Saving Money with Partial Truckloads

A partial truckload can save you money vs traditional LTL Shipping or full truckload. This solution is offered in the truckload spot market and competes with common carrier Volume LTL shipping. It’s best for shipments between 12 linear feet and 26 linear feet and under 23,000 lbs that are not time sensitive.

Partial truckloads are available in both dry van trailers and flatbeds. This article is speaking more about dry van shipments. The same principals apply to flatbeds with the main difference being there is no common carrier LTL shipping option like with Dry Vans.

Cost & Cash Savings

Partial truckloads can have a lower cost per unit then a volume LTL shipment. This depends on the market. While the cost per until will still be slightly higher then a full truckload shipment it requires less overall cash to purchase one. So, if you have a shipment that is over 12 linear feet or 10,000 lbs a partial truckload is definitely worth getting a price on.

Longer Transit Times

Partial truckloads can have a longer door to door transit times then volume LTL or full truckload shipments. Often they take more time to cover the load then either a LTL shipment or full truckload shipment would. It really depends on the market.

Partial truckloads require finding a carrier that has space for your load and is delivering in the same direction. This process takes longer then finding an LTL carrier or full truckload carrier. Usually it takes 2-3 days to cover a partial vs LTL and full truckload that can be covered same day or next day.

Another reason for longer transit times, especially when compared to a full truckload, is the extra stops. Since you are sharing space with another shipper their shipment needs to be delivered to. This means as you go along the way there may be one or two extra stops and associated out of route miles that take up time.

Depends on the Market

I’ve mentioned a couple times, “depends on the market.” The market I am referring to is the the ratio of trucks (supply) and loads (demand) in any given area on any given day. In markets where there are more loads then trucks competition is high and there may be less trucks needing to “piece together” loads to make a full truck therefore a partial might take longer to cover. Or maybe there are not a lot of freight coming out of an area and the common LTL carriers offer volume discounts making their volume LTL service more competitive then what a truckload carrier will take a partial for. External factors like weather for example that cause major disruptions that through the normal supply and demand out of whack that impact prices in a different way.

The Bottom Line

Partial truckloads are a great way to save money and improve cash flow around mid sized shipments but it depends on the market and what common LTL carriers are willing to offer. To ensure you are getting the best price it is important to compare partial rates and volume LTL rates. To do this you must know the spot market, have a good system and relationships with a lot of partial carriers. Plus you need good contract rates with LTL carriers and a system to quote them fast. Without a good system and established relationships this can be very difficult.

Many shippers do not have this kind of infrastructure in place to find these solutions and prices fast enough. That is where we can really help. We have systems and relationships in place that allow us to get these prices quickly so you can take advantage of the best pricing in the market.

If you are shipping LTL and Truckload shipments reach out and see if we can help by emailing

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Dave Stevens

Dave Stevens

Transportation Executive with experience in developing processes and controls for early stage start up companies. Specialties include: Sales, Marketing, Transportation, Trucking, Brokerage, Project Transport and Rail Operations.,Organizational Design, Process Development, Accounts Receivable Management, Leadership, and Business Start-ups.

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