Freight 101 Library

Using a 3PL for FTL and LTL Transport: Services, Benefits & Companies

Third-Party Logistics, or 3PL, can provide your business with FTL or LTL trucking for efficient supply chain management. Here’s what you need to know. 

Most small and medium-sized businesses use trucks to transport their products to their final destination once the goods have been imported. 

The cost of transporting these items depends on various factors, such as the weight and quantity. These determine what  shipping method is best for a specific shipment. 

For some businesses, hiring an entire truck is necessary either due to the storage requirements – for example in the case of perishable goods – or because the quantity of goods fills a whole truck. On the other hand, some businesses may be able to split trucking capacity to save money. 

Let’s explore how FTL and LTL shipping can make a difference to your company’s bottom line. But first, lets look at 3PL service providers, many of which can coordinate FTL or LTL shipments on your behalf. 

What is 3PL? 

3PL stands for third-party logistics. 3PL companies provide comprehensive logistical support, mainly for small or medium-sized businesses that don’t have the logistics infrastructure to fulfil orders independently. 

Working with a 3PL company gives you greater flexibility since the way 3PL providers operate is to adapt to your business’ changing requirements. When it comes to trucking services, most 3PLs can offer both FTL and LTL. 

Let’s dive into what FTL and LTL shipping is and what these terms mean to your business. 

How Does FTL and LTL Shipping Work? 

FTL stands for a full truckload. FTL shipping means your business will hire a full truck and use its total capacity to transport your inventory directly to its destination without any stops. 

FTL shipping is a good idea when you need to transport large volumes of inventory at once and if you need to meet a deadline. However, there is a high cost associated with hiring an entire truckload. If you are shipping smaller quantities LTL is a better alternative. 

LTL stands for less than truckload. In other words, your business does not require the entire truck’s capacity to transport your inventory. LTL means sharing capacity with other shipments. This is more cost-effective than hiring an entire truck that you don’t need. 

Shipping LTL means only need to pay  for the space your items take up, not the whole truck. However, you need to take into account that LTL shipping takes longer than FTL and the truck may have multiple stops along the way. 

You also need to keep in mind that LTL shipping entails that your goods will likely be handled and repacked many times during the journey, which can increase the risk of damages. 

3PL FTL and LTL Shipping Services and Benefits 

Both FTL and LTL shipping have their benefits and drawbacks, but the most important thing to remember is that you don’t need to figure it out alone. Working with a 3PL service provider can help you decide what would work best for your business needs and how make the most out your chosen shipping method. 

3PL companies provide their clients with numerous advantages when using either of these shipping methods. First of all, 3PL companies can provide better rates than most small business owners would be able to secure independently. This is because 3PLs frequently negotiate their own unique LTL and FTL rates directly with carriers. 

Plus, using a 3PL for fulfillment, including for FTL or LTL shipping, can help you streamline your distribution and reduce errors. Leverage the 3PL provider’s expertise to gain insight into potential gaps in your supply chain while keeping your goods moving smoothly – regardless of the quantity of inventory you are shipping. 

Top 3PL Companies for FTL and LTL Freight Shipping Services 

  • RedStag 

Based out of Knoxville, Tennessee in the US, RedStag is dedicated to providing its customers with cutting-edge and creative solutions to their logistical challenges. RedStag focuses on eCommerce logistics services – and in fact the company was an eCommerce business before relaunching as a full-fledged 3PL. 

RedStag is a third-party logistics provider with strategically located warehouses on both coasts serving the whole United States and offers a full suite of services for managing your company’s logistics. 

  • Shipwire 

Modern logistics firm Shipwire provides cutting-edge solutions to challenging logistical issues for a wide range of clients. The organization stands out from the competition partly because it provides end-to-end solutions for all facets of logistics. 

Through its network of fulfilment facilities, which extends throughout North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific, Shipwire is equipped to access new markets while reducing freight costs and delivery times. 

  • Fulfillrite 

If you’re looking for a modern logistics partner who is adept at leveraging the most recent technologies to provide value, Fulfillrite is the ideal 3PL service provider for you.  Fulfillrite focuses on order fulfilment and will deliver your goods anywhere in the US in only one day! 

How to Find the Best 3PL for Your Business 

If you want to provide the most outstanding customer service and ensure that your customers have a positive experience, hiring a reputable, full-service 3PL supplier is a good idea. 

These companies provide a variety of services to benefit your business and keep your goods shipping smoothly. Some important services offered by most 3PL providers inlcude ground transport management – including LTL and FTL trucking, order fulfillment, and warehousing. 

If you are looking to hire a 3PL to handle your FTL or LTL transport requirements,  check that this is a provided service. Don’t forget to check out online reviews from previous customers to make an educated decision about which provider to go with. 

LTL and FTL Shipping with a 3PL Provider: FAQs 

  • What are the advantages of using a 3PL? 

Working with a 3PL provides you with access to the most advanced integrated technology and supply chain management systems, which you may not be able to access on your own. Plus, 3PL companies often negotiate lower bulk rates and pass these saving on to you.

  • Can 3PLs help you grow your consumer base? 

A 3PL provider works with a group of partners, such as shipping companies and other freight management firms, to guarantee that you can access new markets or expand your customer base with scalable transport, fulfilment, and warehousing solutions. 

  • Can 3PLs help you decrease business risk? 

By delegating your company’s logistics, you can reduce employee security concerns as well as the financial burden of building and operating a comprehensive logistics infrastructure.

  • Is a 3PL? 

No. is an online platform for comparing, booking and managing international freight. But you can ship directly to a 3PL fulfillment center or warehouse when booking freight on

  • How many 3PL warehouses are there? 

In the United States alone, there are over 14,000 third-party warehouse businesses.

To learn more about 3PL check out our other guides including (3PL) Third Party Logistics Providers, How Does 3PL Work, and Third-Party Fulfillment.

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