Less than truckload (LTL) or Full truckload (FTL) which works best?


Less than truckload (LTL)refers to transportation of small freight from various businesses. Multiple shipper’s freight is moving concurrently on the same trailer making the most out of the available space. When businesses select LTL for the shipment, they pay only for the freight space occupied. It is the most economical mode of transportation for businesseswith small and many shipments.

Full truckload (FTL)on the other hand is commonly used for shipments that require a full truckload. With FTL, your freight is the only freight moving on an individual truck so you have exclusivity to the truck and theoretically reserving the truck with its full capacity. It is often opted by a single client who is more concerned about their goods changing hands or being stuck with other products.

How do technology help today’s LTL and FTL shipping?

LTL and FTL have many dissimilarities in terms of freight size and complexity but both modes of shipment move across the road. Both options require a professional driver and a well-planned logistics. Automation of transport logistics can benefit both the shipping modes in streamlining the operations. More and more companies are embracing new technologies forbidding old school methods. There are many software solutions supported by mobile apps to cater to LTL and FTL modes. These solutions include modules to manage drivers, fleet, freight and documentation. Some of the significant areas which full truck/part truckload transport management software focus on include.

Efficient planning :

Each consignment of LTL and FTL need different planning. Modern TMS software are equipped with tools to make quick decisions. All information regarding shipment, rates, available vehicles, individual products in the shipment, available drivers is stored in the database which helps in planning shipment.

Real-time shipment visibility :

Proof of delivery is an essential part of freight delivery services. Handing over the goods undamaged and acknowledging the same helps in maintaining a healthy relationship between carrier and consignee. Automated proof of delivery improves the workflow.

Mobile apps :

Mobile apps reduce the stress of communicating manually. With the cloud-based software solutions, all messages regarding freight or fleet or driver can be accessed by all involved in the transportation of goods.

Automated reports :

Actionable reports can be generated on the go with the real-time data available. Customized reports covering all departments can be generated for both LTL and FTL shipments.

When to use LTL vs FTL?

Evaluating the pros and cons of LTL and FTL shipment depends on the type of freight and also business need. You can use LTL or FTL depending on the below situations.

  • Weight : LTL shipments weigh between 100- 10,000 pounds or less than 12 pallets. FTL shipment, by contrast, is ideal for larger shipments over the 10,000-pound or more than 12 pallets.
  • Speed : Because you are not sharing freight space with other businesses FTL is the best choice if you are looking for time-sensitive shipment delivery. Even if you need your goods to arrive in a hurry and the budget is no object, FTL is probably your best option. On the otherhand, if you want to save money and you are not keen on shipping time LTL is more suited.
  • Cost : FTL is more expensive than LTL because you are reserving the entire freight capacity. If you are looking for something more cost-effective and speed isn't a factor, LTL may be more suited option.
  • Vulnerability : When weighing LTL vs FTL, consider that FTL is ideally suited for more fragile or delicate goods. Because goods remain on one truck for an entire journey (without being transferred during transport) with FTL, there is less risk of damage. If, on the other hand, your shipment is sturdy or properly packed LTL may be the best option in order to mitigate costs.

Final thought

You can not assess one shipping mode is better than others for your business. There are plenty of situations to choose either LTL or FTL according to flexibility or timeline or other reason to achieve your goal. Whether you are a shipper, carrier and broker adopt the technological innovations in the transportation segment and avail the services of a reliable LTL or FTL transportation management software. Once your business is in accord with the technological advancements you can make smart and economical decisions.

Contact Us