How Partial Truckload Shipments Supplement Your Transportation Strategy

How Partial Truckload Shipments Supplement Your Transportation Strategy

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While most freight shipments are transported via less-than-truckload or truckload, there’s another method of transportation that could be a more economical choice for your business: partial truckload. Although partial truckload isn’t the most common shipping method, it can be a great supplement to your overall transportation strategy. The first step is understanding how partial shipping works, but it doesn’t stop there. Our experts want to help you have confidence in choosing the optimal mode and knowing you are getting the best deal on your freight.

What are partial truckload shipments?

They are shipments that typically fall between the size of traditional less-than-truckload (LTL) and full truckload shipments, usually consisting of more than five pallets or 5,000 pounds of material. However, partial shipments typically do not exceed 25 feet of trailer space or 25,000 pounds of material.

What’s the difference between partial truckload and volume LTL?

Partial truckloads and volume LTL are two very similar shipping options. These two modes are commonly used when a shipper has more freight than a standard LTL shipment but not enough freight to fill a full truckload. The key differences between these commonly confused shipping modes are:

  1. Pricing – Partial truckload rates are dependent on the spot market, while LTL carriers dictate volume LTL rates.
  2. Class – Partial truckload shipments do not require an NMFC number.
  3. Transit Time – Partial truckloads do not stop off at LTL carrier hubs, which can lead to faster transit time.
  4. Handling – Due to the freight not being unloaded and loaded at LTL carrier hubs, the risk of damage decreases.

Who commonly benefits from partial shipments?

While there are many use cases for partial shipping, here are some of the most common types of shippers that benefit from this mode:

  • Companies with high-value goods due to the reduced handling of the freight.
  • Shippers with light product due to the cost structure of LTL shipments.
  • Manufacturers that centralize their production and ship to multiple cities within a particular region.
  • Shippers that cannot fill a full trailer with product but have historically still used full truckload because it is more affordable than shipping LTL.

Why should I look to optimize my partial shipments?

Increased complexities and advanced technology across the LTL industry have prompted many shippers to search for ways to optimize their freight. Here’s some background:

  1. Stricter Rules: Carriers have steadily been reducing their leniency when it comes to classifications, weight and space within less-than-truckload (LTL) networks. If shippers misreport key data points, significant delays due to re-weighs and re-classifications will occur.
  2. New Technology: Carriers have introduced dimensionalizers and upgraded forklifts that scan and weigh freight. Therefore, there is no room for error as shippers will be billed hefty re-weigh and re-classification fines.
  3. Nature of the LTL Network: Longer transit times, misroutes and additional handling increases the odds of loss or damage and freight claims. Additionally, low liability coverage is another common pain points in the LTL environment.

How can partial shipments be optimized?

Consolidating partial truckload shipments destined for the same geographic regions is one popular way to optimize freight. Combining freight into regional lanes can solve shippers’ headaches while saving time and money. It can also help decrease handling, transit time, classification errors, as well as weight and dimension discrepancies.

Who said logistics had to be complicated? We certainly didn’t. Contact our team to learn more about our Domestic solutions.


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