Mastering Cargo Logistics: LTL vs. FTL Shipping Insights
18 Sep
18, Sep 2023

When we think about shipping, freight services offer us many options. From many choices, LTL and FTL shipping methods are the most popular. However, it may be a bit challenging to tell the difference between them. If you are not a regular user of these services, you need more information to get them both right before choosing one. 

Less Than Truckload vs. Full Truckload Shipping

LTL vs. FTL shipping are the major comparisons. Both are different kinds of transportation used for ground-heavy freight transport. The following are the fundamental distinctions between LTL and FTL shipping:

LTL Shipping

  • Combines distinct shipments from various firms into a single truckload.

  • The shipper is charged based on the amount of space their freight takes up on the vehicle.

  • Since the freight is not normally sent directly to the receiver, reaching the end destination takes longer than FTL transportation.

  • Delivery dates are approximate or can be guaranteed for a fee.

  • Freight may be loaded, unloaded, and reloaded in and out of trucks several times along the transportation route.

  • LTL shipping is typically a more efficient and cost-effective choice for transporting smaller freight loads of a dozen pallets or fewer.

FTL Shipping

  • When a load will completely fill a truck.

  • As cargo is not shared with other shipments, there is less handling and less chance of damage or theft.

  • Because the shipping route is direct and less convoluted, it is usually faster than LTL shipment.

  • Shipping this technique also reduces handling damage because the same container is used from start to finish, with no products being transferred.

  • If you are short on time and need something transported quickly, FTL may be the best alternative.

How do I determine which freight shipping methods are best for my business?

Choosing the best freight shipping method for your business can be challenging. Therefore, focus on some significant factors when choosing between LTL vs. FTL Freight. Here are some factors to consider when selecting the best shipping method:

  • Type of Freight

Consider the size, weight, and brittleness of your cargo. This will assist you in determining whether LTL or FTL shipping is the best solution for you.

  • Delivery Timelines

Determine how soon you require your freight to be delivered. If you need it soon, air freight can be the best alternative. So, always discuss the timelines of delivery with your shipping services provider. 

  • Transportation Mode

Consider the mode of conveyance that will be used to transport your cargo. Will you be using many modes? Choose a carrier that can meet your requirements. You can ask the services provider, and if the mode is suitable, talk about alternatives as well. 

  • Freight Services

Check that the freight service provider offers the services or features you require. Depending on what you're shipping, you may require specific services or capabilities in your freight shipping solution.

  • Cost

Pricing is crucial but should not be the only consideration and may be at the top. But make sure you're getting the most value for your money.

How do I estimate the cost of freight shipping for my business?

Estimating the cost of freight shipping for your business can be a complex process. Here are some factors to consider when estimating the cost of freight shipping:

  • Freight Weight, Dimensions, or Volume

The weight, dimensions, or volume of your freight will affect the cost of shipping. The larger and heavier the shipment, the more expensive it will be.

  • Shipping Origin and Destination

The distance between the origin and destination is another significant factor in determining freight rates. Longer distances generally result in higher rates due to increased fuel consumption, labor costs, and operational expenses.

  • Freight Class

The freight class is determined by the National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA) and is based on the shipment's density, stability, handling, and liability. The higher the freight class, the more expensive it will be to ship.

  • Transportation Mode

The mode of transportation that will be used to ship your freight will also affect the cost. Air freight is generally more expensive than ground transportation.

  • Freight Services

Additional services such as liftgate delivery, inside delivery, or residential delivery will add to the cost of shipping.

Bottom Line 

Once you understand every aspect of the freight transport comparison and know LTL and FTL in-depth, you can look for the shippers. Well, finding shippers offering both or at least one of those services is also daunting. For this aspect of the matter, explore the online shipping marketplace. It makes comparison easy between services, prices, quality, and many other things. 

You can narrow down some of the best shippers and work to hire the best one for your business or any requirement. Just make sure you always ask as many questions as possible and do not forget to check the reviews of the shippers you are choosing.