Load to load (LTL) transportation is one of the fields where outsourcing your logistics for your business can make a large benefit in both timeliness of operations, and reducing the costs of your shipping and transportation logistics needs. An LTL solution involves integration across several transportation venues – be it road, rail or ocean cargo. The key to LTL transportation is that by consolidating less than full truck loads of freight into one line hauling operation, you can get economies of scale, but at the cost of shipping taking a bit longer to turn.Third party logistics companies attempt to provide integration of all logistics operations, whether it’s by providing integrated services, or handling rate comparisons with existing logistics providers. By comparison, an LTL transportation company does only one thing.Handling your own LTL solutions contracting means that you ‘cut out the middleman’, on the other hand, it doesn’t work if you need a wider range of services. If your logistics needs involve consistently large package pickups and deliveries, but don’t need extra services like tracking numbers or air freight, an LTL transportation company may be able to handle a significant portion of your load at a greatly reduced cost.By contrast, if you consistently run a large number of small parcels, or have parcels that go to a wide range of first order destinations, a third party logistics solution, one that integrates and gets competing quotes from different parcel shipping companies, can reduce the chaos of your shipping department, and at the extreme end of things, can result in them taking over all of your shipping operations. Good third party logistics firms are effectively technology companies that happen to sell integrated parcel pickup and delivery services.As with anything that deals with the lifeblood of your business (shipping, and the attendant management of your relationship with customers), an LTL solution should be evaluated with regards to what services you actually use. LTL transportation companies come in several different sizes and often have localized areas where they serve; within their constraints they’re a great way to save money on your companies logistics needs.By contrast, third party logistics providers are going to be more expensive, but more capable, and will handle shipping to a wider range of destinations. One way to look at both services is that you’d use a load-to-load provider if you were shipping components to a vendor to be integrated into a larger operation, while you’d use a third party logistics company if you were shipping to customers around the country, or moving things between branch offices with regularity.
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