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LTL vs. shared truckload: Your questions answered

05.10.2018 | By Justin Turner | 3 min. read

Make an informed decision about which shipping method is best for you

What is LTL shipping?

“LTL” stands for “less-than-truckload.” LTL freight shipping allows you to transport shipments that aren’t big enough to fill a full truckload (TL). With LTL trucking, you pack your shipment on pallets, measure and weigh your goods, and lock in a price.

How are LTL rates calculated?

Several factors go into determining LTL shipping rates. Here are the basics:

  • Shipment weight: The total weight of your LTL load, in pounds.
  • Total travel distance: The further you ship, the more it costs. If you’re sending a shipment outside of an LTL carrier’s delivery area, you may incur additional fees.
  • Freight classification: The LTL mode assigns a freight class to each U.S. commodity based on how easy or how hard it is to ship. Stowability, density, handling, and liability of the freight all play into freight class.
  • Base rate: This fee, similar to a taxi or a rideshare base rate, is the minimum amount you must pay for a freight carrier to ship your goods.
  • Accessorial fees: These include fees for extra services or tools, like a lift gate, hazardous material handling, packing services, and other services. Learn more about different types of accessorial fees here.

What is shared truckload shipping?

As an LTL shipper, you have the flexibility to choose another freight method to meet your shipping needs: Shared truckload (STL). Shared truckload combines multiple shippers’ freight into a full truckload shipment. Instead of transporting multiple shipments that don’t fill the truck to capacity, shared truckload maximizes the space by combining them into one multi-stop load. STL is the only service that guarantees freight pooling, the process that combines your freight with that of other shippers to fill an entire truck.

What are the benefits of shared truckload?

  • Less damage: STL service skips LTL hubs, terminals and distribution centers entirely. Instead of handling freight at LTL facilities, drivers who move shared truckload freight take complete responsibility for them, trans-loading freight no more than once and minimizing the risk of damage. STL service guarantees that your freight stays on the same truck between pickup and delivery.
  • On-time delivery, every time: LTL shipments can take longer than expected to arrive. On the other hand, STL allows you to lock down a guaranteed delivery time. Your freight travels on a direct route with only one driver seven days a week, so it’s possible to predict transit times down to the hour with delivery appointments.
  • Cost savings: Shared truckload provides the same benefits as TL shipping for a fraction of the cost. Shippers don’t pay for more space than they need. 
  • Transparency: No need to worry about being hit with unexpected accessorial fees; shared truckload shipments don’t require freight class.
  • Eco-friendly service: Shared truckload decreases your carbon footprint and helps you save on shipping costs at the same time.

Flock Freight® offers shared truckload through the FlockDirect™️ platform.

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