TL – Truck Load – When shipping something that takes up over 16 feet (a large partial) to 53 feet of a trailer and/or up to 44,000 pounds, this is considered a Truck Load. When shipping truckload, you are paying for the whole truck, the truck is going to take or deliver your goods direct from point to point. These carriers are major trucking company names and dominated by small independent and owner operators.
LTL – Less-than-Truck Load – When shipping anything less than 16 feet (8 to 6 pallets and less) – you are shipping LTL. In this case you are most likely working with a National Trucking company, in which your freight is riding in a trailer with multiple other shippers. Your goods do not go point to point; instead the local terminal picks up your goods and returns them to the local cross dock, where that night your pallets are married with other shipments going the same direction. Then your goods are transported across country from terminal hub to hub, until your goods make it across the country. Transit times are slower than TL shipments, but the price is lower since you are only paying for your portion of the trailer. Common LTL are carriers; Fedex Freight, R&L, Estes, UPS, YRC, Old Dominion.
Dry Van – A dry van truck/trailer has no refrigeration unit on it. Most dry van trailers are air-ride, measure 53 feet long, 102 inches wide, 9 feet inside height, and can usually haul 43,000 – 44,000 lbs. The dry van is a less expensive truck to book compared to a reefer, and more trucks of this type are available on any given day to take your freight. You should be able to load 26 standard shipping pallets (40×48) in a standard 53 foot trailer without any issue. (2 rows of 13 pallets side by side)
Reefer – The type of truck/trailer that you would book for the shipment of finished Beer that requires temperature control. Temperature control because a refrigerated trailer will not only keep the beer cool, it will “Freeze Protect” (keep from freezing) your shipment by keeping the product above freezing temperatures during the winter months. Reefer trailers are typically 53 feet long, 100 inches wide, can haul up to 43,000 – 44,000 lbs. of cargo. However, many reefers are required to carry less weight, because the empty trailer weighs more than a dry van. The total weight of the tractor + trailers + cargo are calculated to remain below the max legal weight the truck is allowed be on the road. Dry loads can be shipped in a reefer trailer as well.
Rail – Trains can provide a reasonable savings over long haul 2000 miles + distances, typically west coast to east, and the return trip. Transit times are remarkably good, that slow moving train (never stops – turtle/hair scenario). Very appropriate for a full load of Empty kegs, full product beware; a rough ride, temperature could be an issue. Some major liquor brands and even larger volume wineries ship via rail, attractive rates especially from California to the east which can be an expensive truck. (Because that freight is competing with most of America’s other freight coming from west coast ports). Major lines all can handle your shipment – Union Pacific, CSX, BNSF all have regular schedule east and west bound 7 days per week. Brokers should have an advantage here in securing a lower rate than a one off booking from the Brewer themselves.