In over-the-road-shipping, trucking takes the biggest part of the cake and plays a crucial role in the U.S. economy. There are two pivotal modes of truck transportation: less than truckload and full truckload shipping. Both methods can be beneficial to the shipper, however, they have a lot of differences. While you may have heard about LTL a lot, truckload has its own specifics that should be considered before using this mode.
Truckload shipping refers to moving large volumes of freight, enough to fill the entire truck trailer, over the road. Usually, full truckload loads are shipped in trailers that can handle up to 45 pallets or 43,000 pounds of goods. Standard trailer dimensions for FTL transportation are 48 ft or 53 ft.
The key difference between full truckload and less-than-truckload can be easily understood through the name of these modes. While LTL can move several loads from various shippers, FTL is meant to transport large volumes of goods that can fill the entire truck trailer. Also, there is a difference in the way LTL and truckload freight rates are formed. Unlike LTL, there is no density-based pricing, also known as freight classification, present in full truckload shipping.
Both small shippers and large companies can use truckload shipping as their transportation solution. You will benefit from FTL most if you have enough freight to fill in the trailer and if you ship goods regularly. Overall, there are a few key benefits of truckload shipping, including:
Truckload shipping is essentially faster than LTL because the truck doesn't make frequent stops during transit. In LTL, the route would include multiple stops to drop off and pick up freight from different shippers. In FTL, the truck is dedicated to your load, which makes transit times shorter.
Obviously, if there’s just your freight on the board, it won’t be handled as much as in LTL. This significantly reduces the chances of cargo damage, as in most cases your goods are picked up and dropped off just once.
Usually, truckload is more expensive than LTL. However, it can be cheaper if you have heavy, high volume loads. In that case, shipping FTL will be a much more cost-effective option than booking several LTL shipments.