Freight experts and novices agree:
“Freight transport terminology is vast and complicated.”
And you don’t need to be Albert Einstein to second his words “Everything should be as simple as it can be, but not simpler.” At the age of information overload, simple is all we have space for.
We’ve created Freightera’s Glossary of Freight in simple visual format. It consists of freight terms with images and definitions. Simple as they can be, but not simpler.
Start here, enjoy and share with your friends, colleagues, customers, and students!
- 3PL (3rd Party Logistics)
- Axle LoadThe transportation of freight has weight limit. When talking about axle load, it refers to the weight limit allowed for each axle over the highways.
- 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 including details of shipment, often used as a receipt given to the person shipping the goods. More Details: The bill of lading or(...)
- Blocking and BracingBlocking and Bracing A method of securing the shipment in place throughout the shipping process, using metal and wooden bars.
- Bulk FreightBulk freight is a commodity freight that is not packaged and transported in large quantities. It refers to material in either liquid or granular, particulate form, as a mass of relatively small solids, such as petroleum/crude oil,(...)
- Call Before PickupA request for the carrier to call ahead of pick up.
- CarrierA carrier is a person or company that transports goods using their own assets: trucks, trains, ships, or airplanes. If you're a carrier, join us for free and get new orders now!
- CLASSEach product is given a class ranging from 50-400 (determined by the National Motor Freight Traffic Association) based on its density and its assumed risk/liability for hauling.
- ConsigneeEntity who is the buyer and generally the receiver of a freight shipment.
- ConsolidationWhen several shipments are combined to save on freight shipping costs.
- ContainerA 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).
- ContainerizationContainerization The system of intermodal freight transportation using intermodal containers of standardized sizes. Containers removed the need for manual handling and warehousing at ports.
- Crane LoadedShipping oversized cargo, containers, anything that is too big/heavy for a forklift.
- CrateA 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.
- Cross-DockingCross-docking 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 CapacityTotal volume inside a truck, train, or ship, measured in cubic feet.
- Curtain TopHard top with roll up curtain sides. Used for side loading cargo that needs weather protectant.
- Customs BrokerA customs broker is a licensed person or company responsible for clearing goods through customs on behalf of importers and exporters, usually businesses.
- DimensionsFreight shipment’s length, width and height. Measure the largest dimension for every axis.
- Drop Deck FlatbedA 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 regular straight(...)
- Eco-Driver TrainingEco-Driver Training Training to drive more economically, reducing fuel consumption and cost. Includes better planning, smoother driving, using optimal revs, reducing air conditioning and idling.
- Expedited FreightExpedited 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.
- Flatbed TruckA 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 that are not(...)
- ForkliftA forklift is a powered truck used to lift and move goods short distances. Indispensable in manufacturing and warehousing. Also called a fork truck, a lift truck, or a forklift truck.
- Freight1. Goods to be 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 brokerA freight broker or broker is a person or company connecting businesses that ship goods (shippers) with trucking or other transportation companies for a fee.
- Freight Class
- Freight ForwarderA 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 the manufacturer or(...)
- Freight LanesFreight 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 Chicago Vancouver to(...)
- Fuel EfficiencyFuel Efficiency 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 “energy economy” and(...)
- Full Container Load or FCLIt 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) ShippingFTL 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 to one customer. It’s faster and more(...)
- Gross Vehicle Weight or GVWTotal weight of the vehicle including its cargo.
- Intermodal TransportationIntermodal Transportation is the shipping of freight using more than one mode of transportation such as truck-rail shipments. Learn(...)
- Jigger/Pallet JackA tool used for lifting and moving pallets.
- Just in Time DeliveryJust in Time Delivery A delivery method that brings materials to production or goods to the customer just in time for their use. It allows to save on warehousing and puts more value on meeting delivery schedules than maximizing(...)
- Less than Container Load or LCLA 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) ShippingLess 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. Typically slower delivery time; less(...)
- Limited Access LocationAny area where pickup or delivery is restricted. Typically includes commercial or non-commercial sites that may have gates or security inspections, and don’t have access to loading dock or platform. Examples: military and(...)
- NestedNested are goods that are stacked inside each other to reduce space taken during shipping.
- Oversize / Heavy Haul LoadEvery 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 or weight limit, it may require(...)
- PalletPallet or Skid is a wooden (or sometimes plastic) platform on which boxes or cargo are stacked and sometimes shrink-wrapped. More details: A(...)
- Pallet vs SkidA pallet is a flat structure with both a top and a bottom deck, consisted of three or four stringers that connect several deck boards. A skid only has a top deck. Pallets are used for transport, while skids are usually used for(...)
- Physical InternetPhysical Internet A new way to design 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 the Digital Internet, in(...)
- Pickup by AppointmentA request for an exact date and time or a window for pick up.
- Platooning TechnologyPlatooning Technology 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 time, and splitting and(...)
- ProcurementProcurement 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 or POD is a document signed by the freight recipient or consignee, confirming time, date & condition of delivery.
- ReeferA 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 temperature sensitive(...)
- Roll –TiteRolling tarp system for protecting open load cargo.
- ShipperA 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. If you're a shipper, sign up as a shipper to get access to(...)
- Special HandlingSpecial services provided by the carrier. For example, Call Before Delivery.
- Straight TruckA truck that can fit into narrow streets, e.g. streets in residential areas.
- Supply ChainA 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.
- Tailgate / LiftgateA platform at the rear of the truck, used for loading and unloading heavy freight at locations without docks or forklifts.
- TankerA 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)Covering of the flatbed load to protect it from elements.
- The π-containersContainers 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 through the Internet of(...)
- Transit TimeThe total time of transit from pick up to delivery of the cargo.
- 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.
- WarehousingWarehousing 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 businesses, customs...
- Weight per ItemWeight per pallet, box, crate etc.