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Shared Truckload: What it is and how it applies to partials and VLTL shipments

01.27.2019 | By Min Kim | 4 min. read

How to use shared truckload service to improve your partial and VLTL shipping experiences

How can shared truckload make your partials and volume less-than truckload (VLTL) shipments more efficient? Partials and VLTL are “in-between” shipping methods, larger than less-than truckload (LTL) shipments and smaller than truckload (TL) shipments. Partials and VLTL shipments leave space in the truck, which you can use shared truckload service to fill. Knowing the characteristics of each shipping method is crucial; there are key differences between how effectively, quickly, and cost-effectively they move your goods through the supply chain.

Read on to learn more about partial and VLTL shipping.

What are partials?

Partials are larger shipments that don’t fill a full truckload. They are a frequently used form of shipping, though the TL and LTL shipping modes are the most common. Truckload shipments are generally more than 10 pallets or more than 15,000 lbs. Less-than-truckload shipments are one to six pallets, or less than 4,000 pounds. Partials are in between these two sizes, weighing less than TL freight but more than LTL freight. For a shipment to qualify as a partial load, it must contain five to 14 pallets and weigh between 5,000 and 40,000 pounds. Since partials don’t fill a truck to capacity, carriers have space to add other items to the trailer. The size of your partial shipment determines its exact price. Typically, partials are more cost-effective than TL shipments. Partials don’t account for freight class, which can be advantageous for many shippers.

What is volume LTL?

Volume LTL shipments fall somewhere between standard LTL and partials. A volume LTL carrier moves five to 14  or more pallets, which either weigh more than 4,000 pounds or occupy 10-28 linear feet of space. Like partials, volume LTL shipments generally take up more space than LTL shipments; yet, they aren’t large enough to qualify as TL. Like partials, volume LTL shipments leave extra trailer space that carriers can potentially use to store other items. One fallback to VLTL shipments is that they travel through the hub-and-spoke system. The hub-and-spoke system involves frequent loading and unloading of freight, which can result in damage.

What is shared truckload?

Shared truckload combines multiple shippers’ freight onto one truck. Instead of moving shipments through the damage-prone hub-and-spoke system, shared truckload maximizes truck space by grouping shipments into one multi-stop shipment that fills a truckload. Flock Freight® is the only company that can guarantee shared truckload service at point of sale.

How does shared truckload compare to partials and VLTL?

If your shipment doesn’t fill an entire trailer, you can select shared truckload service as your preferred shipping method.

What are the benefits of shared truckload?
  • Less damage: Shared truckload service skips hubs and terminals entirely. One driver transports your freight and takes responsibility for it, minimizing the risk of damage.
  • On-time, every time: Shared truckload makes it possible to predict transit times and delivery appointments down to the hour.
  • Simplicity: Instead of having to deal with the nuances of partial and VLTL freight shipping, shippers who use shared truckload pay only for the space they use (without running into any hidden fees). Plus, they don’t have to worry about being hit with unexpected accessorials.
  • Cost savings: Shared truckload shipping provides essentially the same benefits as TL shipping — speed, accuracy, and less risk — for a fraction of the cost.
  • Eco-friendly: Shared truckload decreases your carbon footprint. Without all the extra stops, this mode reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 40%. 

Shared truckload prevents overconsumption of natural resources and helps you save on shipping costs at the same time.

Final thoughts

Understanding the differences between partial, volume LTL and shared truckload shipping is an important step toward choosing the best method for your business. Although there can be substantial cost differences between these three shipping modes, that isn’t where the differences end. You should consider how your freight will be treated, the possibility of facing accessorial fees, and the environmental impact of your shipping method before you make a decision about which mode to use.

Start shipping shared truckload with Flock Freight today.


Shared truckload helps you move partial and VLTL shipments without worrying about small- and large-volume cutoffs.