Optimizing transportation of supplies or finished goods to your customer is critical in today’s marketplace. Customers need your product quickly, but how can you get it to them without breaking the bank when the order doesn’t fill a truck? LTL freight is the answer.
What is LTL Freight?
LTL freight stands for “less-than-truckload” and refers to the highly economical practice of combining multiple suppliers’ shipments in a single truckload. Waiting to fill a truck before you ship goods can cost you customers, and paying for a half-empty trailer doesn’t make sense – or dollars and cents. Pooling your shipments with those of other suppliers, or LTL freight is the perfect solution.
What do FTL and LTL stand for?
FTL is the opposite of less-than-truckload (LTL) and simply means “full-truckload.” There are instances when FTL is a better choice than LTL freight, and knowing the difference between them impacts your bottom line as well as customer satisfaction.
What is the difference between LTL and FTL Freight?
LTL freight is very cost-effective for smaller, more frequent shipments that weigh between 151 and 20,000 pounds. However, if your freight weighs over 20,000 pounds and is enough to fill a 48-to 53-foot trailer, FTL is a better solution. Another situation when you might choose FTL over LTL freight is for refrigerated items because FTL is never opened until it reaches its destination and so better preserves the quality of the goods.
What are the Advantages of using an LTL Freight Service?
Using an LTL freight service is the best choice if you have smaller shipments. Your customers will appreciate (if not demand) receiving their product more quickly, and shipping products in trucks that are at less than capacity is costly. So, in short, the advantages of using LTL freight for smaller shipments are more timely delivery of goods, satisfied customers, and more money and less headaches for your business!
What Factors determine LTL Freight Rates?
Rates for LTL freight can seem complicated if you are not familiar with them, but the calculation comes down to multiplying the hundred weight (CWT) of the LTL freight by a tariff or rate base which has been set by the carrier. The rate base is determined by the class of the commodity – and this is set by the National Motor Freight Classification. The class is based on density, the risk to the freight. The rate is based on the weight of the LTL freight, and the origin and destination zip codes.
How to Prepare Freight for LTL Shipping
Preparing your LTL freight for shipping is important because unlike FTL, carriers are not required to wait for the shipment to be prepared for loading, so delays may cause extra fees. You can avoid extra costs by following these steps to prepare your LTL freight for shipping:
- Measure – Record the length, width, and height of your LTL freight, and round up. Simply put, your freight needs to fit in the truck, and exceeding the amount you represented to the carrier when you ordered can cause delays and extra charges.
Document – Prior to the arrival of the carrier, fill out the bill of lading (BOL), which instructs the carrier and all parties about where the LTL freight came from, where it’s going, and what it is.
- Package – Put your LTL freight onto pallets or into cartons as appropriate. Place the heavier goods on the bottom to facilitate quick loading. Better packaging prevents costly delays and damage to your LTL freight.
Label – Attach a copy of the BOL to your LTL freight as well as any instructions (i.e. “Fragile”, “This side up”) which will prevent damage to your goods as they are handled by drivers and other workers.
What other Services are Available with LTL Freight?
At East Coast Transport, we understand that all LTL freight and customers are not the same. Sometimes your LTL freight requires special consideration. Your location or destination may limit some LTL carriers. Your freight may require an extra measure of care that is not standard, or you need speedier delivery. East Coast Transport offers services such as expedited shipments for more urgent deliveries, and limited access, liftgate, or inside pickup and delivery when your location doesn’t have a loading dock or forklift, or your goods are too heavy to be lifted manually.
Why choose East Coast Transport for your Outsourced LTL Freight?
You will not find a company more experienced in LTL freight and more passionate about serving their customers than East Coast Transport. We’ve been offering LTL freight services for decades and have established relationships with a network of carriers so that your product will get to its destination quickly, safely, and cost-effectively. Please click here to learn more about our LTL freight services and here to discover more about our FTL services or contact us. We would love to speak to you and help you grow or strengthen your business.