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What is LTL Freight?

Updated: May 27


Less-than-truckload shipping or (LTL) is the transportation of relatively small freight. The alternatives to LTL carriers are parcel carriers or full truckload carriersParcel shipments are usually in box form and weight less than 100 lbs and full truckload can come in many forms and weight upwards of 20,000. LTL is in the middle, normally palletized freight between 100 and 10,000 pounds.

LTL carriers send trucks locally to pick up shipments from area businesses and then bring back to the local hub. The freight is then put on a truck headed to another hub and continues this hub to hub movement until it gets to the delivering terminal.

Here are 8 factors that determine LTL rates:

  1. Weight:  the more a shipment weighs, the less you pay per hundred pounds.

  2. Density:  divide the total weight of the shipment by the total cubic feet to determine density.

  3. Freight Class:  Lower classes have lower rates and higher classes are subject to higher rates.

  4. Distance: Interlining occurs when a shipment’s destination is outside the carrier’s standard service area and the carrier must find another LTL carrier to finish the delivery.

  5. Base Rates: LTL carriers establish their own base rates.

  6. Freight All Kinds (FAK): FAK is an arrangement between the client and carrier that enables multiple products with different classes to be shipped and billed as the same freight class.

  7. Minimums: LTL carriers apply a specific price point, an absolute minimum charge, which they will not charge below.

  8. Accessorials: These charges apply if LTL carriers perform more duties than stated on the BOL. Usually, these charges can be negotiated or avoided.

Why use Premier to ship your LTL?

  • Pricing- LTL partner carriers arrange discounted rates with Premier and we pass the savings on to you

  • Administrative Tasks- we provide the BOL and keep track of your shipment to ensure its moving in the expected time frame.

  • Technology- Premier’s Transportation Management System (TMS) automatically shows our partner carriers rates and transit times allowing you to pick which best fits your shipment needs. The TMS also provides shipment status updates and locations while in transit.

  • Special Shipping requirements- Premier pre-qualifies carriers for special handling requirements to mitigate accessorial charges. (lift gate, appointments, residential)


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