Transit Times and Guaranteed Service for LTL Freight

Do you have a question about how fast your LTL freight will arrive? Our team fields daily inquiries about LTL transit times and guaranteed service, and we’ve put together this basic guide to how most LTL carriers handle transit times.

How long does freight shipping usually take? Many people are surprised to learn that freight transit times are measured in days, not weeks. “May take 3-6 weeks to arrive” is not the standard here! Cross-country shipments are usually 4-6 business days, while intrastate moves are usually 1-2 business days. The exception is shipments to or from the western states of Wyoming, Montana, and the Dakotas. Since these states are less populated, there are fewer trucks and transit times can be 7-10 business days.

Can I make it go any faster? The short answer is no, you cannot speed up a ground shipment. Since your shipment travels exclusively by truck and not air, there is no way to expedite shipping times. Although most of us have experienced the myriad shipping options for small parcels, which include overnight and two-day services, you might not know that that’s only possible with the use of airplanes. It’s just not possible to drive from New York to California in 24 hours. Drivers have to obey the speed limit too!

Is the transit time guaranteed? All LTL transit times are estimates. Again, because LTL is ground transport, it’s not possible to make the shipment move faster to make up for a problem on the road, like weather or traffic. Carriers can offer “guaranteed” services for a fee, which basically means the carrier will make the shipment a priority during loading and unloading. If the agreed upon “guaranteed” transit time is not met, the carrier will reimburse all or a percentage of the freight cost.

In short, when you ship by truck, you can usually expect your shipment quite quickly, usually within a few business days. When you consider that there are millions of other shipments being moved at the same time, each with their own unique route, you can appreciate how swift LTL freight shipping really is!

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