Pitfalls to Avoid When Using Common Carriers to Ship Your LTL Freight

Posted On 26th April 2019

If you ship one or many less than truckload freight, using common carriers, there are many things you need to be aware of (or do), to avoid problems. In this blog, we share with you 4 such critical pitfalls.

Shipping LTL via Common Carriers

There are two main types of shipping: Less-Than-Truckload (LTL) and Full Truckload (FTL). LTL shipments are smaller loads that are combined with other LTL shipments going to the same destination. FTL shipments are larger loads that fill an entire truck.

Common carriers are companies that provide transportation services for both LTL and FTL shipments. Some common carriers also offer additional services such as warehousing, packaging, and labeling.

When shipping LTL via a common carrier, it's important to choose a carrier that has experience transporting your type of product. You'll also want to consider the size and weight of your shipment, as well as the distance it will be traveling.

The cost of shipping LTL via a common carrier will vary depending on the size and weight of your shipment, as well as the distance it will be traveling. However, you can expect to pay less per pound than you would for an FTL shipment.

If you're looking for a reliable and cost-effective way to ship your product, consider using a common carrier for your next LTL shipment.

4 Things to Be Aware Of

Attention when shipping LTL

Cubic Capacity Rule or Density Minimum Charges

If you are taking up more than 8 linear feet of a truck, be careful because it can make the cost go up 10 times via Common Carrier’s Tariff clauses regarding Cubic Capacity Rule or Density Minimum Charges.  For more details read our post “CUBIC CAPACITY RULE/DENSITY MINIMUM CHARGES” on this unpleasant LTL charge that you do not want to fall into by error.


If you are the buyer and picking up at a vendor’s dock, demand pictures of the wrapped and bound, and skidded freight. Demand they provide you with a correct NMFC number and weights and measures that match that description.

In your Purchase Order if possible hold them financially responsible for All/Any packaging errors or consequences of un-rigorous packaging of their goods, and state that any Claims of Damage or Loss on the goods they ship automatically extend the Invoice Due Date until it is clear their Packaging was not responsible for the Damage or Loss of Goods.

Delivery Times

Common Carrier delivery times are not guaranteed unless you pay for a guarantee.  Further, read the terms of each Carrier’s Guarantee to learn what will really happen if they deliver late, and what the precise consequences are to the price you agreed to pay.

Don’t try to save money on a Time-Critical Shipment if you might get fired if it does not arrive on schedule: If a shipment is critical, ship on an expedited, direct CONTRACT CARRIER, not a common carrier.  Freight Run can provide various types and sizes of trailers for Expedited shipments from flatbeds to Cargo/Sprinter Vans all the way to 53’ trailers. Truck/Air/Truck is also possible with FreightRun, contact us.

Bottom line: if the President or CEO or Sales Staff of your company is waiting for a shipment to arrive to a client so they can do a sales presentation - ship it direct expedited!

Take Pictures!

Pictures help. If possible, you can include in the pics a tape measure so inspectors can verify the L X W X H of the cargo in those pictures – this will bulletproof you to Inspectors’ claims that you shipped something larger than you did.

Also, save the certified weights of each skid or take a pic of the shipment on the scale and upload it to FreightRun when you ship – this way Freight Run can fight the claim for you and win it.