LTL shipments typically weigh between 151 and 20,000 lb (68 and 9,072 kg). Less than truckload carriers collect freight from various shippers and consolidate that freight onto enclosed trailers for linehaul to the delivering terminal or to a hub terminal where the freight will be further sorted and consolidated for additional linehauls. In most cases, drivers start the day by loading up and heading out to make deliveries first, then begin making pickups once the trailer has been emptied for return to the terminal for sorting and delivery next day; thus, most pickups are made in the afternoon and most deliveries are performed in the morning.
Pickup/delivery drivers usually have set casual routes which they travel every day or several times a week, so the driver has an opportunity to develop a rapport with his customers. Once the driver has filled his trailer or completed his assigned route, he returns to his terminal for unloading. The trailer is unloaded and the individual shipments are then weighed and inspected to verify their conformity to the description contained in the accompanying paperwork. All LTL freight is subject to inspection or a common abbreviation is S.T.I. for this purpose, though not all freight is inspected. Next, the freight is loaded onto an outbound trailer which will forward the freight to a breakbulk, a connection, or to the delivering terminal. An LTL shipment may be handled only once while in transit, or it may be handled multiple times before final delivery is accomplished.