Difference Between LTL Shipping and Parcel Shipping

Difference betweem LTL Shipping and parcel shipping - ProConnect Logistics

For a long time, LTL shipping has been the driving force of the shipping industry. Recently, however, parcel shipping has become a lucrative option for shippers whose freight does not exceed 60 kgs. Because they are similar, it may be difficult to understand which option best suits your needs.

The main difference between parcel shipping and LTL shipping starts with size. Parcels, are usually small in size – they can be easily lifted without assistance, are easier to ship, and also can be shipped in bulk large quantities. LTL packages are large, so they are usually packed in pallets, which are less likely to be damaged and require fewer inspection points. In this article, we will delve into these two modes of shipping.

What is Parcel Shipping?

Historically, parcel shipping has involved packages that weigh less than 60 kgs and can be lifted without assistance. Since this means that the package is usually smaller than the LTL transport handle, this process has both benefits and obstacles.

– Shipping a parcel usually has a higher risk because the package may be lost or damaged due to its size. For the same reason, more checkpoints and possible transfers are involved.

– More checkpoints are an advantage for parcel companies because buyers can track their goods more closely. If you want to ship some smaller and lighter packages, package delivery is a cheap option.

– Another advantage of parcel shipping is to arrange a pickup. If you don’t want the driver to come to your location, you can use parcel delivery. Many parcel carriers offer delivery option to locations that are usually open during normal business hours. This can be ideal if you don’t want trucks to come to your business location or if they are not permitted at your location.

What is LTL Shipping?

Unlike parcel shipping, LTL shipping usually handles larger packages. This means that sometimes large items with unique shapes can find a way through LTL transportation.

– LTL cargo is usually packed in pallets and stored in a non-damaged space, thus offering lower risk options to shippers. Its size brings fewer checkpoints, which can work in favour of some shippers.

– The number of checkpoints are lower, which also means that the number of people handling packages is also lesser, so the overall probability of loss or damage is lower.

– Ultimately shippers who have more cargo than the parcel service can handle will eventually choose LTL transportation because they usually don’t have enough cargo to opt for an entire truckload. Even if the box is small and light, LTL transportation allows you to transport more items to one place while saving package transportation costs.

LTL Shipping v/s Parcel Shipping – Differences

While there are some obvious differences between LTL shipping and parcel shipping that we’ve covered, here are some other differences as well –

1. Risk and loss of shipment – With parcel shipping, the chance of a parcel being lost or damaged is greater than that in LTL shipping. Less-than-carload goods are usually placed on pallets and placed in spaces designed to prevent damage to the goods. The volume of package transportation is small so larger packaging can be carried out. Although this is a good reward, it may lead to a higher risk of loss or damage.

2. Tracking and checkpoint – Another major difference between parcel shipping and LTL shipping is ease of tracking. Packages pass through multiple different checkpoints, so package carriers update their shipping locations more frequently than LTL shipping. On the other hand, fewer checkpoints can improve the security of LTL. LTL also supports skipping zones and regions, allowing the sender to avoid the cost of crossing multiple regions in one trip. Essentially, the fewer checkpoints and transshipments that goods must pass through, the safer the goods will be.

3. Better Cost Advantage –  The cost advantage of shipping parcel comes from the higher capacity it provides. Since LTL cargo are larger, they take up more space and result in slightly higher prices, which is not always an advantage of parcel shipping. The parcel carriers have their own set of defined additional fees. Changing of delivery days may incur additional cost in parcel shipping, whereas delivery address may cost you more to transport the package, and the LTL carrier may charge you for not having a loading dock.

ProConnect Integrated Logistics for LTL Shipments

It is important to understand the basic differences between LTL and parcel shipping, to determine which option would be better for your freight. ProConnect Integrated Logistics can help you understand which of the two modes could be better for you. Our previous article shares key information about FTL and LTL, in case you are looking for more in-depth information on LTL shipments.

If you have a shipment query, contact us for a competitive quote today.

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