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What is LTL Freight?

LTL freight simply stands for “less than truckload” freight. In other words, a shipment that is less than one truckload in size. LTL shipments are also often called motor freight, and the carriers that transport the cargo over the road are referred to as motor carriers.

LTL Shipments at a glance…

They range from 40 to 7,500 kg (90 to 16,000 lb).

Dimensions run from less than 2.5 to 8.5 m (8 ft 2.4 in to 27 ft 10.6 in).

The average single piece of LTL freight is 500 kg (1,023 lb) and the size of a standard 48×40 pallet.

Trailers used in LTL can range from 28 to 53 ft (8.53 to 16.15 m). The standard for city deliveries is usually 48 ft.(14.63 m) for ease of use. In tight and residential environments the 28 ft (8.53 m) trailer is used most. These trailers are often called pups or bobtails.

LTL shipments are usually palletized, shrink-wrapped and packaged for a mixed-freight environment. LTL shippers must provide their own packaging, LTL carriers do not provide any packaging supplies or assistance.

It’s important to know and understand what your freight is. How big is it, how much does it weigh, and, perhaps most importantly, if it qualifies as hazardous material. You might be surprised to know that, “hazardous material” doesn’t necessarily mean the obvious, but also includes computer monitors, among many other common items. [link to list of hazardous items].

You will need to check a carrier’s endorsements and make sure they’re certified to carry your load. Hazardous material (link to list) and can only be hauled by carriers who have undertaken the appropriate certifications.