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Understanding Transportation EDI Transaction Sets

February 12, 2020
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Lynne Berg

In traditional EDI, all data is communicated between the Carrier, Shipper, and the Consignee in electronic documents called “Transaction Sets” (TS). The advantage of this method is that it eliminates a dispatcher from having to key information into the Dispatch and Billing System. This results in a savings of time and money and eliminates any data entry mistakes.

Carriers will likely be forced by the market into one of two EDI systems: Routine or “Traditional” EDI used by large and/or frequent shippers or “Web based exchanges” used by small and/or infrequent shippers. The decision on which method to be used is determined by several factors including: Trading Partner requirements, volume of transactions, and staffing availability. A Carrier utilizing traditional EDI can save pricey VAN fees by considering AS2.

There are several EDI Transaction Sets that are utilized in the trucking Industry. The most commonly used Transaction Sets are the:

  • 204- Motor Carrier Load Tender
  • 990- Response to the Load Tender
  • 211- Bill of Lading
  • 212- Delivery Trailer Manifest
  • 214- Shipment Status Message
  • 210- Freight Details and Invoice
  • 820- Payment Order/Remittance Advice

Below provides you with a better understanding what each Transaction Set offers:

204 – Motor Carrier Load Tender
This transaction set is sent to carriers to offer (tender) a shipment to a full load (truckload) motor carrier including detailed scheduling, equipment requirements, commodities, and shipping instructions pertinent to a load tender. It is not to be used to provide a motor carrier with data relative to a Less-than-Truckload (LTL) bill of lading, pick-up notification, or manifest.

990 – Response to a Load Tender
The 990 is returned by the shipper as a response to a Motor Carrier Load Tender (204) to accept or reject the Load Tender. Responses must be returned immediately. This metric must be monitored hourly.

211 – Bill of Lading
This transaction set can be used to allow shippers or other parties, responsible for contracting with a motor carrier, to provide a legal bill of lading for a shipment. It is not to be used to provide a motor carrier with data relative to a load tender, pick-up manifest, or appointment scheduling.

212 – Delivery Trailer Manifest
Used to allow motor carriers to provide consignees or other interested parties with the contents, containing multiple shipments that have been tendered for delivery. It is not to be used to provide the recipient with data relative to a full truckload (TL) shipment.

214 – Shipment Status Message
A transportation carrier can use this transaction set to provide shippers, consignees, and their agents with the status of shipments in terms of dates, times, locations, route, identifying numbers, and conveyance. It must be able to accommodate multiple stops for an LTL. Shippers and consignees consider this document as the most important as it provides confirmation of the date/time of the delivery. It is also used to deliver the Detention Message.

210 – Motor Carrier Freight Details and Invoice
The 210 is used to provide detail information for charges for services rendered by a motor carrier. It is used both as a motor carrier invoice to request payment and as details pertaining to motor freight shipment(s) charges. If a third-party freight bill auditor is involved, then completeness and accuracy of the 210 is paramount.

820 – Payment Order/Remittance Advice
This transaction set is used to make a payment, send a remittance advice, or both. This transaction set can be an order to a financial institution to make a payment to a payee. It can also be a remittance advice identifying the detail needed to perform cash application to the payee’s accounts receivable system. The remittance advice can go directly from payer to payee, through a financial institution, or through a third-party agent.

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Web-Based Exchanges

For small shippers or those with infrequent transactions, a web-based solution might initially make sense. Such a system or method of doing EDI can facilitate the integration of tracking information for shipments into web-enabled programs. It also enables trading partners to visually track a shipment and its expected arrival time. Turnkey solutions such as Global Positioning can also be integrated into web-enabled programs.

Web-based exchanges supply both shippers and carriers with up-to-date tools for doing e-commerce on the web. Business-to-Business web-based exchanges provide tools for logistics professionals, such as a tool for load tendering to dedicated carriers and public bidding in auctions for spot market and unfilled loads. Shippers can perform streamline business transactions such as posting loads, reviewing bids and selecting carriers at a competitive price over a web-based exchange. Information on pickup, drop off, loading, unloading, HazMat and special care instructions can be provided. Finding the right carrier in the right geographic area, with the right liability insurance and bonding is made easier by using a web-based exchange. Carriers can find shipments that meet their needs by using an electronic template to search for shipments based on criteria. Elimination of empty trailer return trips by utilizing the search capabilities of a web-based exchange and expansion of customer base could greatly affect the carrier’s bottom line.

Some web-based exchanges provide an automated freight payment system. This system is an electronic payment system that allows the processing of invoicing and payment without the paperwork. Transactions are done faster and more accurately.

For loads entering the U.S., the submission of manifest information must now be done electronically. The Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) is continuing to update their requirements for border crossings by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. ACE requires crew, tractor, trailer, shipper, consignee and shipment information be submitted several hours before the crossing. Failure will cause delays. To implement this process as smoothly as possible DHS requires certification for EDI data format and transmission. As a plus, the manifest information can simultaneously be sent to a consignee, which helps their receiving processes. EDI Transaction Sets 211 and 212 are required.

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Data Communication Solutions

If you’re looking for an EDI partner with a decades-long record of helping businesses succeed, look no further than Data Communication Solutions. Since 1991, our team of experienced and knowledgeable EDI specialists has been providing services such as developmentmanaged servicessupport and training for a variety of EDI systems and industries. Check out our list of clients to see the hundreds of companies we’ve worked with and consider reading some of our case studies to learn how we help organizations find the best EDI solutions. To learn more about how we can help your business, contact us today!