Tips on How to Ship a Pallet via LTL Truck

Posted On 6th August 2016

Shipment Weight - Know the weight of the skid and your goods in advance, and add some weight for the packaging materials

Position on Skid - Make sure you have your product or whatever you are shipping as squarely and evenly on the skid so it doesn't wobble and strain/break the straps you will use to keep it on the skid. Make sure none of your product/goods hang OVER the edge of the skid.

Shrink Wrap Over The Skid - For an extra good measure I like to put scrap cardboard around all sides of the skid and over the top as well - then shrink wrap over that tightly.

Strap The Pallet - Put steel straps or plastic straps - with a binder - over the skid from all sides - if you don't have that then nylon rope if possible. If your shipment is light or not traveling far you might be able to skip this requirement - but if you shipping a washing machine, transmission or machine straps are a necessity.

Shipment Dimensions - Measure the dimensions of the shipment, and make sure to include the extra dims of the skid!

Get Prices - Contact your carrier, if you do not work with one specific carrier, you can use our Freight Quote Calculator to get automatic quotes from multiple common carriers. You must specify if you are a business or a residence, if you require the driver to help you load the truck, or if the truck needs a liftgate at the pickup site or destination, can a huge 53' trailer plus tractor get to both pickup and origin sites and if not, it is a "limited access" pickup and/or delivery site, etc. All these options affect the price, so you must disclose this to the carrier in advance or your price will change, perhaps dramatically, later.

Goods Description - You need to fully disclose the description of the goods to your carrier/online freight broker, new or used, what it is and its function, and ask them (your carrier, 3PL website/online freight broker) to get you a list of potential National Motor Freight Classification numbers. Note Personal Effects or Goods or Used anything are subject to special rules and not all carriers carry such items. Disclose now or pay even more later is the general rule so ALWAYS DISCLOSE. Each NMFC number corresponds to a specific class or a specific class and density - so you must know the density of your product (Weight/Volume or LBS/Cubic Foot). The most conservative way to do this is to pick the NMFC number which both is most specific in matching the description of your goods and matches the density of what you are shipping and the specific packaging the NMFC describes for the product. Understand that:

Carriers price commodities for how hard/easy they are to handle, how hard/easy they break generally, how often that commodity is stolen, the commodity's value per lb or cft, and how much space and weight the commodity is in the truck. There is always a risk of a Carrier Inspection and you alone bear the risk of an up-charge due to weight, volume or description changes by the Carrier.

Bill of Lading (BOL) - Your freight broker will generate for you the BOL from the details you give and are responsible for - be extremely careful to review and make sure you understand and demand they revise if you feel it is necessary to protect yourself. It is a legal document. Know also that you are subject to the Tariff - the LTL Carrier's Tariff - which is a huge document that says basically if you make a mistake you will pay a severe up-charge on the shipment - you can read the entire tariff of the carrier you selected if you like, ask the online broker to forward to you.

Be careful with LTL truckloads with shipments approaching 230 cubic feet or higher as maximum capacity rules can apply (i.e. higher shipping prices).

Be careful on shipments approaching 500 cubic feet as carriers can apply Density Minimum Charge DMC rules (i.e. again higher shipping prices!)

In any case, go over the Bill of Lading carefully to be sure addresses are correct and origin and destination services are noted that you may require such as residential pickup, used goods, inside delivery, limited access delivery or pickup, driver unload, trade show delivery, grocery delivery, lift gate delivery, hazardous freight, protect from freezing, 2nd-floor delivery, guaranteed date/time deliveries, appointment pickup or appointment at delivery required, etc.