Heavy Haulers Daily Blog

New Holland Tractor and parts loaded for transport

What’s the Difference Between PTL and LTL?

When shipping freight for your business, you must use the best option with the lowest rates but provide the most efficient and quality services. Though freight shipping is a critical aspect of several businesses, each has unique shipping needs. That’s why choosing the best shipping technique for your freight is essential. Besides helping companies optimize transportation costs, the exemplary logistics service will improve delivery time and inventory management.

Partial Truck Load (PTL) and Less than Truck Load (LTL) are among the key logistics services businesses have to choose from. But what is the difference between a PTL and an LTL? In this blog, you will learn the differences between PTL and LTL and understand when to use PTL or LTL services.

New Holland Tractor and parts loaded for transport

What is a Partial Truck Load (PTL)?

Partial Truck Load (PTL) is a shipping method used when the shipment does not occupy the entire truck space but is too large for parcel carriers. PTL shipment volumes range from 10,000 to 40,000 pounds. PTL is ideal for businesses shipping large freight that doesn’t have the volume to fill a whole truck but at least fills more than half of the truck space.

PTL allows multiple shippers to share the truck space, reducing shipping costs. The PTL freight from different shippers going in the same direction is collected, loaded onto a truck, and delivered to their destination. One advantage of using PTL is that there is less handling of the shipments compared to less than truck shipments. Less cargo handling leads to reduced damage to the shipments. Another reason why businesses prefer PTL is that it is faster than LTL due to reduced stops. The shipment is on a truck that will make limited stops to unload the other company’s cargo.

What is Less Than Truckload (LTL)?

Less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping is a method for smaller shipments requiring only part of the truck’s cargo space. Several customer shipments are loaded in a single truck to maximize efficiency. LTL offers more flexibility for shippers, with freight ranging from 150 to 15,000 pounds.

Besides offering flexibility, less than truckload is a cost-effective shipping method for businesses with smaller shipments. With more shippers using the same truck, the shipping cost is reduced significantly, with each customer paying according to their freight. It’s important to note that a carrier makes several stops along a given route in LTL, making it challenging to plan and predict delivery time. Also, your shipment will be handled at different touch points from the pickup location to the destination.

Dynapac compactor loaded for transport

When Should You Use PTL or LTL Services?

Partial truckload and less than truckload are two different shipping services ideal for shippers that need to ship freights that are less than a full truckload. While both options aim at filling a single truck with shipments from different customers heading in the same direction, they have some key differences based on several factors. These factors include:

  • Shipment size
  • Transit time
  • Cost
  • Flexibility
  • Cargo handling
  • Risk of damage

In addition, both PTL and LTL services have their pros and cons. But when should you use PTL or LTL services?

When to Use PTL

You can use partial truckloads when shipping large shipments that are not enough to fill an entire truck but are too big for a conventional parcel carrier or LTL. Also, PTL is ideal for high-value freight and fragile products since there is less cargo handling, which reduces the risk of damage. If you are shipping loads between 10,000 and 40,000 pounds, PTL is the best option. Moreover, PTL is ideal for an option that offers quicker deliveries.

When to Use LTL

LTL shipping service is a cost-effective method for smaller shipments that can be loaded in pallets, mostly from 4 or fewer pallets and other cargo items. Also, if you are shipping a flexible freight delivery time, LTL is right here. There can be potential delays in LTL due to multiple stops. Also, LTL is a cost-effective and efficient option when your shipping budget is constrained, and the cargo can be transported in pallets.

Whether you prefer PTL or LTL shipping services, you should work with a dependable company that can provide quality services to maximize your profit margin. Heavy Haulers have been trusted by several businesses looking for partial and less-than-truckload shipping services.