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Full and Partial Shipments

we arrange both

You can choose the size of the equipment you want us to provide, so…

How full is “full”

National and provincial/state laws regulate trucks’ total size and weight. Allowing for the size and weight of the truck itself, the effect of these laws is to limit the maximum size and weight of the cargo that can be carried on a truck.

For practical size and weight limits for shipment planning purposes, see size & weight limits

If your freight is at or very close to either the practical size limit or the practical weight limit, or both, then you have a full-truck-load (FTL) shipment.

If your freight is close to neither the size limit nor the weight limit, then you have a less-than-truckload (LTL) shipment. (But, for reasons described below, you might still choose to
purchase the use of the entire truck.)

Full Truckload Shipment (FTL)

An FTP Consumes Either:

  • All of a truck’s practical cargo weight allowance
  • All of a truck’s practical cargo space allowance
  • Both

The carrier has no remaining weight or space allowance, and cannot add other freight to the truck.

We arrange for the customer to be able to use the entire truck, from origin to destination.

There are also reasons why a customer may choose to move a shipment as a full load, even though the shipment is not physically a full load:

  • The shipment is loaded in such a way or destined to such a location that the addition of other freight is physically or operationally impractical;
  • The shipment is of such a size that there would be no significant financial benefit to be gained by either the carrier or the shipper adding other freight;
  • The characteristics of the shipment are such that it could either be damaged by, or could cause damage to, co-loaded freight (e.g., the freight is odiferous);
  • For its own private reasons, the customer does not want any additional freight put on the truck, and is willing to pay for the use of the entire truck (this is called “Exclusive Use”: Copper Run always specifies Exclusive Use on FTL shipments);
  • The customer wants, and is willing to pay for:
    • The faster transit times;
    • The reduced handling / risk of delay or damage;
    • The independence from others’ border delay issues that are automatic benefits of FTL service.

When choosing a full-load-truckload shipment, the customer is assigned the use of the entire truck, and
is charged for the use of the entire truck. The customer also has the option, and should always choose
the option, to seal the truck, to protect the shipment while it is en route.

Partial Shipment / Less-Than-Truck-Load (LTL)

An LTL Consumes Both:

  • Only a portion of a truck’s practical weight allowance
  • Only a portion of a truck’s practical space allowance

The carrier is free to load as much other freight on the truck as will fit within the applicable legal weight and space limits.

The customer pays only for the portion of the weight or space allowance (whichever is greater) that its own cargo requires, regardless of whatever other freight the carrier may or may not put on the truck.

A comparison: FTL vs LTL

Each has its own cost and price structures, transit times, and pros and cons. For example:

Full Loads:

  • move directly from shipper to receiver, so they feature shorter en route transit times,
    which usually means earlier delivery dates;
  • travel alone on their truck, so they do not have to wait while other freight is loaded after they are loaded, or is delivered before they can be delivered;
  • travel alone on their truck, so they are immune to possible damage that might be caused by other freight;
  • travel alone on their truck, so they are immune to possible weight, paperwork or border delays that might caused by other freight;
  • are rarely handled en-route, so the risk of loss or damage is minimized (they are almost always delivered on the same van/trailer they were picked up on);
  • can, and should, be sealed, so their en-route security is intact;
  • feature lower unit shipping costs, as measured on a per piece or pound basis.

Partial Loads:

  • save cost for small shipments, but their unit shipping costs can be much higher
  • may offer net cost savings when:
    • minimizing total shipping cost is critical;
    • transit time and delivery date are not critical;
    • unexpected delays can be easily tolerated;
    • the freight and its packaging are robust, so handling damage is unlikely.

Based on these comparative factors, Copper Run can help to match your shipping choice with your shipping priorities.