LTL Shipping Myths That Everyone Believes

ltl shipping myths


With so many commonly held LTL shipping myths floating around out there, it can be a bit difficult to separate fact from fiction.

For example, there is no perfect shipping program that ensures flawless shipping every time, regardless of the shipping mode. But a quick Google search reveals well over 100 pages of products that are advertised as such. Obviously, this is just simple marketing, but the problem is that it also leads to unrealistic expectations. Nevertheless, it's a good example of a prominent and commonplace myth.

While the above example is a rather harmless one, there are other LTL shipping myths that do more harm than good to the logistics industry. Too time-consuming, overly-complex and too expensive are a few more examples of the most prominent LTL shipping myths you are likely to hear at some point.

Our advice?

Don't listen to the majority of them.

If you are new to LTL shipping, these misconceptions can easily deter you from trying it out for yourself. Give it a fair chance, it potentially may be the shipping mode that can meet all your needs.

In this blog post, we are going to be outlining some of the most commonly held beliefs about LTL shipping. And then we are going to talk about how wrong those myths are nothing more than that... myths. 


Let's Dispel Some Less Than Truckload Shipping Myths

This type of freight mode is used when a shipper does not have the shipping volume to necessitate a full truckload. These containers are usually about 48 to 53 feet long, so small shipments cannot make use of them and the shipper still pays for any unused space in the container.

Essentially, an LTL shipment will pick up multiple products from either one company or multiple and put them on the same truck. The carrier then follows their route, making stops at each destination to offload the appropriate goods. They rearrange the goods in the container and head for the next delivery on their route.

This means that the shipper only pays for the exact dimensions their products took up in the container. There is no unused space to be charged for because it is either simply empty space or it is occupied by another company's products. On the flip side, it also means that their products will more than likely be handled many times as products are offloaded and then rearranged. So, this does increase the likelihood of damaged freight.

Many supply chain managers even utilize LTL shipping whenever multiple small shipments need to be delivered to various locations on one truck. Not all of your products have to go to the same location, you can perform multiple deliveries along the same route with some LTL carriers. 

However, there are many myths surrounding this extremely beneficial shipping mode.

Let's see if we can dispel some of the more prominent ones floating around out there...


Delivery Times are Always Guaranteed

Delivery times that are guaranteed with LTL shipping is not as cut and dry as it may seem. The reality is, due to the business model, and its unpredictable yet flexible service offerings, LTL carriers are incapable of truly guaranteeing specific delivery times.

When you schedule the pickup, you will receive an estimated delivery date. This estimation is based on your delivery recipient window, expected volume for the geographic area, and driver availability. 

Honestly, most other shipping modes cannot provide down to the minute delivery prediction, either. There are simply too many variables such as bad weather and construction that may delay your shipment.


LTL Shipment Scheduling is Time-Consuming and Frustrating

Like any other shipping mode, scheduling an LTL freight movement does not have to be frustrating nor time-consuming.

In fact, many logistics experts consider LTL as being the most flexible and easy to book services. Several LTL carriers offer their customers dedicated routes that pick up freight on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. These larger LTL carriers also have the flexibility to pick up shipments within a few hours of notification and scheduling. 

One of the best tools that any shipper can use to reduce time in scheduling an LTL shipment is a transportation management software solution (TMS).


Fuel Surcharges are Not Applicable with LTL Carriers

This urban legend is a little more difficult to clearly explain away.

It is quite common for a shipper to negotiate fuel surcharges and discounts with all their carriers, including LTL shipments. The problem is, not all carriers are open to this type of discussion with their customers. The simple truth is LTL is such an inconsistent business that it causes inconsistent ratings to stand out.  

So, yes, fuel surcharges are still applicable to LTL shipments. However, due to the nature of fluctuating volume in standard LTL shipments, these rates vary from shipment to shipment.


Final Thoughts

So, what shopping myths have you heard lately? Hopefully, we were able to shed some light on some of these more common ones for you. Maybe we even got you thinking about switching to LTL now?

Thinking about shipping with an LTL carrier but have never been able to shake your fears and misconceptions? Reach out to our team of 3PL experts here at Redwood Logistics and let us guide you through the process!