When 'less-than' means 'more' savings

Posted by Harriet Mills on Jun 11, 2018 12:48:20 PM

Ever thought about breaking up your dry truckloads into multiple LTLs?

Advantage LTL art

Here’s a riddle for you. Forward I am heavy, but backward, I am not. What am I?

Give up? Well, while you’re ruminating over that cranial exercise, here is some actual useful information. Did you know there can be unexpected advantages to switching your truckload freight to less-than-truckload (LTL)?

Susan is a sales representative at Choptank Transport. One of her long-time customers recently contacted her with 13 pallets of dry dog food that she needed to ship, with an approximate weight of 16,000 pounds. The customer said the shipment wasn’t necessarily time sensitive. She had a window of two weeks to make the delivery.  


Seeing the opportunity to quote the shipment several different ways, Susan worked up pricing for intermodal, dry LTL, and TL. The results were dramatic.

- Full Truckload = $6650
- Volume LTL = $6070
- Intermodal = $4263
- LTL (3 separate) shipments = $2975

“I’ve seen savings as high as 60 percent,” said Susan. She admits that the above situation was an exceptional one, but confirms that they do happen. There is quite a difference in price for the customer. So why are the rates so varied?

John, one of Choptank Transport’s senior managers, explains one reason for the price disparity. “Switching from truckload to LTL,” said John, “is beneficial when you have a full truckload (TL) picking up out of an area that is dealing with capacity issues, and as a consequence, is experiencing higher than usual rates. You can split a TL into multiple LTL shipments and get it delivered for less.”

When asked if it’s difficult to find carriers for TL multi-stop loads, John replied, “Multi-stop loads are the best kind of situation to break up a truckload shipment and run it as LTL. Rates on multi-stop loads have increased significantly since the ELD mandate became law and are becoming harder to cover.“  (see: The Truth About Multi-Stop Truckload Shipping)

 John also noted that there is a much higher risk-factor for drivers on multi-stop TL shipments. They easily can get stuck on site at any one of their delivery points. If there are delays at a receiver’s dock, it affects the entire load. Rescheduling is then required, resulting in drivers waiting to get empty, sometimes stuck for hours, and occasionally days. 

Time constraints can also make LTL a better option, especially when shippers find themselves in a pinch.

Matt, another sales representative at Choptank, gives a prime example of how timing can be a factor in saving money by transforming a TL shipment into LTL.

Matt received a call from one of his customers, a shipping manager at a Michigan-based plastics company.  He is a regular client whose company manufactures boatloads (nah, make that truckloads) of drink cups, lids, and other plastic products. Last week, they found themselves in a jam with one of their larger distribution centers (DC). The DC called Matt in a panic needing a replacement shipment for one that dropped off two days prior. “We needed it yesterday,” said the shipping manager. 

Finding a truckload carrier that required an appointment for delivery the next day was a challenge, so Matt broke up the shipment into several LTL deliveries. As with many DCs, they didn’t require an appointment for an LTL delivery (many warehouses have standing orders for all small package deliveries, which includes LTL freight). Rating the shipment this way not only provided a solution to the critical time issue, but it also saved the day for the shipper.  

Choptank Transport arranges the movement of thousands of truckload and LTL freight shipments every week, so we know the business. We know the market, and we know how to evaluate every shipment for optimum cost and time-saving possibilities. Our sales teams are trained to offer multiple pricing options to include TL, LTL, intermodal, sea and air freight, when circumstances allow.  And wow! Sometimes that translates into bigtime cost savings.

So, do you know the answer to the riddle at the beginning of the blog?

The answer is: the word TON!

Request a dry LTL rate

Tags: Shipper News