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A less-than truckload (LTL) shipment includes freight from several customers on a single trailer.

  • Shipments can weigh anywhere between 151 and 20,000 lbs (68 – 9,072 kg)
  • Pick ups are usually scheduled for the afternoon, while deliveries begin the next morning.
  • Before delivery, all individual shipments are weighed and inspected to make sure they conform to the description in the accompanying paperwork.
  • LTL shipment delivery delays are usually longer than those for Full Truckload Freight (FTL). Some shipments can have multiple connections before reaching their final destination. These networks of breakbulks and terminals may in turn be operated by a single carrier or several agents and interline partners, each of whom will unload, verify and reload the freight. All these factors affect the delivery time, which may be up to 10 days in some cases. Of course, deliveries to remote terminals will also add to these times.


Why LTL?

LTL shipments are highly cost effective. Freight can be transported for a fraction of the cost of an exclusive shipment.

LTL shipments also offer a number of optional services that are not typically included with FTL shipments. These include liftgate and residential or “non-commercial” services at pick up or delivery points, inside deliveries, pre-delivery notifications and freeze protection. They can be billed as a predetermined flat fee or as a weight-based surcharge.



Full Truckload shipping is the transport of a large volume of homogeneous cargo. The carrier usually contracts an entire semi-trailer or intermodal container load to a single customer.

  • The carrier normally delivers the semi-trailer to the shipper, who loads it with freight intended for a single destination.
  • The driver then returns for the truck and the necessary paperwork: the bill of lading, invoice and customs forms.
  • In most cases, the freight is delivered directly to the consignee. Transit times usually depend only on distance and Hours of Service (HOS) regulations. The average rate of transport, traffic jams and line-ups at intersections considered, is 75 km/hour.


Why FTL?

A major plus for FTL carriers is that the freight is rarely handled en route, cutting down on transit time.

Truckload carriers often specialize in the transport of specific kinds of freight, food and perishable items or hazardous materials for example. This means they provide equipment and insurance tailored to the freight in question and comply with federal regulations regarding freight mixing.



An intermodal freight shipment is the transport of freight via multiple modes of transport — rail, ship and truck — in a single container or vehicle.

  • Freight is usually transported in a single intermodal container or ISO container, so called because its dimensions are defined by ISO.
  • In North America, semi-trailers commonly “piggyback” on railway flatcars or spine cars. This arrangement is called TOFC (trailer on flatcar) to distinguish it from COFC (container on flatcar). If the rail line has sufficient vertical clearance, a Double-stack rail transport may be used.


Why Intermodal?

When used intracontinentally, intermodal transport costs less than road trucking and produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions. As the cargo is not handled en route, transport is more secure, reducing the risk of loss or damage.