If you are a company that ships products throughout the region, across the U.S., or anywhere in North America, you already know how difficult it can be to find the right carrier that will transport your goods with the care and precision that they deserve, ensuring timely and safe delivery. The process can become even more complicated when you don’t have a full load and need to find a way to transport your less-than-load (LTL) shipment for the most reasonable price. Here are some potential challenges that might come up.
What is LTL Shipping?
Whenever you ship something that doesn’t fill an entire 48- or 53-foot semi-trailer, it’s considered “less than truckload”, which is commonly referred to as a less-than-load, or LTL, shipment. The term covers anything less than a full load, meaning a single pallet, one small box, or items that fill 95 percent of the semi-trailer. These loads face some unique challenges.
Finding a Carrier
First and foremost you have to find a carrier that is willing to handle LTL shipments. Not all carriers can do it, and some might have specific requirements in order to take these loads (such as minimum load sizes). It’s also important that you find a carrier that can handle your specific type of products, especially if you have shipping specifications that go beyond just the basics.
Determining Freight Class
There are 18 different freight classes to choose from for LTL shipping, and picking the right one is essential to make sure you don’t overpay for the shipment and the driver doesn’t run into any problems along the way. Simply choosing the same freight class for every shipment, regardless of size and weight, can lead to higher freight costs and the need to reclassify invoices when the selected class doesn’t match the load. Choosing the right freight class as defined by the National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA) ensures you get standardized pricing across carriers, brokers, and warehouses.
Factors Influencing LTL Freight Rates
There are several things that go into the calculation for your LTL rates, including:
The key to making sure you get the right one is to work with a carrier that has experience in this area and can provide you with transportation management tools that will break down the costs for you and help you find the best rates.
Low Priority Shipping Times
Another common pitfall that many companies encounter is that their LTL shipments are given lower priority than full loads, which can lead to slower delivery time if you get bumped in favor of a full load.
To avoid any stress and hassle associated with LTL shipments, make sure you’re working with professional carriers that offer competitive pricing and great service.