9 min read

Costly Mistakes LTL Shippers Make: Navigating Less-Than-Truckload Shipping

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In the world of logistics, less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping is a vital option for businesses that need to transport smaller quantities of goods. While LTL shipping offers significant advantages like flexibility and cost savings compared to full truckload (FTL) shipping, it's not without its challenges. LTL shippers often face a range of pitfalls that can lead to increased costs, shipment delays, and damaged goods. This comprehensive guide delves into these common mistakes and offers practical solutions to help LTL shippers navigate these challenges effectively.


1. Misunderstanding freight class in ltl shipping

The Challenge: One of the most significant challenges for LTL shippers is correctly understanding and applying the National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) system. This system categorizes goods based on density, stowability, handling, and liability, impacting the shipping costs. Misclassification of freight can lead to several issues:

  • Unexpected Costs: Incorrect freight class can result in higher shipping charges as carriers may reclassify and adjust rates.
  • Budgeting Errors: LTL shippers may find their shipping budget compromised due to unanticipated fees arising from freight reclassification.
  • Operational Delays: Misclassification can cause delays in shipment processing as carriers take time to reclassify and adjust billing.

FreightPOP's Solution: Understanding the complexities of freight classification, FreightPOP offers a robust solution to streamline this critical aspect of LTL shipping. Our approach includes:

  • Advanced Classification Tools: We provide sophisticated tools and resources that assist in accurately determining the freight class of your shipments. These tools consider various factors influencing freight class, ensuring a more accurate classification.
  • Simplified Classification Process: Our platform is designed to make the freight classification process as straightforward as possible, helping avoid the common pitfalls associated with freight class determination.
  • Educational Resources and Support: We offer educational materials and expert support to help LTL shippers understand the intricacies of the NMFC system, guiding them in making informed decisions about freight classification.

2. Incorrect Packaging in LTL Shipping

Common Error: Packaging in LTL shipping is a critical factor that is often overlooked. LTL shipments typically involve multiple handling points and varying transit conditions, making the goods more susceptible to damage if not properly secured and protected. Key issues include:

  • Selection of Packaging Materials: LTL shippers might choose packaging materials that are not robust enough for the rigors of LTL transit, leading to potential damage. 
  • Ineffective Packing Techniques: Simply filling a box with goods is not enough. Proper packing techniques, including the use of adequate cushioning and securing items to prevent movement, are essential.
  • Neglecting Proper Labeling: Labeling is not just about the destination address; it includes crucial handling instructions and other information vital for the safe transit of the goods.

FreightPOP's Solution: Recognizing these challenges, FreightPOP offers a comprehensive solution to help ensure cargo is well-protected throughout the shipping process. Our approach includes:

  • Guidance on Proper Packaging: We provide expert advice on the best practices for packaging, tailored to the unique needs of LTL shippers. This includes selecting the right type of boxes, cushioning materials, and packing methods to ensure maximum protection.
  • Emphasis on Suitable Packaging Materials: We stress the importance of using suitable packaging materials that can withstand the typical handling and conditions of LTL shipping. This includes recommendations on the types of boxes, padding, and wrapping materials that are best suited for different types of cargo.
  • Expertise in Labeling and Documentation: Proper labeling is crucial for the safe and efficient handling of LTL shipments. FreightPOP guides shippers on effective labeling practices, ensuring that each package is clearly marked with handling instructions and other necessary information.

3. inaccurate weight and dimensioning reporting 

Challenge for LTL Shipping: In the realm of LTL shipping, accurate weight and dimension details are crucial for several reasons:

  • Shipping Cost Calculations: LTL shipping costs are significantly influenced by the weight and dimensions of the cargo. Inaccurate information can lead to incorrect freight class determination and unexpected costs.
  • Carrier Efficiency: Carriers plan their loads based on the information provided. Inaccuracies can disrupt load planning, leading to inefficiencies and potential delays.
  • Compliance with Regulations: Overstated or understated dimensions and weight can lead to compliance issues, resulting in fines and additional handling.

FreightPOP's Solution: Understanding the importance of accuracy in weight and dimension information, FreightPOP offers a robust solution to help avoid these common pitfalls:

  • Precision in Measurements: Our platform is designed to assist shippers in obtaining precise measurements and weight calculations of their cargo. This precision is key to avoiding costly mistakes and ensuring accurate freight class determination.
  • Advanced Tools for Accurate Data: FreightPOP provides advanced tools that facilitate accurate and easy recording of cargo dimensions and weight. These tools are user-friendly and designed to minimize errors in data entry.
  • Enhanced Communication with Carriers: One of the strengths of FreightPOP's platform is its ability to facilitate seamless communication between shippers and carriers. By ensuring that accurate information is shared, we help minimize surprises and discrepancies that could arise during the shipping process.

4. choosing the wrong carrier

Common Issue: The choice of carrier is a decision that can make or break the shipping experience. Common issues associated with selecting an unsuitable carrier include:

  • Delivery Delays: An unsuitable carrier may not have the optimal routes or the logistical capabilities to meet specific delivery timelines, leading to delays. 
  • Risk of Damaged Goods: Carriers lacking experience or expertise in handling specific types of cargo can increase the risk of damage during transit
  • Increased Shipping Costs: Inefficient carrier services can lead to higher operational costs, either through higher rates or through indirect costs associated with delays and damage. 

FreightPOP's Solution: FreightPOP understands the importance of carrier selection in the LTL shipping process and offers comprehensive solutions for making the best choice:

  • Tailored Carrier Selection Guidance: Our platform provides guidance on carrier selection, tailored to specific freight requirements. This includes evaluating carriers based on their experience, reliability, and ability to handle specific types of cargo. 
  • Rate Shopping Feature: FreightPOP offers a unique feature that allow users to compare multiple carriers on a single screen. This tool helps to easily compare rates, service levels, and on-time delivery (OTD) rates. 
  • Easy Comparison for Optimal Decision Making: With our platform, making an informed decision about carrier selection is easier than ever. LTL shippers can effortlessly compare various aspects of carrier services, including pricing and performance metrics, to choose the carrier that best fits their needs. 

5. Not booking shipments in advance

Pitfall of Last-Minute Bookings: Last-minute bookings in LTL shipping can create several challenges: 

  • Increased Shipping Costs: Rush bookings often come with premium charges, leading to higher overall shipping costs. 
  • Limited Carrier Availability: Waiting until the last minute can limit the availability of preferred carriers which may lead to less optimal options 
  • Potential for Delays: Last-minute bookings can leave little room for flexibility or error correction, increasing the likelihood of delays in shipment processing and delivery. 

FreightPOP's Solution: Understanding the challenges associated with last-minute bookings, FreightPOP offers a robust solution designed to streamline the booking process:

  • Encouragement of Advanced Booking: Our platform is designed to facilitate and encourage advanced booking. By planning and booking shipments in advance, space can be preserved with preferred carriers while avoiding the extra charges associated with rush bookings.
  • Efficient and Immediate Booking Process: FreightPOP's platform offers a booking process that is significantly faster and more efficient than traditional methods. The immediacy not only saves time but also enhances the overall efficiency of the shipping process. 
  • Time Savings for Business Growth: The time saved in the booking process is invaluable for LTL shippers. The efficiency allows shippers to focus more on other critical aspects of their business, such as growth strategies, customer service, and operational improvements.

6. failing to communicate with carriers

Communication Gap: LTL shippers frequently face issues due to gaps in communication with carriers, which can lead to several problems: 

  • Delays Due to Uncommunicated Needs: When special handling requirements or specific delivery instructions are not clearly communicated, it can lead to delays in the shipping process as carriers may not be prepared to meet these specific needs. 
  • Unexpected Charges and Fees: Lack of clear communication can result in additional charges. Carriers may impose extra fees for services that were not initially planned but are required due to uncommunicated needs. 
  • Risk of Damaged or Misrouted Shipments: Inadequate communication can increase the risk of shipments being damaged and misrouted, especially when handling instructions are not clearly conveyed. 

FreightPOP's Solution: FreightPOP recognizes the importance of clear and effective communication in LTL shipping and offers solutions designed to bridge the communication gap between shippers and carriers: 

  • Facilitating Detailed Discussions: Our platform encourages and facilitates detailed discussions between shippers and carriers. This includes conveying specific requirements such as hazmat specifications, special handling instructions, and accessorials associated with particular delivery locations.
  • Customized Communication Tools: FreightPOP provides customized communication tools that enable shippers to clearly outline their shipping needs and requirements. This ensures that all necessary information is accurately conveyed to the carrier.
  • Preventing Costly Misunderstandings: By promoting clear communication, FreightPOP helps avoid costly misunderstandings and disputes with carriers. This clarity in communication ensures that all parties are on the same page, leading to smoother shipping operations and better shipper-carrier relationships

avoiding pitfalls in ltl shipping with freightpop

For LTL shippers, avoiding these common mistakes is key to efficient and cost-effective shipping operations. The right TMS partner will offer a comprehensive solution, addressing critical areas such as freight classification, packaging, weight and dimension accuracy, carrier selection, advanced booking, and effective communication. By utilizing these tools, LTL shippers can enhance their shipping processes, reduce costs, and improve their overall shipping experience.


To gain more insights, LTL shippers are encouraged to download our in-depth ebook, The Ultimate Guide to FTL and LTL Shipping. Crafted by experienced shippers for shippers, this guide is meticulously tailored to the heart of your shipping operations. Don't miss out!

Ultimate FTL & LTL Shipping Guide