LTL and FTL What No-one Has Ever Told You

LTL and FTL are two possibilities for transporting cargo that is widely used by carriers. Even without knowing the correct name, you have probably come across them when reading about logistics. Today, we will conceptualize the two terms and differentiate them. For this, we will talk about the advantages and disadvantages of each one.

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Unraveling LTL

This acronym comes from English less than truckload. It means that the volume of the cargo dispatched was not sufficient to complete the capacity of the truck. The modality is also known as fractional or consolidated cargo. 

So, to make the style of transportation viable, the vehicle’s space is divided between the fractioned loads of other shippers. As a result, the carrier will assume the responsibility of bundling all the goods to make the most of the available capacity.

Stores and small distributors tend to benefit greatly from this transportation alternative. After all, think about how it can be advantageous to share the cost with others interested in taking the same route. No defined weight and volume value limits delivery to the desired address. With LTL, any cargo will reach the required destination.

When we talk about the negative points, we have to consider that the delivery time is longer than FTL. The carrier’s timetable will determine the most efficient route, considering all companies that have split the volume of the cargo. Another disadvantage is the increased risk of damage and loss since the materials are more handled along the route with a greater number of stops.

Discovering FTL

Unlike LTL, FTL represents situations in which the cargo volume was sufficient to occupy the entire volume of transport. The acronym comes from the term full truckload. However, it is worth noting that there is a possibility (but it is not common) to apply FTL even when the cargo does not occupy the entire volume of transport. In that case, it is necessary to hire a dedicated transport. Thus, there will be no sharing of the space with any item from another shipper. 

Large companies with a high demand for transportation tend to conclude FTL contracts with carriers for specific periods. Businesses that involve grains, in general, are a recurring public in the modality. 

As advantages, stand out the negotiation for lower values ​​for the service and the guarantee of the products – less number of damages. Because the cargo is unique, the transportation time is shorter. There is no need for so many stops or the handling of the material. Consequently, the risk of loss and damage is less than LTL.

In terms of disadvantages, it is impossible to share delivery costs with other companies when assuming responsibility for the vehicle’s total capacity. In addition, it is necessary to provide a unique delivery address, which makes a distribution to multiple customers unfeasible.

Some carriers combine the two alternatives (FTL and LTL) to optimize the work. For this, they travel with the full load to the warehouse with small vehicles and, from there, use the LTL system to collect the material. It is another interesting possibility.

Now you know the LTL and FTL transport styles, as well as the main advantages and disadvantages of each one.

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