ltl carriers california

LTL Carriers In California: Explained

At first, a carrier's geographic location may not seem important, but have you ever considered the advantages of having a well-connected LTL company? From help understanding shipping regulationsto managing local deliveries, it’s important to have the right team on your side.


california shipping companies


It's important to recognize the importance of choosing an LTL service provider in areas where you're doing business like California.


LTL carriers serve the entire state of California, including Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and most anywhere in between.


If you are moving freight in and out of state and have no clue where to find a great LTL carrier, then don't worry. We've got the details you need to know.

What are California LTL Carriers?

So you're looking to ship your precious cargo across the country, and you have a few options. You may hear terms like FTL and LTL thrown around when you’re looking for California LTL carriers.


So what exactly is the difference between LTL (less than truckload) and FTL (full truckload)?


LTL shipments are made up of multiple pallets or crates from multiple shippers – each shipper sending not enough for a "full truckload" – that are transported together and are frequently consolidated into one vehicle in order to reduce cost and increase efficiency.


And that's the main advantage of using LTL freight providers. They can be much more cost-effective than full truckload for many shippers because you're sharing space on one truck with several other shippers, rather than bearing the full cost alone.


The table below summarizes the key differences between FTL vs LTL carriers in California.


Less than Truckload (LTL)

LTL carriers will pick up your shipment from one location and deliver it to another location or destination. They don't offer door-to-door service as a full truckload carrier might. You share space with parcels going in the same direction as you are.

Full Truckload (FTL)

FTL carriers will transport large numbers of your goods at once. These companies charge by the entire truckload rather than partial, and also thereby get to your destination faster because there are no “stops” along the way like with LTL.


While some trucking companies offer both FTL and LTL services, others specialize in one or the other. If you're trying to get a shipment from point A to point B in California, it's important to know whether your shipper or carrier offers both services.

Why Choose LTL Carriers in California?

LTL freight carriers are an important part of the logistics industry. They are an alternative to truckload shipping, which is a common way to ship large amounts of cargo. There are many reasons why you would want to work with an LTL provider. The most obvious one is that it's cheaper than truckload, and typically more flexible as well.


If you have a small amount of cargo that needs to be shipped, then you can use LTL carriers in California instead of paying for a full truckload of space.


If your shipment isn't time-sensitive or if you don't need immediate delivery, then this may be a good option for you. The flexibility offered by LTL companies also makes them ideal for businesses that only ship occasionally or those that need short-term solutions while they wait for their long-term contracts with larger companies to start up again.


Another reason why working with an LTL carrier might make sense is if you want to minimize your risk when shipping products overseas or across state lines by leaving deliveries to the local experts in states like California.

Where do California LTL Carriers Go?


california ltl carrier

California – beautiful weather, great food and entertainment options (hello Hollywood!), Silicon Valley, and plenty of ports, airports, and cross-border freight trade.


California LTL carriers go to many cities in the state:

  1. Los Angeles
  2. San Francisco
  3. San Diego
  4. Fresno
  5. Bakersfield


At Moto, our location on the Canadian west coast allows us to support direct, frequent routes from California to BC, and beyond.


The table below is a sample of our BC to California routes so you can see when our BC to California LTL carriers depart.


Where is the shipment picking up ?

Where is the shipment going?

Departure Day

Latest Day to Pick Up (BY 12PM)

Delivery Days

Los Angeles Area

British Columbia (lower mainland )



Friday /Monday

British Columbia (lower mainland )



Monday /Tuesday

Calgary, AB



Monday /Tuesday

San Francisco Area

British Columbia (lower mainland)



Friday /Monday Monday /Tuesday

British Columbia (lower mainland )



Monday /Tuesday

San Diego Area

British Columbia (lower mainland )



Friday /Monday


Calgary, AB



Monday /Tuesday /Wednesday


How to Choose an LTL Carrier in California

When you need to have something shipped, what comes first to mind is more than likely a trucking company. And if you’re like thousands of other businesses across North America, LTL shipping is likely your next thought!


There are many different options out there, and there are possibly even more factors that go into choosing an LTL carrier in California but it is important to take your time and do your research as well as know what questions you should ask before making your decision.

Criteria #1: Ensure You Choose the Right LTL Type

To choose the right carrier, you need to do your homework. First, determine what type of LTL carrier will meet your needs. There are many different types of LTL carriers.


Some types of LTL carriers in California or those who service the area can include those outlined in the table below.


Type of LTL Carriers in California


Asset-light LTL carriers
  1. Carriers maximize coverage while minimizing the number of trucks, drivers, and terminals owned
  2. Their capacity is based on those of other truckload and LTL providers instead
  3. For long-haul hub transfers, intermodal or full truckload shipping is used, and for final-mile deliveries, sub-regional or regional carriers are used
Load-to-ride LTL carriers
  1. Focus on specialized, bulky, and long-range shipments
  2. The concept is similar to multi-stop truckload carriers, in that one driver picks up multiple shippers' freight and delivers them directly with fewer (or no) stops at the terminals and more direct routes to the final location
Reefer LTL carriers
  1. Reefer, referring to refrigerated, means that commodities have to have the same temperature requirements to be shipped together
  2. Reefer carriers tend to specialize in long-distance shipments and rarely deliver products to terminals
National LTL carriers
  1. National LTL carriers cover coast-to-coast and border-to-border
  2. Freight networks run by these companies usually follow a hub-and-spoke model with terminals and drivers
  3. Have plenty of extra services and equipment to serve your needs
Regional LTL carriers
  1. Generally, regional carriers operate within a specific geographic region, such as the US Southwest
  2. They typically cover several states and offer next-day delivery in some areas.
  3. Local carriers may have more trucks and other assets, but do not offer long-distance or out-of-region services
Local carriers
  1. Operate in a limited geographic area.
  2. In most cases, within 100 miles of a certain metro area.
  3. As compared to larger carriers, local carriers tend to have smaller fleets and offer fewer special services.


Criteria #2: Make Sure They Cover Your Destinations

Before you choose an LTL carrier in California, it's important to make sure that the carrier has a service area that will suit your needs since the state is large and covers a lot of types of terrain.


If you need to ship to a more rural area like Northern California, for example, consider whether the carrier can provide service in that region. That’s because some companies specialize in specific areas such as urban centers like Los Angeles or smaller, suburban locations, while others may have broader coverage across the country or even internationally.


map of california

Map of California


National and regional LTL carriers in California will likely offer more options when it comes to shipping routes and destination points but tend not to be ideal for cross-border clientele, such as businesses looking for California LTL carriers that service routes across the border into Canada. Check before committing so that you don’t run into problems later down the line if you’re shipping to Canada from California, or vice versa!


Lastly, if you're shipping smaller shipments across a California LTL carrier route on a regular basis and don't want to pay for full truckload rates every time (which is more expensive than less-than-truckload shipping), it may be even more key to develop a relationship with a provider that values an ongoing, steady client and has the resources to help make that more cost-effective for your business.


At Moto, we pride ourselves on building long-term relationships with our clients, and we like to focus on making it a successful relationship for us both by providing excellent customer service and on-time, damage-free delivery.

Criteria #3: Check Your References

OK – you wouldn’t hire a new employee without asking for a reference first, now would you?


Do the same when you’re hiring a Californian LTL carrier. That way, you avoid questionable businesses who are here today, and gone tomorrow, and certainly don’t have your, or your customers’ best interests at heart.


Focus on doing your homework to avoid these kinds of headaches with California LTL carriers. And then you can rest easy knowing that your goods are moving across the country, state, region, or city with ease.


Here are a few things you should consider when checking out a California LTL carrier:

  1. Talk to the carrier's existing customers.
  2. Ask for references from other companies that have used the same carrier.
  3. Check the carrier's website, and see if they have any reviews or ratings listed. If so, use those to help you make your decision.
  4. Check with organizations like the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and check their rating as well as any complaints filed against them by customers or other businesses in the area where they operate.


california shipping company

What to Expect when Working with a California LTL Carrier

As a shipper, you’re the one who will be responsible for managing your relationship with the carrier. This means that you need to decide what type of service is best for your needs and budget, but it also means you should have a general idea of what you can expect from the process.


Here are some tips for making sure your California LTL carrier choice goes smoothly:

  1. Know What You Need – In order to work effectively with any LTL carrier in California, it's important that you're clear about what kind of shipping method will work best for you and your business. For example, if your freight is fragile or particularly delicate (such as glassware), there are extra steps involved when moving items by truck versus rail car or plane due to potential damage caused during transit. Similarly, if time is critical – such as when transporting product samples across town before a trade show – a company might opt to use an expedited service instead of regular ground transportation because they don't have enough time on their hands!
  2. Know Your Destinations – are you shipping to Los Angeles? Or San Francisco? Maybe you need both urban service areas and rural ones from your California LTL carrier. You should make sure your California LTL carrier has the right coverage for your needs, and if you need connections to other states or countries, that they either have the resources to cover that service area, or are able to provide you a connection with their service provider partners.
  3. Know Your Budget – If you only have a certain amount of money to spend, or have a budget you can’t exceed to remain profitable, make sure you know it before you get started with the freight quote process. There is no sense wasting any further of your time if numbers don’t line up with your needs. Remember though – bargain basement prices can lead to bad service, damages, and delays. Or it may not include accessorials you need to get the job done. Be sure your provider is providing you with transparent information and it meets all your needs up front. That way, you’re less likely to run into problems later!


california LTL flatbed carriers

Wrapping Up

If you are looking for an LTL carrier in California, there are many options to choose from. However, not all of them will be able to deliver the services that you need.


It is important that you know what to look for when choosing an LTL carrier and make sure that they will be able to meet your needs and fit in your budget.


When choosing a carrier, make sure they have the right values, resources, and technology – like Moto. Moto offers you high-quality service, customer service you can trust, and easy-to-track shipments so you can rest assured your LTL shipments are safe and on time, every time.