Less-than-truckload freight classifications include clothing, furniture, appliances, wood and food, states Fed Ex. Medical supplies, machinery, plastics, and paints are also examples of this type of classification.
Freight classification is determined by four factors. The size of the object comes into play, as well as its ability to be shipped with or around other objects. Handling of the object is considered, as some cargo is large or fragile and must be loaded with care. Liability is also an issue, as some freight may be perishable or even explosive.
LTL shipping concerns freight that does not require a full trailer to transport. LTL shipping can occur with an airplane, train, or ship, but most often utilizes trucks, as they can move larger cargo faster and are not constricted by the strict time schedule of the railroad. Shipping by truck is also more cost effective, as many different orders can be moved by the same vehicle.
Trucks used for LTL shipping are typically enclosed with roll-up rear doors. Some trucks may be refrigerated. In-town drivers responsible for pick ups and deliveries use 53-foot trailers. Drivers using the interstate to carry freight across state lines use two trailers that are connected.
The cost of LTL shipping depends on the freight classification, weight of the cargo, and where the items will be picked up and delivered. Optional amenities, such as insurance for the cargo, are extra. An additional fuel surcharge also fluctuates depending on the current price of fuel.