Less-Than-Truckload (LTL) is a mode of transportation that operates combining freight from multiple shippers on the same trailer.
Shipping via LTL is a more economical and efficient mode of transportation for customers who ship freight in smaller quantities than a full truckload or that are going to multiple destinations. LTL freight is typically heavier and larger than a package, palletized, and doesn’t require the capacity of a full truckload.
OD’s LTL shipping operates with a hub-and-spoke model, much like modern airlines. For example, when you travel from Chicago to Miami, you might make a stop in Dallas to switch planes. Similarly, LTL freight moves from hub to hub. At each stop, the carrier moves shipments from one trailer to another, consolidating them with freight going to the same ultimate destination. If your freight is picked up in Louisville, for instance, and needs to be delivered in Baltimore, it would first stop in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where the truck is loaded with other freight headed towards Baltimore.
This model allows shipments to move continuously through the network for faster transit and it reduces the number of miles a truck travels to deliver shipments. This provides both flexibility for our customers and is beneficial for the environment. Customers only pay for the space they use on a trailer while sharing the cost with other shippers. They also benefit from rate stability because LTL pricing (unlike truckload pricing) is more insulated from market forces.
Providing complete and accurate information on weight, dimensions, and class when requesting a freight quote and on your Bill of Lading will help ensure your freight invoice matches the amount quoted prior to shipping. Including the specifications of your shipment on your BOL, such as freight class, dimensions, total weight, origin and destination addresses, additional services required for pickup or delivery and the correct paying party, will help prevent discrepancies between the freight quote and invoice amount as well as delivery delays.
Not every LTL carrier provides the same level of service. This guide offers specific questions to ask a potential LTL carrier. Even if a carrier offers a lower initial price to ship, it is important to also consider the service they provide. The bottom line on your freight bill is only one element of your business’ total cost of transportation. To understand that total cost, you must consider potential problems like damaged shipments, delayed deliveries, fines, chargebacks, remanufacturing costs, overtime pay to your employees, and even damage to your reputation and relationship with your customer. At Old Dominion, through our industry-leading service, our shippers often reduce their total cost of transportation. We provide a premium service experience that you and your customers can count on.
Most LTL carriers, including OD, offer expedited services. Whether your freight needs to deliver faster than the standard transit time, before noon, within a time-specific window, or even over a weekend, OD offers a full suite of Expedited services to get your freight where you need it, when you need it. You can learn more about OD’s Expedited Services here.
Shippers choose Old Dominion for our premium service and one of the lowest claims rates in the industry. We take our role as a critical link within your supply chain with great responsibility and care. Our team can help you access pricing tailored to your needs and ensure your freight arrives on-time and damage-free. Connect with a Solutions Specialist today.