Less Than Truckload shipping – what is it and how could you benefit from this? 

What is Less Than Truckload shipping?

Less Than Truckload shipping or Less Than Load (LTL) is a type of shipping that combines multiple small shipments into a single larger one. This offers good benefits for both the logistics providers as well as their customers. 

As opposed to Full truckload shipping (FTL), which applies to a shipment that takes up an entire trailer, LTL offers shippers reasonable pricing and more flexible shipment terms.

LTL shipping usually operates using the hub and spoke model, meaning that there are local terminals or “spokes” for mid-way stops and a central hub that acts as a distribution center. 

[Hub and spoke illustration]

The limits and rules of Less Than Truckload shipment may vary by carriers, but generally it makes sense to use LTL freight for shipments between 70 kg -7000 kg. Anything less could be handled by parcel service carriers. And as the pricing has a lot to do with the shipment weight, anything over 7000 kg would probably be more reasonable to ship using a full truckload service. 

 The growing demand of LTL freight

With the vastly growing popularity of e-commerce the demand for less-than-truckload services is bigger than ever. To stay in competition, online stores must offer fast delivery times and require more flexible ways to transport their small packages. This requires storing the products, ready for shipping, in distribution centers close to the customers.

While the truckload rate per mile index is continuing to fall, with a projected 11.6% year-over-year decline, we can see quite the opposite for Less Than Truckload shipping rates. 2023 Q1 projected LTL rate per pound index is 66.5%, which means a 20.4% YoY increase.

To meet the growing demand for LTL freight, logistics companies must have a network of carriers that can transport goods efficiently and safely, with reliable delivery times and competitive pricing.

Additionally, running a smooth LTL freight service requires an efficient and well-organized transportation network. This means investing in advanced logistics software and tools that can optimize the packing and delivery process, plus provide real-time monitoring of shipments.  

The benefits of Less Than Truckload

Offering Less Than Truckload shipping services allows logistics companies to attract and retain more customers. 

One of the primary benefits of LTL freight is that it enables businesses to share the cost of shipping with other companies, which can significantly reduce their transportation expenses. For logistics companies, Less Than Truckload represents an excellent opportunity to expand their services and capture a growing market segment.

Another way LTL shipping helps to reduce expenses is by cutting down on warehouse costs. By sending out more frequent shipments, you can reduce the need to store large amounts of inventory in your warehouse. This translates to significant monthly savings for your business.

Another advantage of LTL freight service is that it is flexible and can accommodate a wide range of shipment sizes and types, from a single pallet to a few tons of cargo and from boxes of feathers to heavy metals. Depending on your customers, it can also be possible to offer LTL shipping for more challenging types of cargo, such as hazardous materials or temperature-controlled shipments.

Last but not least, LTL shipping is environmentally friendly. By offering your customers to share truck space with other shippers, you can minimize the negative impact on the environment and contribute to a healthier planet.

Less Than Truckload vs Full Truckload

Delivery time is a more complex topic. A Full truckload shipment usually goes from point A to point B without the need for additional stops. LTL freight, however, depending on the distance might use local terminals in between the locations to group together shipments going to similar destinations. This could make the shipment process longer. 

On the other hand, unlike FTL shipping, the shippers don’t have to wait for a full truckload of orders before sending out products. This means sending out as many shipments as needed, as often as needed. 

Another challenge of LTL freight is managing the logistics of delivering goods to multiple destinations. This requires a high degree of coordination between carriers, customers, and logistics companies, as well as the ability to adapt to changes in delivery schedules and unforeseen events such as traffic delays or inclement weather.

How can modern software help with LTL freight?

One of the challenges of LTL freight is managing the complexity of consolidating multiple shipments into a single load. You need an efficient consolidation process that can minimize handling and reduce the risk of damage or loss of goods. 

You must be able to handle different types of freight and ensure that each shipment is properly secured and labeled for safe transportation.

Using advanced algorithms, 3DBinPacking can help you in multiple ways. For example, optimizing the space used, reducing the number of shipments required, reducing errors, saving time and labor costs, and ultimately increasing customer satisfaction.

3DBinPacking will help make your processes run faster, smoother and without errors. Use the Pack a Shipment tool to optimize space usage for both shipping and transport. Additionally, the software will help you find the correct size of boxes to save even more space.

Stack Pallets tool helps you save time and money by calculating the best option for stacking items with different dimensions and weight to a single pallet. This means you can transport more items in each shipment, reducing shipping costs and increasing efficiency. 

Know how much space is used and how much remains free with the Find a Missing Dimension tool. Just insert the dimensions you already know and 3DBinPacking will do the rest of the calculations, so you know exactly how much space is left.


LTL freight is a growing market segment that presents significant opportunities for logistics companies. By offering cost-effective and flexible shipping options, businesses can save money and improve their supply chain operations. 

To succeed in the LTL freight market, logistics companies must invest in advanced technology, efficient processes, and a network of reliable carriers that can deliver goods safely and on time. By doing so, they can attract and retain customers and gain a competitive advantage in the logistics industry.

Take advantage of the smart technologies that make your life easier and customers happier. 3DBinPacking helps you to figure out exactly how much space your packing will use and how much remains free to optimize your shipping and storing processes to the fullest!

3DBinPacking software will help you improve efficiency, reduce costs, and increase customer satisfaction. Try it today and see the difference it can make for your business!