Shipping 101

When shipping your commodity by land, there are 4 basic options to choose from:
  • LTL - Lighter Than Truckload 
  • FTL - Full Truckload 
  • Reefer - Refrigerated

Less Than Truckload 

LTL is the transportation of relatively smaller quantities of freight, and is usually moved on a pallet, and may be several pallets via one of the common carriers that are seen across the highways of North. As the name implies, these shipments usually consist of several pallets, pieces or cartons and almost all LTL common carriers are also more likely to accept loose (non-palletized) cargo than the traditional carriers. LTL shipments typically weigh between 151 and 20,000 lb (68 and 9,072 kg).
While routes tend to be more casual, the main advantage to using an LTL carrier is that a shipment may be transported for a fraction of the cost of hiring an entire truck and trailer for an exclusive shipment. Also, a number of accessory services are available from LTL carriers, which are not typically offered by FTL carriers. These optional services include liftgate service at pickup or delivery, residential (also known as "non-commercial") service at pickup or delivery, inside delivery, notification prior to delivery, freeze protection, and several others.


TL is the transportation of larger amounts of cargo, generally the amount necessary to fill an entire semi-trailer, open deck trailer (like a flatbed or stepdeck) or into an enclosed sea or rail container. A truckload carrier is a trucking company that generally contracts an entire trailer-load to a single customer. This is as opposed to a less-than truckload (LTL) company that generally mixes freight from several customers in each trailer. One advantage Full Truckload (FTL) carriers have over Less than Truckload carriers is that the freight is never trans-loaded en route, whereas an LTL shipment will typically be –loaded multiple times as it moves from origin to destination. Truckload shipments also should also be packaged, loaded, blocked or braced, A typical full truckload for a dry van trailer consists of 26 standard pallets of cargo that weighs up to 44,000 lbs., although many carriers will not carry loads that are maxed out.  Open deck freight usually has  maximum weight limit of 48,000 lbs.

Reefer - Refrigerated Trucks

A refrigerated container or reefer is an intermodal container (shipping container) used in intermodal freight transport that is refrigerated for the transportation of temperature sensitive cargo. While a reefer will have an integral refrigeration unit, they rely on external power, from electrical power points (“reefer points”) at a land based site, a container ship or on quay. When being transported over the road on a trailer or via rail, they can be powered from diesel powered generators ("gen sets") which attach to the container whilst on road journeys. Refrigerated containers are capable of controlling temperature ranging from -30C, -40C, -65C up to 30C, 40C.

The impact on society of reefer containers is vast, allowing consumers all over the world to enjoy fresh produce at any time of year and experience previously unavailable fresh produce from many other parts of the world.

Niki M.
Niki M.

Niki M., an entrepreneur by blood and part-time writer has 20 years in Business Administration in the Hotel and Restaurant Industry. She is now a key agent in USA Truckloads and LTL freight - gaining knowledge and strengthening client relationships with her undeniable will to exceed expectations combined with her tenacious work ethic and integrity. She specializes in Container, Boat & LTL moves to Hawaii, Costa Rica and Mexico. Languages spoken: English, Spanish

Message Niki M.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Kingsway T is a leading name in the freight broker industry. With an extensive range of fleets, people count on us to handle their full-service freight solutions with transparency.

  3. Cool stuff you have got and you keep update all of us. Heavy Equipment service

  4. Thanks for the blog loaded with so many information. Stopping by your blog helped me to get what I was looking for. antiques shipping quote


Hey...your quote is our priority and your questions are important. Thank you in advance for your patience, one of our logistics specialists will get back to you immediately.