More Glossary Terms

Less than Truckload

What is Less than Truckload? 
Less than truckload freight shipping (LTL) is used to transport relatively small freight that does not meet the specifications required for a full truckload (TL) shipment. This shipping method can be used when freight weighs between 150 and 15,000 pounds. LTL freight is the easiest and most economical way to move large and bulky items. LTL shipments are typically aggregated with other movements to maximize trailer utilization.
LTL shipping is ideal for businesses that have freight under 15,000 pounds and do not require a full trailer. The alternatives to LTL carriers are parcel carriers or full truckload carriers. Parcel carriers usually handle small packages and freight that can be broken down into units less than 150 pounds. LTL trucking companies consolidate and transport smaller shipments of freight between 150 and 15,000 pounds by utilizing a network of terminals and relay points.
Benefits of LTL shipping
  • Reduces costs: When booking an LTL shipment, you only pay for the portion of the trailer used. The rest of the cost is covered by the other occupants of the trailer’s space.
  • Increases security: Most LTL shipments are packaged onto pallets before being loaded onto a truck. One well-packaged pallet has a better chance of remaining secure than shipments with multiple smaller handling units.
  • Additional service options: When shipping via LTL, you gain access to special services like liftgates and inside pickup and delivery.
  • Tracking: LTL carriers offer tracking capabilities through the bill of lading number, PRO number, PO number, shipment reference number, and pick up date range, to name a few.

Truckload Freight Procurement

Factors that determine LTL shipping rates
  • Location: Generally, the further the distance, the higher the price.
  • Dimensions: The dimensions and weight of the shipment help determine the freight class which directly impacts rates.
  • Mode: LTL shipments can be expedited, typically for an additional fee.
  • Type: Shipment that requires special handling or equipment (perishables, fragile, hazardous items) will likely lead to higher costs.
  • Type: Shipment that requires special handling or equipment (perishables, fragile, hazardous items) will likely lead to higher costs.
Additional factors for LTL shipping rates:
  • Location: The further the distance between the warehouse and the destination, the higher the LTL shipping rate will be.
  • Type: If shipment requires unique handling or special equipment as is the case with perishables, fragile items, and potentially hazardous items a higher costs will be involved.
  • Dimensions: The dimensions of the freight, as well as the weight of the packages, will be used to determine the “freight class” of the freight which will impact the LTL delivery rate.
  • Mode: If your shipments need to be expedited, there will almost always be an additional fee for LTL shipping.
  • Savings: LTL shipping should be your transportation option of choice if you run a business that produces freight that is under 15,000 pounds and does not require a full-sized trailer. If you want to further stretch savings in different sectors of your business, LTL shipping could be an excellent option.
LTL service meets the needs of small businesses that need to move goods in smaller batches. For this, shipping companies combine different shipments from various customers with multiple stops. Essentially, each customer only pays for the capacity their freight occupies.
How does MercuryGate help you with LTL:
    • LTL Density and Linear Feet Rating: This is a critical benefit for resellers operating on the MercuryGate platform. Few systems in the market – even those that can rate LTL freight – can accommodate pure density rating, cubic capacity, linear feet, and dim factors.


    • Loading Meters: This is especially important in Europe, where less-than-truckload (LTL) and groupage shipments require accurate loading meter determination.


    • Optimization With Tactical And Strategic Expertise:: MercuryGate’s industry-leading logistics planning is easily applied, from straightforward static moves to the most varied and dynamic routes. Simple design allows users to run the optimizer to accommodate loads with last-minute changes, without ever needing to adjust any of the parameters. Also, the built-in scripting feature allows companies to customize the tool to overcome specific constraints.
      The MercuryGate platform allows you to schedule complex intermodal, global moves that may include drayage, ocean, rail, less-than-truckload (LTL), truckload, and cartage all at once. Consolidate shipments across locations, and even measure the amount of C02 emission you reduced as a result. Use actual contract rates, even from carrier application programming interfaces (APIs). The opportunities are as extensive and varied as your business model.


    • The intelligence to manage all modes all the time:: There’s a big difference between simply consolidating loads and true multimodal optimization. Some multimodal moves can be so varied that consolidation isn’t the right answer. Multi-box parcel on certain lanes may be less expensive than via less-than-truckload (LTL). The opposite might be true on other lanes. MercuryGate enables multimodal optimization as well as simple consolidation. We book, plan, and execute capacity from road (TL, LTL), rail, ocean, air, intermodal, and parcel—based on the best freight rate available.

      Manage inbound, outbound, intercompany, and returns with the MercuryGate platform. Ship to any part of the world or multiple geographies at the same time. Understand your transportation holistically across the entire transportation network to maximize performance and efficiency.


    • Tap into pool distribution’s bottom-line value:: Pool distribution allows you to take less-than-truckload (LTL) shipments and pool them in order to use fewer total trucks at your facility. Instead of having 12 carriers vying for space at the dock, pooling allows a single truck to load all shipments and address distribution without delaying your facility. This is achieved by moving these pooled shipments to a single regional terminal or pool point. There the freight is sorted according to its final destination and sent on its way for local delivery at a significant total savings.


  • Freight Settlement Process: Automated support for reweigh and reclassify: The system identifies when freight is reweighed or reclassified by the carrier in their invoice. Users validate the amounts generated from reweighs and reclassifications common with less-than-truckload (LTL) carriers by automatically re-rating the shipment charges against the contract.

Request a MercuryGate Demo to Get Started