There are many different modes of transporting goods for importers and exporters across Canada and the United States, but the most popular is through rail and road. Roads and rail networks cover a vast North American continent, and trucking still remains a core enterprise in both countries. Some goods are many and require an entire shipload, whereas others are smaller and might only fit into individual containers. In this article, however, we shall examine Less than Truckload trucking, which involves a different type of cargo transport. LTL trucking involves using trucks rather than ships or rail. Therefore, the term ‘shipment’ has been used in this article, which means the movement of goods from one location to another. However, the use of trucks as a means of transport in LTL shipment is not that different and therefore, the term shipment also encompasses trucking. Less than Truckload trucking is becoming a popular means of freight shipment because most of the goods being transported belong to individual companies that need to transport smaller portions of goods. Therefore, one product won’t solely fill the trucking container or cargo, and several will have to fit into one truck.

Less Than Truckload (LTL) Versus Full Truckload (FTL)
There is virtually no difference between FTL and LTL truckload apart from the number of packages within one truckload. Generally, the decision to pick one over the other is not entirely up to guesswork, and usually, any truckload that has individual parcels and units below 150 pounds would go into LTL shipment. The 150 pounds are the domain of parcel carriers, and these remain the biggest clients for LTL shipment and trucking. On the other hand, Full truckload companies use entire truckloads because the origins of the truckload as well as the destination are the same, and they don’t necessarily have to carry the same items or goods. Therefore the main difference between these two modes is that for Less than truckload, the packages belong to different carriers and therefore have different labels and packaging assigned, whereas, in full truckload, the entire truck holds loads for a single shipper or ‘trucker’.

Another major difference between the two is that Full Truckload shipment is from one hub to the other. Basically, two hubs are involved, whereby one is the hub of origin and the other the destination hub. On the other hand, the Less than truckload trucking operated on a ‘hub and spoke’ system whereby the truck routes are the spokes, and the service terminals are the hubs. These service terminals belong to different carriers, and the truck drops off the goods belonging to each carrier at each terminal and updates the records before continuing its journey to the last terminal.

Advantages of Less Than Truck Load Shipping

1. Has Fewer Handling Units

LTL carriers tend to prefer shrink wrapping a shipment of several boxes into one large package and, therefore, will attract fewer charges as compared to normal carriers who might charge per individual packaging. This makes LTL shipment and trucking to be safer since the boxes going to one destination will all be packaged into individual boxes first and then shrink wrapped before being put into crates. This packaging increases the safety of the shipment more than FTL and carrier shipments.

2. Is cheaper

LTL trucking tends to be cheaper to the consumer because the packages are all put together into one lot and shrink wrapped, and declared as one whole shipment. So long as the destination is the same, this packaging will be interpreted as one rather than the many individual boxes, and this significantly reduces the costs to the LTL carrier, who then passes on the discounts to the customer. Each box or product is considered separate from other carriers, and each attracts separate and individual charges. Furthermore, different clients residing in the same area can collaborate to have their packaging as one, despite coming from different origins, and this further reduces their shipment and trucking costs.

3. Easier to Plan

Though LTL shipping might seem complicated based on the variables present, these complications disappear once the same suppliers and consumers engage in locked LTL shipments. This means that if the amount and type of goods emanate from the same areas, and go towards the same destination, then the process becomes easier as it is easy to plan for future shipments. For FTL, you need the entire ship to fill, whereas in LTL, you simply need the basic threshold to be met, and the truck departs.

Cross-Cutting Measures to Use to Avoid Complications in LTL Trucking

LTL trucking or shipping works best when all concerned parties have planned ahead of time and have taken all measures into consideration. Basically, proper planning helps to reduce impatience and unnecessary expectations on the time the goods will arrive. This means that there is a Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ) for suppliers that ought to be attained before the truck or shipment can depart from the source. Through proper communication and planning, LTL shipments take significantly less time to organise and execute than other types of shipments.

Another method of avoiding complications is ensuring both the client and the carrier are on the same communication platform to ensure seamless cargo tracking. Road transport is not always as easy as envisioned; there is a risk of road accidents, diversions and other issues that might affect smooth trucking. However, if the client and the carrier use the same assembly service process, then any issue is immediately picked up, and both parties are aware as the cargo tracking system is shared.

Finally, the carrier should ensure the goods are ready for transportation by ensuring safe and foul-proof packaging. Tampered shipments during trucking account for many supply chain issues; therefore, any packaging risks should be eliminated. Therefore, any area where humidity or scratches might lead to tampered packaging ought to be addressed before transportation. Furthermore, all documentation should be in place to ensure the goods do not delay unduly at one carrier point. This will cause undue delays across the supply chain, resulting in further losses and delays. Overall, Less than Truck Load Trucking and shipping remains the most popular because it serves individual clients and consumers rather than large companies.