What qualifies as LTL?

June 16, 2023 Chase Flashman

LTL shipping is one of the best options when you’re looking to save money shipping your freight. But what exactly is LTL shipping? In this blog, we will look at the criteria, including weight restrictions, packaging, and transportation mode, among others, to get an idea of LTL shipping. 

What Is Considered an LTL Shipment?

An LTL (Less Than Truckload) shipment refers to a shipment that is a consolidation of large packages from different shippers being transported on the same truck. 

In essence, LTL shipping is a freight transportation method whereby cargo from different senders is packed together for shipping on a single truck. It is commonly employed for smaller shipments that do not require a full truckload but are too large for parcel carriers. Grouping shipments from various customers promotes efficient package delivery by reducing costs and environmental impact.

In general, a shipment is considered LTL if it satisfies the following criteria: 

  • Space Utilization: LTL shipments utilize only some of the trailer space. When a shipment from a single shipper utilizes a truck’s entire capacity, it is called Full Truckload (FTL) Shipping. 

  • Size and Weight: LTL shipments are typically smaller than a full truckload but larger than standard-size packages. While there is no specific weight or size limit, LTL shipments usually range from 150 pounds to 20,000 pounds (68 kg to 9,072 kg).

According to industry data, LTL shipments account for a significant portion of freight transportation in the United States. The American Trucking Association (ATA) reports that LTL carriers generated $39.2 billion in revenue in 2020, highlighting the sector's substantial economic impact. Furthermore, the LTL market is projected to experience steady growth, with an expected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.3% from 2021 to 2026.

What Does LTL Mean in UPS vs. FedEx?

What Qualifies as LTL at FedEx

For a shipment to qualify as LTL with FedEx, it has to fulfill the following criteria:

  • Weigh between 150 and 15,000 lbs.
  • Measure up to 15 feet in length.
  • It may be palletized or non-palletized.

If your shipment weighs over 15,000 lbs. (6,803 kg), you must contact the FedEx Freight Solutions Team for special arrangements. 

FedEx has three LTL options for sending your shipments across Canada and cross-border to the U.S. and Mexico. These are:

  • FedEx Freight Priority
  • FedEx Freight Economy
  • FedEx Freight Direct

FedEx Freight Priority

This service is ideal when you’re shipping time-sensitive goods. It delivers to Canada, U.S., and Mexico. 

Service Days: Monday through Friday
Coverage: Coast-to-Coast within Canada and Cross-border U.S. and Mexico.
Delivery Time: 1–3 days (depending on origin and destination).

In case your shipment needs extra attention or urgency, you can opt for the following additional services:

  • FedEx Freight A.M. Delivery: This service allows you to start your work day early by having your shipments arrive by 10:30 a.m. on the standard delivery date.
  • Custom Delivery: With custom delivery, you can tell FedEx when you want your shipment to arrive. You can choose delivery on a specific date, before a specific date, between two dates, or after a specific date.

The other LTL service that FedEx offers is FedEx Freight Economy.

FedEx Freight Economy

This service is ideal when cheaper rates are the priority rather than time and speed.

Service Days: Monday through Friday
Coverage: Cross-border U.S. and Mexico.
Delivery Time: 3–6 days (depending on origin and destination).

As with FedEx Freight Priority, you can add A.M. delivery and custom delivery to your shipment. These additional services can help you meet tight deadlines and improve the efficiency of your internal operations. 

FedEx Freight Direct

FedEx Freight Direct is a specialized service offered by FedEx Freight that provides a unique solution for shipping large, bulky, or heavy items directly to customers' homes or businesses. It delivers all across the U.S.

With over 370 service centers and a vast network spanning North America, FedEx Freight ensures efficient delivery and reliable service for LTL shipments.

Useful FedEx LTL Shipping Links

What Qualifies as LTL at UPS

At UPS, LTL typically refers to palletized freight weighing more than 150 pounds. 

If you’re shipping an un-palletized group of packages weighing over 151 lbs, UPS Ground with Freight Pricing may be a better option than LTL.

UPS provides LTL and FTL shipping through its own companies – like Coyote Logistics and UPS Supply Chain Solutions – and other third-party providers like TFI International Inc. UPS Freight facilitates LTL shipping across the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

Coyote Logistics, a UPS-owned company, offers the following LTL services:

  • Traditional LTL: This is the standard LTL shipping service.
  • Volume LTL: This LTL method is used when a shipment is too small for a full truckload and too big for traditional LTL.
  • Partial Truckload: Similar to Volume LTL. However, volume LTL uses LTL carrier networks, while partial truckload uses full-truckload carrier networks.
  • Refrigerated: Your shipment is transported in a cooled truck.
  • Expedited: Used when the shipment needs to arrive urgently.
  • Cross Border: For shipping across the Canada-U.S. border and the Mexico-U.S. border.

How ShipSigma Can Help

ShipSigma is a leader in small-parcel shipping cost optimization. Using our AI-powered software and 250+ years of experience, we save our customers, on average, 25% on their parcel costs. 

Contact us today to see what savings you can achieve on your small parcel shipping costs.

Share This: