When looking for reliable shipping for your products, you may have come across three letters: LTL. If you don’t already know, LTL stands for “less than load,” meaning less than a full truckload. It is a normal way of shipping items that are too large for package delivery companies like UPS or the USPS, but small enough they don’t need an entire trailer. Companies small and large utilize LTL shipping to get their goods to customers all over the country.
What qualifies for LTL shipping? The standards are loose and open for LTL freight shipping. Generally speaking, anything that weighs between 150 to 20,000 lbs. and that will fit on a standard 48 ft. or 53 ft. trailer is a good candidate for LTL shipping. Shipping companies like Diversified Transportation Services use LTL shipping to make the process more efficient and cost-effective for everyone. Company A will stack several boxes onto a pallet and shrink wrap it together and call in a pickup for an LTL load. The truck will pick it up and make several other stops at different companies picking up similar loads until the trailer is full. It is a good way to maximize the truck, the drivers’ time, and the cost of operating it. This keeps shipping costs down.
Small package delivery services don’t have LTL shipping. They only take small- to medium-size packages and never anything that is palletized. They don’t have the capacity to pick up and deliver large loads regularly. Trucking companies that offer LTL services have a fleet of trucks that can accommodate large loads. They can pick up multiple pallets of the same product or dozens of different ones. If you are shipping hazardous materials, that should be mentioned upfront, so the carrier knows what they are getting. Drivers must be rated for hazardous materials and the trailer must have specific placards on it indicating as such. As long as your load is secured and meets the carrier’s shipping standards, your load qualifies for LTL shipping.
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