LTL vs FTL vs … Partial Truckload Shipments

FTL (Truckload) and LTL (less-than-truckload) are two totally different modes of transportation. Do you know the difference? If you’re an LTL shipper, a little knowledge may save you a lot of money. Consolidating your LTL freight may be the way to go. Let’s compare these options.



  • Multiple pick ups and deliveries equal more handling of your product.
  • It also means longer transit times.
  • On average, LTL shipments are under 10,000 pounds and range from 1-6 pallets.
  • Due to the complexity of LTL transport, rates are usually structured.
  • Factors include origin, destination, weight and pallet count.
  • Refrigerated LTL carriers are less available due to set schedules.
  • They are also less flexible and cannot adapt to different temperature requirements.



  • Less handling means less chance of damages.
  • Simple pickup and delivery allows for faster transit times.
  • An average truckload is 24+ pallets weighing 20,000+ pounds.
  • Shipping rates are negotiable and vary depending on carrier, weight, & destination.
  • Temp-controlled carriers are highly available and and able to meet your product’s specific temperature requirements.


If business allows, consolidating your shipment to FTL will save you money. It’s all about what works for you and your company. There’s also a third option you may not be aware of.


Partial Truckload

Logistics specialists offer partial truckload as a choice to customers who have shipments that land in the middle of LTL and FTL. This mode has some benefits over both LTL & FTL:

  • The sweet spot for partial is 6-18 pallets between 10,000 and 20,000 pounds.
  • Partial truckloads give brokers/carriers, with extra space on their trailers, the opportunity move these shipments.
  • Don’t pay a truckload rate if you don’t have to.
  • Carriers typically don’t use cross dock facilities when hauling partial shipments, which means less handling of your freight and faster delivery times over LTL.


Not every carrier provider handles partial truckloads. Hopefully, the relationship with your shipping partner meets all your transportation needs.

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