Freight shipping can be one of the most expensive aspects of ecommerce fulfillment. Because of the high cost of shipping many companies are looking to switch from their current method of shipping to less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping whenever possible. Many are partnering with companies called third-party logistics providers (3PL) to manage the end-to-end aspect of their LTL shipments.
What is LTL Shipping?
Less-than-truckload, or LTL, shipping is a method of transporting a relatively small amount of freight using an LTL carrier or parcel carrier. The LTL method of shipping serves as an alternative to full truckload (FTL) carriers. When it comes to full truckload shipping, a substantial amount of freight is transported using a large truck or semi-trailer. A company typically has exclusive use of the trailer while it’s in transit. However, this isn’t always practical for everyone—as not all products are large enough to take up the whole truck. The LTL method of transportation allows people to ship their packages with others’ packages as a more economical alternative to FTL.
Here are a few of the top benefits companies see when they utilize LTL freight shipping:
Benefits of LTL Shipping
Proper Packaging and Handling
Freight shipments are often handled more by LTL carriers, emphasizing the importance of proper packaging. By working with a 3PL, they ensure your products receive sufficient packaging to protect your possessions from physical and environmental harm. Adequate packaging also means proper tracking. Using tracking technology and notifications, a 3PL allows monitoring of your package during each step of the shipping process, until it safely reaches its destination. Not only does clear packaging and tracking protect the package’s safety, but it also avoids mis-loading, ensuring your customers receive your goods in excellent condition.
Lower Your Freight Spend
LTL shipping typically costs much less than FTL shipping for the same distance. Opting to ship your goods in smaller loads alongside other companies’ goods reduces the overall shipping cost for all parties. When a single company ships its products, it can be hard to fill a vehicle to its maximum capacity. Smaller loads or partial shipments from multiple businesses maximize the efficiency of the trip. Opting for LTL service saves costs on transportation, leading to the lowest possible shipping cost for your freight.
More Eco-Friendly Systems
Climate change and carbon footprint reduction are real concerns in the transportation and shipping industries. If you’re trying to be more thoughtful about your business, LTL is an excellent green option to help build a sustainable supply chain. The LTL shipping method reduces the amount of fuel and vehicles needed for shipments. It also allows carriers to uncover the more optimal pathways to travel when delivering their goods, saving time and fuel.
Multiple Shipping Options Available
If your order has unique requirements, you can request pricing customized to meet your needs. LTL shipping offers various service options like liftgate, inside pickup or delivery, expedited shipping, additional insurance, and more cost-effective solutions.
Easy Tracking and Tracing
LTL shipping can be ideal for its easy tracking and tracing. The LTL industry has provided clear visibility to shipment locations for decades. With top-of-the-line tracking systems, both you and your customers can keep your eyes on your shipments at all times. With a 3PL you gain easy access to the current status and location of your freight along your supply chain anywhere, including via your mobile device.
Access to a National and Regional Carrier Network
When you opt for LTL shipping, you gain access to national and regional carrier networks, translating to better efficiency, faster delivery, and cost reductions for your business. With LTL shipping, rates are available from many established national and regional providers. With a variety of options available, you can make the best choice for your order. With a robust carrier network, you can be sure capacity is available when you need it.
People often turn to LTL shipping for many reasons, be it to minimize shipping costs or to request special shipping service options. If you choose to work with a 3PL partner, you gain access to industry expertise and experience which translates to having the latest tracking technology and customization of a variety of other shipping services.
If you are seeking logistics support we’d love to hear from you. You can read DCL’s list of services to learn more, or check out the many companies we work with to ensure great logistics support. Send us a note to connect about how we can help your company grow.