LTL Shipping Perfect for the Retail Environment

Written by Small Business Magazine on November 20, 2017. Posted in Freight carriers, Overweight shipping, Specialty freight

Expedited freight

While the trucking industry has long been regarded as a stronghold for manly men, lately it seems like the more lustrous parts of the trucking industry are held to the standard and whims of a changing retail environment, brought about by one-click shipping and an online retail market.

The likes of Amazon and other online retailers changed the way shipping has been played, most notably in terms of quick shipping across the country. And while these online marketplaces have functioned using planes to get their shipments quickly across the country, they still rely on trucks to get those shipments through the states and then the cities.

Quick shipments across the country look like this. Amazon pairs together a company, often a small business, from somewhere in the country to a person in another part of the country. While the person is purchasing the product, they specify how quickly they would like it shipped. That can be from an overnight delivery, two-day, standard or longer.

The purchase is completed and the shipment starts. The seller prepares the product in some kind of container with filler inside of the container to keep the purchase from slipping and becoming damaged. The purchase is then taken to a delivery post–either a UPS or the USPS or FedEx or some other delivery post. The delivery is then shipped.

The shipment takes between 1 and 14 days depending on the shipping time picked by the buyer. The shipment travels first, generally, by air to the state or near state where the buyer is. The shipment then goes by transport to a location in proximity to the buyer. From, then a little bit closer, and then a little bit closer, and then a little bit closer.

While the majority of the distance covered in the delivery is through the air, the bulk of the time for the delivery is spent on the ground. While many may construe this to mean the last point of the delivery, when that UPS truck or FedEx truck approaches the residence or commercial building, the majority of the delivery takes place in trucks.

These trucks are often called “Less than Truckload” trucks, which is a term used to define “Less than Truckload” shipping. Less than Truckload shipping or LTL shipping for short involves the use of trucks that have a cargo that is less than the full capacity of the truck. These trucks are often smaller than the ones seen crossing the country.

Those trucks, the 18-wheelers, are generally not used to inter-city delivery. They may be used sometimes for regional delivery, as in the case of the package that has arrived at a nearby airport but needs to be brought into the city, along with a handful or a few hundred other pieces of merchandise.

An LTL shipping definition is this: The use of truck, sometimes an 18-wheeler, sometimes a smaller vehicle, to deliver goods that are less than the actual capacity of the truck. This is differentiated from the full scale delivery that takes place across the country. Those delivery trucks are generally stacked to the brim. This is for economy’s sake.

However, when it comes to LTL shipping, you may have a situation in which there are only so many pieces of merchandise heading to a particular region and even though there is enough of the shipment to make a delivery worthwhile economically, there is still not enough to fill the entire truck.

LTL freight companies work on the premise that their services are still viable even when the shipment has a less than capacity load. LTL freight rates are priced on the level that they can still make money from the customer or client, whether that customer is Amazon or some other online retailer, even though they are trafficking less than a full load.

LTL shipping necessitates that although they are traveling with less than a full load, they are still efficiently hitting all the points in a delivery, which is usually the case for them in a regional environment. LTL shipping generally would not be sustainable cross country. However, it is useful for shipping regionally, as in the case of Amazon deliveries.

LTL shipping is perfect for the online retail environment, which prioritizes fast shipping.

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