There are two dominate types of shipping options when it comes to trucks: LTL (less than truckload and full truckload. LTL as it names hints to, is a shipment that does not make up a full truckload, but the packages are too big to be considered small. A full truckload is 42,500 pounds or 24 pallets. So, anything less than that is typically LTL. In most occasions, LTL is the more expensive way to ship, but in some instances with companies that frequently ship LTL receive a discounted rate.
When to use LTL vs a full truckload
There are multiple ways to ship, but what is the most ideal and cost effective. In many instances with LTL it depends on the volume and weight, so shippers will take advantage of freight consolidation. This involves combining shipments to save money and time when they are heading to the same destinations. This allows for some large opportunities for backhaul when drivers are heading to large volume destinations. Due to this, shippers love to take advantage of consolidating loads. It lowers the cost in the end.
There can be many risks involved with LTL. To help reduce risk, shippers should choose the route with fewer stops and touch points. There also is the risk of damage and lost packages versus a truckload. Using a TMS which will combine both LTL and truckload on the same platform, this will help simplify the process by allowing the purchase of additional protection and cargo insurance.
Full truckloads are obviously the cheaper route to go. They require less fuel as they only stop at their destination. LTL’s make multiple stops along the way dropping shipments, and traveling more miles. However, this is dependent upon the geographical location and current oil prices.
In the end, choosing LTL or full truckload depends on the load. Having an up-to-date modern TMS will help find the most cost-effective way to ship your freight. It all comes down to how fast can it get there and how cheap.