When you maximize your freight shipping services, you can focus time and money on other areas of your business. This article will compare truckload vs. less than truckload shipments to determine which shipment method is best for your needs.

Then read the BLS Insights section below for first-hand advice from a third-party logistics service provider (3PL) on how you can maximize shipping services and costs. 

What is LTL?

Less Than Truckload, or LTL, shipments “share the truck space” with other loads. LTL shipping combines multiple shipments going in the same geographical location together. 

What is Truckload?

Truckload, or TL, shipments only contain one customer order. It doesn’t share the space with any other packages. 

What’s the Difference Between the Shipment Process?

There are some similarities between truckload and LTL freight shipments. Both methods:

  • Ship using semi-trucks.
  • Ship with palletized freight or floor loaded
  • Offer special services, as needed.

Below is a breakdown of the main differences between truckload and LTL shipping.

Truckload Shipment Process

Truckload shipments are picked up and driven straight to the final destination (except for minor stops for rest breaks or fuel). Since the packages don’t leave the truck, it has almost no handling and offers faster transit times.

LTL Shipment Process

LTL trucks will make multiple stops at different terminals while on route to their destination. LTL shipments are unloaded and reloaded at each stop, which can increase transit times and package handling. 

Truckload vs. LTL: Freight Class and Cost

For both truckload and LTL, the freight classification helps to determine the cost of the shipment. However, LTL shipments require more details than truckload shipments. Below is a breakdown between truckload and LTL shipments. 

Truckload Freight Class and Cost 

For freight class, since you are reserving the truckload, the carrier needs to know the shipment’s details. If the size or weight is slightly different during transit though, it won’t make a big difference in cost.

Truckload cost depends on multiple factors, including:

  • The market
  • Origin and destination
  • Freight class
  • Shipment date
  • Truck capacity and location 
  • Trucking lanes 

LTL Freight Class and Cost

For freight class, since one shipment is sharing the space with others, the exact shipment details are needed. If the size or weight is slightly different during transit, it could impact the cost since the freight class plays a significant role in overall total. 

LTL freight class depends on multiple factors, including:

  • Density (weight and size) 
  • Handling (Are special accommodations needed?)
  • Liability (perishable, fragile, etc.)
  • Storage ability (How should it be stored?) 

Once the above information is calculated, your shipment will be given a freight class. That class will help to determine the LTL shipment total. LTL costs are slightly different from truckload shipments since LTL carriers have standard rates based on various variables. 

LTL total is calculated by:

  • Freight class
  • Commodity 
  • Transport difficulty 
  • Trucking lanes
  • Special services needed

How to Determine when to Use Truckload or LTL?

Multiple factors will help you to determine which shipment process is best for your needs. Here is a breakdown to help determine whether truckload or LTL is best for your freight. 

Truckload shipment might be best if your freight meets the following criteria. 

  • Is 10+ pallets
  • Is fragile 
  • Has a strict pickup time and delivery time 
  • Requires specialized equipment or truck (refrigeration, temperature controlled, etc.) 
  • The total shipment weight offers more cost savings than LTL

LTL shipment might be best if your freight meets the following criteria.

  • Are 10 pallets or less
  • Weighs between 150-15,000 pounds 
  • Is sturdy and can be handled frequently 
  • Has flexibility with pickup and delivery times
  • You want to help reduce emissions and eliminate the need for more trucks on the road

BLS Insights on Truckload vs. Less Than Truckload

At Beitler Logistics Services (BLS), we specialize in both the truckload and LTL environments. We offer our customers a personalized approach that will focus on cost savings and on-time service. 

Customer Needs First

We understand our customer’s needs for:

  • Cost-effective shipping options
  • Damage-free delivery 
  • Urgent shipment 
  • And special requirements 

Regardless of your shipment method (truckload or LTL), we offer over-the-road truckload service with 53′ trailers equipped with lift gates and special LTL inside deliveries to meet your needs.

You can trust BLS with your valuable shipments.

Working with a 3PL for Your Truckload and LTL Needs

When you choose to work with a trusted and professional 3PL, like BLS, you can maximize your shipping services and costs. The BLS team are experts with first-hand experience with freight classes, weight break rating, freight capacity, and more. We use our knowledge and expertise to help you find the best shipping solution and rate for your needs.

Learn more about BLS truckload services and LTL services

Contact us today to talk to a BLS team member!