SUPPLY CHAIN GLOSSARY
Learn common terms in transportation
Terms and jargon can be overwhelming in logistics. Below we have a comprehensive list of terms that can help you on your logistics journey.
Supply Chain Glossary
3 Axle Extendable Drop Down/Detach
This trailer is designed with a lower deck and an upper deck, which allows for a greater clearance height for the cargo being transported. It also has an extendable feature, which means that the trailer can be adjusted to accommodate a wider range of cargo sizes. The extendable feature is accomplished through the use of hydraulic systems that allow the trailer to expand and contract as needed.
3 Axle Extendable Flatbed
This trailer has a flat platform with no sides or roof, which provides flexibility in loading and unloading cargo.
3 Axle Extendable Stepdeck
Also known as a dropdeck or a lowboy, is a type of trailer used in the transportation of oversized or heavy goods that cannot be transported on a standard trailer.
3 Axle Flatbed
This trailer has a flat platform with no sides or roof, which provides flexibility in loading and unloading cargo. The three axles provide stability and weight distribution, allowing for the transport of heavier loads.
3 Axle Lowboy/R.G.N.
This trailer has a low profile and a drop in the height of the trailer bed, which allows for the transportation of taller and heavier loads with a lower center of gravity. The three axles provide stability and weight distribution, allowing for the transport of heavier loads.
3 Axle Stepdeck
This trailer is designed with two decks, with the rear deck being lower than the front deck, hence the name “stepdeck.” This design allows for the transportation of taller loads with a lower center of gravity. The three axles provide stability and weight distribution, allowing for the transport of heavier loads.
Fees charged by freight carriers for services that go beyond the normal pick-up and delivery requirements agreed upon the time of purchase.
Accounts Payable (AP)
Accounts payable (AP) represents the amount that a company owes to its creditors and suppliers.
Accounts Receivable (AR)
Accounts Receivable (AR) represents the amount that is owed to a company by their customers.
The management of the movement of materials, components, and finalized products involved in the manufacturing of aerospace products such as airplanes, spacecraft, and satellites.
An agent in legal terminology is a person who has been legally empowered to act on behalf of another person or an entity in a business transaction.
Operating rights granted to a motor carrier by the DOT.
The transportation of goods from a destination back to its point of origin, typically by the same carrier that delivered the goods to the destination.
Bill of Lading (BOL)
A document that establishes the terms of a contract between the shipper and a transportation company under which freight is to be moved between specified points for a specific charge. Usually prepared by the shipper on forms issued by the carrier, it services as a document of title, a contract of carriage, and a receipt of goods.
When a consignee/receiver of a shipment is not aware of the shipper or its origin. The term double-blind is used when the shipper does not know where the shipment will be delivered.
Blocking & Bracing
Blocking means preventing a load from moving laterally (side to side, front to back), and bracing means preventing the load from moving vertically (up and down). Without proper bracing, a load can jump over its blocks. Without proper blocking, the braces will not hold.
A term used to describe a semi-truck traveling without a trailer attached.
The process of transporting cargo or goods that are not containerized, meaning they are not packaged in standard containers or pallets.
Large quantities of cargo that are shipped or transported in their natural state, without being packaged or in a container.
A load of materials being transported by a vehicle like a ship, airplane, train, or truck, especially for commercial or professional purposes.
A document that indicates the consignor, consignee, mark, package number, quality, quantity, weight, cargo declaration number, and other particulars of goods being transported.
Vehicles designed for transporting goods or cargo. They are typically smaller in size than trucks and are used for shorter-distance deliveries or for transporting smaller loads.
Individuals, partnerships, or companies in the business of transporting goods or passengers for a fee.
Certificate of Insurance (COI)
A non-negotiable document issued by an insurance company or broker verifying the existence of an insurance policy.
A process in which a chemical manufacturer outsources part or all of its production process to a third-party toll manufacturer.
A type of storage rack designed specifically for storing coiled materials, such as steel coils or wire coils.
Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)
A commercial driver’s license is a driver’s license that is required to operate large, heavy, or placarded hazardous material vehicles in commerce, including trucks, buses, and trailers.
A raw material or product that is traded on a global market.
Known as shipping containers or cargo containers, are large standardized containers used for the transport of goods by trucks, trains, and ships.
Chassis for Containers
Consists of a steel frame, a lighting system, brakes, and tires. It is designed to enable trucks to move shipping containers.
When a driver has to pick up or drop a chassis at a separate location from where they are picking up or dropping off a container. Usually incurs a chassis split fee that requires gate receipt to be verified.
Demand on transportation company for payment due to loss/damage of freight during transit.
The rate for commodities grouped according to similar shipping characteristics. Applies to numbered/lettered/groups/classes of articles contained in the territorial rating column in classification schedules.
Clean Bill of Lading
A receipt for goods issued by a carrier that indicates that the goods were received in “apparent good order and condition” without damages or other irregularities.
An itemized list of goods shipped. Usually included among an exporter’s collection papers.
Any carrier engaged in the interstate transportation of person/property on a regular schedule at published rates, and whose services are available to the general public on a for-hire basis.
Compliance, Safety & Accountability Scores (CSA)
Refers to the primary means that FMCSA relies on to identify high-risk motor carriers.
When goods in an apparently undamaged container are damaged.
The person who receives goods shipped from the owner (Receiver).
The person or company that ships the articles to customers (Shipper).
Carrier engaged in interstate transportation of persons/property by a motor vehicle on a for-hire basis but under continuing contract with one or more customers to meet the specific needs of each customer.
Known as a tautliner or a curtainsider, is a type of trailer used for the transportation of goods that require protection from the weather but can be loaded and unloaded from the sides
Specialist in customs procedures who acts for importers for a fee. Licensed by the U.S. Treasury Department.
The distance a commercial vehicle travels without paying freight.
The process of removing debris or waste materials from a worksite or location after a construction project is complete or a natural disaster has occurred.
The assigned value of the cargo for reimbursement purposes.
Loaded vehicle delivered to the receiver.
Also called Delivery Orders, these documents provide specific information to a carrier regarding delivery to a specific port, pier, terminal, airport, or steamship line. They show the shipping carrier, delivery deadlines, name and address of the consignee, and the contract name and telephone number of the shipper in case of delivery problems.
Document a consignee or its agent dates and signs at delivery, stating the condition of the goods at delivery. The driver takes the signed delivery receipt to the terminal for retention. The customer retains the remaining copy.
A charge is levied when a full container is not moved out of the port/terminal for unpacking within the allowed free days offered by the shipping line. The charge is levied by a shipping line to an importer.
Time spent at a shipper or receiver that a carrier spends waiting to be loaded or unloaded in excess of two hours.
The container has an available port or rail. Last Free Day (LFD) will be posted once discharged.
Door to Door
A shipping service that involves the transportation of goods directly from the sender’s location to the recipient’s specified destination, typically a residential or commercial address.
A double drop trailer has a lower deck in the center section and is raised in the front and rear sections. This design allows for taller cargo to be loaded on the lower deck while still maintaining a lower overall height for transportation.
Refers to a niche shipping service needed to move large containers for a truck, ship, or rail.
Drop & Hook
Type of delivery where a trailer or container is dropped off and the driver picks up an empty trailer or container.
Drop & Pick
Type of delivery where the trailer or container is dropped off at the receiver and then the receiver will notify the carrier when the trailer or container is empty and ready to be picked up.
This trailer has a unique design with two decks, the front deck being taller than the rear deck, hence the name “drop deck.” The drop in the height of the rear deck allows for the transportation of taller loads while still maintaining a low center of gravity. This design also provides additional clearance for overhead obstructions, such as bridges or power lines.
A trailer that is pre-loaded with cargo at the shipper’s facility and then dropped off at the receiver’s facility for unloading. It’s usually equipped with a rear door and is designed to be backed up to a loading dock for easy unloading.
When a trucker is not able to successfully complete a pickup or delivery of a shipment.
A trailer used for transporting dry goods, such as boxed or palletized cargo, that does not require refrigeration or specialized handling.
Loose wood, matting, or similar material used to keep cargo in position during a shipment.
Eletronic Data Interchange (EDI)
The electronic transmission of routine business documents, such as purchase orders, invoices, and bills of lading, between computers in a standard format.
Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA)
The time of interval at which a certain vehicle will arrive at its destination. It is a transportation term that defines the time remaining for a certain aircraft, automobile, ship, or emergency service to reach the place it’s destined to.
An exception is any delivery in which the receiver or driver notes a problem on the delivery receipt before signing it. Typically exceptions concern shortage and/or damages.
Exclusive Use (Dedicated Truck)
A shipper pays a premium rate for the sole use of a trailer. The trailer will be sealed at loading and the seal number is recorded on the manifest. The seal number is verified before the trailer is unloaded at its destination. When a shipper requests an exclusive-use trailer, no other freight may be added to the unit even if space permits.
Extendable Double Drop/Detach
This trailer has a unique design with a lower deck and an upper deck, which allows for a greater clearance height for the cargo being transported. It also has an extendable feature, which means that the trailer can be adjusted to accommodate a wider range of cargo sizes.
A type of trailer used in the transportation of heavy and oversized cargo, such as construction equipment, industrial machinery, and building materials.
A company that purchases carrier’s unpaid invoices for an agreed-upon percentage.
A situation where a shipment or part of a shipment is removed from a transportation vehicle before reaching its final destination. This can occur due to a variety of reasons, such as a change in customer demand, a change in shipping requirements, or an issue with the goods themselves.
Final Mile Delivery
The last leg of the delivery process where the shipment is transported from a transportation hub or warehouse to the final destination.
A flatbed trailer is a type of trailer used for the transportation of various types of cargo, including machinery, equipment, and construction materials.
Free on Board (FOB) Destination
Freight cost paid to the destination point, title transfers at destination.
Free on Board (FOB) Origin
Title and risk pass to the buyer at the moment the seller delivers the goods to the carrier. The parties may agree to have the title and risk pass at a different time or to allocate shipping charges by a written agreement.
Shipping document confirming shipment delivery and indicating payment terms (invoice).
A standardized shipping industry pricing classification established uniform parameters for commerce between multiple brokers, warehouses, and carriers. It is determined based on a range of factors, including ease of handling, value, weight, length, height, density, and liability.
An independent business that handles shipments for compensation.
Fuel Surcharge (FSC)
A fee assessed by the carrier to account for variations in fuel costs (e.g. if FSC is 35% on a load that has a drayage charge of $1,000, then the total cost would be $1,350).
Full Truckload (FTL)
Commonly referred to as FTL, Full Truckload is a type of shipping mode whereby a truck carries one dedicated shipment. In other words, the journey is reserved for one shipment or one shipper’s goods only.
The full weight of a shipment which includes goods and packaging
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)
The maximum operating weight/mass of a vehicle as specified by a manufacturer including the vehicle’s chassis, body, engine, engine fluids, fuel, accessories, driver, passengers, and cargo.
Hazardous Materials are defined by the U.S. Department of Transportation in accordance with the Federal Hazardous Material Law. A substance or material may be designated as hazardous if the transportation of the material in a particular amount and form poses an unreasonable risk to the health and safety of the property.
Hazardous Material May include the following:
- Radioactive Material
- Etiologic Agents
- Combustibles (Liquid or Solid)
- Oxidizing or Corrosive Material
- Compressed Gas
This trailer has a V-shaped design with a bottom discharge gate, allowing the material to be easily unloaded. Hopper trailers are commonly used for agricultural purposes and are designed to prevent contamination of the cargo by rain or other environmental factors.
The transportation of time-sensitive or urgent cargo using a smaller vehicle, such as a pickup truck or van.
Ingate (IG) / Terminated
The empty drayage container that is returned to the port.
A service where the delivery driver or carrier transports the shipment beyond the building’s loading dock or front entrance and delivers it inside the recipient’s premises.
Using more than one mode to deliver shipments.
A carrier that only operates in one state.
A Japanese term that refers to stopping a production line when a problem or defect is detected, to prevent further errors and improve quality.
The process of expanding the capacity of a container ship by adding additional container rows on top of the existing ones.
A supply chain strategy that emphasizes producing and delivering products as needed and reduces inventory costs.
A Japanese term to improve standardized processes and programs by ending waste and increasing efficiency.
A Japanese term for a system of visual signals used in lean manufacturing to manage inventory levels and production.
The process of grouping and packaging individual items in a single unit. This is usually used for assembly or shipment purposes.
Knocked Down (KD)
A term used to describe products or equipment that have been disassembled or partially assembled for easier transport or storage.
Last Free Day (LFD)
The last day to either pick up or return a container before accruing charges (demurrage for not picking up and per diem for not returning).
When a driver is delayed by a shipper or receiver for one or more days.
A term used to describe the max weight that can be hauled legally (e.g. 36,000 lbs for a 20′ container and 44,000 lbs for a 40′ container).
Letter of Release (LOR)
A letter informing that the carrier is no longer using a particular factoring company.
Less than Truckload (LTL)
Goods weighing less than 10,000 lbs from several shippers loaded onto one trailer.
Less than Truckload (LTL) Pup Trailer
Pup trailers are short, double-axle trailers that that are attached to the rear of a longer tractor-trailer unit, known as the lead trailer. The pup trailer is typically around 26 feet in length and is used for transporting smaller shipments that do not require a full-length trailer.
A hydraulic platform installed at the rear of a truck or trailer, that is used to lift and lower heavy or bulky items from the ground level up to the height of the trailer floor.
The receiver unloads the delivering vehicle while the driver waits on site (the most common type of delivery).
The process of pairing available loads with available trucks or carriers, with the goal of maximizing efficiency and reducing empty miles.
Loss & Damage Claim (L&D)
Usually applied when loss/damage is discovered when the package is delivered.
A lowboy trailer, also known as a low loader or low bed trailer, is a type of specialized trailer used in the transportation of heavy or oversized cargo
Master Bill of Lading (MBL)
BOL issued by the ship owner or operator that represents the contract of carriage between the shipper and carrier.
A motor carrier transports passengers or property for compensation.
Multi-Axle Lowboy Combination
This lowboy combination typically consists of a lead trailer, which is attached to the truck, and a rear trailer that is connected to the lead trailer. The rear trailer is typically equipped with additional axles to provide additional support for the load.
National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC)
Industry-standard tariff published by motor carriers containing rules, descriptions, and ratings on all products moving in commerce; used to classify goods for the purpose of rating the freight bill. You can obtain more information about shipment classes and the NMFC at nmfta.org
Notice of Assignment
A letter informing that a carrier has assigned their accounts receivable to a factoring company.
These trailers are designed with a flat, open bed and no sides or roof, allowing for easy loading and unloading of large or odd-shaped items.
A type of trailer that is designed with no roof or sides, allowing for the transportation of cargo that cannot be loaded or unloaded through the rear or side doors.
Software that has been designed to be used in logistics for container and intermodal tracking.
Authority is granted by state or federal regulatory agencies to operate a motor carrier to transport goods or passengers.
A full container that is picked up from a port.
Cargo or freight that exceeds the maximum legal size or weight limits allowed for transportation on public roads or highways.
Over, Short & Damaged (OS&D)
A shipment that is noted to have an overage, shortage, or was damaged when it arrived at the consignee.
Freight in excess over quantity believed to have been shipped or more than the quantity shown on the shipping document.
Drivers who own or operate their own trucks. May lease rig/driver to another carrier.
A list showing the number and kinds of items being shipped, as well as other information needed for transportation purposes.
A flat (usually wooden) structure that is used for handling transport, storing goods, or transporting freight.
A Latin term for “by the day”. A daily charge for use of equipment or daily fees. Typically charged to drayage carriers for not returning containers during free time.
Commodities that are subject to rapid deterioration or decay which require special protective services such as refrigeration or heating.
The authority granted to contract carriers and forwarders to operate in interstate commerce.
Pick-Up Number (PU#)
A number specific to a shipping location in which a driver needs to have in order to pick up a shipment.
Vehicles that are used to escort oversize or over-dimensional loads that require special handling during transportation.
Point of Origin
Statement in which shipment is received from a shipper by transportation line.
Full truckload capacity solution that occurs when a carrier provides only a driver and a tractor.
When a container is picked up at a port and is stored at the carrier’s yard.
Any progressive or serial number applied for an identification number to freight bills, bills of lading, etc.
Proof of Delivery
Copy of waybill signed by the consignee at the time of delivery as the receipt.
Quad Axle Double Drop/Detach
This trailer has a low profile and a drop in the height of the trailer bed, which allows for the transportation of taller loads with a lower center of gravity. The quad axle configuration of the trailer provides additional weight-bearing capacity and stability for transporting heavy loads.
Quad Axle Extendable Double Drop/Detach
The extendable feature of this trailer allows it to be adjusted in length to accommodate various sizes of cargo. The quad axle configuration of this trailer provides additional weight-bearing capacity and stability for transporting heavy loads.
Quad Axle Lowboy/R.G.N.
This lowboy trailer typically consists of a detachable gooseneck or neck extension that connects to the tractor, allowing the trailer to be detached from the tractor and lowered to the ground for easier loading and unloading of cargo.
The shipping charge for the movement of goods.
The percentage of costs associated with a shipment that can be recovered through a transportation provider’s accessorial charges or fees.
Slang term for refrigerated trailer or a container that hauls perishables.
Removable Gooseneck (RGN)
A trailer type that has a detachable front that allows the trailer to drop off the ground and form its own ramp.
A Removable Gooseneck trailer that is on high alert/important. If the time threshold is not met, it could create a large risk.
Cargo ships that are designed to carry wheeled cargo, such as cars, trucks, semi-trailer trucks, trailers, and railroad cars. They are driven off the ship on their own wheels or using a platform vehicle such as a self-propelled modular transporter.
A device applied to freight car/motor vehicle door fastening. This shows the door fastening where the seal is applied that it has not been tampered with between the time of application and the time of breaking the seal.
Slang term for semi-trailer. Also used loosely in referring to tractor-trail combinations.
Also known as the consignor, is a person or company responsible for organizing and transporting goods from one point to another.
Shipper’s Load & Count (SL&C)
Refers to the responsibility of the shipper to load and count the cargo being shipped. It is a notation that appears on a bill of lading, which is a legal document that serves as evidence of the contract of carriage between the shipper and the carrier.
Sort & Segregate
The process of separating and organizing different items or types of cargo in a shipment. This can involve sorting items by size, weight, destination, or any other relevant criteria.
A type of commercial vehicle that is commonly used for local and regional delivery of small and medium-sized packages.
Steamship Line/Sea Shipping Line (SSL)
The company that owns the ship that is carrying a container.
A commercial trailer designed to carry tall cargo that exceeds the legal height limit if transported on a traditional flatbed trailer.
Straight Bill of Lading
A non-negotiable bill of lading in which the goods are consigned directly to a named consignee.
A type of commercial truck that consists of a cab and a cargo box or cube on a single chassis. Straight trucks typically have a maximum gross vehicle weight (GVW) of less than 33,000 lbs and are commonly used for local or regional deliveries of small to medium-sized shipments.
Cargo that heavily exceeds the standard legal size that is allowed on public roads. Cargo may include very large or heavy items such as machinery, equipment, or prefabricated structures, and may require special routing, pilot vehicles, and additional permits for transport.
A certification attached to a trucker’s commercial driver’s license (CDL) signifying their legal ability to transport bulk quantities of liquids and gases via truck.
A tariff is a document that outlines the rates, fees, and other charges associated with the transportation of goods or passengers from one place to another by a carrier or transportation company.
When two or more drivers work together to transport a shipment over a long distance. In a team operation, one driver drives while the other rests or sleeps, allowing the shipment to be transported without stopping for extended periods of time.
Through Bill of Lading
A type of BOL that allows for the transportation of goods both within domestic borders and through international shipment. The through bill of lading is often required for the exporting of goods.
The act of monitoring the movement of a shipment from its point of origin to its final destination.
The movement of goods from one mode of transportation to another during transit.
If the tracking status of a shipment is “In Transit” it means it’s on its way to its destination. It does not necessarily mean that it is in a moving vehicle such as an aircraft or truck.
Transit Time is the interval needed for a shipment to be delivered once it has been picked up from the point of departure. The transit time varies according to the route and the mode of transportation used. The exact time is mostly measured in hours or days.
A chassis that has three axles and is required to haul overweight containers.
Large-volume shipment from a single customer that weighs more than 10,000 lbs or takes up all the trailer space so no other shipment can be loaded.
A platform for the transportation industry that provides a range of services and tools to truck drivers and logistics providers.
An ultimate consignee is the party who will be the final recipient of a shipment.
A process that determines that the product, service, and processes that meet or exceed the requirements and specifications that have been placed.
A sequence of activities from start to finish of the supply chain process. This includes the production, distribution, and delivery of the product or service in question.
A common term for a supplier of goods for a company or organization.
A system that uses real-time information and analytics that manages inventory levels and supply chain operations.
The ability to track goods, services, and locations throughout the supply chain. This occurs in real time.
The act of storing goods that will be sold or distributed later. Businesses typically own or rent space in a building that is specifically designed for storage.
Permanent station equipped with scales at which motor vehicles transporting property on public highways are required to stop for checking of gross vehicle weight and/or axle weights. Many states also use portable scales to comply with their weight limits.
In shipping, weight is qualified further as gross (weight of goods and container), net (weight of goods only), and legal (similar to net, determined in such manner as the law of particular country/jurisdiction may direct).
Weight Certificate (Scale Ticket)
Usually issued by an official weigher on the dock, the certificate records the weight (as well as the measurements) being entered on the back of the second and third copies of the dock receipt by the clerk on the dock.
White Glove Delivery
A premium level of service that involves the delivery of items with a high level of care, attention, and professionalism. White glove delivery typically includes services such as inside delivery, unpacking, assembly, and installation of the delivered items, as well as the removal of packaging materials.
A process in which products or materials are shipped directly from one supplier to another, without being stored or handled by an intermediary.
A fee charged for storing a container at a carrier’s yard.
A strategy in which inventory levels are kept at a minimum, often through the use of just-in-time (JIT) production and delivery.
A procedure in which products are distributed to specific geographic locations, rather than individual stores or customers.
A form of pricing in which costs are set based on geographic zones which are often used to account for variations in transportation costs and local market conditions.
A plan of action in which goods are transported directly from one distribution center to another, bypassing intermediate stops, to reduce transportation costs and improve delivery speed.