Navigating the labyrinth of LTL (less-than-truckload) shipping can feel overwhelming due to the industry's extensive use of abbreviations and specialized vocabulary. At times, these terms are used so often that their actual definitions can become blurred. Whether you're a newcomer to the transportation sector or simply need a quick recap, here's a straightforward guide to five key freight abbreviations that you should be aware of.
1. FAK: Freight All Kinds
FAK stands for 'Freight All Kinds,' a term coined by the National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA) to unify diverse freight classes into one category for ease and clarity. When a shipper transports a mix of goods from various classes in one shipment, FAK comes into play, averaging the classes of the freight involved. This streamlines the classification procedure and ensures a pricing arrangement that is equitable for both the shipper and the carrier.
2. PRO: Progressive Rotating Order
A PRO, or Progressive Rotating Order, is a unique multi-digit tracking number associated with a shipment. It is found on the Bill of Lading, in the form of a scannable barcode, and is also stored in the carrier's software system. PRO numbers are used by shippers and carriers to organize and track shipments electronically as they move through freight transfer hubs.
3. BOL: Bill Of Lading
A Bill of Lading, or BOL, acts as a contract between shippers and carriers, a receipt acknowledging the provision of services, and a document of title. It contains all the essential information for the carrier and driver to process the freight shipment correctly and generate an accurate invoice. The BOL should be handed over to the carrier at the time of pickup, and a copy should also be attached to the shipment.
4. EDI: Electronic Data Interchange
Electronic Data Interchange, or EDI, is a system that enables two systems to connect and exchange data digitally. Within the shipping and transportation industry, EDI functions as a digital shipping logistics tool that can enhance the efficiency of shipping, warehousing, finances, and distribution. EDI can automatically generate and transmit invoices, bills of lading, payment documents, shipping statuses, and other shipping-related data, thereby reducing manual labor, lowering costs, and minimizing human error.