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March 29, 2022

How To Overcome the Complexities of LTL Freight

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This blog post was originally published by Deliverr, which is now Flexport. The content has been adjusted to fit the Flexport brand voice and tone, but all other information remains unchanged. With the merging of Deliverr’s services (DTC fulfillment, B2B distribution, and Last Mile delivery) into Flexport’s existing international freight and technology services, we’re now able to provide merchants with true end-to-end logistics solutions spanning from the factory floor to the customer’s door.

Shipping freight that’s less than truckload (LTL) presents headaches for both you and the carrier. While you, the merchant, want to route inventory quickly, carriers want to do so more efficiently. To maximize time and space, carriers will aggregate LTL orders that are en route to the same destination onto a single truck to avoid dropping off at a destination where there are no shipments to pick up.

This current process leaves room for error, including delays, risk of inventory damage, and poor visibility during transit:


LTL freight can run slower than full truckload shipping. Depending on the carrier, routes can require many transfers as inventory from multiple shippers is dropped off or loaded from depots and terminals along the carrier’s route. Shipments are often unloaded at a regional terminal where they are sorted according to their final destination. Then freight must be reloaded to continue on its journey. Additional stops and transloading time all contribute to delays along with the traditional hiccups from weather and traffic.

Increased Risk of Inventory Damages

Since LTL carriers execute a number of deliveries, the time that merchandise sits on a trailer is increased as the truck makes multiple stops between terminals. Being in transit for long periods of time, along with more opportunities for pallets to be handled, means an increased risk of damage to inventory. It’s important to consider the number of times a shipment will be handled and take precautions to keep merchandise safe from the demands of transport, such as implementing proper prep services.

Poor Visibility Throughout the Transit Process

Poor visibility during LTL transit can cause supply chain headaches and keep you in the dark about where your inventory is and when it will reach its final destination. Outdated systems are not equipped to handle the complexities of ecommerce omnichannel shipments. Vendors want to use their own systems, creating a logistical nightmare for carriers who rely on the systems they have in place. When you don’t have clear, real-time data on your inventory, you can’t quickly identify problems or delays, resulting in loss of time and potential revenue.

How To Navigate These Obstacles

You can eliminate some of the nuisances that come from LTL shipments by:

  • Planning shipments far in advance. When possible, try to consolidate orders into one shipment if they’re heading to the same general destination.
  • Partnering with a third-party logistics (3PL) provider who can coordinate timely delivery or freight shipments. A 3PL can offer the best shipping rates because of the high volume of shipping that they require. Instead of having to negotiate for these rates on your own, 3PLs take the guesswork out of the shipping process. Their expertise helps to streamline your operations while offering the most efficient shipping options. Plus, they are equipped with updated software to provide inventory visibility throughout the entire transit process.
  • Prioritizing efficiency and taking the guesswork out of LTL freight services. Whether you’re working with a logistics partner or taking a close look at your logistics strategy and supply chain, focusing on communication and inventory visibility helps you focus on running your business.

How Flexport’s Time Guaranteed LTL Solves These Complexities

Flexport’s Time Guaranteed LTL freight model empowers you to confidently plan your business around LTL shipments by ensuring a timely arrival of freight. Flexport’s dynamic fulfillment network means we can handle your LTL challenges, accurately predicting the transport of freight and ensuring it arrives on time.

Time Guaranteed LTL offers the following process that allows retailers to execute a plan that guarantees timely delivery:

  • Flexport LTL will pick up any number of pallets within a 50-mile radius of our two coastal hubs in New Jersey and Los Angeles
  • We transport pallets to one of our metro hubs in Chicago, Dallas Fort Worth, Atlanta, New Jersey, or Los Angeles 
  • Delivery is made to any location within a 50-mile radius of these metro hubs

Flexport works with your team every step of the way to ensure freight will arrive on time, intact, and with visibility throughout the process. Fewer touch points means reduced risk of dropped or damaged items. We leverage our network of carriers to offer competitive pricing and take the headache out of LTL shipping.

So the next time you’re wondering where your inventory is or how to plan ahead for costs, or if your 3PL hasn’t talked to you about their damage risk mitigation or delivery guarantees, consider exploring how modern LTL freight could give you more control, visibility, and cost savings.

Want To Learn More About Flexport LTL Freight?

For more information about our Time Guaranteed LTL offering or any of our other freight services, check out our Help Center article or speak with a member of our team today.

The contents of this blog are made available for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon for any legal, business, or financial decisions. We do not guarantee, represent, or warrant the accuracy or reliability of any of the contents of this blog because they are based on Flexport’s current beliefs, expectations, and assumptions, about which there can be no assurance due to various anticipated and unanticipated events that may occur. This blog has been prepared to the best of Flexport’s knowledge and research; however, the information presented in this blog herein may not reflect the most current regulatory or industry developments. Neither Flexport nor its advisors or affiliates shall be liable for any losses that arise in any way due to the reliance on the contents contained in this blog.

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