national carrier vs regional carrier benefits

Posted & filed under Dry Less-than-Truckload, Temp-Controlled LTL.

The LTL marketplace is currently full of excellent options for both regional and nationwide carriers.  Before we discuss the advantages and disadvantages of both, let’s first identify the difference between the two.


Distinguishing between National and Regional Carriers


Regional carriers service a specific, and often narrowly defined, service area such as the Northwest or Midwest. Regional carriers are typically restricted to lanes of 500 miles or less, though some may offer service for lanes up to 1000 miles. Regional carriers are often renowned for their knowledge of the unique geo-market they operate in. These carriers typically have equipment and facilities strategically positioned to take full advantage of the major shipping lanes within their respective service area.


Nationwide carriers provide LTL services from coast to coast.  These carriers are typically the largest transportation companies.  Carriers such as FedEx Freight, UPS Freight and YRC are traditional nationwide LTL carriers.  These carriers possess the capacity to go nearly everywhere domestically, and some even provide services to Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico!


Pros and Cons of Shipping with a Regional Carrier


Distance is a crucial factor.


Shippers moving product in lanes of 500 miles or less can take advantage of a regional carrier’s transit time, reduced handling, user friendly customer service and cost-effective pricing.  Regional carriers also have a better capability to reach remote customers in their service area due to their geographical specificity. Regional carriers may also bring a stronger sense of community to the customer experience because of their local emphasis.


Despite these excellent advantages, regional carriers may be hindered by their customer’s desire to move freight beyond their service region.  Endeavoring to provide service beyond their immediate area may create both tracking and handling issues that result in customer satisfaction challenges. Technological capability due to restricted resources also prove to be difficult for regional carriers.


Pros and Cons of shipping with a National Carrier


In comparison to regional carriers, national carriers are more resource laden. Their technology can be more cutting edge and provide advanced reporting capabilities to customers that require it.  Additionally, their equipment and driver pools are just more plentiful. This abundance in resources enables delivering with special equipment and handling more challenging destinations such as tradeshow venues and warehouses to be possible.


National carriers do have some notable disadvantages. Because they carry a greater overhead, their costs are inherently higher than regional carriers.  For a customer interested in exclusively saving money, a national carrier could present a challenge to bottom line savings. Additionally, the further freight moves, the more it gets handled and worn; consequently, the risk of damage can increase the aggregate cost.


The advantages and opportunities associated with regional and national carriers are varied. If a company has a small business area of operation, a regional carrier is the clear choice. If the customer has an expanded market base that requires unique solutions, then a national carrier is the perfect solution. Both options suit their respective circumstances.




The England Logistics Less-Than-Truckload (LTL) division can provide nationwide service for shipments of almost any shape or size. To bring simplicity to shipping processes, LTL offers a one-stop solution with the information needed to get shipments on the road. Dedicated team members are available 24/7 to ensure timely and cost-efficient delivery.