LTL vs FTL Shipping

Posted by Port City Logistics on May 22, 2020 8:00:00 AM

When it comes to shipping freight, there are a wide range of options or services to get your goods from Point A to Point B. Naturally, many considerations must be made in making these decisions. One of these decisions is to decide between LTL (less-than-truckload) and FTL (full truckload) shipping methods. In this article, we’ll discuss LTL vs FTL shipping and how these two options can best benefit your business.

What is LTL Shipping?

LTL shipping stands for less-than-truckload. Less-than-truckload freight refers to a shipment being transported on a trailer that isn’t entirely full. These shipments tend to be smaller loads that move efficiently from place to place and are primarily made up of multiple smaller loads. For this shipping method, you’ll only be paying for the amount of space your shipment takes up on the trailer. For example, if your load takes up only a quarter of the trailer space available, you’ll only be paying for that used space as if you were renting that small area. This is an incredibly cost-efficient shipping method; however, your shipment could be paired with other shipments that fill up the container’s remaining space.


LTL shipping appeals most to small businesses that want the luxury of safer shipping at the lowest cost available; however, the only drawback is that your shipment could take a little longer to get to its destination. Since a LTL shipment is made up of several small shipments from other businesses, your carrier may need to stop in a few other cities before reaching its final destination. At times, this could mean the shipment gets passed from one truck to another in the middle of transit.

What is FTL Shipping?

FTL shipping refers to a truck carrying one dedicated load for a business. Ultimately, FTL shipping is used to maximize a business’s shipping potential to one location. This can refer to a high-volume shipment or a shipment that is particularly fragile. As expected, a FTL shipment is much more expensive than a LTL 

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shipment. Instead of paying for only a portion of the trailer, you’re paying for the entire shipment; however, this greatly boosts the speed at which your shipment arrives. Since it arrives in only one stop, you can quickly get your products out to your distributors and onto shelves quicker.

Fragile shipments benefit from FTL’s ability to minimize transfers, stops, and unnecessary movement. Frequent unloading and reloading can become taxing on the sturdiness of a fragile shipment.

LTL vs FTL Shipping

Choosing between LTL vs FTL shipping puts cheaper shipping versus faster shipping. If you’re a small business, the cheap shipping LTL can offer may seem like the best option; however, if you’re shipping high-volume or fragile items, choosing FTL can benefit your shipping speed and strength.

When choosing a shipping method, always consider your shipment size, your budget, your shipment speed, and the sturdiness of your load. Each of these small factors play a role in deciding what shipping you should choose for your product. While each method provides specific pros and cons, it’s ultimately up to you and your shipping provider to decide the proper shipping method for your unique load.

Contact Port City Logistics

When your business needs to optimize its shipping process, Port City Logistics is the perfect partner. Our experienced staff has created numerous solutions that will change the way your business sends your products. Your products, materials, or goods will get to your business or on shelves faster than ever before. If your supply chain needs optimization, contact Port City Logistics and learn what we can do for you.



Topics: Truck Freight