Factory Buyer Rate Questions


FTL vs LTL US Inland Transportation Modes

07 Jun 2024

By Nick Lung    Photo:CANVA


You should often hear about the two shipping modes of FCL (Full Container Load)  and LCL (Less Than Container Load). So are you familiar with the concepts of FTL(Full-truckload) and LTL(Less-than-truckload)?


Since they are two of the most commonly used shipping options in North America, what are the differences between the two and how can these two shipping methods help your logistics?


Due to the sheer number of options available in the inland transportation of the United States, choosing the right trucking option for yourself can seem like a very complicated and headache-inducing task for most people. It is important to understand the difference between FTL shipping and LTL shipping. Shippers must consider size, speed, and price when choosing FTL vs. LTL. Here are the key differences between FTL and LTL shipping to help you decide which shipping method is best for you.


Pallet quantity and size/weight limits.

Generally, LTL shipments weigh between 150 and 15,000 pounds and contain up to 10 pallets. FTL shipping is recommended when shipments exceed 15,000 pounds and/or 10 pallets.


Cargo Security

If your cargo is of a fragile nature, or you simply prefer to reduce handling and minimize the risk of damage or theft, FTL may be a better option. For LTL shipping, since your cargo shares the carrying space with other cargo, it is possible to transport it to more locations and longer distances during the transportation process.


Direct shipping or multiple collection points?

This factor has to do with delivery speed. FTL is usually the faster option and allows for the fastest option, such as pickup today and delivery the next day, as it doesn't have to wait for the truck to fill up and goes straight to the destination. On the contrary, LTL transportation must have more stops and loading and unloading, which means that customers have longer delivery time. If you are more concerned about cost than delivery time, LTL shipping may be a better option.


Partial shipping

There are a few other options to be aware of when considering LTL shipping. LTL typically consists of 6+ pallets weighing between 8,000 and 10,000 pounds. These larger volumes may be a more economical option compared to FTL.


Safety needs considerations

FTL shipping is generally safer than LTL because your shipment is handled in a single volume and shipped directly to the consignee. If you have high demands on the value and security of your shipment (which is especially important in international shipments), then using FTL can be worth your peace of mind.


Special service and equipment requirements

With LTL freight, you have more flexibility to choose other levels of service when needed. For example, if your shipment requires "white glove" pickup or delivery, liftgate service, or freezer protection, LTL shipping is the best option.


The above brief introduction hopes that everyone will have a preliminary understanding of FTL and LTL. If you have any incurable problems regarding inland transportation in the United States, please contact Team Global Logistics – Senior Logistics Consultant Nick- nick_lung@tgl-group.net


Appreciate if you could share TGL Blog among your friends who are interested in first-hand market information of supply chain and updated economic incidents.


Related Articles to Read

Get a Quote Go Top