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Basic Facts about LTL and FTL Transport

Today, with the advent of advanced technology, shipping and transportation has become comparatively less complex. We have many options in freight movement encompassing LTL, express transport and FTL transport. When transportation of goods is involved, there are a variety of options available for shippers- express transport, FTL and LTL. As we have already come across express transport service in another blog post here, now the focus is on other two shipment options- FTL and LTL transportation systems.

If you are a first-time shipper, you have seen this classification on freight forwarding and shipping websites. Indeed, you need to know the difference between the two shipping methods to keep your time, money and all resources intact. Generally, both FTL and LTL transport are based on the shipment’s size. Before you make the big decision, it’s important to know in what ways both are distinct from each other. Depending on the situations, shippers can use either of the methods for transporting their merchandise, no matter the type of goods.

FTL and LTL transport 

FTL refers to Full Truckload freight that uses the entire truck space and is chosen when the goods consume the whole of the truck’s space. In the case of an FTL, one particular shipper’s freight is the only shipment that is being transported on a single truck. The entire truck contains one shipment belonging to a shipper only.

Also, a shipper can reserve an individual truck with its full capacity for carrying his goods only, even if it doesn’t utilise the full space inside it. FTL comes handy for those shippers who are concerned about excessive handling of goods during the process of transportation. For FTL, the goods remain in the same truck and is directed to one single destination preventing the need for handling many times or getting stuck with other goods being transported together. 

LTL transportation (also referred to as groupage) is used when a particular freight can be consolidated with other freights. Freight consolidation takes place when numerous mall shipments that are required to be sent to the same location are grouped and consolidated to fill a single truck and shipped together to the destination. Ideal for freights that are between one to six pallets or any freight that is below two linear feet as it helps utilise the available space optimally. Most logistics service providers in Romania provide the pallet dimensions that it usually accepts and may vary according to the destinations to which the products are carried. 

Similarities Dissimilarities 
Mode of Transport:  Both FTL and LTL move freight on roads in most cases. Mode of Transport:  In rare cases, LTL uses intermodal rail to transport goods. 
Trailer Size:  The actual commercial trailer size is same for both FTL and LTL- 8.5(w)x53(l)x 13.5(h) (units are in feet). Shipment Size:  Usually, smaller shipments go to LTL while FTL shipment fits to the entire truck and are much larger too. 
Vehicle and Skillset for its operations:  Also, in both cases, Class 8 semi-trucks driven by professional drivers who hold commercial driving license.  Shipment Weight:  LTL is ideal for shipments usually weighing between 200 to 5000 pounds while FTL is suitable for goods weighing above 20,000 pounds.   

Should you transport by means of FTL or LTL? 

Knowing when to use FTL and LTL transport is one big choice a shipper has to make. Even though there are no specific rules to follow, nevertheless depending on the situations either of the two has to be selected. For instance, if a shipper is about to transport more than 12 pallets or a shipment weight between 5000 pounds and 20,000 pounds at a time, full truckload would be the ideal solution.

Or if a shipper’s product is fragile and hence it cannot afford excessive handling, FTL would be worth the choice. It takes away his concerns of handling of fragile products during the course of transportation. Also, it can be used for time-sensitive delivery where shippers’ loads move in an individual trailer, further ensuring the handing over of goods in time, without any delay.  

When you want to make the most of cost, provided you have small shipments which can be easily consolidated with other goods and can afford flexibility in delivery schedules, LTL transport would be the most suitable choice. Also, make sure that your goods are solid enough and reinforced with proper packaging to bear the regular handling while getting consolidated with other products. 

Make use of both FTL and LTL after evaluation of shipping needs 

We can neither conclude that one shipping option is superior to the other nor any one of them facilitate time and cost reductions. That being said, the foremost consideration is based on the demands of a particular shipment as mentioned above and hence either of the two methods should be wisely chosen. 

 If you are looking for FTL transport of LTL service, never hesitate to contact the top freight and logistics services in Romania. Get instant affordable quotes by simply providing the point of origin and destination along with the volumetric weight of your shipment. Ta-Dah! You will be guided on all aspects from then on by our expert logistics professionals! 

Keep sending your thoughts on the topic, before we comeback with another great subject on shipping that piques your interest!