If you’re like most shippers, you are probably familiar with less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping or full truckload (TL) shipping. Both are among the most common modes of cargo transport. But what do you do when you are looking for an option somewhere in the middle?
Partial truckload, is a much less common mode of shipping that can actually save you money.
Here are a few advantages of partial truckload shipping:
- Less handling, and therefore less chance of damage to freight
- Competitive prices - many times lower than LTL or TL
- A generally faster transit time
- Freight can go door-to-door instead of door-to-dock
Other prominent benefits of partial truckload include the fact that it usually doesn’t require you to identify the freight class. This eliminates possible re-classing and accessorials. These carriers also do not stop at distribution terminals throughout transport, so the amount of on-time deliveries is often higher than other shipping modes. Even though freight can be safer with partial truckload because there are less hands on it, these shippers also offer cargo insurance that is comparable to truckload.
When should you use partial truckload?
The main indicator of when you should consider partial truckload is when the freight requirements fall between LTL and TL. This usually means that the shipment is between six and 18 pallets and/or between 8,000 and 27,500 pounds.
Another indicator as to whether you should use partial truckload is if your freight is lightweight but takes up a lot of space. This could hike up the price if you shipped it LTL. Or, anytime you want to be extra cautious about protecting sensitive freight, partial truckload may be a better choice than LTL or TL.
If you feel that shipping partial or volume truckload will be the most time- and cost-effective, consider allowing a third-party logistics provider (3PL) to coordinate your shipment. This is your best bet for saving money, because 3PLs work with their carrier networks daily to find the best routes and rates that will save their clients money. They are likely to find that ideal spot within their networks for a partial or volume truckload.