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Less-than-truckload (LTL) freight

What is less-than-truckload (LTL) freight?

Less than truckload (LTL) freight refers to shipments that do not fill an entire truck trailer but instead occupy only a portion of the available space. LTL shipments are typically smaller in size and weight, making them more cost-effective for businesses that do not require full truckload capacity.

How to calculate LTL freight rates

LTL freight rates are determined based on several factors, including the shipment's weight, dimensions, distance traveled, freight class, and any additional services required, such as liftgate delivery or inside pickup. Carriers use specialized pricing structures to calculate rates for LTL shipments, with rates often calculated per hundredweight (CWT) or per pound.

What are LTL freight classes?

LTL freight classes categorize shipments based on their characteristics such as density, value, and handling requirements. The National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) system assigns a class from 50 to 500, influencing freight rates. Accurate classification ensures fair pricing and proper handling throughout the shipping process.

How to ship LTL freight

Shipping LTL freight involves selecting a carrier that specializes in LTL services and coordinating pickup and delivery times. Shippers must accurately measure and weigh their freight, determine the appropriate freight class, and properly package the items to ensure safe transport. Once the shipment is ready, it is loaded onto a truck along with other LTL shipments heading in the same direction, optimizing efficiency and reducing costs for all parties involved.

What is the difference between LTL and FTL freight?

The primary difference between LTL (Less Than Truckload) and FTL (Full Truckload) freight is the amount of space occupied within the truck trailer. LTL shipments utilize only a portion of the trailer's capacity, while FTL shipments fill the entire trailer. FTL shipments are typically larger and are suitable for businesses with enough freight to occupy a full truckload.