How to Calculate Less-Than-Truckload LTL Freight Rates

Freight shipments that move on a truck typically fall into two primary mode categories: Full Truckload (FTL) and Less-Than-Truckload (LTL). FTL carriers haul around trailers with one shipment inside while LTL carriers typically move multiple shipments on one truck. LTL freight shipments are often on a pallet and usually too large for the parcel networks of carriers like UPS, FedEx and USPS. On the other hand, an LTL freight shipment is too small to fill the entire 48 or 53 foot truck trailer of an FTL carrier. LTL is the optimal freight shipping mode for these middle sized shipments because utilizing a parcel or FTL carrier would be way too costly.

The world of LTL freight is often a complex and difficult part of freight shipping to manage. Figuring out how to optimize modes, carriers and service levels for LTL freight shipments can be a big challenge. Combine this with the tedious manual work of carrier selections and the endless paperwork for bills of lading (BOL’s); LTL freight becomes a handful to manage.

If you are new to the LTL world, the concept of LTL freight rates and how they are calculated can be confusing. Unlike Full-Truckload (FTL) freight rates, which are based on per-mile or per-hundred weight, LTL freight rates are regulated by a myriad of factors such as different classes, weights, lanes and additional services such as a lift gate. Knowing and understanding these factors will help you forecast and anticipate your freight shipping costs. Let’s take a closer look at how LTL freight rates are determined.


Shipment weight is the first factor which affects LTL freight weights. Between any given origin and destination zip codes, LTL carriers publish a “rate per hundred” that establishes the cost per hundred pounds at different shipment weight breaks. The rate per hundred is usually broken into six weight categories:

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Sample Cost Per Hundred Cost:
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Each weight category will have a published LTL freight rate that a customer can use to estimate the cost of an LTL shipment. Referencing the sample pricing above, a 700 lb shipment would be within the 500-999 lb weight category. Thus, for each 100 pounds, of which there are 7, you would multiply $35.00, for a total of $245.


Weight and shipment dimensions are used to calculate shipment density. Density is used to figure out the freight classification.

Freight Classification

In order to accurately quote LTL freight rates, LTL shipments must be classified correctly. The National Motor Freight Traffic Association has established 18 freight classifications ranging from 50 to 500. Classes are based on shipment density, value, stowability, handling and liability. Generally speaking, the lower the class, the lower the rate since lower classes are very dense shipments, which are harder to damage and easier to handle. Inversely, the higher the class, the higher the rate as the shipment is less dense. This means it takes up more space relative to the weight, is more prone to damage and requires more handling.

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Example Products:
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Weight Range Per Cubic Foot: {{ Classification.CubicFootRange }}

Distance (Origin to Destination)

How far an LTL shipment has to travel as well as the geographical reach of an LTL carrier factor into LTL freight rates. The origin zip code and the destination zip code is used to determine the distance the shipment has to travel. The longer the distance, the higher the LTL freight rate. Some LTL carriers only service a certain geographical area thus have to unload their shipment to another carrier to reach the shipment’s final destination. This practice is called “interlining”, which tends to cost more and exposes shipments to a greater risk of loss and damage.

Base LTL Freight Rates

Each LTL carrier sets their own base LTL freight rates, which makes price comparison challenging. Lojistic can help companies negotiate tariffs within your specific lanes to optimize your LTL freight costs. Talk to one of our experienced freight specialist to see how a freight negotiation can help you.

Accessorial Charges/Surcharges

Services beyond the standard dock-to-dock pickup and delivery that a LTL carrier provides will require an additional accessorial charge. Common accessorial charges include lift gate services, residential pick up or delivery, limited access locations, weekend delivery, and inside delivery. Specialized services such as refrigeration and hazmat will also incur extra fees and charges. The most common accessorial charge is a fuel surcharge. States with higher higher fuel taxes such as California will result in higher fuel surcharges. Accessorial charges can be negotiated and even waived. Talk to one of our experienced freight specialist to see how a we can lower your LTL accessorial charges.

Shop Wholesale LTL Rates In The Lojistic Marketplace

Lojistic created an online marketplace for wholesale LTL freight rates that offers an ever-increasing network of carriers. Our wholesale LTL marketplace provides an easy way to connect with lots of carriers for all your shipping needs. In addition to great discounts, you can compare rates, ship, track and save on all your LTL freight service needs.

You can select LTL services within our vast network of carriers based on cost, transit time, or a combination of both. Our marketplace ensures you have lots of options at great rates.


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