What is the difference between FTL and LTL transport?

What is the difference between FTL and LTL transport?

Are you a food distributor with a short use-by date, or maybe you are a wholesaler of office supplies? Are you wondering what are the types of deliveries in the country and abroad? Get to know the terms FTL, i.e. full truck load transport and LTL - partial transport, also known as groupage transport. Read what advantages FTL transport has and what LTL transport offers to choose the right type of delivery for the distributed goods.

Road transport always in your direction

Road transport is one of the most important branches of transport. Advantages of road transport:

  •  unlimited delivery options, thanks to the extensive infrastructure and road network,
  •  short delivery time,
  •  Door-to-Door deliveries
  •  2-Man Handling deliveries
  •  possibility of co-loading 
  • price of the service


What is FTL transport?

FTL (Full Truck Load) transport is intended for entrepreneurs who have to transport a large amount of goods. So large that the goods take up the entire cargo area or most of it. FTL simplifies the logistics of the transport process, as the transported goods go directly from the sender to the recipient. This simple scheme of operation makes FTL transport fast, as the supplier does not transport the goods of several customers, so its path is straightforward (it goes from point A to point B).
The lack of intermediate unloading points also means that the transported goods will not be damaged during additional reloading processes, because it goes directly, e.g. from the port to the recipient's warehouse. The speed of FTL transport makes it a perfect logistic solution for distributors of e.g. food products with a short shelf life, where a longer delivery may have a negative impact on the quality of the goods transported. FTL is also a solution for entrepreneurs who have to transport large loads of considerable weight. A customer choosing FTL transport pays for the entire cargo area.

What is LTL transport?

LTL transport (Less Than Truck Load) concerns goods that do not occupy the entire cargo area, but only a part of it. In logistics terminology, you can also find the name PTL (Partial Load), or groupage transport. It happens that the terms LTL and PTL are often used interchangeably. LTL transport relies on the fact that the available cargo space is divided between the different senders. An entrepreneur who chooses LTL transport pays for the used cargo space, so it can be more profitable than FTL transport.
It is a perfect solution for small goods, e.g. several pallets. A disadvantage could be the longer transport time of goods compared to FTL transport. A driver who has goods from several customers on board must take the time to deliver the goods to the designated points. It does not go directly from the hold to the warehouse, for example. However, for goods whose value does not decline with extended lead times, it does not matter.
LTL transport is worth using when the goods are too heavy to be picked up by a courier, and too small to qualify for FTL transport. This method of transport is also cost-effective when the shipment does not require fast delivery, the goods have different addressees, and small shipments can be packed together and placed on pallets.

What is included in dedicated transport solutions?

Dedicated transport services allow for the implementation of non-standard projects, e.g. transport of hazardous substances ADR, JiT, JiS, transport at a controlled temperature. The logistics services tailored to the customer's needs include not only LTL (partial delivery) and FTL (full truck load) transport. Rhenus Logistics offers consolidation services, deliveries within designated time windows and express deliveries as part of dedicated transport services. Thanks to this, the entrepreneur can, for example, plan when he will pick up the goods or when it will hit the production line. This type of adjustment is also helpful in the case of transporting bulky goods at a designated time, e.g. to a construction site. As part of its services, Rhenus also offers unloading of goods by the driver or pumping of the transported substance. All information on the services offered can be found at web page. Check what logistics solution your company needs.