LTL Top Questions
So your business has freight to move, but you don't necessarily ship enough products to warrant a full truckload. Sounds like less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping is right up your alley!
LTL shipping is a fantastic option for small- to medium-sized businesses that don't need to ship a full truckload but still want to take advantage of the options, rates and peace of mind that comes with shipping via Worldwide Express' LTL freight carriers.
Before you pull the trigger on that first LTL shipment, however, there are a few key points to be aware of. As you dive into the world of LTL, make sure you know the answers to these important questions:
What should I look for when comparing LTL freight providers?
There's no shortage of freight carriers across the country. In fact, while there are hundreds of LTL carriers in the U.S., just 25 carriers make up 90% of the market! Even still, those carriers have a wide range of rates, reliability and technological capabilities. Then there are those that are local, regional, super-regional and national in their service coverage. It's important to make sure that the carrier you choose covers the lanes, or geographical routes, that correspond to your pickup and delivery locations, and has the specialized services needed at both the origin and destination.
Look for potential shipping partners who specialize in shipping LTL freight, like Worldwide Express, who simplify the comparison process through an online portal that you can use to compare quotes from a number of top carriers, saving your business valuable time. Take advantage of Worldwide's SpeedShip® transportation management system to quickly and easily identify the best carrier for your LTL needs.
How are LTL shipping rates determined?
LTL rates are based heavily on your shipments' classification, as well as its weight, density and value. LTL providers also consider other services you may require – such as your pickup or delivery needs – when calculating your rate. Another advantage of partnering with a 3PL like Worldwide Express is the access you'll gain to discounted rates that are normally reserved for companies with much larger shipping volumes.
Why is classifying freight important and how do I do it?
LTL freight carriers rely heavily on the classification (or class) of the goods you ship to determine your rate. Freight class is determined based on the size and ease (or difficulty) of handling your shipment. Carriers also use this information to combine as many similar shipments in a truck as possible, helping leverage truckload capacity and ensure your shipments arrive on time and without damage.
It's vitally important to enter the correct classification into the bill of lading (BOL) when you're preparing your LTL shipment. Incorrectly classified shipments are subject to a reclass by the carrier, which often involves additional fees and delivery delays. Need a hand in determining your shipment's exact class? Your WWEX shipping expert is happy to help.
How do I properly package my LTL freight shipments?
Taking a few extra minutes to ensure proper packaging can go a long way for your LTL freight's chances of arriving intact. Generally it's best to pack freight on pallets or in crates. Depending on the item being shipped, you may need to plastic wrap your pallets to avoid any shifting during transit. Since your freight will typically be handled multiple times in route, packaging your shipments with care will help protect them.
Need some more freight packing tips? Check out our article on effectively packaging your LTL shipments.
Feel a little more ready to dive into the world of LTL freight? Taking the time to arm yourself with the right knowledge will save you a lot of time, trouble, and money. Our local shipping experts are also standing by to answer any further questions you may have, and to help guide your business's shipping strategy. Get started with a custom shipping consultation and we think you'll feel just like we do: LTL freight is great!