In the U.S. general freight industry, truck transportation offers shippers infinite flexibilities in moving goods from shipper to consignee. Freight carriers offer three types of service: Parcel carriers, Full Truckload (FTL) service and Less-Than-Truckload service known as LTL. While parcel carriers handle only relatively small freight broken down into units less than 150 pounds, the FTL carriers move full containers of goods from one customer in large, 48 to 53-foot trailers.


LTL carriers move full containers filled with goods from different customers. A less-than-truckload carrier offers an alternative method of freight transportation to customers whose shipments cannot fill a 48 or 53-foot trailer alone. It is both an efficient and cost-effective method of shipping goods both traveling across country or across town.

For interstate transport, FTL carriers use both the longer 48 to 53 foot van trailers or enclosed trailers, and the shorter 26-32 foot pup trailers that they can haul in tandem delivering to the thousands of hub-and-spoke systems of pickup and deliveries where the sorting takes place. They have these terminals strategically placed where they consolidate all the freight and arrange shipments to move from pick up to destination with other freight bound for the same destination. Because of this unique process of sorting for destination, your shipments can efficiently and cost-effectively be transported anywhere in the United States.

City drivers for LTL carriers generally drive the shorter van trailers or the local day cab trucks not equipped with sleeper births giving way to lower weight conditions and better maneuverability around the city. These city drivers use a pallet jack so they can adjust the freight on their trailers throughout the day while making deliveries and pick ups.

LTL trucking usually is the most cost effective way to move goods because of its unique nation-wide networks that pickup, sort, and deliver the massive quantity of merchandise that moves throughout the country.

Rates and Services

Even though transit times seem longer than FTL transit times, they run only a matter of days difference and transporting costs a fraction what it would be to hire an entire truck and/0r trailer for an exclusive shipment. Also, per-pound rates of LTL carriers run less than the per-pound rates of parcel carriers.
Line haul costs consider weight, class, and lanes (the pick up and destination zip codes). However, successful contract negotiation between carriers, shippers, and brokers is integral in order for it to be a “win-win” for everyone involved.

Fuel costs associated with the lane of a shipment will also affect rates. With the daily fluctuating fuel prices, calculations use the national average of diesel fuel and are priced out weekly.
Accessorials is a term used in the transportation industry. It describes the additional services offered by carriers such as:

  • Appointment-A charge when freight delivery has a specific time.
  • Attempt to Deliver-A charge for when the delivery location is unable to accept the load, and the freight gets brought back to the carrier.
  • Inside Delivery (Business)- A charge for the driver going inside the location to deliver instead of dropping it off at the loading dock.
  • Lift Gate-A charge for using the lift gate when there is no loading dock or fork lift available.
  • Lumper Service-A charge when a 3rd party service is hired to unload at a warehouse distribution center and paid by the driver on the spot.
  • Intermodal Transportation-The trucking company charges for making the arrangements with the rail, air, or sea transportation companies for the forwarding transportation services.

In Conclusion

There is no reason to worry about how you can get your smaller freight orders picked up and delivered in a cost-effective way. Choose less-than-truckload services designed for shipping sizes too large for courier service and too small for FTL.

When you choose a LTL carrier like First Call Trucking and Courier based in the Greater Boston area who ships from New England to San Diego, you get a partner that looks after all your freight shipping needs.Contact us to for more information on all our services.