What Is FTL Shipping? 

Oct 18, 2022 | FTL

Shipping goods has become a highly complex industry in recent years. As supply chain issues, inflation, and new technologies present both opportunities and challenges, it’s becoming increasingly critical for manufacturers and retailers to streamline their shipping operations as much as possible. 

You’ve got to be fast and accurate — all while saving as much money as possible. 

With so many options available, finding the best solution for your company’s evolving needs can be a daunting task. It’s important to understand what your choices are so you can make the most informed and strategic decisions for growing your company. 

Let’s take a closer look at what FTL shipping can offer your business. 

What Is FTL Shipping?

For starters, let’s review the basic definitions of a couple of key terms. What is FTL shipping? 

FTL shipping, or “Full Truckload” shipping, means paying for the entire space in a semi-truck trailer. It doesn’t matter if a company uses up all the space inside the truck; FTL means they’re hiring the whole truck for at least part of the shipment’s journey. 

LTL shipping, or “Less-Than-Truckload,” means you pay for only a part of a truck’s available space. The carrier may — and typically does — fill the rest of the trailer with goods from other companies who are also paying for LTL shipping. 

There may be times when you need to choose between FTL and LTL, and your choice will depend on a variety of factors such as the distance the goods are traveling, the number of stops the truck may make along the way, budget, and the time it takes for the goods to reach their final destination. You may even encounter situations when your goods use both FTL and LTL shipping during different legs of the journey. 

When Should I Choose FTL Shipping?

The type of shipping you choose depends on the priorities of your business. Consider these common criteria: 

Precise Planning

When you use FTL shipping, you and your carrier have the flexibility to plan your route exactly the way you want it. No worrying about extra stops for pick-ups or drop-offs; with FTL, your goods typically go from point A to point B using the shortest route possible. 


FTL shipping also gives you the advantage of faster deliveries. With fewer stops and shorter routes, FTL shipments usually mean less time on the road and quicker service. 

Type of Cargo

Sometimes what’s inside the truck is more important than any other factor, whether the trailer is full or not. If a company needs to ship sensitive, highly valuable, or perishable cargo, they may choose FTL shipping to ensure their goods are transported safely and in perfect condition. 


FTL shipping costs more than LTL shipping. Paying for an entire truckload and not using it can be a waste of money and resources for many companies. If none of the criteria above are a priority for your business, you may find that FTL shipping is not worth the expense. 

Ultimately, you’ll need to decide which of these factors is most important to the success of your business. Sacrificing a couple of days’ time and a few extra miles on the road may be worth the savings for some companies, while others find that the benefits of FTL are worth the expense. 

Service Express Offers Multiple Shipping Options

It pays to partner with a freight carrier who understands the complexities and nuances of the various shipping options. With so many variables at play, you’re always better off hiring a shipping service that cares about your company’s success and can create a plan to maximize your shipping investment and keep your business in the black. 

If you have questions about what FTL shipping is or would like to get an estimate for your next shipment, contact the team at Service Express. We’re always ready to find the best shipping solution for you. 

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