da April 25, 2023

What is the Difference Between FTL and LTL and How to Choose a Decent Freight Shipping Broker?


Modern freight brokers offer their clients a wide range of basic services and additional options: delivery of goods by road, air, water, and railway transport in the USA and abroad. Such companies are also responsible for

  • Registration of accompanying documents, bills of lading, permits for the transportation of dangerous goods, and other papers required for conveyance.
  • Loading/unloading, rigging, and securing cargo on board using their own lifting equipment, mechanisms, and personnel. 
  • Consolidation of groupage cargoes (LTL) and full truck load (FTL).
  • Forwarding, insurance, security, escort, etc. Specialists select an individual package of services in accordance with the tasks set for each client.

Everything is made according to the current needs and customer’s desires. Despite considerable information support, many people are not particularly versed in the freight features and do not know the difference between FTL and LTL, so let’s find out.

FTL and LTL: what to choose?


Logistics companies offer several schemes to optimize the conveyance of small cargo and minimize the customer’s haulage costs. LTL meaning in logistics is simple; it’s the joint delivery of goods ordered by several customers in one container to one port or airport of arrival. This method of freight allows you to distribute cartage costs between customers, which significantly reduces the final cost of cargo for each client. Delivery is carried out to a warehouse for temporary storage. Haulage of goods is usually carried out by air and sea transport. Air delivery is the fastest and most expensive, it’s optimal for the transportation of valuable, temperature, small, and light cargo. Shipment by sea is beneficial when the budget is important but the timing of the receipt of the order is not critical. Sea freight is most in demand for the delivery of large volume cargo. The most popular scheme is multimodal delivery, which involves transportation by road then by sea or air, and from a port or airport in the destination location.

The most important advantage of LTL in logistics is its affordable price. Moreover, all organizational issues are solved by the logistics company. There’s a full safety of delivery and responsibility of the carrier. The company will prepare the necessary package of documents for sending and will take care of safety.


What is FTL? FTL freight meaning demonstrates that the cargo of one client is transported in a separate vehicle. FTL shipment excludes reloading at intermediate warehouses and logistics terminals: transport is loaded at the point of departure and unloaded at the point of destination. The cargo is always delivered in the shortest possible time. Vehicles with different carrying capacities and standard sizes of bodies are used for cargo delivery. Carrying capacity can be classified as 1.5 ton, 3 ton, 5 ton, 10 ton, and 20 ton vehicles. The maximum load on each axle allows you to transport goods with a total weight of over 20 tons (with an increased number of axles). The broker company is responsible for the selection of the necessary type of FTL transport for the bulky goods delivery (depending on the internal volume of the body).

Features of FTL conveyance

Full load trucking has 3 basic features.

  1. It can be used for closed and open-type transport. The first type is popular for manufactured goods, isometric and all-metal vans with rear loading, tilt cars with various types of curtains, top, side, and rear loading. Onboard vehicles (scows) and platforms, platforms with fittings for the transportation of containers, and trawls for the transportation of oversized and heavy cargo belong to the second type.
  2. Additional equipment in FTL trucks and special permits allows you to convey goods of narrow specialization. Refrigerated units (from +18 to -18) are suitable for transportation of perishable goods that require compliance with the temperature regime along the entire route. The presence of an appropriate permit allows you to transport dangerous goods of any hazard class.
  3. Cargo is accepted for transportation on pallets of various sizes, in big bags, barrels, boxes, bales, etc. The cargo is placed and secured in the body of the FTL transport in accordance with the standards for placement and securing of freight (in order to avoid damage).

Our company can also offer the provision of services with our own vehicles, strict control of compliance of primary documentation with legislation and individual requirements of clients, prompt provision of documentation copies, and electronic document management. We coordinate the route of movement with state bodies and road services. The conveyance process can be tracked along the entire route using satellite navigation. We will provide a legal guarantee of the safety of the cargo. The forwarder’s liability is insured against all risks. The owner of the cargo is the beneficiary and direct compensation for losses is possible.

Additional services
  • Responsible warehousing.
  • Packaging and labeling of goods.
  • Forwarding support.
  • Loading and unloading work.
  • Round-the-clock control of the condition of goods at all stages of conveyance.
  • Registration of insurance for cargo in proven insurance companies.

The client can order a full range of services or use only those that he/she needs. The cost of shipping goods depends on the distance, method of haulage, type of goods, route, features, and complexity of transportation. It’s possible to convey cargoes for personal use and commercial activities.

What are the benefits and differences between FTL and LTL?

These logistics schemes involve the portage of lots in one car, which allows you to minimize costs by several times. The main difference is the organization of conveyance. FTL trucking allows you to minimize the participation of the customer (the person only needs to expect delivery within the specified time). LTL meaning emphasizes that the company is responsible for most of the logistics, for example, finding fellow cargoes for shipment. The choice of the appropriate option depends on the type of goods and the tasks.

LTL load is suitable for regular deliveries from one city to another via popular destinations. You should choose a service if there are fellow travelers who form deliveries with the same frequency. FTL logistics is suitable for one type product conveyance over long distances. This service is often resorted to when a competent preparation of all documentation is necessary. The main advantage of the FTL by road is safety: the carrier enters into a single contract with the customer, which is a guarantee for both parties. Of course, all the features described above are relevant only in the case of a reliable broker choosing who is aware of all the features of the process and has the necessary experience in this area.

How to choose a decent freight shipping broker?

The freight market is quite large. Each company offers its own terms and prices. You should cooperate only with trusted organizations licensed for this type of activity to choose a reliable partner who will deliver the goods on time and without any problems. 

Consider the following points when choosing a carrier.

  • Work experience. The age of the shopping mall is an indicator of its reliability and established mechanism of work.
  • Applied technologies. You can expect to achieve positive results when the organization has managed to introduce certain technologies. Interaction with other contractors at different stages of delivery will allow you to resolve a variety of issues.
  • Staff. All employees of the carrier must have sufficient practical experience. This is the key to the professionalism of any structure.
  • Specialization. Many forwarding and logistics brokers in most situations turn out to be only intermediaries.
  • Features of transportation. It is reasonable to use the services of a contractor who has experience in certain products shipment.

What else to look for when choosing?

The fleet is important. A variety of vehicles – from small minibusses to large cars indicates that the organization carries out a fairly wide range of transportation, not limited to certain weight and size parameters. Do not neglect the information that is present on our company’s website. As a rule, here you can get information about prices, modes of transport, the ability to track cargo, and so on. Many resources provide the ability to place an order online. Make sure you have real testimonials from customers who have worked with the organization. 

A personal meeting or a telephone conversation with the manager will allow you to learn about the nuances of working with cargo, terms of cooperation, prices, and so on. In addition, it will determine the competence of the staff. Responsible companies offer additional services to customers – security, insurance, packaging of the transported cargo, as well as location tracking along the entire route.