They sound like the same thing, right? Both Partial Truckload and Volume Less Than Truckload (LTL) can apply to shipments that are larger or more voluminous than a typical LTL yet smaller than one large enough to fill a whole trailer. To determine the absolute best shipment method concerning both efficiency and your bottom line, it’s important to understand the fine points of each (as well as those of Full Truckload).
Less Than Truckload (LTL) And Full Truckload (FTL) Defined
With LTL, smaller shipments generally weighing 100 to 10,000 pounds with size restricted to 10 or fewer pallets can be shipped with cost based only upon space used. Rather than taking a direct route from start to destination without stopping, LTL freight can check in at terminals and distribution centers, to be consolidated with other shipments heading in the same direction(s), via networks known as “hub and spoke”.
Then what exactly is Partial Truckload?
Somewhere between LTL and FTL falls Partial Truckload, a method of shipping cargo with volume that is too big for an LTL shipment yet not big enough to fill an entire truckload. Partial Truckload shipments typically weigh anywhere from 8,000 to 27,500 pounds and can be as small as eight pallets and as large as 18. Since other cargo shipments can fill up the excess space, lower shipping rates than those for FTL can often be obtained for Partial Truckload.
But what about Volume LTL? Isn’t that also Partial Truckload?
Although Volume LTL shipments exceed the size of those shipped by LTL, they only need space on part of a truck. Typical specs for Volume LTL include taking up over 12 linear feet and/or weighing more than 5,000 pounds and having at least six pallets. Size and weight guide LTL carriers in establishing rates for shipment. Although shared trucks often lead to greater order volume and more frequent stops along transportation routes, Volume LTL shipping is still the top choice for smaller- to medium-sized companies attempting to balance cost and efficiency.
Major Differences Between Partial Truckload and Volume LTL
While LTL carriers provide Volume LTL quotes based on a classification system and their own published rates, Partial Truckload rates are market-established based on weight, space, lane specs and mileage, so no freight class is required.
Size is generally the main concern when choosing the best shipping method but other factors can apply. Partial Truckload can be the superior choice for items needing the extra protection offered by a minimum of stopping/loading/unloading. Shorter trips based on mileage can also sometimes be handled best with Partial Truckload. However, Volume LTL can be your best option when cost is the most important factor.
You can save money with either Volume LTL or Partial Truckload over FTL. That said, market fluctuations and variations between carriers will always influence daily rates. A third-party logistics company like Amware can ensure that your freight is shipped in the most efficient, safe and economical way. Request the latest version of our TMS – Amrate 7.0 below and see for yourself how much you could be saving on your LTL, Volume LTL, Partial Truckload, or FTL shipment today!