Different Types of Commodities Shipping and Factors That Determine Their Use

The world economy immensely benefits from freight shipping services. These services enable the transportation of goods from one location to the other where there is demand. This movement increases the value of such commodities. However, the goods need to reach the market in one piece and at a favorable cost to benefit you as a trader. Therefore, it will be best to understand the types of commodities shipping and the factors determining their use. 

Types of Commodities Shipping

The following are the types of commodities shipping used by top freight shipping companies. They differ in various ways, and you can use them to ship various types of goods. These shipping commodities are used by wholesalers, e-commerce entrepreneurs, dropshipping suppliers, manufacturing companies, and other businesses selling merchandise items, equipment, and machinery. 

Full Truckload (FTL)

Full truckload shipping is suitable for shipping commodities that take up a truck’s entire space. This freight type is best if you want the service provider to pack, seal, and deliver your goods directly to your destination. FTL is best for sheet metal shipping because of safety concerns, and the provider won’t need to repack it at any given point until delivery. In addition, this type of shipping is advantageous because of short carrier transit times due to delivery to an individual.  

The delivery time estimates are accurate since FTL shipments only have one destination. Therefore, it’s perfect when shipping time-sensitive goods, including perishables. This business shipment option is best when you have over ten pallets worth of items to ship or your freight is over 6,803kg.  

Less Than Truckload (LTL)

LTL is a commodities trucking option for shipments that can’t fill an entire truck. The freight company can consolidate your shipment with other goods to utilize the remaining space in the truck. This trucking option is cost-effective because you can share a truck with others. LTL is most suitable for lumber shippingif it exceeds the 72” limit for standard ground carriers. On the downside, this option requires patience due to long carrier transit times. 

LTL is suitable for businesses with freight shipments weighing below 6,800 kg. A protective measure to keep goods intact during shipment is consolidating them into palletized or crated packages.

Partial Truckload

A partial truckload is a hybrid of FTL and LTL. A freight company will use it if your shipment is too big for LTL but small for the FTL option. It’s affordable because you won’t pay for a trailer. Instead, the shipping company can use a dry van or a flatbed. A partial truckload is the most suitable for furniture shipping since you only pay for the weight capacity and the space your furniture occupies. 


A freight company will go for the intermodal option if your shipment requires two or more modes of transportation or is complex, like construction equipment shipping. This option uses railroad flattop trailers that can withstand up to 20,000kg of cargo. The intermodal freight option is capital-intensive due to the specialized types of equipment the service provider will need. 

The equipment often used in the intermodal shipping terminal includes forklifts, hostler trucks, straddle carriers, front-end loaders, and portainers or ship-to-shore cranes. Forklifts are basic terminal equipment. On the other hand, a portainer comes in various sizes, and this equipment is used for loading and unloading containerships. Another piece of equipment is the rail-mounted gantry, fixed intermodal equipment usually utilized for more than six to 10 rail tracks.

Factors that Determine the Type of Commodities Shipping

Freight shipping companies consider several factors to determine the options to use. Some of those factors include:

Number of goods

The number of goods will determine the option you will use. For instance, the number can help you choose the LTL in lumber shipping. This option will be effective if you are transporting a considerably small number. 

FTL is the best option for wholesalers and dropshipping suppliers when they’re shipping cargo from the manufacturing site to intended warehouses. Because they usually have a large number of goods and are time-sensitive to accommodate customer demands in a specific geographical area, FTL is advisable. 


The size of the commodity you are shipping also determines the option you go for. In the case of Sheet Metal Shipping, you have the option of using LTL; however, you have to use FTL if the sheet metal exceeds the maximum length of using LTL freight.


Weight comes into play to determine options for commodities like furniture shipping. The freight company you hire will use this option because pieces of furniture can be enormous for LTL but too small for FTL freight options. This choice will help you to only pay for the space your furniture occupies while in transit. 


How urgent you require the goods is also a freight option determinant. You need an option like FTL where the goods move directly to your destination, and an option like LTL that moves through different couriers before reaching is unreliable in this case. 

Nature of the goods

Highly perishable goods need to reach the market fast and in special vans. If you are transporting such, it will be best if you use a partial truckload where you can get freezer vans. In addition, such products require expedited shipping for timely delivery. 

Means of transport

Means of transport will also determine the freight option you will choose. For example, construction equipment shipping that requires a railroad and trailer will guide you into choosing intermodal. Using the other options can be challenging for this case due to the size of the equipment in transit. 

Value of the goods

The value of the good in transit should also guide you on the freight option. If the product is valuable, you will want to minimize the number of people handling it. Therefore, it will be best if you go for the FTL option. This freight option involves the shipping company and third-party service provider only hence secure.

The movement of commodities through freight shipping servicesplays in availing products in the market. But as a business person, you need the shipment to reach you in one piece for the value to be intact. You also need the most cost-effective option to break even. Therefore, it will be best to use the information you have read here to help you choose a suitable shipping option for your commodities.