What Is a Freight Terminal?

Troy Holmes

A freight terminal is an industrial area where cargo is loaded and unloaded. These terminals are typically located at seaport ports, rail yards, and airports. Terminals are the central hubs for domestic and international transport, where cargo can be consolidated and transferred to locations around the world.

Cargo ships load and unload at seaport freight terminals.
Cargo ships load and unload at seaport freight terminals.

A cargo airline uses a freight terminal to load and unload the cargo onto airplanes. This type of airline specializes in sending large packages and uses airplanes that are larger than familiar passenger planes. Most cargo plans have large cargo holes at the rear of the aircraft that are used for loading and unloading packages. A cargo airline is often used by the military to transport heavy equipment and construction material.

Freight terminals are often located at seaports.
Freight terminals are often located at seaports.

At railroad terminals, special freight cars are loaded onto trains so that goods can be transported across large areas. Many railroad terminals are located at seaports, where freight cars are loaded onto trains from ships. These freight cars hold many bulk materials including stone, steel, and wood. The automobile industry relies on freight terminals to ship cars and trucks. These terminals are located near assembly plants so manufacturers can send newly assembled cars around the world.

An Internet freight terminal is a new concept and a modern way for truck drivers to find loads to deliver in trucks across the United States. This is a central hub that is managed by delivery brokers and provides a central job service for independent truck drivers. The terminal provides loads based on location, truck capacity, and trip duration.

Seaports are some of the largest freight terminals used today. These ports are used to import large quantities of goods shipped among countries. The seaport terminal requires huge amounts of manpower and heavy construction equipment to operate. Workers on these large docks load and unload freight cargo from ships.

A package delivery company uses a freight terminal as a hub sorting area for package consolidation. These overnight delivery operators send all packages to a central hub terminal, where they are sorted, processed, and transferred. The terminal is responsible for putting the package on the appropriate transport to ensure it is delivered on time.

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