Less than Truckload Shipping, often referred to as LTL shipping, is the transportation of goods or materials that are packaged as pallet loads, but don't alone constitute a large enough shipment to fill an entire truck. LTL freight companies can offer a combination of logistics and shipping services to help save your business time and money while making sure your goods get from point A to point B when you need it.
If you're making the transition from small (courier style) shipments to moving pallets of larger sized and heavy goods, and don't have enough to fill an entire truck with your own shipment, LTL freight companies like CSA Transportation offer the easiest, most affordable method of transportation. Savings are produced by allowing your freight to occupy space on a truck containing several other partial loads to fill a full truckload. This results in cheaper shipping costs for the various companies involved. Similarly, less freight handling is required when goods are shipped on pallets. Efficiencies are gained because forklifts do most of the work with the help of loading docks, power tailgates and pallet jacks.
Whether your order is for a single pallet or several, follow this guide to make the most of your LTL shipping experience.
The LTL shipping process includes:
finding a great transportation and logistics company,
obtaining a quote,
packaging materials for shipping,
booking the pickup
completing a bill of lading, and
receiving confirmation of order delivery
*Additional steps can be required for cross border shipping, such as if you're shipping from the USA to Canada.
What to look for in a truck transportation and logistics shipping company?
Well-positioned strategic distribution facilities
Solid track record of experience that you can depend on
Easy-to-use methods for obtaining a quote, placing an order and tracking shipments
Competitive and simplified pricing guidelines
*Note that, if shipping from USA to Canada across the border, or vice versa, it is important to find a company with years of cross-border shipping transportation experience and customs experts on staff, like CSA Transportation.
Obtaining an LTL Freight Quote
Finding a logistics company with an easy process for obtaining an LTL freight quote will help make sure that you have all the information needed before making a decision. Many companies have online quote forms allowing you to enter all your pertinent details to get the most accurate cost. Carriers provide estimates based on the information you provide, details like dimensions, weight, transit-time requirements, whether the pickup or delivery location has a loading dock etc. Give as much information as you can to ensure you receive the most accurate quote. If a carrier picks up a shipment that is different than what you initially described, pricing adjustments will automatically be made to your order.
Preparing for packing
Generally, LTL shipments are packaged on a pallet (loose goods can also be transported via LTL methods and it is recommended to package them well). Most businesses/shippers appreciate partnering with a company like CSA Transportation that provides "pallet rates", meaning you receive a one price for a standard skid no matter what you ship. This is usually for weights between 150 lbs, up to 1650 lbs. Palletized goods heavier than 1650 lbs are still accepted by LTL companies, the rates will generally be slightly more. Proper packing techniques (shrink wrap, cardboard etc.) will ensure there is no shifting during shipment. When shipping cross border, be sure to use professionally treated wooden pallets.
Tracking the order
Many major shipping companies offer online tracking services. Good companies, like CSA Transportation, also provide email notifications that will alert you of any changes in your shipment's status. Online tracking capabilities are important for keeping you informed about an ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival ) for your particular shipment.
LTL Shipping is a cost-effective method for businesses whose freight volumes are increasing and who are looking to move to shipping larger quantities of goods or materials over a long distance. In most cases it is more cost-effective to package 6 boxes 50 lb each on a pallet to make a 300 lb pallet rather than ship 6 boxes with a courier company. Partnering with an LTL transportation carrier maximizes efficiencies and saves you money. If you're regularly sending large amounts of materials that can be put on a pallet, consider finding an LTL freight company today.
- Matt Goddyn
CSA Transportation is one of the leading LTL freight companies involved with shipping from USA to Canada with over 26 years of experience operating in both countries.