What Is A Less Than Truckload – LTL?

A Less than truckload (LTL) is a service offered by most trucking transportation companies. It’s one of the perfect options when you have a small amount of freight that needs shipping that will NOT come close to filling an entire truck, so what’s the need in paying for space you won’t use right?

Because, after all, that is the beauty of an LTL. You only pay for the portion of the truck that you fill. This method of transportation is super efficient in regards to enabling multiple shippers to share one singular truck trailer, creating a more sustainable and cost-effective solution for supply chains. However, it’s not super efficient in turn-around time which needs to be highly considered when choosing the best method for your business. You can opt for an expedited service of an LTL to speed things up, but bare in mind the extra costs inflicted from this.

Here we’re going to delve a little more into the ins and outs of an LTL service and hopefully, this blog can help at least one person to understand the benefits and to make more well-informed decisions when shipping their freight.

Understanding Less Than Truckloads 🚚

LTL is perfect for shippers with smaller shipping needs to offset costs by sharing transportation costs. The cost of an LTL method is a cheaper option because they travel around multiple hubs to pick up and drop off en route, which makes it, a slower service. For example, moving freight across multiple States with an LTL service can take a little while due to multiple stops and trans-loading of freight from one truck to another to continue its’ journey.

How Does A Less Than Truckload Method Work? πŸ€”

Here’s a brief rundown of what a typical day looks like in the day in the life of an LTL shipment. We think this is important to include because again LTL methods are fantastic. However, shippers should be aware of the lengthy process and amount of loading and unloading their cargo will go through.

  • Shipments are collected from all over, different regions by multiple trucks and collated at a terminal


  • All cargo is then weighed and put into freight classifications, shippers are then given customer bills to proceed with their shipments


  • The carrier then loads all of the LTL shipments into trucks going off similar locations to make the process as efficient as possible. Transportation providers do this from geographical location


  • These trucks then travel to regional terminals where they’re unloaded once again and sorted one more final time into local delivery trucks and vans


  • Shipments make the final leg of their journey and are delivered at specific delivery addresses, provided by the shipper.


Benefits Of A Less Than Truckload βœ…

1. Cost Efficiency πŸ’°

An LTL shipment is generally speaking, the cheapest trucking transportation option relative to the volume of freight being moved. LTL quotes are comprised of how much space the freight fills in the truck, its weight and type of freight. This is one of the main differences between LTL and PTL (Partial Truckload). LTL shipments require commodities to determine freight classification, which can lead to accessorial charges (these additional charges can be anything from destination charges to extra handling charges for hazardous freight). Whereas, PTLs avoid accessorial charges like these as they don’t require freight classification.

Overall, LTL shipments are much cheaper than other transportation options, as the costs are spread across all shippers utilizing the same truck space.

2. Reduced Environmental Impact ♻️

When optimizing truck space with freight being consolidated from multiple shippers. Using an LTL service directly contributes to the reduction in carbon emissions and overall environmental impact. Which is amazing as we should all be working towards a green future.

3. Inventory Management πŸ“¦

As this method allows businesses to transport smaller more frequent shipments, businesses can stay agile and competitive but not have to keep extensive amounts of inventory while doing so.

4. Increased Security πŸ“¦

Most LTL shipments consist of palletized freight. Which adds an extra layer of security to cargo. As opposed to loose cargo which will need special protective wrapping and strap downs to minimize damage during transit

5. Enhanced Network & Connections πŸ‘₯

LTL shipments use multiple trucks and carriers to get truckloads from pick up to drop off. Because of this the original carrier has a vast network of trusted transportation providers. This is incredibly helpful when businesses have a wide range of freight they need to ship. Their logistics provider can recommend, and point shippers in the right direction of a carrier that will be able to fulfil their requirements, negotiate price and know that they can trust them with their precious cargo.

When Should You Use A Less Than Truckload Shipment? 🚚


1. Do you have smaller volume shipments? πŸ‘

Perhaps you have small frequent shipments, or maybe you’re a small to mid-sized business. In these cases, paying to use an entire truck, would be like throwing money away. Unless you need a super expedited service or for super valuable or fragile freight that needs to just get from point A to B without multiple pick-ups and drop-offs and unnecessary extra handling.

2. Are your shipments high in density? πŸ‹οΈ

If your shipments are small, but heavy this means they have a high density. All transportation companies offer different limits but the general rule of thumb is if your freight is lighter than 15,000 lbs then an LTL could be the transportation option for you and your shipments.

Conclusion πŸ€”

Less than truckload shipping might possibly take first place πŸ₯‡ as the most cost effective trucking transportation solution. Along with that, it’s more environmentally friendly than other shipping methods and offers flexibility to meet different businesses unique needs. Understanding the benefits and thoroughly how an LTL works helps businesses to optimize their supply chain.

How Can PEI Help? 😁

At PEI we are experts in everything trucking and can handle all of your LTL shipment needs to the best possible standard. If you’d like any extra help or advise regarding LTL or any other shipping methods in fact then please don’t hesitate to contact us on: Phone: 888-SHIP-911 24/7/365 to speak with one of our experts. Or, use the link below to get a quick and easy quote 😊


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