If what you’re planning to ship is too big to be shipped the parcel, you have two options: full truckload (FTL) and less-than-truckload (LTL). The logistics behind both of these modes are very different, but in the end, they will get your cargo where it needs to go.
You should consider several factors when you begin your search for the right freight company to ship your goods no matter whether you choose LTL or FTL. Take a look at this overview of each mode as well as a list of the top freight companies to help you evaluate your options.
If your freight is too large to be considered a parcel shipment but doesn’t need a semi-truck all to itself, it’s probably an LTL shipment. LTL freight companies combine multiple LTL shipments to create a single truck comprised of different LTL loads. This maximizes the efficiency of the truck and cuts back on costs.
LTL shipping might be the right option for you if your freight weighs over 150 lbs. but less than 15,000 lbs. and you want to lower your overall transportation costs.
Advantages of LTL Freight Shipping
When you ship LTL you only pay for the portion of the trailer your freight takes up, as opposed to the full trailer. This is a cost-saving and efficient option for many companies.
You can also get additional services when you ship LTL which include lift gate, limited access capabilities, expedited shipping options and indoor delivery and/or pickup.
The Top LTL Carriers
These are the top LTL carriers in the U.S., according to Logistics Management Magazine:
- Estes Express Lines
- Old Dominion Freight Line
- UPS Freight
- YRC Regional
- FedEx Freight
- XPO Logistics
- ABF Freight System
- Saia Motor Freight Line
- Holland Regional
- Southeastern Freight Lines
Compare rates from top LTL and FTL freight carriers for free with Kuebix Shipper
Full Truckload Shipping
FTL shipments are generally considered to be the most cost-effective option for transporting cargo if the freight is capable of filling an entire trailer. Shipments that are greater than 5,000 to 10,000 lbs. are usually the ideal size for FTL shipments. The average weight that can be transported on a trailer is usually between 42,000 and 44,000 lbs.
FTL is also the go-to freight transportation option if you’re planning to ship cargo that has special requirements. These can include anything from needing a flatbed trailer to a truck with climate control for temperature sensitive products.
Advantages of FTL Freight Shipping
Unlike LTL shipments which often make several stops and are transferred between trucks multiple times before arriving at their destination, FTL freight doesn’t require any extra steps. This means that shipping full truckload is often a much faster option than shipping LTL.
Different types of transportation available for FTL shipping include:
- Flatbed Carriers
- Removable Gooseneck (RGN) Trailers
- Step Deck Trailers
- Refrigerated (Reefer) Trailers
- Dry Van (Enclosed) Trailer
The Top FTL Carriers
These are the top FTL carriers in the U.S., also according to Logistics Management Magazine:
- Swift Transportation
- Schneider National
- J.B. Hunt Transport Services
- Landstar System
- Werner Enterprises
- U.S. Xpress Enterprises
- CRST International
- Crete Carrier Corp.
- C.R. England
Consider the following when choosing between LTL and FTL shipments:
- Your shipment size
- Your budget
- The goal delivery timeline
- Whether the cargo is fragile or temperature sensitive
Kuebix has a robust network of the most well-respected ground freight trucking companies in the U.S. The TMS can also connect any other mode of shipping such as air, parcel, intermodal, and ocean just as easily. Our free TMS gives you access to the most competitive shipping rates in the industry for LTL and FTL shipping.
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