How Does Density Affect LTL Shipping?

Freight pricing is becoming more focused on freight density instead of weight. This change is occurring because of the growing popularity of e-commerce and the driver shortage. Carriers that are still charging shippers based only on their products’ weight are losing a ton of space and money.

Here at GoShip.com, we want to make sure you are never on the losing end of this process. Today we will review exactly what freight density is, and how it will affect both LTL shippers and carriers.

 

What is freight density?

Freight density is the space an item occupies in relation to its weight. This is determined by dividing the weight of the item in pounds by the volume in cubic feet.  You find the total cubic feet by taking height x width x depth and diving that number by 1,728 (the number of cubic inches in a cubic foot). After determining the density, you can figure out the freight class, which is important when shipping LTL freight. It could be stated that density is the most important element when determining the class of a shipment, as it sets the range for classification.

How does density affect LTL shippers?

Freight classes are designed to help form common standard freight pricing for shipments. Freight classes are defined by the National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA) and are based on weight, length, and height, density, ease of handling, value and liability from things like theft, damage, breakability and spoilage. There are a total of 18 freight classes, ranging from 50 to 500. Generally, the higher the freight class, the more it will cost you to ship.

How does density affect LTL carriers?

Freight density is not only a significant factor to consider for shippers, but also for carriers. For LTL carriers, the main factors that determine freight cost are P&D and dock, since the distance traveled is typically short. While freight density is important to LTL carriers, it is not viewed as crucial.

Nevertheless, nationwide LTL carriers view freight density in a different perspective. Because they have much longer routes, LTL carriers are constantly looking to maximize cube utilization and need to have accurate densities to do so. For these carriers, wasted space on the truck is exactly the same as throwing money out the window.

If you want to learn more about LTL freight density or have other questions about your LTL shipment, contact GoShip.com today!

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