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What is LTL?: The Basics

Logistics and transportation can be complicated and having the basic facts on the various types of shipping (or lacking them) can make a big difference in how businesses handle shipping and how much they spend on it, too. Read on for a very simple explanation of LTL shipping, which is a great shipping option for many businesses.

What Does LTL Mean?
LTL stands for less than truckload, which refers to a shipping method where a shipment only accounts for part of truckload rather than the entire thing. It means that several companies can split the bill for shipping a small load of freight to its intended destination.

How Does it Work?
While this varies some from one LTL provider to the next, generally, LTL freight is collected at a central location from assorted shippers. The freight is sorted and packed, typically in palletized loads, then loaded onto trucks. Loads tend to be very carefully packed to reduce shipment damage.

LTL shipping providers typically use software systems to plan loads so that space is used efficiently, and routes are planned to effectively get each shipper’s freight to its destination.
Sometimes, LTL loads are taken to another central location closer to the end destination, then reloaded for delivery to its final destination.

How is LTL Different From FTL?
FTL is an acronym that means full truck load, which is when a single shipment accounts for an entire load to be shipped. Shipping FTL means all shipping costs associated with getting freight from one place to the next fall on one company, whereas LTL shipping allows for shipment of smaller amounts of freight in a more cost-effective nature.

LTL is great for companies who have more freight than can be efficiently or cost-effectively shipper through more pedestrian shipping options like FedEx or the postal service, but who don’t generate enough fright to make FTL shipping a true option.

Benefits of LTL

  • Lower costs
  • Better load tracking
  • Less incidences of freight damage
  • More environmentally friendly option
  • Faster shipping

Wondering if LTL shipping is right for your company? Set up a consultation with one of our shipping specialists to get answers specific to your shipping needs and quotes.