FTL and LTL: Which One is Right For You?

In general, freight forwarding services can be categorised into three types, air courier, sea freight logistics and road transport solutions. Road freight services are the most popular and commonly used form of transport support solutions as they suit local and international shipping equally. Here we look at what road freight logistics are, the difference between Less Than Truck Load (LTL) or groupage services and Full Truck Load (FTL) transport solutions and which road freight services provider is right for you.

Why road freight services?

Road freight logistics refers to the movement of goods through roadways and can also be referred to as road haulage or transport solutions. It is the most commonly used form of freight forwarding for cargo and can be used in combination with other forms of freight transport services such as sea and air courier; whereby it facilitates door to door parcel delivery, providing ‘final mile’ delivery.

There are many advantages to road freight logistics, it is one of the most cost-effective freight forwarding services and is often preferred because of that. Being that roads are so readily available it is a flexible route to take, there is also no restraints around schedules and departure times and is a much more controlled avenue compared to sea and air freight services. It allows for direct door to door parcel deliveries, without the need for other modes of transport solutions, multiple handling and delays are minimal. 

When sending cargo by an international air courier or sea freight services provider, shipments tend to be handled at multiple points in the journey. For example, being dropped or picked up from the port or airport. When it comes to road freight logistics, goods can be easily moved around with minimal handling as it usually involves one starting point and one destination. 

Of course, there are limits with road freight service providers such as cargo limitations, the infrastructure of the roads, delays from traffic and roadworks and weather conditions which of course affect all shipping methods in some capacity. 

The difference between LTL and FTL 

LTL refers to ‘Less than Truck Load’, also known as groupage services which are utilised by businesses with smaller parcel deliveries that aren’t sufficient to fill a Full Truck Load. In LTL a business would share a truckload with another business or businesses along with the subsequent costs. This makes it a cost-effective freight management service for small to medium-sized businesses. Due to the load being shared, it can mean slower parcel delivery times as the truck makes multiple stops and deliveries to various locations.

FTL, therefore, refers to ‘Full Truck Load’, opted for by businesses who have significant stock or product to fill an entire truckload. It could be the nature of their business means they require a Full Truck Load even when it is not fully loaded, an example of this could be when they have time constraints and require quicker delivery times, or they are shipping high-risk goods. FTL is a costlier transport solution due to the requirements needed to complete delivery. 

Full Truck Load or groupage services, which are right for you?

When deciding whether FTL or LTL is right for your business it’s important to consider a few things, as the optimal road freight services provider for you is dependent on several factors:

  • Shipment Size 

As mentioned above this is the main difference between LTL and FTL. If you don’t have a shipment large enough to fill a Full Truck Load then LTL or groupage services are probably the right choice for you, unless you are shipping riskier items.

  • Shipment Type 

The size of the shipment is important, however sometimes what you are shipping can be the deciding factor. For example, some food goods cannot be shipped with others, some products can be dangerous or higher risk, in which case FTL would be preferable to ensure your shipment reaches its destination safely and securely. 

  • Budget

As with any aspect of business, budget is a major factor when choosing a freight forwarding method. LTL offers a reduction in shipping costs if you are shipping a smaller cargo as opposed to hiring a Full Truck Load to have it partially empty. However, if you have a lot to ship then FTL could end up being the most cost-effective freight management service for you.

  • Time 

For some shipments time is of the essence, when it comes to road freight logistics LTL takes longer than FTL due to longer routes and multiple stops. When it comes to FTL there is usually one destination with no need to stop and repack or transfer goods meaning it is much more time-efficient transport solution.

There is a lot that goes into freight forwarding services with custom clearance, paperwork, local and international courier networks with knowledge of laws and regulations. It is for this reason that many of our clients have turned to our knowledgeable experienced team here at Xpediator for their freight management services needs. We can take the stress and worry out of shipping your goods to your desired destinations and help you find the right shipping option for you.

Get in touch with Xpediator, a leading road freight services provider to discuss how we could help you and your business to streamline the shipping and order fulfilment process.

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