FTL and LTL Shipping: Which Fits Your Needs


It could be difficult to deliver a product at the best price at its location. Given the variety of options, the optimum decision will depend on how much freight needs to be moved frequently. This is especially true when deliveries consist of both half- and full-truckloads. These two services’ distinctions are addressed, along with circumstances in which it makes sense to choose one over the other.

Full truckload shipments are given priority. The most popular kind of transport is FTL, often known as OTR (over the road). A 2019 government analysis found that FTL shipping accounted for 46.4% of the nation’s transportation sector while LTL accounted for 11.3%. The FTL transportation method just needs the cargo from one shipper to be placed onto the transporter; the full area is not necessary. While open deck and refrigerated trailers are also regularly utilized, dry van trailers are the most common.

Businesses usually choose FTL when the cargo is substantial enough to fill the space because the client is responsible for paying the whole cost of the space. FTL is suggested for delicate or dangerous goods because the risk of harm is reduced. For high-value commodities, it is also regarded as the ideal option, particularly when employing a specialty vehicle would be more expensive. FTL is also preferred by businesses for shipments that must arrive on time because it is frequently faster than LTL.

Furthermore, less than a truckload of cargo may be transported. This kind of transportation, also known as LTL, is similar to a ride-sharing arrangement because it transports freight from numerous firms while using the same carrier. The carrier could be a train, a railway car, a semi-truck pulling a mixed trailer, or even another train. It is essential to make multiple stops in order to load and unload cargo because the freight it conveys can come from a number of shippers, customers, or consignees.

For smaller firms, LTL is typically the best option when one to a few pallets are needed for freight. LTL consolidation of goods with shipments from other businesses can drastically reduce shipping costs when arranged through a partner network. However, because the contents of the carrier may be moved around more frequently than they would be if they were only delivered as a whole, there is a larger likelihood of freight damage.

One measure of how much money the American trucking industry makes is the market for FTL and LTL transportation services, which is expected to be worth $19.91 billion by 2028. Businesses should consult with sector specialists in order to make better educated and cost-effective judgments on the shipping method that provides the best value.

For additional details on FTL and LTL shipping, please see the infographic below.

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