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Afbeelding voor FTL vs LTL: what’s the best choice?

Imagine being on a long journey.

You can take a bus. The ticket will be cheap even though it will take quite some time to bring you to your destination. A bus needs to stop several times to pick up people at different bus stops and let them down at others. At some stops, you might be obliged to move to let someone reach their seat. Maybe someone will push you while passing by or bump hard into you while taking their place. Possibly, you will have to get out of the first bus to board another one, and this might be necessary even more than one time.

Or you can take an airplane. In this case, you will comfortably board from an airport and get down at arrival. True, the ticket will be more expensive, but you will reach your destination without interruptions, in much less time, with very little inconvenience, and with a much better service.

Now imagine you are a truckload. The bus is an LTL (Less than a Full Truck Load), and the airplane is an FTL (Full Truck Load). I’m sure you’ve got the metaphor!

LTL (Less than a Full Truck Load)

Less than a full Truck Load is a kind of shipment through which a company can ship just a few pallets, without filling up the entire space available in the truck. The rest of the loading volume is occupied by other loads from different companies. Some pallets here, a few more there, and so on until the truck is completely loaded.

Usually, the loads are collected from various pick-up locations, just like in a bus with its stops. Then, they are transported to a central hub, organized, and loaded on a long-haul truck. The long-haul truck will be unloaded at the destination terminal, and other bus-like delivery trucks will stop at different unloading locations to ‘let down their passengers’.

It goes without saying that a journey involving many interruptions, of a certain time length because of the loading and unloading operations, takes much more time than a direct one. This, however, as inconvenient as it could be, might not be an issue. After all, not all companies need to ship their goods in a hurry.

Troubles related to LTL shipments are more connected to the operations of loading and unloading.

Above all: timing. Once delivered at the central hub, the various pallets must be sorted out, usually according to the zip code of their destination, and reorganized in new payloads. Different trucks will be employed for the last mile delivery. All these operations, of course, must be carried out in quite a tight time window. Even just one little glitch during these procedures can disrupt the entire delivery time schedule and cause significant delays.

As a consequence of such a hard schedule, episodes of distraction and inaccuracy can be frequent. Even with a correct IT system, sometimes pallets can be mislabelled or even lost.

Moreover, LTL trucks are necessarily open several times at different hubs and various loading and unloading locations. This can expose the products to different kinds of potential hazards.

FTL (Full Truck Load)

A Full Truck Load is a kind of shipment which involves one single company and one single payload. An FTL cargo is loaded on the truck at the starting point, and it remains untouched until it reaches its destination.

The advantages in terms of time are quite obvious. With an FTL shipment, there are no additional stops, and the operations of loading and unloading are limited to starting point and destination. The removal of intermediate halts and operations, therefore, results in a shorter delivery time.

Additional benefits of this kind of cargo are connected to the variety of goods that can be shipped and their safety. An FTL shipment can transport goods of any kind. Delicate or valuable items such as high-tech or fashion items, food or pharmaceutical goods that need special conditions of transportation, or any other kind of non-stackable product.

How to choose?

Both LTL and FTL cargos have advantages and disadvantages. Just like buses and airplanes have advantages and disadvantages that must be taken into consideration depending on the traveller’s needs. In the case of freights, of course, it all depends on the type and quantity of products to be shipped. It is quite clear that an LTL solution can be a wise choice in case of a limited number of pallets to be shipped in no hurry. Nevertheless, it would be advisable to consider the type of products to be shipped. Delicate or valuable items can suffer more risks (and consequent costs) with an LTL shipment than with an FTL one.

What is even better than an FTL?

We have discussed LTL and FTL, but there is still one freight solution that beats them both. An FTL with Emons Cargo 2WIN double deck trailer.

Let’s make an example: a company needs to ship two different loads. One load of 33 pallets and one of 21. With a standard freight solution, the company will have to employ one FTL and one LTL. But what if they could use just one single truck as an FTL for all their pallets (stackable or non-stackable)?

The 2WIN are trailers that unite all the benefits of an FTL cargo to the advantages of more loading volume and less CO2 emissions.  With their two decks and the use of the extra space between the wheel arches, these trailers can load up to 54 pallets and ship more volumes with fewer trips.

In fact, two 2WIN can ship more than three standard trailers. It is our 3 = 2 principle which means that the 2WIN concept is also the ideal solution to improve companies’ carbon footprint. By transporting more with less driving, we can save up to 40% CO2 emissions.

Another added value of Emons Cargo 2WIN trailers is that the operation of loading and unloading are carried out by our drivers. Our employees are trained to handle with maximum care any kind of product and their expertise contributes to saving you costs and workforce.

So, what will it be? Bus or airplane? LTL or FTL? Do not limit your choices, go for the third option.

Try our affordable, reliable, and green solution 2WIN! Contact us for a quote.