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Are you tired of the endless stops and delays that come with Less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping? Are you in need of a transportation solution that is fast, efficient, and secure? If so, then it’s time to consider PTL in logistics for your business.


PTL or Partial Truck Load is a trade-off between Full truckload (FTL), and Less-than-truckload (LTL). It involves the transportation of goods on a single truck with other firms’ shipments added on the way. You can use partial truckload shipping for at least 4+ pallets or three-fourths of space on the truck. Generally, it ensures less handling and a lower risk of damage. It requires several stops meaning that transit time will be higher than FTL but lower than LTL.

On that note, let us take a look at the meaning of PTL in logistics, the challenges it can present, and the many benefits it can offer your business.

What is PTL logistics?

Partial truckload (PTL) is a type of road freight logistics that involves transporting goods that do not fill an entire truck but are too large or bulky to be shipped via parcel carriers. Partial truckload shipments can be a good option for businesses that need to ship large or palletised items, but do not have enough volume to fill an entire truck.

It is mainly used when the shipment only needs a part of the truck, and the remaining space is used by other firms’ cargo. That means when choosing a PTL logistics option you need to share your delivery truck with another company. And your shipment is on a single truck and will only be stopped for a limited time to unload the other company’s load. This will lead to minimal handling of your finished goods, ensuring the safety of the shipment.

PTL logistics involves coordinating the transportation of these goods and ensuring that they are delivered to their destination on time and in a good condition.

Note- A shipment must contain 5 to 14 pallets weighing between 5,000 and 40,000 pounds to qualify as a partial load.

How does PTL in logistics work?

Imagine a convoy of cargo trucks, each one carrying goods destined for different locations across the country. This is the essence of PTL freight logistics.

So, whether you’re a small business owner with a one-time shipping need or a large corporation with regular cargo to move, PTL freight may be the perfect fit for your shipping puzzle.

Here is a general outline of how PTL in logistics work:

  1. A business contacts a third-party logistics provider (3PL) to request a PTL shipment
  2. The 3PL works with the business to determine the pickup and delivery locations and the size and weight of the goods to be shipped
  3. The 3PL coordinates the pickup of the goods and arranges for them to be loaded onto a truck with other companies’ goods
  4. The truck is then dispatched to the delivery location, making any necessary stops along the way to drop off or pick up other companies’ goods
  5. Once the truck arrives at the delivery location, the goods are unloaded and delivered to the recipient

Overall, PTL logistics involves coordinating the movement of goods on a single truck with other companies’ goods, to maximise the use of the truck’s capacity and minimise shipping costs.

PTL vs FTL logistics in India

Let us understand what is FTL and PTL in logistics. Partial truckload (PTL) and Full truckload (FTL) logistics are common cargo requirements in India allowing businesses the flexibility to select their preferred mode of transportation.

A full truck load shipment means the entire truck is filled with a single consignment. While this gives the advantage of quick deliveries with no stoppages in-between, it also requires sufficient load for the truck to be full and start. FTL naturally is faster and more secure (as there is lesser scope of damages caused during loading and unloading) but can get expensive depending on the rates offered by the logistics partner. For MSME businesses, this is a suitable shipment and transportation option if they have bulk goods to ship within short timelines.

A partial truck load on the contrary refers to a truck with partial load. This means, as a business, if you do not have enough load for FTL shipments, you can get a part of the truck space for your load with PTL shipments. There will be other companies with whom the truck will be shared, leading to slow movement (multiple stoppages), higher chances of minor damages, but less expensive.

As a MSME owner, when you decide between FTL and PTL deliver, consider the following questions:

  • Are you shipping fragile or high-value items that require careful materials handling?
  • What are the timelines and cost comparison for the services?
  • How will the business be affected if there are delays or damages?
  • What is the route map and what vehicles are being used?
  • How many other shipments are there?
  • What are the best practices in the market?

Choosing the right fit: PTL vs LTL

Partial truckload (PTL) and less-than-truckload (LTL) logistics may seem similar at first glance. As they are both freight shipping methods that involve consolidating multiple shipments onto a single truck. However, they actually refer to two distinct types of transportation for goods.

Understanding the differences between PTL and LTL logistics can help businesses choose the most cost-effective and efficient option for their shipping needs. Here are some key differences between the two:


Comparison Basis    Partial Truckload (PTL) Less-than-truckload (LTL)
Size of shipment PTL is typically used for larger shipments that fill up at least three-fourths space of a truck. LTL is used for smaller shipments that do not require an entire truck.
Cost PTL is generally more expensive than LTL, as the customer is paying for the use of a partial truck rather than just a portion of the space on a shared truck. LTL is a less expensive option.
Transit time PTL shipments generally have faster transit time as the truck includes fewer shipments from customers than LTL and does not make as many stops. LTL shipments do involve a lot of transit time as they require more handling and processing.
Handling fees Typically, PTL shipments have fewer handling fees than LTL as the goods is not transferred between different carriers.


As LTL shipments are consolidated with other shipments before loading onto a truck, thus involving increased handling fees.
Flexibility PTL may often offer flexibility to accommodate special pickup and delivery requests and can provide more personalised service compared to LTL carriers. LTL offers greater flexibility in terms of shipping schedules, as the truck is making multiple stops and can accommodate last-minute or unexpected shipments.
Risk of damage PTL shipments generally have a lower risk of damage due to fewer handling and transfer points. LTL shipments are at a higher risk due to the additional handling and transfer between carriers.


When it comes to choosing the right logistics solution for your business, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of PTL and LTL. While PTL offers faster transit times and greater security, it may not be the most cost-effective option for smaller shipments. On the contrary, LTL is a more budget-friendly choice for smaller shipments but may have slower transit times and a higher risk of damage.

Ultimately, the best option will depend on your specific shipping needs and goals. By understanding the differences between PTL and LTL, you can make an informed decision that helps your business thrive.

PTL logistics in India: The way ahead

The Indian logistics industry is rapidly evolving, and Partial Truckload (PTL) logistics is one of the most sought-after services in the country. With the e-commerce and consumption-driven sectors driving the growth of PTL in logistics, it is set to play an important role in the transportation of goods and the overall economic growth of India. Here are a few things to explore deeper into the PTL logistics in India and understand the way ahead:

  1. In India, Partial truckload (PTL) logistics is becoming increasingly popular as a cost-effective and efficient way to transport large or palletized goods.
  2. The Indian logistics market is projected to reach $330 billion by 2025, with a growing demand for PTL and LTL logistics services (Source: Economic Times).
  3. PTL logistics in India offers several advantages such as cost savings, flexibility in terms of shipping schedules and routes, and minimal handling of goods, making it a preferred option for many businesses.
  4. The Indian government’s push for infrastructure development and the increasing adoption of technology in the logistics industry is also driving the growth of PTL logistics in India.
  5. It’s also worth noting that PTL logistics can help reduce the number of empty truckloads on the road, which can be beneficial for both the environment and the logistics industry.
  6. However, businesses should carefully evaluate their shipping needs and compare the costs and benefits of different logistics options before deciding whether PTL is the right choice for them. As India continues to develop and grow, PTL logistics is well-positioned to play an important role in the transportation of goods and the overall economic growth of the country.

Charul Nalwaya

Charul is a content marketing professional and seasoned content writer who loves writing on various topics with 3 years of experience. At Tata nexarc, it has been 2 years since she is helping business to understand jargon better and deeper to make strategical decisions. While not writing, she loves listing pop music.