Shipping 101: Understanding The Difference Between LTL And Truckload Transportation

  • May 31, 2018

You have freight that needs to be shipped, but how do you decide what’s the best method? When you aren’t sure what your options are, hearing terms like “Less than Truckload” (LTL) and “Truckload” can be overwhelming, or even worse, these options seem like the same thing. Deciding what freight shipping method to go with can be a difficult choice.

Freight shipping begins with analyzing the factors of your cargo, such as dimension (length x width x height), classification, and any special services that you might need (like refrigeration). Knowing these factors will enable you to make more educated decisions about your shipping method needs. Under or over-utilizing a trailer can be a costly mistake. Many transportation companies only offer one type of freight shipping, but a few (like Combined Express and Delaware Valley Shippers, Inc.) provide both LTL and truckload options.

But what does LTL and Truckload mean?

On a basic level, LTL is freight that doesn’t require the entire trailer space, whereas truckload shipments fill space and/or weight limits. LTL also allows for multiple shipments from different companies to go on one truck, which can be more cost efficient (you share the cost of the trailer). However, it also means that the truck will be making multiple stops along the route — meaning it may take more time to get to its destination.

Truckload, on the other hand, fills the trailer space and/or weighs enough to maximize the capacity. In addition to capacity, because truckloads make one stop (your destination), it sometimes makes more sense to move time sensitive freight as a full load to avoid delays and guarantee service. The chance of damage also decreases with truckload shipments, since there is less handling of freight throughout the journey.

If you’re still having issues deciding on your shipping method, your transportation company should be able to help address concerns and meet your unique needs. Combined Express and Delaware Valley Shippers, Inc. provides customized shipping solutions tailor made for your freight, along with competitive pricing. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you ship freight locally or across the country.


Combined Express, Inc. and Delaware Valley Shippers, Inc. are the premier truckload, intermodal and LTL service providers across the United States, with more than 35 years of industry experience. Moving freight has never been easier or more cost-effective than with our custom transportation and express freight services! Our knowledgeable and experienced team of logistics professionals is always on call to assist you with any questions or concerns that might arise. We work closely with you to learn your unique freight needs, and to customize a shipping solution that fits your budget and delivers your cargo on time.


Share This