What is the Difference Between LTL and FTL Shipping?

What is the Difference Between LTL and FTL Shipping?

Businesses that need the services of a freight carrier have many options for transportation of their goods. Two popular methods of transportation are LTL shipping (less than truckload) and FTL (full truckload). It's important to understand the differences between these two methods of transport, so that you can effectively select the method of transport that will be the most economical and efficient for your business. In today's article, we'll explore LTL vs FTL shipping, and give insight on which may be best for your business.

What is LTL Shipping?

Less than truckload shipping (LTL shipping) refers to the transportation of relatively small freight. LTL freight carriers usually handle small shipments of freight from multiple businesses, with all of the freight sharing space on a semi-trailer. When businesses choose to ship LTL, they each pay the cost for the portion of the semi-trailer that their freight occupies. The result is an economical mode of transportation for businesses and full utilization of the LTL freight carrier's fleet. Some features and benefits of LTL shipping are:

  • Security and Tracking
  • Minimized Costs
  • More Service Options

What is FTL Shipping?

In contrast to LTL shipping, FTL is ideal for larger shipments whereby an entire freight load from one business occupies the space on a semi-trailer destined to one client. Some benefits of FTL shipping are:

  • Security and Tracking
  • Ideal for large shipments
  • Offers a much faster shipping speed than LTL
  • Ideal for high-risk or delicate freight
  • No load transfers—shipments remain in the same truck for the entire length of the journey

LTL vs FTL, Which is Better?

When evaluating the pros and cons of LTL vs FTL shipping, what is best depends on your business needs and the particulars of your freight. Here are some things you should consider when determining which shipping method will be best for you:

  • Weight: LTL shipments typically weigh between 100- 10,000 pounds, and so they are ideal for freight between this weight. FTL shipment, by contrast, is ideal for larger shipments over the 10,000-pound threshold.
  • Speed: How fast do you need your goods to arrive at their destination? Because you are not sharing freight space with other businesses with FTL, this method is the best choice if you are looking for a faster shipment speed. Even if your load weight falls short of 10,000 pounds, if you need your goods to arrive in a hurry and budget is no object, FTL is probably your best option.
  • Cost: FTL is more expensive than LTL because you are paying to occupy the entire freight space. If you are looking for something more cost-effective and speed isn't a factor, LTL may be the best option.
  • Fragility: Is your product fragile or high risk? When weighing LTL vs FTL, consider that FTL is ideally suited for more fragile goods. Because goods remain on one truck for an entire journey (without being transferred during transport) with FTL, there is less risk of breakage or damage. If, on the other hand, your shipment is durable, LTL may be the best option in order to mitigate costs.

Comet Delivery Services: A Trusted Partner for Your Shipment Needs
At Comet Delivery Services, we understand the importance of having the services of a reliable LTL or FTL freight carrier. We offer shipping options and transportation solutions that will help you achieve your goals, while providing the flexibility and timeliness you need. Whether you are in need of less-than-truckload, or full-truckload shipping, our team of drivers has the experience and professionalism needed to get the job done. To learn more about our freight transportation options, and discover how our trucking services can help your business with its transport needs, contact us today!

Call our 24 hour hotline: 1-888-266-3833 and find out how Comet can serve you and your customers.

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