Less-Than-Truckload (LTL) Shipping vs. Truckload Shipping: What You Need to Know

by John Rediehs on April 27, 2016 No comments

When you’re shipping your products that weigh more than 100 pounds per load, it’s time to look for a logistics company to help you save on shipping costs. You’ll likely choose between LTL and FTL shipping, which stand for less-than-truckload and full truckload. While it may seem like a fairly easy decision for how to choose which service you’ll use—do you have a full truckload or not?—in actuality, different factors also come into play when making the decision.

Differences Between Truckload and LTL Freight Shipping

Less than truckload, or LTL, shipping is a type of ground shipping that efficiently combines shipments from multiple customers in order to save space and money. Businesses choose LTL shipping services because it is budget friendly, and it’s affordable for smaller businesses because the overall transportation costs are split up among multiple parties. Each company’s shipment takes up a portion of the truck for their goods, and pays according to the amount of product and the distance it needs to go. For instance, if your products only take up a quarter of the truck, you only pay a quarter of the cost of the truck.

LTL shipments make several stops, unpacking and re-packing the goods at each stop. The shipments take longer to reach their destination, but you save on shipping costs. A reliable logistics provider will match your shipments with regularly-scheduled shipments that are heading in the same direction as yours.

Full truckload shipping, on the other hand, can have two meanings. First is that you have enough product to ship a full truckload, and second is that you have a partial load but prefer a dedicated truck for your goods. A full truckload is often chosen when a business is shipping 10 pallets or more, when they have high-risk packages, or if they’re on a time crunch—FTL shipping is faster.

Full truckload shipping costs more money, but it will get your product to its destination faster. FTL loads are typically a shipment for one company with one destination.


Less than Truckload vs. Truckload: Which is Right for Your Shipments?

When you’re deciding between FTL and LTL shipping, you’ll want to consider a few factors:

  • The size of your shipment (shipments 100-10,000 lbs. are usually shipped LTL, while shipments that are over 10,000 lbs. are typically relegated to FTL shipping)
  • How fast you need your product delivered
  • How delicate your shipment is (if it is temperature sensitive or easily damaged, FTL may be a better option)

If your shipment is very large, on a tight deadline, or is somewhat fragile, FTL shipping is probably the better option. If you have smaller shipments, more time to allow for the product to reach its destination, and your product is relatively resilient, LTL will likely fit the bill just fine.

To learn more about FTL and LTL shipping services and third party logistics, feel free to contact Red Dog Logistics any time. Our specialists are more than happy to discuss the different shipping options available for your business and get a quote for you.

John RediehsLess-Than-Truckload (LTL) Shipping vs. Truckload Shipping: What You Need to Know

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