Client Portal Login

Please Login to use Client Portal


Become an Agent

The "American Dream" Program

Credit application

Apply now!

What is the Difference Between LTL & FTL?

Feb 11, 2018

Two of the most used transportation options in North America are Less-Than-Truckload (LTL) and Full Truckload (FTL) freight shipping.  While the two over the road shipping modes have a lot in common, there are three primary differences between them.

LTL vs FTL - truck convoy on highway.jpgSize and Weight

LTL shipments typically consist of 1 to 10 pallets that can weigh anywhere from 100 to 10,000 pounds. 

FTL, on the other hand is a shipment that completely fills an entire truck or trailer. For example, a 53’ trailer can accommodate a maximum weight of 42,000 pounds or 52 double stacked pallets. 


The calculation of LTL shipping rates includes distance traveled, shipment size, commodity shipped and several other factors.  To read about LTL costing in depth, please go here to learn more

FTL rates are not subject to strict costing models like LTL, but are instead dictated by the competitiveness of the marketplace.  Several factors influence these conditions beyond standard supply and demand such as:  origin and destination locations, size and weight, commodity, weather, equipment needed, and much more. 


LTL carriers use precise schedules to run trucks between many different locations.  This allows them to use the space on their trucks as efficiently as possible, by accommodating many different customers simultaneously.  These schedules can involve multiple stops and handling of freight to reach the destination.  

In contrast, FTL shipments are exclusive to a single customer and are driven directly from the origin to the destination.  The only time the freight is touched is at the origin and destination locations when the freight is loaded and unloaded from the trailer.

American Group is a 3PL with decades of experience in the shipping industry. Contact us for assistance with your next shipment by phone at 866-553-6608 or by email at We’re here to make Shipping.Simplified®.


Photo attribution: 

Copyright: <a href=''>whitestar1955 / 123RF Stock Photo</a>