Supply Chain

Unlocking Success In Trucking: 13 Key Freight Terms Every Professional Should Familiarize With

It is not unusual for industries to use industry-specific jargon, acronyms, and specialized terms. A number of industry-related terms can easily reach thousands when you consider the sheer size and scope of the supply chain sector, including logistics and freight transportation.

Fortunately, we won’t discuss all those thousands of terms, but rather outline the most common freight terms you’re likely to encounter when purchasing packaging for your products. Here’s a list of the most common freight terms.

TL or FTL – Truckload or Full Truckload

Generally, this refers to the amount of cargo required to fill a trailer to its maximum capacity. It could mean the total weight of the trailer (10,000 pounds), or the amount of cargo that can be physically carried.

LTL – Less Than Truckload

Generally, this is a type of shipment that does not require a full trailer. It is suitable for freight that weighs between 150 and 15,000 pounds. When shipping LTL, the shipper usually pays for the portion of the trailer that their freight occupies, and other shipments fill the unoccupied space.

OTR – Over the Road

In intermodal transportation, highway systems are used rather than local routes for shipping materials over long distances. Over the road refers to the mode of transportation for sending materials over long distances.

INT – Intermodal

Intermodal means that the transportation of your goods will use two or more different modes of transportation, such as truck and rail. ETA stands for Estimated Time of Arrival.

ETA – Estimated Time of Arrival

A freight shipment’s estimated time of arrival is exactly what it sounds like – the approximate time it will reach its destination.

BOL – Bill of Lading

The bill of lading is a legal document that is issued to a shipper by a carrier. Generally, the BOL must accompany the shipped goods, regardless of the mode of transportation. It details the type, quantity, and destination of the goods being carried. When the goods are delivered to their destination, it also serves as a shipment receipt. In addition to being signed by an authorized representative of the carrier, shipper, and receiver, it also serves as a shipment receipt.

POD – Proof of Delivery

This document confirms that the full shipment has been received at its destination.

FOB – Free on Board or Freight on Board

According to the Uniform Commercial Code, FOB stands for Free on Board and Freight on Board. It is a commonly used term to indicate the party responsible for loading and transportation costs of a shipment, as well as the point at which responsibility transfers from the shipper to the buyer. FOB Shipping Point or Origin means that the buyer is responsible for shipping costs and takes ownership when the goods leave the seller’s premises, while FOB Destination indicates that the seller covers shipping costs until the buyer receives the shipment.


A consignee is a business or individual that receives the shipment.

Collecting freight

As soon as the goods are received, the person receiving the shipment will pay the freight cost.

Some Other Logistics/Freight Terms Worth Knowing

DOT – Department of Transportation

This is the federal department within the United States that’s responsible for safety on our national highways, airlines, and railways.

FMCSA – Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

FMCSA is the federal department inside of the DOT that regulates the trucking industry.

3PL – Third Party Logistics

The term refers to a wide range of outsourced logistics services, such as procurement, transportation, warehousing, assembly, kitting, repackaging, and more.

Wrapping It Up

Although there are a lot of terms used in the logistics industry, knowing the acronyms and industry-related terms above will help you look like a pro when you’re working with vendors in your supply chain. Hopefully, this list will help you make sense of the common terms you probably see on partner paperwork and supplier deliveries.

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