LTL vs. TL Shipping: What’s the Difference?

If you’re new to the logistics industry, you are most likely being exposed to new and interesting terms every day. It can be overwhelming to stay on top of it all, but we can help you learn some of the common terms quickly.

LTL and TL and two such terms used in over the road services. Choosing between LTL and TL all depends on the nature of your load. In this post, we’ll explain what they both mean and how to use them.

Less than truckload (LTL)

This refers to the shipment of small freight. Generally, small freight won’t fill an entire container or truck space.

If you opt for LTL shipping services, you pay only for the space used instead of an entire container. As well, the extra container space will be shared with other businesses shipping LTL, so that many deliveries can be made at once.

LTL is the best option for small businesses that don’t need a full-sized reefer. You’ll save money since you don’t take up much space. Just keep in mind that since you’re sharing a single trailer with other businesses, delivery time may take longer.

Full truckload (TL/ FTL)

This term refers to a large shipment of goods that fills an entire truck trailer that is up to 50 ft long.

TL is the shipping method of choice if you have a ton of freight or it weighs over 15,000 lbs. Other than that, you can choose TL in order to have your own private trailer. This is optimal if you have time sensitive cargo and can’t wait for other, separate deliveries to be made.

As well, the risk of damages to freight decreases because less stops are made at distribution centers. You won’t have to share, so you are paying for faster delivery and more security for your goods.