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Freight Linear Feet Calculator

We all know that the larger an item is, the more it is going to cost us to ship. However, we also want to be able to determine the exact costs of each shipment ahead of time. To do this, we need some type of standardized measurement that both shippers and carriers can use to determine how much space a shipment will take up in a typical trailer.

To do that, the industry most commonly uses the measurement of a linear foot. Just like the name implies, a linear foot is simply 12 consecutive inches in one direction, making up a foot in length.

Enter the number of pallets and dimensions into the calculator to get the linear feet.

Note: This only works if all pallets are the same dimensions. If you have mixed pallets, contact Freight Run to speak with one of our experts for a fast quote.

By using a linear feet freight calculator, both the shipper and the carrier have an equal understanding of the space a shipment will require before it arrives to be loaded. This helps to provide accurate quotes and also helps to eliminate wasted space on trailers due to misquoted shipping dimensions.

Below, we’ll explain how to calculate linear feet for freight and also explain how it is used by carriers and shippers in different situations like LTL or FTL trucking. You’ll also find a linear feet freight calculator on this page to help you make faster calculations.

What Are Linear Feet In LTL Shipping

In LTL freight shipping, linear feet relate to the area inside a trailer that one or more pallets will take up. This measurement taken in a straight line along a pallet helps carriers maximize trailer space for freight shipping.

This measurement is different from square footage so the way to calculate it and how it is used will be different from square feet.

In the next section, we’ll go over how to calculate the linear foot measurement for your pallets.

How To Calculate Linear Feet For Freight Shipping

Despite sounding rather technical, the formula for calculating linear is rather simple. You may also hear this referred to as a way to calculate lineal feet, which is technically different, but sometimes the terms are mistakenly used interchangeably in the trucking industry.

To begin the linear feet calculation, you take the total number of pallets you are shipping and divide by 2. So for example, if you were shipping 10 pallets, you would divide by 2 and get the number 5.

Next, you multiply the length of one pallet by the number in the previous step. So, our previous number was 5. We now multiply 5 by the length of one of our pallets.

You can measure the length of your pallets but most are uniform in size. For this example, let’s use a standard pallet of 48” x 40”. So we now multiply 5 by 48. Which gives us 240.

Now, you simply divide the result of 240 by 12 to get your measurement in linear feet. In this case, the result is 20 linear feet.

So, just to recap how to calculate linear feet:

  1. Take your total number of pallets and divide by 2.
  2. Take the result and multiply it by the pallet length (inches)
  3. Divide that result by 12 to get your linear foot calculation

This calculation will give you the space measured in feet that your pallets will take up in a moving truck or semi-trailer.

Of course, you can also use our handy calculator on this page which will do the math for you. By using a linear feet calculator, freight management and estimates become much easier and more accurate.

How Many Linear Feet Is One Pallet?

A standard 48” X 40” pallet would be 1.67 linear feet. Linear footage is generally not used for single pallets when shipping freight. Most shippers use this calculation derived from the length, width, and height of the entire shipment involving more than one pallet.

When measuring linear feet it’s important to consider whether pallets can stack or not.

Linear Foot Rule

This measurement is used to estimate the total shipping weight as well as how much the carrier will charge.

For shipments that are 10 linear feet or more, they are usually charged at 1,000 pounds per foot, known as the linear foot rule. This is generally the case for shipments of at least 5 pallets. Double-stacked pallets are usually charged this rate when the total is 10 or more total pallets

The reason for this is that non-stackable pallets take up more space in a trailer, so they are more expensive to ship.

This is most common in LTL (less than truckload) shipments when you are sharing space with other loads. So if you utilize LTL shipments, our LTL linear feet calculator can help you optimize your loads.

There are generally two ways a carrier will charge you once they receive your calculation determining the size of your freight.

Per-foot Adjustment Rate

With this common billing method, the carrier will adjust your rate based on the final loading of your pallets. So if you were over or under with your calculation, your rate will be adjusted accordingly.

Cost Estimate

This is a straight-line estimation and what you will end up paying. The carrier generally wants to know as much as possible about your shipment to give an accurate freight quote. They will want to know how much else they can fit in the trailer in addition to your load. By using a linear feet calculator, LTL shipments can be estimated much more accurately. However, other details may also be needed for cost estimates with no adjustments.

What Is The Standard LTL Size?

The standard size for LTL shipping is generally any shipment between 150 pounds to 15,000 pounds and up 10 linear feet, or about 10 standard pallets.

Considerations Other Than Linear Foot Calculations

Certain freight has weight or size dimensions that don’t match up well with standard pallet sizes or the linear foot rule. For example, very light products that take up a lot of space like pillows. These may have different considerations depending on the carrier.

That may include determining the density, which is a 3-dimensional measurement that is then applied to the weight of the items being shipped.

Overall, using a freight linear feet calculator is a valuable tool for accurately estimating common freight and making sure there are no surprises during loading or when the BOL comes.