What is Partial Truckload Shipping?

PTL or Partial Truckload Shipping is a term that is used by the shippers to send goods together using one truck. This allows several shippers to send their goods in one truck by sharing the expenses and pay only the space they occupied.

There are multiple modes of transportation when it comes to the shipping industry. They are all distinct from each other and are called by separate names. Two very commonly used such terms are Full Truckload (FTL) and Less-Than-Truckload (LTL) shipping. But there’s another mode that falls in between these two. And that is – Partial Truckload (PTL) shipping.

Partial truckload shipping meaning explained

When the volume of shipment is fairly high – more than LTL – but not high enough to fill up an entire container, then it comes under the PTL category. The shipment fills up a significant portion of the trailer. In specific circumstances, shippers do make use of this form of carriage, especially when their cargo matches the parameters of PTL. It works out to be a cost-effective solution for those shippers whose cargo quantity doesn’t come under either FTL or LTL categories.

Parameters for Selecting PTL Option

There are certain parameters that one should consider while selecting a Partial Truckload Shipping which are as follows:

  • The standard criterion for a PTL shipment is between 7 to 18 pallets. It might also translate into 7000 pounds or more than that. So, if your cargo is over 7,000 pounds in weight or needs between 7 and 18 pallets, then you can classify it as a PTL shipment.
  • There are shipments that are low on density but need a fair amount of space. These shipments also fall under the PTL category.
  • When the shipment quantity is too high to be classified as LTL but not high enough to come under the FTL option.

What are the Advantages of PTL Shipping?

  • When you are shipping PTL, your entire consignment would fit in a single truck. It would need to be loaded and unloaded only once. This implies quicker cargo handling and a consequent faster transit time, as compared to LTL shipments.
  • You don’t need to go for any freight class when you are shipping PTL. Thus, you won’t need to pay any reclassification charges, should there be an error in classification the first time.
  • The amount of cargo handled is less as compared to an FTL or full container load shipment. Thus, there are lesser chances of any damage being caused to the cargo that occurs due to frequent handling.

Points to Remember for Considering PTL Shipments 

  • In case you are shipping fragile or delicate cargo, you might consider opting for the PTL mode. This is because there will be lesser handling of the cargo and the risks of breakage would be substantially eliminated.
  • As a shipper, you would need to have a very clear idea of the dimensions of your cargo. This is because the transporting company would need to have this data before they can determine under what category your shipment would fall.
  • PTL transportation is much faster as compared to LTL. The truck would make lesser stops at terminals and the need for LTL cross-docking is also absent. The cargo can remain in the same trailer throughout the duration of the journey. All this results in faster transit times.

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