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Both LTL and TL freight transport options have positive points that should be considered on a per-business or per-case basis. Do you know the differences?

If you’re a small business producing goods of any size, “Less Than Truckload” (LTL) and “Full Truckload” (TL or FTL) are shipping terms you should become very familiar with.

The benefits of Less Than Truckload (LTL)

Less than truckload, or LTL, is ideal for companies who have smaller shipping needs. Generally, LTL loads will end up being between 100 pounds or 45 kilos (the limit for most parcel carriers) and 10,000 pounds or 4,500 kilos per load – when a full truckload is more appropriate.

For efficiency, the shipping company will combine or consolidate shipments from various businesses to fill a single trailer. In practice several LTL shipments are often combined into one truck to fill it as close to capacity as possible.

As the space is allotted, this means you only pay your fraction of the cost of the truckload. As a simple example, if your shipment fills one-quarter of the truck by volume, then that’s all you pay for. This of course ignores weight considerations.

There’s also the added flexibility small and midsize companies can benefit from with LTL shipping.

Depending need, daily, weekly or monthly orders can be scaled up or down. Regardless of frequency, goods should be well-packaged and consolidated as they will likely be handled more than once along their LTL transportation journey.

LTL vs TL freightThe Benefits of Full Truckload (FTL or TL)

Truckload shipping, or full truckload, is best for businesses that have high volume shipping needs, or require expedited delivery. This method is faster and more direct with no need for multiple stops.

TL means that all of your products are delivered together so you have the advantage in knowing that there is little chance of delay or damage. LTL freight transport by comparison requires more destination stops and pick-up locations.

When a large amount of goods are being shipped, TL shipping is definitely the more economic method.

Regardless of the method, a good reliable logistics partner will be familiar with the intricacies of moving, and being accountable for your goods.

Making the Most of Your Options: LTL vs FTL

One standard measure of footprint is by pallet. If you’re shipping more than 12 pallets at a time, then the full truckload option would be best for you.

Or if your product is fragile and it’s imperative you avoid excessive loading and unloading, the full truckload option is again the best for you as these products are the only items within that truck.

If you have hard deadlines or time-sensitive delivery dates, you absolutely want the full truckload option.

With anything less than 12 pallets you’ll experience better cost savings using the LTL method. These smaller load sizes and / or broader delivery times are also a good fit for LTL.

Once again, as a manufacturer your products must be packaged in such a way as to deal with the rigours of shipping and handling in general.

How to Work with a 3PL for LTL and TL Freight Shipments

Knowing the subtleties of freight management that fits your business best is what a good 3PL company is all about.

They’ll take the edge off of the complications of LTL and LT transport for you. They’ll understand time-sensitive needs, special requirements, and provide competitive rates.

Because the transportation is very competitive, it is possible to find all of the above combined with top-notch service – which is definitely to your advantage.

LTL and TL Expertise

Freight shipping is often a core competency of 3PL providers, including both LTL and FTL. Their experience helps them evaluate your shipping needs, choose the most efficient option, and anticipate potential risks or higher costs.

Cost Savings

A smaller transport company may only ship a few pallets a month to a smaller region, whereas a 3PL will regularly ship significantly higher volumes across the whole country or internationally.

This gives a 3PL company leverage when negotiating cost-effective rates with freight carriers which in turn, can be passed on to you.

Visibility and Transparency

Knowing what’s happening with your freight at any given point in time is crucial for any business.

A good 3PL provider will have a team of professionals providing the highest level of service, including detailed updates from your shipment’s inception to when it  reaches its endpoint.

Contact Brimich For All Your LTL and FTL Needs

Both LTL and FTL shipping methods can be used in a variety of situations. These include local and regional shipping, or product transportation between plants and warehouses.

Working with a trusted logistics partner like Brimich offers the advantage of multi-mode transportation services using an extensive network of affiliated asset-based providers.

Contact Brimich for a quote, availability and further information.