What is LTL?

Jul 6, 2022 | Services

LTL means Less Than Truckload. That’s not all there is to it, though. This option is incredibly popular for flexibility and timeliness, allowing shippers to ship goods without needing to wait for a full truckload (FTL). Utilizing LTL services saves money, improves margins, and boosts productivity through time management.

Article Overview

Benefits of LTL

Pricing: Tired of paying for unused space? With LTL, you pay for your load per every 100 pounds of cargo, and the prices decrease with each weight category. Another factor in LTL pricing is the density of the goods, which is found by dividing the total weight of the shipment by the volume (length x width x height).

The National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA) created a classification system consisting of 18 classes ranging from 50-500. This standardized system allows for scoring a shipment’s “transportability” by evaluating four characteristics: “density, handling, stowability, and liability.” A streamlined system allows for quicker processing and more predictable pricing for shippers. 

Warehousing: Gone are the days of stockpiling goods without proper demand. If you’re shipping to multiple storefronts, consider LTL as your primary method. LTL allows you to ship what you need and avoid needlessly stuffing warehouses. 

Moving large quantities just to fill the truck, stock the shelves, and justify a load will thin your margins. LTL is a simple solution to increase savings for any company. 

Sustainability: In the world of transportation, sharing is not only efficient, but it is also economically more appropriate. More and more companies have shifted, or included, focus toward sustainability and reducing their carbon footprint. 

LTL can help reduce emissions, as few trucks will need to be utilized for the same quantity of goods. If your company is looking to take steps toward carbon neutralization, consider leveraging LTL solutions.

Potential pitfalls

Slower turnaround: LTL is shared space, which also means shared time. You’re dependent on the pickup and delivery times of others’ shipments, which means your load could take a bit longer to arrive at its destination. Keep in mind that the farther the shipment, the more stops a carrier will likely make. 

Shipment damage: LTL has, in the past, earned a bad reputation for losing or damaging goods. The products do not travel the same way they were loaded because the trailer will make multiple stops, and items will be repositioned and shuffled around as others are loaded and unloaded. Experts estimate that an LTL shipment will experience at least 4 touches. 

Shipment loss: For the same reason, damage can occur, others have access to your cargo, and goods have a higher chance of being lost altogether. With FTL, your shipment is loaded, sealed, and delivered, increasing the security of your shipment, security not fully guaranteed by LTL.

Technology impacts on LTL

Many in LTL also capitalize on some of the most innovative technology in the supply chain. Technology has worked its way into almost every facet of transportation, from transportation management systems (TMS) to connected sensors and everything in between. 

Most of the supply chain operated off of physical paperwork for ages. Artificial intelligence advancements offer new and intuitive solutions for transportation professionals, including eliminating easy-to-lose papers. A TMS system reduces human errors, saves time, and boosts efficiency. 

As other sectors directly affecting LTL adopt new technologies, less-than-truckload solutions have become increasingly intuitive and efficient. 

Warehousing automation has ironed the seams of labor-intensive and time-consuming duties, reducing errors, increasing on-site safety, and optimizing maintenance. 

Robots and cobots entered the manufacturing scene many years ago. In the last decade, large-scale LTL operations and service centers have slowly implemented new technology to speed up inventory automation. Many centers are preparing their operations for a more robotic-based future. 

Trucks with advanced tracking systems developed in the last few years allow for easy monitoring of commodities. All necessary parties such as shippers and 3PLs can monitor a truck’s transit through the support of various telematics.

Autonomous vehicles are becoming more popular and diverse, completely revolutionizing how we view transportation. With breakthroughs made daily and more long hauls turning to autonomous solutions, hybrid options are at the forefront of use. In more urban areas, GPS and sensory systems can have difficulty pinpointing exact locations and surroundings, and a human still needs to unload the truck.

KCH Transportation LTL solutions

The KCH Transportation team offers LTL services across the country, leveraging a diverse network of carriers to fit every customer’s needs. Our dedicated LTL team uses carriers with the best reputations to help ease concerns such as lost or damaged shipments. 

Whether it’s one or ten pallets, we can book a load in less than 5 minutes and provide same-day pick-up for all our customers. We contract out rates through various carriers, and because we work with such a high volume, we can also offer discounts. 

White-glove service includes tracking and tracing every load to ensure the best experience. KCH Transportation is known for its quality service and customer care regardless of the load type. 

If you need a new LTL provider or are just getting started with load diversity, contact us today! Happy hauling!