A Guide To Less-Than-Truckload (LTL) Freight

The logistics industry has numerous options for businesses, distributors, and consumers to have their goods shipped safely to another location. One of these is an eco-conscious and sharing economy approach to delivering items to their destinations, known as LTL freight.

The companies involved in this type of shipping, carry goods that are too small to fit inside a full or semi-truck but too large for parcel carriers. Thus, entrepreneurs looking to choose an LTL service can benefit from understanding how it works and the value it can bring to their business.

Here’s a guide to less-than-truckload freight:

What is LTL Freight?

LTL stands for less-than-truckload freight, which is a method of transporting medium-sized goods or products weighing between 150 and 15,000 pounds. In using LTL, the shipper pays for the available space in a truck trailer where their items will be placed.

Doing this allows for a more affordable means for businesses and suppliers to make shipments and streamline their logistics activities. Furthermore, each LTL shipment is categorized into NMFC freight classes, where they will be grouped and transported with similar items by the shipping company for even greater efficiency. The items that require the same service include those that need specialized handling or faster transit due to perishability.

Factors That Determine LTL Shipping Rates

Like other types of transportation in the logistics industry, there are several considerations that LTL freight uses to determine shipping rates. These factors calculate the amount of labor and resources needed to transport items efficiently. They include:

  • Weight: Heavier items towards the 15,000-pound cutoff mark need considerably more resources to ship, and thus they will likely cost more.
  • Distance: The farther the destination from the shipper, such as out-of-state transit, the higher the rates will be, mainly due to travel duration and fuel costs.
  • Specialist Services: If shipments need assessorial services for limited access or expedited items, there are extra fees involved.
  • Dimensions: These are the measurements that determine freight class, and they involve a package’s height, weight, and width combined.

Thus, using this model, shipping companies can help businesses and manufacturers find an economical price for shipping goods that reduce costs and simplify operations.

Benefits Of LTL Shipping

Other than the cost-effective mode of shipment, there are many more advantages to choosing LTL shipping. One of the key benefits is access to logistics experts with the skills and experience in appropriately processing and handling freight, even for challenging goods. These experts can also provide necessary support in the event of damaged goods to file insurance claims or send replacements if needed.

Additionally, LTL shipping companies use quality assurance and condition monitoring systems so that shippers can keep track of their goods. This shipment tracking technology also provides greater LTL security at each stage of transit. Greater security and quicker shipping times can reduce warehouse costs for business supply chains since a larger stock of goods can be sent at once. Fewer inventory stockpiles taking up warehouse space at a time means fewer operational costs to pay per month.

How LTL Shipments Are Packaged And Assembled

LTL shipments are packaged depending on their dimensions to ensure they’re cushioned and protected from damage, which helps maintain their condition. Most larger goods are palletized for easier loading, forklift handling, and utilizing space. The items are piled up and stacked together, then wrapped in heavy-duty plastic. For fragile items such as glass objects, lab equipment, and antiques, wooden crates are used to provide an extra layer of protection.

These items can also be packed by a crating company to ensure they’re handled and disassembled correctly. More resistant goods which are usually customer-ordered e-commerce products are packed into double-walled-corrugated cardboard boxes. The boxes are often made to fit the item, so it doesn’t get damaged by bumps and shaking during transit. Then from there, LTL companies will cover items with shrink wrap or loading bands to reduce movement and keep packages rigid.


The less-than-truckload or LTL freight option is used by businesses and suppliers to ship goods and products that only take up a portion of truck space. By paying only for needed space, businesses and suppliers can save costs on hiring the more expensive types of freight transport.

Furthermore, the pricing of LTL depends on several factors that include its dimensions and volume. This will help determine its freight class and the suitable shipping packaging and assembling. Finally, there are many advantages to opting for this service such as enhanced security, expert help, and monitoring shipments in real-time to assure their quality. In the end, LTL shipments are a valuable part of supply chain streamlining in the logistics industry and businesses alike.



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