Opus9 Blog

3 Big Considerations for FTL & LTL Shipping

3 big considerations for FTL & LTL shippingThe last few months has been a year of unprecedented change in the freight market. Rates are high and continue to rise. The driver shortage is climbing above 50,000 and threatening to hit 100,000 by 2021. And if natural disasters aren’t tightening capacity, then a booming economy is. Here at Opus9, we believe that a shipper’s best defense is to partner with a 3PL whose expertise and knowledge of the industry can mitigate some of these real challenges.

The logistics industry is changing daily, and most shippers have better things to do with their valuable time than to keep up on industry trends or the best shipping methods for their freight. Transportation can be confusing as there are a variety of options available for every shipment. Finding the right solution can be both time-consuming and inefficient without the right information.

Let’s take a closer look at full truckload (FTL) and less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping. We’ve compiled the most important points to consider for optimizing your shipments.

The Big Three Considerations: Cost, Urgency, and Handling

  • Cost: We’ll start with cost because that is often a consideration especially for smaller companies. If you have between 20-26 pallets, FTL would be the better option from a cost standpoint. As you have consolidated your shipment, the rate offered would be ideal. If you have smaller freight to ship, between 1-6 pallets LTL will be the right option for you. With LTL, as you're splitting the space on the trailer with other shipments, this would be the most economical for your needs. 
  • Urgency: Talk to your provider about urgency. If you know in advance which loads need to be shipped, you may benefit from better prices. But some things can’t be foreseen. FTL could be a better choice if your freight is urgent. Generally, LTL makes multiple stops, so your freight will take a longer route to reach its destination. However, LTL is often the best choice if you have a little more time! 
  • Handling and Damages: Full truckload freight is handled less--at pickup and drop-off. Simply put, there are less opportunities for damage when you ship FTL.

Don’t Forget about Weight!

  • Weight: Of course, weight is important. Most shipments of 1-6 pallets and below 15,000 lbs are shipped LTL. LTL is perfect for freight consolidation - it's also environmentally friendly, and typically results in bigger savings for the customer!

Still Not Sure: Here’s What You Need to Know

  • Choice:
    • Choice in truckload shipping runs the gamut from the big guys with hundreds of trucks to the small independent carriers who are family owned or owner/operators.
    • LTL is specialized, so there are fewer carriers to choose from, but here at Opus9 we have cultivated relationships with a quality carrier base in order to meet your LTL needs.
  • Negotiation:
    • Truckload shipping rates fluctuate. This means that a shipper must be aware of and have knowledge in market trends, equipment prices, lanes, and comparable pricing. Shippers working with Opus9 benefit from our experience with a wide array of carriers, and rates that are aggregated using several sources.
    • LTL rates are fairly standardized, enabling shippers to benefit from inherent cost savings while also providing flexibility.
  • Equipment:
    • In FTL, shippers have options. Dry vans, reefers, open deck equipment--full truckload shipping can handle a lot of different cargo types, but you’ll have to know how your cargo is packaged, whether or not it is weather resistant, and if it has special loading or unloading requirements.
    • While LTL offers fewer options for equipment, it alleviates carrier capacity issues and promotes flexibility. After all, most small shipments do not require specialized equipment.

Still need help?

Contact us to discuss the best mode of transport for your shipping needs. We have the experience, knowledge, expertise, and technology to help you find the best shipping solutions for your unique transportation needs. When you partner with Opus9, we take care of the transportation, while you get back to doing what you do best!

Dec 1 | Posted by Opus9

Topics: Refrigerated, Truckload, Dry Van, Less Than Truckload, Flatbed, Holidays