When it comes to logistics, we know things can sometimes feel a little complicated. There are so many different options and coordinating companies out there, it may seem overwhelming to pick the right service to handle your delivery. Two of the most common terms you will hear are LTL and FTL freight. These apply to two different types of delivery by truck – each with their own benefits and drawbacks. In this post, we'll attempt to give you everything you need to know about FTL freight, and why you may want to choose it over LTL.
What is FTL Freight?
FTL stands for Full Truck Load. Essentially, that means that when you choose to have a delivery made with an FTL service, you are renting out a full truck to handle the delivery. Your goods or package will be the only thing on the truck. The truck will deliver your package directly, without any unnecessary stops along the way.
The term you will often hear used alongside FTL is LTL – this stands for Less than Truck Load. LTL freight is basically the opposite of FTL. When you choose to make a delivery with an LTL shipping, your package will be one of several on the truck. The delivery will not be made directly, but alongside several others on the same route.
What are the Benefits of FTL?
The most obvious benefit of FTL freight – and the main reason that a lot of individuals and companies choose it – is the time expediency. With FTL, you have the full truck rented out to complete your delivery. It can be handled as quickly as US road regulations allow – sometimes as quickly as within 3-4 days for a cross-country delivery.
Another huge benefit is more gentle handling of your package. Because yours is the only package on the truck, those who load and unload the delivery will always know exactly what they are working with. If you specify that the package needs to be handled carefully, it will be.
What are the Drawbacks?
The number one reason people choose LTL over FTL shipping is the price. Renting out an entire truckload to make your delivery is more expensive – you will definitely save money by working with LTL freight over FTL.
Aside from price, there aren’t many downsides to FTL freight. It is the fastest, safest and most reliable way to handle your delivery. Most shipping companies allow you to track your FTL delivery as it is en route so that you have the peace of mind that everything is going according to schedule.
When is FTL Necessary?
If your delivery is not time-sensitive or fragile, it may be worth it to save the money and ship with LTL freight. However, if you have a delicate package that needs to be delivered in a rush (because it will expire or it is needed for production in another part of the country, for example), then FTL is definitely the way to go.