The freight industry is a multi-faceted and rapidly changing world. Gaining a solid grasp of the intricacies of the industry can feel overwhelming at times. There’s a lot to manage with every type of shipment, but knowing the basics for your options is a great place to start so you better understand the movement of your goods.
Less Than Truckload (LTL)
This is by far the most popular and widely-used type of freight transportation. LTL freight is shipped by truck from your pickup location to your delivery location. With LTL freight, your shipment will share space with shipments from other shippers in a container on a truck. They’re usually grouped by destination, class, and delivery requirements.
Truckload (TL) or Full Truckload (FTL)
Another fairly common mode of transportation, this method is available for any shipment larger than about 15,000 pounds. These large loads ship best on dedicated trucks since they often require more space and special conditions. TL shipments also deliver on the same trailer, so this speeds up delivery since they don’t need to be transferred. TL shipments can also utilize specialized equipment like refrigerated trailers, liquid containers and flatbed decks.
Shipping via airplane has the fastest transport times of any freight shipping method. Cargo airlines or air freight carriers are non-commercial airplanes that handle logistics for the transport of cargo. Certain types of air freight can actually be more cost-effective than LTL shipments because they have a higher density from being capable of being more tightly packed.
Intermodal Rail Freight
Almost anything that could be otherwise shipped LTL or TL can be shipped by intermodal rail freight. The intermodal process often means the freight starts and ends on a truck, but a bulk of its travel in between is via another mode of transport, i.e. rail. Shipping by rail is a cost-effective, extremely efficient, and environmentally friendly method. With the extensive railroad systems throughout North America and Canada, this method also saves time and money when utilized well.
When freight must traverse a body of water, it’s done via container shipping. Similar to LTL and TL, there are different types of loads for container shipping: less than container loads (LCL) and full container loads (FCL). Domestically, certain freight can also move on major river channels such as the Mississippi.
Predictable and flexible, expedited freight shipping allows different types of freight to move at very high speeds. Delivery usually occurs between one and five days after the pickup. These shipments also have more options of vehicles by incorporating sprinter vans that can much more easily navigate city streets.
Oversized and Over Dimensional
When freight exceeds the standard measurements of truck trailers, can’t have an enclosure, or can’t be loaded or unloaded from a dock, it qualifies as oversized or over dimensional. These types of shipments require special handling and the use of flatbed or step deck freight shipping methods.
Now that you have a better idea of your options, you can feel confident that there’s a method, or a combination of methods, that will work perfectly for your logistics needs. Contact us today to learn more about getting started with the best shipping strategy.