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Ltl Carrier FAQs For Freight Quotes

Mar 26, 2011

QuestionMarkImage-200x300.jpgWhen shipping your international freight to foreign customers and markets you will most often use Ltl carriers to get your goods where they need to be.  These common carriers consolidate shipments to fill trucks headed to foreign destinations.  If you are not familiar with the services of Ltl carriers these FAQs will help you understand what they are and how they can help you get your business taken care of.

1. What does Ltl stand for? 

The designation “Ltl” simply means “less than truckload.”  While some shipments fill an entire truck container, most do not.  These smaller shipments are consolidated to fill a truck load.  Most companies use Ltl carriers to make their international freight shipments.

2. What information do Ltl carriers need in order to provide a freight quote?

To customize a freight quote for your international freight shipment, Ltl carriers often use a freight calculator to help in producing their bid.  The forms used with the freight calculator walk you through the process of providing the needed information.  The details include the distance to your cargo destination and the weight/volume of what you are shipping.  The freight calculator will provide a shipper worksheet on which you will give details including the dimensions of the packages you are shipping and the weight and quantity of each size box.  The purpose of this is to determine how best to arrange your goods onto pallets for easy loading and unloading, as well as to make the best use of the space within the truck.

The Ltl carriers you receive freight quotes from will also need to know the specific freight class of your goods.  This is a key factor in working up the exact quote.  The fragility of the goods, whether or not they require special handling, and the overall density of the load will affect the freight class of your consignment.

3. Will Ltl carriers pick up goods?

Yes!  Ltl carriers will pull up to your shipping dock and load your cargo right into the truck container.  If it is more convenient for you to transport the pallets directly to the shipping yard, that will work as well.  If the Ltl carriers pick up the consignment from your location, that will be reflected in your price quote.

4. How heavy can the load be to use Ltl carriers?

Most companies use Ltl carriers, also known as common carriers, when their cargo exceeds about 150 pounds.  From there, Ltl carriers are the right choice for cargo loads up to about 4 tons, or 8,000 pounds.  That is roughly the limit for a single truck.  Beyond this weight you will need to use an Ftl carrier – Full truck load carrier.

5. Are transportation times guaranteed?

The time of delivery given is deemed to be a reliable estimate but not a guarantee.  If you must have your international freight delivered by a specific time you will need to contract with the carrier or the transportation brokers you use to make sure the time guarantee is specifically stipulated.

6. Who weighs the load?

You, the shipper, provide the weight of the load, which is added into the freight calculator when you receive your freight quote. In most cases the load will not be re-weighed by the Ltl carriers.  However, if there is any question about the weight you provide and the international freight must be weighed again, you may be charged additional expense if the actual weight is significantly higher than you have stated.  Weigh twice and pay once, as they say.

7. How should the shipment be packaged?

Most Ltl carriers want your load to be placed on a pallet and shrink-wrapped, or in some other way bound for safe, secure shipping.  Do not stack packages with any overhang on the pallet.  Failure to package the load in a secure manner may cause the Ltl carriers to deny any liability for damaged goods.

8. What is the best way to access the services of Ltl carriers?

While it is possible to contact an individual carrier, it makes more sense to work with transportation brokers that have a relationship with many carriers.  These agents will find the best possible rates, routes and prices and deliver a freight quote that reflects the most affordable way to ship your international freight via Ltl carriers.