DEFINITION of 'Less-Than-Truckload'

Shipping for relatively small loads or freight. Less-than-truckload services are offered by many large, national parcel services. These services can accommodate the shipping needs, including speed of shipment of small companies without the business being forced to buy, operate, insure and maintain a fleet of vehicles, which can be expensive enough to erode the profit offered by smaller loads.

BREAKING DOWN 'Less-Than-Truckload'

Companies providing less-than-truckload services can range from specialized services developed for this particular need and parcel services. They often combine the loads and shipping requirements of several different companies on their trucks, which makes it more cost effective than running an entire truck for one small load. It allows the carrier to distribute costs among several different businesses.

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