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LTL vs FTL: What is Less-than-Truckload and Full-Truckload Freight?

Written by
Benedict Leong
Published on
September 4, 2020
Updated on
June 27, 2023
Air, Land or Sea, our flexible shipping solutions keep your deliveries going forward

In our previous article on when it’s best to use cross-border trucking in your supply chain, we mentioned that trucking comes in less-than-truckload (LTL) and full truckload (FTL) shipments. But when should you use one over the other? Which type saves you money on each shipment and which type should you use if your shipment absolutely needs to reach on time?

What is LTL - Less-than-truckload Freight?

Less-than-truckload (LTL) freight refers to when your order shares a truck with other shippers’ orders. As for rates, you’ll be charged based on the higher of volumetric weight or actual weight. Depending on how much you are shipping, it may be cost-effective to ship via FTL instead.

As your orders need to be consolidated with other orders before the international mid-mile leg of the journey begins, you’ll need to adhere to fixed delivery schedules set out by your shipping partner. LTL shipments also need to head to a distribution centre for sorting and distribution before the last mile delivery to your consignee’s destination can happen. These extra steps means that LTL deliveries could be slower than FTL deliveries.

While saving you costs upfront for smaller shipments, this means LTL offers less scheduling flexibility and requires more handling than Full Truckload (FTL). Usually, for LTL pick up services may be available from your service provider.

What is FTL - Full Truckload Freight?

Full Truckload freight means that you’ll charter a truck that carries only your load - meaning that you pay a flat amount for the truck regardless of how much space you actually take up. These trucks can come in 14 footer, 20 footer and 40 footer sizes. Since your order doesn’t need to share the truck with other shipments, there is less handling as there isn’t a need for consolidation or break bulk most of the time.

You’ll need to be careful when using FTL as you don’t want to spend more on unused space in the truck. On the other hand, if you know that your shipment is large enough, this could end up being cheaper than LTL. Service partners like Janio can help you work out which option is the most optimal and cost-effective cross-border trucking service with you if you choose to work with us.

FTL shipments don’t need to follow a schedule, unlike LTL. Usually, the empty truck will head to your address for you to load up and seal the shipment. After going through destination customs, the truck carrying your goods can head straight to the consignee’s address without needing to stop at a warehouse for breakbulk first.

LTL vs FTL at a Glance

Are you looking for an affordable and quick way to ship goods between Singapore and Malaysia? Whether you need air freight or cross-border trucking, Janio’s flexible end-to-end services can tailor a unique delivery solution suited for your business. Reach out to us via the banner below to find out more or to request a quotation:

Air, Land or Sea, our flexible shipping solutions keep your deliveries going forward

Also, if you’re looking for a break down of how cross-border trucking works between Singapore and Malaysia, you can check out our these guides: