Freight Shipping Terminology 102

At the end of June, our team at Atran Freight posted a “Freight Shipping Terminology 101” blog for you. As a mid-Michigan freight broker, we know that the dictionary of jargon for this industry is extensive. That’s why we’ve compiled another short list of “terms to know” whether you’re new to the freight business, or just looking to brush up on your vocab.  

Axle Load

Even freight shipping equipment has weight limits! The axle load refers to the allotted weight limit for each axle across the nation's highways.

Bill of Lading (BOL)

The bill of lading (BOL) is a contract between the shipper and the carrier, broker, or agent. This contract binds the two parties together and defines all aspects of the shipping arrangement, including what is being shipped and to whom.

Blocking and bracing

This is used to refer to the wood or other supports being used to hold shipments in place on trailers or in containers.


A person who makes freight shipping arrangements on behalf of a person or company. The broker has experience in the industry and negotiates shipping rates with carriers on behalf of the client.


Refers to the shipping of freight within the same city or area.

Common Carrier

Common carriers can be hired by anybody to transport goods. They are typically used to haul LTL freight.

Intermodal Transportation

Any movement of goods using more than one mode of transportation. Often, intermodal refers to the combination of rail and truck service.

Through Rate

A single rate applied to the distance between the shipment’s origin point and its delivery destination.


A shipment delivery classification that guarantees the delivery will occur on a specific date or time.

Truckload (TL)

Freight weighing 23,000 pounds or more, or that occupies half or more of a trailer's capacity.