Truckload shipping: Answering 5 of the most common questions.

January 16, 2018

Truckload shipping can present challenges to both experienced and first-time shippers. Most people have questions and concerns they need addressed before booking their shipments. While shipping isn’t always a cut and dry process, there are a number of helpful resources from industry experts that you can refer to in order to maximize efficiency.

To make the experience easier, we’re answering the most common truckload shipping questions.


What is truckload shipping?

Truckload shipping is used for larger shipments that usually occupy more than half and up to the full capacity of a 48’ or 53’ trailer. Shippers commonly turn to this option when they have enough freight to fill the trailer, when they want a trailer for their freight only or if the freight is particularly time sensitive. 


What are the available truckload equipment options?

Truckload shipping offers several options in terms of the kind of trailer a shipment will be sent on. Generally speaking, you can choose between flatbed, dry van, and refrigerated (also referred to as “reefer”) trailers. Each has its own purpose and use to best fit your needs.

  • Flatbed: These trailers are used to satisfy loading requirements such as loading from the side or top. They’re commonly used when a shipment is particularly large or bulky.
  • Dry van: This kind of trailer is typically used when there aren’t specific temperature requirements for the freight on board. 
  • Refrigerated: A refrigerated trailer is used when freight must be temperature controlled. These trailers not only ship food but also plants, medications, personal care products and other kinds of freight that require refrigeration. 
The equipment you choose often depends on the kind of freight you’re shipping and the amount of care it needs. 


How does a shipper choose between LTL and truckload?

Full truckload is for shippers that have enough freight to fill an entire trailer on their own. It is also used when pickup or delivery times aren’t flexible. LTL shipping (less-than-truckload) is for those that don’t have enough freight to warrant a full trailer for their shipment alone and if their loading and delivery times are flexible.

Based on your freight needs, you can choose a method of shipping that works for your deadlines, budget and requirements.


How much weight can a full truckload accommodate?

While the answer to this question depends largely on the chosen carrier, the average weight a truck driver is comfortable hauling is between 42,000 and 44,000 pounds. Dry vans are capable of carrying up to 45,000 pounds, however. Before booking a shipment, you should ask the carrier what the weight capacity of the trailer is to make sure the freight won’t exceed that amount.


What are some truckload best practices to consider?

Every method of shipping has recommended best practices that assist in achieving a more positive shipping experience. Truckload freight shippers should keep the following best practices in mind:

  • Shipping trends: Keeping abreast of trends in the shipping industry can help you gauge when demand is lowest for the lane you want to ship in and what the going rate is.
  • Consistent shipping schedule: Due to driver shortages and increasing regulations, keeping a consistent shipping schedule will increase your chances of becoming a preferred customer.
  • Flexibility: When a shipping schedule is more sporadic, it’s best to be flexible with delivery times and plan far enough ahead to make sure a carrier is able to fit your freight into their schedule.


Final thoughts.

Truckload shipping has many variables and questions associated with it, but working with freight shipping experts can make it much easier. At Freightquote by C.H. Robinson, we work with shippers of all kinds to get their freight prepared and shipped in a timely manner. Our experts answer questions, provide advice and handle the challenges of shipping logistics. You aren’t alone when you have a trusted freight shipping company to work with.



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