FTL vs LTL Freight: What’s the difference?

Logistics News

Some individuals or even companies who ship items regularly don’t know the distinction between these two terms. Some shippers might not have even heard them at all.

This is understandable when it comes to individuals who ship relatively small items. For them, the best option is to use a courier service like UPS or Fedex. However, that’s not usually the case for companies who tend to ship cargo of considerable size. They are best served by hiring a logistics or shipping company who can serve them better.

FTL shipping and LTL shipping

When it comes to shipping cargo, these companies have different options, but two of the most common ones are FTL shipping and LTL shipping.

The difference is very simple, FTL shipping means Full Truck Load, which in turn means that the cargo is big enough to fill the capacity of at least one truck. By contrast, LTL shipping means Less than Truck Load, which in turn means that the cargo isn’t big enough to fill the capacity of one truck. However, LTL might also apply to shipments that are too big or have a certain nature (for example, chemicals) that make it unsuitable for courier service.

A company whose shipments have the capacity for FTL usually has an easier time delivering its products, since it can hire whole trucks that will take the fastest route possible (with certain limitations for certain types of cargo).

In the past, companies that couldn’t fill a truck had to resort to coordinating with other companies so that together they could fill a truck. Obviously, this was hard as it is, as not all companies deliver to the same place, so the process had to be repeated once the common route had been exhausted.

Fortunately, there are shipping companies today that manage the integration process of LTL shipping for you, like we do at Nationwide.

Even if your cargo is appropriate only for LTL shipping, we are constantly improving our network of contacts that allow us to quickly match your cargo with the cargo of other companies that are taking a similar route. We also handle all pertinent aspects regarding the safety, delivery, and route planning necessary for your products to arrive to your clients at the moment they expect them.

If you want to know more about how we work, or if you are ready to start the process of sending your products the fastest, safest and most economical way possible, contact us now!