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Freight Resources - Topics

Freight Topics

If you're just getting your feet wet with industry terms, you've come to the right place! Learn about the terminology used in the freight industry.

LTL (Less Than Truckload)

LTL is an acronym for Less than Truckload shipping. LTL shipments typically weigh between 100 and 20,000 lbs. LTL carriers prefer shipments which contain one pallet of various boxes shrink wrapped to form one piece rather than many individual pieces. This reduces handling costs and the risk of damage in transit. Typically, the per pound rates of LTL carriers are less than the per pound rates of parcel carriers.

FTL (Full Truckload or Truckload)

FTL is used when the shipment requires the total weight, volume capacity or the use of an entire tractor trailer. The typical 53-foot van trailer can haul or ship 44,000 pounds or up to 26 standard sized pallets of cargo.

There can be considerable cost-savings with full truckload. If there’s a high quantity of cargo heading to the coasts or to distant locations, Action Transport, Inc. provides even larger savings when utilizing our carrier resources.


Intermodal freight shipping, is the process of shipping freight by train. After reaching a rail yard near the customer’s business, the rail trailer will be drayed to the final destination for delivery.


Pallets are portable platforms used to package items for freight shipping. There are two pallet types: stringer pallets and block pallets. Pallets are usually referred to by their entry for forklift operations. The most common pallet types are: two-way pallets, partial four-way entry pallets and four-way entry pallets. The standard pallet size is 48” x 48”.

Freight Class

Freight class, or classification, is based on four things; the density (weight per cubic foot); Storability (length and width based on carrier's rules); handling (how much care goes into transporting the item); and Liability (damage, breakability, perishability, and freight price per pound. Most carriers rely on a freight classifications system which was created by the National Motor Freight Association (NMFTA) to standardize freight pricing for different types of products. It is referred to as the NMFC, National Motor Freight Classification tariff, and is commonly used by most ground transportation providers to determine the freight class for pricing purposes.

Freight Density

Density is one way used to determine the freight class of the shipment. It is based on the number of pieces in the shipment as well as the shipment's dimensions (length, width, height and weight). Shipment's with lower density typically have a higher freight classification.

Bill of Lading

A Bill of Lading (BOL) is a mandatory, legally binding document needed in order to move a freight shipment. It works as a receipt, a contract between the carrier and shipper, a document of title, as well as providing the carrier and driver with all the details they need to process the shipment and invoice it correctly.

Shipping Hazardous Materials

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has specific rules for the shipment of hazardous materials and are usually broken down into ten different DOT Hazard Classes which are in accordance with the Federal Hazardous Material Law regulations. The DOT Hazard Classes are: Class 1: Explosives; Class 2: Gases; Class 3: Flammable liquids; Class 4: Flammable solids, spontaneously combustible materials and materials that are dangerous when wet; Class 5: Oxidizers and organic peroxides; Class 6: Poisons and etiologic (infectious) materials; Class 7: Radioactive material; Class 8: Corrosives; Class 9: Miscellaneous dangerous substances and articles; and ORM-D: Other regulated material.

Insuring Freight

Freight carriers are legally required to carry a minimum amount of insurance. This insurance, which is referred to as “carrier liability,” provides coverage that is limited to ten cents per pound of the shipment. The carrier liability cannot exceed the invoice value of the shipment. Each carrier should be able to provide specific information regarding their coverage and deductibles as well as claim management. There are a number of third-party vendors which offer additional coverage that exceed the carrier liability. Also, some shipment's are covered through other sources of insurance such as business insurance, homeowners insurance and credit cards if they are used to pay for the cost of the shipment.

How does Action Transport simplify your freight shipping?

  • Freight Shipping US & Canada

    Ship from anywhere to anywhere in the United States and Canada via our extensive carrier network

  • Vast Freight Carrier Network

    We offer FTL, LTL, and specialty cargo rates. We match your shipment with the carrier that best meets your requirements.

  • Handle Bill Of Laden

    Consolidated billing that is easy to read and understand.

  • Road Shipping Options

    Road and Rail options for every freight size, weight, and type.

  • Friendly Shipping Brokers

    Personalized, experienced service every shipment – every time.