What is a Partial Truckload – PTL ?

A partial truckload (PTL) is a fantastic trucking service option when you have more freight than what would be considered an LTL (Less than Truckload) but not enough cargo to justify the price tag of using an entire truck in a service called FTL (Full Truckload).

We’ve written another super helpful blog post that compares LTL, PTL, FTL & EUV that could be extremely beneficial to read to get further insights into each one’s unique offerings; to make better and more well-informed decisions for each of your shipments.

Choosing the most appropriate freight service for your loads does not only save you a ton of time and money, but also saves you from losses, delays and damages on each and every one of your shipments. A good transportation service also reflects on your business, brand and products. So let’s figure out why partial truckloads are a firm favorite shipping option…

Understanding Partial Truckloads 🚚

As the name suggests, partial truckloads occupy a part of a semi-truck during transportation. It’s a tailored solution for shipments that surpass the weight and size limits of an LTL, but shipments that would also not be cost-effective to be deemed as an FTL. The weight and size limits to be considered a PTL differ depending on the company you’re outsourcing your shipments to and also the truck type being used. Businesses benefit from only paying for the space and weight they need in a truck and sharing the costs of the entire truck with other businesses with a similar volume of freight.

Benefits Of A Partial Truckload

1. No Freight Classification 🚫📃

As partial truckloads are priced according to how much of the trucks trailer capacity it takes up and not off of freight class, this can make a PTL shipment extremely cost effective. Because freight classification can add a fair amount on to an LTL quote as it looks at things like, density, liability, handling and stow-ability, which can make moving a similar amount of freight more expensive with an LTL shipment. Therefore, no classification is a win win!

2. Cost Effective 💰

As this solution does not require a business to pay out the fee of a full truck ‘hire’ like a dedicated service would expect you to cover the use of the entire truck, employees time, and the whole gas costs, etc. it works out much more cost effective than an FTL shipment service. It really depends on whether you need the extra space or need an expedited service. If not, as long as your freight comes to a PTL size then it can definitely be the best solutions coming from a monetary perspective.

3. Fast & Efficient 💨

Partial truckloads still have multiple pick-ups and deliveries along the route, but because the transferring of cargo between various other trucks is eliminated with this kind of service, as it’s a one truck kind of method. Making it still much more time efficient than an LTL. However, if you’re really in a squeeze for time a dedicated truck or expedited service might be your best bet, as it’s not quite as fast as an FTL or exclusive use vehicle option.

4. Reduced Handling & Damage Risk ⛔️🫴

A PTL service requires much less handling and moving between trucks and facilities than an LTL option. Once your PTL is loaded onto the truck, if you’re partnering with an expert logistics provider, and they plan out the trucks route efficiently, your cargo won’t be touched until it reaches its’ final destination, where it’s unloaded. Therefore, with less handling, comes less chances of damage to fragile freight and a faster, more efficient process.

When Should You Use Partial Truckload Shipments?


1. Are you worried about damage to your fragile or precious freight? ⚠️

As we’ve mentioned earlier, there’s much less handling involved with a PTL service, therefore a lot less chance of damage or loss, as there’s no transferring of cargo between different trucks. So with this solution, you can have more peace of mind when your freight is in transit.

2. Is your shipment large but not heavy? 📦

The density of your shipment can affect which transportation service you choose. A partial truckload works great for light-weight large freight.

3. Want to save money on transporting mid-sized shipments? 💰

If you’ve got more volume, or a larger size and weight than the limits for an LTL, but don’t want to spend the pricier amounts for an FTL when there’s really no need for an entire truck, then this option is fantastic for your shipments.

Conclusion 🤔

We could sing praises about partial truckload solutions all day long. However, is it right for you and your business? that’s completely dependent on your businesses freight needs. If your shipments meet the requirements of a PTL, regarding size, volume and density and you need deliveries fast but not particularly urgently then we’d have to say it’s a fantastic option of shipping to keep risk of damage to a minimum, relatively fast turn-around time, and a cost effective solution.

If you don’t think your freight has enough capacity to warrant paying for an entire truck but you’re unsure if it’s too small and needs an LTL, give your logistics partner all of your shipments details and they can help you make the best decision for mode and service of transportation. After all utilizing partial truckloads is key to staying competitive and optimizing supply chain operations.

How Can PEI Help? 😁

No matter the size and volume of your shipments, we’ve got you covered at PEI. We excel in all kinds of shipments, and can make your PTL shipments possible, because we work with you to make your shipping process as optimized as possible.

If you like what you hear and would like any further advise or to get a quick, no obligation quote for your PTL or any other shipment (we’re not limited) call us on: Phone: 888-SHIP-911, you can use that number 24/7/365 and speak with one of our experts 😊 or if you’d prefer use the link below to fill out a short form and we’ll get straight back to you. We can’t wait to hear from you!


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