LTL shipping: The five core benefits.
May 15, 2015
Less than truckload shipping is the ideal solution for shippers with too much freight for parcel carrier services but not enough to warrant a full truckload, with LTL shipments generally weighing 151-15,000 lbs. However, sometimes shippers get stuck when deciding between freight shipping options, since the decision can depend on a number of variables.
If you're one of these shippers that are on the fence about LTL, you should further explore what it has to offer. To simplify this process, we've put together a list of what we believe to be the five core benefits of LTL shipping:
1. LTL shipping minimizes costs.
Regardless of the shipper, cost effectiveness is typically at or near the top of the list of things to consider when selecting the best freight shipping option. With less than truckload shipping, freight that weighs more than 150 lbs. can be shipped at a fraction of the cost of a full trailer. The lower cost is due to the LTL freight shipping process, which entails loading multiple shipments from a variety of shippers onto a single truck before sending it out for delivery.
This process, commonly known as pooling, allows shippers to pay for their portion of the trailer space, rather than an entire trailer on their own. Shippers with slightly more than 150 lbs. of freight may also consider shipping via parcel carriers. However, this requires the freight to be broken down into a number of small packages, to meet the algorithm-based pricing requirements, potentially complicating the tracking process.
2. LTL shipping reduces emissions.
While pooling shipments together via LTL shipping is a friendly financial option for the shipper, it's also a better way to ship when considering the environment. Many of today's companies and individuals are taking steps like using less paper and recycling to reduce their carbon footprint, and LTL shipping should be added to the list.
Broken down simply, the LTL shipping process allows one truck to carry a full load, rather than multiple trucks carrying loads below their full capacity. Fewer trucks on the road mean fewer emissions in the air.
3. LTL shipping increases security.
Once a shipper has determined an appropriate price point, they typically consider the security of their goods next. Since both parcel and LTL carriers adhere to hub and spoke operations, freight is typically handled several times during transit. LTL carriers have the advantage over parcel carriers since freight shippers can, and are encouraged to, load freight onto pallets or package freight into durable crates to:
- Protect it from general wear and tear during handling
- Protect it from other freight aboard the trailer
- Reduce the likelihood that individual packages are lost
Simply put, fewer units and less handling results in less damage and loss.
4. LTL offers additional service options.
Cost savings isn't the only benefit of LTL in comparison to full truckload shipping. LTL typically allows shippers to access services beyond dock-to-dock, including:
- Non-commercial shipping
- Notification options
- Inside pick up and delivery
Typically, these additional freight shipping services are billed at a fixed rate or as a surcharge based on weight.
5. LTL shipping is easy to track.
For freight that is extremely time-sensitive, 3PL companies typically offer a expedited shipping solution. For all other LTL shipments, they will be provided with an estimated delivery time. Having the ability to track these shipments can be helpful for planning to accept the delivery. To simplify this process, LTL carriers often provide tracking that includes in-transit shipment events such as the pick up, stop-offs and delivery.
Shipments are usually tracked by one of the following:
- Bill of lading number
- Pro number
- PO number
- Shipment reference number
- Pick up date range
Before selecting the freight shipping option best suited for your circumstances, you should first fully understand the benefits of each. Hopefully these five LTL shipping benefits provided the necessary information to make an educated decision on shipping via LTL or other methods.
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