Freight Terms Every Shipper Should Know

List of freight Terms

Written by Willy Schmidt

Willy started with one gravel truck in 2007 and soon added the second truck to the gravel haul. Today (2020) He owns and operates 4 terminal locations in Edmonton, Grande Prairie, Peace River, And Fort St, John with his partner Bernard.

March 6, 2020

It’s no secret that the freight industry is complex. Whether you are a first time shipper, or a residual expert that ships daily, there is an entire language of freight terms that you need to be familiar with if you’re going to get a firm handle on your shipping. That’s what our FREIGHT TERMS blog post is for.

Here you’ll find a constantly updated list of freight terms that will cover both LTL and truckload shipping freight terms. Throughout you’ll find helpful links to other blogs and Freight Papers, and you can download the list as our Freight Dictionary.

(Teaser Video)

— A —

Accessorial

An additional service requested for a freight shipment. Most accessorials require an additional payment that varies based on the service or carrier. Some common accessorials include liftgate services and residential delivery. Download our LTL Additional Services Cheat Sheet for more information.

Accessorial charges

Accessorial charges are for administrations that are notwithstanding run of the mill transportation administrations, for example, inside delivery, a private delivery, liftgate delivery, and other comparative administrations.

Accounts Payable

Part of the billing department in charge of paying carriers, operators, or factoring companies for services rendered.

Accounts Receivable

Part of the billing department in charge of collecting payment from carriers or customers for services rendered.

Air Bill (Air Waybill)

Documentation for an air transporter that gives data about the cargo, weight, cargo charges, shipper, proctor, and the party liable for cargo charges. An air bill is basically an LTL cargo bill, however for an air bearer.

Air Cargo

Forms of freight shipping that uses planes instead of trucks, or trains. Airfreight is usually more expensive, but also more expedited. Check out our blog on air shipments for more information.

Arrival Notice

The notice that the agent gets when their cargo has landed at its destination.

Auditing (Freight)

The process performed by some freight carriers and brokers to confirm any additional charges before passing the final freight bill on to the customer.

— B —

Backhaul

In truckload shipping, transit required to reposition a truck and its driver after the initial load he was hired to transport. Also known as “head haul.” Learn more at our backhaul shipping blog.

Billing

Department at carriers or brokers in charge of invoices and payment.

Bill of Lading (BOL)

The document given to the carrier at the time of freight pickup with all necessary information for the shipment. This information includes pickup and delivery locations, weight, class, commodity, and much more. Download our Freight Paper, The Importance of Using the Correct BOL, for more information.

Bonded Warehouse

A Customs-controlled warehouse for the retention of imported goods until the duty-owed is paid.

Bracing

A technique used to secure freight in the truck during full truckload shipments.

Breaking bulk

Separating mass comprises of breaking a heap from one shipper that is being sent to various agents.

Break Bulk Point

The terminal or area that break bulks happen.

Broker (Freight)

Third-party logistics provider that acts as a conduit between customer and carrier to secure freight pricing and services, among other things.

Bundle

A grouping of products shipped that are generally unassembled. Similar to pallets or crates.

Business to Business (B2B)

Standard LTL shipment protocol that deems both the pickup and delivery location to be certified businesses, often with loading docks. If the shipment is not B2B, then additional services such as residential delivery will be required.

— C —

Capacity

In truckload shipping, capacity is determined by the number of goods to be shipped, and the number of carriers/trucks to ship them. It is a large factor in truckload pricing. Read our blog on capacity in produce season for more information.

Carrier

A company or operator that transports both LTL and truckload freight. Read our blog on the differences between brokers and carriers for more information.

Cartage

A common term in truckload shipping referring to the actual commodities and freight being shipped.

Cash on Delivery

Also known as “Freight Collect.” The process of paying (in cash) for a shipment at the time of delivery. Read our freight collect blog for more information.

Claim (Freight)

A charge made against the freight carrier for shipments that are damaged or lost. Download our Freight Paper, How to File a Freight Claim, for more information.

Class (Freight)

Freight class is an identification number assigned to all freight shipped LTL that helps determine the price. Download our Freight Paper, The Mysteries of Freight Class, for more information.

Collect Terms

state that the consignee is liable for the cargo charges.

Commercial Invoice

Document from the manufacturer that determines an item’s value. Often used for freight claims.

Concealed Damage

comprises of harm to the substance of a bundle without the harm being remotely obvious.

Consignee

The receiver of an LTL or truckload shipment. The opposite of a “shipper.”

Consignor

the individual or business that begins the shipment. Likewise, known as the shipper.

Container

anything that the freight is contained in.

Contract

an authoritative record between parties. With respect to cargo, a contract states particulars of the cargo shipment process.

Corrected Bill of Lading (CBL)

a document that the shipper would issue to correct the first bill of lading.

Credit Application

used to confirm client data with respect to credit value.

Cubic Capacity

The carrying capacity of a truck or other piece of equipment measured in cubic feet.

Customer Service Representative (CSR)

An individual that works with customers to schedule pickups, deliveries, and freight tracking. CSR works closely with drivers, dispatchers, and claims departments.

Customs

Government authorities that collect duties on freight imports.

Customs Broker

A broker that handles all necessary paperwork and practices to get freight across the border. Customs services are not included in all freight broker services.

— D —

Deadhead

In truckload shipping, when a driver returns to a point of origin or market carrying no freight.

Declared Value

The value of the freight declared on the BOL at the time of pickup. Often used for claims or custom purposes.

Deficit Weight

weight put on a tab with the goal that the shipment will cost less because of the rate decrease for higher loads.

Delivered Duty Paid (DDP)

Seller is liable for conveying the merchandise to the named destination in the nation of the buyer and pays all expenses in carrying the products to the goal including import obligations and assessments. The seller isn’t answerable for unloading. This term is frequently utilized instead of the non-Incoterm “Free In Store (FIS)”. This term puts the greatest commitments on the seller and least commitments on the buyer. No risk or duty is moved to the buyer until the delivery of the merchandise at the named place of destination.

The most significant thought for DDP terms is that the seller is answerable for clearing the products through customs in the buyer’s nation, including both paying the obligations and charges, and acquiring the fundamental approvals and enlistments from the experts in that nation. Except if the principles and guidelines in the buyer’s nation are very surely known, DDP terms can be an exceptionally huge risk both in terms of deferrals and in unanticipated additional expenses, and ought to be utilized with alert.

Delivered Duty Unpaid (DDU)

This term implies the seller delivers the merchandise to the buyer, not cleared for import, and not emptied from arriving methods for transport at the named spot of destination. The seller bears all expenses and risks engaged with carrying the merchandise to the named spot other than “duty” (which incorporates the duty regarding customs conventions and installment of those conventions, obligations, and duties) for import into the nation of destination. The buyer is answerable for an installment of all customs and obligations and assessments.

Delivery Appointment

Appointment set with the consignee to deliver freight. In LTL, most delivery appointments are considered accessorials and require additional payment.

Delivery Receipt (DR)

Also known as a Proof of Delivery (POD). Document signed at the time of delivery notating if the freight is accepted in good condition. Most often used for claims purposes. Read more at our delivery receipts blog.

Demurrage

the confinement of a holder or cargo vehicle past the assessed time period.

Density

Measurement of an item’s pounds per cubic foot. Important for freight quotes, and density-based freight class.

Detention

Fee assessed by a carrier when a truck is held up at delivery or pickup longer than the time allotted for the service.

Direct Point

a postal district that gets administration by the contracted bearers possesses gear and driver. See likewise Indirect Point.

Dispatching

the way toward booking and overseeing intra-city traffic and intercity pickup and delivery

Diversion

When freight is diverted to a different location while in transit. Also known as a consignment.

Drayage

a charge that happens when cargo is pulled on trucks, drays, or trucks.

Driver Collect

a term that identifies with cargo charges. It implies that the driver gathers the cargo charges from the agent at the hour of delivery.

Drop Trailer

A carrier trailer that is left at a location for pickup at a later date, once it’s filled. Read more at our drop trailer blog.

Dry Van

Standard truckload trailer either 48 ft. or 52 ft. long. Neither heated nor cooled. Learn more in our Truckload and LTL Trailer Equipment Guide.

Dunnage

The packing material used to protect freight in the trailer during transit.

— E —

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)

Computer to computer transmission used primarily in freight to schedule pickups with carriers through a transportation management system.

ETA

Estimated time of arrival.

ETD

Estimated time of departure.

Exceptions

errors observed at the hour of trade or delivery and are identified with the physical qualities or number of bits of the cargo.

Expedited Shipment

Freight that is delivered faster than a standard shipment, for an additional fee.

— F —

Flatbed

Equipment used in truckload shipping to transport large items or machinery.

Free Astray

A shipment that was emptied at or lost to an inappropriate terminal and is then charged and sent to the right terminal for nothing.

Freight Charge

The sum that is expected for cargo transportation.

Freight Forwarder

A logistics company that acts as an intermediary between the shipper and the carrier.

Freight of All Kinds (FAK)

A rate agreement between the shipper/broker and the carrier. Learn everything you need to know about FAKs.

Freight Collect

See Cash on Delivery.

— G —

Global Positioning System (GPS)

A system that uses satellites to find exact positions of objects on earth. Used in truckload freight to track carrier trucks/loads. Learn more about GPS truck tracking at our blog.

Gross Weight

The total weight of an item including packaging and palleting.

Guaranteed Shipment

An LTL shipment that is guaranteed for delivery by a certain time. An additional fee is paid for this service, and if the delivery time is not met the shipping charges can be wiped away.

— H —

Handling

A factor in determining an item’s freight class. Items that are fragile or over-sized are often hard to handle, resulting in a higher freight class.

Hazardous Materials

Items designated by the Department of Transportation that pose a risk to health and safety. These materials require special permits, carriers, and drivers to move.

Household Goods

A common shipping commodity in LTL that moves at class 150. Learn more about shipping household goods.

— I —

In Bond

When freight is held by Customs until fees or other charges are paid. In Bond, shipments have not cleared Customs.

Inland Carrier

a transportation line that conveys import or fare traffic among ports and inland zones.

Insurance (Freight)

A system where the shipper or broker will agree to pay a premium for coverage in case of loss or damage to the freight. Most carriers carry insurance, and third party insurance is often available as well. Coverage and deductible amounts vary. Download our Freight Insurance Guide for more information.

Interchange Point

the place cargo is traded between two transportation lines. The exchange point postal division ordinarily determines the split of the income.

Interline

The process of using multiple carriers to transport freight to its final destination. Learn more about interline freight here.

Interline Freight

moves over the lines of at least two transportation organizations from the purpose of starting point to the destination.

Intermediate Carrier

a transportation line that takes a shipment between two transportation frameworks. An intermediate transporter doesn’t begin or deliver the shipment.

Interstate Commerce Commission

the government association that is answerable for implementing demonstrations of Congress identifying with interstate business.

Intermodal

The process of using multiple forms of transportation to move freight, such as van to train or shipping vessel. Learn The Basics of Intermodal Shipping here.

— L —

Less Than Truckload (LTL)

A form of freight shipping focused on moving freight that takes up less space than a full truckload. LTL has different pricing and functions than full truckload freight shipping.

Liftgate

A lift on the back of some trucks that assist in getting freight on and off the truck. Often used in place of a loading dock.

Line Driver

a driver that doesn’t ordinarily get or deliver shipments. Rather a line driver moves cargo between terminals.

Line Haul

Comprises of hardware and individuals who cooperate to move cargo starting with one terminal then onto the next.

Load Board

An online message board where jobs/loads are posted allowing carriers and brokers to schedule pickups and deliveries.

Lumping

When the driver helps load or unload the truck at pick up or delivery.

— M —

Manifest

a report that portrays the shipment or the substance of a vehicle, compartment, or ship.

Minimum Rate

the most minimal contracted rate that may be charged.

— N —

National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC)

Tariff containing descriptions, classifications, and rules for shipping commodities. NMFC codes are tied to freight class.

This shipping term is often used in the context of the NMFC number which helps to determine the class for all LTL shipments.

Freight class is an especially complicated part of the shipping/freight process, but know that each and every LTL shipment will have an NMFC number and without it on the BOL, you’re more likely to get hit with a Re-Class.

Nested

Things are “nested” when they are stuffed one inside another.

Net Weight

Weight of a shipment not including packaging.

Notify Consignee

Additional service where the carrier will call the receiver to alert them that their shipment is out for delivery.

— O —

Origin Carrier

the transporter that gets the cargo from the shipper. The root transporter additionally gets the bill of filling.

Origin Terminal

the terminal that gets the cargo from the shipper. The source terminal likewise gets the bill of replenishing.

Over the Road

implies that the cargo is between terminals or inside the line pull framework.

Over, Short, and Damaged (OS&D)

Carrier department that is in charge of overages, shortages, and damages. They are in charge of finding lost freight, and play a part in the filing of freight claims for damage or loss.

— P —

Pallet

a stage that is versatile and holds materials for capacity or transportation.

Pallet Deck

A metal support that enables two pallets of freight to be stacked on top of each other in a trailer. Pallet decks are usually used in line haul movements.

Parcel Shipment

Small package shipping that is usually handled by couriers like UPS or FedEx.

Point of Origin

the postal district of the shipper’s area.

Pooling

The act of combining multiple shipments into one truckload to cut down on freight costs.

Port of Entry

an administration assigned port where remote merchandise are assessed before being conceded into a nation.

Prepaid Terms

imply that the shipper or a Third Party is liable for the cargo charges.

Pro Number

Tracking and identification number is given to freight once it is picked up and in transit.

Proof of Delivery (POD)

Also known as a Delivery Receipt (DR). Document signed at the time of delivery notating damage or loss, or if the freight is delivered as expected. PODs are valuable in the filing of freight claims.

— R —

Rate Base

a distributed arrangement of rates.

Reclass

Invoice discrepancy where the carrier invoices the shipment at a higher or lower class than notated on the BOL.

Reefer

Type of equipment that is temperature-controlled, most often a refrigerated truck used to transport perishable items.

Release Value

the estimation of the merchandise that is set by the shipper as the bearer’s furthest reaches of risk. The discharge esteem identifies with characterization and cargo rates.

Return Authorization

the archive conveyed by the first shipper that approves the cargo to be returned.

Reweigh

Invoice discrepancy where the carrier invoices the shipment at a higher or lower weight than notated on the BOL.

Re-consignment

Here’s a shipping term that you might be familiar with if you’ve ever had a change of plans with your freight. A re-consignment happens when freight that is already in transit is re-directed from one delivery location to another.

This charge can vary based on how far apart the delivery locations are. For instance, if the new location is just down the street, the charge will probably be minimal. However, if freight was heading to California and is being reconsigned to Florida, you will be in for a hefty re-consignment fee.

— S —

Safety Rating

estimates the security of a company. A security rating depends on what number of miles have been driven between any forms of accident.

Seal

used to ensure that a trailer isn’t opened during travel.

Shipper

Origin party of a freight shipment, and the opposite of a consignee. Shippers are responsible for getting the BOL to the carrier at the time of pickup.

Short Shipment

When freight is delivered, but is missing pieces as notated by the BOL.

Shortage

the point at which the measure of cargo delivered is not exactly the measure of cargo got at pickup.

Standard Carrier Alpha Code (SCAC)

The Department of Transportation gives this code to each cargo transporter to distinguish between them uniquely.

Step Deck

Type of equipment used in truckload shipping for larger pieces. Learn more about step deck trailers.

— T —

Tare Weight

Tare weight is the heaviness of the bundling materials.

Tariff

In transportation, a tariff refers to any fees, agreements, or rules that a carrier has in relation to a broker or customer.

Terms

Terms state who is answerable for paying the cargo charges.

Terminal

Carrier hub where freight is loaded and unloaded during LTL transit.

Third-Party Billing

Third-Party Billing is where neither the shipper nor the proctor is liable for paying the cargo charges – rather there is an outsider who is liable for the charges.

Third-Party Logistics Provider (3PL)

A freight broker that acts as a go-between for customers and carriers. 3PLs often have discounted freight rates, and offer customer service.

Tracing

The act of tracking a shipment from pickup to delivery.

Tractor

A tractor is the power unit that pulls trailers. There are two kinds of tractors: single axle and double axle. Single axle tractors are normally utilized for pickup and delivery while double axle tractors are ordinarily utilized for line hauls.

Transit Time

The time between when a shipment is picked up and delivered. Standard LTL shipments have estimated transit times.

Transportation Management System (TMS)

A web-based tool that assists customers in scheduling pickups, creating BOLs, tracking shipments, and more.

Triples

Triples allude to one tractor pulling three trailers.

Truckload (TL)

A type of freight shipping that specializes in moving freight that takes up a full truckload of space. Truckload shipping is different from LTL and has its own carrier and pricing structures.

— V —

Vendor

The manufacturer or distributor of a product. Many carriers will make pickups directly from vendor warehouses.

Volume Quote

A type of LTL quote for shipments that are larger than the standard LTL size, but smaller than a full truckload quote. Download our LTL Volume Quotes Freight Paper.

— W —

Warehousing

Warehousing is the storing of products.

Waybill

Document used by the carrier containing relevant shipment information such as pickup and delivery locations. Also known as a Bill of Lading (BOL).

Weight and Inspection Certificate (W&I)

Document created by the carrier when a shipment is reweighed or reclassed. W&I certificates contain the date, location, and agent responsible for the discrepancy. They are used in freight claims.

Was this freight list helpful?

If so, don’t forget to comment what term you didn’t know previously. Also, you may enjoy this freight dictionary from YRC.com

Also, you may find some of our helpful freight papers here

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