FTL, LTL and Groupage. Knowing some basic transport terms

FTL, LTL και Groupage. Γνωρίζοντας κάποιους βασικούς όρους μεταφορών


The specialized language used by transport companies can sound cryptic to a layman. A classic categorization of freight transport is to call it FTL or LTL. But what do these acronyms mean? What are the main characteristics of these types of goods transport and what are their strengths? And above all, what differentiates them from a Groupage transfer?

FTL, LTL και Groupage. Γνωρίζοντας κάποιους βασικούς όρους μεταφορών

FTL (Full Truck Load)

The term defines a full load, i.e. a transport that makes the entire possible transport space of the vehicle available to the customer. This solution is particularly suitable for transporting bulky goods that travel in large quantities. It is therefore advantageous as the price is spread over a larger quantity of goods and it is also particularly fast in delivery since the route is directed directly from the collection point to the destination indicated by the customer. The only parameter that can affect the quantity/price ratio of an FTL shipment is the loading capacity of the vehicle. In fact, there are limits that regulate the maximum weight that can be loaded into the vehicle, which may vary depending on the country your products are transiting. Contact us for details.

LTL (Less than Truck Load)

This term is used for the transport of a significant amount of goods but occupying a part of the total capacity of the truck. The remaining space will be “filled” with the goods of other customers who will then share the same vehicle to optimize transportation costs. Therefore, the logic is to create a full FTL load but consisting of several LTL shipments – each belonging to a different customer. The main difference is the longer delivery times, as it will take time to find matching loads and since the transport will be subject to multiple loading and delivery points. Finally, and as a consequence of its very nature, pricing is variable as it will depend on the weight/volume of each individual shipment of goods and the combination of the various LTLs being bundled.


This term is used to describe a shipping method that groups and consolidates small shipments of goods from different shippers into a single shipment. The term is often used as a synonym for LTL by some carriers since they basically describe the same thing. Consolidation shipments are typically smaller in quantity than an LTL and weigh an average of no more than 2500 pounds. During its journey, the goods are subject to loading and unloading at consolidation points aligned to the final destination, while it is always possible to trace the exact location of each sub-load through a special tracking service. It is precisely this step-by-step strategy that allows the customer to obtain competitive and highly convenient pricing. On the other hand, precisely because of the transfers from one hub to another and depending on the number of storage steps required for the shipment, the delivery times may be slightly longer than those for direct deliveries.

We hope that with this information, it will be easier for you to make an informed choice and understand when to decide on FTL, LTL or Groupage shipping. However, there are special cases that may not be clearly separable by a precise dividing line. Panolympic has been in the transport industry for more than 38 years and our experts are always on hand to offer maximum support and help customers choose the most suitable and convenient solution in relation to the volume of goods, the time frame and the distance they will travel. Feel free to contact us for a free quote.