What is FTL, FCL , LCL ,LTL?

When you’re starting to deal with shipping large orders out from warehouses but aren’t yet running a dedicated transportation team with your own semis to courier your goods around the country, you’re going to be faced with a lot of different options as far as that shipping is concerned. If you have 3PL providers (third party logistics) handling your warehousing, order fulfillment, and shipping, then you might hear a variety of suggestions from them on the options that you have as far as delivering your shipments. One that you will surely hear suggested, especially if you are in that middle range of not quite filling full semi loads with your shipments to any particular location, will be to consider shipping LTL.

Whenever you’re dealing with full semis for transportation needs there are going to be two terms that you hear a great deal: FTL, and LTL. FTL stands for full truck load. This would be when you have enough of a shipment to occupy a whole truck, or close enough to it, to completely hire it from the transportation company with no other company allowed to ship goods on board.

On the other hand, LTL stands for less than truck load. This is the shipping option that most small to medium sized companies will employ, and is when you will only rent a portion of a truck load, with the remainder of the trailer divvied up amongst other companies who are shipping to a destination similar to your own.

There are some real advantages to shipping LTL. The most obvious of these is the considerable savings in cost that it can bring you. Because you are only renting a portion of the truck, and because the courier company is going to make more money (LTL is more profitable than FTL for them) they can afford to reduce the overall cost somewhat to each person that is shipping on the truck. In addition if you’re not going to use an entire FTL shipment and can’t fill the trailer right to capacity, you will find that you’re still going to be paying for that room, something that can really on a pound per pound basis make LTL shipping a great deal more cost effective. The only advantage to shipping FTL instead is if you have a very specific order that you need deliveries completed in, as you will have more flexibility when you have rented the whole truck.