FTL and LTL- Differences, Definition, Advantages, and More

Getting a product to its destination at the best price could be challenging. The best choice will depend on how much freight needs to be moved often given the range of possibilities. For deliveries involving both half and full truckloads, this is especially true. The differences between these two services are discussed, along with situations where picking one over the other makes sense.

FTL (full truckload) shipments are prioritized. FTL, often known as OTR, is the most widely used form of transportation (over the road). In fact, according to a 2019 official assessment, FTL shipping accounted for 46.4% and LTL for 11.3% of the country’s transportation market, respectively. Even if the entire area is not required, the FTL transportation method merely loads the cargo from one shipper onto the transporter. Dry van trailers are the most popular, but open deck and refrigerated trailers are also frequently used.

Because the client is liable for the full cost of the space, businesses typically pick FTL when the cargo is significant enough to fill the space. FTL is advised for goods that are delicate or hazardous because there is a lower risk of harm. It is also considered to be the best choice for high-value goods, especially when using a specialty vehicle would be more expensive. FTL is also preferred by businesses for time-sensitive shipments because it is usually quicker than LTL.

Less than a truckload of cargo can also be transported. Due to the fact that it transfers freight from many businesses while utilizing the same carrier, this mode of transportation, sometimes referred to as LTL, is comparable to a ride-sharing arrangement. A semi-truck towing a mixed trailer, a train, a railroad car, or even another train could serve as the carrier. Because the freight it transports can come from a variety of shippers, customers, or consignees, it is necessary to make several stops in order to load and unload cargo.

LTL is typically the best choice for smaller businesses when one to a few pallets are required for freight. When done through a partner network, LTL consolidation of goods with shipments from other companies can result in significant cost savings. However, there is a higher possibility of freight damage because the contents of the carrier might be moved around more frequently than they would be if they were only delivered as a whole.

The market for FTL and LTL transportation services, which is expected to be valued $19.91 billion by 2028, is one indicator of how much money the American trucking sector makes. To choose the shipping method that offers the best value, businesses should speak with industry professionals in order to make more informed and cost-effective decisions.

To learn more about FTL and LTL shipping, please refer to the following infographic.