A smart shipper understands the differences between a full truckload and less than a truckload.
More than that, he knows how to play with the freight dimensions, freight classification, and types of service in a way that makes the shipment efficient and cost-effective.
The biggest difference between the two services is the amount of space the freight takes inside the trailer.
Below, I'll share the main differences between an FL and LTL shipment.
Defining full-truckload and less-than-truckload
- Less-than-truckload shipping is used by small businesses that do not have enough items to fill a truck and share their cargo area with the goods from other companies.
- Full-truckload shipping is used when the companies have enough goods to fill an entire truck or when the cost of the items outweighs the cost of using a dedicated truck.
Full truckload shipping is usually faster. And it's when the companies require expedited shipping or when the freight is time-sensitive.
The difference between FTL and LTL
When evaluating the pros and cons of LTL vs FTL shipping, what is best depends on your business needs and the particulars of your freight. Here are some things you should consider when determining which shipping method will be best for you:
Your goods share the truck's cargo space with items from other companies, which reduces the cost of your delivery.
Even though LTL is not as fast as FTL shipping, the cost-savings usually outweigh the expedited transit times.
When multiple businesses choose to ship LTL, each of them pays the cost for the occupied portion of the semi-trailer.
FTL shipments use most of the truck's cargo space and cost more.
2. Delivery time
If you go with LTL shipping, be aware that the delivery of your product will be slower because the truck will have to stop at various delivery stops.
Less-than-truckload transportation is a better option for loads with flexible deliveries.
Because LTL shipments include other goods besides yours, they require multiple stops and transfers before arriving at the final destination.
Full truckload shipping provides a faster delivery service, which works well for expedited shipping or for time-sensitive products.
This type of shipment usually travels from point A to point B. That allows calculating accurate delivery time estimates.
FTL shipments pick up and deliver on the same truck.
3. Goods safety and handling
With LTL shipments, the product supports multiple stops at the distribution centers or transfers to other trucks before arriving at the destination.
To protect the transported goods from damage, they have to be robust and resistant. Or at least, the transported items must be properly packed.
With FTL deliveries, chances of possible damage of the goods decrease because there is one delivery stop, which means also less handling of the freight.
The freight remains in the same truck for the entire length of the transit.
Aside from driver rest breaks, fuel, and equipment issues, the truck doesn't stop, resulting in much faster transit times. In addition, your freight never leaves the truck, resulting in much less handling and fewer opportunities to be damaged.
FTL freight shipper guarantees complete safety of the shipment because once it is loaded the truck is sealed, and the driver heads directly to the destination.
4. Amount of the freight
The average LTL shipment will fall under 10,000-pounds of total weight and range from one to six pallets in size.
Truckload also makes more sense when the freight weighs from 10,001 to 45,000 pounds, or the company has more than 10 pallets worth of goods to transport.