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FTL Vs LTL: What’s The Difference?

When it comes to handling cross-border shipment, there are many complex procedures that one should take into account, like documents, customs requirements, the volume of shipment, and more.

One of the basic things to consider is the type of transport option that a business needs to hire to be able to ship their items through the North American border. Knowing the difference between Full Truckload (FTL) and Less-Than-Truckload (FTL) will help in making sure that a business is optimizing these transport services based on their requirements.

Full Truckload

The FTL option is used when the items are heavy or plenty enough to fit the entire container vehicle at a maximum weight of 44,000 pounds. FTL is essentially hiring a truck dedicated to just one bulk shipment from one company.

The goods remain inside the truck, untouched, from the moment it is dispatched until it is delivered — this ensures the safe handling of the items since it will not be moving or transferring location during the shipment process.

This option can be more expensive, but is ideal for businesses that are transferring bulky goods or items that are fragile or have a high value, and is also faster, as there are little to no stopovers besides customs checkpoint.

Less-Than Truckload

Less-Than Truckload is a preferred option for businesses that are shipping out small quantities through the border, with a total package weight from 100 to 15,000 pounds. The business only pays for the amount of space that the volume of their goods takes up in the container, and the truck is shared with other businesses as well.

Because there are a number of stopovers as the truck picks up other goods, the items can be moved and transferred, which might pose a risk in the handling of fragile items.

LTF is a cheaper transport option for a business since it is only paying for the space it is using up inside the vehicle. It may take longer for the item to reach its recipient due to the multiple stops.

LTF is a popular option for many small to medium-sized businesses doing e-commerce.

Many cross-border transport services such as Titan Transline offer both FTL and LTL and will recommend the best option to their client. Based on this, the business and transport service will be able to determine the paperwork and other requirements needed for the cross-border transfer, allowing a more efficient and reliable shipment process.

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