Published on December 19th, 2018
America is famous for its massive trucks and they pack quite an impressive sight! With cargo or freight being transported the length and breadth of the country it is small wonder that they can often be sighted coasting the highways or parked in designated rest stops and diners. Indeed the culture behind the ‘trucker’ has grown into such a huge tourist and commercial industry that truck stops aren’t just for the drivers anymore.
But there is a common enigma around the principles and regulations behind shipping large loads with terms such as FTL (full truckload) and LTL (less than truckload) complicating our understanding as to the true costs of commercial enterprise. With so many rules in place for importing and trailer capacity, it can be hard to know how your dollar is working in terms of freight.
Firstly, whilst there are many companies out there that will tell you different things in this regard, the important thing to remember is that these company issued limits are just that, the limits of the company themselves or what they are comfortable putting in their trailers. There are government issued rules to regulate the capacity of freight in trucks and company regulations will almost always be under these to prevent fines or increase importation fees.
In general, no more than 48 standard sized pallets will fit in a trucks trailer, which constitutes roughly to 44,000 lbs of product. Of course, this isn’t always the case, as it does rather depend on what you are shipping. Forty eight pallets of pillows are likely to weight a lot less then the equivalent in books for instance. When in doubt however, always contact your local shipping office for further information.
Some shipping agents will allow for smaller loads and can make over the board trips worthwhile by carrying for two or more clients. This is done for two reasons, one it is more fuel effective and environmentally friendly to use the truck to its full capacity and two, it means you are not paying for a full truck when you have LTL.
As well as load requirements and the cost of transportation, there are also a lot of logistics that go with this time of transportation, such as Bill of landing and customs paperwork. Not only this but drivers have to be paid and itineraries monitored so that they are not driving beyond the Hours of Service or recommended distance at any one time. The Interstate Highway System maintains a safe and travel-worthy network of roads for truckers to use with ease of access and even truck hills to aid the vehicle’s deceleration in mountainous regions.
Depending on your shipping requirements and the freight you are transporting, it is often more beneficial to pay for an FTL. Whilst it might seem more costly to have an entire truck with space to spare if you haven’t enough cargo to fill it, it is worth considering if your produce is fragile or if time is of the essence.