Are you a new business owner that needs to ship your products to your customer? Or has your business grown to the point where you’re going to start shipping? Or are you already shipping freight but want to do so more efficiently with a better understanding of the process? If you answered yes to any of these questions, this guide and our team are here for you. It will introduce you to the freight shipping industry and get you the information you need to ship like a pro!
LTL stands for “less than truckload,” which means that your shipment will take up less than an entire truckload. Makes sense, right? Typically, this means your cargo will weigh between 100 and 10,000 pounds. LTL is the most popular type of freight shipment, and it’s also the most cost-effective form of road transportation. Why? Because the cost of your shipment will be shared with other LTL freight shipments, and you only pay for the space in the truck that you need.
There are four pieces of information that you must-have for a standard LTL quote:
Origin Zip Code: The origin zip code is the zip code where the freight will be picked up.
Destination Zip Code: The destination zip code is the opposite of the origin zip, in that it’s the zip code where the freight will be delivered. Once again, this is the actual delivery address location, not the city or terminal zip code.
Total Weight: This weight includes any packaging or palletizing that is needed to make the freight ready to ship. Ensure that your weights are exact, as carriers will use industrial shipping scales to make sure the weight claimed on the BOL matches the actual weight of the shipment.
Freight Class: There’s a lot more to dive into here, see below!
Understanding Freight Class
Freight class is a standardized system used by carriers to categorize freight for pricing purposes. There are two ways to determine fright class – NMFC codes and density.
NMFC-Based Freight Class
The National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA), a nonprofit membership organization of motor carriers, uses the National Motor Freight Classification® (NMFC) system to determine freight class. NFMC codes are assigned a freight class, which is a number between 50 and 500. This number determines an item’s “transportability” and is generated using four factors:
STOWABILITY: Determined by its ability to be stowed or transported in relation to other pieces of freight on the truck. There is no number-based scale to determine the item’s stowability, and this element of freight class is somewhat subjective.
HANDLING: There is no scale to determine this per commodity. Items that are fragile or have larger than standard dimensions are often at higher risk to the carriers, so their handling level will ultimately lead to higher freight classes.
LIABILITY: Takes into account the probability of the freight shipment being damaged, stolen, or damaging other adjacent freight.
DENSITY: Density is used to find a density-based freight class, while an NMFC code is used to find an NMFC-based freight class. It’s a general rule of thumb that the lower the item’s density, the higher the freight class. If you know your cargo’s NMFC number or can provide accurate weights and dimensions when calculating its density, you will be able to determine the freight class, which best represents your freight.
Density is so crucial in LTL; why?
An object’s density is the measurement of its compactness or pounds per cubic foot (PCF). Your shipment density will dictate how much space your freight shipment will require in a truck or shipping container. With LTL shipping, space is significant because your cargo is being transported along with other freight. When you ship your freight via LTL, you share both the truck and the cost of shipping on that truck with other shippers – which is why LTL is one of the most economical shipping methods.
PTL stands for “partial truckload.” Even in this case, the name is pretty much-clarifying things that, in this kind of load, the load will be as less as half of the entire truck. A load of 8 or more pallets comes under this. Now, in this scenario, you need not book a full truck for this; otherwise, you will be paying full money for half the amount of delivery. In this scenario, you can share the truck with other customers that means you both will share the fare of the truck for your respective halves according to all the factors that affect the rates of freight, including weight and type of freight.
FTL or TL
FTL/ TL means “full truckload or truckload”. Full truckload shipping is the ideal method if you have a large shipment that will fill an entire trailer or at least exceed the volume LTL options. Typically full truckload shipping costs more than LTL shipping. However, the benefits of FTL might outweigh that cost. With FTL shipping, the truck goes directly from Point A to Point B without any stops, making transportation times shorter.
This refers to time-sensitive shipments in which freight has to be delivered within a particular time frame. Expedited freight is most often transported by truck or air. Trucks shipping expedited freight rarely stop along the way to deliver or pick up shipments, making the expedited shipment the priority. Expedited shipments are both large and small, from parcels to pallets to a full truckload of freight.
Companies that work with short lead times and require their packages to be transported as quickly as possible often choose air freight. Air freight is a relatively safe mode of transport, and it decreases supplier lead times while improving the overall level of service.
Rail transportation is an excellent solution for domestic or intercontinental transport, especially for bulky goods. It is a safe and reliable mode of transport that offers fast delivery at a cost-effective price point, and it is also more environmentally-friendly than air and road alternatives. Plus, rail freight doesn’t add to traffic and roadway congestion like other modes of transportation.
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