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What Is LTL Freight Shipping & How Can You Utilize It?

August 2, 2023

What Is LTL Freight Shipping & How Can You Utilize It?

Learn all about LTL (Less Than A Truckload) shipping and discover how you can benefit from it.

Learn all about LTL (Less Than A Truckload) shipping and discover how you can benefit from it.

When it comes to LTL freight, which stands for “Less Than A Truckload” shipping, there is a lot to consider. In this article, we will explain the meaning & the nuances of LTL freight, as well as where it fits in the shipping and logistics world.

Read on to explore how you can use this service to not only reduce costs but also make your operations more environmentally sustainable.

What is LTL shipping?

As mentioned, LTL stands for “Less Than A Truckload”. You can utilize LTL trucking when an entire trailer would exceed your requirements.

If you only need a transportation solution for small freight weighing between 150 and 15,000 pounds - an LTL load - then this is the logistics service you need.

At Covenant, we offer a range of logistics services. We are here to assist you in determining which service is most suitable for your needs.

Still unsure whether an LTL service is for you? Let’s take a look at how it can benefit you.

The benefits of an LTL service

Cost Reduction

One of the primary benefits of opting for LTL (Less Than Truckload) shipping is the potential for significant cost reduction. While your freight will still be transported in a standard truck trailer, it won't occupy the entire space. Instead, it will only take up a portion of the trailer, with the remaining space allocated to other shippers.

With LTL, each shipper pays for the space their goods occupy, meaning you only pay for the specific amount of space your shipment requires. This eliminates the need to pay for an entire truck when you're only utilizing a fraction of its capacity.

Enhanced Security

LTL shipments often utilize pallets, which can contribute to improved security.

As your goods are packed into a smaller space within the truck - and carrier companies have an incentive to keep their trucks full - your goods are less likely to move around and become damaged during transit.

In contrast, when transporting goods on a partially filled truck, there is more room for movement, potentially increasing the risk of damage.

Flexible Service Options

LTL services provide flexibility in terms of scheduling and delivery. Many LTL carriers offer different service options, allowing you to choose the level of urgency and speed that aligns with your specific needs. Whether you require expedited delivery or cost-effective standard service, LTL offers a range of options to accommodate your requirements.

Additional Benefits

Adopting LTL services opens up opportunities for various other benefits. For instance, you may have access to features such as liftgates for easier loading and unloading, as well as indoor pickup and delivery options for added convenience.

LTL shipments also offer robust tracking capabilities, allowing you to monitor your shipment using different identifiers. These tracking options provide you with greater visibility and control over your LTL shipment.


Sharing space on a truck with other shippers optimizes the capacity utilization, reducing the number of trucks on the road.

This not only helps to minimize traffic congestion and environmental impact but also supports sustainability efforts within the transportation industry.

At Covenant, we are very mindful of ways we can help you not only cut your costs but also reduce the impact your supply chain has on the environment.

What determines LTL shipping fees?

Let’s discuss what may impact the rates you pay for LTL shipping.


As expected, the distance you need to transport your freight plays a significant role in determining the shipping fee. Generally, the farther the shipment needs to travel, the higher the fee will be.

Dimensions and Freight Class

The dimensions of your shipment are crucial in determining its freight class, which directly impacts the shipping fee. Freight class is assigned based on factors such as weight, size, density, and handling characteristics of the goods. Higher freight class items generally incur higher shipping fees.

Delivery Speed

The speed with which you require your goods to be delivered also affects the price. LTL freight can be shipped standard, expedited, or guaranteed - typically for an additional fee.

If an expedited shipping solution is what you seek, you should take a look at our expedited truckload option.

Special Provisions

If your freight requires special provisions, such as extra care for fragile items, or handling hazardous materials, the price of shipping may be affected. Meeting these special requirements incurs additional costs to ensure the safe and compliant transportation of your goods.

LTL Best Practices

Let’s take a look at what you can do to make LTL work even better for you.

Packaging and Preparation

●    Use sturdy and appropriate packaging materials to protect goods during transit.

●    Securely pack and stack items to minimize shifting and potential damage.

●    Clearly label shipments with accurate and visible information for easy identification.

●    Prepare all necessary documentation and paperwork in advance to streamline the shipping process.

Freight Class and Dimensional Weight

●    Understand the freight class system and accurately classify your shipments.

●    Calculate dimensional weight to avoid unexpected surcharges.

●    Optimize packaging and dimensions to reduce dimensional weight and lower costs.

Load Consolidation and Optimization

●    Consolidate multiple shipments to maximize trailer space utilization.

●    Explore opportunities for shared truckloads or collaborative shipping with other shippers.

●    Efficiently load and stack goods to minimize wasted space and maximize efficiency.

Carrier Selection and Collaboration

●    Research and choose reputable LTL carriers based on their reliability and service quality. Covenant, as a multiple logistics solution partner, can help you with all your logistics needs, as well as with optimizing your whole supply chain.

●    Negotiate competitive rates and establish clear service agreements.

●    Foster strong relationships with carriers to improve communication and enhance service levels.

Tracking and Visibility

●    Utilize advanced tracking technologies to monitor shipments in real-time.

●    Proactively address any issues or delays through timely communication with carriers.

●    Maintain clear and consistent communication channels with carriers for accurate updates.

Claims Management and Insurance

●    Understand the claims process and requirements for LTL shipments.

●    Take proactive measures to prevent damages and minimize risks during transit.

●    Document any damages thoroughly and file claims promptly when necessary.

●    Consider obtaining cargo insurance to protect against potential losses.

The LTL shipping industry is set to grow by at least 7% by 2027, and for good reason. It provides a cost-effective & flexible solution for your transportation needs - which means you should discover how LTL can work for you.

Contact Covenant today to inquire and see how we can help you take your business to the next level.