Less Than Truckload (LTL) shipping has revolutionized the transportation of goods in the logistics industry, and offers many benefits for shippers looking to save.
That’s because, unlike Full Truckload (FTL) shipping, LTL allows multiple shipments from different businesses to share space on the same truck, providing cost-efficiency and flexibility.
But how do you know if LTL services are right for your business? If you’re new to LTL, then in this post we break down the process, so you can make the most informed decision.
At the core of LTL shipping is the hub-and-spoke model. Shipments are initially collected at local terminals (spokes) and then consolidated at central hubs. This model maximizes truck capacity, reduces transit times, and minimizes costs for both shippers and carriers.
Therefore, this model is a dynamic and efficient solution for businesses working with shipments on the small side. Larger shipments tend to fill a container, but smaller ones can be consolidated, saving money.
With LTL shipping, it’s important to first determine the weight and dimensions of the goods you’ll be shipping. These details are crucial in assigning the appropriate freight class, a key factor in determining shipping rates. Freight classes range from Class 50 to Class 500, with higher density leading to lower shipping rates.
Once the shipment is ready, LTL carriers pick it up and transport it to the nearest terminal for consolidation. At the terminal, shipments are sorted and loaded onto trailers, ensuring each trailer carries a mix of shipments for optimal space utilization. The journey continues to central hubs, where additional sorting and consolidation occur.
Throughout the entire LTL shipping process, technology plays a crucial role. Advanced tracking systems enable real-time monitoring of shipment status and location. Automated updates are sent to all involved parties, letting them know the shipment is at all times. This keeps communication open, so there are no surprises.
This transparency enhances overall supply chain visibility, empowering businesses with accurate, up-to-date information for informed decision-making. It also keeps the supply chain organized, especially when several different shipments are traveling through different hubs.
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