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How to Choose Between LTL and STL Shipping

25 Jan 24
How to Choose Between LTL and STL Shipping

Making an informed decision between Less-Than-Truckload (LTL) and Small-Truckload (STL) shipping options presents a considerable challenge for businesses seeking to strike a harmonious balance between the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of their supply chains. As the largest small truck network in the United States, offering STL services tailored for time-sensitive, fragile, or high-value shipments, we understand these complexities like nobody else in the shipping business. In this blog, we're dedicated to going above and beyond, employing all our expertise and knowledge to provide you with valuable insights on choosing the right shipping method to align with your business needs and requirements.

When to Choose LTL Shipping

LTL shipping works best in the following cases:

  • Versatile Load Sizes

LTL delivery is an excellent choice when you ship something of various sizes. Whether you are shipping a small load or a larger one that doesn't require an entire truck, LTL can accommodate your needs. This flexibility is particularly advantageous for businesses with varying shipping schedules. Instead of waiting until you have a full truckload, you can ship your products as soon as they are ready, minimizing storage costs and transit times.

  • Products with Low Sensitivity to Handling

LTL shipments often involve multiple handling and consolidation points. This means your goods can be loaded and unloaded several times before reaching their final destination. If your items are well-packaged, have longer lead times, and are not prone to damage during frequent handling, LTL is your ideal cost-effective option. 

  • Maximum Cost-Efficiency Is Essential

When it comes to cost-effectiveness, LTL shipping offers a significant advantage. By combining multiple shipments from different shippers onto a single truck, you can reduce per-unit shipping costs. This is especially beneficial for smaller businesses that don't have enough volume to fill an entire truck. LTL allows you to share the costs with other shippers, making it an economical choice.

The Advantages of STL Shipping

STL shipping offers a blend of advantages, including the following:

  • Time Sensitivity

If your cargo demands punctuality and cannot tolerate the complexities of multiple handling or consolidation points, STL is your shipping method of choice. With STL, you get dedicated space on a truck, meaning your goods won't be loaded or unloaded until they reach their final destination. This minimizes the risk of damage and ensures that your products reach the customer on time.

  • Unbeatable Handling and Care

STL stands out as the optimal choice for shipping fragile and high-value items that necessitate specialized handling and meticulous attention. By securing a dedicated route with minimal handling, your valuable cargo is significantly less susceptible to damage during its journey. This is particularly important for businesses dealing with electronics, artwork, or medical equipment.

  • Cost-Effectiveness

Contrary to the common misconception, STL shipping can be the most cost-effective solution for businesses dealing with sensitive cargo. Instead of renting the entire space of an expensive semi-truck, your shipment is transported in small commercial vehicles with lower fuel consumption and maintenance costs, like cargo vans, box trucks, or straight trucks. This leads to substantial cost savings while ensuring the safety and security of your valuable goods.

Overall Benefits of Choosing STL Over LTL

The benefits of choosing STL over LTL are substantial, especially for businesses shipping time-sensitive, fragile, or high-value products. Unlike the LTL method with its shared truck space, STL offers dedicated space travel, which minimizes handling and consolidation points, reducing the risk of damage and ensuring on-time delivery. This level of reliability is invaluable when it comes to sensitive and fragile cargo.

Furthermore, the adoption of STL not only presents evident benefits of dedicated space travel but also allows for significant cost savings without compromising the level of care and attention you anticipate when using a full-scale semi-truck. The cost-effectiveness, efficiency, and peace of mind that comes with dedicated space travel is never achieved with any LTL model, making STL shipping a game-changer for businesses seeking to optimize their logistics and elevate their shipping experience.

At Expedite All, the largest small truck network in the United States, we understand the clear benefits of integrating STL services into your delivery routing, resulting in substantial financial gains and an enhanced reputation for your company. With a well-established history of securely and efficiently transporting time-sensitive, delicate, and valuable goods, we're ready to assist you in seamlessly incorporating STL services into your shipping processes. We're here to lead you into a realm of affordable yet incredibly efficient and secure shipping solutions.

Conclusion

The decision between LTL and STL shipping is not one to be taken lightly. Both options offer unique advantages that can significantly influence the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of your logistics operations. Thus, LTL shipping is a good choice for businesses dealing with versatile load sizes and products that are less sensitive to handling. Conversely, STL shipping is ideal for time-sensitive, fragile, or high-value goods that require dedicated space travel and minimal handling. If the latter criteria are crucial, adopting STL in your shipping strategy is a well-informed decision. With our reliable network of smaller trucks optimized for transporting time-sensitive, fragile, or high-value freight, combined with our expertise in logistics, we can seamlessly incorporate STL shipping into your delivery model.

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