What is LTL?
What does LTL mean? It is a term used in the transport industry to describe a partially loaded truck. The abbreviation LTL comes from the English language Less Than Truck Load (in the case of a container we speak about the abbreviation LCL and its expansion Less Than Container Load). When a truck is not full, loads are consolidated into different orders to optimize costs. This not only fills the entire space of the truck but also significantly reduces the risk of overcharging. An alternative to LTL is groupage freight or FTL. In articles and trade press, you may also come across the term groupage transport. LTL transports are especially suitable for routes with several customers and where one large vehicle can be used instead of several smaller ones for a single order. It is worth having LTL service in your offer, as not every important customer has so many goods to fill up the whole semi-trailer. This type of transport also allows you to better manage your fleet of vehicles.
LTL transport - does it have its advantages?
Is LTL transport a good alternative? It is best when you cannot load your truck to the brim and at the same time want to optimize costs. LTL transport also allows for better fleet management. One large vehicle will be on the road to serve all your customers, so you don't have to hire several drivers. Some of them and their vehicles can be sent to other assignments, including FTL ones. Optimal juggling of FTL and LTL offers allows not only for better cost balancing but also for accepting orders from various customers. Not every customer has enough cargo for an entire semi-trailer, but it's not worth sending them to a competitor. Even LTL transport allows you to establish long-term cooperation with an important customer.
And does LTL transport have its drawbacks? The worst enemy for the transport company is time. Such transportation hooks up several stops and customers, which involves a much longer drive time. It may turn out that our vehicle is busy and will be back in a few days, and there is a perfect order for it. Operating in LTL transport requires a lot of caution, as well as a qualified dispatcher, who can perfectly cope with planning routes and selecting a fleet of vehicles. But don't be discouraged - LTL transport is still a great opportunity for a transport company. It allows you to significantly expand your offer and gain many additional customers.
Partial transportation - how to organize goods?
How to organize partial transportation in a trucking company? LTL transport has its requirements, and always in transport, the question of time is the most important. Balancing between LTL and full truckload transport requires certain prudence and reasonableness - the number of vehicles is limited. Of course, some of our trucks will also be on the road, and the drivers are subject to so-called working hours. Therefore, organizing this type of transport on a larger scale requires not only experience but also good organization and logistical talent. On the way to several customers, a truck can break down, and then you have to come up with something quickly. Each customer also has their guidelines and in LTL transport you have to reconcile all these expectations somehow.
Partial transportation - what could help in good planning? First of all, it is a good and talented dispatcher. He should be talented not only in routing, but also know well the distribution of goods in the truck. There should be loads at the trailer door that will be unloaded at the first stop. A good tool for trucking companies is also modern software that uses huge database resources and suggests optimal route choices to the dispatcher. Well-chosen people and modern software solutions will allow us to easily plan the details of groupage transport.