Truckload vs. LTL Freight: What’s the Difference?

Truckload vs. LTL Freight: What's the Difference? What Are the Advantages of Freight Forwarders in International Trade Overloading a Truck

Truckload vs. LTL Freight: What’s the Difference? | Wondering what the difference is between full truckload and LTL Freight? Not sure which shipping option is right for you?

If you want to make the best decisions when shipping important items, you need to consider all of the different freight options and their benefits. LTL freight and full truckload freight are both good choices that you need to be aware of.

Here’s what you need to know about the differences between LTL freight and full truckload freight.

What Are LTL Freight and Full Truckload Freight Shipping Options?

Full truckload and less than truckload shipping options can both be good choices for your freight needs, but they have some differences that you should know about.

At the most basic level, less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping is a method of shipping freight in which a truck’s space will be shared with shipments by other customers. With full truckload (TL) shipping, on the other hand, the entire space or weight limit of the trailer will be used by one customer alone.

When choosing between the two options, it’s important to consider your own unique needs and how much freight you need to ship. Neither option is necessarily better than the other, but each can be more suitable for certain situations.

While full truckload shipping has its advantages, LTL freight offers a lot of benefits over other options and can be a good solution that offers lower costs and greater flexibility. Be sure to learn more about these benefits if you think that LTL shipping might be right for you.

Differences Between LTL and Full Truckload Shipping

Both truckload and LTL freight shipping have their pros and cons. Here are some more details about the differences between the two.

Handling and Time in Transit

When you use LTL shipping, your shipments won’t be alone in a vehicle, but it will share space with shipments from other customers as well.

This also means that the truck will make plenty of stops along the way. There could be multiple stops before a shipment reaches the final destination, and each time there will be unloading and reloading.

This also means that there will be more handling of your shipment. Keep in mind that this may slightly increase the instances of damage when shipping products.

With a full truckload shipment, on the other hand, your freight shipment will be shipped alone, and it will go straight to the final destination. This means that there will be less handling of the shipment overall and damage will be less likely to occur during transit.

Shipment Capacities

When considering whether to use LTL or full truckload shipping, you need to think about how much space you’ll need.

LTL shipments will usually include anywhere from 1 to 6 different pallets and will usually weigh no more than 5,000 pounds total. An LTL freight shipment will take up about 12 linear feet in total.

With a full truckload shipment, as many as 30 pallets or more can be stored in a trailer. The weight of the shipments can be as high as 45,000 pounds and above.

Depending on the size of your shipment, you should carefully consider which freight option you want to use. If you have a large number of items to ship, it may be well worth making a full truckload shipment. However, if you have to ship a smaller number of items, you may want to make an LTL shipment instead.

Pricing Standards

One of the differences between full truckload and LTL shipping relates to pricing standards and costs.

With LTL shipping, regulations by the National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA) are used to determine the pricing of an LTL shipment. There are standard rates that are based on the transportation area and distance, the space used in the trailer, and more. Because of the standards that have been set, pricing can be pretty predictable with LTL freight.

With full truckload freight, on the other hand, rates can vary by quite a bit because they will be based on the market at any given time. There are a huge variety of possible costs with full truckload shipping and there are all sizes of shipping companies as well.

Many different factors will influence the cost of full truckload shipping and this could include shipment weight, transportation area, truck capacity, operating costs, and more.

Refrigerated Trailer Usage

When items need to be refrigerated during shipment, you’ll need to use a reefer truck. Be sure to consider the differences between LTL and full truckload shipping carefully.

With LTL refrigerated carriers, you’ll need to ensure that you find the right trailer to use, for the right time. Trailers will run on specific schedules that will be based on temperatures and routes. You’ll have to plan ahead carefully to ensure you can find a schedule that works for your shipment and that will have the temperatures that you need.

With full truckload shipping, on the other hand, you’ll have a lot more control over a shipment. These reefer trailers will be configurable based on your needs and you can choose to make a shipment with any temperature that is required, ranging from 0 to 70 degrees. This can allow you to have a lot more flexibility than you would have with an LTL carrier.

Final Thoughts

When shipping important items, make sure that you choose the best freight option for your needs. Be sure that you consider the key differences between LTL freight and full truckload freight if you want to make the right decision for a particular shipment.

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