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If you are using 3PL trucking companies for the transportation of your goods (e.g., B2B deliveries), you must be familiar with part truckload ptl mode of transportation and partial truck load pricing. Partial truck loading (PTL) is a road freight service for goods which do not occupy the entire capacity of a  truck. In general, when goods are too bulky to be sent through a courier service, or are in lesser volume the benefits of PTL shipping can be reaped for efficiency and pricing advantages.


But partial truckload shipping is not without its challenges and disadvantages, especially when compared with FTL and LTL freight transport systems. In this article, let us talk about how PTL shipment pricing is calculated, partial truckload companies, part truck load challenges and more, in detail.

Understanding partial truckload pricing

In PTL shipping, two or more companies share the truck load and accordingly pay for the logistics cost. The transportation charges are shared amongst shippers and each shipper only pays for the space occupied by them. PTL pricing strategy is designed to cater to businesses that don’t often have truck full load to transport or those businesses shipping smaller volumes of goods to specific locations.

Part truckload pricing strategy – How it works?

PTL pricing takes into consideration the volumetric weight of your pallesised shipment. So, if you are have to ship approximately 6 or more pallets, PTL is a suitable option.

Unlike LTL shipping, in PTL pricing, freight class is not taken into consideration (i.e., the class of goods/products being shipped is not taken into account during cost calculation). What matters are the dimensions of your pallets, the volumetric weight and the cost accordingly.

Partial truckload calculator 

If you want to calculate your PTL shipment cost, use the Shipping Rate Estimator on Tata nexarc’s Logistics. We have partnered with leading PTL service providers in India and provide secure shipments at competitive prices. Ship now.

To use our part truckload calculator for an estimate, visit:

  • Enter source and destination pincode (we deliver across 19,000+ pincodes)
  • Enter the total weight of your shipment and click on ‘Calculate’
  • Get the estimated rate and delivery timeline of your shipment

For specific rate calculation, log in to your Tata nexarc account and fill in details on box dimensions, category of goods and more. (For more information on partial truckload companies or any other, get in touch with us).

PTL pricing comparison – Know when PTL is cost-effective for you

It’s understandable that partial truckload PTL shipping is more economical than Full truck load (FTL), and more expensive than Less than truck load (LTL). So, how do you know when PTL is the right choice for your business?

Here is a price and delivery timelines comparison between PTL, FTL and LTL that explains when to work with partial truckload companies:

Overall pricing Expensive and costs more than PTL and LTL as the price for the entire truck has to be paid Cost effective when you do not have goods worth the full truck load to ship Most cost effective though delivery timelines cannot be guaranteed due to multiple stops
Goods classification Goods classification is done before loading and pricing set depending on the type of goods No goods classification is done and load is calculated using volumetric weight Goods classification is done
Delivery timelines Delivery timeline can be accurately predicted Delivery timeline window can be predicted with fewer stops Delivery timelines is usually longer due to multiple stops

Opportunities with Partial Truckload services

Here is how PTL can bring opportunities for your business.

Opportunities with PTL services

Consistent pricing

Shippers dealing with full truck load (FTL) know that shipment is classified into different classes depending on the type of product. This means that transporting fragile products is costlier than non-fragile products.

However, PTL pricing strategy may or may not have such classification of shipments. Pricing is usually consistent and as a shipper, you pay only for the load/space you will occupy within the truck.

Hence, it gives you an opportunity to save on logistics cost. A third option, less than truck load (LTL) might be a cheaper option, however, delivery timelines cannot be guaranteed as the truck will stop at multiple locations as compared to PTL.


As such, based on your requirements, choose between FTL, PTL and LTL services for your transportation needs.

Customer satisfaction

When you ship with partial truckload companies, you don’t have to wait for too long for the other half of the truck to be full. Route optimisation is a priority in half truckload shipments ensuring quick deliveries for customers. Moreover, since goods can be shipped soon, there’s little expense on additional storage and warehousing space.

As a result, deliveries happen faster, helping to achieve better customer satisfaction. Happier customer translates into more business and leads to growth.


PTL gives you flexibility to schedule deliveries as per your convenience. This works best for companies that need to move goods from their branches located at different locations. Based on the part truckload company you have selected, you can schedule pick-ups based on same-day, next-day, date-based or any other delivery system.

You can schedule a pick-up once the goods are ready to be dispatched and get it quickly moved to the desired location. Such flexibility can enable smoother operations for your business.

Challenges of PTL shipping in India

While partial truckload ptl has its advantages, it’s not devoid of challenges. Listed below ae some common PTL shipping challenges in India.

Transit time in PTL is uncertain

Although it is faster to ship your products through PTL shipping, uncertain transit time of PTL can be a challenge. Since you are not the only company to use the truck space, the shipment will make other halts, either for pick up or deliveries for other shippers. Hence, it is difficult to predict the transit time which in turn affects the delivery time. Though the estimated time of arrival provided are close in PTL logistics, there still remains some uncertainty and hence is not recommended in times when quick delivery is needed.

PTL is complex

PTL involves 2 or more shippers’ products at a time. Hence, PTL is complex, and requires some amount of planning. While booking, all parties need to specify correct dimensions and quantities of their shipments. Depending on the specifications provided, the carrier company arranges for the truck that can accommodate all shipments. Any miscommunication here can lead to errors and troubles.

In general, volumetric weight calculation for logistics is considered for PTL shipping, i.e., charges are calculated on the basis of following formula: Length x Width x Height (cm) / 5000

For example: If your load is about 100 cm (L) x 100 cm (W) x 90 cm (H) in dimensions, then, the volumetric weight of your shipment comes to 180 kg. Your logistics partner will charge you accordingly and on the gross weight of your shipment.

When to choose PTL for business?

As mentioned above PTL has its own pros and cons. You need select the right option for your business. The efficiency and costing advantages of PTL pricing is a huge advantage, which has gradually enabled its popularity especially among businesses with lesser goods to ship. Always conduct a logistics cost analysis first to make an informed decison.

Here are some of the tips that might help you choose right option.

  • If goods to be shipped match the full truck load, you choose FTL. It is the fastest option.
  • If the load to be transported is about half the truck load or less, PTL can be the preferred option.
  • If the goods to be transported are even lesser than PTL then, LTL would make a better sense.

In addition to the load, you also need to consider your delivery commitments to the customer and pricing.

Swati Deshpande

Swati is a passionate content writer with 6 years of experience crafting content for the business and manufacturing sectors, and helping MSMEs (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) navigate complexities in steel procurement, and business services. Her clear and informative writing empowers MSMEs to make informed decisions and thrive in the competitive landscape.