What You Need to Know About LTL Tracking
Freight tracking is a critical part of supply chain management. Utilizing a 3PL to help manage your LTL shipping needs can help increase transparency when it comes to tracking your shipment. 3PLs like Koho provide shippers with a digital platform to manage shipments, and include tracking updates and information regarding delays and updated ETAs that can help shippers stay organized and informed about the status of their LTL freight shipment.
LTL shipping, while cost-effective, is one of the most complicated types of shipping. Because shipments are grouped together, change hands often, and are reorganized at various carrier hubs along their journey, LTL shipments have many checkpoints at which their location is logged and trackable. However, because LTL involves one truck making multiple deliveries to hubs along the route as well as the final destination, shipments can be difficult to predict, and timing windows hard to pin down. And while LTL tracking utilizes shipment-specific information to determine the location of freight and predict its estimated time of arrival (ETA) as accurately as possible, it is important to check up on the location and status of your shipment along its journey to remain aware of any unforeseen delays or setbacks due to weather, traffic, mistakes, or accidents in order to adjust expectations and adapt your supply chain accordingly. There are several ways to keep track of your shipment while it is en route to its destination:
Bill of Lading Number – The first and most efficient way to track your shipment is by using the BOL (bill of lading) number. Every BOL has a unique number, and entering the BOL number into your carrier’s website should provide the shipment’s most recent location.
PRO Number – Another number that can be used to track your LTL shipment is the PRO (progressive rotating order) number. A PRO number is a 7-10 digit number assigned to a shipment by the carrier, typically affixed to shipments in the form of a scannable barcode sticker. Because the PRO number is assigned by the carrier and subsequently scanned into the carrier’s system at each hub and checkpoint, entering it into the carrier’s website is a reliable way of tracking the latest checked status of your shipment.
PO Number – PO (purchase order) numbers, usually assigned by the purchaser, can also be used to track your LTL shipment status. PO numbers are used in almost every business transaction and are typically included on all documents pertaining to a specific order.
If for some reason none of these numbers are available, searching a shipment by its pickup request confirmation number, customs bond number, customer reference number, or even the pickup date and time window can also help a shipper locate their shipment in a carrier’s system.