Learn the most common shipping terms

  • February 26, 2021
  • Blog

A shipping industry, especially the ocean or sea freight shipping has a detailed list of industry terms. These terms are used quite frequently and that’s why it’s important to understand then and what do they exactly mean?

  • What is a shipper?

A shipper is also called the consignor who is shipping the goods to its buyer or consignee. 

  • What is FTL (Full Truck Load)?

As the name suggests, FTL is for those shippers who are able to ship enough cargo that can fill one full trailer. Having a full truck load by a shipper is more comfortable because it reaches its destination faster when compared to LTL or Less than truck load.

  • What is LTL (Less than truckload)?

In this kind of cargo, a shipper is not able to fill the trailer, that is, the cargo falls short of the space required to fill a full truckload shipment. If a shipper has a LTL, then the cargowill take a much longer time to reach its destination because the empty space of the container will get filled by another shipper which means the container will have multiple stops, unloading and loading while heading to its destination. 

  • What is inbound freight?

Inbound freight denotes a shipment that is in-transit from a vendor destined to reach the facility or business or to a warehouse. A cargo from its origin heading to a warehouse to be stored is regarded as an inbound freight.

  • What is outbound freight?

Outbound freight describes freight that is leaving a warehouse or facility, heading towards its final destination. So if there was inbound freight that has been dropped at the warehouse, and next it’s being picked and moved from the warehouse to its final destination, it is referred to as outbound freight.

  • What is intermodal shipping?

When a shipment is shipped via two or more modes of transportation it is called intermodal shipping. In case freight cannot be shipped from one point to the final destination using a single mode, then it’s time to add one more mode of transport to get across the shipment to its destination. For example, ocean or sea shipping, air shipping and rail shipping certainly need an intermodal shipping model. From the pickup point, a truck is used via road to reach the port to load the shipment on to the carrier, similarly, when it reaches its destination, again a rail and then a truck might be required for the cargo to reach its final destination. 

  • What is flatbed hauling?

When a shipper has to transport a heavy freight or an unshaped load that is of huge weight and size and cannot get into an conventional truck, then a shipper uses a flatbed that has open sides and can be easily accessed while loading or unloading. 

  • What does BOL mean?

BOL is Bill of Lading, an important shipping document describing a contract between the carrier and the shipper. The BOL will contain all information about the shipper and the receiver, what are the items being shipped. Also, it will have carefully described things like what is within the shipment, where it’s headed and more. For more information, you can refer our blog: https://www.20cube.com/blog/the-significance-of-two-bills-of-lading-in-freight-forwarding/

  • What is a shipment number?

A shipment number is assigned as soon as the shipment is picked up by the carrier. The number helps the shippers to track where the freight is at any given point of time. 

  • What is a carrier?

A carrier is a company accountable for transporting the shipment from one destination to another and charging a fee for it. 

  • What is a blind load?

Blind load refers to those shipments wherein the receiver and shipper both are not known to each other, that is, the shipper does not know who the receiver is as well as the receiver does not know the shipper. In such cases, the actual origin of the shipment or the destination point of the shipment is concealed. 

  • What is a backhaul?

A backhaul is when a shipment that is returning. To understand, it means a return trip of any truck that has been transporting freight and now it is on its way back to the origin point, this is called a backhaul. Sometimes, a carrier might offer a discount during the backhaul in case they have freight during the return trip. 

  • What is cartage?

Cartage is the freight that is being shipped from one location to another within the same city or within the same location or area. 

Summing up

Even though there are more such terms involved in the freight shipping industry, the ones mentioned above are the important terms that are used quite frequently. These terms will help improve your vocabulary of the shipping terms and will get you the answers for specific information pertaining to the shipment.