Ltl Trucking

Written by Kathleen Gagne
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Some freight loads are enormous while others include only a few boxes or a single pallet. The good news is that there are thousands of carriers that will haul less than load (LTL) shipments. LTL trucking companies provide freight services to and from almost any location in the country. Generally there are no restrictions in terms of weight and size of the load. Many companies, in fact, support an entire division to handle LTL loads.

LTL Freight Brokers

Because of the complexity of scheduling revolving around LTL shipping, freight brokers may be a good choice to act as intermediaries. Brokers are licensed and are trained to negotiate contracts between shippers and carriers. They usually have contracts or agreements with thousands of carriers and have knowledge of which of the carriers can meet a specific shipper's needs. Because of their relationships with carriers, they may be able to obtain lower rate quotes for the shipper.

Obviously, the advantage of using an intermediary to negotiate is that the rates may be lower. There are, however, other advantages such as assurance that the carrier is reputable and that he has an on-time delivery ratio in the high 90 percent range. Loads can range from around 500 pounds up to four or five tons. In major metropolitan areas, LTL loads are typically brought to a hub and then loaded onto a different truck that is going to the general area of the load destination.

The entire LTL process requires more coordination than does shipping a full load where the major issue is finding a load for the backhaul. When shipping LTL loads, with or without the aid of a licensed broker, the shipper should be aware that on-time deliveries and reliability are two significant factors to consider. In addition, it is important to consider the carrier's shipping area since shipments that must go out of that area will have to be transferred to another truck. This process is called interlining, and, while an effective method of moving shipments, too many transfers create opportunities for problems. The fewer the interlinings, the better.

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