Understanding the Roles at Your LTL Carrier

Throughout the shipping process you are most certainly going to have to call into the LTL carrier a few times. Understanding the roles associated with LTL shipping can make the experience better for you and the carrier. In this article we will go over some basic tips on working with carriers.

Getting the information you need from any organization you don’t understand can be a very frustrating endeavor. Often the first place we call is customer service, but in most LTL operations they don’t have all of answers. Knowing the different roles and who to go for about different issues can alleviate a lot of wasted time. Hopefully this article will help you work better with your carriers.

There are 4 basic roles you should understand in every LTL carrier:

Customer Service Rep:

The customer service rep is the person who most often answers the phone. Depending on the carrier, he/she might be at the local terminal or in a central customer service call center. The customer service rep can answer questions based on the tracking information and notes in the system. Depending on the sophistication of the carrier they may be able to tell you the actual location of the driver. The customer service rep might have limited information but can be a great advocate for you.


The dispatcher is the person who talks to the drivers and assigns them to loads. The dispatcher has the most knowledge of the carriers ability to pickup and deliver. If you have a difficult situation or special need it is best to consult with the dispatcher. Often the customer service rep is the gate keeper to the dispatcher. Depending on the carrier they may not let you speak to the dispatcher and make you go through the customer service rep.

Appointment Clerk:

The appointment clerk is the person that schedules the appointments for shipments that require notification prior to arrival. A lot of different kinds of consignees require appointments. Food warehouses are one of the most common. The appointment clerk understands the process of scheduling appointments. If you have a shipment that appears to be having a problem getting a delivery appointment you will want to speak with the appointment clerk. Often the way to get to this person is to call the local terminal number and ask for them or wait through the phone tree message until you here the prompt for the appointment clerk.

OS&D Clerk:

OS&D stands for “Over, Short & Damaged.” The OS&D clerk is the person you want to speak with if your shipment delivered with extra product that was refused, if it was delivered short and you are looking for it, or if it was damaged and you need to discuss a claim. Sometimes if you have a shipment that gets lost you will work with the OS&D clerk as well.
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Thanks for reading this article. We hope that it will help you work better with your carriers. At BAM Freight we work with all LTL carriers on a regular basis. As an agent for Globaltranz in many cases we have our own national account customer service teams which can result in faster answers to your shipment questions. If you need help with your LTL or truckload shipping give us a call today!

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Dave Stevens

Dave Stevens

Transportation Executive with experience in developing processes and controls for early stage start up companies. Specialties include: Sales, Marketing, Transportation, Trucking, Brokerage, Project Transport and Rail Operations.,Organizational Design, Process Development, Accounts Receivable Management, Leadership, and Business Start-ups.

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