Backhaul: Simple Definition

Backhaul in logistics, refers to the return journey a commercial truck makes, while carrying and delivering freight on this return route. The trip made by a commercial truck during this period, is made on its way back to its initial point of departure. While taking this route, the truck delivers freight, to maximise on resources - making otherwise empty miles, into revenue generating ones. Freight brokers and motor carriers are dependent on each other to make backhauls both productive and economical for themselves.

Backhaul: Technical Definition

Backhaul logistics is the economically viable trip made by a commercial truck during its return from its initial destination back to its point of departure, while delivering freight back over either in full or partial capacity, in order to convert empty distances on road into revenue generating miles, to cut down and compete on transportation costs. 

What is Backhaul Shipment?

Backhaul is a hauling cargo that delivers freight onwards from its destination to its point of initial departure. Generally while booking trucks for deliveries, they are booked with load for one way - this then leads to a loss of resources as the truck makes its way back.

What is Backhaul Load in Trucking?

A backhaul load is the load that is designated to a commercial truck for deliveries on its way back from its original destination. This load generally takes up either full or part of the truck, based on how much freight delivery can be covered on its designated route back. This strategic loading helps in cost management and smart logistics that also saves on freight delivery time. 

What is the difference between Fronthaul and Backhaul?

The otherwise regular trucking strategy for freight delivery is one way - from point A to point B. This movement of load from point of departure to that of the destination is called Fronthaul. 

On the other hand, when trucks bring in load on their journey back - from point B to point A - its called backhauling. When the load travels from the point of destination to the point of departure, it's called a Backhaul.

Why is Backhaul important?

Backhauling is important so that an e-commerce company along with its logistics partners, can make the best out of both the onward, and the return journey of an assigned commercial truck meant for freights. Though it involves meticulous tracing of the route and deliveries - both forward and back - it definitely helps in both cutting costs as well as saving precious time. Both of these aspects can keep an eCommerce enterprise ahead of its competitors, if done successfully.

What are the advantages of Backhauling?

While backhauling is viable both cost and time wise, it also provides other benefits to an eCommerce enterprise. These include newer business opportunities as well as improving on customer service. Some of the advantages are given below: 

  • Lesser journeys made

  • Suppliers manage freight easily

  • Customer service gets prioritized 

  • Optimizes cost viability for both the enterprise as well as the logistics partner 

  • Brings in new opportunities for business 

  • Delivers to more clients and customers 

  • Benefits by saving on delivery time

How to plan Backhauling?

Backhauling is an important part of post purchase for eCommerce businesses. While it takes some strategizing, if done successfully, it can help an enterprise compete in a competitive eCommerce environment. While planning a backhaul it is important to: 

  • Plan delivery and pick up routes in advance

  • Identify suppliers on these routes to optimize the journey

  • Identify GPS mapping and use fleet management systems for quick tracking

  • Recognise and assign the optimal amount of backhauling load

  • Make sure that there is tracking and communication access available at all times for easy management

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