LTL Freight is a classification of shipping that stands for Less-Than-Truckload. In the shipping industry, there are a number of different freight classifications that designate how large a shipment is. Less-Than-Truckload classification is self-explanatory as it means a shipment that does not completely fill a truck. For comparison, an FTL or Full-Truckload freight classification means a shipment that will completely fill a standard truck.
More About LTL Freight
LTL freight shipments are usually placed on pallets and the standard weight is understood to be anywhere between 150 lbs. to 10,000 lbs. Shipments that are over the 10,000-pound mark are understood to be Full-Truckload (FTL) freight shipments.
There are important factors and regulations to remember when engaging in LTL freight shipping including how a shipment should be palletized or otherwise secured/. Palletizing a shipment means to split the product up and place it on individual pallets in an equal manner. Shipments can only be palletized when the individual pieces can fit squarely within the edges of the pallet in order to create stacks of similar height and weight. In general, shipments that are not large enough to fill the surface of a pallet or do not exceed 100 lbs. in weight are not palletized and are secured within the truck in a different manner. Shipments containing pieces that have considerable air space and can easily be crushed are also not placed on pallets.
There are important terms associated with LTL and shipping in general that should be commonly understood. The term LTL Freight Class refers to a National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) placed on your LTL freight that has been designated by the National Motor Freight Traffic Association. These classifications are used to inform others of the size, value, and difficulty of transporting your shipment. Similar to a designated freight class all shipments are given an NMFC number so their product is easily identifiable.
LTL shipments are understood to follow the standard shipping procedure. At any time, however, shipments can be subject to accessorials which are essential services that fall outside of the known standard shipping procedures and they typically require an extra fee from the carrier. Common accessorials include Insurance, Residential Services, Fuel Surcharges, Collect on Delivery Services, and others of the same nature.