Full Truckload vs Less-Than-Truckload: What Is the Difference?

When it comes to shipping freight, there are several alternatives to choose from. Each type of transportation can be beneficial, however, it hardly depends on your business objectives, type of freight, dimensions, and a few other factors. Before diving into the diverse world of freight shipping, you should get acquainted with the two primary transportation modes: full truckload (TL) and less-than-truckload (LTL). If you aren’t familiar with the two, you might be asking what the difference between these two shipping methods is and which one will work better for you?

What Is Full Truckload Shipping?

Truckload shipping means your freight fills the entire capacity of a truck’s trailer. Full truckload shipping is the most common transportation mode, with the U.S. full truckload market estimated to equal $950 billion. Carriers mostly move alike freight for large enterprises, their suppliers, and retailers.

What Is Less-than-Truckload Shipping?

Unlike truckload shipping, less-than-truckload shipping means that you partially use the trailer space and share the overall load cost with other shippers. The LTL market is small compared to other shipping modes, however, it is popular among small businesses and individual shippers. For small shippers, this method offers much more flexibility and other benefits compared to TL shipping.

What Are the Benefits of Full Truckload?

Full truckload shipping is a fast and reliable way to ship large amounts of freight. Truckload shipping will work for you, if:

  • You have enough goods to fill in the entire trailer space (from 15,000 to 50,000 pounds)
  • You have tight shipping deadlines
  • You want a truck dedicated just to your load

Truckload shipping can be more expensive that LTL, but requires less handling. This increases the chances of your load having accurate transit time and fewer chances of delay.

What Are the Benefits of LTL?

Less-than-truckload is an affordable and flexible shipping solution. It offers many benefits for shippers who move large items, as well as for small businesses with a small volume of freight. LTL shipping will work for you, if:

  • You have a small volume of freight, that doesn’t fill the entire trailer (you shipments weight less than 15,000 pounds)
  • You’re searching for a cost-efficient shipping option
  • You’re not very tight on the delivery time

LTL shipping is also the best option for shippers who don’t want to deal with brokers and multiple people to arrange a shipment. With more and more self-service online shipping platforms appearing on the market, LTL can be a simple and modern solution.

Bottom Line

To sum it up, both truckload and LTL transportation modes can be beneficial. However, it depends on many factors: freight volume, your budget, shipping frequency, and time frames. Either way, both full truckload and less-than-truckload shipping can be a great option for your shipment!

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