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What Is FTL Shipping & How Is It Different from LTL Freight?

July 13, 2023

What Is FTL Shipping & How Is It Different from LTL Freight?

Discover what FTL shipping is all about. Read how FTL is different from LTL.

Discover what FTL shipping is all about. Read how FTL is different from LTL.

Curious about FTL and LTL in shipping? We've got you covered.

In this article, we'll explain what FTL shipping actually is, and how it is different from LTL freight. Get ready to understand these terms and their unique characteristics, as we explore the world of efficient shipping and simplify the jargon.

Let's dive in.

What is FTL Shipping?

First of all, let’s clear up what FTL actually stands for. FTL stands for Full Truck Load, and it is a type of transportation.

But what does it actually mean? Well, in a nutshell, if you choose FTL to transport your freight, your truck will be transporting just your shipment.

What is LTL Freight?

Here, it makes sense to explain what LTL is all about. LTL stands for “Less Than A Truckload”. This is where a supplier, such as yourself, would take up only a section of a truck to transport freight.

The benefit of this is that you would only pay for the space your goods take up. Other suppliers pay for the rest of the space, which would be taken up by their goods. This cuts your costs and also minimizes the environmental impact.

However, if you need to transport freight over 15,000 pounds in weight, then a full truckload may be the option for you. In arranging full truckloads of goods to be transported, the journey will be reserved just for your products.

The benefits of FTL


Firstly, if you have a large enough consignment to fill an entire truck, then an FTL service may work out to be more economically viable for you.

When you have a true logistics partner with multiple logistics solutions like Covenant, we take care of that for you. With our logistics expertise, we can help you create the most cost-effective logistics solution for your business today.

Less Limitations

With an LTL service, you need to accurately measure up the consignment that will be loaded onto the truck. In contrast, by full load trucking, you won’t have to adhere to as many size and weight limitations.

Faster Freight

At the same time, FTL transportation means that your freight will reach its destination a lot sooner as the truck will not be picking up freight from any other suppliers, or dropping any off.

Better Security

While LTL is generally very secure, FTL freight means less opportunity for goods to become lost or damaged whilst in transit. With no pick-ups and drop-offs, it is less likely for your freight to become damaged.

FTL is just one of the options that we at Covenant can help you with. As a true logistics provider, we are experts in our field and are always on hand to give you the benefit of our experience.

Deep dive into the differences between FTL and LTL

Let’s take a closer look at FTL, LTL, and their differences.

  1. When you find yourself with only a few pallets to ship, it's essential to consider LTL as the only logical choice. There is a significant cost reduction in shipping expenses that LTL offers for smaller loads.
  2. Transporting freight using FTL means that it is far easier to predict when your goods will arrive. This is because you won’t need to account for the truck making stops to pick up or drop off consignments along the way. LTL will require you to be more flexible.
  3. Once your goods are loaded into the truck, the trailer will be sealed and transported directly to the delivery destination. Handling and risk of loss or damage will be cut down compared to an LTL service.
  4. One significant difference between FTL and LTL lies in the pricing structure. FTL shipping is generally based on a flat rate or per-mile rate, regardless of the cargo's weight or size. This can be advantageous when shipping large and heavy loads since the cost remains consistent. In contrast, LTL pricing is typically determined by factors such as the weight, dimensions, and class of the shipment.
  5. Delicate, perishable, or fragile goods will be better served with an FTL service. Take a look at how we helped an international food brand transport its perishables.

Choosing between FTL and LTL

There are no firm rules about when to use FTL or LTL. However, with the FTL market set to grow by USD 794.08 billion between 2022and 2027, you need to determine how you can make it work for you. So let’s take a look at what can help you do that.    

Use the following as a general rule of thumb:

●    If your goods are delicate or fragile, then it is safer to opt for a Full Truck Load with less loading and unloading.

●    If you need to know that your products will reach their delivery destination by a specific date and time, full load trucking is better. It means less loading and unloading and is ideal if your schedule is not so flexible.

●    How solid are the goods you need to transport? If you think they might become damaged in transit, you should go for the FTL option. [1] 


At Covenant, we pride ourselves on offering a range of solutions to suit the transport needs of any organization. As a genuine logistics partner, we are here to help you with your transportation requirements. Take a look through the logistics solutions we offer and get in touch with us to see how we can help you with your logistics, or take the job off your hands altogether.