Less than full truckload (LTL) shippers are companies who transport goods from more than one buyer on the same vehicle. The person to receive the shipment is usually far larger than the truck that shipped the goods. LTL trucking companies offer the best rates in the industry and are an excellent alternative to full-service providers. However, they do have their limitations. It is important to know what LTL shipping companies they are before choosing one.
Since LTL carriers do not own the trucks that carry their shipments. They are unable to provide insurance for the goods. In many cases, the insurance is void if the carrier doesnt have it. This can be very costly for the shipper. Because they have already paid for the fuel and tolls to get to their destination and dont want to be hit with additional costs associate with insurance. Other times, the carrier may have a good working relationship with the freight company from which they are shipping. In those cases, the carrier can provide insurance but will charge a fee to the freight company.
Many times, full or half truckload shipments dont even make it through customs. Because of this, the shipper must find out about their shipments status before they leave on their trip. It is possible to request an Import Determination which determines whether or not the shipment will pass through customs. LTL shipping companies can often assist with these determinations and get the shipment started again. They should do so as soon as they are aware the shipment has an Import Determination.
There are also a few ways to save money with LTL shipping companies. The most common way to save money is to choose an efficient carrier. They will often have a better cost per mile compared to other carriers. This is because an efficient carrier wont have to make repeated trips across the country to deliver packages. An efficient carrier will also be one that will be able to get the shipment to its final destination in one piece. Some LTL shipping companies also offer freeze protection as part of their service, which will typically save the shipper money.
A second way to save money with LTL freight shipping companies is to know when to ship the goods. This is especially important for international shipments. Not only does it help to ensure that the shipment arrives in good condition but it can also help to ensure that the shipper can get paid. For example, if there is a deadline due to the goods making it a few days late, it is important to contact them well in advance to find out if they have received the goods. If they havent received them, then it is best to send them a follow-up letter confirming that they have received the goods. If they can pay attention to detail like this then they can often ensure that the goods arrive at their destination on time and in good condition.
The last way that LTL shipping companies can save on shipping costs is that they often use full truck space. Many shippers only need a small portion of the entire truck space available and this is because it allows them to focus on smaller shipments. With large shipments, they are required to rent entire truck spaces and this requires them to invest a significant amount of money into truck space. With LTL, however, they can utilize the entire truck space without having to invest any additional money into it.
Department of Transportation
One important thing to note about LTL shipping companies is that they dont have to be a recognized carriers by the US Department of Transportation. Even if they are not authorized to operate as a shipping company, they can still qualify as an LTL carrier. They do, however, have to maintain their non-US flag status. Any US shipping company that wishes to participate in a non-US Department of transportation program must successfully pass a background check and pass an inspection.
LTL carriers also receive an extra layer of protection compared to other shippers. The larger companies can indeed pay for their own insurance coverage, but to ship anything, they still need to have a vehicle of their own and those vehicles are most likely going to be from a private carrier. Private carriers do not have the same coverage as the department-owned trucks and trailers that are standard with all shipments. However, a small company that utilizes an LTL shipping option is still going to be protected and able partial shipping to absorb the financial loss of delayed or lost shipments.