4 Key Difference Between LTL & FTL: Understanding LTL & FTL

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LTL and FTL Explained

Less-than-truckload or LTL is referred to as a shipping service wherein freights from multiple shippers are transferred on a single trailer rather than using separate trailers for each individual company. This means, that many LTL shipments are put together onto one truck, such that the truck is almost filled to its full capacity. This is a very good option for those companies who are looking to ship products occupying between one to six pallets.

Generally, these shipments are less than 14 linear feet. This is because it utilizes the shipping space available on a truck in a more effective manner. LTL shipments are very beneficial for small businesses.

Contrary to LTL, FTL or full-truckload freights are often used for large shipments. These products require the entire truck to fit in. Unlike LTL, in case of FTL there is only one single freight occupying the truck. Therefore, you enjoy a great degree of autonomy and discretion over how you want to fill the truck.

You can choose to reserve the whole truck even if you do not require the entire space. This will ensure that your goods are not being transferred from one truck to another several times.

Difference Between LTL & FTL

Difference Between LTL & FTL

There are many differences between the two types of shipments. However, the main points can be broken into four main differences. These are:


Whenever talking about shipments, the first thing that you must take into account is the size of your freight. The terms, Less-than-truckload and Full-Truckload are self-explanatory. They stand for exactly what they say. LTL shipments refer to the smaller shipments and typically weigh around 100 to 5,000 pounds. It is natural that these small freights will not take up the entire space available inside a truck, thus, leaving space behind for other freights as well.

FTL, on the other hand, are much larger and will take up the entire truck. These typically weigh around 20,000 pounds or even more than that. The shipments lying between the range of 5,000 to 10,00 pounds can be moved by either LTL or FTL. In case they are being moved by LTL, these are referred to as “volume LTL” shipments; and when they move FTL, they are called as “partial TL” shipments.

Difference Between LTL & FTL


It is no secret that LTL shipments are cheaper. This is because these shipments are smaller and require less space, thus, leaving room for other freights. Therefore, you only need to pay for the space that your freight takes up. On the other hand, in case of FTL shipments, you will need to pay for the entire truck.

Delivery Time

FTL shipments generally move quicker. This is because of the fact that FTL shipments only carry your product. Therefore, it will directly move from the starting point to the destination. On the contrary, as LTL shipments contain the cargos of multiple shippers, they will need to make multiple stops before reaching the final destination. Therefore, if you need to get something shipped quickly, FTL is the way to go.

Difference Between LTL & FTL


One of the major benefits of FTL shipments is that your products will remain on the same truck from the starting point to the final destination. They will not be transferred from one truck to another. Therefore, there is less risk of your good getting damaged. While in case of FTL, your shipment will be transferred multiple times before reaching the final delivery location. This increases the risk of damage and even missing items.

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