LTL shipping: How to save when sharing the ride.

June 30, 2019

When you need to move less than a full truckload, finding the best shipping option is part science and part art. And for those who have less than a full trailer of freight, less than truckload (LTL) shipping is often going to be your best bet. Let’s dive into the two components of LTL shipping to know so you can learn how to start saving while sharing the ride.



So, why do we say LTL shipping is part science? This answer is actually quite simple: data science is used to determine LTL shipping prices and transit times. Technology can help you find the contract carrier that will get your freight delivered on time and on budget.


There are three main factors that affect your quote:

  • Density: The weight and bulk of your load will help determine if it is easy to damage, which also influences freight classification.
  • Freight class: Density and value impact your freight’s class. The lower the number, the lower the cost. 
  • Location/Distance: The longer the haul, the higher the cost. Proximity to a major metro can affect rates as well. Factors include:
  • Regional: Some carriers only serve a select region. If your shipping distances are short, you’ll find plenty of options.
  • Cross country: In many cases, the origination LTL carrier will transfer to another LTL carrier that services the destination region. It is largely a seamless process, so you may not even notice a disruption in service. You can also find LTL carriers that serve the vast majority of the continental United States from pickup to delivery. 



LTL shipping is definitely part art, however, adding the human element to your strategy allows you to customize shipping to your needs and positions you for success.


Here are some questions to ask yourself as you go through the process:

  • Is your bill of lading (BOL) filled out correctly? Entering the wrong freight class or other information can mean added charges and penalties. Ensure your BOL is filled out accurately to avoid added fees.
  • Are you packaging efficiently? Crating or palletizing shipments can save you a lot of money in the long run. Freight service providers. Freight service providers know the tricks of the trade, so be sure to speak with one before you start packaging.
  • How reliable is the carrier? Freight services can narrow down your shipping options based on your goals, whether that’s a date or budget. Our service providers here at Freightquote by C.H. Robinson are able to help you choose the best one for your shipment. 
  • Need to customize your delivery? Some customization options include expedited delivery, liftgate service and delivery notification. Whatever you may need, express these requirements up front so that you aren’t hit with an accessorial fee later down the line.


Final thoughts.

LTL shipping is all about options. The more options you have, the better your chance of finding a carrier that meets your requirements. The challenge is sifting through those options to find the best choice to address timelines, budget and safety.

A freight service provider who will help narrow the options and find the single best solution for your situation can be the key to shipping success. And the best providers offer technology to help you track your shipments and experts who are available to answer questions and help you succeed.

Check out our LTL shipping infographic below for a closer look at how LTL can play an important role in your logistics puzzle.


ltl shipping infographic

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