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Full Truck Load (FTL)

Glossary Shipping

Full Truck Load (FTL)

Full truckload (FTL) shipping stands as a cornerstone in the logistics and transportation industry, offering a robust solution for businesses with substantial shipping requirements. Unlike its counterpart, less than truckload (LTL) shipping, FTL involves the transportation of goods that fill an entire truck or lorry. This method is particularly beneficial for large shipments that need to move directly from point A to B without the stopovers typical of LTL shipments.

By delving into the intricacies of FTL shipping, businesses can harness the advantages of expedited deliveries and heightened security for their cargo. This guide covers all the critical aspects of FTL transport, ensuring businesses are well-informed to make strategic transportation decisions.

Understanding Full Truck Load (FTL) Shipping

Full truck load shipping refers to the transportation of freight that occupies the entirety of a truck’s space, making it exclusively reserved for a single shipment. This contrasts sharply with LTL shipping, where multiple shippers share the truck space for their goods. FTL is ideally suited for large shipments that exceed the size and weight limits of LTL or for goods requiring special handling, such as temperature-sensitive items. 

The distinction between FTL and LTL shipping is not merely about the volume of goods but also the direct nature of FTL shipments. By avoiding the consolidation and deconsolidation processes inherent in LTL shipping, FTL offers a quicker, more secure transportation option. This direct route minimises handling risks and can significantly reduce transit times, making it an optimal choice for urgent or delicate shipments.

Essential FTL Shipping Terminology

Navigating the world of full truck load shipping requires familiarity with specific terminology. These terms not only help in understanding the nuances of FTL transport logistics but also in effectively communicating your needs and expectations with carriers. Here are some key terms integral to the FTL shipping process:

  • Capacity: Refers to the maximum load a truck can legally carry, measured in weight and volume. Understanding a truck’s capacity is crucial for optimising shipments and avoiding overloading penalties.
  • Dedicated Routes: These are pre-defined shipping routes reserved for regular shipments between two points. Dedicated routes can enhance efficiency and reliability in the delivery schedule.
  • Direct Delivery: The process of transporting goods directly from the pickup location to the destination without intermediate stops or transfers. This is a hallmark of FTL shipping, offering faster delivery times.
  • Freight Rates: The cost associated with transporting goods. In FTL shipping, rates are influenced by factors like distance, fuel costs, the truck’s capacity utilisation and the nature of the goods being shipped.
  • Detention and Layover Fees: Additional charges that may apply when a truck is held beyond its scheduled loading or unloading time (detention) or when a driver must wait overnight before delivery can be completed (layover). These fees compensate the carrier for the time lost.

By mastering these terms, shippers can better navigate the intricacies of FTL shipping, ensuring smoother transactions and more accurate planning for their logistics needs.

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At Barrington Freight, we specialise in making your importing and exporting straightforward. From customs clearance to finding the right commodity codes, our expert team is here to assist. Don’t let the complexities of global trade hold you back. Reach out to Barrington Freight for efficient and reliable shipping solutions.

The Advantages of FTL Shipping

The benefits of FTL transport make it an appealing option for businesses with medium-to-large shipment volumes. However, this method of shipping is also typically beneficial for companies dealing in high-value goods or those with specific transportation needs, such as a customer in a remote location, for example. The efficiency, security and versatility of FTL means it caters to a wide range of shipping requirements, providing a seamless and reliable logistics solution. Among its clear upsides are:

Speed and Efficiency: One of the most significant advantages of full truck load shipping is its speed. Since FTL shipments typically travel directly from the sender to the receiver without any stops to offload other goods, they offer the fastest transportation option for large volumes of cargo. This direct route not only ensures quicker delivery times but also minimises the chances of delays, making FTL an ideal choice for time-sensitive shipments.

Security: The nature of FTL shipping inherently enhances the security of the transported goods. With the cargo not being handled en route, the risk of loss and damage is significantly reduced. This is particularly advantageous for high-value or fragile items that demand careful handling. Additionally, the exclusivity of using a full truck or lorry load for a single shipment means that the cargo remains sealed and untouched from the point of origin to the destination, providing an added layer of security against theft or tampering.

Customisation: FTL shipping offers a higher degree of customisation than its LTL counterpart. Shippers can choose the most appropriate equipment for their specific cargo needs, whether that involves temperature control for perishables, flatbed trucks for oversized items or any other specialised requirements. Furthermore, FTL allows for flexible scheduling and routing, enabling businesses to tailor transportation solutions that align perfectly with their operational needs and timelines.

When to Choose FTL Transport Over LTL

Deciding between FTL and LTL shipping hinges on several key factors that can significantly affect the efficiency, cost, and suitability of transportation for your goods. 

Shipment Size and Weight: FTL shipping becomes cost-effective when you have enough goods to fill or nearly fill an entire truck. If your shipment is large and heavy, occupying most or all of a truck’s capacity, FTL is likely your best option.

Urgency and Delivery Schedule: For time-sensitive shipments requiring fast, direct delivery, FTL is superior. With dedicated routes and direct transportation from pickup to drop-off, FTL reduces the risk of delays often associated with LTL shipping.

Special Handling Requirements: If your shipment requires special handling or conditions — such as refrigeration, protection from contamination, or secure transport for high-value items — FTL offers the control and exclusivity needed.

Cost Considerations: While FTL might seem more expensive upfront, it can be more cost-effective for larger shipments when compared to the cumulative cost of shipping the same volume via several LTL shipments. Furthermore, the added benefits of reduced handling, lower risk of damage, and faster delivery often justify the additional expense for many businesses.

Choosing FTL shipping over LTL is a strategic decision that requires a degree of freight expertise. This is exactly what Barrington Freight offers throughout the UK and across the globe. Talk to us if you have any questions about the suitability of FTL shipping for your next consignment or if you would simply like some competitive full truck load quotes to compare our pricing.

Learn more about us

We’re friendly, easy to work with, honest and we don’t charge the earth.

For advice and information on shipping time from China to the UK, call 01268 525444 or email us today.

Kay Sherry
Kay Sherry
Simon Pool from Barrington freight was very helpful and door to door service to S.Korea was excellent, pick up and delivery services on time. I highly recommend Barrington Freight for air cargo services. Thank you Simon and the team! Kay
Daniel Gardner
Daniel Gardner
The team at Barrington where incredible at delivering our goods on-time despite the new Brexit regulations on goods being imported. We even didn't pay tax on the returning shipment coming back to German.
Drewit Studio
Drewit Studio
Brilliant service. Extremely helpful, and they supported us all the way through the process of transporting goods to mainland Europe, which for anyone who hasn't done that before can seem quite daunting. Would definitely recommend using this company.
Jason Scott
Jason Scott
Working with Barrington was brilliant. They really looked out for us, tackling our tough shipping/freight requirements keeping us informed at every stage of the process. Thank you
James Ayre
James Ayre
kept up to date with all progress, i know they had a particularly troubling time with import customs messing up paperwork but sorted all that out for me. highly reccomend will use again
Peter Seal
Peter Seal
Excellent company, very efficient and great communication. Competitive , quick quotes!
We are very satisfied, we would like to thank the team for this with an awesome rating! They handled the delivery of a very sensitive, valuable, gigantic pallet for us at a fair price and without any problems. I mean, out of 4 companies, only they were able to undertake it. Nothing is damaged! We recommend the company to everyone :)
Sophie Benge
Sophie Benge
Joshua at Barrington Freight is friendly and patient. Their service hassle-free and affordable compared to other freight forwarders.
Alex Burton
Alex Burton
Fantastic service from Barrington Freight. It was our first time exporting goods from the UK and it was very reassuring to have them manage the shipment. The process was made easy and hassle free and Simon was always quick to respond to any queries. I would highly recommend.
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Barrington Freight Ltd,
Bowden House,
Luckyn Lane, Basildon,
Essex SS14 3AX