Tracking Your Freight Shipment

bill of landing

So you have your shipment all ready to go, the freight carrier has picked it up and you have no idea where it is until you get a frantic phone call from the receiver saying it has yet to arrive. That is probably not the best way to go about tracking your freight shipment.

The Information Age gives us several tools in order to be able to track your shipment via freight carrier. Some are sophisticated enough to let you know exactly where your shipment is at within an hour or so of accuracy. Let’s look at some of the tools available to you once your freight shipment is on its way.

Tracking Numbers

Generally the most important thing for you to have is the tracking number of the shipment. This number is provided to you at the time of pickup. It can be on a bill of lading, other shipping paperwork or even on the receipt for shipping charges. LTL and truckload freight may use a number called the PRO number. Other types of transportation will have other standardized tracking numbers, but they all have one thing in common: They are attached to your shipment from the time it leaves until the time it arrives.

Internet Tracking

The first place to look for an accurate snapshot of your shipment is online. Most major carriers will have a website that keeps up to date information on your shipment. Carriers will generally have a tracking form on the website where you would input your tracking number and then generate a page that has your shipping information. The best part about internet tracking is that you get to do it at your leisure without having to contact the shipping company for an update.

Email Tracking

If your company does not have a website tracker or their tracker happens to be down, another method is to email the company for an update. This form of communication can be very useful at peak times when other methods of contact might require a long wait that you just don’t have time for. Most companies have staff that answer email tracking requests promptly during business hours. Larger lines might even have afterhours staff there for that specific purpose as well. Use email to contact a carrier for tracking or other types of information.


Sometimes the well-tested method is the way to go. The telephone will put you in contact with a real person, in real time, who should be able to answer any shipment tracking questions you might have. Remember, their data may not be up to the minute, so they can only provide you with what they have. The caveat to that is that they may be able to contact the driver directly for an update. It may be worth asking if you have an urgent need.

Cratex group can help you get your shipment ready for carrier pickup. Our custom industrial packing service can handle any requests you might have. Contact us today to get your shipment ready to go!