Understanding the nitty-gritty of LTL freight shipping companies

LTL shipping companies

In recent times, shipping companies and freight forwarders are increasingly turning to less-than-truckload (LCL) services as a means of moving freight locally or internationally. The future of shipping is lessened congestion, less greenhouse gas emissions, and increased operational flexibility.The thing that makes LTL shipping different is that it is a price-based service.

This means that the price for shipping goes down with more shipments. It also implies that individuals can negotiate different rates for different shipping companies offered by LTL. It also means they can get a price quote for each load of freight picked up by a particular shipper. It may not be one’s next big idea, but it might be the footing people need to get started in their businesses.

Introducing LTL Shipping

Less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping, as the name indicates, is a form of shipment that allows several shippers to consolidate their parcels in one truck because each item is too small to rent a full truckload. To put it another way, the shipper is not required to use the whole trailer area to shipfreights to their destinations. It is comparable to less-than-container-load (LCL) shipping, except that it does not implement water transit.

People can transport their shipments more effectively with LTL shipping. When loading these products onto a truck, logistics personnel stack them on pallets, some weighing as little as 150 lbs and others weighing a staggering 10,000 lbs. Although this distribution method has advantages, understanding the procedure might be challenging. This tutorial decodes the seemingly cryptic world of LTL shipping.

shipping companies

LTL shipping: How does it work?

Since each shipment transported is too small to individually fill up a truck; so, the shipping company rents various spaces within the vehicle to handle collective shipments from various shippers. The shippers are charged based on:

  • Type of parcel shipped
  • Allocated truck space
  • Pick location
  • Destination

Eventually, transporting these shipments would create multiple stops, which shouldn’t be a problem if the shipper isn’t keen on fast delivery. Freight forwarders can ship LTL freight under the following categories:

  • Standard
  • Guaranteed, or
  • Expedited

Furthermore, such companies provide other services for which assessorial fees are charged:

  • Residential pickup/delivery
  • Inside pickup/delivery
  • Liftgate pickup/delivery
  • Reclassification or reweighing

Why LTL Shipping?

Most small-scale shippers find it easier and more flexible to transport LTL freights from one location to another, compared to other shipping modes.


Hiring a whole truck to transport a small package, say 2,000 disposable medical nose masks, can be a needless endeavour, especially since there would be plenty of unused space after loading them. Besides, this approach will cost the shipper more money.

However, with LTL shipping, the individual can share the full truck capacity with other shippers, while only paying a fraction of the cost of the full truckload shipment. In layman’s words, the shipper will only be charged for the space that was used.


LTL shipping is flexible in the sense that small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) can ship fewer items without paying as much money as larger corporations. Because the shipping charge is based on the amount of space utilised, simpler and more compact packaging will result in even lower costs.

Environmental friendliness

Unlike FTL (full truckload) shipping in which more trucks carry fewer goods frequently, LTL shipping necessitates fewer trucks carrying full loads, resulting in reduced emissions. A vehicle may deliver parcels from 30 shippers at once, making a single journey. But if these people used FTL shipping, they would hire 30 trucks that would take 30 trips, generating higher emissions.

Factors to consider before shipping LTL freights

To ensure a smooth shipping process, shippers that plan to use the LTL freight service should consider the following:

  • Consider the weight, size, and dimensions of the freight. By determining the freight’s National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) number and LTL freight class, shippers may estimate the shipping fee. Each LTL freight has a different value, size, and shipping difficulty.
  • Find an ideal LTL freight carrier. Most of them are available online, with a large percentage offering competitive shipping rates. Select a handful of reputable brokerage firms and logistic companies.
  • To get a quote, fill out the form with details about the shipment. Compare rates across all boards to find the right one.
  • Remember that additional services like COD, residential service, fuel surcharge, insurance, and arrival notice are subject to accessorial costs.
  • Shippers must have an account with some firms to use their LTL freight services. Accounts can be set up on their websites or over the phone with the assistance of their sales personnel.
  • To receive accurate shipping quotes, a shipper must provide all freight data to the sales rep, including any additional services that may be required.
  • Before the shipment date, prepare the freight using the LTL freight shipping company’s specifications. Also, keep in mind that prompt pick-up and delivery are important business elements to consider, so choose a firm with a proven track record.
  • Inquire with the LTL freight shipping business about product tracking, since this is a must-have tool for monitoring a freight’s shipment status.

LTL shipping companies rates: Determinants

The factors listed below have an impact on the shipping rate that an LTL freight shipping company will charge for a consignment.

  • Freight type: goods that fall under the fragile, perishable, or hazardous category come with high shipping rates. In general, these items require special or limited handling.
  • Shipment Mode: The freight can be standard, guaranteed, or expedited
  • Dimension: The freight class determines the shipping charges based on the freight’s size and weight.
  • Location: Longer distances result in higher rates and vice versa.

Tips for LTL shipment preparation

When measuring a freight, round up the dimensions (length, width, and height) to the nearest inch. This is because LTL freight shipping companies use these dimensions to optimize the loading capacity of their trucks, especially when handling many parcels from various shippers. Furthermore, it saves the shipper from additional adjustment costs.

Load the freight onto the pallet after carefully packaging it. If there are multiple goods, arrange the heavier ones on the bottom and the lighter ones on top. Label them appropriately. Additionally, prepare the bill of lading for presentation to the freight shipping company.

In conclusion

The LTL shipping process is a bit complex at times. The key to making it work is to partner with a reliable LTL freight shipping service provider and understand the company’s guidelines. Likewise, take advantage of the perks that the industry offers, including lower costs, greater flexibility, and environmental friendliness.

However, if you’re sending out a number of goods that is too much for LTL, but it is too small for renting out a large shipping container, hiring a mini shipping container is something that you may consider.

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