations.

Pros and Cons: LTL shipping is more affordable than full truckload shipping, as you are only paying for the space you need. However, you can expect longer transit times, as multiple pickups and drop-offs will occur and your goods will be subject to transfer and inspection.

LTL Freight Classes and LTL Freight Charges

When shipping cargo via truckload (or less than truckload), the merchandise you are shipping will be classified through the National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) tariff. The classes are determined by several criteria, including density, ease of loading, susceptibility to damage and value.

The freight charge is determined by these freight classifications, combined with weight of the shipment and distance it has to travel. The higher the class number, the higher the shipping rate for every 100 pounds.

Be sure to shop around and get quotes from a number of shipping companies before you commit your shipment, as different companies may offer different rates. If you’d like help in finding these companies, contact specialized LTL brokers, or any freight broker for that matter, and ask about their services.

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