The third-party logistics industry forms an important backbone of many parts of the economy. By helping store and transport goods, this field is allowing retail companies to bring their products to market in a manner that helps navigate the many obstacles of the modern world. However, though this set of services is critical to modern business, there are still many individuals who lack a concrete grasp of core shipping concepts. Perhaps chief amongst these concepts are Full Truckload (FTL) shipping and Less Than Truckload (LTL) shipping. To help explain these ideas, we’ve turned to Freight Hub Group, a leader in the field of third-party logistics.

About the company

To help establish why they make for a trustworthy source of information, let’s first take a look at Freight Hub Group and why the company has been able to ascend to the top tier of its field. Headquartered out of South Florida, the company is ideally situated near the Port of Miami and Port Everglades, allowing it to receive shipments at multiple different popular ports. This not only gives the company’s clients increased flexibility as to how they want their goods to arrive in the U.S., it also opens up a range of options for where and how these goods can be stored upon their arrival.

The company was founded by CEO Luis Lopez, who got his start in the third-party logistics field while still in high school. That first job gave him a front-row look at how the industry conducted business and what the areas for improvement might be. One area, in particular, that he identified as an opportunity for growth was the way in which many businesses were handling the storage and transportation of hazardous materials. Due, in part, to the regulatory burden of handling such materials, the process of providing services to clients in this space often proved unwieldy. One of Lopez’s early innovations was a system by which clients could order same-day pickup of hazardous materials, thereby providing a level of flexibility that was uncommon in the field before that time.

FTL in detail

Logistics companies often offer both FTL and LTL shipping options to provide customers with the greatest degree of agility to meet their needs. FTL shipping is typically utilized when a client wants to purchase the use of a full truck for their goods. This is typically done when a client’s shipment is large enough to completely fill a truck, though it can often be used when a client simply does not want their goods to share a space with the goods of other clients. That case may occur when time is of the essence and a client doesn’t want to wait for another client’s order to fill out a truck’s capacity.

FTL is also often used when shipments are traveling long distances, such as across the U.S. The FTL services offered by the shipping company in this article, for instance, have a range that stretches across the continental U.S., allowing clients to ship goods to all of the 48 contiguous states. Since the length of these journeys can bring up a range of concerns for goods of different types, FTL shipping can be accomplished with a variety of trailer types. Perishable foods, for instance, often require the use of refrigerated vehicles so that they do not spoil while in transit. Hazardous materials may also require specially designed truck beds to accommodate relevant safety concerns and regulations.

LTL shipping

LTL shipping, by contrast, is when a shipment does not consist of a large enough inventory to fill an entire truck and the client does not elect to purchase the rest of the space in a truck for their exclusive usage. As such, this type of shipping will often combine the goods of multiple different clients on one truck to make more efficient use of space and other resources. This option may be chosen by companies when expediency is not the paramount concern for a shipment or when they have stable supply chains that can take advantage of the predictable nature of their business to plan for future needs.

As services offered by Freight Hub Group show, LTL shipping can also be useful for last-mile shipments. These shipments are utilized when the bulk of a transportation journey has been completed but goods must still make the trip from a storage facility or transportation hub to a final destination. The nature of this style of shipment also opens it up to collaborative usage with a variety of other business ventures such as event planning and airport transportation, helping to showcase some of the fundamental differences between this type of shipment and trucks that are filled with a single client’s goods.

Shipment method comparison

Though there are some situations in which a business may have a clear idea of which shipment method is right for them, there are other times that may be more nuanced. To help navigate these situations, it can be helpful to take stock of some of the strengths of each shipment method. Oftentimes, LTL shipping can be a more cost-effective transportation option, as it makes efficient use of space and resources such as fuel and driver time. This can make it appealing to small businesses that have limited access to funds.

FTL shipping, on the other hand, can be a useful way to transport large shipments that necessitate their own container. It can also be useful for situations in which time is critical since clients don’t have to wait for a truck to fill with another business’s goods. This type of method may also be needed for goods that require special care throughout a shipment process that may set them apart from the needs of other types of shippable goods.

The third-party logistics industry is an important part of what makes retail businesses function in the U.S. and across the world. However, as important as this field is, it’s still difficult for some organizations to correctly choose the right shipping option for them. The above look at FTL and LTL shipping methods, created with the help of information from Freight Hub Group, can be a great start to understanding these options. Review this summary to better inform yourself of the many ways that the transportation of goods can take place.