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LTL Shipping Glossary: What Does It All Mean?


Less-than-truckload, or LTL shipping is a growing part of the shipping industry, but there are so many industry-specific terms that it can be confusing. Don't worry though! We’re here to help: below are many of the commonly used terms to help you whether it's your first time shipping LTL or you're a seasoned veteran that needs a refresher.

LTL Shipping

Accessorials

Any additional services required outside of the standard shipping procedure require additional fees from the carrier. These include extra services such as:

  • • Construction Site Pickup/Dropoff
  • • House Pickup/Dropoff
  • • Inside Pickup/Dropoff (First Floor/No Stairs)
  • • Liftgate Pickup/Dropoff
  • • Military Base Pickup/Dropoff
  • • School Pickup/Dropoff
  • • Other Limited Access Pickup/Dropoff (Any location with a check-in window or guard gate)

Keep in mind that many non-commercial locations will not only require you to specify what type of location, but also to consider if it has a check-in/guard gate. Be sure to select all of your additional services required in order to ensure that the carrier is able to complete transportation of your shipment.

Arrival Notification

When the carrier notifies the consigner or consignee of a scheduled delivery date and time. Arrival notification is an accessorial service provided for an additional fee. Only some carriers offer this service, so be sure to let us know if you are interested in receiving arrival confirmation.

Bill of Lading (BOL)

A document that establishes the terms and conditions of a contract between a shipper and a transportation company. It provides the following:

  • • A contract between the shipper and carrier for the transportation of freight, specifying the obligations of both parties
  • • It includes the definition or description of goods
  • • It serves as a receipt for goods.

Classification/Freight Class

The freight class refers to the category of your freight as defined by the National Motor Freight Traffic Association. Freight class is determined by:

  • • Density – the weight per cubic foot
  • • Freight Stowability – the length and width based on carrier mode
  • • Ease of Handling – the amount of care needed in transport
  • • Liability – includes the freight price per pound, breakability, perishability, and risk of theft
  • • Shipping commodities are grouped into 18 freight classes between 50 and 500.

Your shipment's freight class determines the carrier's shipping charges. If you do not know your freight classification, we can use the dimensions you provide to determine pricing. That is why it is so important to provide exact dimensions and weight in order to get an accurate quote.

Carrier

A trucking company who transports freight.

Consignee

The person or company receiving the freight at its final destination.

Consignor/Shipper

The person or company shipping the freight.

Delivery Receipt

A document a consignee or its agent dates and signs at delivery, stating the condition of the goods at delivery. The driver takes the signed delivery receipt to the terminal for retention. The customer retains the remaining copy.

Dock

A platform, generally the same height as the trailer floor, where trucks are loaded and unloaded. If there is not a dock or a forklift available at the pickup/delivery location, a lift-gate will be needed so that the shipment can be properly loaded and unloaded. Liftgate service is considered an accessorial and will factor into your quote.

Hazardous Material

Hazardous materials are defined by the U.S. Department of Transportation in accordance with the Federal Hazardous Material Law. A substance or material may be designated as hazardous if the transportation of the material poses a risk to health and safety or property. Hazardous material may include: explosives, radioactive material; etiologic agent; flammable or combustible liquid or solid; poison; oxidizing or corrosive material; and compressed gas.

Inside Pickup and Delivery

If the driver is required to go inside (beyond the front door or loading dock), to pick up or deliver your shipment, instead of remaining at the loading dock or truck, an accessorial fee will be charged.

Less-Than-Truckload (LTL)

A less-than-truckload (LTL) shipment is when a consigner has a shipment that does not fill an entire truck and weighs less than 10,000 pounds. An LTL carrier then carries multiple shipments for different customers in a single truck, saving the shipper money since they are in essence splitting the both the space and cost of the truck with others.

LTL shipments are priced according to weight, freight class, pickup and destination location, and necessary accessorials.

Unlike an FTL load, LTL loads are loaded and unloaded multiple times. It is therefore especially important to take care in properly packing and securing your shipment.

Liftgate Service

When the shipping or receiving address does not have a loading dock, manual loading or unloading is necessary. A liftgate is a platform at the back of certain trucks that can raise and lower a shipment from the ground to the truck. Liftgate service is considered an accessorial and will need to be added to your quote.

Pallet/Skid

A wooden platform, usually measuring 48"x40"x92", on which goods are placed for transportation or handling within a warehouse. When putting items on a pallet, it is important that your items are not larger than the pallet or extend over the edges. You must also properly secure your items with shrink wrap or stretch wrap.

Redelivery or Reconsignment Fee

After a failed delivery attempt, the carrier will assess a fee for having to deliver the freight again. This fee is usually based on weight with a minimum charge.

Reefer

A reefer is a refrigerated trailer with insulated walls and a refrigeration unit, most commonly used for transporting food and beverages.

Residential Service

Carriers define a business zone as a location that opens and closes to the public at set times every day. If you are a business located in a residential zone or are shipping to or from a residence, the carrier may charge an additional residential fee.

Reweigh and Inspection Fee

Carriers may re-weigh your shipment at any point during the transport process. If an inaccurate weight was provided—either too high or too low—you may be re-billed at the carrier’s non-discounted rate for the difference. This is why it is crucial to determine the most accurate weight for all items that you are shipping, including packaging materials, pallets, etc. and not just estimate an approximate weight.

Terminal

A transportation facility that typically deals with freight consolidation/distribution, storage, warehousing and fleet maintenance.

Truckload/Full Truckload (TL/FTL)

A large-volume shipment from a single customer that weighs more than 10,000 pounds or takes up all the trailer space so no other shipment can be loaded. When dealing with a full truckload, the shipper contracts an entire truck for direct point-to-point service.

Get an LTL shipping quote!