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TL Shipping Quotes – Truckload Shipping

reefer truck
CC image courtesy of born1945 via Flickr

For part two of our three part series on shipping quotes, we are going to talk about truckload quotes, how they differ from LTL (pretty different) and what basics facts you’ll need to get an accurate TL shipping quote. While LTL was pretty self-explanatory as to its meaning, LTL = Less Than Truckload, truckload proves no different as TL stands for…..you guessed it….Truckload. While LTL might be one pallet or ten pallets, with a truckload shipping quote you’re looking to pay for the entire truck. Here’s a few things you’ll need to know.

The most useful bit of knowledge to figure out first when getting a TL shipping quote is what type of equipment you’ll need. Like an airplane pilot might wonder what kind of plane they’ll be flying, there are multiple types of trucks that can be used for TL shipping. The most common and most basic piece of equipment will be the dry van. A dry van is a 53ft. semi truck, just like the many you’ll see jamming up Interstate 35 on a Friday afternoon when all you want to do is get to happy hour. Also available for a TL shipping quote will be a reefer truck.

A reefer is used to keep transported items cool, cold, and refrigerated, hence the name. Because of their specialization, they are often harder to find than a regular dry van, so if you know you’ll need to control the temperature of your shipment, make sure you give yourself plenty of time to seek out the proper equipment that you’ll need to complete the job.

The third and final type of equipment used for truckload shipping is a flatbed truck. Flatbeds are mainly used to transport large pieces of freight that would not fit in a reefer or dry van, and often they require straps, tarps, or both.

As opposed to regular LTL shipping, TL shipping does not involve movement of the freight from terminal to terminal. Instead, when a truck is loaded the freight will not be removed from the truck until the driver reaches the destination and is fully unloaded.

Also unlike LTL shipping, pricing is much more organic and fluctuates for each and every TL quote. Pricing is broken down by lane availability and total weight, as more weight requires more fuel, and of course (as we all know) fuel tends to be rather expensive.

Another thing to keep in mind is that most truckload shipping quotes are only good for business to business shipping, as it’s very difficult to fit such a large truck down residential streets and most full trucks do not carry liftgates to help unload freight for residences.

On a final note, truckload shipping is a fluctuating and fast-paced ride. Lanes and prices wax and wane with the phases of the moon so talk to your freight broker about seasonal shipping, hazardous shipments, and the other details that you’ll need to get your next truckload shipping quote.


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