Volume LTL Shipments vs. Full Truckload

Written by Neal Willis


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 Less-Than-Truckload (LTL) carrie volume rates for further options. Shipments that meet and/or exceed carrier cubic capacity will be subject to additional cubic capacity charges billable by the carrier, which can be very costly since it occupies valuable space the carrier could otherwise fill with a more favorable (profitable) shipment. Even though it doesn’t fill an entire trailer, shippers sometimes opt to send these moves via full truckload as a more economical alternative and Volume LTL, which offers several advantages over full truckload or regular LTL, is often overlooked as a cost-effective option.

Benefits of Volume LTL


Volume shipments are generally less expensive than full truckloads and shippers don’t get hit with any surprise cubic capacity charges after the fact because the utilized space is already accounted for in the discounted volume rate.

Ease of Use

Volume shipments usually take less time to quote and arrange as opposed to full truckloads where back and forth negotiations tend to occur.

Less Damage

Although the freight can be offloaded from a pickup and delivery trailer to a line haul trailer and then back onto a pickup and delivery trailer, under normal circumstances, volume shipments aren’t handled as much as regular LTL shipments, which makes them less prone to damage.

Volume LTL Shipments: Limited Liability & Transit Time

Limited Liability

In the event that 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, since a volume LTL shipment is only covered at $1/lb. claims liability by the carrier. 

loading-delivery-truck.jpgFor example, an item valued at $15,000 weighing 5,000 lbs. 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). Unless additional insurance is taken on the shipment, even if damage is proven to be the carrier’s fault, a shipper could leave themselves wide-open to a $10,000 loss because of 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 shipments can be an economical alternative to full truckload and regular LTL, but limited carrier liability is a tradeoff that shouldn’t be ignored.


Standard LTL transit times don’t normally apply to volume LTL shipments. 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. 

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