How to Save On LTL Shipping (Less Than Truckload)

What's Considered an LTL Shipment?

LTL shipping (Less Than Truck Load) refers to a freight shipment that doesn’t fill a truckload, which is typically calculated based on a 53-foot long trailer.  The space is typically calculated as 28 total skid spots based on standard 4x4 foot skids. The type of LTL freight varies considerably, including retail products, exhibits/tradeshows, frozen food and beverages, industrial and hazardous materials, as well as non-standard freight that requires special handling such as such as alcohol, pharmaceuticals, and even firearms.

Acquiring competitive shipping rates while maintaining an acceptable quality of service is the ultimate goal.  However it can be a daunting task if you’re not prepared.  By maintaining strong carrier relationships and managing the data effectively is the key to identifying the right solution for every shipment.  Here are some tips on how to save on LTL shipments from a freight logistics expert:

Avoid Surprise Fees – Ensure Shipment Information is Accurate

Minimize costs your costs and avoid surprise fees due to inaccuracies. Your LTL shipping rate will be calculated based on the size and weight of your shipment, along with distance, delivery speed and freight class.  Generally, an LTL freight falls under a freight classification number signified by the type of product and its dimensions and weight. Never guesstimate these numbers, because if they are incorrect, you’re likely to incur an extra fee from your carrier.  Also, ensure you have the right NFMC item number and description for the Bill of Lading.  This will help ensure that your goods aren’t held up at the border, posing costly delays and service disruption.

Consider Using Multiple LTL Carriers Rather Than Relying On One

Some shippers depend on just one carrier to transport all of their LTL freight. While it may seem strategic to use one trusted carrier, it’s more pragmatic to have multiple carrier relationship in case of strike, company relocation or structure changes such as downsizing, that could put your deliveries in jeopardy.   Working with multiple carriers also helps ensure you are receiving a competitive rate, as well as optimal routes and delivery service.

There are also options beyond general LTL carrier service. The standard LTL carrier service typically to make a number stops and shipment transfers before your freight reaches its final destination, and may not be able to provide a guaranteed delivery for that reason. If shippers have time sensitive, such as trade shows/exhibits, or delicate deliveries, they could find it advantageous to work with a freight broker or third party logistics company that will often provide guaranteed deliveries, with more direct routes, minimizing transfers and potential for cargo damage, at competitive rates. There are also LTL shipping carriers that offer guaranteed delivery options. Consider the many opportunities that best suit your business.

Maximizing Pallets and Packing Effectively

Finally, packing your LTL shipping correctly can save you money by avoiding damage during transit, and maximizing freight capacity. Pallets or crates are generally recommended for packing your LTL freight. When using a pallet, heavier items should be placed on the bottom. Review the cubic feet capacity rules set by your carrier so that you don’t go over, and incur an extra charge. Also avoid overhang on your pallet, as it may be susceptible to damage during loading and unloading. Every step in the process makes a difference in terms of cost and safe delivery.