Understanding the Difference Between Full Truckload and Less-Than-Full Truckload Shipping

full truckload and less-than-full truckload shipping trucks

Understanding the difference between full truckload and less-than-full truckload shipping is essential for shippers who want to move their goods efficiently and cost-effectively. While both FTL and LTL shipping can meet the needs of shippers, there are certain considerations that should be taken into account when deciding which type of shipping is best for a particular shipment. Let’s take a look at the differences between FTL and LTL shipping and what you need to know before making your decision.

Full Truckload Shipping

FTL shipping is just as it sounds — a full truckload of one shipper’s freight. The trailer is only used by one shipper, so the entire trailer space is filled with that shipper’s freight. This method means that no other freight will be added while in transit. This ensures that your shipment arrives on time without any unexpected delays or stops along the way. One big advantage of FTL shipping is that because the entire trailer space is devoted to one shipment. It takes less time from pickup to delivery than with LTL shipments.

Less-Than-Full Truckload Shipping

Unlike FTL, where an entire trailer is dedicated to one shipment, LTL splits the space in the trailer among multiple shippers who have bookings for that route. This process allows multiple shipments to fit into one trailer and travel together on a single trip — saving time and money. Because LTL shipments share space in a trailer with other shipments, pickups may take longer. However, no additional stops are made along the way during transit as each shipment stays intact throughout its journey.

Cost Considerations

The cost savings associated with using LTL over FTL depend on several factors such as weight, size, distance traveled, special handling requirements, and more. Generally speaking, though, small shipments tend to cost more per pound when shipped via FTL than when shipped via LTL. This is due to fixed costs associated with using an entire truckload versus sharing space in a truckload with other shipments. However, if you are planning on shipping larger loads or if your products require special handling or temperature control measures, FTL may be more cost-effective. This is because all of those costs can be shared among fewer packages instead of spreading out among many packages as would happen with an LTL shipment.

When deciding whether you should use full truckload and less-than-full truckload shipping for your next shipment, consider the cost savings associated with either option. Also, determine how quickly you need to ship your shipment and any special handling requirements required for your product or packaging type. With these factors in mind, you can make an informed decision about which type of transportation best meets your needs. Lightning Logistics works with manufacturers, distributors, and other shippers of all sizes and with all types of delivery needs to help you make these decisions. Count on us to get your goods to their destination anywhere across North America safely and on time, every time.

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