Full Truckload (FTL) shipping vs Less Than Truckload (LTL) shipping

Moving goods from one place to another is one of the several functions that is very important for the society. Trucks are the main medium of transportation of goods from one place to another. Since trucks have been so common for transportation of goods, there are methods to optimize shipping too.

Here are two methods for shipping:

Full Truckload Shipping (FTL)

Full Truckload Shipping (FTL) refers to the method where a truck is fully loaded before shipping. It means a transport that requires a single truck load that, consequently, is fully occupied. FTL is a method that can be implemented into the following types: dry van, backhauls, partial truckload, flatbed, refrigerated, intermodal.
FTL shipping rates vary, but there are various weight limits when it comes to FTL. FTLs can usually ship 20,000 kg of product, accommodating 48 standard pallets & allows shipping of 70 m3.
FTLs are often used when the weight is more and the amounts of trucks that can be used are less.

Less Than Truckload (LTL)

LTL is the most popular method that is used to fill trucks up with content. LTL can usually be implemented into all major types of trucks, and are used in moving goods that require maintenance and utmost care. Less Than Truckload is often used in situations where the goods might get damaged, or the roads are unstable.
LTLs can allow the truck to follow a much more versatile route to the destination and is much safer.

Here is the difference between FTL and LTL:

Difference between FTL & LTL

Here are some of the major differences between FTL & LTL:

Transit times

Full Truckload offers better transit times due to the fact that the driver has to follow strict routes to reach a destination. These pre-planned routes are often-times cleaner, and allow for a fully sketched-out travel plan.
Less Than Truckload, however, may suffer from worser transit times because the driver is given the option to move in any way they wish.

Size difference

One of the major differences between FTL and LTL is the size that each truck can carry. LTL offers way much cargo per transit when compared to FTL. This is because Full Truckload Shipping will only ship when the truck has been fully loaded – hence the name. LTL has to cut down some cargo & will absolutely not work if the truck is fully loaded. In cases where the truck has to go out fully loaded, FTL should be the preferred option.


One of the interesting things to note is the fact that LTL actually employs the use of multiple trucks, and may have to change trucks mid-route. When exchanging goods mid-route due to changing trucks, cargo can get damaged.
In such cases, FTL should be preferred. FTL does not allow for trucks to be switched, and thus, offers better protection.
But as explained beforehand, in cases where the cargo contains delicate products, LTL is still the preferred choice.


FTL generally costs more than Less Than Truckload, but only in cases where a single truck is to be employed. In cases where multiple trucks are to be employed, FTL will beat the price of LTL any day. This is because FTL can store much more cargo, and this allows lesser trucks to be employed per shipping.


Full Truckload is still a new method, and not many companies have shifted to using it. If more and more companies start to understand the importance of FTL, shipping will no longer be a hassle.

Whatever service you need, at Swiss Air & Road Cargo we will work with you to find a suitable tailor-made solution. Contact us!


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