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What is LTL and how does it work?

What is LTL? 

LTL, otherwise known as Less Than (truck)Load, refers to the transportation of palletized freight that doesn’t require a full trailer.

Why ship LTL? 

If you have a high volume of packages headed to the same destination or are shipping a large and/or bulky item that is above a parcel carrier’s size & weight restrictions, you should consider pallet shipping. The item(s) shipped will need to be on a pallet or crated since LTL freight is not moved by hand like parcel services. 

How is the cost determined?

The National Motor Freight Traffic Association uses a classification system for all commodities and groups them into 18 different freight classes which the carrier uses to determine the cost of transporting your freight. 

Freight class is determined by a number of factors but density (weight per cubic foot) is the most important. Think of the amount of space the freight will take up on a trailer in relation to its weight. For example, 50 pounds of feather pillows will occupy much more space than 50 pounds of bricks. 

Don’t worry!  When you create a shipment using ShipNerd, we have a tool to determine the freight class for your shipment. NMFC numbers are optional.  

Do I need to know the specific NMFC code of my freight? 

No, you can create a shipment with just the freight class. Including the specific NMFC code will ensure the most accurate rate quote but it is not required. 

What is a lift gate and do I need one?

A liftgate is basically a freight elevator on the back of the trailer that makes it possible to load pallets onto it. If you do not have a commercial shipping dock where a truck can back the trailer directly up to it, then you’ll need a truck with a lift gate.