When you are thinking of shipping your freight, you have different options to choose from. The right method will depend on the size of your shipment and your other requirements. FTL and LTL shipping options work for many shippers. While you might know what these acronyms stand for, not many people their differences. Read on to learn more about these shipment options and which one works for you.
What Are LTL and FTL?
Less Than Truckload (LTL) transportation is when customers share a company’s truck to ship their cargo. With this option, carriers are allowed to combine their freight into one trailer then each shipper will pay for the part of the truck that their shipment occupies. LTL is best for shipping 1-6 pallets or cargo that weighs between 100-10000 pounds. This shipping method allows individuals to take advantage of cheaper pricing because of the demand. However, shippers should bear in mind that their cargo will be loaded on and off the truck severally during transportation.
FTL or Full Truckload Transportation, on the other hand, is where a truck is dedicated to exclusively ship a client’s cargo. That means there’s no sharing of space instead your freight will take the entire space or weight limit of a truck. FTL operates via a Point to Point network meaning, your goods will only be offloaded when they reach their destination.
When Should You Use LTL or FTL?
Certain circumstances can force you to use either method. However, there are no restrictions on when to use LTL and FTL. Some things to consider when deciding which method works for you include;
Type of Goods- LTL involves loading and unloading during transportation. It, therefore, may not be a suitable option for shipping fragile goods. If you have sensitive cargo, you’ll be better off with FTL as your goods, once loaded will only be offloaded when they reach their destination.
Time of Delivery– with LTL, you’ll be sharing space with other shippers. Therefore, the truck driver will have to make various stops to deliver goods to multiple destinations. As such, your shipment can take much time to be delivered, and it’s difficult to approximate the delivery time due to such delays. But with FTL deliveries, the entire truck is dedicated to your shipment. Hence it goes straight to your delivery point, which shortens the delivery times.
Shipment Size– if you want to ship smaller amounts of goods at a time, then LTL can be your best bet. Those shipping goods weighing 100-10000 pounds that don’t take up more than 24 ft of the truck are better off with LTL. But if you want to ship more than 10 pallets or goods that weigh 10000 lbs and more should consider FTL. FTL is an affordable method if you’re transporting a large cargo as you’ll not have to break it into smaller amounts for LTL shipments.
What Are the Similarities between FTL and FTL?
Both these shipment options transport your cargo across the road. However, in some cases, LTL companies can use intermodal rail for transportation, but this is rare. Also, FTL and LTL use Class 8 semi-trucks that need to be driven by a professional driver with a commercial driver’s license. Additionally, with these options, freight is shipped in pallets. And they use the same trailer size of 8 feet, 53 feet, and 13.5 feet in width, length, and legal height, respectively.
How Does LTL Differ from LTL?
The main reason why someone might choose LTL over FTL is that LTL offers a higher cost saving when shipping smaller amounts of goods at a time. It’s cheaper since you’ll only pay for the space your cargo has used in the truck instead of paying for an entire truck that’s not fully filled. The other differences come in terms of handling goods and delivery times as we have already discussed above.
Which Option Is Better?
No option is better than the other. However, there are some instances where a shipper can benefit more from one method than the other. Therefore, we encourage you to evaluate your situation before choosing LTL or FTL.