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Glossary of Basic Freight Terms
The trucking industry has a unique lexicon, much of it based on a long history of transportation. Vocabulary can be confusing to a newcomer.
We’ll cover some of the more commonly used terms here:
Reduce – Discount allowed for damage or overpayment
Accessory – Some services that are not considered “standard” and are subject to additional charges. This may include domestic delivery, insurance, lift gate service and other services
Bill of Lading (BOL) – basic shipping documents with relevant names and addresses, places of origin and destination, description of goods to be shipped, payment instructions and other relevant information
Booking – Organization of cargo transportation with the carrier
Wagon – Closed railway freight car
Carrier – a transport entity that agrees to transport cargo by rail, truck, sea, air or any combination of these modes
Carthage – Transportation of local (not interstate or international) cargo by trucks
Demand – to demand payment from the carrier for damage or other losses due to negligence of the carrier.
Classification – A rating for a specific type of product that determines the size, value, and difficulty inherent in transporting that product. The correct class is required for the correct freight price
Consignee – The person or company to whom the shipment is sent
Shipper – the person or company identified as the shipper
Container – A large metal box similar to the body of a truck trailer that is shipped by ship or rail and then attached to the trailer chassis for onward transportation, containers come in many sizes and types.
A corpse – When a truck delivers a load and then completes one leg of the journey without any load
The published value – A shipper can sometimes charge a lower rate if they claim less than the actual value of the shipment, which can be dangerous in case of loss.
Density – The weight of the cargo per cubic foot, this measurement is important for the exact price of the cargo
Double drop – An open deck trailer with a raised front and rear and a lower center section that can be used to transport exceptionally tall loads
Draaj – Transport of local goods by car Ditto Carthage
Dry van – applies to a 53′ trailer that can be heated or ventilated but not refrigerated.
An exception – When the carrier receives the shipment (usually at their terminal), the carrier will note any actual or suspected damage to the shipment prior to shipment
Baggage – Used in a number of different ways, it can refer to the actual cargo or the fees charged by the carrier to the shipper for transporting the cargo.
Gross weight – the combined weight of the cargo, packaging and freight car or container
LESS MAT – Hazardous Material
Intermodal – use of multiple modes of transport to move cargo containers – may include sea, rail, road and air freight
LTL or less than truckload – A shipment that is not large enough to require an entire truckload, LTL shipments typically range from 100 pounds to 20,000 pounds.
NMFC – National classification of road cargo (see Classification above)
Back – An intermodal transport organization where trailers of loaded freight cars are placed on a railway car and transferred to the destination.
PRO number – Tracking number assigned by the carrier to a specific shipment
Proof of delivery – shipping receipt
A puppy – A short trailer is used with another short trailer to form a twin or tandem trailer
Quotation or citation – An offer to provide transportation at a certain price based on certain shipping information and conditions
Referee – Refrigerated container or trailer
Stack train – A special railway car capable of transporting containers of two heights
Step deck – An open trailer with a standard flat section at the front and a lowered section at the rear, designed for transporting high loads.
Tare weight – the weight of an empty wagon or empty container in rail, sea or intermodal shipments
Tariff – A publication setting out the rates and requirements of a particular carrier
Terminal – An area where cargo is organized and prepared for loading and shipment to its final destination, the cargo often goes to the carrier’s terminal after it is picked up and is then placed into another container or trailer for transport to the destination. are unloaded at the terminal before being arranged and placed for final delivery
TL – cargo transportation by truck (where the volume of cargo is sufficient to fill a whole trailer or container
Tractor – A power unit used to pull the register
Trailer – part of a truck that is loaded and transported
Fan trailer – a trailer with small holes in the walls that allow air to circulate to outside air when the doors are closed
Warehouse – Cargo storage
While this list may seem long, there are hundreds of other industry terms and phrases to be found. Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned shipper, you’ve probably heard a new term every now and then. Please feel free to contact us at any time to find out what any freight-related term means.
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