The difference between LTL and FTL is simply the amount of trailer space that a single freight shipment requires. Less than truckload (LTL) is used when freight only takes up a portion of a trailer whereas a full truckload (FTL) fills up the entire space of a trailer. In addition, when you use LTL, you share the cost of a full truckload with other shippers.
Want to know more about LTL vs FTL? Keep reading this guide for an in-depth overview.
The Basics of LTL and FTL Shipping
First, don’t let the acronyms overwhelm you. Less Than Truckload (LTL) and Full Truckload (FTL) are types of freight shipping that sound exactly as they are described. With a quick overview of the vocabulary and a few highlights of the benefits of truckload shipping, we can help you decide which way is the best way to fit your shipping needs. And with uShip, we can help plug you in to the right shippers and the right service for the job.
Many items can be shipped through traditional package shipping companies. However, because of size and weight restrictions or the volume of the shipments you may incur overage charges or discover that using these services are not right for your needs. As a result, it may be worthwhile to either book a full truck for your shipment that will take your items on a long haul, which means that the items will never be transferred from one truck to another and go straight to its destination. Or, you may find a truck that does not already have a full load and has the space for your items and can transfer the items to other trucks that go on smaller trips that will get the item to its destination.
Shipping a smaller freight load by LTL can offer significant savings over shipping the same freight in an empty truck. In some instances in which you have a shipment large enough to fill an entire container, shipping FTL may be less expensive. This occurs at times when the entire shipment has the same origin and destination. However, it is because this varies that you will want to reach out uShip or work with a freight broker to determine your needs and receive quotes. Additionally, you may find that FTL shipping quotes may come in the form of price per mile whereas LTL shipping quotes may come in the form of price per weight.
Because LTL freight travels on a hub system and can be transferred several times before reaching its destination, it might take longer to ship than FTL freight. Your LTL freight carrier should be able to provide a timetable with the exact transit time of your shipment.
Handling and Preparation
LTL freight is more susceptible to damage since it is handled and transferred.One way to mitigate damage is to consolidate your items into one large, palletized shipment. Minimizing the number of individual packages reduces handling time and decreases the likelihood of damage.
What to Consider with LTL
- Is the shipment less than 10,000 lbs?
- Who is available to load and unload the shipment?
- Is it possible to consolidate and palletize the shipment?
- Is the timeline acceptable?
- Is sharing trailer space with other shipments acceptable?
Before You Get a Quote with uShip
- Choose your location type for pickup and delivery so carriers will know if extra equipment or labor is required.
- Be sure to select any extra services you require because additional fees may apply.
- Measure the length, width, and height in inches or centimeters. Be sure to measure to the farthest points, including pallets and other packaging material.
- Include the commodity, pallet, and packaging for an accurate shipping weight.