Is shipping LTL right for you?

LTL freight quotes

If you are trying to decide whether shipping LTL is right for you, you’ve come to the right place. Here you’ll find answers to help you decide, including answers to questions like:

  • What is considered LTL Freight?
  • What is the difference between LTL and FTL Freight?
  • and more…

Check out the quick LTL tutorial below. Then, if LTL sounds right for you or if you still have questions, give me a call at 713-589-5511.

What does LTL in logistics terms?

LTL stands for less-than-truckload. It means your shipment fills less than a full truck, typically traveling with other freight.

The majority of business-to-business shipments go less-than-truckload. In fact, LTL shipping makes up most of the surface freight shipments in the United States.

You might hear some other terms to describe LTL such as motor freight or less than truckload freight. Carriers that transport freight over the road are called “LTL carriers” or “motor carriers.”

With LTL freight, your shipment travels with freight from other companies. This is different from FTL or full truckload shipping where you pay for the entire trailer – presumably because your need all the space for your shipment.

Here’s a more detailed look at what makes up LTL freight.

What is the size of a shipment?

Weight for shipments range from 90lbs to 16,000lbs (or 40 – 7,500 kg for those who prefer metrics).  An average piece of freight is about 1,023 lbs or 500 kg.

Dimensions range from 8 feet 2.4 inches to 27 feet 10.6 inches.  (That’s 2.5 to 8.5 meters.)   A single piece of LTL freight typically sits on a standard 40×48 inch pallet.

Shipments can also include large freight and long freight, also called over dimensional (OD) freight. These are generally subject to extreme length and cubic capacity surcharges. These are rare.

If you have any questions or concerns about your freight, we can help identify the specific shipping solution for your need. The last thing anyone wants is a carrier rebill, an additional charge issued by the carrier after the shipment is picked up. It is one of the least favorite parts of the LTL business.

We can walk you through the shipping process and find the most cost-effective way to ship your freight, including consolidation and other advanced supply chain techniques.

What is the trailer size for an LTL shipment?

Trailers range in size from 28 to 53 feet (8.53 m to 16.15 m).

Standard trailers for city deliveries run about 48 feet (14.63m).  This makes delivery of less than load freight easier. Taking right hand turns with a 53 truck is never fun even for the experienced truck driver.

In residential areas or locales with tight and limited space, a 28-foot (or 8.53m) trailer is most common.  You might hear these referred to as “pups” or “bob tails”.

Often, these pup trucks have liftgates attached. Rarely will a residential delivery or pickup not require a truck with a liftgate. LTL carriers don’t allow people to lift freight on the truck no matter the weight.

Does the shipper prepare an LTL shipment?

Yes. The shipper must package, pallet and shrink-wrap the shipment.  Unlike express or parcel services, carriers do not supply packaging materials, service, or assistance. They expect you’ll have it ready to go when they arrive.

In some instances, where crating or other substantial packaging are required, services may be available for an additional fee but typically  carriers don’t package your freight.

What do I need to get an LTL freight quote?

You can get a freight quote with some basic information.  Here’s what you need:

  • Origin zip code
  • Destination zip code
  • Dimensions (Length – Width – Height), with skids or pallets typically 40” x 48”
  • Class of freight (if you’re not sure, call and ask)
  • Weight of shipment

We also need to know your company name and contact information.

For a fast freight quote, fill out the form on the right or call us at 713-589-5511.  Or click here to contact us.