What is less than truckload (LTL) shipping?

LTL means that multiple small cargoes or shipments are shipped together in one truck. Learn more about its benefits and working in this blog.
less than truckload
Small businesses and e-commerce exporters often need to transport multiple small cargoes efficiently while keeping shipping costs to a minimum. When shipping goods that do not fill an entire trailer, exporters turn to less than truckload (LTL) shipping, where a single truck accommodates shipments from multiple shippers simultaneously. Learn more about LTL shipping and its benefits for e-commerce exporters in this blog post.

What is less than truckload?

Less than truckload(LTL) is a type of shipping where multiple cargoes from different companies are consolidated into a single truck. Less than truckload freight typically ranges between 150 and 15,000 pounds, and they do not require a full truckload1.

Benefits of less than truckload (LTL) shipping

Here are some of the key advantages of LTL shipping:

Cost effectiveness:

LTL shipping is a cost-effective option for businesses that do not have enough products to fill an entire truck.

Reduced risk of damage or loss:

LTL shipments are typically handled with greater care and attention because they are consolidated with other shipments.

Lower carbon footprint:

LTL shipping can help reduce a business's carbon footprint by consolidating multiple shipments into a single truck.

Flexibility in scheduling:

LTL carriers offer flexible scheduling options to accommodate the needs of businesses.

How does Less than truckload (LTL) work?

Less than truckload (LTL) shipping works by consolidating multiple shipments from different companies into a single truck, which helps reduce transportation costs and increase efficiency. Below is the commonly followed process for LTL:

Shipment pickup:

The LTL carrier picks up the shipment from the shipper’s location.

Shipment consolidation:

The LTL carrier collects multiple shipments from different companies and consolidates them into a single truck at a hub or terminal.

Transit time:

LTL shipments can take longer to arrive at their destination than full truckload shipments because they often have multiple stops along the way.

Shipment delivery:

The LTL carrier delivers the shipment to the consignee’s location.

Factors that determine LTL shipping rates

Here are some of the key factors that impact LTL shipping rates:


Longer distances generally result in higher shipping rates due to the increased fuel and labor costs associated with transportation.

Weight and dimensions:

Heavier and larger shipments require more space on the truck and may incur additional handling fees or surcharges.

Freight class

The higher the freight class, the higher the shipping rates.

Accessorial charges:

Accessorial charges are additional fees for services such as inside delivery, liftgate services, and residential delivery.

Fuel surcharge:

Fuel surcharges are added to LTL shipping rates to account for fluctuations in fuel prices.

Carrier selection:

Different carriers may have different pricing structures, service offerings, and transit times.

When to choose less than truckload (LTL) shipping?

You should consider LTL shipping under the following circumstances:
• The shipment does not require the use of an entire trailer.
• The shipment involves large, bulky, or crated goods.
• The freight requires residential delivery or pick-up.
• There aren’t any urgent time constraints on the delivery.
• The pickup or delivery location requires a liftgate for loading or unloading the freight.

Less than truckload vs Full truckload

LTL shipping is a type of freight transportation where a carrier consolidates multiple small shipments from different companies into a single truck to optimize costs. Full truckload (FTL) shipping, on the other hand, involves shipping a full truckload of goods from a single company to a destination. FTL is generally used for large shipments that require an entire truck to transport and offers fewer delivery options than LTL. The main difference between LTL and FTL is the size of the shipment and how the transportation cost is divided. While LTL is ideal for businesses that need to transport smaller shipments and want to minimize transportation costs, FTL is better suited for businesses that need to transport larger shipments and require faster delivery times.

LTL shipping is a cost-effective and flexible option for businesses that need to transport small shipments, especially those selling on e-commerce platforms not just in India but across the world. By consolidating multiple small shipments into a single truck, LTL carriers reduce transportation costs and offer multiple scheduling and delivery options.

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If you’re an Indian business owner looking to expand your reach beyond domestic borders, Amazon Global Selling – an e-commerce exports program – provides the required platform and support at every step. With Amazon, you can sell to hundreds of millions of customers across 18+ international marketplaces. You can also benefit from its extensive logistics network like Amazon FBA and Amazon SEND.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the minimum weight for LTL freight?
The minimum weight for LTL freight varies by carrier, but it typically ranges from 150 to 15,000 pounds.
What is the difference between partial load and LTL?
A partial load typically refers to a shipment that takes up more than half of a truck's capacity, but less than a full truckload. LTL, on the other hand, refers to a shipment that does not require a full truckload and is consolidated with other smaller shipments in a single truck.
What are the different types of LTL shipments?
There are several different types of LTL shipments, including standard LTL, guaranteed LTL, expedited LTL, and specialized LTL.
How to determine LTL and freight class?
To determine the LTL and freight class of a shipment, one has to consider several factors, including the weight and dimensions of the shipment, the type of product being shipped, and any special handling requirements.
What are the different types of LTL packages?
LTL packages come in a variety of shapes and sizes, including boxes, crates, pallets, drums, and tubes.
Published on May 25, 2023.


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