Partial load refers to a load which only partially uses the available freight space of the means of transport. The English term LTL “Less-than-Truck-Load” has become established for a truck part load and LCL “Less-than-Container-Load” for a container part load. A partial load is often determined by the size of the consignment or by the corresponding transport requirements, such as the prohibition of reloading sensitive goods.
As a rule, attempts are made to combine the loading capacities still available with other, suitable part loads or to handle a groupage transport. In this way, the entire transport can be made more economical. Combined part loads are more time-consuming than full load transports. Additional distances and waiting times arise during loading, reloading and unloading. Partial load traffic is therefore unsuitable for time-critical, urgent consignments, so that these are usually handled as full loads in order to achieve a short transport time.
Classification of shipments
A necessary and regular process step in the handling of shipments is the inspection of the freight and the determination as which type of shipment it can or must be handled. This is because not every shipment that leaves loading capacity free in terms of volume or weight can be handled as a part load. The goods can also be transported as general cargo in a groupage shipment. In this case, the general cargo is collected from the respective shipper in a preliminary run with other general cargo, combined into groupage loads in corresponding logistics hubs and finally unloaded as general cargo at the respective recipient in a subsequent run. Transportation as groupage freight is more cost-efficient than transportation by part load, which usually involves reloading.