Less-than-truckload (LTL) freight shipping is an economical solution to the common problem of having shipments that are too small to fill up an entire truck or trailer. The shipping method involves combining loads from several shipping customers into a single truck, with each customer only paying for the space their shipment occupies.
LTL shipping is beneficial to several parties. For customers, it reduces shipping costs for smaller loads. For shipping companies, it allows them to send out a single truck while satisfying the demands of multiple customers. For the environment, it reduces the amount of emissions produced during transportation operations.
When evaluating whether LTL shipping is right for your shipping needs, there are several factors to consider, including:
The National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA) developed the freight classification system to categorize different types of LTL freight, from 50 to 500. Freight class is determined by several characteristics of the freight shipment, such as dimension, density, weight, packaging, and value. The classification of a particular LTL freight shipment significantly impacts the cost of shipping, with lower class numbers having lower costs and higher class numbers having greater costs. As such, it is important to choose the right freight class to avoid overpaying or experiencing shipment delays.
In addition to freight class, several other factors influence LTL shipping prices. For example, the carrier, address destination, handling charges, and fuel prices all may affect the final shipping cost. While it’s difficult to determine average price ranges, using a shipment calculator can give you an estimate.
Freight tracking capabilities enable you to check-in with your shipments. By having greater visibility into the location of your shipment, you have a more accurate estimate of when to expect delivery and better peace of mind.
Compared to other shipping methods, LTL freight shipping offers several advantages, such as:
While LTL freight shipping has many benefits, there are a few challenges to using the shipping method. These include:
Once you’ve decided to ship freight via the LTL shipping method, you should perform the following steps:
Satellite Specialized Transportation Inc. is a full-service transportation and logistics company. We specialize in flatbed shipping, oversized loads, power-only, and LTL services. Equipped with 25 years of experience in the truck freight transportation industry, as a freight broker, we can get your goods and materials where you need them when you need them.