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What Truckers Need to Know About the Process of LTL and FTL Shipping

Updated on August 22, 2022 - 4:00 PM by Admin, TruckLogics

In the trucking industry, it's important to have a clear-cut knowledge of all the aspects involved in planning and managing all your dispatches effectively. Dispatches are usually categorized by two types depending on the requirements of the shippers, customers, and consignees. The types of loads are Less than Truckload (LTL) and Full Truckload (FTL).

This article will let you know all the key information about both LTL and FTL, including the factors to consider when choosing between them and their pros and cons.


Less than Truckload (LTL)

Less-Than-Truckload is a type of shipping involving smaller shipments that occupy only part of the truck's total capacity. In LTL shipping, multiple loads of smaller sizes can be shipped together and delivered in a single dispatch.

What types of Shipments are suitable for LTL dispatch?

Generally, LTL shipping is preferred for:

How does an LTL Shipping Work?

LTL shipping is helpful when you have multiple loads from different customers that need to be delivered to destination points near each other or along the same route.

For example, let's say you have:

Load 1, which weighs 2000 pounds, needed to be delivered to point A

Load 2, which weighs 4000 pounds, needed to be delivered to point B

Load 3, which weighs 8000 pounds, needed to be delivered to point C

*Destinations A, B, and C are near each other.

You can ship all of these shipments in a single truck (with a capacity of around 15000 pounds) and assign a driver to deliver them in a single dispatch.

Also, if needed, you can add more stops along the dispatch route to pick up and deliver more loads as well.

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Pros and Cons of LTL (Less than Truckload)

Here is a summary of the advantages and disadvantages of LTL shipping:

Pros Cons

Reduced Dispatch Expenses:

With LTL shipping, you can significantly reduce fuel expenses and driver settlements by completing multiple deliveries in one dispatch.

Longer Dispatch Times:

LTL dispatches can take longer than usual to be completed, as they involve multiple stops, pickups, and deliveries in transit.

Reduced Warehouse Cost:

By dispatching more shipments together, you don’t have to store and maintain them in your warehouse for a long time, which reduces the costs incurred by warehouse maintenance.

Risk of Damages:

Since there will be multiple shipments in the truck, there is a possibility of them getting damaged.

Offers Flexibility:

In the case of a sudden dispatch requirement for a small shipment, you don’t have to check the availability of trucks and drivers. You can simply add the shipment to one of the trucks that has some space and is already scheduled for a dispatch.

Less Range of Products:

All types of products are not suited for LTL shipping. Few products cannot be shipped together because of their nature.(Eg: Chemicals and Edibles)

Full Truckload (FTL)

Full Truckload is a type of shipping involving a large shipment that occupies all of a truck's total capacity. In FTL shipping, only one large shipment can be shipped and delivered in a single dispatch.

What types of Shipments are suitable for FTL dispatch?

FTL shipping is usually preferred for:

How does an FTL dispatch Work?

In FTL shipping, a truck’s entire capacity will be used to dispatch a large shipment from a
single customer.

For example, let's say you have:

Load 1, which weighs 20000 pounds, needed to be delivered to point A

Load 2, which weighs 22000 pounds, needed to be delivered to point B

In this case, you can ship these loads in two different trucks of suitable capacity and dispatch them separately.

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Pros and Cons of FTL

Here is a summary of the advantages and disadvantages of FTL shipping:

Pros Cons

Faster Dispatches:

In FTL shipping, there won’t be any need to stop, pickup, or deliver during the dispatch. This uninterrupted transit ensures faster dispatch times.

More Expensive:

When compared to LTL, FTL is more expensive since the number of shipments delivered per dispatch drops to one.

Easy Handling:

There won’t be any loading or unloading between the start and endpoints. This makes it easier to handle FTL shipping.

Complicated Dispatch Scheduling:

Scheduling the dispatch of FTL can take some time since it depends on the availability of drivers and appropriate trucks (Suitable Capacity).

Less Prone to Damages:

Since the entire truck is occupied by only one shipment, it is less likely to get damaged.

Demands More Resources:

Each FTL dispatch involves a separate truck and driver. So, the number of drivers and trucks required is comparatively higher for FTL shipping.

Factors to Consider When Choosing the Shipping Mode

There are a few important factors available to consider when choosing between LTL and FTL modes for a dispatch. They include:

Size of the Shipment

Size is the primary factor. Assigning a truck of suitable capacity for a dispatch depends upon the size of the shipments which need to be delivered.

Required Delivery Time Frame

In some cases, the customers or consignees may want their shipments to be delivered within a specific time frame. Based on that, you can calculate the time frame for which the transportation needs to be completed. And considering that, you can figure out the shipping mode that can be more appropriate to meet the required time frame.

Transportation Costs

The type of shipping mode you choose can have a huge impact on the costs incurred in a dispatch. For some shipments, LTL may be cost-effective, and for some other shipments, FTL may be. So, before choosing the dispatch mode of a shipment, compare the potential expenses involved in both modes and choose the one which meets your cost requirements.

Value of Shipment

Sometimes, the freight may contain any type of product and their value may range from high to low. Based on the value of products that need to be dispatched, a suitable shipping mode can be selected.

How to manage your LTL and FTL dispatches efficiently?

Managing dispatches in a trucking business demands more planning, more calculations, and more time. Especially, when you are handling both LTL and FTL dispatches in a trucking fleet, it can be a more daunting task. From scheduling to tracking, you have to cover all the bases.

That’s why you need TruckLogics, an all-in-one trucking management software. You can create and schedule LTL and FTL dispatches in minutes.

Our well-built LTL feature lets you add multiple loads per dispatch and generate separate reports for each customer’s load. By having a complete track of the availability of your drivers and trucks, schedule your FTL dispatches precisely. With our Real-time Freight Tracking feature (available only in the TruckLogics app), ensure on-time delivery of both FTL and LTL dispatches.