What's the difference between an LTL and an FTL?

Both LTL and FTL are modes of transport for your cargo, but as their name suggests there is one key difference between the two: the quantity/size of goods shipped.

Less-than-truckload shipping, commonly known as LTL or less than load, refers to the transportation of relatively small freight that does not require a full truckload. LTL is commonly used when you have several pallets of cargo, but not enough to fill a truck. In this case, delivery dates are more flexible and not as crucial to the operation.

This mode of transport is usually recommended for small businesses that are shipping between one and six pallets, or cargo measuring less than 14 linear feet. The way it works, in order to take greater advantage of the space available, is that different LTLs from several shippers are combined into one truck until it is filled as close to capacity as possible.

On the other hand, Full-truckload, commonly known as FTL, refers to the mode of shipping where a truck carries only one dedicated shipment from one point to another. As the number of pallets goes up and your cargo becomes more time sensitive, it might be a good idea to consider an FTL or a dedicated truck. This method will give you more control over the handling of your cargo, as well as the costs and delivery dates associated with it.

With FTL you will have exclusive use of a truck, which means no worrying about other products that might be traveling alongside yours, or additional stops that the truck will have to make before arriving to the final destination. Even if you are not able to fill the entirety of the space available, you can still reserve a truck for your exclusive use. This is especially recommended when shipping large, delicate items.

If you want to know more about FTL and LTL, and understand which method may be better for your business, click here.

Which industries have benefited the most from nearshoring in Mexico?
Some of the most benefited industries by nearshoring in Mexico are automotive and auto parts, electronics and home appliances, among others.
What’s the difference between nearshoring, reshoring, and offshoring?
Offshoring means outsourcing manufacturing to another country, while reshoring means bringing back manufacturing to the country of origin.
What is nearshoring?
Nearshoring means outsourcing manufacturing to a nearby country or transferring manufacturing processes to a closer geographic location.
How does CTPAT work?
When a company joins CTPAT, CBP makes an agreement to protect the supply chain, identify where security needs, and implements them.
What’s the difference between freight forwarder, freight broker, and 3PL?
Freight forwarders move cargo from origin to destination, brokers connect shippers and carriers, and 3PLs also offer additional services.
What documents are needed to export from Mexico to the US?
If you’re a business exporting from Mexico to the US, you will need the following documentation.
Is Nuvocargo CTPAT certified?
Nuvocargo partners with a wide network of carriers with the highest quality and safety standards.
What type of trucking equipment does Nuvocargo provide?
Nuvocargo offers the best capacity solutions for its customers.
What are Nuvocargo's main routes?
Nuvocargo focuses on cross-border shipments between Mexico, USA and Canada crossing only through Laredo.
How many trucks is Nuvocargo's fleet?
Nuvocargo works with a wide network of certified carriers.
What industries does Nuvocargo focus on?
Nuvocargo is equipped to handle the needs of the majority of industries and has clients across a wide variety of sectors.
What services can Nuvocargo provide for cross-border shipments?
For through-trailer cross-border shipments, Nuvocargo can provide services ranging from freight forwarding to insurance in US and Mexico.
When to choose through-trailer vs. transloading?
There are pros and cons to both options, however transloading has become the preferred one due to increased capacity and competitive prices.
Your cross-border shipping checklist
Not all shipments are the same, and depending on your specific needs, you might have to choose a particular carrier, truck type, unit, etc.
Who are the main actors involved in a cross-border shipment?
It's important to know each actor involved in a cross-border operation and the role each one plays to ensure its success.

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