Freight delivery involves many different services which can seem quite complex – and understanding freight solutions can be very tricky with the number of options available. In particular, FTL (full truck load) transport and LTL (less than truck load) transport because they are the most used forms of transportation. The differences between FTL and LTL must be considered when deciding which shipping method to go for. This helps to ensure your business’s logistics achieve effective results.

We know that finding the right type of shipping for your freight can seem a tricky task. If you’re unsure of what FTL vs LTL is, we’ll be discussing all the key points in this article.

Take a look!

Differences Between FTL vs LTL

What is Full Truck Load?

FTL transport stands for full truck load which refers to the transport of goods that are large enough to fill up the entire shipment vehicle. This means hiring a full truck space for your dedicated freight. FTL shipping is mostly used for bulk or oversized shipments that require large capacity.

Whenever full truck load shipping is chosen, all consignments will be kept on the same truck right from collection to delivery. FTL transport services are typically designed for one load only, so the container doesn’t carry any other business’ consignments. This option is particularly ideal for businesses looking to send heavy haulage or items of high value across further distances. This also means your shipment gets there sooner because it doesn’t have to make trips to other warehouses and complete other drop-offs. 

How much is a full truck load?

It is going to be more expensive but when you’re shipping higher quantities of freight it is actually more cost-effective in the long run. Since a full truck load uses an entire truck for just one shipment it is priced differently from a less than a truck load, which only uses part of a truck. Using an FTL is more convenient than using an LTL because it reduces transportation costs, risk of damage to your shipment, and involves fewer deliveries as it’s all delivered on one truck.

full truck load pallet restriction

How many pallets in a full truck load?

If you need to ship extensive goods that contain fragile or time-critical materials, FTL solutions will ensure the full movement of your items is done in one hit. Full truck load is better for keeping objects together and also shipping with more pallets. There’s more room because you will have a whole truck to yourself. So your freight arrives at its destination quicker and with less handling required. This exclusive service is ideally suitable for transporting 24 to 30 pallets that hold delicate cargo. The maximum weight limit is usually 44,000 pounds, depending on the type of delivery vehicle.

What are the benefits of a full truck load?

The benefit of using FTL transport services is that there is less risk of your goods getting damaged during transit. This is because it involves fewer touchpoints as drivers do not have to shift freight around to fit other items on board. FTL shipments also have faster delivery times as the items stay on the same truck the whole journey. It can also be cheaper in the long run since you are just using one container and making a direct delivery.

What is Less-Than-Truckload?

Since full truck load is a dedicated service fit for single shipments, there also needs to be a haulage service for multiple shipments. The answer to this is LTL transport, which refers to less-than-full truck load. This type of transportation offers the complete opposite approach and saves space for smaller freight deliveries. 

How much is in a less-than-truck load?

LTL transport is a useful alternative that deals with products that do not take up the full container compared to FTL, which is meant for oversized freight or large batch items. With LTL shipping, the transportation is operated by different warehouses which consolidate and organise goods. Forest Freight have access to their own warehouse for all your warehouse needs. Once they are processed, drivers are able to carry multiple shipments but they must be between 150 and 15,000 pounds and can include a range of 1 to 6 pallets.

less than full truckload

This mode of freight transport usually handles lighter loads such as parcel type shipments that are situated in distribution centres or main hubs. A less than truck load is initially cheaper for delivery because you are taking up less space.  This system is available with many national parcel services and enables small quantities of goods to be delivered more frequently and efficiently. Making it the perfect option for smaller businesses that want to spend less money on freight. 

Cons of less-than-truck load

Before you decide to use any shipping service it is important to note potential drawbacks. Firstly, there are a few things to keep in mind when using LTL transport. For example, although it may work out cheaper initially if you’re sending specialist goods with LTL, it could lead to additional costs. 

The shipping service can sometimes take longer as the goods have to pass through different terminals to be consolidated. There is also a higher risk of damage to your shipment due to the level of handling it requires as your items will be moved from different trucks throughout transit. You are able to track your shipment though through the Forest Freight online client portal. 

How Are FTL and LTL Shipping Rates Calculated?

It’s good to consider the ways FTL transport and LTL transport rates are priced differently as they both offer separate flexibilities. You can also use our quoting tool to get a general idea of home much your shipment will cost. Here are the key points which costs are determined by:

Full Truckload Shipping Rates

  • Cost per mile
  • Dimensions of shipment
  • Distance from collection to delivery
  • Type of FTL shipment
  • Additional services

How do you calculate rates in FTL?

A general full truck load rate is calculated by the amount of miles it takes to reach its destination. There’s typically an average rate per mile and we’ll calculate this to come up with the final amount that will be owed. There can be other expenses added on depending on your exact shipment needs.

Less Than Truckload Shipping Rates

  • Cost per mile
  • Dimensions of shipment i.e. weight and density
  • Type of LTL shipment
  • Freight Class
  • Additional services

How is LTL freight cost calculated?

LTL costs are calculated by the weight or the number of pallets for your shipment. Typically the more the shipment weighs the less you’ll have to pay.


We hope this article has helped you discover more about FTL vs LTL in logistics. If you’d like to know what other freight delivery options are available, Forest Freight are on hand to assist.

Contact our expert team with your questions and concerns today and we will advise the best solutions for your shipping needs!

Get in touch

« | »