In trucking, a backhaul is a hauling cargo back from point B to the originating point A. Since it costs almost as much time to drive empty as fully loaded. Hence the term “Backhaul”. This makes economic sense, since it helps to pay for the operating expenses for the trip back to the originating point A for the trucking company and/or trucker.
A good example of a backhaul is the following scenario. A freight company contracted to moves loads of oranges from Florida to the Northeast. The truck unloads in New York, but has to head back to Florida as soon as possible for additional loads. Since the truck will go back empty or full, the freight company will be willing to move a load at a discounted freight rate.
Since the popularity of freight load boards in the mid 1990’s, the use of backhauls has declined. Trucking companies will post their available empty equipment way in advance before even heading out with the original load.