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Multi-Stop Truckload: Expert Freight Management Strategies

Resources > Multi-Stop Truckload: Expert Freight Management Strategies
Multi-stop truckload shipping maximizes the potential of freight delivery in contiguous routes and concentrated areas. Discover the benefits of this LTL shipping method here.
Published: August 1, 2023
Last Modified: August 28, 2023
Author: Joe Weaver

Multi-stop truckload is a pivotal aspect of over-the-road trucking. It involves using a single truck to haul shipments to several locations along a continuous route. When properly executed, it presents an opportunity to cut down on fuel, payroll, and maintenance costs. However, it's not without challenges. Careful planning is key to the execution of this shipping strategy.

According to the American Trucking Associations (ATA), multi-stop truckload is a shipping method where one truck carries freight destined for multiple destinations. It maximizes efficiency by optimizing routes and fully utilizing cargo space. Under the right circumstances, it can be an effective cost-saving measure.

Join us as we break down the fundamentals of multi-stop truckload. 

Understanding the Components of Multi-Stop Truckload Shipping

An isometric view of semi trucks, forklifts, cargo containers, and pickup trucks at a distribution center.

When it comes to managing freight efficiently, it's essential to understand the components of multi-stop truckload shipping. While it’s not ideal for every shipment, there are many circumstances where leveraging this strategy can be a net positive. Let's take a closer look.

Multi-Stop Truckload: Trailers and Technology

Generally speaking, multi-stop truckloads are employed when two conditions are true:

  • A truck will pass several customers on a common route, such as a stretch of interstate
  • The trailer can be loaded with cargo destined for all of these customers

Instead of sending several trucks with smaller loads to each individual receiver, a single truck is dispatched with a fully or mostly-loaded trailer. This reduces the number of trips required and cuts down on fuel. Making the most of a trailer’s capacity is a key element of multi-stop shipping. 

Technology has its fair share in streamlining the multi-stop truckload shipping process. The use of planning software allows shippers to track and manage shipments with efficiency. Such software can provide real-time data, which is vital for timely decision-making and preventing shipment delays.

Less than Truckload (LTL) Shipping Explained

A rearview of an open semi-trailer.

Multi-stop truckload is a form of LTL shipping. LTL shipping is the practice of filling a trailer with shipments from two or more shippers with multiple destinations. This contrasts with a full truckload (FTL) shipping, in which a single shipper’s deliveries  occupy the trailer.

Some advantages of LTL shipping include:

  • Reduced cost of transportation
  • Lower emissions
  • Ideal for smaller shipments

Full truckload (FTL) deliveries are often the method of choice for single, large-volume shipments. While it can be costlier than LTL, a full truckload shipment  does have its advantages.

FTL shipping has some of the following benefits:

  • Faster load times without other shipments
  • Less chance of damaged cargo
  • More cost-efficient for large shipments

It’s important to note that the words ‘full’ and ‘less than’ can be a little confusing here. An FTL carrier  doesn’t necessarily fill the trailer to capacity. If a customer pays for an entire trailer worth of shipping space just to use a quarter of it, it’s still considered FTL. This can occur when freight needs to be expedited.

Since multi-stop truckloads require more coordination than FTL shipments, planning the route is crucial to success.

The Role of a Multi-Stop Route Planner

Multi-stop route planners are the unsung heroes of efficient multi-stop truckload shipping. By figuring out the best delivery sequence, they can present you with the fastest route.

Today’s route planning tools and technologies have evolved significantly. Advanced software can consider a wide array of variables such as traffic conditions, weather, and load weight. This ensures highly efficient routing, which is especially crucial in time-sensitive deliveries.

Benefits of Implementing Multi-Stop Delivery

Multiple semi trucks lined up at a weigh station.

Using multi-stop delivery as part of your truckload shipping strategy can have a plethora of advantages. From cost savings to reducing environmental impact, the benefits are hard to ignore.

One of the most enticing benefits of multi-stop delivery is the potential for significant cost savings. By grouping multiple shipments into a single truck, fuel consumption is reduced, as are shipping costs.

To understand how much this method can save in fuel costs, let’s take a look at diesel prices over the last five years.

Average Diesel Price Per Gallon in the USA

YearCost Per GallonCost Per Thousand Miles Averaging 6.5 MPG


The last two years have seen spikes in the cost of diesel, largely due to factors such as the war in Ukraine. The more fuel a carrier has to use to move your cargo, the higher the costs will be. For this reason, multi-stop shipping should be used when possible to split the costs of fuel among shippers.

Reducing fuel use doesn’t just save money: it can also enhance your company’s image as a responsible, eco-conscious brand. An environmentally friendly approach to logistics is becoming more critical than ever. Making multiple stops  is inherently greener than deploying multiple trucks, as it reduces the number total number of miles driven when used correctly. Fewer miles mean less fuel consumption, which directly translates to lower emissions. 

Additionally, optimized routes mean less time on the road, resulting in savings on driver wages and vehicle wear-and-tear.

Streamlining Operations and Customer Satisfaction

Multi-stop delivery not only benefits your bottom line, but can also lead to streamlined operations. Efficient route planning and delivery schedules make it easier to predict arrival times, which helps in managing customer expectations.

If you need to deliver multiple packages along a continuous route, multi-stop delivery is a smart move.

Delving Into Continuous Move Multi-Stop Truckload Shipping

In continuous move multi-stop truckload shipping, the emphasis is on keeping the truck moving with as little idle time as possible. The truck is always loaded and making back-to-back deliveries.

While this approach can drastically reduce downtime and increase efficiency, it's not without its challenges. The planning process is far more complex and requires meticulous attention to detail to ensure seamless back-to-back loading and unloading.

Best Practices for Efficient Multi-Stop Truckload Shipping

A semi truck with trailer backing up to a loading=

Being successful in multi-stop truckload shipping is an art that combines effective planning, intelligent use of technology, and great communication. 

These three best practices are crucial to proper implementation of multi-stop truckload shipping.

  • Scheduling is key: It’s vital to ensure that pickup and delivery times are coordinated to minimize waiting times.
  • Leveraging route optimization  software. Such technology can not only improve routes but provide valuable real-time data for timely decision-making.
  • Communication is the glue that holds the whole process together. Ensuring that everyone, from the delivery driver to the customer, is in the loop is vital for a smooth shipping process.

Success Stories: How Companies Excel with Multi-Stop Truckload Shipping

Real-world examples provide invaluable insights into the practical application of multi-stop truckload shipping. 

Here are a few cases that demonstrate how companies have harnessed the power of this shipping method to drive success.

  • Walmart uses multi-stop truckload shipping to keep its shelves stocked. The company's distribution centers are strategically located to minimize travel time, and its private fleet consolidates products from various suppliers into single trips. This helps to reduce costs and minimize the carbon footprint.
  • Frito-Lay reduced its fleet mileage by revamping its distribution process. The company centralized its manufacturing and used multi-stop truckload shipping to distribute products to regional distribution centers. This reduced the number of miles traveled, lowering fuel costs and greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Amazon uses multi-stop truckload shipping to deliver multiple orders in a single trip. The company's vast network of fulfillment centers and sophisticated route planning algorithms help to ensure that orders are delivered quickly and efficiently.
  • Tyson Foods uses multi-stop truckload shipping to streamline its distribution process. The company consolidates loads from various production facilities to efficiently utilize truck space and reduce the number of trips required. This approach has helped Tyson Foods reduce transportation costs and ensure timely deliveries to its customers.

These success stories highlight the potential of multi-stop truckload shipping as an efficient and sustainable logistics strategy. Whether it’s retail, food production, or e-commerce, the effective application of multi-stop truckload shipping can translate into reduced costs, faster deliveries, and environmental sustainability.

USA Truckload Shipping: Your Partner in Multi-Stop Truckload Shipping

When you need a trusted partner for your multi-stop truckload shipping needs, USA Truckload Shipping is here for you. We’re experts in providing tailored shipping solutions that are as unique as your business. 

Our services include:

Our state-of-the-art technology ensures efficient route planning and real-time tracking. Plus, our dedicated support team is always just a call away. Don’t miss out on optimizing your logistics with us. Give us a call at 866-353-7178 or request a proposal and step into a world of streamlined, efficient, and cost-effective shipping.

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