What is LTL Freight? A Beginner's Guide


What is LTL Freight? A Beginner's Guide

With so many logistics and freight methods today, it’s easy to get confused and seek simple answers to questions like “What is LTL Freight?” or “When to use LTL freight?” and so on. Luckily, we have consolidated answers to all these significant questions you may have under this brief guide. 

Let’s check them out. 

What is LTL Freight?

LTL (Less-than-truckload) shipping is a logistics method where a carrier combines multiple loads under a single trailer. Companies usually opt for LTL Freight when they don’t have enough goods that will occupy an entire container.


In LTL, your freight will also be transported differently. Your freight travels and stops at regular terminals for other shipments. The goods are unloaded and reloaded into different trucks at every stop. 

Ideally, your freight must weigh under 9072 kgs (20,000 pounds) else, it’s best to deliver the goods via other shipping methods. The shipments also need to be on pallets or crates since it makes it convenient to expedite the unloading and reloading process. 

Who Opts for LTL Freight?

Small and Medium-Sized Businesses

Small businesses usually don’t have a high quantity of goods to deliver. It makes sense to leverage LTL freight service since it is a cost-efficient way to deliver the goods and one doesn’t have to rent an entire truck. 


Individuals who are shifting houses or office premises are always looking at cost-effective means of shifting their goods from one place to another. Especially if they’re moving to different cities. LTL Freight carriers are also the perfect choice when you’ve purchased a heavy piece of furniture or sending heavy packages in and across towns.

What are the Benefits of LTL Freight? 

1. Higher Flexibility 

Since you’re transporting fewer goods, LTL freight provides you with higher flexibility. The shipping is convenient and quick, especially when you’re delivering regionally or nationally. 

LTL also leaves room for numerous other services that FTL (Full Truck Load) shipping providers cannot. These include standard, expedited, or guaranteed shipping. 

2. Cost Savings

The top reason why brands or individuals opt for LTL freight is that they get to save on costs and only pay for the space they actually need. Many times, trucks are loaded under capacity and transported with ample free space, and shippers end up paying for the entire truckload. 

On the contrary, this method helps individuals and small businesses economize while also getting their work done. 

3. Environment Friendly

The LTL freight shipping method is based on delivering not one but multiple orders at optimized use of space. It means instead of using multiple trucks delivering a few goods with empty space, it uses single trucks to accommodate multiple goods. It ultimately saves fuel and reduces carbon emissions. 

Things to Consider Before Choosing your LTL Freight Carrier

1. Experience 

When you’re choosing a logistics partner, the first thing you need assurance of is reliability. You need a trusted partner to ship your goods and trust comes from experience. Choose an experienced LTL service provider that has a good reputation and an extended client base. 

Experienced service providers also have an optimized route planned that spans across states and regions. They would also be technologically equipped to offer additional services like real-time tracking and product returns. 

2. Pricing 

LTL Freight carriers practice the activity of offering high discounts on high list prices. These discounts will depend on the volume, the type of freight, and the transportation lane. 

Instead of going by the percentage, it would be a good practice to identify some shipments and compare the net prices and the actual prices they offer. 

3. Pick-Up time 

The pick-up time varies from carrier to carrier. Many carriers may have pick-up times that may not be suitable for you. You would want to choose a carrier that suits your schedule and when you can be present when the movers arrive at your destination. 

4. Cost of Additional Services 

A lot of carriers also offer additional services apart from transportation. These may include packaging or sending special deliveries. In many cases, LTL freight carriers charge extra for these services. 

Check for these additional costs before choosing your freight provider so that there’s transparency when it comes to the money you’re spending. 

5. Equipment 

Check how well-equipped your LTL freight provider is. If your freight provider has been in the market for a while, it will have the necessary infrastructure that makes LTL freight hassle-free. 

Some types of equipment are a must such as a lift gate since most small-scale businesses and residents will not have a docking service to load and unload freight products. 

6. Freight Insurance

You need to check what the carrier’s limit of liability is. It helps with insurance and settling a loss claim. The amount generally differs between different carriers. But you need to figure out the costs of shipments that the LTL carrier will cover in the event of a damage or loss claim. 

7. Claim Settlement Process

When you’re clear about all the costs and pick-up times, you need to get to the step of investigating the insurance claims. All you have to do is ask a few questions to be clear about the policies and insurance of your goods. These questions include:

  • What is the time frame to initiate a claim after the shipment is delivered? 
  • What do I have to bring while filing a claim?
  • How long does it take for you to settle a claim?
  • How many days do I have to provide the required information to settle the claim?
  • Are there any additional charges associated with filing a claim?


Now that you have a basic understanding of what is LTL freight, you can be assured of saving costs on renting an entire truck for moving services. It's understandable that as an individual or small business, you don’t have the volume that calls for large freight services. 

So next time you have to move a heavy piece of furniture, change office premises, or move homes, remember that LTL is a convenient, cost-effective, and time-saving option that would be best suited to you. 

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