FTL vs. LTL- Important Aspects to Know

Businesses that require the services of a freight carrier have numerous options for delivering their goods. LTL shipping (less than truckload) and FTL shipping are two popular modes of transportation. It is critical to understand the differences between these two modes of transportation to effectively choose the mode of transportation that will be the most economical and efficient for your business. In today’s article, we’ll compare LTL and FTL shipping to see which is best for your company.

What is FTL?

Only one shipment will occupy an entire truck in FTL shipping. This is used when there are 10 or more palettes awaiting shipment. FTL is frequently used for high-risk shipments because it is regarded as a safer option. After all, the cargo remains on one truck throughout the process. As a result, the risk of damage is reduced. Since there is only one shipment on board, the ship does not make multiple stops. As a result, FTL is regarded as a more efficient and time-saving mode of transportation than LTL. If you need to send a large and relatively delicate shipment quickly, FTL is the best option. Even small shipments can sometimes benefit from FTL shipping.

FTL Benefits

The following are three major benefits of FTL shipping:

  1. Economical for larger shipments
    If there is a large order and the cargo can fill a trailer, FTL is the best option. When compared to using multiple LTL shipments, this mode of transportation will save you money. This makes FTL a more viable option for exporting large amounts of cargo.
  2. Lower risk of damage
    As previously stated, because FTL only contains one shipment, there is no unloading/loading at multiple points, reducing any significant risks of mishaps or mishandling.
  3. A faster mode of transportation
    The only variables in FTL shipping are the truck’s route plan, which includes the origin and destination of the freight. FTL shipments ensure that the cargo arrives at its final destination as soon as possible because it has already travelled from one point to another without stopping.

What exactly is LTL?

LTL shipping is used when a shipment is too small to fill an entire truck. In an LTL shipment, you only pay for the truck space required to transport your cargo. If your shipment takes up only half of the truck space, you will only have to pay half the shipping cost. The remaining half of the load is then filled with shipments from other companies to complete the load.

LTL shipping may be a good option for small businesses that don’t ship in large quantities because it allows them to export limited goods while staying within their budget. If you need to meet a tight deadline, LTL may not be the best option for you. This is because LTL shipments frequently take longer to reach their destinations. After all, they must transport cargo from multiple companies with different end destinations, resulting in frequent stops.

 LTL Benefits

The following are three major benefits of LTL shipping:

  1. Low cost for small businesses
    Since their shipment is combined with others, LTL is cost-effective for small businesses on a tight budget.
  2. Adaptability
    Exporting goods via LTL transportation is regarded as a flexible mode of shipping for small and medium-sized businesses. They can adjust their space requirements as demand changes.
  3. Low environmental impact
    LTL operates on a carpooling model. Less fuel is used for transportation as goods from other organisations are combined. If those items were shipped separately, the environmental impact of transportation would be greater.

What is The Difference Between LTL and FTL?

FTL and LTL have one thing in common: they both transport your shipment or freight across the road. However, there are numerous distinctions between LTL and FTL shipping; let us examine them below:

Charges for extras

FTL: In this type of shipping, you have the undivided attention of the designated driver from pick-up to delivery. A single load means several days of travel and that’s why FTL drivers are more flexible with accessorial charges.

LTL: Because you are only paying for a small portion of a trailer’s total capacity, the work is divided among several drivers and warehouses. To make a profit, LTL drivers must maintain maximum efficiency. Any hiccup in the process may result in additional charges.


FTL: In this case, the shipper loads the goods at the point of origin and seals the trailer. The driver then takes the trailer straight to the destination for delivery.

LTL: In any LTL shipment, the trailer is loaded with products from various companies and unloaded at different locations. As a result, they make stops at various warehouses along the way until they arrive at their final destination.

Route of public transportation

FTL: The driver picks up the product and proceeds directly to the consignee/receiver. The route of the transit is generally predictable and predetermined. Unless there is an equipment breakdown, the driver will usually arrive at the destination on time. This time it is calculated using a simple equation that takes into account total mileage, hours of service, posted speed limit, and estimated traffic.

LTL: LTL transport of goods typically takes longer than FTL transport. Furthermore, the delivery rates listed here are only estimates, not fixed charges. Many LTL carriers report service levels of greater than 90%. However, they can differ depending on the lane and the carrier.

First-come, first-serve pick-up times

FTL: FTL trailer drivers will accept firm appointment times, which means that pick-up times are not guaranteed, and flexibility on your end, as the shipper, will be critical.

LTL: LTL drivers must complete multiple pick-ups and/or deliveries per run, and their services are flexible to meet the needs of the business. LTL provides a two-hour first-come, first-served (FCFS) window. This is industry practice. Pick-ups are not guaranteed here.


FTL and LTL both play essential roles in freight shipping. The choice between these two shipping methods is influenced by a variety of factors such as shipment size and weight, freight type, delivery time, and budget. This article will assist you in determining whether FTL shipping or LTL shipping is best for your shipment transportation needs.