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8 Important Things to Know Before Shipping LTL Freight

21 Nov 2012

LTL is an acronym for ‘Less-than-Truckload’. LTL freight means that the volume of the shipment isn’t enough to fill the entire area of the truck or carrier. Typically, freight between 150 lbs to 10,000 is moved by LTL carriers. However, if you want to ship something that is over 10,000 lbs, you need to move it by FTL carriers. Logistic companies that offer LTL shipping service load freight from more than one shipper in the same freight container. Thus, LTL carriers are a secure, quick and economical alternative of FTL carriers.

If you choose to use LTL freight service, there are certain things you must know before moving the shipment. Consider the following steps and streamline your freight shipping process:

  1. First all, you need to define the total weight of your freight followed by its size and dimensions. National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA) has defined several categories of LTL freight based on size, value and shipment difficulty. Knowing your LTL freight class and NMFC (National Motor Freight Classification) number, which states the type of freight, is essential to determine the shipping cost.
  2. Search in Google for a good LTL freight carrier in your state. You will certainly get a long list of logistic companies and freight brokerage firms to choose from.
  3. Ask for a rate quote. Most of the logistic firms have a standard freight rate quote application where you can enter the information about your freight and you will be shown an estimated price. You can compare the rates of several carriers before finalizing the one.
  4. If you require any additional service or facility outside the standard freight shipping procedure, you are liable to pay ‘accessorial fees’ incurred by LTL carriers. Some most common additional services include Lift gate service, inside pick up or delivery, Residential service, Collect on delivery (COD), Fuel surcharge, inside delivery, Arrival notification and Insurance.
  5. Some logistic companies ask their customers to open an account. If you don’t want to create an account online, you may directly contact their sales representative via phone.
  6. When discussing your freight details with a sales representative, make sure you share all the essential information with him before he sends a rate quote. If you are in need of additional service, let the sales representative know this in advance.
  7. Prepare your freight as per the guideline of your LTL freight shipping company before the shipping date. Remember, timely pick-up and delivery of the shipment is highly important in business. Thus, it is recommended to choose a logistics company with ample experience in LTL freight shipment.
  8. Ask the service provider company if you will be able to track your freight while it is on the way to its destination or not. Regardless if you want to ship freight across the country or outside the country, tracking service is a must.