Understanding the Full Truckload Shipping Definitions

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The logistics industry has many shipping definitions. Many people feel like those working in this industry have a unique language that only they can understand. These specific definitions can make it hard for shippers to find the best ways to reduce the risks and costs associated with shipping goods. 

There is often a lot of confusion in the terms used for full truckload shipping definitions because not all companies do ship sufficient supplies to fill trucks up to the brim. As such, some of these terms may still be unknown to smaller companies. Here is a quick look at some of the definitions that are often used with these types of shipments.

Dry Van

Dry Van trucking is considered as the most common form of freight transportation in the world and here in Australia. You have probably seen these types of shipments many times. The most common dry van compartments are those big rectangular containers you see on shipping docs or loaded behind large trucks.

In these containers, there usually are no temperature or climate control units. Dry van trucking isn’t ideal for items that are temperature sensitive but they are ideal for non-perishable items such as clothing, furniture, machinery, electronics, and other product types. 

This form of trucking is very popular because it is so convenient to use. The containers are large and can contain lots of equipment. 

These containers are also easily secured which offers protection against rain, wind, theft, and other elements. 

Dry van trucking is an ideal transportation method for any items that do not need to be kept chilled or warmed. 


Backhauling is frequently used by freight brokers because this method enables these companies to offer transportation services at a much more affordable price. 

In backhauling, commercial trucks are loaded with shipping goods on their return trip from a certain destination. When these trucks deliver goods to far-off destinations, they still need to make the journey back home. 

To reduce the cost of transportation, the truck will stop at another business to load cargo that needs to be carried in the direction from which the truck originally came. Since the truck was making the return trip already, the freight company, carrier, or freight broker saves a lot of money on the return trip or on the cost of getting the return shipment delivered.

Partial truckload

Some smaller companies might not have enough cargo to ship to fill an entire truck to the brim. 

This is where partial truckloads come in. In these truckloads, the trucks will carry the goods of more than one business that delivers down the same basic supply chain.  

Partial truck loading is more affordable than using smaller carriers for each individual business because a large truck can deliver more goods at a more affordable rate than a number of small trucks traveling the same distance. 


Flatbed trucks are very popular in the logistics industry. These trucks can be articulated or rigid. Articulated trucks have drop-down sides while rigid trucks are designed with bodywork that is entirely flat. This flatbed design enables these trucks to load larger items that might not fit within the frame of a dry van. 


As the name implies, refrigerated trucks are used to kept produce and medical equipment chilled while in transition. Temperature controlled trailers are used to keep goods at a specific temperature so these items won’t go off. These trailers or containers can be set to a temperature that ranges from 10 degrees F up to 36 degrees F so transportation companies can ship items at an ideal temperature. 


In intermodal transportation, more than one mode of transport is needed to transport goods. 

A good example is getting goods transported from airplanes to truck or from ship to truck. 

Freight Broker Australia

When you understand full truckload shipping better, it becomes much easier to see why so many businesses prefer this form of shipping as well as why so many businesses leverage the help of freight brokers like Freight Broker Australia for their logistics needs.