FTL or LTL – What Is The Difference?

The Junction LLC offers FTL, LTL, Intermodal, contract warehousing, logistics and more.

Businesses all across the country need to get their goods shipped from one side of town, other side of the state or to a whole other state. While there are many options of how to ship, it is all dependent on several factors:

1).   What is being shipped

2).   When does it need to arrive

3).   How much cargo is being shipped

There are courier that carry light and smaller packages, such as Federal Express, USPS or UPS. However, when it is a large amount of product or heavy product, it sometimes needs a different type of logistic handling.

When you get to the level that you need larger trucks, freight carriers. There are two levels of shipping within that category as well. While this is usually terminology used within the industry and rarely does the receiver have any need to know it, those two levels are:

LTL – Less Than Truck Load : What is shipping doesn’t fill a semi-trailer

FTL – Full Truck Load: Fills a semi-trailer

Shipping companies accommodate customers with a FTL (full truck load) when they are shipping in bulk. Bulk shipments are common for manufacturing plants and retailers who may be stocking an entire store. With a large shipment, the cost of using a full semi-trailer is offset.  Truckload shipments can weigh up to 40,000 pounds.

When a shipment is less than 20,000 pounds AND less then 10 pallet spots, it is more cost effective to ship via LTL (less than truck load). This method may take longer for shipment to arrive its destination because the shipper will try to fill the truck up with other LTL orders, thus they will have several stops to pick up and drop off other shipments.

The LTL shipments will be sent to a hub and then split up on smaller trucks to be delivered to the final destination. This redistribution of the load sometimes is split up even more at other hubs, all of which affects delivery times.