What Is Right For You: FTL Or LTL

Getting a product to where it needs to go at the best price is a challenging task. The amount of freight that needs to be carried frequently determines which option is ideal given the range of choices available. This is especially true for shipments involving partial and complete truckloads. These two services are compared along with situations where picking one over the other is advised.

First up is full truckload (FTL) shipment. FTL, commonly referred to as OTR, is the most widely used form of transportation (over the road). In actuality, according to a 2019 government assessment, FTL shipping accounted for 46.4% and LTL for 11.3% of the U.S. transportation industry. Even if the entire area is not required, the FTL shipping method just puts the freight from one shipper onto the transporter. Dry van trailers are the primary carrier, while open deck and refrigerated trailers are also commonly utilized.

Since the client is responsible for the full cost of the space, businesses often pick FTL when the cargo is large enough to fill it. FTL is advised for shipments that are delicate or dangerous because there is a lower risk of damage. It is also seen to be the better choice for high-value commodities, especially when using a specialized vehicle would be more expensive. FTL is also preferred by businesses for time-sensitive shipments because it is frequently more quicker than LTL.

How about shipping of less than a truckload? Because it conveys cargo from numerous firms utilizing the same carrier, this kind of transportation, also known as LTL, might be compared to a ride-sharing arrangement. The transporter could be a semi-truck towing a mixed trailer, a train, a railroad car, or even another train. Because the freight it transports can come from a number of shippers, customers, or consignees, it is crucial to make several stops in order to load and unload items.

LTL is typically the best choice for smaller businesses when freight just requires one to a few pallets. When done through a partner network, LTL consolidation of goods with shipments from other companies may result in significant cost savings. However, there is a higher risk of freight damage because the contents of the carrier might be transferred more frequently than they would be if they were only delivered as a whole.

By 2028, the market for FTL and LTL shipping services is expected to be worth $19.91 billion, indicating the enormous revenue that the American trucking sector generates. When deciding which shipping method offers the best value, businesses should speak with industry professionals in order to make more informed and cost-effective decisions.

To learn more about FTL and LTL shipping, please see the following infographic.

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