FTL Shipping


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    Focus West Logistics Guide to
    Full Truckload Shipping

    In the world of FTL freight, understanding the different types the ins and outs of FTL shipping, freight classification, its benefits, downsides, comparisons to the LTL freight shipping can help you make informed decisions for your business and save you money on your shipping costs.

    Let’s start with…

    FTL Shipments vs. LTL Shipments:
    What’s the Difference?

    FTL (full truckload) and LTL (less-than-truckload) shipping are two common methods in the freight shipping industry, each catering to different types of freight.

    FTL freight is typically used for larger shipments that require the entire capacity of a full truck alone, offering faster transit times, greater security, and more control over scheduling. On the other hand, LTL shipping is designed for smaller shipments that don’t fill the full capacity of an entire truck, sharing the same truck and space with multiple businesses goods. This method is generally more cost-effective for smaller loads but might result in longer transit times and less security due to multiple stops and handling.


    FTL Shipping:

    • Involves the entire truckload
    • Ideal for large shipments and fragile goods
    • Faster transit times
    • Greater security & less risk
    • More control over scheduling
    • Minimal handling
    • Best for if you have multiple locations (national warehouses)
    • Cross Docking
    • Distribution Centers

    LTL Shipping:

    • Shares truck space with other shippers
    • Suitable for small shipments
    • Slower transit times due to multiple stops
    • Less secure
    • Less control over scheduling

    FTL Shipping Rates

    FTL shipping rates are influenced by various factors, including distance, fuel costs, ship type and freight class, of goods being shipped, and current market demand. To find the most competitive rates, it’s essential to compare quotes from multiple FTL shipping companies.

    The Benefits of FTL Shipping

    1. Higher Capacity and Efficiency

      FTL freight shipping involves utilizing the entire space of a truck for a single shipment. This increased capacity allows for the efficient transportation of large volumes of goods, reducing the overall cost per unit shipped. If you are looking to ship only a few pallets, you might want to consider LTL shipping—full truckload ftl is good if you have an entire truck.

    2. Faster Transit Times

      Since FTL shipments typically involve a single destination, they tend to have shorter transit times compared to LTL (less-than-truckload) freight, which often make multiple stops. This is the biggest difference between LTL and FTL.

    3. Greater Security

      With fewer hands handling your cargo and a single destination, FTL shipments have a lower risk of damage or theft compared to LTL shipments.

    4. More Control Over Scheduling

      FTL shipping provides more flexibility in scheduling pick-up and delivery times, as the entire truck is dedicated to your shipment. You can control the pick up times and other factors since you have say over the entire trailer.

    The Downsides of Shipping FTL

    1. Higher Upfront Costs

      FTL shipping can be more expensive than LTL shipping for smaller shipments, as you are paying for the entire truck, regardless of the space used. However, if you can streamline your supply chain, FTL shipments can become quite economical.
    2. Less Environmentally Friendly

      With a dedicated truck, FTL freight can be less eco-friendly than LTL shipping, which consolidates multiple businesses freight onto a single truck.

    Different Types of Trucks used in Full Truckload (FTL)

    In the context of FTL shipping, a full truckload refers to the transportation of goods using the entire capacity of a truck. This shipping method is specifically designed for big shipments with enough freight to fill or nearly fill the entire truck. Unlike LTL (less-than-truckload), where multiple smaller shipments are consolidated onto a single truck, full truckload ftl dedicates the entire truck to a single shipment, providing benefits such as faster transit times, increased security, and more control over scheduling. This type of shipping is ideal for businesses with high-volume shipments or those that require special handling and expedited delivery, full truckload shipping is also useful for Cross Canada Shipping.

    The type of truck used for FTL (full truckload) shipping depends on the specific requirements of the shipment, such as the size, weight, and type of goods being transported. There are various types of trucks used in FTL shipping, some of which include:

    dry van trailer for ftl shippingDry Van

    A dry van is a standard 53 foot enclosed trailer, typically used for moving non-perishable goods, furniture, electronics, and other general cargo. It offers protection from weather, dirt, and theft.

    reefer truck and trailer for ftl shippingRefrigerated Truck (Reefer)

    Refrigerated trucks, or reefers, are temperature-controlled trailers designed to transport perishable goods, such as food, pharmaceuticals, and other temperature-sensitive items.

    flat bed trailer for ftl shippingFlatbed Truck

    Flatbed trucks have an open, flat platform without sides or a roof, making them suitable for shipping oversized, bulky, or oddly-shaped cargo that may not fit in an enclosed trailer.

    A curtain side truck is a type of trailer that is commonly used for shipping and transportation of goods. It is a combination of a dry van and a flat deck trailer, offering the protection of a dry van and the convenience of a flat deck. On this page, we will look at the different aspects of a curtain side truck and its advantages over traditional trailers.Curtain Side Truck

    A curtain side truck is a combination of a dry van and a flatbed trailer, offering the protection of a dry van and the convenience of a flat deck.

    step trailer for ftl shipmentsStep Deck Truck

    Similar to a flatbed truck, a step deck truck has a lowered main deck to accommodate taller cargo, allowing for the transportation of items with height restrictions. Useful for Hot Shot Deliveries.


    lowboy trailer with dump truck loaded in ftl shipmentLowboy Trailer

    Lowboy trailers are specialized flatbed trailers with a lower deck, designed for transporting heavy equipment, machinery, and oversized loads that exceed standard height limitations. Lowboy Trailers are often used in Hot Shot Shipping.


    liquid tank trailer ftl shipmentTanker Truck

    Tanker trucks are used for transporting liquids, gases, or bulk materials, such as chemicals, fuel, or agricultural products.

    The choice of truck depends on various factors, including the nature of the goods being transported, their size and weight, and any special handling requirements. It’s essential to choose the appropriate truck for your shipment to ensure safe and efficient transportation.

    People Also Ask Us

    What does FTL mean in shipping?

    FTL stands for “full truckload” in shipping, referring to the transportation of goods using the entire capacity of a full truck (53 foot truck and trailer).

    What is FTL shipping?

    FTL shipping is the process of transporting goods using a dedicated truck, offering benefits such as higher efficiency, faster transit times, greater security, and more control over scheduling compared to LTL (less-than-truckload) shipping.

    What does FTL stand for in shipping?

    FTL stands for “full truckload,” a type of shipping method that uses the entire capacity of a full truck for a single shipment.

    What is FTL in shipping?

    FTL, or full truckload, is a shipping method where a truck is dedicated to transporting a single shipment, filling or nearly filling the entire truck’s capacity. FTL shipping is ideal for large shipments or when additional security or faster transit times are required.

    Get a FTL Freight Shipping Quote

    Understanding the intricacies of FTL transport is crucial for any small businesses looking to make informed decisions regarding their high risk shipping needs. By weighing the benefits and downsides of FTL and LTL, you can choose the best option for your specific needs. Don’t forget to compare FTL rates from multiple providers to ensure you get the lower cost option for your shipment.