What is a PRO Number Used for When Shipping LTL Freight?

At ShippingDiscounts.com, we are routinely asked to provide a PRO number when calling our partner LTL carriers and tracking LTL freight shipments for our customers. So, what is the definition of a PRO number? A PRO number is a series of numbers used by carriers as a reference for freight movement. The term “PRO number” is short for progressive number. This series of numbers is used as a tracking tool. PRO numbers are usually 7 to 10 digits long. PRO numbers are usually paired with a SCAC code to form a longer barcode. The SCAC code identifies the carrier with a unique four letter combination, as set by the National Motor Freight Traffic Association. The SCAC code is then followed by the PRO number of 7 to 10 digits to ultimately create the longer barcode.

This barcode sticker consisting of the SCAC code and the PRO number is then placed on the pallets where it can be easily recognized for shipment. These PRO numbers are then scanned and used for tracking the entire shipment as it enters and exit transfer centers operated by the carrier.

Oftentimes a shipment will contain many PRO numbers, for example, every pallet could have its own PRO number. When this occurs, all PRO numbers associated with the shipment will then be assigned to one PRO number that is then used specifically for tracking.

PRO numbers are usually created and stored in the software system of the carriers in advance. This way companies and individuals wishing to ship can pull a PRO number from a set of PRO numbers already created. This makes moving freight much easier and quicker.

PRO numbers are very similar to UPS tracking numbers. The PRO number will not only be located on the pallets for shipment, but also on all paperwork. The PRO number will be located on the BOL. Copies of the BOL are maintained by the person or company sending the shipment, by the carrier, and by the receiver upon delivery. The PRO assists in identifying LTL freight for billing purposes.

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