What are the most common freight shipping terms?

Shipping terms

Similar to most industries, there are terms used in freight shipping that might befuddle those without experience. While the list is long, there are a handful of terms that stand out.

With this in mind, we have put together a list of ten common freight shipping terms and definitions:


1. What is inbound freight?

Inbound freight is the term used to define a shipment that comes from a vendor to a business or facility, like a warehouse.


2. What is outbound freight?

On the flip side, outbound freight describes shipments that leave warehouses or other facilities.


3. What is LTL freight?

Less than truckload, or LTL, is a freight mode for shipments larger than parcel or small package but short of the space required of a full truckload shipment. The freight is typically moved by common carrier.


4. What does BOL stand for in shipping?

BOL stands for bill of lading, which is the document that typically serves as a contract between the shipper and carrier. In this document, all aspects of the freight shipment (what is being shipped, to whom and more) are carefully described. Learn more about BOL


5. What is a PRO number in shipping?

The PRO number is assigned by carriers once a shipment has been picked up to help shippers track the progress of their freight. This is known as the standard tracking number in the freight shipping industry.


6. Who is a carrier in shipping?

Any company or individual that transports freight for a fee is considered a carrier.


7. What is bulk freight?

Freight is typically contained within packages or containers during the shipping process. Many types of freight, particularly certain raw materials, commodities or goods that are not packaged are referred to as bulk freight.


8. What is a blind shipment?

A shipment where the shipper and receiver remain anonymous to one another, or the actual origin or destination of the shipment is masked, is a blind shipment.


9. What is a back haul in freight shipping?

The return trip of a truck transporting cargo or freight is generally referred to a back haul. It may be a return to the origin of the freight hauled in which the carrier is willing to offer a discount to secure freight for the trip.


10. What is cartage?

Cartage is the term used to describe freight that ships to and from a location within the same city or area.


We hope you’ve enjoyed this latest installment of our FAQ freight shipping series. Look for us to answer more of your questions in the near future!


Do you have a shipment to book?

Get Free Quotes

Image Credit: https://www.istockphoto.com/portfolio/alexdans