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 or prior knowledge to industry terminology . While the list is long, there are a handful of terms that seem to be asked again and again. In this blog, we’re answering 12 questions about common shipping terms.

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. Freightquote works with the most experienced carriers in the industry to transport your cargo safely. Learn where to get a free quote.


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.


11. What is full truckload shipping?

Full truckload shipping is for shippers that have enough cargo to fill an entire trailer. Full truckload shipping is typically faster than less than truckload shipping because the freight is only going to one destination. Learn more about full truckload shipping


12. What is intermodal transportation?

Intermodal transportation is when two or more modes of transportation will be carrying your freight from pick up all the way to delivery. Intermodal methods of transportation typically refer to the use of a train, boat, plane, or truck shipping. Learn more about intermodal transportation


For a more in depth look into common freight shipping terms and definitions, check out our freight shipping terminology page. We do our best to answer all of your freight shipping questions and provide you with the information you need to make informed decisions about your chosen carrier. 


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