LTL, or Less Than Truckload, shipping is currently an estimated $35 billion market. LTL shipments, full truckloads, parcel carriers: all are being driven by changes in the retain industry because of e-commerce. For LTL especially, having the right kinds of transportation management software is crucial to efficiency and profitability.
What is LTL Shipping?
This is a kind of truck carrier shipment that doesn?t require a full trailer. Load board integrations help match shipment loads with empty carriers so that LTL carriers can offer different kinds of services, from residential pickups and delivers to major transit, efficiently.
LTL shipments contain goods from many different customers on one truck, and allow flexibility and cost-efficiency for smaller shipments. LTL carriers normally use van trailers and occasionally refrigerated trailers to pick up and deliver goods.
How Does LTL Shipping Work Out?
Load board integrations software allows load brokers to match customers by the class, destination, and weight of goods so that freight management can offer efficient transport at good prices. Load board integrations allow for matching to happen quickly, and for real time adjustments for fuel surcharges, which change regularly, essentially easing communication among all parties.
Is LTL Shipping Useful?
It definitely saves time and money and is a very commonly used way to transport goods. Currently in America, trucks are the main transport method for delivery up to 750 miles, while rail is the primary way of moving shipments from 750-2,000 mile distances. There are now about 5.9 millions commercial vehicle drivers in the US, and the Department of Transportation estimates that the value of freight moved by truck is expected to be $1,377 per ton by 2040.
Having the right freight management software, load board integrations, shipment tracking integrations, and broker software are absolutely essential to keeping LTL shipments a vital and profitable part of this market.
How Did LTL Shipping Develop?
From about 1948, the number of carriers in the United States was fixed: no new carriers were allowed to apply for certificates to the Interstate Commerce Commission and existing carriers were exempt from antitrust legislation. This meant that prices were high and competition non-existent.
This changed in 1980 when the industry was largely deregulated. Price and carrier competition became very heated and many new carriers entered the market. These new carriers could offer lower prices and undercut existing shipping companies by offering LTL transport. Since then, efficient load board integrations have helped LTL shipping to become an increasingly important part of the freight transportation market.
Is LTL Shipping Secure?
Since by definition an LTL shipment does not only go from one pickup to one delivery spot, there can potentially be opportunity for cargo theft than with full load shipments. In the first three quarters of 2016, FreightWatch International and CargoNet recorded about 615 cargo-theft incidents, both for LTL and full load transport. This is a fairly significant increase over previous years.
Fortunately the entire trucking and warehouse storage industries are more and more aware of this issue and are taking steps to combat problems of theft. In the end, cargo safety is most effected by the awareness and best practices of the drivers, and by communication among shippers, carriers, and law enforcement. This means that today’s LTL shipping is not inherently less safe than full load transport.
In the United States today, there are almost 12 million vehicles and vessels moving goods over a vast transportation network. LTL is an increasingly important part of that network, and the right kinds of software and systems are important to efficiently, safety, and profitability in the world of modern shipping.