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Full Truckload vs. Less-than-truckload Shipping

Full Truckload vs. Less Than Truckload

If your business needs to ship many products, materials, or other items, it is crucial to understand the differences between full truckload vs. less than truckload shipping. To help you determine which freight service is right for your needs, the experts at C&D Logistics have compiled some information on each shipping method and when they are typically used. This will help to ensure that you are getting the best value while staying on schedule with your shipments.

Learn about some LTL questions small businesses should ask.

What is Full Truckload Shipping?

Full truckload— sometimes abbreviated as FTL or OTR (over the road)—generally refers to ground-based transportation with a semi truck. The most common method is via a dry van trailer, though refrigerated and open deck trailers are also common. With FTL, only one shipper’s freight is loaded onto the truck even if the shipment does not require the entire trailer.

What is Less Than Truckload Shipping?

Less than truckload—commonly referred to as LTL—is a mode of surface transportation that uses semi trucks like FTL, but hauls shipments from multiple companies together on the same trailer. This option is typically ideal for shipments that require 1 to 6 pallets. Shipments over 6 pallets are typically better suited for volume LTL or partial truckload shipping. In addition to semi trucks, LTL shipping can utilize trains and train cars, allowing you to choose the perfect option for your budget and time constraints.

Which Method is Right for You?

Now that you know the differences between each shipping method, you will need to determine which option is right for you.

When to Use FTL

Companies should use full truckload shipping when the shipment is large enough to fill the entire truck or when the cost of the items being shipped is far greater than the cost of using a dedicated truck. Full truckload shipping is typically much faster than LTL and is always the better choice for shipments that are under strict time constraints. In addition to significantly reduced transit times, there is also less risk of damaged or misplaced products when using a dedicated truck for your entire shipment.

When to Use LTL

Less-than-truckload shipping is ideal for smaller businesses that are not shipping enough items to fill an entire truckload. By using a partner network, goods can be consolidated with shipments from other companies to reduce overall costs. Although less-than-truckload shipping is not as fast as full truckload shipping, the cost savings typically make up for this.

To learn more about our freight and logistics services or for assistance choosing the right solution for your shipment, get in touch with the team at C&D Logistics. We can be reached through our online contact form and will be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding our services.


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