14 Aug
Difference Between LTL Shipping and Full Truckload Shipping

ltl shipping vs ftl shipping
We at Prestige always recommend hiring a third party logistics (3PL) broker to handle your company’s shipping needs for myriad reasons. However, we understand there are companies hoping to learn more about the freight industry, or those who simply may not be ready to make the transition to 3PL; this article is for you.

Read on for a breakdown of the differences between less than truckload (LTL) and truckload (TL) freight.

Shipping: an overview

Every business needs to get its goods from point A to B at some point in their business model. Whether from a wholesaler, to distributors, or directly drop-shipped to customers’ doorsteps, it’s inescapable for any business that is not in the service industry. Many factors are weighed in freight shipping (pun intended). Aside from the weight of your goods, dimensions (length x width x height) play a role. Selecting the classification for your freight is another element that can save or lose you bundles of cash.

Selecting between less than truckload and truckload shipping is deceptively complex. Yes, the classification ultimately depends on whether your goods (either by size or weight) take up an entire truck or trailer. But where is the cutoff? Is it the same for all trucks? And are there situations where, although your items qualify for LTL shipping, you still might want to opt for TL?

Less than truckload (LTL): the specifics

LTL shipping is a cost-effective way to transport goods, because a number of shippers are able to purchase space on the truck in proportion to the space they are taking up. The general rule of thumb for LTL shipping is anything less than 15,000 pounds.

It is imperative when shipping LTL to protect the goods you’re shipping. Mere cardboard boxes are not enough. Be sure to crate or palletize your boxes or packages. You should expect your goods to go through multiple transfers throughout the shipment.

Full Truckload Shipping (TL): a closer look

The following situations are those in which full truckload shipping will be your best bet.

1. Your goods fill the entirety of the truck
2. You are shipping 15,000 pounds or more
3. You are shipping more than 10 pallets of goods
4. The delivery of the goods are on a tight timeline

FTL shipping is expedited compared to LTL because there are fewer stops. So for last minute shipments or those with a strict deadline, FTL is probably a better option. You might also face customers who prefer to have their items dedicated to a full truck. We recommend handling those customers on a case-by-case basis, as it won’t make sense below a certain limit, even for the good of your relationship with that customer. A final benefit of FTL shipping is that because the goods are only loaded and unloaded once (no exchange between trucks), they are less likely to be damaged.

Full truckload and less than truckload shipping both have pros and cons, and can be situation dependent. Hopefully this has provided some clarification. We at Prestige are always available to you for more information, so don’t hesitate to enquire.