The role of less-than-truckload as an option for shippers has changed a lot over the past few years. Companies’ reliance on LTL has increased as business needs evolved due to the pandemic and growth of e-commerce.
Even with the rising awareness, it remains a better and more flexible choice than many companies realize. And it can be a viable option for what were once truckload shipments while also being a cost-efficient option for e-commerce and other direct-to-consumer deliveries, including residential.
However, shipping LTL comes with its limitations. The mode is not, for example, immune from the cost increases other delivery options have seen. 2022 has seen more than its share of General Rate Increases from major LTL carriers. And, there are aspects of shipping LTL that are different and more complex than truckload.
But with LTL carriers embracing the potential of e-commerce and offering more delivery options, LTL will continue to provide opportunities in terms of lowering costs and faster delivery times for shippers looking for more creative ways to deliver their products.
Making Better LTL Choices
While the potential advantages of LTL may be apparent, the mode’s rates and service agreements generally are not. Calculating a shipment’s cost for the purpose of comparison to other carriers takes a lot of work. Here are the basics of what goes into even the most straightforward LTL shipment.
- Base tariff (a standard table of costs based on locations shipped to and from, weights, and the type of freight)
- Discounts (most carriers offer a discount off of the base tariff that varies wildly)
- Fuel Surcharge (an extra fee that changes weekly)
- Accessorials (for services such as inside delivery or unloading)
- Transit time (delivery time can vary between LTL carriers)
And remember, all of these details are specific to the carrier. So, to consider more than one carrier, you have to do it all again. And this assumes you have the service agreements, including a negotiated discount, signed and in place.
Combining these factors and deciding on how to route a shipment, each time and every time, can be stressful for any company.
How to Set Your Company Up for LTL Success
Not surprisingly, technology can be a great decision-support tool when it comes to LTL shipping. If technology is good at nothing else, it makes accurately calculating and comparing lots of costs and numbers easy.
Companies that feel they are not taking advantage of LTL as a shipping option have plenty of ways to use technology to make these complex calculations simple. Some, like www.loadsmart.com, also do the pre-work of qualifying and vetting the carriers as partners. This provides companies with more options to choose from based on cost and service they would not have otherwise.
Companies need the assurance the right choice is made for each shipment. Technology to help with LTL is one of the best applications in logistics. Smart shippers will find and use a tool that presents them with options that consider cost and service, so the optimal routing decision is made with every shipment.
Transforming the future of freight, Loadsmart leverages technology and logistics data to build efficiency around how freight is priced, booked and shipped. Pairing comprehensive logistics technology with deep-seated freight industry expertise, Loadsmart fuels business growth, simplifies operations and increases efficiency for carriers and shippers alike. For more information, please visit: https://loadsmart.com. Move more with less.