LTL can mean "Less Than Lethal" when used in the law-enforcement or military industries.
It is used to describe weapons which subdue subjects or enemies of war without killing them (hopefully). Common examples of such weapons: guns that fire bean bags or rubber bullets, chemical incapacitants, stun guns, tasers, magnetophosphene guns, thermal guns (Kinetic Energy Impact Weapons), and distraction and disorientation devices (like bright lights, loud sounds, and flashing lights). Flash bang grenades are often used when a subject only needs to be distracted for an instant while personel enter the area.
The demand for these kinds of weapons has been increasly dramatically as more people seek humane ways to handle out-of-control crowds and mentally ill subjects.
In the field of trucking and Supply Chain Management LTL stands for less than truckload.
What it is:
LTL is the middle ground between small parcel carriers (like UPS and Federal Express) and full truckload carriers (like JB Hunt). LTL carriers ship general commodities in loads that would not fill a truck. A single LTL truck will service many customers all at the same time. Their core customers are businesses rather than end consumers.
How it works:
Truckload carriers usually pick up freight at the shipper and make a single hot shot to the destination (the consignee). In contrast the LTL carriers typically have a local delivery truck make rounds in a city picking up and delivering freight at each business. At the end of the day all the freight is taken to a local freight terminal where it is off-loaded and sorted by destination, size, and weight. Computer programs assign each package to a truck that will eventually get it to a terminal near the destination. Sometimes freight will have to make a transfer at an intermediary terminal. At the destination terminal the freight is again off-loaded and re-loaded onto local delivery trucks to be delivered to the consignee. Parcel carriers act in a similar fashion but they often use airplanes to move freight between terminals.
How it's priced:
Pricing (or rating) for LTL freight is determined by the dimensions, weight, number of pieces, and the distance the freight must travel. Most freight is charged by just its weight and distance, but if you are shipping low density materials (like styrofoam) then its dimensional weight (or "dim weight" as it's known in the business) will be charged instead. Additional surcharges usually apply for deliveries requiring a lift-gate, carrying hazardous materials, or for unusually shaped objects.
UPDATE: (5/23/2005) - Fuel surcharges are very common in 2005. Freight companies now charge a certain fee for each penny that the price of gasoline is above a certain amount. If your business involves a lot of shipping, make sure to find out what the fuel surcharge is going to be, if any.
Who does this:
Some of the largest LTL carriers include: Yellow Freight, Consolidated Freightways, Con-Way, American Freightways, Old Dominion, ABF, Overnight, Roadway, and Saia. Thousands of smaller companies also exist. Many companies only offer services in their own particular region.