What Is The Difference Between an FTL and an LTL Shipment?


Chicago businesses, like businesses in other cities, often need to ship their goods across town and across the country. This results in the hiring of a Chicago courier service. There are many different ways to ship goods and determine cost. Your choice of courier service is going to largely depend on the size and nature of the items you’re shipping. Obviously, large items will require a bigger truck to get them delivered, thus affecting the cost and time of delivery.

A term common to the shipping industry, “less than truck load” or LTL, means that the item being shipped will not take up the entire available space on the truck. FTL or “full truck load” means that the load will fill the entire truck. Shippers that accommodate full truck loads cater to those customers who typically ship in bulk. The large amount of goods being shipped offsets the cost of a larger truck or semi. For those shipping smaller items or items that won’t fill an entire truck would be best served by using an LTL shipment.

Most LTL loads average between 100 and 10,000 lbs per load. Obviously, this is a large weight range but the layout of how goods are placed on the truck optimizes space and insures a full load on the truck, even if individual shipments by themselves wouldn’t fill it up. These options are ideal for smaller businesses that don’t ship in large volumes like their larger counterparts.

Because of the nature of an LTL load, it can take longer than an FTL load. LTL loads typically have more destinations or pick up locations to accommodate the different needs of the various shipments on board. The larger FTL loads usually contain a shipment for one company and it’s going to one destination. Once picked up, an LTL load will be brought to a main terminal and there it will be weighed and moved to a larger truck where the shipments will be taken to another terminal in the destination region.

From there, the shipments are then dispersed and placed on smaller trucks for delivery to their final destination. This redistribution of the shipment could happen several times before final delivery. This redistribution process can cause further delay and could adversely affect delivery times. Thankfully, a Chicago courier service has perfected this process as much as possible to minimize the time for delivery. If timeliness is of the utmost importance, it’s good to inquire about any potential issues that could cause a delivery to not be delivered on time.


Source by Zachary Malone

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