Latest LTL Shipping Guide to Prosper Your Business in 2024!

LTL Shipping
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Mona Sohal

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Ever have a shipment that’s too big for a box, but not quite enough to fill a whole truck? LTL shipping is the perfect solution! This cost-effective method consolidates your freight with others, maximizing space and minimizing costs.  

Buckle up, get ready to learn. In this blog, we’ll dive deep into the world of LTL shipping, explaining its benefits, how it works, and how to get the most out of your LTL experience.

What Is LTL (Less-Than-Truckload) Shipping?

LTL(Less-Than-Truckload) shipping is like ride-sharing for freight! You only pay for the space your stuff takes on a truck, instead of renting the whole thing. This works for shipments between 150 and 15,000 pounds. It’s also safe and trackable!

Why LTL Shipping Is Used?

In the world of wholesale distribution, businesses wholesalers don’t wait for empty shelves before restocking. To avoid stockouts and potential lost sales, they frequently utilize LTL(Less-Than-Truckload) shipping for smaller quantities of goods. 

While LTL(Less-Than-Truckload) might be slightly costlier and take a bit longer than a full truckload, it offers a crucial benefit: consistent product availability for customers in distant locations.

LTL service providers come in two flavors: specialized or national. 

Specialized companies might focus on specific regions or markets, like urban areas within a certain state. National LTL companies, on the other hand, can transport goods across the entire country. Regardless of their reach, both types of providers combine shipments from multiple companies onto their trucks, a process known as assembly service. 

This approach maximizes efficiency and reduces costs for everyone involved. However, LTL shipping is complex as it requires careful coordination and sophisticated logistics planning to be profitable. 

Advanced information technology systems play a vital role in this process, ensuring smooth operations and allowing both LTL providers and their customers to track shipments effectively.

How does LTL(Less-Than-Truckload) Work?

How LTL shipping works depends on a few things: where your stuff is going from and to, how it’s packaged, how much there is, and its weight. Size also matters – trucks come in different sizes, so the amount they can hold changes too.

Generally, LTL is for shipments between 150 and 15,000 pounds (lighter stuff goes with regular mail or delivery companies).  An LTL shipment typically takes up less than 24 feet of space on a truck trailer and is stacked on special wooden or plastic platforms called pallets. These pallets are usually 4 feet by 4 feet and for space saving (and safety!), individual boxes are often wrapped together into one big package.

LTL shipping works like a big transportation web. Local pick-up and drop-off points act like spokes that connect to central hubs. Trucks pick up your stuff from a local spot and take it to a hub, where it might get loaded onto another truck to get to its final destination.

An industry group called the National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA) helps set the standards for how things are packed, priced, and shipped for LTL across the country.

What Is LTL Pallet Shipping?

An LTL pallet is basically a wooden platform you stack boxes on to ship things.  It’s like using a moving box, but way sturdier for big trucks!  Most things that don’t fill a whole truck are shipped on these pallets to keep everything safe and organized.

LTL Pallet in Front of a Shipping Truck

LTL vs FTL Shipping

LTL (Less Than Truckload) and FTL (Full Truckload) are two different methods of shipping freight:

  • LTL Shipping: This method efficiently transports smaller freight by consolidating shipments from multiple clients within a single truck. Ideal for small and medium businesses, it utilizes pallets for secure handling. Costs are based on the shipment’s dimensional weight and the item classification.
  • FTL Shipping: This method is ideal for bulk freight that utilizes the entire capacity of a truck. This method offers dedicated space for a single client’s shipment, eliminating the need to share space with other cargo. As a result, FTL boasts fast delivery times as the truck travels directly to the destination, bypassing stops for additional pickups or deliveries.

Advantage And Disadvantage of LTL Shipping

The biggest advantage of LTL shipping is the cost. Here’s why: imagine a truck and several companies all need to send stuff to the same area. With LTL, they can all share the truck space, like carpooling!

This saves everyone money because each company only pays for the space their shipment takes up. Plus, unlike regular trucking, where prices change all the time, LTL has set rates thanks to the National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA).

The disadvantage of LTL is speed. It takes more time to plan, pack, and ship your things because you might need to wait for the truck to fill up.  The truck might also make extra stops or take a longer route to drop off other people’s stuff before yours arrives. 

This extra handling can also increase the chance of your things getting damaged or lost.

So When To Select LTL?

Need to ship something, but a full truck seems like overkill? LTL shipping could be your perfect match! Let’s explore when this cost-effective option makes the most sense for your needs:

  • Small shipments: Got a bunch of stuff to send, but not enough to fill a whole truck? LTL is perfect! You share the truck with others, so you only pay for the space your things take up.
  • Not in a rush? LTL is great for things that aren’t super urgent. Since they combine shipments, it might take a little longer than a direct delivery, but it’s more flexible.
  • Staying local? LTL is a good option for sending things nearby, especially if it’s not going very far.
  • Tight on space? If your business doesn’t have a lot of room to store things, LTL lets you ship smaller amounts more often, instead of needing a huge stockpile.
  • Going green? LTL helps the environment by putting multiple shipments in one truck, which reduces pollution compared to lots of separate trucks.
  • Keep in mind: LTL isn’t always the answer. If your stuff needs to get there super fast, requires special care, or is just massive, you might need a different option like express delivery or a full truckload shipment.

How To Save Money on LTL Shipping?

Want to save even more on LTL shipping? Here are 3 tricks:

  • Team up with others! Partner with nearby businesses to share a truckload. Freight brokers can help you find companies to split costs with.
  • Tech to the rescue! Look for LTL providers that use fancy computer programs to plan their routes. This saves them money, which they might pass on to you in the form of lower shipping costs.
  • Bring in the experts! Hire a logistics company to negotiate with LTL carriers for you and use special software to find the best deals on shipping your stuff.

Other LTL Shipping Services

Got your LTL shipment all planned out? Great! But before you hit send, consider these additional LTL services that can take your shipping experience from good to great: 

  • Need your stuff there in a flash? Upgrade to expedited shipping! LTL offers expedited service to get it there quicker, like express mail for bigger things.
  • Hauling a giant box and worried about unloading? Liftgate service is your friend! It’s like a small elevator that lowers your shipment down, perfect for deliveries without a fancy loading dock.
  • Shipping to a remote location? Limited access delivery is for you. This helps with deliveries to places that big trucks might have trouble reaching, like campsites or construction zones.
  • Want the carrier to bring it all the way in? Inside pickup and delivery means they’ll carry your shipment right inside your building, saving you the hassle!


There you have it! LTL shipping offers a cost-effective and flexible solution for businesses that need to move freight that’s too big for a box but not quite enough for a full truckload. 

Whether you’re looking to save money, reduce your environmental impact, or simply find a convenient way to ship regionally, LTL could be the perfect fit. Remember, don’t be afraid to ask your chosen LTL carrier about additional services like expedited shipping or liftgate assistance to ensure a smooth and efficient delivery experience.  

So, next time you have a shipment that needs to get there, consider the power of LTL shipping and see how it can revolutionize your freight movement strategy!

Now get out there and start exploring the possibilities of LTL shipping!


What Does LTL Mean In Shipping?

LTL shipping is for shipments that are too big for regular shipping but not big enough to fill an entire truck. These shipments are often combined with other shipments from different companies on the same truck.

Why Is It Called LTL?

Less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping, sometimes referred to as less-than-load, is a cost-effective method for transporting relatively modest quantities of freight. This service is offered by a wide range of providers, including both established national parcel carriers and specialized logistics companies.

What Is LTL And TL?

Picking the right shipping option for your business can be confusing! You might have seen “TL” and “LTL” before. TL stands for “Truckload,” which is like renting the whole truck for your giant shipment. LTL, on the other hand, means “Less Than Truckload.” This is perfect for smaller shipments where you share the truck with other businesses, making it a more cost-effective option!

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