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Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between a FTL and an LTL shipment?
FTL stands for full truckload. LTL stands for less than truckload. Generally a FTL shipment refers a shipment that is larger than what the LTL carriers really want to handle. A 53' trailer can fit 26 standard 48X40 pallets inside of the trailer and the max weight on a FTL shipment is 45,000 LBS. A standard LTL shipment is generally 5 standard size pallets and the weight is usually 10,000 LBS or less. Exceptions do apply, but these are general guidelines.
Generally, how many times are an FTL/LTL shipments handled?
For FTL shipments, they usually are only handled 1 time. The shipper loads the freight on the truck, they put a seal on the truck, the seal should only be broken at the destination, and then the consignee would unload the truck. For LTL shipments, the number of times handled will depend on how far the shipment has to travel. An LTL shipment traveling from Florida to California may be handled 4 or 5 times along the way, whereas, an LTL shipment from Florida to Georgia, may only be handled 2 times. Obviously, there is a far greater chance for damage to a shipment when moving it by LTL, because of the number of times it is handled, compared to a truckload movement.
What are the differences between Full and Partial Truckload?
An FTL shipment is where the customer is paying for the services of the whole truck. There will not be other shipments being put on the truck regardless of the size of their shipment. An example would be a customer who needs to move 15 pallets on a 53' trailer when normally you could put 26 pallets on the trailer. A PTL shipment is where a customer has a shipment larger than generally moved by an LTL carrier, but would like to share the cost with another customer's shipment moving in the same direction. An example of this would be, if a customer has 15 pallets moving from Orlando, Florida to Dallas, Texas and would like the freight broker to match it up with another 9 pallets or less shipment that is maybe going from Orlando, Florida to Houston, Texas and share the cost. A partial truckload will generally take a couple more days in transit time than a full truckload shipment as they will need time to find another shipper moving freight in the same direction.
Why are their "Classes" of freight when moving a shipment by LTL?
Basically when you move an LTL shipment, you are renting a space on the truck. The price for renting this space is based on the class of the freight and the weight of the freight. Classes of freight range from 400 down to 50. The higher the class, the higher the price. An example of class 400 freight would be a very large pallet of stuffed animals. It takes up a lot of space, it doesn't weigh very much and you can't stack anything on top of it. An example of class 50 freight would be a smaller pallet of tile. It doesn't take up much space, it has good weight to it, and you can stack other freight on top of it.
Why de Re-Classes and Re-Weighs happen during shipment?
For economic reasons, all LTL carries have it down to a science of how many shipments they can fit on their trucks, based off of class types and how much weight they can legally put on the truck, based off the weight per shipment. LTL carriers determine their shipping charges based on the total shipment weight (including the packaging materials, i.e. boxes, pallets, etc.) and the freight class /NMFC of the items being shipped, as determined by the NMFTA (National Motor Freight Traffic Association). If you select the wrong freight class and/or weight when quoting and schedule your shipment based upon incorrect information, you will have been quoted incorrectly. This will result in a change in shipping charge that you are responsible for paying.
How is pricing calculated for Air Shipments?
When it comes to air shipments, the dimensions and weight of each pallet you are shipping are very important and have to be absolutely correct. They will re-measure and re-weigh each pallet brought to them. There is a little bit of a difference in pricing depending on whether it's a domestic air shipment or and international air shipment. For both types of air shipments the air carriers will charge based on the actual weight in Kilos or the dimensional weight in Kilos, whichever is greater. The actual weight is always calculated by taking the weight and dividing it by 2.2046 to get the Kilos. For the dimensional weight , if it's a domestic shipment, you take LXWXH of the pallet, divide it by 139 and then divide that number by 2.2046 to get the Kilos. If it's an international air shipment you take LXWXH of the pallet, divide it by 166 and then divide that number by 2.2046 to get the Kilos.
How is pricing calculated for Ocean Shipments?
Pricing for an ocean shipment is calculated in a couple of different ways. If you are moving a Full Container Load (FCL), the ocean carriers will price the shipment based on you renting the whole container, just like a truckload carrier would give you for renting the whole truck over the road. If you are moving a Less Than Container (LCL) load, then they will price the shipment based off how much space your shipment will take up in the container. The LCL pricing is based off CBM's (Cubic Meters). This is calculated by taking the LXWXH of your pallet, divide that number by 1728 and then divide that number by 35.315 to get the CBM's per pallet.
What all is involved when moving and international shipment?
Most customers don't quite understand what is involved when moving an international shipment. Let's see if we can simplify it down to make better since of it. First, let's take a look at the types of movement: Door to Door, Door to Airport/Ocean Port, Airport/Ocean Port to Airport/Ocean Port, and finally Airport/Ocean Port to Door. Here are some types of services: Economy, Priority, Charter, FCL, LCL and many, many more. Now, let's take a look at who is involved in an international shipment: Domestic Freight Forwarder to facilitate the move of your international shipment, Cartage Company or Drayage Company to move the shipment from the origin door to origin airport/ocean port, Air Carrier or Ocean Carrier to move the shipment from origin airport/ocean to destination airport/ocean port, and finally an International Freight Forwarder to move the shipment from the destination airport/ocean port to the destination door.