How LTL Freight Shipping Works

Understanding LTL Freight Shipping

In today's rapidly evolving supply chain landscape, understanding the intricacies of shipping is paramount. Among the myriad options available to shippers, LTL, or less-than-truckload shipping, stands out as a preferred choice for many. But what does LTL mean in freight, and how does it differ from its counterpart, FTL (full-truckload)?

What Does LTL Mean In Freight?

Less-than-truckload (LTL) refers to shipments that don't require full truckload shipments. These smaller freight loads typically weigh between 150 and 15,000 pounds, making them more substantial than parcel shipments but smaller than full truckload freight. LTL shippers combine multiple smaller shipments from different customers into a single truckload, optimizing space and resources.

How Does LTL Work?

The world of shipping less-than-truckload freight is a dynamic blend of precision, coordination, and efficiency. When shippers decide to use LTL trucking, they're essentially choosing a service that offers flexibility without the need to fill an entire truck.

Once the freight is handed over to a trusted LTL carrier like Revolution Trucking, the magic begins. The LTL freight carrier first consolidates these smaller shipments, organizing them into one truck, but destined for a multitude of locations. This intricate jigsaw puzzle ensures every inch of space is optimized.

But the journey doesn't stop there. As the truck wends its way to its final destination, the freight may be transferred across multiple strategically located facilities or hubs. This isn't a random process; each transfer is a calculated decision to ensure the most efficient and time-sensitive route. It's like a relay race, where the baton (in this case, the cargo) is passed seamlessly between legs to reach the finish line in record time.

And once the shipment touches down at the final destination terminal, it's promptly dispatched for the last leg—delivery to the client. Every step is a testament to the expertise and dedication of LTL carriers to deliver on time and with precision.

Workers loading an LTL freight shipment | Revolution Trucking

What's the Difference Between LTL and FTL?

LTL freight service, as we've explored, is all about sharing space. Imagine it as a school bus picking up different students (shipments) from various stops (companies) but all headed to the same school (destination).

On the other hand, FTL, or Full-Truckload shipping, is like chartering an entire bus for one student. The truck is dedicated solely to one shipper's cargo, ensuring it has the entire space for itself. This is particularly advantageous when the cargo tips the scale over 15,000 pounds or when the shipper has specific requirements that necessitate a dedicated truck, such as high-value or time-sensitive goods. While LTL is akin to a shared ride, FTL shipping is the premium, exclusive way to ship freight and is tailored for larger shipments.

Benefits and Considerations of LTL Freight Shipping

LTL shipping is a treasure trove of benefits, especially for businesses with a keen eye on efficiency and cost-effectiveness. For starters, LTL allows businesses to ship their goods without waiting to accumulate enough to fill an entire truck. This means faster shipping times and more frequent deliveries, ensuring products reach the market or clients promptly.

Additionally, with LTL, businesses only pay for the truck space their shipment occupies. This is a boon for cost-conscious enterprises, as it leads to significant cost savings compared to renting an entire truck. Moreover, the consolidated nature of LTL means that shipments are often more secure, with freight typically packed onto pallets, reducing potential damage.

But as with all things, it's essential to approach LTL with a holistic view. While it's replete with benefits, considerations like transit times (which might be longer due to multiple stops) and the potential for freight to be handled multiple times (increasing damage risk) should be factored in. However, by partnering with industry-leading LTL providers, many of these concerns are expertly managed, ensuring businesses reap all the rewards LTL has to offer.

What Are the Benefits of LTL Freight Shipping?

In a world where businesses are constantly seeking avenues to optimize operations and boost their bottom line, LTL freight services emerge as a beacon of efficiency and practicality. Let's delve deeper into the manifold advantages it offers:


At its core, LTL shipping is the embodiment of precision-driven logistics. Why? Because it empowers businesses, especially those in demanding sectors like life sciences and technology, to only pay for the exact space their cargo occupies within a truck.

This tailored approach eliminates the need to foot the bill for an entire truck, translating to substantial cost savings. When every penny counts, LTL proves to be the trusted ally for businesses, big and small.


The world of commerce is dynamic, with market demands ebbing and flowing. LTL shipping stands out with its inherent flexibility, allowing shippers the luxury to dispatch goods precisely when they're ready. Gone are the days when businesses had to play the waiting game, accumulating enough goods to fill an entire truck. With LTL, it's about moving at your pace, ensuring you meet market demands with agility.


Revolution Trucking understands the invaluable nature of your cargo. That's why most LTL shipments are meticulously packaged onto pallets before they embark on their journey. This strategy not only optimizes space but significantly reduces the risk of damage. It's a testament to the industry-leading commitment to ensuring goods reach their destination in pristine condition.


In today's digital age, real-time information is king. Modern LTL carriers, equipped with cutting-edge technology, offer unparalleled tracking capabilities. Whether you're a business in the TECHNOLOGY sector or a charitable organization sending relief materials, you can monitor your freight's every move. It's about staying informed, making decisions on-the-fly, and enjoying peace of mind, knowing your cargo is on the right track.

Warehousing and multiple trucks are factors to consider in LTL shipping

Pros and Cons of LTL Freight Shipping

Like two sides of a coin, LTL shipping, does come with its set of considerations. The advantages are clear: impressive savings, unmatched flexibility, top-tier security, and real-time tracking. But the road isn't always without bumps. Transit times with LTL can stretch a bit longer, given the multiple stops and occasional transfers. This is particularly true for time-sensitive cargo.

Moreover, the very nature of LTL means that freight may be handled several times during its journey, marginally elevating the risk of damage. However, by entrusting your shipments to proven freight carriers like Revolution Trucking, many of these concerns are mitigated with expertise and care.

How Does Shipping LTL Save Me Money?

Money saved is money earned, and to choose LTL shipping is a testament to this adage. By consolidating shipments and sharing truck space with other shippers, businesses unlock a world of cost efficiencies. Instead of bearing the brunt of renting a full truck, LTL shippers share the financial load across multiple companies to maximize cost savings. But savings aren't just about sharing space.

By collaborating with trusted LTL providers such as Revolution Trucking, businesses benefit from competitive rates sculpted to their unique needs. Add to this the tailored logistics solutions, optimized routes, and expert handling, and it's evident why LTL leads to drastically reduced shipping costs in the logistics world.

Choosing the Right Freight Shipping Method

Navigating the world of shipping freight can feel a bit like sifting through a massive menu at a new restaurant. So many options, each sounding promising, but which one is just right for you? The logistics world, bustling with different shipping methods, can seem equally overwhelming. But don't sweat it! We're here to help you decipher the jargon and choose the best LTL carrier.

When To Use Less-Than-Truckload Freight Shipping?

Let's chat about LTL, or as we like to call it, the "Goldilocks" of freight shipping. Why? Because it's that sweet spot for businesses whose shipments aren't too big or too small but just right. Specifically, if you've got shipments that weigh between 150 and 15,000 pounds, shipping LTL freight is your best bet.

Imagine trying to send a colossal piece of machinery via a parcel. A nightmare, right? And on the flip side, it wouldn't make sense to rent an entire truckload (FTL) for a shipment that's going to occupy just a fraction of its space. That's where LTL comes in - making sure you're not overpaying or underserving your shipping needs.

When Should You Use Parcel Carriers Instead of Shipping LTL?

Think of parcels as the quick text messages of the shipping world. Short, sweet, and to the point. If your shipment is lightweight, that is, if your freight weighs under 150 pounds, then parcel shipping is your guy. It's quick, efficient, and often more economical for those smaller items.

But if your cargo is bulking up, tipping that scale over the 150-pound mark, then LTL steps into the spotlight. With better rates and efficient delivery speeds tailored for those heftier shipments, LTL ensures you're getting the most bang for your buck.

Carrier Capacity

Carrier capacity refers to the availability of space in a carrier's truck. Partnering with industry-leading LTL providers like Revolution Trucking ensures ample capacity, even during peak seasons.

How Do I Ship LTL Freight?

Choose the Right LTL Carrier: A freight service provider like Revolution Trucking, known for their reliability and expertise, can make the shipping process seamless. Often, you'll work with a freight broker to ensure your LTL freight shipment arrives on time.

Prepare Your Shipment: Ensure your cargo is packaged securely and all documentation is accurate. Also make sure you are shipping under the proper freight classification, as this can affect LTL freight rates.

Track Your Shipment: Utilize tracking tools to monitor your shipment in real-time.

LTL accounts for about 12% of freight shipments | Revolution Trucking

Costs and Pricing in LTL Freight Shipping

Alright, let's dive into the nitty-gritty – the dollars and cents of LTL. We get it, shipping costs can make or break a deal, and understanding how those numbers come about can offer some much-needed peace of mind.

Which Factors Determine LTL Shipping Rates?

Now, LTL shipping rates aren't pulled out of thin air. There's a method to the madness. Several factors come into play when determining that final number on your invoice. First up in your LTL shipping options is the freight class. Think of it as the category your shipment falls under, determined by factors like density, stowability, and liability. Then, there's the weight – heavier LTL freight shipments might cost a tad more.

Destination plays a part too. Shipping across the country? It might be pricier than a local drop-off. And lastly, any special services required (like expedited shipping or temperature control) can nudge that rate up or down. It's a mix of these elements, finely tuned to ensure you're getting the best service for your hard-earned cash.

What Can You Do to Reduce LTL Rates and Shipping Costs?

Package Properly: Proper packaging reduces the risk of damage and associated costs.

Use a Transportation Management System (TMS): A TMS can streamline operations and identify cost-saving opportunities.

Consolidate Shipments: Combining shipments can lead to better rates and reduced costs.

Choose less-than-truckload if your shipments weigh between 150 and 15,000 pounds | Revolution Trucking

LTL Shipping Best Practices

Leveraging best practices can elevate your LTL shipping experience.

Use a Transportation Management System (TMS): Implementing a TMS can streamline shipping processes, providing real-time tracking and efficient route planning.

Package LTL Shipments Properly: Proper packaging is crucial to protect your cargo and ensure seamless shipping.

Fill Out LTL Shipment Documentation Correctly: Accurate documentation ensures timely deliveries and avoids unnecessary delays.

Understanding LTL freight shipping is essential for businesses aiming to optimize their operations. From grasping the basics of LTL to diving deep into its cost dynamics and best practices, we've journeyed through the nuances that make this shipping method a game-changer. As we've unveiled, LTL strikes a harmonious balance between cost efficiency, flexibility, and reliability.

By equipping yourself with this knowledge and partnering with industry leaders like Revolution Trucking, you're poised to make informed decisions that not only benefit your bottom line but also elevate your shipping endeavors to unparalleled heights. Whether you're a seasoned shipper or just getting your feet wet in the logistics arena, LTL offers a promising avenue to navigate the ever-evolving demands of the market.

Revolution Trucking is dedicated to providing LTL industry-leading services. With a 99.3% on-time service level and unparalleled expertise, we're the trusted choice for businesses across sectors. Regardless of your industry, our tailored solutions cater to every need. Join our community, share your experiences, and revolutionize your logistics with us.

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