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What to Know When Considering Volume LTL Shipments

Prime Advantage, an OMNIA Partner, has invited industry experts to share insights on achieving manufacturing and business success. In this post, Neal Willis of ReTrans Freight, discusses the pros and cons of shipping volume LTL.

For most carriers, shipments begin to meet the cubic capacity limits around 750 cubic feet, which is roughly around 7 pallets and/or 6,000 lbs. When freight begins to approach these dimensions, it’s always wise to check LTL carrier volume rates for further options. Even though it doesn’t fill an entire trailer, shippers sometimes opt to send these moves via full truckload as a more economical alternative. Volume LTL is often overlooked as a cost-effective option and offers several advantages over full truckload or regular LTL.


Volume shipments are generally less expensive than full truckloads and, since the utilized space is already accounted for in the rate, there are no surprise LTL cubic capacity charges.  

Ease of Use

Volume shipments usually take less time to quote and arrange as opposed to full truckloads, since there is no negotiation involved.

Less Damage

Even though the freight transport may involve an off-load from a pickup and delivery trailer to a line haul trailer, and back onto a pickup and delivery trailer, normally volume shipments are not handled as much as regular LTL shipments, making them less prone to damage.

Limited Liability

If damage should occur under a volume LTL move, a high-value item not covered with additional insurance can leave a shipper exposed to loss that’s unrecoverable through a claim settlement with the carrier. A volume LTL shipment is only covered at $1/lb. claims liability by the carrier. 

For example, an item weighing 5,000 lbs. and valued at $15,000 would only be covered for a maximum of $5,000 under the normal LTL carrier volume liability rate of $1/lb. (5,000 lbs. x $1/lb. = $5,000). The shipper could be exposed to a $10,000 loss due to the gap in coverage between the cost of the item ($15,000) and the carrier’s limited liability for the damage ($5,000).

LTL carriers do commonly offer supplementary insurance coverage for volume shipments for an additional fee and require additional insurance requests to be written on the bill of lading in order for the coverage to be engaged and considered valid. 


Volume LTL rates are based on equipment and availability at the time of the move and shipments are delivered according to the carrier’s capability at the time of shipping, which means the speed in which it arrives may be slower than standard LTL or full truckload. If transit time is of the utmost importance, then a volume LTL shipment might not be the best option.