What Is LTL Freight? An Ultimate Guide

what is ltl freight

What is LTL Freight?

Less-than-truckload (LTL) freight is a shipment ranging from 1 to 6 pallets, crates, large parcels or other shipping units that don’t fill up a freight carrier’s truck. A shipment over 7 units is a partial to full truckload shipment and is priced differently than smaller LTL freight shipments. Shipping using LTL freight can save companies, especially small businesses, a lot of money and can help make the shipping process as easy as can be. Read more about LTL shipping here.

How to calculate LTL freight rates?

How much your LTL freight shipment cost is based on five main factors:

Total weight of the shipment

For a single piece shipment, you need the final weight of the packed unit. For multiple pieces in a shipment, the weight is all of the units together. Apparently, one pallet shipment that is 150 lbs has a total weight of 150 lbs. Three pallets that each way 100 lbs has a total weight of 300 lbs.

Size of the shipment

The size of the shipment is the total amount of space that your shipment will fill up in the truck. You measure it by the length x width x height of the shipment. If there are multiple pallets or boxes in your shipment, you measure all of the shipments together so it is an accurate description of how much space the total shipment will take up in the truck.

How far your shipment is going

Freight travels in shipping lanes. This can cause a shipment that is far away to be less expensive than a shipment that is closer.

Delivery speed of your shipment

This factor is based on the type of service you chose to use. When shipping, you can use standard freight, expedited/express freight or guaranteed freight.

Freight class

There are various LTL freight classes from 50 to 500. The lower the number is, the lower the cost of your LTL freight is.

How Do I Pack My LTL Freight Shipment?

To begin preparing your shipment, it is important to know how to properly pack your items. Carriers usually move LTL shipment as a big single unit on pallets, crates or corrugated shipping containers. Pallets are the most common way to pack LTL freight shipments. Pallets are usually 40″ x  48″ and are easy to handle throughout the shipment transit. When packing your shipment on a pallet, you will need pallet wrap and a clear plastic paperwork envelope for the address label.

When packing your shipment, make sure the boxes are full with no air in them. Make sure that you use enough tape to seal the package to avoid your items falling out during transit. Stack your boxes together and evenly distribute the weight inside each box and on the pallet. Once all of this is done, use the pallet wrap to pack it tightly together.


Remember these key tips whenever you are shipping via LTL to ensure that you pay the best rate and that your shipments arrive safely and on time. Packing and pricing a shipment can be very frustrating and time-consuming, so make sure to use a shipping partner that you trust to help you through the process.

Learn more about our LTL Freight Shipping Solutions!

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