FTL Freight:

Guide, Pricing, Services & Freight Quotes


Sam Boyd

May 7, 2024

Join the community!

FTL Freight:

Guide, Pricing, Services & Freight Quotes


Sam Boyd

May 7, 2024

Join the community!

When you need to ship a lot of freight fast, FTL (sometimes referred to as “Full Truckload”, or just “Truckload” Freight) is the ideal choice. It’s fast, cost-effective, minimizes the risk to your cargo, and allows the most versatility in handling requirements. 

In this detailed guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about full truckload freight (FTL), including its meaning, advantages and disadvantages, average FTL rates, and more. 

And for those readers in need of FTL shipping services, we’ll also cover:

  • How to hire a freight carrier

  • Why you should consider working with an FTL freight broker

  • And even provide options for services or an FTL freight quote

Let’s dive in.

What is FTL Freight?

FTL (also known as “Full Truckload” or “Truckload”) freight refers to shipments that occupy the entire space of a truck, typically weighing more than 10,000 pounds. Unlike LTL (Less Than Truckload) freight, which combines shipments from multiple customers, FTL is dedicated to a single customer, offering faster transit times and less handling. It's commonly used for large or time-sensitive deliveries.

The exclusive use of the truck in FTL freight offers several advantages. Firstly, it allows for faster transit times since the truck doesn't make stops for other pickups or deliveries along the route. This makes FTL ideal for time-sensitive deliveries where prompt arrival is crucial.

Moreover, because FTL shipments are handled less during transit compared to LTL shipments, there's typically a lower risk of damage or loss. This reduced handling also contributes to quicker delivery times and can be particularly advantageous for goods that are fragile or sensitive to handling.

FTL freight is commonly employed for large shipments that require the full capacity of a truck, such as heavy machinery, bulk commodities, or large quantities of goods. 

By opting for FTL freight, businesses can streamline their supply chain operations, minimize transit times, and ensure the safe and efficient delivery of their goods, making it a preferred choice for many logistical needs.

Industries that use FTL Freight

Multiple industries commonly use FTL (Full Truckload) freight due to the specific needs of their operations and the advantages offered by FTL transportation. Some of these industries include:

Manufacturing: Manufacturing companies often require FTL freight to transport raw materials, components, and finished goods between suppliers, production facilities, warehouses, and distribution centers. FTL allows for efficient transportation of large volumes of goods and helps meet production schedules.

Retail: Retailers rely on FTL freight to replenish inventory at stores and distribution centers, especially for large or bulky items that require dedicated truck space. FTL ensures timely delivery of goods to meet customer demand and maintain stock levels.

Food and Beverage: The food and beverage industry frequently uses FTL freight, particularly refrigerated trailers (reefers), to transport perishable goods such as fresh produce, dairy products, meat, and seafood. FTL ensures temperature-controlled transportation, preserving the quality and safety of food products.

Automotive: Automotive manufacturers and suppliers often utilize FTL freight to transport vehicle parts, components, and finished vehicles between manufacturing facilities, assembly plants, and dealerships. FTL offers secure and efficient transportation for large and heavy automotive components.

Construction: Construction companies rely on FTL freight to transport building materials, equipment, and machinery to construction sites. Flatbed trailers are commonly used for hauling construction materials such as lumber, steel, concrete, and heavy machinery.

Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals: Industries dealing with chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and hazardous materials require specialized transportation services to ensure compliance with safety regulations. FTL provides dedicated transportation for sensitive and hazardous cargo, offering security and control over the shipment.

E-commerce and Logistics: With the growth of e-commerce, fulfillment centers, and logistics companies often utilize FTL freight to transport goods between warehouses, fulfillment centers, and distribution hubs. FTL enables fast and efficient delivery of online orders to customers.

Important Factors to Consider When Using FTL Freight?

There are numerous factors a shipper should consider when using full truckload (FTL) freight, not least of which is the size of the shipment and its weight, transit times, and costs. Here we’ll detail all the most important factors that you should take into account when planning your shipment. Be sure to discuss them with potential carriers to get an accurate freight quote.

Shipment Size and Weight: Ensure the shipment's dimensions and weight fit within the capacity of a full truckload to optimize space and minimize costs. Typically, an FTL shipment is at least

Transit Time Requirements: Evaluate the urgency of delivery and choose carriers capable of meeting deadlines, balancing speed with cost.

Distance and Route Efficiency: Consider the distance to be traveled and select the most efficient route to minimize transit time and costs.

Carrier Reliability: Research carriers' track records for on-time delivery, communication, and customer service to minimize risks of delays or issues.

Insurance Coverage: Verify that the chosen carrier provides adequate insurance coverage for the value of the shipment to protect against loss or damage during transit.

Loading/Unloading Facilities: Ensure both pickup and delivery locations have suitable facilities for loading and unloading the freight safely and efficiently.

Special Handling Requirements: Identify any special handling needs for the freight, such as temperature control or fragile items, and select carriers equipped to meet these requirements.

Cost-Effectiveness: Compare quotes from different carriers to find the most cost-effective option while considering the balance between price and service quality.

Environmental Impact: Consider the environmental footprint of transportation options and explore carriers with eco-friendly practices or alternative fuel options if sustainability is a priority.

What Types of Trucks and Trailers Are Used in FTL Freight?

In FTL (Full Truckload) freight transportation, various types of trucks and trailers are used to accommodate different types of cargo and shipping requirements. 

Some of the most common types include:

Dry Van Trailers: These are the most common type of trailer used in FTL freight. They are enclosed trailers with a solid roof and sides, suitable for transporting a wide range of goods that do not require temperature control or special handling.

Refrigerated Trailers (Reefers): Refrigerated trailers are equipped with cooling units to maintain specific temperature conditions, making them ideal for transporting perishable goods such as food, pharmaceuticals, and certain chemicals.

Flatbed Trailers: Flatbed trailers have an open platform without sides or a roof, allowing for easy loading and unloading of oversized or irregularly shaped cargo, such as machinery, construction materials, and vehicles.

Step Deck Trailers: Step deck trailers, also known as drop deck trailers, feature a lower deck in the front and a higher deck in the rear, providing additional vertical clearance for taller cargo while still offering the convenience of a flatbed.

Double Drop Trailers: Double drop trailers have a lower deck in the middle, making them suitable for transporting exceptionally tall or oversized cargo that cannot be accommodated by standard flatbed or step deck trailers.

Conestoga Trailers: Conestoga trailers combine the benefits of a flatbed with a sliding tarp system, offering weatherproof protection for cargo without the need for traditional tarping methods.

Dry Bulk Trailers: These trailers are specifically designed for transporting dry bulk commodities such as grains, minerals, and chemicals in bulk quantities, often featuring specialized discharge systems for efficient unloading.

Tanker Trailers: Tanker trailers are used for transporting liquids or gases, such as petroleum products, chemicals, and food-grade liquids. They come in various configurations depending on the type of cargo being transported.

These are just a few examples of the types of trucks and trailers used in FTL freight transportation. The choice of equipment depends on factors such as the nature of the cargo, shipping requirements, and logistical considerations.

Advantages and Disadvantages of FTL Freight

FTL (Full Truckload) freight offers numerous advantages and disadvantages. We’ll cover them in detail in this section.

Advantages of FTL Freight:

The benefits of full truckload shipping include: 

Faster Transit Times: FTL shipments tend to reach their destination more quickly since the truck doesn't make stops for other pickups or deliveries along the route.

Reduced Handling: With FTL, the shipment is typically loaded onto the truck and delivered directly to its destination, minimizing handling and reducing the risk of damage or loss.

Increased Security: FTL shipments are dedicated to a single customer, providing greater security and control over the freight compared to LTL (Less Than Truckload) shipments.

Cost-Effective for Large Shipments: FTL is often more cost-effective than shipping multiple smaller LTL shipments, especially for large or heavy items that require the full capacity of a truck.

Flexibility: Customers have more flexibility in scheduling pickups and deliveries with FTL shipments, as they have exclusive use of the truck.

Disadvantages of FTL Freight:

The disadvantages of full truckload shipping include:

Higher Cost for Smaller Shipments: FTL freight can be more expensive than LTL for smaller shipments since the entire truck space must be paid for, regardless of the shipment size.

Limited Route Options: FTL shipments may have fewer route options compared to LTL, especially for deliveries to remote or less accessible areas.

Empty Space: If the shipment doesn't fully utilize the truck's capacity, there may be wasted space, resulting in higher costs per unit of goods transported.

Dependency on Truck Capacity: The availability of trucks and capacity can be a challenge, especially during peak seasons or in high-demand areas.

Environmental Impact: FTL shipments may have a larger carbon footprint per unit of goods transported compared to LTL shipments, as trucks may not be fully utilized, resulting in inefficient fuel consumption.

Overall, while FTL freight offers benefits such as faster transit times and increased security, it may not be the most cost-effective option for all shipments, particularly smaller ones. Businesses should carefully weigh the advantages and disadvantages to determine the most suitable shipping method for their needs.

When is FTL Freight the Best Option?

FTL (Full Truckload) freight is often the best option in the following scenarios:

Large Shipments: When shipping a large volume of goods that can fill an entire truck, FTL is typically the most cost-effective and efficient choice.

Time-Sensitive Deliveries: For urgent deliveries requiring fast transit times, FTL allows for direct transportation without stops for other pickups or deliveries along the route.

High-Value or Fragile Goods: FTL provides increased security and reduced handling, making it ideal for transporting high-value or fragile items that require careful handling and minimal risk of damage.

Special Handling Requirements: If the shipment has specific handling requirements, such as temperature control or delicate handling procedures, FTL allows for dedicated attention to these needs.

Consistency and Control: FTL offers greater control and predictability over the shipping process, as the entire truck is dedicated to a single customer, reducing the risk of delays or disruptions.

Customized Delivery Schedule: Businesses can arrange pickup and delivery times that best suit their schedules and operational needs, offering flexibility and convenience.

Cost-Effectiveness for Large Volumes: When compared to shipping multiple smaller LTL (Less Than Truckload) shipments, FTL can be more cost-effective for transporting large volumes of goods, especially on longer routes.

Overall, FTL freight is the best option when shipping large volumes of goods, especially for time-sensitive or high-value shipments that require dedicated space, specialized handling, and efficient transportation.

FTL (Full Truckload) Rates: How Much Does FTL Freight Cost?

The cost of FTL (Full Truckload) freight can vary widely based upon numerous factors detailed below, but in the contiguous United States, the rates currently range from $1.50 to $3.00 per mile, with additional charges for special handling requirements, insurance, or other tack-on services. However, these rates are subject to change and should be verified with carriers based on specific shipment details and current market conditions.

Some of the common factors that will influence the cost of FTL freight include:

Distance: Longer distances generally incur higher costs due to fuel and driver expenses.

Weight and Size: Heavier and larger shipments may cost more due to increased fuel consumption and space utilization.

Urgency: Expedited or time-sensitive deliveries often come with higher price tags.

Seasonality: Demand fluctuations throughout the year can affect rates, with peak seasons potentially driving prices up.

Equipment Needed: Special equipment requirements, such as refrigeration for perishable goods or flatbeds for oversized items, can impact costs.

Fuel Prices: Fluctuations in fuel prices can influence overall transportation costs.

Carrier Rates and Negotiation: Rates charged by carriers vary, and negotiating with multiple carriers can help find competitive pricing.

Accessorial Charges: Additional services like liftgate delivery, inside pickup/delivery, or residential surcharges may add to the total cost.

To obtain the best FTL rates, consider working with a freight broker like GuidedFreight. We have relationships with all the reputable carriers who offer us exclusive access to high-volume rates and then pass along those savings to our customers. 

Full Truckload (FTL) Tracking: FTL (Full Truckload) tracking allows shippers and recipients to monitor the status and location of their shipments throughout the transportation process. Here's how it typically works:

Tracking Systems: Most carriers use sophisticated tracking systems that utilize GPS technology and telematics devices installed in their trucks. These systems continuously transmit data regarding the truck's location, speed, and other relevant information.

Real-Time Updates: Shippers and recipients can access real-time updates on the status of their FTL shipments through the carrier's tracking portal or website. This information includes the current location of the truck, estimated arrival time, and any significant milestones or events during transit.

Electronic Documentation: Many carriers also provide electronic documentation, such as electronic bills of lading and delivery confirmations, which can be accessed online and provide further visibility into the shipment's progress.

Notifications: Some carriers offer automated notifications via email or SMS, providing updates on the shipment's status, such as when it's been picked up, en route, or delivered. This allows shippers and recipients to stay informed and plan accordingly.

Customer Support: In addition to self-service tracking options, carriers typically have customer support teams available to assist with any inquiries or concerns regarding FTL shipments. Customers can contact these teams for updates or assistance with tracking their shipments.

Overall, FTL tracking systems provide shippers and recipients with transparency and visibility into the transportation process, allowing them to monitor their shipments in real-time and ensure they arrive at their destination safely and on time.

Full Truckload (FTL) Companies and Carriers in the United States

There are numerous FTL carriers in the United States, some of the most reputable being:

Knight-Swift Transportation: One of the largest trucking companies in North America, offering a variety of truckload shipping solutions including dry van, refrigerated, and intermodal.

Schneider National: A major player in truckload transportation with a vast network and resources for efficient freight movement across the US, Canada, and Mexico.

J.B. Hunt Transport Services: Provides a range of truckload services including dry van, intermodal, and dedicated contract carriage, known for their integrated supply chain solutions.

Landstar System: Operates through a network of owner-operators, offering a flexible and customizable approach to truckload shipping for various needs.

Prime Inc.: A large truckload carrier with a strong focus on driver satisfaction and safety, offering dry van, refrigerated, and flatbed transportation. 

How to Choose an FTL Carrier

When choosing among the numerous FTL carriers, it’s important to consider the following factors:

Here are some key factors to consider when choosing an FTL company:

Safety Record: Look for a carrier with a strong safety record and a focus on driver training and compliance. You can check the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) website for carrier safety data.

Experience: Consider the carrier's experience in handling your specific type of freight. Do they have experience shipping similar goods on similar routes?

Reliability: On-time delivery is crucial. Research the carrier's on-time delivery record and track record of meeting deadlines.

Capacity: Does the carrier have the appropriate equipment and capacity to handle your shipment size and weight?

Cost: Get quotes from multiple carriers to compare pricing. However, remember the cheapest option may not always be the best. Consider the value you receive for the price.

Service Offerings: Look for a carrier that offers additional services that may be important to you, such as real-time shipment tracking, temperature-controlled transportation for perishables, or expedited delivery options.

Technology: Does the carrier utilize technology that can benefit you, such as online booking, shipment tracking tools, or electronic data interchange (EDI) for streamlined communication?

Customer Service: Choose a carrier with a reputation for excellent customer service. You want to be sure you can easily reach someone who can answer your questions and address any concerns.

Why You Should Work with an FTL Broker

Working with a freight broker like Guided Freight can offer several benefits when arranging FTL (Full Truckload) shipments:

Access to Carrier Networks: Freight brokers have established relationships with a wide network of carriers, allowing them to quickly find available trucks and secure capacity for FTL shipments, even during peak seasons or in high-demand areas.

Cost Savings: Freight brokers leverage their industry knowledge and negotiating skills to obtain competitive rates from carriers, helping shippers save money on transportation costs. Brokers can also consolidate shipments or find backhaul opportunities to optimize routes and reduce expenses.

Expertise and Guidance: Freight brokers have expertise in navigating the complexities of transportation logistics, including regulations, documentation, and carrier selection. They can provide valuable guidance and recommendations to shippers, ensuring smooth and efficient transportation of FTL shipments.

Time Savings: Coordinating FTL shipments can be time-consuming and labor-intensive for shippers. Freight brokers handle the logistics and paperwork involved in arranging transportation, saving shippers time and allowing them to focus on their core business activities.

Risk Management: Freight brokers help mitigate risks associated with FTL transportation, such as carrier reliability, insurance coverage, and compliance with regulations. They thoroughly vet carriers and ensure they meet safety and quality standards, reducing the risk of delays, damages, or other issues.

Flexibility and Scalability: Freight brokers offer flexibility and scalability to accommodate changing shipping needs and fluctuating demand. Whether shipping one-time large shipments or establishing ongoing transportation partnerships, brokers can adapt to meet shippers' requirements.

Single Point of Contact: By working with a freight broker, shippers have a single point of contact for all their transportation needs. Brokers handle communication with carriers, track shipments, and provide updates to shippers, streamlining the process and enhancing transparency.

Overall, partnering with a freight broker like Guided Freight can provide shippers with access to resources, expertise, and cost-saving opportunities, making it a valuable asset for arranging FTL shipments efficiently and effectively.

Get Full Truckload Services and Quotes

If your company requires FTL (Full Truckload) freight services, Guided Freight would be pleased to assist. Upon understanding your needs, we’ll reach out to our network of suitable carriers and pass along our high-volume, discounted rates. Not only will you enjoy significant cost savings, but we’ll also lend our expertise and streamline your workflow by allowing you to work with just one single point of contact. Get a freight quote now. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What does FTL freight stand for?

FTL stands for "Full Truckload," meaning you pay to use the entire space in a semi-truck for your shipment, regardless if it fills it all.

How many pallets are considered FTL?

There is no direct conversion between pallets and FTL as FTL depends on trailer size and not just the number of pallets. A typical 53-foot trailer can hold around 26 standard pallets, but this can vary.

What is the difference between FTL and LTL?

FTL uses an entire truck for your shipment, ideal for large volumes. LTL combines shipments from multiple companies to fill a truck, better for smaller freight but with potentially slower delivery.

What is FTL vs FCL?

FTL (Full Truckload) utilizes a whole truck on land, ideal for bulk shipments. FCL (Full Container Load) uses a whole container on ships, better for large cargo traveling overseas.

When you need to ship a lot of freight fast, FTL (sometimes referred to as “Full Truckload”, or just “Truckload” Freight) is the ideal choice. It’s fast, cost-effective, minimizes the risk to your cargo, and allows the most versatility in handling requirements. 

In this detailed guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about full truckload freight (FTL), including its meaning, advantages and disadvantages, average FTL rates, and more. 

And for those readers in need of FTL shipping services, we’ll also cover:

  • How to hire a freight carrier

  • Why you should consider working with an FTL freight broker

  • And even provide options for services or an FTL freight quote

Let’s dive in.

What is FTL Freight?

FTL (also known as “Full Truckload” or “Truckload”) freight refers to shipments that occupy the entire space of a truck, typically weighing more than 10,000 pounds. Unlike LTL (Less Than Truckload) freight, which combines shipments from multiple customers, FTL is dedicated to a single customer, offering faster transit times and less handling. It's commonly used for large or time-sensitive deliveries.

The exclusive use of the truck in FTL freight offers several advantages. Firstly, it allows for faster transit times since the truck doesn't make stops for other pickups or deliveries along the route. This makes FTL ideal for time-sensitive deliveries where prompt arrival is crucial.

Moreover, because FTL shipments are handled less during transit compared to LTL shipments, there's typically a lower risk of damage or loss. This reduced handling also contributes to quicker delivery times and can be particularly advantageous for goods that are fragile or sensitive to handling.

FTL freight is commonly employed for large shipments that require the full capacity of a truck, such as heavy machinery, bulk commodities, or large quantities of goods. 

By opting for FTL freight, businesses can streamline their supply chain operations, minimize transit times, and ensure the safe and efficient delivery of their goods, making it a preferred choice for many logistical needs.

Industries that use FTL Freight

Multiple industries commonly use FTL (Full Truckload) freight due to the specific needs of their operations and the advantages offered by FTL transportation. Some of these industries include:

Manufacturing: Manufacturing companies often require FTL freight to transport raw materials, components, and finished goods between suppliers, production facilities, warehouses, and distribution centers. FTL allows for efficient transportation of large volumes of goods and helps meet production schedules.

Retail: Retailers rely on FTL freight to replenish inventory at stores and distribution centers, especially for large or bulky items that require dedicated truck space. FTL ensures timely delivery of goods to meet customer demand and maintain stock levels.

Food and Beverage: The food and beverage industry frequently uses FTL freight, particularly refrigerated trailers (reefers), to transport perishable goods such as fresh produce, dairy products, meat, and seafood. FTL ensures temperature-controlled transportation, preserving the quality and safety of food products.

Automotive: Automotive manufacturers and suppliers often utilize FTL freight to transport vehicle parts, components, and finished vehicles between manufacturing facilities, assembly plants, and dealerships. FTL offers secure and efficient transportation for large and heavy automotive components.

Construction: Construction companies rely on FTL freight to transport building materials, equipment, and machinery to construction sites. Flatbed trailers are commonly used for hauling construction materials such as lumber, steel, concrete, and heavy machinery.

Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals: Industries dealing with chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and hazardous materials require specialized transportation services to ensure compliance with safety regulations. FTL provides dedicated transportation for sensitive and hazardous cargo, offering security and control over the shipment.

E-commerce and Logistics: With the growth of e-commerce, fulfillment centers, and logistics companies often utilize FTL freight to transport goods between warehouses, fulfillment centers, and distribution hubs. FTL enables fast and efficient delivery of online orders to customers.

Important Factors to Consider When Using FTL Freight?

There are numerous factors a shipper should consider when using full truckload (FTL) freight, not least of which is the size of the shipment and its weight, transit times, and costs. Here we’ll detail all the most important factors that you should take into account when planning your shipment. Be sure to discuss them with potential carriers to get an accurate freight quote.

Shipment Size and Weight: Ensure the shipment's dimensions and weight fit within the capacity of a full truckload to optimize space and minimize costs. Typically, an FTL shipment is at least

Transit Time Requirements: Evaluate the urgency of delivery and choose carriers capable of meeting deadlines, balancing speed with cost.

Distance and Route Efficiency: Consider the distance to be traveled and select the most efficient route to minimize transit time and costs.

Carrier Reliability: Research carriers' track records for on-time delivery, communication, and customer service to minimize risks of delays or issues.

Insurance Coverage: Verify that the chosen carrier provides adequate insurance coverage for the value of the shipment to protect against loss or damage during transit.

Loading/Unloading Facilities: Ensure both pickup and delivery locations have suitable facilities for loading and unloading the freight safely and efficiently.

Special Handling Requirements: Identify any special handling needs for the freight, such as temperature control or fragile items, and select carriers equipped to meet these requirements.

Cost-Effectiveness: Compare quotes from different carriers to find the most cost-effective option while considering the balance between price and service quality.

Environmental Impact: Consider the environmental footprint of transportation options and explore carriers with eco-friendly practices or alternative fuel options if sustainability is a priority.

What Types of Trucks and Trailers Are Used in FTL Freight?

In FTL (Full Truckload) freight transportation, various types of trucks and trailers are used to accommodate different types of cargo and shipping requirements. 

Some of the most common types include:

Dry Van Trailers: These are the most common type of trailer used in FTL freight. They are enclosed trailers with a solid roof and sides, suitable for transporting a wide range of goods that do not require temperature control or special handling.

Refrigerated Trailers (Reefers): Refrigerated trailers are equipped with cooling units to maintain specific temperature conditions, making them ideal for transporting perishable goods such as food, pharmaceuticals, and certain chemicals.

Flatbed Trailers: Flatbed trailers have an open platform without sides or a roof, allowing for easy loading and unloading of oversized or irregularly shaped cargo, such as machinery, construction materials, and vehicles.

Step Deck Trailers: Step deck trailers, also known as drop deck trailers, feature a lower deck in the front and a higher deck in the rear, providing additional vertical clearance for taller cargo while still offering the convenience of a flatbed.

Double Drop Trailers: Double drop trailers have a lower deck in the middle, making them suitable for transporting exceptionally tall or oversized cargo that cannot be accommodated by standard flatbed or step deck trailers.

Conestoga Trailers: Conestoga trailers combine the benefits of a flatbed with a sliding tarp system, offering weatherproof protection for cargo without the need for traditional tarping methods.

Dry Bulk Trailers: These trailers are specifically designed for transporting dry bulk commodities such as grains, minerals, and chemicals in bulk quantities, often featuring specialized discharge systems for efficient unloading.

Tanker Trailers: Tanker trailers are used for transporting liquids or gases, such as petroleum products, chemicals, and food-grade liquids. They come in various configurations depending on the type of cargo being transported.

These are just a few examples of the types of trucks and trailers used in FTL freight transportation. The choice of equipment depends on factors such as the nature of the cargo, shipping requirements, and logistical considerations.

Advantages and Disadvantages of FTL Freight

FTL (Full Truckload) freight offers numerous advantages and disadvantages. We’ll cover them in detail in this section.

Advantages of FTL Freight:

The benefits of full truckload shipping include: 

Faster Transit Times: FTL shipments tend to reach their destination more quickly since the truck doesn't make stops for other pickups or deliveries along the route.

Reduced Handling: With FTL, the shipment is typically loaded onto the truck and delivered directly to its destination, minimizing handling and reducing the risk of damage or loss.

Increased Security: FTL shipments are dedicated to a single customer, providing greater security and control over the freight compared to LTL (Less Than Truckload) shipments.

Cost-Effective for Large Shipments: FTL is often more cost-effective than shipping multiple smaller LTL shipments, especially for large or heavy items that require the full capacity of a truck.

Flexibility: Customers have more flexibility in scheduling pickups and deliveries with FTL shipments, as they have exclusive use of the truck.

Disadvantages of FTL Freight:

The disadvantages of full truckload shipping include:

Higher Cost for Smaller Shipments: FTL freight can be more expensive than LTL for smaller shipments since the entire truck space must be paid for, regardless of the shipment size.

Limited Route Options: FTL shipments may have fewer route options compared to LTL, especially for deliveries to remote or less accessible areas.

Empty Space: If the shipment doesn't fully utilize the truck's capacity, there may be wasted space, resulting in higher costs per unit of goods transported.

Dependency on Truck Capacity: The availability of trucks and capacity can be a challenge, especially during peak seasons or in high-demand areas.

Environmental Impact: FTL shipments may have a larger carbon footprint per unit of goods transported compared to LTL shipments, as trucks may not be fully utilized, resulting in inefficient fuel consumption.

Overall, while FTL freight offers benefits such as faster transit times and increased security, it may not be the most cost-effective option for all shipments, particularly smaller ones. Businesses should carefully weigh the advantages and disadvantages to determine the most suitable shipping method for their needs.

When is FTL Freight the Best Option?

FTL (Full Truckload) freight is often the best option in the following scenarios:

Large Shipments: When shipping a large volume of goods that can fill an entire truck, FTL is typically the most cost-effective and efficient choice.

Time-Sensitive Deliveries: For urgent deliveries requiring fast transit times, FTL allows for direct transportation without stops for other pickups or deliveries along the route.

High-Value or Fragile Goods: FTL provides increased security and reduced handling, making it ideal for transporting high-value or fragile items that require careful handling and minimal risk of damage.

Special Handling Requirements: If the shipment has specific handling requirements, such as temperature control or delicate handling procedures, FTL allows for dedicated attention to these needs.

Consistency and Control: FTL offers greater control and predictability over the shipping process, as the entire truck is dedicated to a single customer, reducing the risk of delays or disruptions.

Customized Delivery Schedule: Businesses can arrange pickup and delivery times that best suit their schedules and operational needs, offering flexibility and convenience.

Cost-Effectiveness for Large Volumes: When compared to shipping multiple smaller LTL (Less Than Truckload) shipments, FTL can be more cost-effective for transporting large volumes of goods, especially on longer routes.

Overall, FTL freight is the best option when shipping large volumes of goods, especially for time-sensitive or high-value shipments that require dedicated space, specialized handling, and efficient transportation.

FTL (Full Truckload) Rates: How Much Does FTL Freight Cost?

The cost of FTL (Full Truckload) freight can vary widely based upon numerous factors detailed below, but in the contiguous United States, the rates currently range from $1.50 to $3.00 per mile, with additional charges for special handling requirements, insurance, or other tack-on services. However, these rates are subject to change and should be verified with carriers based on specific shipment details and current market conditions.

Some of the common factors that will influence the cost of FTL freight include:

Distance: Longer distances generally incur higher costs due to fuel and driver expenses.

Weight and Size: Heavier and larger shipments may cost more due to increased fuel consumption and space utilization.

Urgency: Expedited or time-sensitive deliveries often come with higher price tags.

Seasonality: Demand fluctuations throughout the year can affect rates, with peak seasons potentially driving prices up.

Equipment Needed: Special equipment requirements, such as refrigeration for perishable goods or flatbeds for oversized items, can impact costs.

Fuel Prices: Fluctuations in fuel prices can influence overall transportation costs.

Carrier Rates and Negotiation: Rates charged by carriers vary, and negotiating with multiple carriers can help find competitive pricing.

Accessorial Charges: Additional services like liftgate delivery, inside pickup/delivery, or residential surcharges may add to the total cost.

To obtain the best FTL rates, consider working with a freight broker like GuidedFreight. We have relationships with all the reputable carriers who offer us exclusive access to high-volume rates and then pass along those savings to our customers. 

Full Truckload (FTL) Tracking: FTL (Full Truckload) tracking allows shippers and recipients to monitor the status and location of their shipments throughout the transportation process. Here's how it typically works:

Tracking Systems: Most carriers use sophisticated tracking systems that utilize GPS technology and telematics devices installed in their trucks. These systems continuously transmit data regarding the truck's location, speed, and other relevant information.

Real-Time Updates: Shippers and recipients can access real-time updates on the status of their FTL shipments through the carrier's tracking portal or website. This information includes the current location of the truck, estimated arrival time, and any significant milestones or events during transit.

Electronic Documentation: Many carriers also provide electronic documentation, such as electronic bills of lading and delivery confirmations, which can be accessed online and provide further visibility into the shipment's progress.

Notifications: Some carriers offer automated notifications via email or SMS, providing updates on the shipment's status, such as when it's been picked up, en route, or delivered. This allows shippers and recipients to stay informed and plan accordingly.

Customer Support: In addition to self-service tracking options, carriers typically have customer support teams available to assist with any inquiries or concerns regarding FTL shipments. Customers can contact these teams for updates or assistance with tracking their shipments.

Overall, FTL tracking systems provide shippers and recipients with transparency and visibility into the transportation process, allowing them to monitor their shipments in real-time and ensure they arrive at their destination safely and on time.

Full Truckload (FTL) Companies and Carriers in the United States

There are numerous FTL carriers in the United States, some of the most reputable being:

Knight-Swift Transportation: One of the largest trucking companies in North America, offering a variety of truckload shipping solutions including dry van, refrigerated, and intermodal.

Schneider National: A major player in truckload transportation with a vast network and resources for efficient freight movement across the US, Canada, and Mexico.

J.B. Hunt Transport Services: Provides a range of truckload services including dry van, intermodal, and dedicated contract carriage, known for their integrated supply chain solutions.

Landstar System: Operates through a network of owner-operators, offering a flexible and customizable approach to truckload shipping for various needs.

Prime Inc.: A large truckload carrier with a strong focus on driver satisfaction and safety, offering dry van, refrigerated, and flatbed transportation. 

How to Choose an FTL Carrier

When choosing among the numerous FTL carriers, it’s important to consider the following factors:

Here are some key factors to consider when choosing an FTL company:

Safety Record: Look for a carrier with a strong safety record and a focus on driver training and compliance. You can check the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) website for carrier safety data.

Experience: Consider the carrier's experience in handling your specific type of freight. Do they have experience shipping similar goods on similar routes?

Reliability: On-time delivery is crucial. Research the carrier's on-time delivery record and track record of meeting deadlines.

Capacity: Does the carrier have the appropriate equipment and capacity to handle your shipment size and weight?

Cost: Get quotes from multiple carriers to compare pricing. However, remember the cheapest option may not always be the best. Consider the value you receive for the price.

Service Offerings: Look for a carrier that offers additional services that may be important to you, such as real-time shipment tracking, temperature-controlled transportation for perishables, or expedited delivery options.

Technology: Does the carrier utilize technology that can benefit you, such as online booking, shipment tracking tools, or electronic data interchange (EDI) for streamlined communication?

Customer Service: Choose a carrier with a reputation for excellent customer service. You want to be sure you can easily reach someone who can answer your questions and address any concerns.

Why You Should Work with an FTL Broker

Working with a freight broker like Guided Freight can offer several benefits when arranging FTL (Full Truckload) shipments:

Access to Carrier Networks: Freight brokers have established relationships with a wide network of carriers, allowing them to quickly find available trucks and secure capacity for FTL shipments, even during peak seasons or in high-demand areas.

Cost Savings: Freight brokers leverage their industry knowledge and negotiating skills to obtain competitive rates from carriers, helping shippers save money on transportation costs. Brokers can also consolidate shipments or find backhaul opportunities to optimize routes and reduce expenses.

Expertise and Guidance: Freight brokers have expertise in navigating the complexities of transportation logistics, including regulations, documentation, and carrier selection. They can provide valuable guidance and recommendations to shippers, ensuring smooth and efficient transportation of FTL shipments.

Time Savings: Coordinating FTL shipments can be time-consuming and labor-intensive for shippers. Freight brokers handle the logistics and paperwork involved in arranging transportation, saving shippers time and allowing them to focus on their core business activities.

Risk Management: Freight brokers help mitigate risks associated with FTL transportation, such as carrier reliability, insurance coverage, and compliance with regulations. They thoroughly vet carriers and ensure they meet safety and quality standards, reducing the risk of delays, damages, or other issues.

Flexibility and Scalability: Freight brokers offer flexibility and scalability to accommodate changing shipping needs and fluctuating demand. Whether shipping one-time large shipments or establishing ongoing transportation partnerships, brokers can adapt to meet shippers' requirements.

Single Point of Contact: By working with a freight broker, shippers have a single point of contact for all their transportation needs. Brokers handle communication with carriers, track shipments, and provide updates to shippers, streamlining the process and enhancing transparency.

Overall, partnering with a freight broker like Guided Freight can provide shippers with access to resources, expertise, and cost-saving opportunities, making it a valuable asset for arranging FTL shipments efficiently and effectively.

Get Full Truckload Services and Quotes

If your company requires FTL (Full Truckload) freight services, Guided Freight would be pleased to assist. Upon understanding your needs, we’ll reach out to our network of suitable carriers and pass along our high-volume, discounted rates. Not only will you enjoy significant cost savings, but we’ll also lend our expertise and streamline your workflow by allowing you to work with just one single point of contact. Get a freight quote now. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What does FTL freight stand for?

FTL stands for "Full Truckload," meaning you pay to use the entire space in a semi-truck for your shipment, regardless if it fills it all.

How many pallets are considered FTL?

There is no direct conversion between pallets and FTL as FTL depends on trailer size and not just the number of pallets. A typical 53-foot trailer can hold around 26 standard pallets, but this can vary.

What is the difference between FTL and LTL?

FTL uses an entire truck for your shipment, ideal for large volumes. LTL combines shipments from multiple companies to fill a truck, better for smaller freight but with potentially slower delivery.

What is FTL vs FCL?

FTL (Full Truckload) utilizes a whole truck on land, ideal for bulk shipments. FCL (Full Container Load) uses a whole container on ships, better for large cargo traveling overseas.

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