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What's That? Less-Than-Truckload (LTL)


Less-than-truckload shipping is used to transport freight that doesn’t require a full truckload trailer. In general, most LTL shipments weigh between 500 and 15,000 pounds, and are shipped on pallets and only require a portion of a trailer. Since LTL shipments don’t use an entire truck, free space on the truck is often shared by other shipments from other shippers or carriers. LTL is often the more cost-efficient option over ‘truckload’, with multiple companies paying for their portion of trailer space.

LTL freight uses a “hub and spoke” model to consolidate freight which can lead to longer transit times. In this model, a shipment is picked up from the carrier and brought to a local hub, known as a terminal, where it is sorted and consolidated with other local freight, before moving on toward its destination. Depending on the distance the shipment needs to travel, it may move through several terminals before reaching its ultimate destination.

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