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LTL 101:Weight, Size, and Freight Classification

LTL 101:Weight, Size, and Freight Classification

LTL 101: Weight, Size, and Freight Classification

The last installment discussed the importance of keeping BOLs clean and precise so that there are no issues with shipments while in transit or with billing. This week will discuss educating shippers in order to ensure the BOL is set up correctly and to avoid a possible dispute with the carrier regarding our invoice.

Did you know LTL carriers employ “weight & inspection coordinators” whose sole responsibility is to catch the “bad guys” who list an inaccurate weight or class on their BOL?

  • They keep an eye out for any shipments whose description on the BOL doesn’t seem to match up with its appearance.
  • They will physically examine the freight, and if they deem it necessary to inspect the contents or check the weight, they’ll issue an inspection certificate.
  • You will foot the bill for the additional inspection.

It is for this reason it is important to make sure shippers understand the following:

  • It is imperative to make sure the weight and class on the BOL are accurate.
  • Don’t just guess, and don’t try to be sneaky, either! Furniture can’t be classified as lumber, even though it was once lumber… (Yes, believe it or not, people actually try this!)
  • Include the weight of the pallets in the total weight calculation of the shipment.
  • If multiple pallets are forgotten, they could add up to an additional 500 pounds or more; that’s not just a few pounds off.
  • Most LTL carriers have scales installed right on their forklifts that double-check the weight listed on the BOL automatically.
  • Make sure to measure the freight with extreme accuracy (to the nearest inch)
  • Some LTL carriers make it mandatory for drivers to carry a tape measure and measure the freight at the time of pick up.
  • A couple of inches can add up to hundreds of dollars when classifying freight.
  • Shippers who misrepresent freight need to understand carriers are not taking any more chances and the time to do the right thing is now!


Check back every 2nd and 4th Wednesday each month for more inside information on LTL through our Multimodal Wednesday Series.