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

# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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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.

A

Accessorial Charge

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.

Aerospace

The management of the movement of materials, components, and finalized products involved in the manufacturing of aerospace products such as airplanes, spacecraft, and satellites.

Agent

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.

Agile Logistics

Is a flexible and responsive approach to managing the movement and distribution of goods and resources. It involves quickly adapting to changes in demand, supply, and market conditions, often through efficient processes, technology integration, and effective communication.

Artificial Intelligence (AI):

Refers to the application of advanced computational techniques that enable computer systems to simulate human intelligence and decision-making processes. Technologies such as machine learning, deep learning, and data analysis, are used to analyze and interpret vast amounts of data from various sources within the logistics industry.

Authority

Operating rights granted to a motor carrier by the DOT.

Autonomous Trucks

Trucks that operate without a human driver through self-driving technology. They have the potential to increase safety and optimize routes.

B

Backhaul

A load booked for a carrier’s return trip.

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.

Blind Shipment

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.

Blockchain

Blockchain is a distributed and decentralized digital ledger technology that records and verifies transactions across multiple parties in a transparent and secure manner. In the context of logistics, blockchain is used to create a tamper-proof record of every step in the supply chain process.

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.

Bobtail

A term used to describe a semi-truck traveling without a trailer attached.

Bonded Warehouse

A bonded warehouse is a secure facility authorized to store imported goods prior to the payment of customs duties and taxes. These warehouses operate under government supervision, ensuring that the goods are held in custody until customs clearance is obtained.

 

Breakbulk/OOG Cargo

The process of transporting cargo or goods that are not containerized, meaning they are not packaged in standard containers or pallets.

Bulk

Large quantities of cargo that are shipped or transported in their natural state, without being packaged or in a container.

Bulk Chemicals

These are large quantities of chemical substances that are transported in bulk, typically in large containers such as tanks, tanker trucks, rail tank cars, or cargo vessels. These chemicals are often raw materials, intermediates, or finished products used in various industries, including manufacturing, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, and more

Bulk Purchasing

Bulk purchasing refers to the procurement strategy of buying goods or materials in large quantities or volumes. This approach is typically used by businesses or organizations to take advantage of economies of scale, which often results in lower unit costs.

 

Bundling

Involves consolidating smaller shipments with larger ones to optimize transportation costs and minimize empty miles, commonly applied in the context of less-than-truckload (LTL) shipments.

C

Carbon Tracking

Monitoring and analyzing carbon emissions across the supply chain. It enables efforts to reduce environmental impact.

Cargo/Load

A load of materials being transported by a vehicle like a ship, airplane, train, or truck, especially for commercial or professional purposes.

Cargo Manifest

A document that indicates the consignor, consignee, mark, package number, quality, quantity, weight, cargo declaration number, and other particulars of goods being transported.

Cargo Vans

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.

Carrier

Individuals, partnerships, or companies in the business of transporting goods or passengers for a fee.

Carrier Haulage

The transportation of cargo or containers by a transportation provider, such as a trucking company or a logistics service provider, from a port or terminal to a location specified by the shipper or consignee. 

Certificate of Analysis (CoA)

A CoA is a document that provides detailed information about the composition, quality, and testing of a product or material being transported. It is typically used for goods that require strict quality control and compliance with specific standards, such as pharmaceuticals, chemicals, food, and some industrial products.

Certificate of Insurance (COI)

A non-negotiable document issued by an insurance company or broker verifying the existence of an insurance policy.

Chassis

Chassis refers to a specialized trailer frame or undercarriage that supports and carries a container or cargo load. Chassis are designed to accommodate standard intermodal containers, such as those used in shipping by sea, rail, or road.

Chassis Split

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.

Chemical Tolling

A process in which a chemical manufacturer outsources part or all of its production process to a third-party toll manufacturer.

Cloud Computing

The delivery of computing resources, including storage, processing power, and software applications, over the internet through remote servers. In logistics, cloud computing allows companies to access and utilize technology resources without the need for on-site infrastructure or hardware.

Coil Racks

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.

Commodity

A raw material or product that is traded on a global market.

Containers

Known as shipping containers or cargo containers, are large standardized containers used for the transport of goods by trucks, trains, and ships.\


Control Towers

Centralized data hubs that provide end-to-end supply chain visibility. They allow for data-driven decision-making.

Claim

Demand on transportation company for payment due to loss/damage of freight during transit.

Class Rate

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.

Coil Racks

A type of storage rack designed specifically for storing coiled materials, such as steel coils or wire coils.

Cold Chain 

A cold chain is a temperature-controlled supply chain that is used to preserve the quality and safety of perishable goods. It begins from the first mile to the last mile. 

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.

Commercial Invoice

An itemized list of goods shipped. Usually included among an exporter’s collection papers.

Commodity

A raw material or product that is traded on a global market.

Common Carrier

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.

Concealed Damage

When goods in an apparently undamaged container are damaged. 

Consignee

The person who receives goods shipped from the owner (Receiver).

Consignor

The person or company that ships the articles to customers (Shipper).

Contract Carrier

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.

Corrosives

Solutions that have the potential to cause damage to materials and living tissues through chemical reactions. These substances can corrode, erode, or destroy surfaces they come into contact with, including metals, plastics, and human skin.

Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP)

The Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) is a professional organization that focuses on advancing the supply chain management field. It provides education, networking opportunities, research, and resources for professionals involved in various aspects of supply chain management, logistics, and related fields.

Cross-Docking

Cross-docking is a term that refers to the practice of unloading goods from one mode of transportation and loading them directly onto another mode of transportation. 

CTPAT Certified Drivers

CTPAT Certified Drivers are transportation professionals who have met the rigorous security standards set by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). These drivers have undergone extensive background checks and training on security procedures, and they are committed to protecting the supply chain from terrorism and other threats.

Curtain Side

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

Customs Broker

Specialist in customs procedures who acts for importers for a fee. Licensed by the U.S. Treasury Department.

Cybersecurity

These are the measures and practices taken to protect the digital infrastructure, systems, and data within the logistics and supply chain industry from cyber threats and attacks. These threats can include unauthorized access, data breaches, malware, ransomware, and other malicious activities that can disrupt operations, compromise sensitive information, and compromise the integrity of digital processes.

D

Deadhead

The distance a commercial vehicle travels with an empty trailer or without a booked load.

Debris Removal

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.

Declared Value

The assigned value of the cargo for reimbursement purposes.

Delivery

Loaded vehicle delivered to the receiver.

Delivery Instructions

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.

Delivery Receipt

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.

Demurrage

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.

Detention

Time spent at a shipper or receiver that a carrier spends waiting to be loaded or unloaded in excess of two hours.

 

Digital Freight Networks

Online platforms that match shippers with carriers for truckload, less-than-truckload, and intermodal freight services. They increase efficiency through digitization.

 

Discharged

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.

DOT

The United States Department of Transportation is a federal department responsible for overseeing and regulating various aspects of transportation within the United States.

Double Drop

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.

Drayage

Refers to a niche shipping service needed to move large containers for a truck, ship, or rail.

Drone Delivery

Using drones to deliver small packages over short distances. It offers fast delivery times and broad reach.

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.

Drop Deck

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.

Drop Trailer

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.

Dry Run

When a trucker is not able to successfully complete a pickup or delivery of a shipment.

Dry Van

A trailer used for transporting dry goods, such as boxed or palletized cargo, that does not require refrigeration or specialized handling.

Dunnage

Loose wood, matting, or similar material used to keep cargo in position during a shipment.

E

eCommerce

eCommerce, or electronic commerce, is the buying and selling of goods and services over the Internet. eCommerce can be conducted through a variety of channels, including websites, online marketplaces, and mobile apps.

Electronic 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.

Electronic Vehicle (EV) Fleets

Delivery fleets composed entirely of electric vehicles. EV fleets help reduce transportation emissions and operating costs.

Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG):

A resource developed collaboratively by transportation authorities in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. It provides critical information for first responders and emergency personnel to effectively manage hazardous materials incidents during transportation.

Escort Vehicles

Escort vehicles, also called pilot vehicles in some areas, are used to guide large or oversized loads through traffic. They are typically equipped with flashing lights and signs to warn other drivers of the approaching load. Escort vehicles may also be used to direct traffic around the load or to provide security.

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.

Exceptions

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.

Extendable Flatbed

A type of trailer used in the transportation of heavy and oversized cargo, such as construction equipment, industrial machinery, and building materials.

F

Factoring Company

A company that purchases carrier’s unpaid invoices for an agreed-upon percentage.

Fall-off

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.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is a United States government agency that was created in 1999 by the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) that is responsible for regulating the safety of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) and their drivers. 

Finger Pier

A narrow extension of a pier used for berthing vessels.

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.

Flammable Liquids

Liquids that have the potential to ignite and burn rapidly when exposed to an open flame, heat, or other sources of ignition. These liquids have a low flashpoint, which is the minimum temperature at which the liquid gives off enough vapor to form an ignitable mixture with the air.

Flatbed

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.

Freight Bill

Shipping document confirming shipment delivery and indicating payment terms (invoice).

Freight Classification

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.

Freight Forwarder

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.

G

Ghost Ship

A vessel that is abandoned or adrift at sea, often due to unforeseen circumstances.

Gross Weight

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.

 

H

Hazmat Classification 

The process of categorizing hazardous materials based on their potential risks and properties. It involves identifying and labeling substances that may pose risks to health, safety, property, or the environment during transportation.

Hazardous Material

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:

  • Explosives
  • Radioactive Material
  • Etiologic Agents
  • Flammables
  • Combustibles (Liquid or Solid)
  • Poison
  • Oxidizing or Corrosive Material
  • Compressed Gas


Hinterland

Within logistics, the term “hinterland” denotes the inland region surrounding a port or transportation hub. This includes the areas dependent on the port or hub for their economic activities.

Hopper

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.

Hotshot

The transportation of time-sensitive or urgent cargo using a smaller vehicle, such as a pickup truck or van.

I

ICAO

The International Civil Aviation Organization. This agency is responsible for regulating hazardous material transportation via air travel.

Ingate (IG) / Terminated

The empty drayage container that is returned to the port.

Inside Delivery

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.

Intermodal Transportation

Using more than one mode to deliver shipments.

Internet of Things (IoT)

Is the network of interconnected physical devices, sensors, and objects that are embedded with technology to collect, exchange, and transmit data over the internet. In the context of logistics, IoT enables real-time tracking, monitoring, and management of assets, inventory, and vehicles throughout the supply chain.

Intrastate Carrier

A carrier that only operates in one state.

J

Jidoka

A Japanese term that refers to stopping a production line when a problem or defect is detected, to prevent further errors and improve quality.

Jumboization

The process of expanding the capacity of a container ship by adding additional container rows on top of the existing ones.

Just-In-Time (JIT)

A supply chain strategy that emphasizes producing and delivering products as needed and reduces inventory costs.

K

Kaizen

A Japanese term to improve standardized processes and programs by ending waste and increasing efficiency.

Kanban

A Japanese term for a system of visual signals used in lean manufacturing to manage inventory levels and production.

Kitting

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.

L

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).

Layover

When a driver is delayed by a shipper or receiver for one or more days.

Laytime

Refers to the designated duration during which a ship is permitted to load or unload cargo at a port. If this timeframe is exceeded, it may lead to demurrage charges imposed on the shipper or consignee.

Legal Weight

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.

Liftgate

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.

Live Unload

The receiver unloads the delivering vehicle while the driver waits on site (the most common type of delivery).

Load Matching

The process of pairing available loads with available trucks or carriers, with the goal of maximizing efficiency and reducing empty miles.

Location Tracking

Location tracking is the process of monitoring the location of goods or assets as they move through the supply chain. This can be done using a variety of technologies, including GPS, RFID, and barcodes.

Loss & Damage Claim (L&D)

Usually applied when loss/damage is discovered when the package is delivered.

 

Lowboy/R.G.N.

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

 

Lubricants

Are substances specifically designed to reduce friction and minimize wear between moving parts. Lubricants are essential in various industries, including automotive, manufacturing, aviation, and more. 

M

Manifest

A document that lists the contents of a shipment.

Master Bill of Lading (MBL)

BOL issued by the ship owner or operator that represents the contract of carriage between the shipper and carrier.

Match-Box

When a truck that initially delivers an import load subsequently carries out an export delivery, it effectively reduces ’empty miles’ and enhances supply chain efficiency.

Merchant Haulage

Where the shipper or consignee is responsible for arranging and paying for the inland transportation of the cargo.

Micro-fulfillment Centers

Small, automated warehouses located close to customers to enable quick delivery of online orders. They help retailers optimize last-mile delivery.

Milk Run

A logistics practice where a vehicle makes a series of stops to pick up or deliver goods along a set route.

Mode

The means of transportation used to move goods, such as truck, rail, air, or ocean.

Motor 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.


Multimodal

The use of multiple modes of transportation to move goods.

N

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

Non-Vessel Owning Common Carrier (NVOCC)

An NVOCC is a type of transportation intermediary or freight forwarder that specializes in arranging the international shipment of goods without owning the vessels (ships) used for transportation. NVOCCs act as intermediaries between shippers (the parties exporting or importing goods) and ocean carriers (the companies that operate the vessels).

Notice of Assignment

A letter informing that a carrier has assigned their accounts receivable to a factoring company.

Nuclear Waste

Hazardous byproducts that are generated from nuclear power generation, nuclear medicine, research, and other nuclear-related activities. It includes materials that are radioactive and can pose significant risks to human health and the environment if not managed and transported safely.

O

Ocean Carrier

An ocean carrier”refers to a company or entity that provides shipping and transportation services for cargo via sea routes. These carriers are responsible for the movement of goods across international waters and are a crucial component of global trade and supply chain management.

Oil

These are various types of liquid hydrocarbons extracted from natural resources such as crude oil, as well as other sources like vegetable oils. These oils are crucial commodities that play a vital role in global trade and supply chains.

Open deck

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.

Open Top

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.

OpenTrack

Software that has been designed to be used in logistics for container and intermodal tracking. 

Operating Authority

Authority is granted by state or federal regulatory agencies to operate a motor carrier to transport goods or passengers.

Outgate (OG)

A full container that is picked up from a port.

Over-dimensional/Oversize/Overweight

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.

Overage

Freight in excess over quantity believed to have been shipped or more than the quantity shown on the shipping document.

Owner-Operators (O&O)

Drivers who own or operate their own trucks. May lease rig/driver to another carrier.

Oxidizing Agents

Substances that release oxygen or other oxidizing substances and enhance the combustion of flammable materials. These agents can promote the spread of fires and can react with other substances, potentially leading to explosions or other hazardous reactions.

P

Packing List

A list showing the number and kinds of items being shipped, as well as other information needed for transportation purposes.

Pallet

A flat (usually wooden) structure that is used for handling transport, storing goods, or transporting freight.

Per Diem

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.

Perishable Freight

Commodities that are subject to rapid deterioration or decay which require special protective services such as refrigeration or heating.

Permit

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.

Piggybacking

The utilization of multimodal transportation systems, where truck trailers are seamlessly transferred between trucks and trains for efficient long-haul transportation

Pilot Vehicles

Vehicles that are used to escort oversize or over-dimensional loads that require special handling during transportation.

Placard

A type of label or sign that is displayed on the exterior of vehicles or containers transporting hazardous materials. Placards serve as visual indicators to inform those who come into contact with the shipment about the potential risks associated with the hazardous materials being transported.

Point of Origin

Statement in which shipment is received from a shipper by transportation line.

Power Only

Full truckload capacity solution that occurs when a carrier provides only a driver and a tractor.

Pre-Pull

When a container is picked up at a port and is stored at the carrier’s yard.

Pro-Number

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.

Q

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.

R

Radioactive Materials

Materials that emit ionizing radiation due to their unstable atomic nuclei. These materials are used in various industries, including nuclear power generation, medical treatments, research, and industrial applications. Radioactive materials can pose health and environmental risks if not handled, packaged, and transported properly.

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)

RFID, or radio frequency identification, is a wireless technology that uses radio waves to identify and track objects. RFID can be used to track the movement of goods throughout the supply chain, from the point of production to the point of sale.

Rate

The shipping charge for the movement of goods.

Recovery Rate

The percentage of costs associated with a shipment that can be recovered through a transportation provider’s accessorial charges or fees.

Reefer

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.

Reshoring

Reshoring is the process of returning the production and manufacturing of goods back to the company’s original country. This can include bringing back manufacturing, warehousing, and transportation operations.

RGN/Time-Critical

A Removable Gooseneck trailer that is on high alert/important. If the time threshold is not met, it could create a large risk.

Roll-On/Roll-Off (RO/RO)

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.

S

Seal

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.

Semi

Slang term for semi-trailer. Also used loosely in referring to tractor-trail combinations.

Shipping paper

A document that provides critical information about hazardous materials being transported. It serves as a communication tool between shippers, carriers, and emergency responders to ensure safe handling, transportation, and response in case of incidents.
 

Shipper

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.

Slack Water

The period when water is still, with no tidal movement, making it easier for vessels to navigate.

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.

Sprinter Vans

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.

Step Deck

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.

Straight Trucks

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.

Stuffing

Pertains to the act of loading goods into a container. It is essential to correctly stuff a container to guarantee cargo stability and prevent damage during transportation.

Super Over-dimensional

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.

Sustainable Logistics

The practice of conducting transportation, distribution, and supply chain activities in an environmentally responsible and socially conscious manner. It involves minimizing the negative impact on the environment, conserving resources, reducing emissions, and promoting ethical practices while ensuring efficient and effective movement of goods.

T

Tanker Endorsement

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.

Tariff

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.

Teams

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.

Third-Party Logistics

Third-party logistics (3PL) is a business model in which a company outsources its logistics operations to a third-party provider. This can include warehousing, transportation, order fulfillment, and customer service.

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.

Tracking

The act of monitoring the movement of a shipment from its point of origin to its final destination.

Transload

The movement of goods from one mode of transportation to another during transit.

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

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.

Transportation Management System

TA transportation management system (TMS) is a software system that helps companies manage the logistics associated with the movement of physical goods. It is a subset of supply chain management (SCM) that focuses on the transportation of goods. This helps with planning, tracking, and managing shipments throughout the world.

Triaxle Chassis

A chassis that has three axles and is required to haul overweight containers.

Truckload (TL)

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.

Trucker Tools

A platform for the transportation industry that provides a range of services and tools to truck drivers and logistics providers. 

Tweendecker

A type of cargo ship with two decks typically used for transporting general cargo.

U

Ultimate Consignee

An ultimate consignee is the party who will be the final recipient of a shipment.

V

Validation

A process that determines that the product, service, and processes that meet or exceed the requirements and specifications that have been placed.

Value Chain

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.

Vendor

A common term for a supplier of goods for a company or organization.

Virtual Inventory

A system that uses real-time information and analytics that manages inventory levels and supply chain operations.

Visibility

The ability to track goods, services, and locations throughout the supply chain. This occurs in real time.

W

Warehousing

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.

Warehouse Robotics

The use of robots and automation in warehouse operations like picking, sorting and moving inventory. Robotics improve productivity and accuracy.

Weigh Station

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.

Weight

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.

Wharfinger

An individual responsible for managing a wharf or dock area.

X

X-Docking

A process in which products or materials are shipped directly from one supplier to another, without being stored or handled by an intermediary.

Y

Yard Storage

A fee charged for storing a container at a carrier’s yard.

Z

Zero Emission Logistics

The practice of conducting transportation and supply chain activities with no direct emissions of greenhouse gases or other pollutants into the environment. This involves utilizing vehicles, equipment, and technologies powered by clean and renewable energy sources such as electric, hydrogen, or other non-combustion alternatives.

Zero Inventory

A strategy in which inventory levels are kept at a minimum, often through the use of just-in-time (JIT) production and delivery.

Zonal Distribution

A procedure in which products are distributed to specific geographic locations, rather than individual stores or customers.

Zonal Pricing

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.

Zone Skipping

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.

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