What is partial truckload shipping?

Get Free Quotes

Partial truckload definition.

Partial truckload is a freight mode for large shipments that may not require the use of a full truckload trailer.

Partial truckload falls between LTL and full truckload, typically involving shipments over 5,000 pounds or 6 or more pallets.

Partial truckload shipments do not require a freight class in order to secure a rate, involve less handling, and result in faster transit times.


Benefits of partial truckload shipping.

Partial truckload is a good option for shippers looking for a cost-effective shipping solution that falls between LTL and full truckload. Benefits of partial truckload include: 

  • One truck: Partial truckload shipping allows your freight to stay on one truck for the duration of transit. When only one truck is involved, the freight is loaded and unloaded one time, which means less handling and faster transit times than LTL.
  • No freight class is required: Freight class is not required for partial truckload shipping, which can help you avoid extra charges associated with freight re-classification if you happen to get it wrong. 
  • Less freight handling: When freight is handled less, the chance for damage is reduced. Partial truckload can be ideal for shipments susceptible to damage during loading and unloading.


When to choose partial truckload.

  • Low density freight: If your freight is light but takes up a lot of space, partial truckload may be a better option than LTL.
  • Fragile freight: Partial truckload is a good option if you are concerned about freight damage. Less handling decreases the odds of cargo being damaged during transit.
  • Lower costs: With partial truckload, you pay for the space and weight capacity you use.


Common partial truckload shipping questions.

  • When should you choose partial over LTL? If your shipment is over 5,000 pounds or 6 pallets, partial truckload shipping may be more a cost-effective option. Additionally, LTL is based on freight class, which can drive up costs on shipments that take up a significant amount of space but are low density.
  • Do I need to know exact dimensions? Yes. Exact dimensions are a must. Before a carrier accepts a partial shipment, they’ll need the exact dimensions to ensure the freight will fit on the trailer. 
  • Is partial truckload faster than LTL? Yes, typically. With partial truckload, cargo stays in one trailer, there are fewer stops at freight terminals, and there is no LTL cross-docking, resulting in faster transit times. 
  • How do I know if partial truckload is my best option? Freightquote by C.H. Robinson offers free, real-time quotes to help you find the best shipping option. If you are unsure of your exact needs, our team of experts will work with you to figure it out.


Freight shipping resources.


Do you have a shipment to book?

Get Free Quotes

Get Your Shipping Quote

Partial truckload freight services.

Find a partial truckload option that fits based on your budget, transit or handling requirements.

Learn The Advantages

LTL freight shipping.

Choose from hundreds of contract carriers with our self-service online tools or work directly with a freight expert.

Uncover Leading Service

Truckload freight shipping.

Easily ship your refrigerated, flatbed and dry van freight with our large network of contract carriers and the guidance of our freight professionals.

Explore Our Network