DIFFERENCES BETWEEN FTL, PARTIAL TRUCK LOAD AND LTL CARGO TRANSPORT

In this post, you’ll explore the features, advantages, and disadvantages of three freight shipping services: Full truck or FTL, Partial truckload, and Less than Truckload or LTL. We will answer questions such as:

What is the difference between FTL, LTL truckload and LTL cargo transportation?
What is the maximum capacity of the Full truck, Partial Truckload and Less Than Truckload services?
What is the best shipping option to move my goods between Mexico, the United States and Canada at the best cost or at the fastest speed?

At the end of the post, you will be able to identify which service meets your specific freight transportation needs.

KEY DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FTL, PARTIAL TRUCK LOAD AND LTL

In very general terms, full truck service (FTL) is recommended for large and heavy loads that take up all or most of the trailer, while partial truck service is most economical if it is less than 30 linear feet. The trailer will be occupied. Finally, the Less Than Truckload service (LTL) is the best option for smaller loads.

There are other aspects to consider in order to fully understand these three transportation services. We’ll start by describing each one.

WHAT IS FULL TRUCK TRANSPORTATION OR FTL?

FTL or Full Truckload is a land transport service where a complete truck is allocated to a single load, or in other words, to a single customer. The FTL transport service is suitable for large loads that can occupy a full truck. It is also the preferred option for sensitive loads or loads that require regulated temperature.

FULL TRUCK LOAD (FTL) FEATURES:

  • Up to 26 non-stackable pallets or up to 52 stackable pallets in standard sizes. Remember the standard dimensions of the pallet: 48″ x 40″ x 48″.
  • The total weight of the cargo must be 44,000 pounds or 21.7 tons.

WHAT IS PARTIAL TRAILER LOAD TRANSPORTATION?

Partial truck transportation is the ideal and most economical transportation option for larger loads that do not require the use of all available space on a full trailer. It is more economical than Full Truck Load shipping as the customer does not pay for a special trailer . In a partial truckload mode, customers have the opportunity to ship loads of Less Than Truckload, LTL, larger than allowed in the freight service.

PARTIAL TRUCK LOAD LOAD FEATURES:

Minimum 12 linear feet and maximum 30 linear feet
The load must have a minimum weight of 1,000 pounds and a maximum of 25,000 pounds.

Maximum weight per pallet must be 5500 pounds

In the FTL and Partial Truck Load options, you can select three different types of equipment depending on the characteristics of your load:

  • Dry Vans: Recommended for sensitive loads or loads that need to be transported in a sealed box protected against weather conditions.
  • Flatbeds: For irregular shaped loads; which must be loaded from the top or side of the truck; or that does not require traveling in a confined space. You may be interested in our article: What kind of loads are carried regularly in flatbeds?
  • Reefers or temperature-controlled trucks: For loads that must be kept at certain temperatures. For example, frozen or fresh products.

Let’s see now, what is LTL LOAD TRANSPORTATION LESS THAN TRUCK LOAD?

Less Than Truckload Freight, or LTL, is freight transportation that combines shipments from multiple customers into a single truck. In other words, because not every customer’s shipment requires a full 48′ or 53′ trailer, the unused portion of the truck is filled with another customer’s shipment. Each customer pays based on the shipment type (class), quantity, weight, size and density, and travel length. Therefore, LTL transport is the most affordable option among different land transport services.

LESS THAN TRUCK LOAD (LTL) FEATURES:

  • 1 to 3 non-stackable pallets and up to 6 standard sizes stackable pallets. Remember the standard size of a pallet: 48″ x 40″ x 48″.
  • The total weight of the cargo must be 10,000 pounds or 4.5 tons.

DIFFERENCES IN SPEED AND COST BETWEEN FULL TRUCK LOAD SERVICE, PARTIAL TRUCK LOAD AND LESS THAN TRUCK LOAD SERVICE

SPEED

If your priority is to reduce transit times, FTL is the best option for you. In full truck transport service (FTL), cargo is transported from point A to point B without intermediate stops, so it is the fastest transport service of land transport options.

Less-Than-Truck-Load (LTL) transport services have longer transit times as they make several stops before reaching their final destination. However, Mexicom Logistics can provide LTL services with a balance between speed and price. How do we do this? We chose the most suitable route to reduce the number of loading and unloading points. We also combine the loads of our customers with those of other customers with very similar routes. In this way, we manage to provide the fastest possible LTL.

Partial truckload shipping service represents the midpoint between FTL and LTL service in terms of speed.

COSTS

If your load is large enough, the full truck (FTL) is still your best choice for cost.

If your load is between 12 and 30 linear feet, partial truckload transportation can be up to 50% cheaper than the FTL option.

If your cargo is small, the most affordable service will be Less Than Truckload (LTL). By definition, LTL transport is the cheapest service because the total cost of transport is divided by several customers.