When it comes to transport and logistics, the dimensions of the trailer, as well as the equipment in transit, are very important.
You decide on the best type of trailer that fits your transport needs depending on the goods’ shape, size, and weight.
Fortunately, the market is flooded with trailer options, and you may find one that perfectly suits your demands. LTL (less-than-truckload) trailers come in handy when you have shipments that don’t fit the whole cargo space in a full track.
Moreover, LTL trailers are ideal for small businesses that don’t have large-sized cargo to transport. Nonetheless, it is crucial to know the trailer’s dimensions so you can determine whether your cargo will fit. So, what are the dimensions of an LTL trailer?
LTL Trailer Dimensions
Interestingly, LTL trailers have varying lengths; however, the measurement is between 22 and 53 feet depending on its age, fleet, and role. Most carriers have 53-foot trailers measuring 8.5 feet wide as LTL trailers.
Additionally, most LTL trailers have a height of 13.5 feet. Typically, you will find many LTL trailers with a roll-up door, making loading easier.
These trailers have roll-up doors because they have to make many daily stops since they take packages from different hubs. The dimensions for the roll-up door are typically 96*96 inches (width and height) which can extend up to 98*98.
The most important question you should ask yourself before opting for an LTL trailer is, “will my cargo fit through the door?” For instance, if your shipment measures 94’ tall or less and 94’ wide, it should go through the door without problems.
If your package-for-shipping is closer to 96,’’ then you will have trouble with the material handling equipment. For example, if you use a forklift to lift a 90-foot-long load 6 feet off the ground, it becomes too big to fit through the roll-up door.
Additionally, since an LTL trailer picks up many pallets along the way, other considerations include the size and shape of your pallets and how it fits in with the rest of the cargo to facilitate loading and offloading.
Regarding freight dimensions, many carriers dictate their limits and rules. Generally, individual shipments weighing between 150 and 15,000 pounds are carried by LTL trailers.
Shipments that are 150 pounds and under are transported using parcel services such as UPS, FedEx Ground, and US mail. LTL shipments should not be more than 24 feet of the trailer and consist of more than six pallets or less than 12 linear feet.
Shipments over six pallets are better for partial truckload shipping or volume LTL. LTL shipments are usually transported through flat stands that are 48*40 inches. Carriers shrink-wrap individual shipments together to use space efficiently and offer more security.
Since the LTL trailer makes many stops along the way, the hub and spoke model coordinates the connections. In this model, the local terminals are the spokes that connect to the main distribution center.
Consequently, you load shipments into the trailers at local terminals and take them to the hubs. At the hubs, the goods are delivered to their recipients or given to another truck to fulfill the order.
When Should You Use LTL Shipping?
The main considerations to make when deciding on the type of shipment to use are the durability of the cargo, size, and shipping price.
Generally, it would be best if you went for LTL shipping when you have a shipment of 12 pallets or less. Larger cargo will need you to pay for a full truckload.
Additionally, you should not use LTL shipping when your product is not sturdy enough. LTL shipments undergo a lot of handling; therefore, your package is more prone to damage.
Additionally, you can go for LTL shipping if you are flexible regarding the time taken for shipping and delivery. LTL is also a good choice if you want to save money. The shipping model has helped small businesses improve their logistics while saving money.
Pros and Cons of LTL Shipping
The most outstanding benefit of using LTL shipping is the cost savings. LTL shipping combines several packages to the same destination, therefore applying economies of scale. With LTL shipping, you only pay for your shipping and space used.
The cost depends on lane, mileage, weight, and space used by your freight. Unlike regular trucking pricing, you can negotiate with your carrier.
However, it would be best to understand that LTL shipments attract more accessorial charges. LTL carriers want to make the most money out of that shipment; therefore, anything that results in disruption or delay adds to more costs. However, an LTL shipment is still considerably cheaper than a full truckload shipment.
In addition, the pricing structure is slightly different than for a full truckload. You only need to answer whether the shipment is hazmat, legal weight, or palletized for a full truckload to get a price quote.
However, for LTL shipping, the rates for different commodities vary slightly, such that a lane having the same number of pallets can cost more than another.
LTL carriers use a freight classification system put forward by the NMFTA, which has 18 classes. Class 50 is the least expensive, while 500 is the most expensive.
With LTL shipping, you will have an additional inspection. Upon arrival at the origin terminal, most LTL shipments go through a machine called a dimensioner which measures the freight weight and dimensions. If the results differ from the listed product listing, the carrier reclassifies your freight and, consequently, changes your rate.
The main downside of LTL shipping is that it takes a lot of time to transport the goods. It takes longer to deliver due to the time taken to plan, organize and prep the packages for shipping.
Additionally, for the carrier not to undergo losses, the LTL trailer must be full before leaving the hub. Also, it might take longer because it may not take a direct route.
There is also an increased risk of loss or damage due to the many stops and transfers involved. During an LTL shipment, carriers load and unload the goods from the trailer and warehouse several times before they reach you. However, you shouldn’t worry about this because many LTL shipments arrive in good condition.
Frequently Asked Questions About Trailers
1. What do you mean by LTL freight class?
LTL freight classes is a standardized method established by the National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA) to define price depending on the ease of movement of the shipment. The ease of movement uses four main dimensions of measurement; liability, density, handling, and stowability.
High-density packages have a lower freight class. Shipments that mandate special handling and are more likely to attract liability attract higher rates. Certain goods, such as auto transmissions, have a fixed freight class due to their value, transportation method, and product nature.
LTL freight classes are important because they provide carriers with information to determine the right equipment, capacity and pricing.
2. Why should a business should LTL shipment?
Small businesses can benefit from the cost savings that LTL shipments offer. Additional reasons a business should use LTL shipment are lower warehousing costs, easier tracking, and extra servicing options.
3. Is there an LTL max weight limit for shipments?
Generally, there is no set rule for the LTL max weight limit because it is mostly up to the carrier. Some carriers might set their limit at 10,000 pounds while others at 20,000. However, typically, most carriers dictate that a single shipment should be between 100 and 10,000 pounds. Additionally, the shipment should not be more than six pallets.
LTL trailers help many businesses save costs and add efficiency to their logistics. The dimensions for an LTL trailer are important because you need to determine whether your load will fit.
Generally, for cargo weighing up to 10,000 pounds and not more than six pallets, LTL trailers can come in handy. Moreover, an LTL trailer measures 53 ft in length. Most of them have a roll-up door that is 96 inches wide and 96 inches tall.
Therefore, you can use LTL trailers if your cargo measures anything less than 96 inches. However, before using LTL trailers, remember that your goods are more prone to damage due to much handling. Additionally, it will take more time for the delivery.