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What Does LTL Mean?

When you’re shipping any loads that are bigger than can be carried easily by a parcel carrier, but aren’t approaching sizes over 100lbs, you’re probably going to want to consider the possibility of shipping LTL. Most delivery MA companies that have larger vehicles are going to offer this type of delivery option so that you can have a way to ship your larger packages or cargo loads affordably.

LTL is a shipping option that stands for “less than truck load”. This means that you can ship on larger vehicles without having to hire the entire vehicle in order to ship your cargo. The courier companies achieve this by subdividing every truckload into as many different parcels of space as they need to.

When the space in a vehicle is divided like that, it can help to bring the cost down for everyone that is shipping with that company. This allows the courier company to try and make sure that the vehicle is as full as possible, maximizing their profit and helping to push overall costs down.

Anything that is smaller than just 100lbs is usually best sent with a parcel carrier. The good thing about using a regular parcel carrier is that you can typically get your packages to their destinations quicker than with LTL, but that isn’t usually an option once your packages get to large.

Once you’re shipping over 10000lbs, it become necessary for you to get your own vehicle to send your shipment in. When you rent a whole vehicle like that, it is usually called FTL shipping, or full truck load. The size of most trucks means that once you’re over that weight limit, there isn’t enough room left in the vehicle for the courier company to warrant trying to include any other company’s deliveries in the truck load.

The advantage to FTL is the same as the parcel carrier, which is speed. When you’re shipping LTL, there are a lot of other companies whose deliveries are going to need to be either distributed onto other truck loads. This can delay your shipment a great deal depending on where you fit into the delivery schedule. On the other hand, when you’re shipping LTL, you’re going to end up saving a lot of money. When you’re shipping loads that are in the LTL range, you can opt instead for FTL if you desire. The trade off is that you always have to weight cost vs. speed.

Paul McDuffy is a consultant for local delivery MA and Boston messenger companies as well as international courier service businesses.