Volume LTL VS Partial Truckload Shipping

Learn about volume LTL shipping vs partial truckload shipping

While it may not seem like something that needs a lot of thought, how you ship your freight can actually make or break your company. In the world of freight shipping, there are actually several different kinds of shipping styles. Depending on which one you consistently use, your business could either prosper or whither. Finding the right shipping style can optimize many different aspects of your business and allow your company to grow and thrive in a highly competitive market. In today’s blog, Freight All Kinds, the best freight management company in the United States, will go over the main differences between two of the biggest shipping styles; volume LTL shipping and partial truckload shipping.

Types of Freight Shippingwhite freight truck on grey concrete road

While most people who don’t have to deal with shipping freight simply see a giant truck going by them on the highway, a lot actually goes into the planning and arranging of goods inside the freight truck itself. Depending on how far each shipment is going to go, as well as how much product is going to be shipped at once, the best freight companies will plan their strategy accordingly. When it comes to freight shipping, there are three main styles: truckload shipping, less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping, and partial/volume LTL shipping. These different kinds of shipping can be beneficial or disadvantageous depending on your company’s specific needs, so doing some research before deciding on a specific shipping style is heavily encouraged.

What is Truckload Shipping?

Truckload shipping, also known as full truckload shipping, happens when the full capacity, or very near full capacity, of your vehicle, is being used. Usually, truckload shipping is reserved for a single customer who fills up the semi-trailer with one kind of cargo. This helps to keep things simple and ensures that shipping costs and conditions stay the same throughout the shipping process. It also ensures that the customer gets a lot of their goods or products where it needs to go. Typically, this kind of freight shipping is for larger companies or companies with one good or product that’s in high demand.

What is Volume LTL Shipping?

Volume LTL refers to a shipment that is more than LTL, but less than truckload shipping. This kind of shipping requires that you use at least six pallets in transit. The pallets must weigh over 5,000 lbs and must occupy more than 12 linear feet in the freight trailer. You can use more of the trailer and the weight can be over 5,000 lbs, but if most of the trailer is used, then you may have to register as full truckload shipping rather than volume LTL.

What is Partial Shipping?

Depending on what kind of shipping you’re doing, you can also use partial truckload shipping or partials for short. This refers to the partial truckload the driver is carrying between cities, counties, or states. Similar to volume LTL shipping, partial shipping doesn’t use a full trailer or truckload in order to transport goods. Partial truckload shipping requires that your shipment uses anywhere from 8 – 18 pallets, but these cannot take up the entirety of the trailer. The shipment also must weigh between 8,000 – 27,000 lbs and occupy more than 12 feet of linear space in a trailer.

The Big Differences

For the most part, partial and volume LTL shipping are the same thing. The main differences between the two usually boil down to just a handful of characteristics. Keep reading to see the main differences between partial shipping and volume LTL shipping services.

Freight Classes

Freight classes are determined by four main factors: stowability, liability, ease of handling, and density. These will determine your freight shipping costs, giving customers an unbiased price when shipping freight. If you’re shipping anything less-than-truckload, then you’ll need to have a freight class associated with your shipment. While this is standard for all volume LTL shipments, partial truckload shipping doesn’t require a freight class. Partial truckload costs are established by the market and depend on mileage, specific lane, weight, and space required for shipping.

Transit Time

Have you ever passed a hub or terminal on the highway and wondered how long trucks have to stay there for? Well, for volume LTL shipments, it can be a little while so that everything can be properly documented for shipping logs. Partial truckload shipments don’t require truck drivers to stop at hubs or terminals, usually leading to a higher percentage of on-time deliveries as well as less damage to products and goods due to the handling of the freight. However, shippers have to be more flexible with pickup and delivery dates when it comes to partial truckload shipping as there is a high probability that appointments can be missed. Partials also aren’t great for jobs under 250 miles.


While volume LTL shipments need to be crated or put on pallets in order to move through an LTL carrier system, partial truckload shipments have no such requirements. This allows partial truckloads a little bit of freedom with their shipping, but this makes this style of shipping unideal for floor-loaded or loose items as they can move around and become damaged during transit.

If you’re looking for the best LTL freight brokers and partial truckload shipping services, then look no further than Freight All Kinds. We offer the best freight management services for all kinds of companies across the United States. Learn more about our freight management company, see what kind of shipping services we can offer your company, or contact Freight All Kinds to get started with a free quote today.

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