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What is the difference between LTL and FTL?

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?

What is FTL?

FTL stands for full truckload shipping. FTL, or full truckload shipping, is when a freight shipment requires an entire trailer. A FTL shipment usually consists of roughly 30 pallets in a 53-foot trailer. Full truckload shipments can weigh up to 45,000 pounds.

 Before You Get a Quote with uShip

  1. Choose your location type for pickup and delivery so carriers will know if extra equipment or labor is required.
  2. Be sure to select any extra services you require because additional fees may apply.
  3. Measure the length, width, and height in inches or centimeters. Be sure to measure to the farthest points, including pallets and other packaging material.
  4. Include the commodity, pallet, and packaging for an accurate shipping weight.


Not only does uShip provide discounted LTL quotes, but we also offer other great benefits, such as:

  • Customer Support: uShip’s knowledgeable LTL customer support team is available via phone or email. If you need to file a damage claim or dispute a rebill, we can help.
  • Invoice Audits: All invoices are checked for accuracy to ensure you are getting the best price possible. We will proactively credit the difference of any overpayment to your uShip account.
  • Bring Your Own Rates: If you have your own rates with LTL carriers, you can load them directly into your uShip portal, allowing you to compare quotes all in one place.
  • Customer Specific PricingWe can negotiate pricing with carriers based on your individual volume.
  • Referral Program: You will receive shipping credit when you refer a friend.
  • Insurance Options: Did you know LTL carriers do not have full liability insurance? It’s always best to cover your freight with a uShip cargo insurance policy.

From competitive prices to great customer service, it’s clear why so many small businesses prefer obtaining LTL freight quotes from uShip. If you have any questions about shipping LTL freight on uShip, please contact us. We have an experienced freight team available to answer all of your questions.