LTL vs Partial Truckload and Dedicated Truckload


We’re back with the next installment in our Freight Tips and Tricks series, talking about the different ways to book your freight.

There are various options available for shipping freight and choosing the right one may vary depending on weight, length, additional services, transit time, and cost.

Here’s a closer look at the 3 most common ways you can book your freight.

Less than Truckload (LTL)

LTL shipments do not require the weight and/or space capacity of an entire trailer. Generally, a shipment that is under 5,000 lbs or doesn’t require more than 6 pallets worth of truck space can go LTL. Size limitations vary by carrier, so it always good to check each carrier’s size limits prior to booking.

An LTL shipment is transported on various trucks from terminal to terminal until it reaches the destination terminal, where the shipment is loaded on a truck for delivery. This means there is a higher chance of damage due to the number of times a shipment is handled at intermittent terminals.

Dedicated Truckload

Dedicated truckload shipments are used when shipping cargo fills more than half of a 48’ or 53’ trailer, or the weight of the cargo requires the full carrying capacity of a trailer.

When booking this type of shipment, your cargo is the only shipment on the trailer. The truck is able to drive directly to your location (within DOT daily travel regulations) and doesn’t have to stop at terminals.

Dedicated truckload shipments are good for time-sensitive cargo and items that are at high risk of damage. Since the shipment will never leave the trailer once loaded, the risk of damage drops significantly compared to LTL shipments.

Partial Truckload

A partial truckload is an in-between option for freight that is over 5,000 lbs or more than 6 pallets in size. This type of shipment will not leave the trailer at terminals; therefore, it is a faster shipping option than LTL.

A partial truckload differs from a dedicated truckload because there will be more than one shipment on the truck. Often times, a driver will pick up two or three shipments headed to similar destinations to fill his trailer. For this reason, it is important to know the dimensions of your shipment and how many feet of truck space it will require.

This option also requires some flexibility on the delivery date. Depending on where on the trailer your shipment is loaded, you may be the first to be offloaded or the last.

Shipments from Acadian

The majority of shipments from Acadian will be shipped LTL as they do not exceed the size limitations of LTL carriers. However, we always look for the most cost-effective option for our customers based on the size and needs of each shipment.

If you have any questions about how Acadian books your shipment, or about which type of shipment is best for you, let us know.

Need to know how much truck space your shipment will require? Keep an eye out for our next installment in this freight series where we will discuss how to calculate truck space.