less than Truckload (LTL) Freight Shipping Services

Efficient LTL Solutions You Can Count On

 

Spend any amount of time around logistics professionals and you’re likely to hear the term LTL thrown around, usually in connection with flexible shipping solutions. Less than truckload shipping is the most cost efficient method for moving smaller parcels, as it allows customers to pay only for the truck space they need – and for carriers to fill the remaining space with additional shipments.

Maximizing a truck’s available storage space through LTL shipping serves both your company’s bottom line and its broader sustainability efforts, as more efficient shipping naturally leads to saving on fuel and other resources.

Less than truckload carriers offer a practical solution to shippers whose products are too big for the postal service (anything weighing above 150 lbs), but not large enough to warrant a full truckload. A 3PL provider will often further optimize LTL efficiency by coordinating multiple deliveries into every LTL truck’s route.

Utilizing a 3PL for less than truckload freight boasts several advantages beyond simply saving money on fuel, labor and mechanical upkeep. A 3PL provider like First Call grants access to a wealth of tracking technology and real-time shipping updates through its customer portal, which means eyes on your shipment’s current location at all times. First Call’s network of carriers also own specialty equipment like temperature-controlled trailers and liftgates (used to unload heavy shipments at locations without a loading dock) for secure, hassle-free delivery.

Benefits of First Call’s LTL Shipping Services:

  • First Call provides a single point of contact connecting you to our network of trusted LTL carriers, simplifying operations and the flow of communication.
  • We also assist customers with National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) numbers, freight classes and accessorials per carrier partner.
  • Our LTL capabilities include premium service solutions for high-priority shipments and items requiring special handling, including LTL Recovery.
  • Access a top-of-the-line TMS via our custom portal, built with FCL partners in mind.

Less Than Truckload Frequently Asked Questions:

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What shipments are considered LTL?

LTL most frequently consists of the movement of 1-6 standard size pallets. Weights can vary but range from 100 lbs to 10,000 lbs. Anything over 12 feet can be considered for volume LTL, consolidation, or dedicated truckload.

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Is LTL a good fit for my company?

Less than truckload shipping is a common practice in logistics, and applies universally to all companies, industries and organizations looking to transport items as efficiently as possible. LTL is most beneficial for shippers who make freight easy for the carrier to handle – carriers are built for speed and efficiency, so ease of loading/unloading is crucial.

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How much notice do carriers need to schedule a pickup?

This is highly dependent on what you’re hauling. Some pickups can be scheduled up to three months in advance – though a window of about 7-10 days is much more common.

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How long is the average pickup window?

A 2-hour window is the generally accepted minimum for LTL pickups, but for special items (and to account for potential logistical hiccups), a 4-hour window is preferred.

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What is LTL freight rescue?

Unpredictable LTL delivery schedules can leave cargo stranded on docks or in the backs of trucks longer than initially planned. When a carrier is unresponsive or unwilling to deliver freight within a set time frame, an LTL “rescue” or recovery by another carrier may be necessary.

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Does First Call provide LTL freight rescue services?

Yes! Our team combines years of LTL expertise with a host of vetted, reliable carriers to swiftly retrieve and deliver stranded freight. Our LTL rescue services are available 24/7, with all cargo movements tracked in real time via First Call’s Transportation Management System (TMS) for full visibility into your shipment’s progress.

Be sure to check out our latest LTL rescue success story for more info on recovering stranded freight!

Simplify Your Next Shipment with First Call Logistics

Building and managing cost-efficient supply chains is a full-time job. First Call’s rare combination of in-house assets, expert problem-solving and track record of stellar customer service makes us the 3PL of choice for business partners with a wide range of shipping needs.

More Resources on LTL Freight Shipping:

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