5 Things to Know About LTL Shipping
Less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping refers to shipments that don't require a full 48ft or 53ft trailer, and it's far from a new concept in the shipping industry. In this in-depth guide, we'll look at all you need to know about LTL shipping to help you determine whether it's right for your business.
1: LTL shipping is designed for multiple smaller shipments.
This type of shipping method is used to transport relatively small freight, in terms of weight and size. It's the opposite of full truckload shipping and designed to help ship freight that is easily broken down into smaller units that usually weigh less than 150lbs apiece.
Shipments that utilize the LTL shipment framework are the option of choice for many businesses that regularly produce freight that weighs less than 15,000 lbs combined and deliveries that won't fill a full-sized trailer by themselves.
Examples of materials and equipment that qualify for LTL shipping are small household appliances such as stoves and microwaves, furniture, including tables, chairs, and cabinets, as well as car accessories, beverages, and boxed books. Materials such as bricks, mortar, and flooring also qualify as small LTL freight and can be shipped as part of an LTL delivery.
LTL shipping is one of the most flexible delivery options. It's possible to customize LTL shipping in a variety of ways.
2: LTL shipping is highly customizable.
LTL shipping is one of the most flexible delivery options. It's possible to customize LTL shipping in a variety of ways. You can add limited access services, for example, if your delivery is going to a rural area, construction site, campground, or military site. It's also possible to expedite the shipping, arrange for indoor pickup or delivery, or add liftgate services if your freight weighs towards the heavier end of the scale.
3: Multiple factors determine LTL shipping rates.
Unlike some carriers that offer flat rates of shipping, LTL carriers use a variety of factors to determine the pricing, such as:
- Type of shipment
- Expedited shipping
- Additional services
- Shipment dimensions
Typically, the further the distance between the warehouse and the shipment's final destination, the higher the rate will be. The type of shipment also plays a part in the cost of shipping rates, especially if the delivery requires specialist equipment or unique handling, e.g., if the shipment contains perishable or fragile items. If the cargo requires expedited shipping, this will also play a part in the final shipping rates applied. Perhaps most importantly, the weight and dimensions of packages are used to determine the appropriate shipping rates, depending on the 'freight class' assigned.
4: There are 18 freight classes to choose between.
Freight classes are designated by the National Motor Freight Traffic Association, based on the size, value, and difficulty associated with transporting each item type. Class 55 provides a standard rate for the shipping of bricks, mortar, hardwood flooring, and similar items that weigh between 35-50 lbs per cubic foot. On the opposite end of the scale, low-density and high-value items such as gold dust, weighing less than 1 pound, are charged at Class 500 freight prices.
5: LTL is an eco-friendly transport option.
You'll notice more and more companies are focusing on eco-friendliness as a necessary step towards helping to reduce the rate of climate change and lower carbon footprints. Shipping is one industry that utilizes a lot of fuel and vehicles, which can work against climate goals. However, LTL shipping is one of the greenest options available for transporting small loads, as it takes advantage of vehicles already on the road.
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