Basics of Freight

When you work in the freight world it is easy to get caught up in the jargon and forget that knowledge that seems basic isn’t for people who aren’t in the industry so here's a crash course into the truck freight world.

It's a new year, so it's a great time for a refresher course an all the basics of freight. 

Important Documents

Bill of Lading (BOL): a detailed list of the goods shipped in the form of a receipt given by the carrier to the person consigning the goods. The shipper should present this completed document to the carrier at the time of pickup.

Delivery Receipt (DR): Also referred to as a POD (proof of delivery). This is basically what it sounds like-- a receipt that confirms the delivery has been made. It will show date and time of delivery. It is also where the consignee should make notations if the freight is damaged or short.

Inspection Certificate: This is called different things sometimes. Weight & Research certificate or Weight and Inspection. These are all the same thing. This is a legal document that documents when a carrier changes the weight or class on a shipment.

PRO Numbers

PRO numbers are numbers assigned to shipments that are generally used for tracking. To learn more you can read this previous post covering PROs in more detail.

What is LTL and TL?

LTL stands for less-than-truckload. This is when a shipper only needs part of the space in a trailer, and will have their freight riding along with freight from other shippers too.

TL stands for truck load. Most trailers are 28 feet. This is used when freight takes up too much space to share with any other freight or weights over 15,000 pounds. It can be used when a shipper just wants to ensure their freight isn’t banging up against other crates, pallets or boxes. It may cost a little more upfront, but with certain kinds of freight it means there is less of a chance for damage to occur and may be worth it.

Understanding Payment Terms

These are terms you will notice on the BOL and the DR.

Prepaid - this means the charges are paid by the shipper

Collect - this means the charges are paid by the consignee aka recipient of the freight.

Third Party - Third party means someone who is not the shipper or the consignee is the one paying.

There is a lot to learn within the industry, but with this basic info you can feel confident contributing to the conversation or asking questions about freight.

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