Less-than-Truckload (LTL) freight is the transportation of cargo that does not require a full truck due to its volume. The cargo transported as LTL is usually palletized, however, you can have oversized or overweight pieces that will require to move loose (ex. Pipes, fabric rolls, etc.)

LTL carriers’ goal is to optimize their loads by moving as many shipments as possible in one truck from one origin (terminal, city, or state) to another terminal located in a different city. By doing this they reduce costs.

How does LTL freight Work?

Essentially, you combine partial loads to create full multi-stop truckloads, which is very efficient. Cost tends to be based on space used, class of items being shipped, and pickup and destination locations.

During normal times, LTL cargo Carriers offer different types of services depending on the speed of the delivery (standard, expedited, or guaranteed). LTL Carriers offer special services such as a lift-gate truck use for pickup or delivery (when the location lacks a shipping dock), inside pickup/delivery (the driver loads or offloads the cargo using a pallet jack), residential pickup/delivery, and others. Of course, these services imply additional fees.

The main advantage of LTL Freight is cost since you are sharing space with other shippers LTL shipping is also beneficial to the environment because there are fewer trucks on the road at any given time (truck space is better utilized).

What is FTL freight?

FTL (Full Trailer Loads) shipments are made of cargoes that will fill an entire truck and often weigh 20,000 pounds or more.

The biggest advantage of FTL shipments is the speed. These shipments arrive at their destination sooner since they do not involve multiple stops and deliveries. Another advantage is that the cargo is only handled once, which means that is less likely to be damaged, pilfered, or lost.

Today’s Challenges for LTL and FTL Transportation

The rapid recovery of the world manufacturing sector and the consumer demand for products after being dormant due to Covid-19, has brought several challenges to the supply chain.

Below is a list of the 10 top challenges in Freight Transportation based on the American Transportation Research Institute’s 2021 report:

  • Shortage of Drivers: According to The American Trucking Associations, the truck driver shortage has hit a historic high of just over 80,000 drivers.
  • Driver Retention: The pandemic has impacted the driver’s population in many ways, including drivers leaving the field over health issues.
  • Driver Compensation: drivers have been expressing their complaints regarding the lack of compensation for long hours at congested terminals and warehouses; to this, you can add that with a shortage of technicians, breakdowns take longer to be repaired and that is time that a driver and his truck are not logging in miles.
  • Lawsuit-abuse reform (Tort reform): the American Trucking Association has put the Tort reform as a top priority since the abuse of the system has increased the insurance rates to unmanageable levels for independent truckers and trucking companies.
  • Truck Parking: after the implementation of the electronic logging device as a mandate, this just added more stress to the already existing parking problem increasing the parking demand and rest areas capabilities.
  • CSA (Compliance, Safety, and Accountability): Few drivers want to adhere to this important certification enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) due to the complexity and cost of the same.
  • Detention/Delay at customers facilities.
  • Transportation infrastructure/congestion/funding: The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) measures the performance of freight movement across our nation’s highways. This data is critical to understanding where and at what level investment should be made.
  • Insurance cost/availability: The abuse of the system and an excessive number of lawsuits against drivers and trucking companies have increased the insurance premiums; in addition, many insurance companies are departing from the trucking market since they consider trucking operations too risky to underwrite.
  • Diesel technician’s shortage: the labor constraints are also being reflected in this field keeping equipment in shops for longer than anticipated for regular maintenance and repairs.

LTL or FTL freight can be incredibly efficient and cost-effective depending on your business and the sorts of shipments you make. To get the most of your inland logistics, call an expert freight forwarder/customs broker like Promptus LLC, that will help you optimize your shipment.

Request a quote for our services today by calling 305-687-1405!