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What is a Load?
Term load in trucking refers to the cargo or shipment or freight that is transported by a truck from one location to another.
This term is a fundamental concept in the industry, as it encapsulates the primary purpose of trucking services – to deliver goods. The understanding of load is important for everyone involved in the industry, from the truck drivers who handle the physical cargo to the dispatchers, brokers, and shippers who manage the logistics.
Trucking loads come in various forms and sizes, categorized based on the kind of cargo, size, and weight. Here are some common types of loads.
Types of Shipments – Difference Between FTL, LTL and Partial Truckload
Full Truckload (FTL): This refers to shipments that require the entire space of a truck. FTL is typically used when the amount of cargo is enough to fill a semi-trailer or intermodal container.
Learn more about FTL here.
Less Than Truckload (LTL): As the name suggests, LTL shipments do not require the full space of a truck. These are typically smaller shipments from multiple shippers combined together.
Learn more about LTL here.
Partial Truckload: This sits between LTL and FTL and is often used when a shipper has more cargo than a typical LTL but not enough to justify the cost of an FTL.
Types of Loads
Dry Van Loads: These are non-temperature-sensitive loads carried in enclosed trailers.
Learn more about the Dry Van trailer here.
Refrigerated Loads (Reefer Loads): These loads need to be transported in temperature-controlled environments, often food items or pharmaceuticals.
Learn more about the Reefer trailer here.
Flatbed Loads: These involve cargo that is loaded onto an open trailer and often include oversized or irregularly shaped items.
Learn more about the Flatbed trailer here.
Handling a load effectively requires several considerations:
Weight: The weight of a load affects fuel consumption, handling of the truck, and legality of the journey. Overloading a truck can result in fines and safety risks.
Distribution: The way a load is distributed in the trailer affects the balance of the vehicle. Improper distribution can cause accidents or damage to the cargo.
Securing: It’s essential that loads are secured properly to prevent shifting during transport, which could lead to accidents or damage to the goods.
What is Load Rate
Load Rate also known as freight rate or shipping rate typically refers to the agreed-upon price or rate that a shipper agrees to pay a carrier for transporting a specific load or shipment from one location to another. It is an essential component of the contract between the shipper and the carrier and is based on several factors.
Distance: The primary factor influencing the load rate is the distance the freight needs to be transported. Longer distances often result in higher rates due to increased fuel costs, driver time, and wear and tear on the equipment.
Freight Type: The type of freight being transported can impact the load rate. Some freight may require specialized equipment or handling, which can result in higher rates.
Weight: Heavier loads may command higher rates because they require more fuel and potentially specialized equipment.
Freight Class: Shipments are assigned a freight class based on their characteristics, such as density, stowability, and handling requirements. Higher freight classes may lead to higher load rates.
Seasonal Demand: Load rates can be influenced by seasonal demand. For example, during peak shipping seasons like the holidays, load rates may increase due to higher demand for transportation services.
Market Conditions: Load rates are also influenced by market conditions, including supply and demand for trucking capacity. When there are more loads than available trucks (a seller’s market), load rates tend to rise. Conversely, in a market with excess trucking capacity (a buyer’s market), rates may decrease.
Negotiation: Load rates are often negotiable between shippers and carriers or freight brokers. Both parties may engage in rate negotiations to arrive at a mutually acceptable price.
Additional Services: If the shipment requires additional services, such as expedited delivery, specialized handling, or multiple stops, these factors can also impact the load rate.
Load and Logistics
The logistics of loads involves many stakeholders, including shippers, carriers, dispatchers, and brokers. Loads are often matched with carriers through load boards, platforms where shippers or brokers post available loads and carriers can accept jobs.
Each load’s journey is subject to various regulations, like the Hours of Service rules which limit how long a driver can be on duty, and weight restrictions on roads and bridges.
Understanding the concept of a ‘load’ is key to comprehending the functioning of the trucking industry. Proper load handling, and efficient and effective logistics, ensure that goods get to their destinations safely and on time, keeping the wheels of commerce turning.
Common Documents Related to Loads
Bill of Lading (BOL): This is a legal document between the shipper and the carrier detailing the type, quantity, and destination of the goods being carried. It serves as a receipt of freight services and a contract of the shipment.
Learn more about BOL here.
Proof of Delivery (POD): This is a document that confirms a shipment was delivered. It’s often signed by the receiver and includes details like time, date, and location of delivery.
Learn more about POD here.
Freight Bill: This is an invoice stating the charges applicable for shipping from the carrier to the shipper or receiver, which could include cost for fuel, distance, weight, and type of cargo.
Learn more about Freight Bill here.
Packing List: This document details the specific goods and quantities in the shipment. It’s used by shippers, carriers, and receivers to check the shipment against the order.
Weight Ticket: For loads where weight is crucial (such as bulk commodities), a weight ticket from a certified scale might be required to confirm the weight of the load.
Learn more about Weight Ticket here.
Hazardous Materials (Hazmat) Documentation: If the load includes hazardous materials, special documentation is required to ensure proper handling, packaging, and transporting as per regulations.
Learn more about Hazmat Documentation here.
Inspection Reports: In case of special loads like perishables, livestock or hazardous materials, inspection reports might be needed to confirm that the cargo is in acceptable condition and has been handled appropriately.
Learn more about Inspection Reports here.
Delivery Receipt: This document is signed by the recipient when goods are delivered, confirming that the delivery has been made without any visible damage.
Rate Confirmation Sheet: This is an agreement between the carrier and the shipper or freight broker outlining the costs and conditions of transporting the load.
Learn more about Rate Confirmation here.
This overview provides a starting point for digging deeper into each aspect of what a ‘load’ involves in the trucking industry, highlighting its importance in this vital sector.
Trucking Made Successful have a great video about Dispatching, check it out here.
Listen to The Article Here