Do you often find that your company is shipping freight that doesn’t fill an entire truck, resulting in the waste of money and your bottom line taking a significant hit? If you answered yes, then it’s time your organization considers less than truckload (LTL) shipping. In this article, we’ll take a look at what exactly LTL freight is and how it can benefit your business.
LTL Shipping Definition:
Less than truckload (LTL) shipping is used when a shipment does not require a full 48- or 53 -foot trailer, and weighs between 100 to 10,000 pounds.
How are LTL shipping rates determined?
- Location: Mileage is a factor in pricing with longer distances resulting in higher shipping rates.
- Density: Many carriers rate according to the cubic size of a shipment and/or the number of skids and space taken up on the truck
- Freight Class: Freight class is used to help carriers determine pricing for different products and materials (for shipments that travel within the US). In general, the higher the class, the higher the rate is.
- Additional services: Special requests, such as residential pickups/deliveries or liftgates to load/offload the shipment, are billed at an additional surcharge.
Benefits of LTL shipping:
- Reduces costs: Savings on costs is one of the biggest reasons why one should use LTL shipping. LTL shipping is more cost-effective than FTL shipping because shipments from multiple companies are combined into one truck. When this happens, each shipper only pays for the space and weight of their freight and the trailer is used collectively. This makes LTL shipping particularly suited for small to medium-sized businesses who, in most cases, ship parcels or only a number of pallets at any given time (rather than a truckload).
- Provides flexibility: If you’re a small to medium-sized business, your demand is likely to differ at various times, LTL provides your business with the flexibility to book more pallets whenever you need them.
- Increases security: In comparison to shipping multiple loose parcels, consolidating your shipment onto a pallet provides extra security for your shipment.
- Reduces your company’s environmental footprint: As LTL shipments consolidate freight from different shippers, this contributes to decreasing waste, unnecessary emissions, and conserving fuel usage due to fewer empty or half-filled trucks on the road.
- Tracking: By using third party logistics software, you can easily track your LTL shipments with a variety of carriers in one place.
Cons of LTL shipping:
- Transit time: One of the cons of this way of shipping is that LTL shipments often take a bit longer to reach their destinations due to the freight being taken back to carrier terminals and consolidated with other shipments going to the same destination area. As a result, transit time is always estimated and not guaranteed.
- Higher risk of damage: Because an LTL shipment doesn’t stay on the same truck throughout its shipping journey, shipments can be more prone to damage as they’re unloaded and loaded at each terminal along the way. This is why it’s essential to follow recommended industry-standard guidelines for securely packaging your pallet.
- Not suitable for many pallets: LTL rates may not be the best for shipments with more than six to eight pallets or if it weighs more than 10,000 lbs. In that case, it may be more cost-effective to use partial or FTL shipping.
LTL shipping is the most recommended shipping method for the one to six pallet range. If you’re shipping less than a full or partial truckload, LTL shipping provides flexibility, is environmentally friendly, and is inarguably the most cost-effective option for small to medium-sized businesses
Ankur Khurana is a content writer for Freightcom, expert in LTL and courrier shipping.
This is the first article in a three-part LTL series provided by Freightcom. Freightcom is a cloud-based software platform that makes it easy to manage your entire shipping process and take advantage of our discounted shipping rates.