What Is A Full Truckload – FTL?

A full truckload shipment is extremely beneficial to shippers that have a large amount of freight going to the same destination, perhaps a warehouse or a singular large shipment to a specific address. Whether it’s enough to fill or almost fill an entire trailer then FTLs are a fantastic shipping option and have a ton of benefits from efficiency to decreased handling of cargo, which therefore means, less risk of potential damage.

For obvious reasons, FTL shipments do cost more than other shipping methods. You’re essentially paying for the exclusivity of the entire trailer and the extra attention dedicated purely to your freight at that one time.

So now you know some of the reasons why we love an FTL shipment, let’s explain them a little more and deep dive into more benefits that you can expect when opting for this trucking method.

Understanding Full Truckloads 🚚

A full truckload shipment is when an entire truck is dedicated to singular shipments for a sole consignee. It is an expensive transportation option when compared to other trucking methods. However, this higher price tag is justified by the amount of freight being transported for one shipper and the exclusive use of a truck, and if you don’t quite have a load that fills the entire trailer, you essentially end up paying a higher cost per unit, if you still want the truck to yourself. Even in these cases, customers love FTL services and many think it’s worth the extra dollars as FTL shipments are an extremely popular choice and it’s an ever-growing market in the USA.

One thing we’d say to consider when choosing a transportation partner for your FTL shipments is, to make sure you choose a reliable company and one that has a good amount of coverage from an insurance perspective. Full truckload shipments are usually higher in value, either because of the sheer amount of cargo racking up in value or because the large item being transported is expensive to replace, so this is super important.

So, How Does A Full Truckload Work? πŸ€”

Here’s the normal day in the life of a full truckload:


  • Book your FTL shipment and provide all details of cargo possible including and pick-up and drop-off destination of your freight.


  • Securely package and load the shipment onto the trailer.
    P.S. To avoid extra fees it’s important that your shipment is good to go when the truck arrives at pick-up.


  • The truck then transports the freight directly to destination with no stops or transferring cargo to different trucks. One truck fulfils the entire journey.


  • Once the freight has reached its’ destination, it is unloaded and inspected for any damages. If there are any (🀞 hopefully not) these are recorded on the receivers receipt.


Benefits Of A Full Truckload βœ…

1. Not many weight and size restrictions

There are obviously restrictions set by the size of the truck and the weight that they can bare, this is especially true when the truck or van in question has enclosed sides. However, there’s a degree of wiggle room with trailers like flatbeds as they’re open sided and open top. But aside from these general restrictions, you’re not restricted to how much square foot you can take up inside the trailer, like you would be with a less than truckload (LTL) or partial truckload (PTL) shipment, as you have the entire truck to yourself.

2. Efficiency

When you choose or fulfil the requirements for an FTL shipping option, you can guarantee that along with an exclusive use vehicle service (which is extremely similar to an FTL) your shipment is going to get to its’ destination in the most efficient way. As there’s nobody else’s cargo sharing the trailer with yours, there’s no need for any extra stops along the way (except for maybe a quick bathroom break for the driver πŸ˜…). This minimizes transportation time, as once the trucks on the road it’s taking a direct, less complicated and optimized route.

3. Minimized risk of damage

Again, like above with no stops and extra shipments on board there’s no reason for unnecessary handling of your freight, through extra loading and unloading with an FTL shipment. Because of this, your freight has much less chance of accidental damages.

4. Flexibility

When you choose a full truckload as your method of transportation. You have much more flexibility than other shipping options. This is because, the truck is dedicated to only your freight, meaning you can dictate shipping schedules, dates and times to meet your business and customer requirements.

When Should You Use A Full Truckload Shipment? 🚚


1. Do you have shipments that are large enough to fill or almost fill an entire trailer?

If so, then a full truckload service is for you! If you just read the benefits above, it’s clear why.

2. Are you in a pinch for time, but the shipment isn’t necessarily URGENT?

If you answer yes to this, and your shipment is large but still doesn’t fill an entire truck. Sometimes it’s worth the extra in fees to choose and FTL shipment as it’s one of the fastest ground freight options. There are also the expedited and emergency services, for time-sensitive shipments. However, these are usually only cost effective when your shipments are extremely urgent.

3. Does your shipment contain high value goods?

Again, if you answered yes, then a FTL option may work best for you. Because of the reduced handling, there’s much more security of your goods. Once your freight is loaded securely it will not be touched until it arrives at its’ destination. Perfect for high value or fragile cargo.

Conclusion πŸ€”

Now that we know a little more about FTL shipments. We can appreciate how streamlined it is as a shipping method, by utilizing their faster transit times, reduced handling and enhanced security.

Although it comes with a higher price tag if your shipment does not fill the truck to its’ capacity, sometimes it’s worth it for the extra protection of your valuable freight (this higher price is because there’s essentially wasted space in the trailer. So, although you’re shipping less volume therefore would expect your shipping quote to be lower, you still need to cover the costs for the entire truck). Sometimes it’s worth it for the extra added protection of your valuable freight. But perhaps weigh up the volume and value of your freight against the cost of an FTL option, before you make a decision and ask yourself this question…

Is it worth absorbing the extra cost to ensure you have the entire truck to yourself (for time efficiency and more security of your freight)?

If not, then maybe look down the LTL or PTL shipping route and you might save some πŸ’΅ by spreading the cost with other shippers. We’ve written more super helpful blog posts on these two topics that you can check out below to read the benefits and drawbacks of both…

How Can PEI Help? 😁

We’re experts in handling full truckload shipments at PEI. Give us your toughest full truckload shipment and we’ll get it to its’ destination on time and meet every custom shipping or delivery requirement.

Don’t just take our word for it, here’s what one of our wonderful FTL customers had to say about us:

β€œPEI’s great team and staff is what makes them surge above everyone else. I highly recommend them for all shipments International and Domestic.The best thing I love about using PEI is that if you need a hot shot or anything set up they jump on it right away and can be in that day for pickup.”

– Bryan Morrison, VWR


Need help with any of your Full Truckload shipments?

At PEI we’re experts in dealing with specialized freight and can handle yours with any custom requirements.

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