Deciphering Freight Terminology

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confused-man1Okay, so you bought a forklift online.  Congratulations!  Your next step is more than likely moving it to your location.  Chances are you have never had to worry about moving a piece of equipment that weighs several tons across a state, country, or the world!  Luckily National Warehouse moves thousands of forklifts, batteries, or attachments every year.  We have a good idea of how to move heavy equipment great distances as affordable as possible.  Do not hesitate to ask us.

That being said, it is a good idea to have some general knowledge about freight.  I have written articles about freight in the past that I will reference at the bottom, but this post will define some of the more commonly used industry lingo.  Most freight brokers will throw these terms out without thinking that the average Joe has NO idea what they mean!  Hopefully this list is helpful next time you need to move a forklift, but remember National Warehouse is always happy to help.

Freight Terminology

LTL or Less-Than-Truckload – this acronym is more commonly used than the full phrase which is unfortunate because “less-than-truckload” is awfully tough to misunderstand.  In even simpler terms, LTL is usually used when moving machines or equipment on pallets.  A truck will pick up the piece(s), take to a regional hub or distribution center, then the equipment is sorted and put on a truck that will go a hub close to the destination.  From there it is typically delivered on another truck.  As you can imagine, moving equipment LTL can take a little longer than normal, but it is most economical way to move a pallet of batteries, a forklift attachment, or even pallet jacks.truck

Linehaul – the term for the distance traveled between hubs or terminals on an LTL shipment.

Partial – similar to an LTL shipment, a partial does not require the entire truck or trailer.  However, the difference between a partial and LTL is that the partial does not require stopping to sort at a hub.  A partial will be shared with another piece of equipment or multiples going to the same eventual destination or city.  In the forklift industry, partial are used quite frequently because you cannot pallet the average forklift.  It will usually be driven, pushed, or lifted onto a designated truck, trailer, or step deck.

* see link below for reference guide to different types of trailers.

Dedicated – as you may have guessed, dedicated refers to when one reserves the entire truckload for one shipment.  This happens under several circumstances.  Most commonly is when someone is moving multiple machines from one location to another and there is not enough room to fit anything else on the load.  Another time one would be required to pay a dedicated rate is when the destination is in a very remote place and getting a partial load to share the cost is impossible.  Finally, if the shipment is extremely time sensitive, you may be required to pay a dedicated rate in order to secure a driver at the last second.IMG_2066

To give an idea of the difference price can make, we are moving (5) Mitsubishi FG25Ns from Georgia to Ohio.  The total weight is 43,500 lbs.  Just under the legal limit of weight for a flatbed.  A dedicated rate is $1,900 and a partial rate with half the weight and machines would have been $1,300.  It typically pays to have enough material to fill a load and pay the dedicated rate.

BOL or Bill of Lading – this simply refers to the piece(s) of paper that are needed to ship your equipment.  Different companies will have different formats and require some variation of information, but the basics should be on each one.  Origin address, destination address, make, model, and serial number of the equipment will be on each bill of lading.  Some carriers will require tracking number and other specifics, but we move equipment all the time with the basic necessities.

FOB or Free on Board – FOB refers to the point where ownership is exchanged.  Price of a machine is usually quoted with FOB in the quote.  For example, $10,000 FOB Cleveland.  This means that once the equipment is loaded on the truck, the customer (who is arranging freight) takes ownership and liability.  Most times, National Warehouse quotes the freight so the quote would look like $11,000 FOB [destination city].  National Warehouse and our freight company would be responsible for the equipment getting to that city.

Blocking and Bracing – this refers to the securing of the forklift or equipment on the truck.  Depending on the shipper, carrier, and the type of block and braceequipment involved, the responsibility will be on different parties to provide and set up the blocking and bracing.  For example, when moving equipment inside a trailer, the freight broker will need to know if the shipper can block and brace.  Typically that refers to wood blocks and nails to secure the equipment to the floor of the trailer.  Arrangements can be made either way.

On the other hand, most flatbeds, step decks, and RGNs will bring their own securing materials.  In most cases, the driver has chains or straps that are used to secure the equipment.  The driver will be responsible for securing the materials.  In most cases, they know exactly how to secure the equipment so that it arrives safely.

portIntermodal – remember at the beginning of this article when I talked about moving a forklift across the world?  If that applied to you, then you will want to pay attention to this one.  Intermodal refers to when the route from origin to destination involves multiple ways of moving the machine; truck, rail, ship, air, hovercraft, or transmogrifier.  (That last one will only make sense if you like Calvin and Hobbes cartoons).

If you read my articles, you will remember seeing the yard spotters and how useful they are around ports and rail yards.  Those are essential when moving machines intermodal.  Remember to ask National Warehouse the next time you need to move a forklift.  We have several resources to make the move as cheap and pain-free as possible.

*Click for Guide to different ways to move a forklift.

What’s a transmogrifier?