Advantages of FTL (Full Truckload) Freight Shipping

Aug 28, 2023

According to the Eurostat freight statistics, road is considered the second most popular freight option, with maritime being the first. Its popularity is largely based on the fact that road freight is the most flexible mode of transportation.

One of the main ways to ship your goods by road freight is by using the full truckload (FTL) shipping – one truck for one customer. Imagine it as the “full package” option for shipping goods on trucks.

This piece will explain what FTL freight is, its significance in road freight transportation and advantages of FTL that sometimes get missed even by the very best in the shipping industry

What is FTL Freight Shipping?

Full truckload shipping is a shipping method when an entire truck (or a fleet of trucks) is dedicated to the transportation of a single shipment belonging to one customer only. It’s one of the three types of road freight transportation, with partial truckload (PTL) and less-than-truckload (LTL) being the other two.

This one-truck-one-customer exclusivity means the shipment occupies the entire space within the truck. The freight moves directly from the pickup location to the delivery destination without additional stops.

Main Advantages of FTL Shipping

FTL promises time-sensitive deliveries in time and attention to your freight, which are one of the most important benefits of FTL. Additionally, some FTL shippers offer a range of services tailored to your shipment, like two drivers, extra safety options, or sustainability preferences.

On a more general scale, efficiency, safety of goods and cost savings are the main benefits of FTL shipping.

Efficiency and Transit Time Improvements

When compared to LTL or PTL, which either don’t have enough space for bigger shipments or take too long to ship, FTL shines brighter with faster transit times and easier tracking.

When choosing FTL freight shipping, the truck carrying your shipment will have a direct transit route and won’t make detours or extra stops. Less stops translate into faster shipping, single loading and unloading, reduced handling, and lower risk of damaging the goods – efficient!

FTL is also more efficient thanks to it being a single point to point shipment – it’s easier to track.

Safety and Security Advantages of FTL

FTL minimizes cargo damage by default. The shippement is safer because goods never leave the truck until the destination is reached and there’s less risk of contamination because there’s no co-mingling of goods, which is common in LTL shipping.

FTL shipments are less likely to be exposed to goods from other shippers, reducing the chances of cross-contamination or mixing of products that could compromise quality or safety.

Cost Saving with FTL Shipping

Since FTL shipping rates depend on distance and fuel costs, and the fact that the hauler gets to pick the route, this basically means the people doing the hauling can have better bargaining power with the drivers and truck carriers. Which can actually help bring down the total costs involved in the whole process.

Going for FTL shipment means you pay for the truck and the basic shipment delivery. That means no additional fees or accessorial charges.

Speaking of fees, you won’t need to pay for freight classification. You pay for the truck and the journey, that’s it. Thanks to that, shippers don’t need to worry about shipment classification fees when going with FTL freight. Unlike LTL, where shipping rates are determined by freight classification.

When FTL Shipping is The Optimal Transportation Solution

Do you have a lot to ship? Is the shipment’s urgency set to ‘‘yesterday’’? Need to cover long distances? If you’ve answered ‘‘Yes’’ or ‘‘What’s it to you?’’, then FTL freight is the most optimal option for you.

Companies often use FTL shipping when they need to move bulk quantities of products across longer distances in a shorter time.

Full truckload shipping is great for high-value, perishable, fragile, or time-sensitive goods where minimizing handling and transit time is crucial. FTL shipping is also safer because only those directly associated with the freight can handle it.

FTL is also a saving grace when you need to transport items that can’t be transferred via air or sea. Construction, manufacturing, and retail industries often use FTL freight to move products whether for its versatility or cost-effectiveness when there’s a lot to transfer.

FTL shipping costs are based on volume, weight, distance and commodity of your freight. It’s cost-efficient when you have a substantial amount of goods to transport. It’s like filling up a whole shopping cart at once – the cost per item decreases when you buy in bulk.

Similarly, in FTL shipping, the cost of the entire truck is divided among the items you’re sending. So, if you have a larger shipment that can occupy the entire truck trailer, FTL is likely the way to go.

The specific types of shipments that benefit the most from FTL

We’ve mentioned FTL is great for fragile or high-value items, time-sensitive deliveries, long-distance hauls, but there are more:

  • Bulk goods: shipments that consist of a large volume of a single product or material, such as raw materials, grains, or liquids, are well-suited for FTL. The payload limit in the EU is 24 tons or 33 pallets.
  • Oversized loads: large items that wouldn’t fit well within an LTL shipment benefit from FTL, as the entire trailer space can be utilized for transporting these oversized goods.
  • Seasonal or promotional goods: when there’s a surge in demand for certain products during specific seasons or promotions, FTL can ensure that large quantities of goods are available for quick distribution.
  • Special events or trade shows: items needed for events or trade shows, such as display materials, equipment, or promotional items, often require dedicated FTL shipments to ensure they arrive on time and in good condition.
  • High-volume shipments: businesses that consistently move a substantial amount of goods can take advantage of FTL to optimize cost and efficiency for regular shipments.

Cons of FTL Freight Shipping

As with everything that’s exclusive in life, the one truck for one customer exclusivity is more expensive. It’s not as cost effective if you’re shipping a small volume of goods. If your shipment doesn’t fully occupy the entire truck, then you’ll end up paying for unused space.

Since FTL is meant for bigger hauls, it has a larger environmental impact when compared to LTL and PTL freights.

During peak shipping seasons or in areas with high demand, finding available FTL carriers might be challenging, which could lead to delays in your shipment.

And some carriers don’t provide added services. While FTL reduces overall handling, loading and unloading larger shipments can still pose challenges, particularly if your goods require specialized equipment. Specialized equipment might lead to hiring specialized personnel which might come in short supply as well.

LTL vs FTL Shipping: Quick Comparison

In most logistic cases, FTL is the desired shipping method – it’s safer, faster and great for hauling goods in bulk. If you’re not sure which is better, keep in mind the differences when considering FTL vs LTL. LTL may be cheaper, but the shipments take longer, and there’s a higher risk of cross-contamination.

The less-than-truckload shipping method means multiple shipments from different shippers are put into one truck; when delivering the shipment there are more stops done for every shipper. Whereas with FTL there’s one pick up, one stop, and one drop off.

LTL shipping may be a cheaper alternative, but it has a higher risk of damaging the goods, shipping takes more time, and the size of admissible parcels will always vary, depending on how much truck space there is. Remember, the entire order might be divided and separated into different trucks.

Spotos – Your Answer to FTL Shipping

If you’ve decided on going for full truckload shipping, why not try Spotos FTL shipping?

With Spotos, you’re just a few clicks away from booking full truckload freight at fair prices. We provide you with transparent rates, access to a verified network of carriers with 70K+ trucks, and real-time tracking of your large shipments.

Spotos is great if you’re looking for an FTL service provider with specific requirements for dangerous or fragile goods. Our network and expertise ensures that your goods arrive in perfect condition every time.


How does FTL enhance efficiency compared to other shipping options?

FTL enhances efficiency by minimizing handling, taking direct routes, providing faster transit times, and offering greater customization and control over the transportation process. It’s particularly beneficial when you have larger quantities of goods to transport and when speed and protection are key priorities.

Can small shipments still use FTL services?

Yes, FTL services can be used for small shipments, however it wouldn’t be the most cost-effective choice. It may be a good idea to explore less-than-truckload (LTL) and partial truckload (PTL) shipping for smaller shipments.

What are the potential drawbacks of FTL shipping?

The potential disadvantages of FTL shipping may include:

  • Bigger shipment cost for partial loads;
  • Limited flexibility, beause shipments require careful planning and coordination, which can limit flexibility in terms of pickup and delivery times;
  • Higher costs for short distances;
  • Costs more than LTL shipping.
Which industries benefit the most from FTL services?

Some of the industries that benefit from FTL shipping are:

  • manufacturing;
  • automotive;
  • food and beverage;
  • retail;
  • construction;
  • pharmaceuticals and healthcare;
  • agriculture;
  • energy and utilities;
  • chemicals;
  • technology and electronics.

In essence, any industry will benefit from FTL’s efficiency, control, and protection, especially when dealing with bulk quantities, sensitive items, or time-sensitive shipments.

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