Full truckload carriers normally deliver a semi trailer to a shipper who will fill the trailer with freight for one destination. After the trailer is loaded, the driver returns to the shipper to collect the required paperwork (i.e. Bill of lading, Invoice, and Customs paperwork) and depart with the trailer containing freight. In most cases the driver then proceeds directly to the consignee and delivers the freight him or herself. Occasionally, a driver will transfer the trailer to another driver who will drive the freight the rest of the way. Full Truckload (FTL) transit times are normally constrained by the driver's availability according to Hours of Service regulations and distance. It is normally accepted that Full Truckload drivers will transport freight at an average rate of 47 miles per hour (including traffic jams or queues at intersections).
One advantage Full Truckload carriers have over Less than Truckload carriers is that the freight is never handled en route, whereas an LTL shipment will typically be transported on several different trailers.
Volume pricing is available from some carriers for shipments which exceed the size parameters for which they are willing to offer standard Tariff-based LTL pricing. These parameters vary by carrier, and not all carriers are willing to offer volume pricing. Volume rates are typically offered on a spot-quote basis, and take into account the weight and dimensions of the items being shipped, as well as the amount of unused space the carrier has or expects to have in the lane where the freight is to travel. Most directly, the carrier is basing their rate on the capacity of trailer to be used for the transportation of the specific move being quoted. A general rule of thumb might state that volume pricing is generally applicable for shipments that occupy six or more pallet spots and which weigh 7000 or more pounds.
Shippers with enough volume of LTL freight may choose to use a Full Truckload Carrier to move the freight directly to a break-bulk facility of an LTL carrier. For example, if a North Carolina shipper has a large quantity of shipments for Western US States such as CA, NV, OR, WA, and ID then the shipper can realize significant cost savings by having an FTL carrier, known as a Linehaul carrier, transport the freight to a breakbulk facility nearest the center of such shipments in terms of the carriers network. In this case the shipper may choose to send the freight to a break-bulk in CA. The use of an FTL carrier to transport this freight is a cost savings because the freight will travel fewer miles in the LTL carrier's network, and a further benefit is realized because the freight will not be unloaded and reloaded as many times. This reduces the incidence of loss and damage in transit.
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