Freight Glossary

Visual glossary of freight

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  • 3

  • 3PL (3rd Party Logistics)
    3PL (3rd Party Logistics): 3PL aka 3rd Party Logistics is a third-party company providing outsourced logistics services, such as integrated operation, warehousing, and transportation which can be adjusted based on customers'(...)
  • a

  • Accessorials
    Accessorials: Accessorials are extra shipping services performed by the carrier (for example, providing a jigger/pallet jack).
  • Adjustments
    Adjustments: Adjustments are any inconsistencies between the actual shipment and what is stated on the BOL (Bill of Lading). They may result in additional charges for the shipper.
  • Agent
    Agent: An agent does business on behalf of another entity (a person, or a company), with full or limited decision-making power. In freight shipping, an agent might perform freight quoting, or supervise different procedures, such as(...)
  • Appointment
    Appointment: A date and time for delivery of freight, as set between the consignee and the carrier. The carrier may call the consignee before the delivery, in addition to adhering to the exact date and time.
  • Axle Load
    Axle Load / Axial Weight: Axle load, or axial weight, is the weight limit allowed for each axle over the highways.
  • b

  • Backhaul
    Backhaul: A carrier's return trip, where a freight company can offer customers a lower shipping rate, or backhaul rate, to fill the empty truck. About 80% of truck on the roads are returning empty.
  • Bill of Lading (BOL or B/L)
    Bill of Lading (BOL or B/L): A Bill of Lading, also known at BOL or B/L, is a contractual document between carrier and shipper that includes details of shipment, and is often used as a receipt. It contains all of the basic(...)
  • Blind Shipment
    Blind Shipment: Blind Shipment occurs when either the pick up or the delivery location (or both) are not aware of who the other party is - this information is intentionally ommitted from the Bill of Lading.
  • Blocking and Bracing
    Blocking and Bracing: Blocking and bracing is a method of securing the shipment in place throughout the shipping process, using metal and wooden bars, so it wouldn't move in a shipping container.
  • Bulk Freight
    Bulk Freight: Bulk freight is freight that is transported in large quantities, without being packaged. It refers to material in either liquid or granular, particulate form, as a mass of relatively small solids, such as(...)
  • c

  • Call Before Pickup
    Call Before Pickup: Call before pick up is a request for the carrier to call ahead of pick up. It's a special handling service.
  • Cargo Insurance
    Cargo Insurance: Cargo insurance, or freight insurance, is full or partial coverage for freight that has been damaged or lost during shipping.
  • Carrier
    Carrier A carrier is a person or a trucking company that transports goods using their own assets: trucks, trains, ships, or airplanes.
  • Chassis
    Chassis: A frame with wheels that's used to secure a container during shipping via rail.
  • China Top
    China Top: A type of trailer with a solid roof and curtains on the side. It allows for cargo to be protected from the elements and to be loaded or unloaded from the sides of the trailer.
  • Class
    Shipping Class: Each product is given a freight class ranging from 50-400 (determined by the National Motor Freight Traffic Association) based on its density and its assumed risk/liability for hauling.
  • Collect on Delivery/Cash on Delivery (COD)
    COD - Collect on Delivery / Cash on Delivery: A process where the carrier collects payment for the shipment from the consignee, before releasing the freight. An alternative to COD is pre-paid shipping, where the freight has(...)
  • Commodity
    Commodity: Commodity is an item being shipped.
  • Consignee
    Consignee: Consignee is an entity who is the buyer and generally the receiver of a freight shipment.
  • Consolidation
    Consolidation: Consolidating freight shipments means combining several shipments together in the same truck, to save on freight shipping costs.
  • Container
    Container: A container is a large metal box used for the transportation of freight by road, rail, sea, or air. The standard length are 20ft (6.06m) and 40ft (12.2m).
  • Containerization
    Containerization: Containerization is the system of intermodal freight transportation using intermodal containers of standardized sizes. Containers removed the need for manual handling and warehousing at ports.
  • Crane Loaded
    Crane Loaded: When cargo is crane loaded, it means it's loaded using a crane (for example, shipping containers, or any freight that is too big/heavy for a forklift).
  • Crane Services
    Crane Services: Cranes are used for loading or unloading cargo that is too large or too heavy for forklifts.
  • Crate
    Crate: A crate is a large container with four walls and a bottom, with or without a top, used for transporting and/or storing large, heavy or fragile items. For more information on the key differences between crates and(...)
  • Cross-Docking
    Cross-docking: Cross-docking is a method of logistics where the freight is unloaded from inbound transportation and loaded onto outbound transportation, with little or no storage time in-between.
  • Cubic Capacity
    Cubic Capacity: Cubic capacity is the total volume inside a truck, train, or ship, measured in cubic feet.
  • Curtain Top
    Curtain Top: A curtain top, curtain side (curtainside), China top or a Conestoga truck are all synonyms for a truck with a hard top with roll-up curtain sides. It's used for side loading cargo that needs to be protected from(...)
  • Customs Broker
    Customs Broker: A customs broker is a licensed person or company responsible for clearing goods through customs on behalf of importers and exporters, usually businesses. Trucking companies work with customs brokers to clear freight(...)
  • Customs Clearance
    Customs Clearance: Shipments transpored cross-border (by land, air, or sea) must pass customs clearance before they are allowed to enter or exit a country. This process is handled by a customs broker.
  • Customs Invoice / Commercial Invoice
    Customs Invoice / Commercial Invoice: A customs invoice (USA) or a commercial invoice (Canada) is a document with a full description of the cargo, including the value and origin. This is a required document for most goods(...)
  • d

  • Dead-Head
    Dead-Head: An empty freight truck: a driver is transporting a freight trailer with no cargo on it.
  • Dimensions
    Dimensions: Dimensions are freight shipment’s length, width and height. To get the correct dimensions, measure the largest dimension for every axis.
  • Dock
    Dock: A platform, usually the height of 48'', used for loading and unloading freight trucks.
  • Domestic Freight
    Domestic Freight: Freight shipping within one country (not crossing the border) is considered domestic.  
  • Door-to-door
    Door-to-door: Shipping to and from customer-requested locations, as opposed to terminal-to-terminal shipping.
  • Drop Deck Flatbed
    Drop Deck Flatbed: A drop deck flatbed is a platform semi-trailer with no roof, sides and doors, and it has two deck levels. The floor drops down after it clears the tractor unit. The lower deck allows for hauling taller loads than a(...)
  • Dry Cargo
    Dry Cargo: Dry cargo is freight that is shipped in a dry van (a regular truck that is not temperature-controlled).
  • Dry Van
    Dry Van: Dry van is an enclosed trailer used for freight shipping of cargo that does not require temperature-control (dry cargo).
  • Dunnage
    Dunnage: Disposable material used for packaging and securing cargo such as loose wood, matting, shrinkwrap, straps, cardboard, etc.
  • e

  • Eco-Driver Training
    Eco-Driver Training: Eco-driver training has a purpose of driving more economically, reducing fuel consumption and cost. Includes better planning, smoother driving, using optimal revs, reducing air conditioning and(...)
  • Expedited Freight
    Expedited Freight: Expedited freight refers to the transportation of goods that are time sensitive or perishable and need to be shipped immediately, such as frozen fish, fresh fruit or samples that need to be tested urgently.
  • f

  • First & Last-Mile Delivery
    First & last-mile delivery: The first and last steps of the shipping process. They involve getting the shipment from the shipper to the carrier and from the carrier's delivery terminal to the consignee, respectively.
  • Flatbed Truck
    Flatbed Truck: A flatbed truck (or flatbed lorry in British English) is a type of truck which has an entirely flat, level "bed" body with no sides or roof. This allows for quick and easy loading of goods, to transport heavy loads(...)
  • Forklift
    Forklift: A forklift is a powered truck used to lift and move goods short distances. Indispensable in manufacturing and warehousing. It's often used for freight loading and unloading. Also called a fork truck, a lift truck, or a(...)
  • Freight
    Freight: 1. Goods transported by truck, rail, ship, or airplane. Synonyms: goods, cargo, load, merchandise "freight carried by rail". 2. The system by which goods are shipped "shipped by freight".
  • Freight Broker
    Freight Broker: A freight broker, or simply broker, is a person or company connecting businesses that ship goods (shippers) with transportation or trucking companies for a fee.
  • Freight Class
    Freight Class or Freight Classification: Freight class or freight classification is a number assigned to less than truckload (LTL) shipments based on weight, size, density, handling, value, and liability. 18 freight classes(...)
  • Freight Forwarder
    Freight Forwarder: A freight forwarder or forwarding agent, also known as a Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier (NVOCC), is a person or company that organizes shipments for individuals, organizations or businesses to get goods from(...)
  • Freight Lanes
    Freight Lanes: Freight lanes or lanes, carrier lanes or shipping lanes, are transportation routes from point A to point B that carriers run regularly. Freight lanes examples: Los Angeles to New York Toronto to(...)
  • Fuel Efficiency
    Fuel Efficiency: Fuel efficiency is energy efficiency of a vehicle, given as a ratio of distance traveled per unit of fuel consumed. It is dependent on engine efficiency, transmission, and tire design. Can also be stated as(...)
  • Fuel Surcharge
    Fuel Surcharge: A charge added to all freight shipments denoting the price of fuel for a shipment. Fuel surcharges are percentage-based and vary from carrier to carrier.
  • Full Container Load or FCL
    Full Container Load or FCL: FCL is the transport of freight that fills up a full ocean shipping container to capacity (20ft or 40/45ft) or fills up most of the container at a better price than LCL.
  • Full TruckLoad (FTL or TL) Shipping
    Full TruckLoad (FTL or TL) Shipping: FTL or Full TruckLoad is the transport of goods that fill up a full truck, or a partial load shipment occupying an entire truck. Bulk foods are typically shipped by FTL. FTL is contracted(...)
  • g

  • Gross Vehicle Weight or GVW
    Gross Vehicle Weight or GVW: Gross vehicle weight is the total weight of the vehicle, including its cargo.
  • h

  • Hazmat / Hazardous Goods
    Hazmat / Hazardous Goods: Hazmat / Hazardous Goods are goods that require special handling and carrier expertise.
  • Hotshot Shipping
    Hotshot Shipping: Hotshot shipping is a premium, expedited freight service where a dedicated truck is dispatched to handle a particular shipment, to meet a specific deadline.
  • i

  • In-Bond
    In-Bond: Shipments that are entering into Canada, or the USA, but have not cleared customs at the border, and are therefore moving under a Customs (Treasury) bond.
  • Inbound Freight
    Inbound Freight: Cargo being shipped to a business (as opposed to Outbound Freight, which is cargo being shipped from a business).
  • Inside Delivery/Pick Up
    Inside Delivery/Pick Up: Inside delivery and inside pick up is a special handling service where the carrier picks up or delivers the shipment beyond the curb (within the threshold of the door/garage). For a detailed list of(...)
  • Interline
    Interline: An agreement between multiple agents to handle cargo together that they would otherwise be unable to move on their own.
  • Intermodal Transportation
    Intermodal Transportation: Intermodal transportation is the shipping of freight using more than one mode of transportation such as truck-rail shipments.
  • j

  • Jigger/Pallet Jack
    Jigger/Pallet Jack: A jigger/pallet jack is tool used for lifting and moving pallets.
  • Just in Time Delivery
    Just in Time Delivery: Just in time delivery is a delivery method where the carrier would bring materials to production, or goods to the customer, just in time for their use. More value is put on meeting the delivery schedules,(...)
  • l

  • Landed cost
    Landed cost: Landed cost refers to the final price of the shipment after the carrier delivers it. It includes any potential additional charges for services requested by the receiver after the shipment has already been booked.
  • Less than Container Load or LCL
    Less than Container Load or LCL: LCL is a shipment that does not take up the entire available space of a 20ft. or 40/45 ft. ocean shipping container. LCL freight combines shipments from multiple shippers at a lower costs.      
  • Less Than Truckload (LTL) Shipping
    Less Than Truckload (LTL) Shipping: Less Than Truckload shipping aka LTL shipping is the transport of goods that do not take up the entire available space on the truck. LTL freight combines shipments from multiple customers.(...)
  • Limited Access Location
    Limited Access Location: A limited access location is any area where pickup or delivery is restricted. This typically includes commercial or non-commercial sites that may have gates or security inspections, and don’t have(...)
  • Logistics Company
    Logistics Company: Logistics companies offer services such as transportation, warehousing, and packaging, and they help organizations and businesses streamline supply chains by planning the movement and storage of products and(...)
  • Long Haul
    Long Haul: Long haul is a long move of cargo, usually more than 1000 miles.
  • m

  • Material Safety Data Sheet
    Material Safety Data Sheet: MSDS is a document that details the hazardous components of a product, its characteristics, effects on human health as well as its handling precautions.
  • n

  • National Motor Freight Classification System
    National Motor Freight Classification System: A classification system used within the USA for classifying freight into one of eighteen classes ranging from 50 to 500. Cargo is classified based on factors such as shipment density,(...)
  • Nested
    Nested: Nested are goods that are stacked inside each other to reduce space taken during shipping.
  • NOI
    NOI: No other information (NOI) is a term used for freight classification when your product description is incomplete.
  • o

  • Open Top
    Open Top: A freight container with no permanent ceiling or top.
  • Origin / Point of Origin
    Origin / Point of Origin: Point of origin is the location from where a shipment originated.
  • Outbound Freight
    Outbound Freight: Cargo being shipped from a business (as opposed to inbound Freight, which is cargo being shipped to a business).
  • Oversize / Heavy Haul Load
    Oversize / Heavy Haul Load: Every state/province has regulations about the dimensions and the weight of loads that can be shipped on open deck trailers (flatbeds and stepdecks). If a shipment exceeds the legal height, width,(...)
  • p

  • Packing List
    Packing List: Is a document that details all of the relevant information about a shipment such as the dimensions, weight, packing type, volume per item shipped as well as any markings on the listed items.
  • Pallet
    Pallet: Pallet (often referred to as skid in the freight industry) is a wooden, or plastic, or metal platform on which boxes or cargo are stacked, and sometimes shrink-wrapped.
  • Pallet Size
    Pallet Size: Pallet size includes the dimensions of the pallet (Length x Width x Height) measured in inches. The standard loaded pallet size is 48x40 inches. When measuring a pallet, it's important to always include the(...)
  • Pallet vs Skid
    Pallet vs. Skid: The main difference between a pallet and a skid is that a pallet is a flat structure with both a top and a bottom deck, consisted of three or four stringers that connect several deck boards, while a skid only(...)
  • Parcel Shipment
    Parcel Shipment: A parcel shipment is a shipment of small packages/boxes, usually performed by a parcel courier. Learn the main differences between a parcel shipment, and a pallet (LTL, or Less-than-Truckload) shipment.
  • Physical Internet
    Physical Internet: Physical Internet is a new way of designing open and interconnected logistics leading to a more efficient and sustainable way of moving, storing and using physical goods. Similar to packets of information in(...)
  • Pickup by Appointment
    Pickup by Appointment: Pick up by appointment is a request for an exact date and time, or a window of time, for pick up.
  • Platooning Technology
    Platooning Technology: Platooning is a special technology for managing the synchronous movement of platoons, i.e. groups of automobiles or trucks, including following a lead vehicle, keeping right distance, breaking at the same(...)
  • Power of Attorney (POA)
    Power of Attorney (POA): A document that allows a third party such as a freight forwarder or a customs broker to act on behalf of the shipper or consignee.
  • Procurement
    Procurement: Procurement is the process of acquiring goods, services or works from an external source, often via a tendering or bidding process.
  • Proof of Delivery (POD)
    Proof of Delivery (POD): Proof of Delivery or POD is a document signed by the freight recipient (consignee), confirming the time, date & condition of delivery.
  • r

  • Ramps
    Ramps: An inclined plane used to load and unload materials, serving the same purpose as a dock. In most cases ramps are mobile and can be moved when not in use.
  • Reefer (refrigerated truck)
    Reefer: Reefer is a refrigerated truck, railroad car, or ship. A refrigerated container or reefer is an intermodal container (shipping container) used in intermodal freight transport that is refrigerated for the transportation of(...)
  • Roll-Tite
    Roll-Tite: Roll-tite is a rolling tarp system for protecting open load cargo.
  • s

  • Shipper
    Shipper or Consignor: A shipper or consignor is a person or company like a manufacturer, retailer or distributor that needs to ship goods. They are usually the supplier or owner of the goods. Shippers work with trucking(...)
  • Shipping Label
    Shipping Label: A shipping label is a label affixed to the packaging. It includes the contents of the packaging, and the pick up/delivery locations. At Freightera, shipping labels are automatically generated by the system(...)
  • Special Handling
    Special Handling: Special handling, in freight shipping, are special services provided by the carrier beyond just picking up or delivering the freight. For example, call before delivery, tailgate/liftgate service, etc.
  • Step Deck
    Step Deck: A type of trailer with a "step" which brings its body closer to the ground and allows it to carry taller cargo.
  • Straight Truck
    Straight Truck: Straight truck is a truck that can fit into narrow streets, e.g. streets in residential areas.
  • Supply Chain
    Supply Chain: A supply chain is a network of organizations, people, activities, information, and resources involved in handling or distributing and moving a product or service from the supplier to the customer.
  • t

  • Tailgate / Liftgate
    Tailgate/Liftgate: A tailgate/liftgate is a platform at the rear of the truck, used for loading and unloading heavy freight at locations without docks or forklifts.
  • Tanker
    Tanker: A tanker is a vehicle or vessel carrying liquid or gas cargo in bulk like petroleum, milk or natural gas. It can be a truck, train, ship, or freight aircraft.
  • Tarping (for Flatbed)
    Tarping (for Flatbed): Tarping is covering of the flatbed load to protect it from elements.
  • Terminal-to-Terminal
    Terminal-to-terminal: Shipping from and to a carrier's terminal, as opposed to door-to-door shipping. It means that the shipper will drop off their cargo at a terminal and the consignee will pit it up from one.
  • The π-containers
    The π-containers: Containers in Physical Internet that are smart, eco-friendly and modular, ranging from the size of a small box to ocean container. π-containers are assigned a unique MAC address and digitally interconnected(...)
  • Time-Critical
    Time-Critical: Any shipment that has to be delivered at or before a specific date is considered time-critical.
  • Tracking Number
    Tracking Number: A tracking number is assigned to the shipment after it has been picked up, for the purpose of shipment tracking.
  • Trade Show Shipping
    Trade Show Shipping: Shipping to or from a tradeshow. Trade show shipping falls under special services and usually requires and appointment as well as additional documentation.
  • Transit Time
    Transit Time: Transit time is the total time of transit from pick up to delivery of the cargo.
  • Transportation Management System (TMS)
    Transportation Management System (TMS): Online platform, application or on-premises system that offers shipment booking and management, documentation, data storage and reporting as well as integration with carriers and other systems.
  • u

  • UN Number
    UN Number: A UN number is a four-digit code used to identify hazardous materials (hazmat), for example: fireworks, chemicals, or fuel. The UN code has to be listed on the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) of the shipment.
  • w

  • Warehousing
    Warehousing: Warehousing is the storage of goods and materials in a commercial building (warehouse) for a certain period of time. Warehouses are used by manufacturers, importers, exporters, wholesalers, transport companies,(...)
  • Weight per Item
    Weight per Item: Weight per item, in freight shipping, simply means weight per pallet, box, crate etc.
  • Winch Truck
    Winch Truck: A specialized type of truck that contains a winch. A winch is a powered reel of cable that can be used to lift or pull heavy cargo.

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