Let's demystify that weird, grey area known as a partial shipment. It's not small enough to be less than truckload, but also not big enough to be full truckload. So what makes a shipment a partial??
The area between an LTL shipment and a full truckload shipment can be considered a volume or partial shipment. These shipments take up more space than a standard LTL, but less than a full truckload. LTL carriers, in particular, rate these types of shipments differently than a regular LTL that is based on weight and class. Partials are rated more so based on pallet dimensions, total space needed, and the weight, along with the usual point to point lane. Carriers typically have certain lanes that are more competitive and these lanes can change daily and weekly. We do not have set tariff rates for partial/volume shipments like we do with LTL.
What shipments can be considered for this? Typically we know to request a partial/volume rate when any one of the following criteria is met:
- Over 10,000 lbs
- Over 12 ft of space
- Or over 6 standard (48x40) non-stackable skids
Carrier liability is different when it comes to what they cover with LTL vs volume. Typically LTL carriers will cover between $10 and $20/lb (for NEW), whereas it changes to $2/lb with a volume shipment.
Depending on what carrier a volume shipment is quoted with, the transit can also be effected. FedEx, in particular, has different levels of service when it comes to their volume rates. Their most cost-effective service level moves at capacity and the transit time will be estimated at double the standard transit (if standard is 4 days, estimated will be 4-8 days).
An LTL carrier (such as Estes, YRC, or FedEx) is not the only option for these types of shipments. We can source a FTL (full truckload) carrier that has extra space on his/her truck that they are looking to fill for a particular lane. Typically we can get a better carrier cost with this method, but it does take a little more time to source a truck that has capacity in the particular lane.
And that is partial/volume freight in a nutshell!