When To Use LTL Carriers

LTL Carriers

If you have freight to move across the country and it is too large to ship as small parcel, but not large enough; to full an entire truck;then perhaps, you need a less-than-truckload (LTL) freight carrier. Less-than-truckload is sometimes referred to as less-than-load, or LTL. It is a cost effective and efficient way to move low volume freight.

What is LTL? Less than load carriers move low volume freight for multiple shippers on one enclosed truck, as a truck load (TL); and at a reduced cost to each shipper. By contrast, TL freight carriers generally move large volumes or over dimensional freight pieces belonging to one shipper. It is a more cost effective option for shippers to use less than load carriers to move small volume freight, versus using TL freight carriers for small volumes. A single small volume shipper would not have to pay for an entire truck when using LTL carriers. The shipper would share the cost for an entire truck with other small volume shippers.

Weight Range:  The acceptable weight range for a LTL Freight Carrier is between 151 pounds and 20,000 pounds. Shipments 150 pounds or under are acceptable for a small parcel carrier. High volume shipments that are over 20,000 pounds are more acceptable truck loads. Handling of LTL Freight A LTL Freight Carrier would arrange to have freight pieces picked up from multiple shippers in Houston, Texas and surrounding areas. Freight is then taken to a main hub or a terminal. At the central hub; freight pieces are weighed and rated for later billing, then consolidated according to similar geographic destinations. Freight would then be placed on outbound LTL trucks.

LTL Transit Time and Rates LTL freight services are best for shipments that are not urgent. Freight shipments can take up to 10 days to get to final destinations. The LTL transit time for freight depends on the distance between pickup and delivery locations. A LTL freight shipment picked up in the State of Washington could take up to 10 weekdays to get to Florida. Freight picked up in Washington going to California may take two to three weekdays. The transit time for a truckload traveling between the same states would take about half the time of an LTL. The transit time for less-than-loads is generally longer than the transit time for truckloads due to sorting and trucks making multiple stops for delivery, or for transfer at one or more hubs in the network. LTL carriers count weekdays only when calculating total transit time.

Less than load carriers have permanent routes that are used on a regular basis. LTL carriers determine shippers’ rate using freight class, freight weight; as well as zip codes used for pickup and delivery.

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