How Can LTL Freight Shipping Benefit You & What Is The Meaning

LTL carriers focus on efficiently moving larger quantities of goods for multiple shippers. The benefits that LTL shipping offers to shippers, such as flexibility and cost-effectiveness, are why this type of trucking is so popular. Even though it has these advantages, LTL trucking can be quite complex.

LTL, or less-than-truckload freight, is used when a customer needs to transport something that doesn't fill an entire truck. Usually, this term is applied to multiple smaller shipments being transported together on one vehicle. LTL shipments are frequently delivered on pallets and weigh between 150 pounds and 10,000 pounds.

LTL carriers focus on efficiently moving larger quantities of goods for multiple shippers. The benefits that LTL shipping offers to shippers, such as flexibility and cost-effectiveness, are why this type of trucking is so popular. Even though it has these advantages, LTL trucking can be quite complex.

Before we delve into the advantages, difficulties, and best practices of consolidating LTL freight shipments, let's first learn how LTL freight shipping works.

What is LTL freight and what are its benefits

In short, LTL freight shipments combine several smaller loads to make one large truckload. This is more efficient than shipping multiple small loads separately. The cost of shipping LTL is determined by how much space it takes up on the (length x width x height), in what class the item is being shipped, and where it's going to be picked up and dropped off.

There are three different types of LTL freight: standard, expedited, and guaranteed. You can also add special services to your shipment for an additional cost. These accessorial fees include things like lift gate pickup/delivery, inside pickup/delivery, residential pickup/delivery, and reweighing/reclassification.

Learn more about shipping terms with Revolution's handy guide.

LTL freight spelled out with blocks

Benefits of LTL freight

The amount of money you save.

LTL freight is cost-effective because it allows you to fill only a portion of the truck with your smaller shipments. You end up only paying for the amount of space used, rather than the entire truckload, which would be more expensive.

Perfect for e-commerce

With online shopping being the new standard in the market, it's imperative that businesses have shipping methods that satisfy their customers. With LTL shipping, your freight or inventory will arrive exactly when and where it needs to be. This method is more efficient than others because it eliminates the need for each shipment to fill a whole truckload.

Small business friendly

LTL trucking and shipping is incredibly beneficial for small companies. Usually, small businesses ship fewer products and spend less on freight than big organizations. LTL shipping gives smaller businesses the opportunity to take advantage of quality shipping without having to pay high prices for space they won't use.

An LTL shipping truck being loaded

Environmentally conscious

Having fewer trucks on the road as the result of efficient LTL shipping practices reduces emissions, ultimately lightening your company's carbon footprint.

Whatever your company's reason for using LTL, you can rely on Revolution Trucking. We always find the most cost-effective and efficient route for your critical freight, meaning that you save time and money while not putting a strain on the environment.

The challenges of LTL freight


Although LTL freight is cheaper and more flexible, it might take longer for your shipment to arrive. This type of shipping consolidates multiple companies' shipments going to nearby locations on one truck. LTL freight is a great shipping method, but remember that it generally takes longer than shipments using standard truckloads.

Carrier capacity

Unlike regular truckload shipping, not all carriers accommodate LTL shipments. If you're looking for an affordable carrier that offers LTL services, it may be difficult to find one that fits your needs. If you're looking to save time when searching for a carrier, try using a free quoting tool. This will help identify carriers that fit your service and pricing needs.

Higher Probability of Damaged Freight

As a result of additional handling between hubs, your freifght does stand a slightly higher risk of damage

Shipment details

LTL shipping is all about the details. Things like freight class, weight, pickup and destination locations, and deadline—all play a role in how much your organization pays for LTL freight. Details are crucial when figuring out the logistics of your less-than-truckload (LTL) shipments to ensure you get the best price and service available.

The most efficient practices for LTL shipping

Paying attention to the following components is crucial for shipping LTL freight.

Use a transportation management system (TMS)

A transportation management system (TMS) offers benefits such as shipment optimization, visibility, business intelligence, and global supply chain talent. These advantages lower costs, improve efficiency, and provides a competitive edge in your worldwide supply chain.

A TMS estimates whether LTL loads can be combined with other loads on different but nearby routes. It then fills truckloads of freight by using this information, which can include multiple stops.

A TMS provides your organization with the ability to choose an LTL carrier, receive accurate rates, optimize goods and routes, and answer any questions you may have during the process.

LTL shipping truck being unloaded

Leverage consolidators

Although your software might be great, you can't reduce shipping costs by consolidating freight unless you have a large amount of LTL volume. However, even small volumes can ship via LTL if using a freight consolidator.

LTL freight consolidation companies group together partial loads from various shippers in their consolidation centers to make complete truckloads. This process is more efficient and cost-effective overall.

LTL orders from different shippers are combined into one full truckload to provide reliable and on-time deliveries for all partial shipments. Freight comes to the consolidation center, where it waits an average of 24 hours before being sent out again. While these warehouses are always bustling, the freight is handled less frequently than your average LTL load. This cuts down on potential damage and claims.

Provide accurate information about your shipments

If a carrier receives improperly packaged or reported freight, it causes delays and costs the company extra time and money. You can keep your relationships with shipping carriers strong by always reporting accurate information about your shipments (including weight and freight class) and packaging the items properly according to their individual properties. By using this method, carriers save time and expenses, building a positive relationship with your LTL carriers.

LTL freight next to an hourglass

How to optimize your LTL freight successfully

Every shipper has faced this challenge at some point: how to route freight efficiently when there are more than six pallets, but not enough for a full truckload. If you don't have a large load to ship, opting for a full truckload service is usually less eco-friendly because there will be unused space. This is where freight consolidators can come in handy and make the shipping process more efficient.

Shippers can lower costs and emissions via consolidation. By taking advantage of shipping networks and full truckload shipments, LTL should be used to condense simpler shipments.

At Revolution trucking, we take the guesswork out of LTL shipping. Let our dedicated Operations team find the optimal shipping method for your critical freight today.

FAQs about LTL freight shipping

What classes/commodities/types of shipments do LTL freight companies absolutely LOVE to ship?

LTL carriers specialize in transporting heavy and dense freight that is not easily damaged, such as bricks, stone, sand, and pet food. This type of shipping also tends to be more convenient for the shipper and consignee because it can often be delivered dock-to-dock. The rate usually goes up when the driver has to make stops at places that will take extra time. Carriers don't want to be held up, so they charge more for these types of jobs. Truckers are naturally inclined to work quickly and efficiently – so understandably, they want to go in, get loaded (or unloaded), and get out.

Why is my LTL freight class so high?!

A few things could be causing this. Is your LTL freight expensive? Does it consist of items that are both fragile and take up a lot of space? The one aspect you have control over is your packaging. By improving it, you can lower your freight class and make your product more resistant to damage. To ensure your products are protected from other freight on the truck and to make it easier for carriers to move your freight around at their terminals, crate, or box your products.

LTL freight being loaded onto truck

What does interline mean?

An LTL freight company is interlined when they have a partnership with another carrier that services areas outside of the LTL company's realm. This way, instead of being unable to deliver to certain locations, the LTL company can hire its partner carrier to fulfill those orders.

What Is the Max Less-Than-Truckload Freight Weight Limit?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to LTL max weight limit. Some carriers may set limits of 10,000 pounds, while others may transport cargo up to 20,000 pounds. In other words, each carrier has its own limits. In addition to weight considerations, most LTL carriers will also limit the shipment to a total of six pallets.

When Should I Choose LTL vs Parcel Shipping?

B2C companies who primarily focus on parcel shipping may be missing out on time- and money- saving opportunities by not LTL shipping. In particular, parcels may only be a suitable option if your B2C shipments are standard-sized packages that weigh less than 150 pounds and can be lifted easily.

LTL transportation is the best choice for large shipments that surpass the size and weight restrictions of parcel shipping. Your LTL freight will be secured on a pallet and placed on a truck or trailer during transit, which reduces the chance of theft or damage.

With LTL shipping, you have fewer check-ins and stops, meaning there's less potential for damage or theft. If all your packages are going to the same place, LTL is also the simplest solution. In short, LTL is usually the best way to ship for small businesses.

LTL freight unloaded from back of truck

LTL freight shipping is a cost-effective way to move large or heavy items across the country. It’s also a great option for businesses that need to ship products on a regular basis. In this article, we’ve outlined the basics of LTL freight shipping and answered some common questions about the process. We hope you found this information helpful!

join the community

Subscribe to Our Newsletter for Exclusive Content, Tips, and Updates.

Thank you! Check your email for confirmation.