What Is Truckload Freight Shipping?

What Is Truckload Freight Shipping?

If you’re looking into shipping a large number of goods, more likely than not, you’ve come across the term “truckload freight” when searching for the best solution. But what is full truckload shipping

Ideal for carrying larger quantities of goods or items that are bigger in size, truckload shipping is the means that will carry your shipment from one place to the next. Still confused? No worries, we are sharing all you need to know about the truckload meaning. Let’s dive right in! 

What Is Truckload?

So, let’s answer your burning question - what is truckload shipping?

A truckload shipping method, in its most simple definition, refers to the transportation of goods by road. Through this method, goods are carried by a large truck trailer across expansive distances. Additionally, these trailers can carry large quantities of goods, usually up to 45 pallets or 43,000 pounds. This is thanks to their size, usually ranging from 48 to 53 feet long. 

To define truckload, it’s best to think of it as the transfer of a large volume of goods. To get even more into the details, there are two types of transportation choices, depending on the number of goods you’re shipping - less than truckload, or LTL, and full truckload, or FTL. 

To differentiate the two, the FTL full truckload definition refers to when one single supplier fills an entire truck that is reserved for just them, meaning the truck will only make stops for their goods. On the other hand, LTL is when a truck carries products from multiple businesses, allowing various companies to share truck space, leading the truck to make multiple stops. 

There are pros and cons to each of these truckload freight shipping options, but ultimately, it depends on the number of goods you’re shipping and the amount of money you want to spend to get them from point A to point B. 

Typically, a company can save money by going with LTL, although, due to the multiple stops the truck will make, shipments can take longer to deliver. However, for full truckload freight shipping, shipments will be delivered all together in one reserved truck, yet this can cost more money. 

The costs of shipping freight via truckload shipping can vary depending on the goods being carried, the distance the truck will travel, and whether you opt for LTL or FTL. Additionally, an expedited shipment will increase prices, and shipments are subject to delays based on natural factors, like the weather. 

Types of truckload freight

Types of Truckload Freight

Now that you can answer the question of “what is a full truckload,” let’s explore the different types of truckload equipment and options used to deliver goods. The options include:

  • Dry Vans: Dry vans are ideal for transporting dry goods. These goods are not temperature sensitive.
  • Flatbed: Best for large or oddly shaped goods, flatbed trailers do not have walls, leaving goods exposed. This is used when items cannot be loaded through standard trailer doors.
  • Refrigerated: As the name suggests, refrigerated trailers are temperature controlled, ideal for perishable goods that need to remain at a certain temperature to arrive in their desired condition. 

The right choice for a shipment largely depends on the characteristics of the goods you’re shipping - whether they are perishable, large in size, or oddly shaped. However, with the right knowledge, you can ensure you secure the right truckload equipment to safely deliver your items. 

Benefits of Truckload Trucking

There are a lot of perks of choosing truckload trucking. This reliable shipping method is a go-to when shipping large quantities of goods, and for a good reason. From quick shipping to limiting damage, there’s no wonder this shipping method is so popular. 

For more on the benefits, the pros of truckload shipping include:

  • Quick Delivery: One of the biggest perks of truckload freight is that your goods will deliver in a timely fashion, especially when opting for full truckload freight. 
  • Limit Damage: Due to the various options for different types of goods and the packaging requirements when loading, truckload shipping can help limit damage to shipments. Unlike a single parcel shipment, LTL and FTL shipments are packaged, typically, in pallets that provide added protection, leaving items less susceptible to damage in the delivery process. 
  • Price: With two options for shipping, FTL, and LTL, you can find an affordable rate for your goods based on size. If your items are big enough to take up an entire trailer, it’s faster to ship all in one, but if they take up less than a truckload, LTL is a cost-effective alternative. 
  • Insurance Options: There’s a lot of peace of mind when opting for truckload freight. When shipping with this method, there are a number of insurance options that will ensure the safe delivery of goods. With many possible impacts on truck shipping, from weather to accidents and more, insurance is a worthwhile addition. 

Challenges of Truckload Shipping

As with any decision, there are both pros and cons. While truckload freight shipping is a largely reliable, efficient choice, there are a few challenges to keep in mind when deciding on the best way to ship goods. 

These challenges include:

  • Increased Rates in Low Volume Markets: Unlike LTL shipments, FTL options do not typically offer consistent rates. The cost is largely dependent on the market, and when markets have low volume, the FTL shipping rates go up. For this reason, it’s best to stick to one transportation partner for a smooth process.
  • Charges for Loading and Unloading: Due to the large quantities of goods, you will typically incur charges for both loading and unloading freight. Oftentimes, a carrier will give 2 hours to load and unload your goods, and if the process exceeds that amount of time, extra charges will start stacking up. To avoid this, package goods properly and have them ready to go in time. 
Truckload freight shipping

The Future of FTL

To stay on top of the trends and shifts in the market, it’s important to anticipate what’s ahead. The future of FTL is vast, and with many adjustments and innovations on the horizon, the industry is ever-changing in order to remain a competitive and reliable choice. 

Future changes of truckload freight shipping include:

  • Technology: It’s predicted that new and improved technology will begin playing a larger role in the truckload shipping industry. Some companies have begun implementing the new options, helping to create a more efficient shipping method.
  • Workforce Changes: There’s been an ongoing trend for years - fewer and fewer people are interested in becoming truck drivers. This leads to a shortage of people to actually carry the goods, and as the trend continues and more truckers retire, new measures will need to be taken to ensure the necessary staff is on hand. 
  • Self-Driving Solutions: With dwindling truck drivers, a new solution is emerging - self-driving trucks. Companies are already getting behind this, and it does a great deal to lower labor costs when shipping. However, it’s still being debated whether this is a safe option.


From the question of what truckload shipping is to the difference between LTL and full truckload freight shipping, there are a lot of factors to consider when looking into truckload shipping. Thankfully, this tried-and-true shipping method has been around for decades, and the experts know just how to ensure your goods arrive safely. 

For the best results when shipping large quantities of goods, you need a trusted partner by your side, and with years of experience, Cowtown Express knows just how it’s done. With extensive experience with a variety of shipping methods, Cowtown Express provides reliable transportation of goods that will arrive in the right place in a timely fashion and in good condition. Ready to transport your goods? Get a quote online today to begin the process.


How does full truckload work?

With full truckload freight shipping, goods from one single business are loaded into a truck and shipped to their destination without any additional stops. In using an entire truckload, businesses can avoid any residual damage that can come with multiple stops and shared space, ensuring goods get safely to their destination. Plus, when utilizing FTL, goods deliver faster!.

Why is a full truckload fast?

Great question! The reason full truckload shipping is fast is largely due to the fact that it won’t make multiple stops. This is a result of the truck being occupied by one single supplier, ensuring everything on the truck is headed to the same destination. By limiting the stops and reorganization of the truck, a lot of time is saved in the delivery process.

What is the difference between FTL and LTL?

The difference between FTL and LTL is essential whether a truck is entirely reserved for just one company or not. With FTL, just one business will fill their goods in a truck. This is ideal for large quantities of goods that truly can occupy an entire truck on their own. On the other hand, LTL is ideal for shipments that won’t take up an entire truck, allowing a business to share the cost of the truck with other companies, shipping goods from multiple suppliers all in one load. This can do a lot to save money by avoiding paying for a full truckload for goods that only take up a small portion.

What is partial truckload shipping?

Partial truckload shipping is similar to LTL shipping methods, as it refers to shipments that won’t require a full truckload trailer. However, unlike LTL, the idea of partial truckload shipping is that it’s actually multiple orders from a buyer that aren’t shipped at once, thus being a “partial” order. Partial truckload shipments typically refer to a volume of goods that’s smaller than the standard LTL size. For this reason, the method is sometimes referred to as “volume LTL.”

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