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An Outsider’s Guide to Complicated Freight Shipping Jargon

The freight shipping industry, like many others, is the birthplace of numerous terms that would typically bewilder those not familiar with the day-to-day business. While a full list of terminology would be far too exhaustive for this post, here are the top 12 most common phrases we hear almost every day at Freight Buddy.

1 . Accessorial Charges (also called Assessorial Charges)

Accessorial charges are any fees made for performing services beyond normal freight pickup and delivery, such as inside delivery, storage fees, waiting time, and fuel surcharges.

2 . Backhaul

In trucking, a backhaul generally refers to the return trip of a transport vehicle. Oftentimes they will offer brokers discounted rates to carry goods all or part of the way, since it costs only marginally more to haul a full truckload than an empty one.

3 . Bill of Lading (BOL)

A bill of lading is a required, binding document that serves as both a description of the content being shipped, and as a receipt for the goods delivered to the carrier.

4 . Carrier

Speaking of carriers, they are any individual or company that provides transportation services in exchange for payment. They rarely, if ever, come in the form of pigeons.

5 . Cartage

In what can only be assumed to be a combination of “cart” and “portage,” cartage is the term used to describe freight shipped to and from the same city or general area.

6 . Consignor/Consignee

If a shipment is sent via a delivery service, the sender is known as the consignor, whereas the final recipient (person or place) is the consignee.

7 . Freight Broker

A freight broker is an individual or company that arranges transportation services in order to ship goods. They may be independent, or work on behalf of the carrier or shipper. Freight Buddy is one of the premier freight brokers in the country.

8 . Full Truckload (FTL) Shipping

Full truckload shipping is when you have enough freight to fill an entire trailer. It is almost always faster than less than truckload shipping because the cargo is only going to the one location.

9 . Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW)

Gross vehicle weight is the combined weight of the vehicle (tractor and trailer) and all of its cargo.

10 . Intermodal

Intermodal shipping is when freight is moved by more than one mode of transportation on its way to the destination. Typically, this would involve the use of at least two of the following: truck, ship, plane, or train.

11 . Less Than Truckload (LTL) Shipping

Less than truckload, or less than load, refers to any freight that is too large for standard parcel shipping, but not large enough to fill up an entire trailer on its own. Freight Buddy specializes in LTL shipping to meet your every need.

12 . Progressive Rating Order (PRO) Number

The PRO is a ten-digit number assigned by the carrier once a shipment has been picked up. It is used to both track the progress of the freight and as an invoice number.

There you have it. Now that your vocabularies are sufficiently stretched, why not have an informed discussion with one of Freight Buddy’s knowledgeable and friendly staff? We’ll help you make your next shipment easier than saying “less than truckload” three times fast. For a toll-free quotation, or any general questions, give us a call at 800.578.6009.