What is LTL Freight?

In response to the oft asked question, "What is LTL Freight?" here is where we have the answer. First, it helps to demystify the acronym which will also reveal more of what it is. LTL stands for "Less than TruckLoad" with would indicate it has a lot to do with the amount of load space your goods will occupy on a truck or trailer.

So from this we can see that this kind of shipment is a smaller volume of goods for transport to any destination. What happens in this case is that if an individual or company needs to transport a consignment of goods but that consignment is less than that which would fill an entire trailer, then it is deemed LTL freight (also called LTL Shipment) and the transport company then has to find other customers wishing to also transport their own smaller volumes of goods to the same destination or a destination en route of the original load. This ensures costs are kept to a minimum, the savings of which are passed on in part to the customers.

If however, a load cannot be filled prior to the transport's departure date, then the customer requesting the transport will have to pay the cost of a full load. This doesn't happen very often, thankfully as the customer is made aware of the circumstances and is generally disposed to postpone departure by a few days in order to fulfill the load requirements to get their costs at the best rate.

These typoes of shipments generally weigh anywhere between 100 and 10,000 lbs. Pickup and delivery drivers tend to have set routes which they travel several times every week. This enables the driver to develop a rapport with his regular customers. As soon as the driver has loaded his trailer or finished his assigned route, he will return to the depot to unload. The truck's trailer is unloaded and all the individual shipments which are marked as such are weighed and inspected in order to verify they conform to the description set out in the accompanying paperwork.

All cargos of this type are subjected to inspection, although not all goods are necessarily inspected. Once the inspection has been completed, each section of cargp is loaded onto an outbound trailer. This is then be forwarded to what is known as a breakbulk (a shipping term for loose material to be loaded), a connection, or to the delivering depot.

For your information, an LTL shipment may only be handled once while in transit. However, it may be handled multiple times prior to its final delivery. The major advantage of using an LTL freight carrier is that a customer's shipment can be transported at a fraction of the cost incurred when hiring an entire truck and trailer, which you'd need for an exclusive shipment.

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