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Freight Terminal Shipping: Taking LTL Into Your Own Hands

shipping freight terminal LTL  

A lot of our customers don’t know it’s possible to drop-off or pick-up their LTL shipment directly at the freight terminal. It’s sometimes called “utilizing a carrier’s dock,” and here’s what you need to know to pull it off:

What is a Freight Terminal?

A freight terminal is essentially a connecting facility where carriers transfer shipments, and rearrange trucks, in order to route them in the correct direction. They have docks, and workers in charge of loading and unloading incoming and outgoing LTL carrier trucks.

Why Pick It Up?

Most parties decide to utilize an LTL terminal for cost or time savings. As opposed to requiring an additional service like a liftgate or residential charge, utilizing a carrier’s dock can actually save you cash. You can also save time. Rather than having to wait around for a delivery or a pick-up, you have more control over your freight. These savings can come in handy, especially when you’re shipping to a tradeshow.

the life of an ltl shipment  

How to Pickup Your Freight

The most important piece of this puzzle is a great LTL broker. Your broker should have you set up with a customized TMS, which will allow you to find the closest freight terminal to utilize, and the most cost savings. The address and phone number to the terminal are very important, and will start you off in the right direction. This address should be placed on the BOL C/O the shipper or consignee.

Here are the remaining items you should think of before setting up a terminal LTL shipment:

  • Means to transport your freight to or from the terminal (remember the weight!)
  • PRO/Tracking number your freight is moving on if picking up
  • Form of identification
  • Possibly a tip $$$
  • Notify consignee service added to your BOL (this means the terminal appointment clerk will contact you when the freight is ready for pickup)
  • If you decide to pickup the freight as an afterthought, the paying party will need to submit a “LOA” or letter of authorization

Of course, just like FreightPros strives to exemplify one of our most important core values at all times, #respect goes a long way as well.

Some Relevant Information

  • Shipping terminal “will call” hours
    • Once again, if you’re working with a broker like FreightPros, you should have this information at your finger tips. This is just a fancy freight term for “open” hours.
  • Dark LTL terminals
    • Sound scary? Well it’s not! There are many terminals (usually in rural areas) that do not have staff on site at all times. These terminals actually are run by the drivers themselves and guess what? If they are out delivering or picking up other freight, you cannot get your freight. Your broker will be able to help you coordinate with these types of facilities.
  • Confirming your freight is off-loaded and ready to go
    • Just because you can tell by the online tracking that your freight has arrived at the destination terminal, this does not mean it’s ready to be picked up. You’ll need to call the terminal directly to confirm.

Now that you’re an expert on freight terminal shipping, try it out. You might find that you love being given more control over your freight. Of course, if you still have more questions on this way of shipping, give your FreightPro a call today. As always, we are more than happy to help out. Happy shipping!


Ashley Phillips

Ashley is a Senior Account Manager who heads up the account management team at FreightPros. She works with a tight group of account managers to provide top tier support to key accounts. She is a proud Longhorn who graduated from UT Austin with a Sociology degree. She loves to read, listen to music (Texas Country!), spend time with her family and anything outdoors (even in the TX heat...but a beer especially helps!)

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