Transforming Supply Chain

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[Podcast]  The Evolution of LTL with Curtis Garrett from FreightPlus

Season 2, Episode 9:  The Evolution of LTL with Curtis Garrett from FreightPlus

In this episode, Robert Bain chats with Curtis Garrett, Senior Vice President at FreightPlus and the founder and Chief Creative at Understand LTL. They have a deep conversation around the evolution of LTL, where it came from, where it is and where it's going. 

Listen now:

What is LTL? 

“LTL: it's easy to plug in some zip codes, some weights and a freight class, and get a quote. It all looks real promising and you just pick who you want to use. But it's often after you hit the book with that carrier, things can kind of go awry from missed pickups or the carrier not having enough capacity when they back into the dock, or literally space on that trailer to the black hole that is sometimes the line haul process, and just going by, scanning in and out of terminals, but not really knowing where the freight is exactly.” - Curtis Garrett

Curtis Garrett quote

LTL Complexities 

  • It is segmented and each segment doesn't always communicate as well as it should.
  • You either have an empty truck or trailer in position or you don't.

Freight Classes

  • Density: NMFC (The National Motor Freight Traffic Association) items are moving towards just being full density based. If you have the weight and you get the cube of the freight, you end up with that pound per cubic foot, and then that's gonna fit on the scale until you know where the class needs to be.
  • Packaging: Example: TV’S. Those are shipped in the box that's gonna be put on the shelf. So the box itself is a product as well. You have to make sure that it doesn't get scuffed or pierced or damaged.
  • ​​Configurability: How the freight loads into a trailer and utilizes space to then play with other freight. 

LTL Landscape

  • About 55 to 60 billion a year as far as the true LTL market
  • If you look at the top 25 to 30 carriers, they make up the 99% of that revenue going up to the top. 
  • The biggest, FedEx Freight, they're gonna be over 8 billion this year. The second in size is going to be Old Dominion, they should pass 6 billion this year. So there is quite a gap between first and second. And then you've got The Yellows, The XPOs, The T Force and Estes, etc. There's a lot that is tightly packed, they're always changing and leapfrogging.
  • Then you have some very solid regionals, which are very good options to use. They're big enough that they have the resources, the capacity, the technology, but they are tightly focused on a certain region in the country with usually quicker transit times.

Why would a shipper or manufacturer, anybody that utilizes LTL services, why would they want to utilize an LTL carrier?

It depends on how much you are shipping at a time. What's the average pallet count or weight of orders that you're sending out?, LTL allows you to be nimble and strategic with getting your product to your customers or bringing raw materials or different products into your own facility.


LTL Pricing

Misunderstandings around pricing 

It needs to be simplified. It's complicated now because the carriers have a hard job. Managing the labor, the equipment, the facilities, the fuel, to account for all that and run some shipment data through your cost model. There's a lot of moving parts and a lot of variables. 

Curtis Garrett mentioned “I think, to simplify this, it's going to be a collaboration, a community effort between companies and people willing to experiment, take a chance, try something new, document that, turn that into a new pricing product, and just kind of move slowly there…It's just gonna have to continue evolving.”

Curtis Garrett quote 2
LTL Future

  • Build a community
  • Everybody from different party lines or different silos,  can come together and share ideas and collaborate and get better. 

Learn more about FreightPlus at 

Curtis Garrett can be found on LinkedIn here. 

Learn more about Metafora+,
Metafora’s partnership program here

Interested in chatting with a SME from Metafora? Request a free discovery call here


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Metafora, previously "CarrierDirect", is a business consulting and software development company that exclusively services the Transportation, Logistics and Supply Chain space. Metafora partners with carriers, shippers, and freight tech vendors to help them optimize their business and build software to fuel their growth. Welcome to the new way forward. Welcome to Metafora.

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