You have to know the lingo.

As with most industries, there are certain words and phrases that are specific to what they do.

Expedited shipping is no different.

While it may seem trivial, it’s important that you understand how to talk the talk so that you can get the services you need when time is short and you’ve got an emergency.

Here are the most common terms (and what they mean) you’ll hear in the freight shipping world.

1. Backhaul

When a truck reaches its destination, unloads and then reloads with new cargo to return to the original starting point.

Basically, the truck is going from Point B to Point A with a new shipment.

2. Bill of lading

You may see bill of lading referred to as BOL.

It’s a document that acts as a contract between the shipper and the carrier.

This record goes into detail about all the different aspects of the expedited shipment, including what’s being shipped, to whom and more.

3. Blind shipment

The shipper and receiver are anonymous to each other.

The origin and destination are also kept hidden.

4. Bulk freight

Goods that aren’t packaged into containers.

5. Carrier

Any company (or individual) that transports freight for a fee.

6. Cartage

Shipments that go from one place to another within the same city or general area.

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7. Embargo

Any event that prevents a shipment from being delivered.

While the term is often used for international situations, it also applies to weather events that affect deliverability, such as floods or tornadoes.

It can also refer to something as simple as traffic congestion that prevents a shipment from being accepted.

8. Flatbed hauling

This type of truck is commonly used for shipping items that are heavy, uniquely shaped or too big for a dry van.

It can also apply to cargo that requires open sides during loading and unloading.

9. FTL

If shippers have enough freight to fill an entire truck, it’s referred to as Full Truckload (FTL).

It’s the best option for expedited shipping because it’s only going to one destination with no stops.

10. Inbound freight

A shipment that comes from a vendor to a business or another facility, such as a warehouse.

11. Intermodal transportation

When two or more methods of transportation are used to ship your cargo.

It usually refers to trains, boats, planes and trucks.

12. Linehaul

The route your emergency shipment takes from its origination to its destination.

This is also used to calculate mileage because most carriers will charge per mile.

13. LTL freight

Less Than Truckload (LTL) shipments are typically more than a small package but not big enough to make up a full truckload.

14. No-touch service

Sometimes it’s necessary to put certain freight in a sealed trailer. Once it’s loaded and the doors are closed, it shouldn’t be handled again until it reaches its destination.

A seal is placed on the closed door as a guarantee that it hasn’t been opened.

15. Outbound freight

Shipments that are leaving warehouses or other facilities.

16. PRO number

Once a shipment has been picked up, it’s assigned a number so that the shipper can track where their expedited freight is at any given time.

You may also hear it referred to as a standard tracking number.

17. Step deck

Also known as a drop deck.

A step deck looks like a flatbed but the bed is closer to the ground.

These types of trailers are used for tall freight to remain within the legal height limits for traveling on the road.

Talk the expedited shipping talk

You don’t have to be an expert.

But understanding the language of expedited shipping will help you to make better-informed decisions for your emergency needs.

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