Charges made for performing services beyond normal pickup and delivery, such as inside delivery or storage charges.
Air freight forwarder
An air freight forwarder provides pickup and delivery service under its own tariff, consolidates shipments into larger units, prepares shipping documentation and tenders shipments to the airlines. Air freight forwarders do not generally operate their own aircraft and may therefore be called “indirect air carriers.” Because the air freight forwarder tenders the shipment, the airlines consider the forwarder to be the shipper.
An air waybill is a shipping document airlines use. Similar to a bill of lading, the air waybill is a contract between the shipper and airline that states the terms and conditions of transportation. The air waybill also contains shipping instructions, product descriptions, and transportation charges. See also waybill.
Group of airlines or ocean carriers who coordinate and cross list schedules, and sell capacity on each other’s flights/voyages.
Articles of Extraordinary Value
Carriers are not liable for “documents, coin money, or articles of extraordinary value” unless the items are specifically rated in published classifications or tariffs. Exceptions may be made by special agreement. If an agreement is made, the stipulated value of the articles must be endorsed on the bill of lading. Articles may include precious stones, jewels and currency. Many tariffs include restrictions on goods with values in excess of a specified amount.
A freight movement in a direction (or lane) of secondary importance or light demand. Backhauls are preferable to deadheads by transportation companies, since revenue is generated. In order to entice shippers to move goods in backhaul markets, carriers may offer lower rates.
Bill of lading (BOL or B/L)
A bill of lading is a binding contract that serves three main purposes:
1. a receipt for the goods delivered to the transportation provider for shipment;
2. a definition or description of the goods; and
3. evidence of title to the relative goods, if “negotiable”.
Bill of lading exceptions
The terms and conditions of most bills of lading release transportation providers from liability for loss or damage arising from:
An act of God, a public enemy, the authority of law or the act or default of the shipper.
In addition, except in the case of negligence, a transportation provider will not be liable for loss, damage, or delay caused by:
the property being stopped and held in transit at the request of the shipper, owner or party entitled to make such request;
– lack of capacity of a highway, bridge or ferry;
– a defect or vice in the property; or
– riots or strikes.
A transportation provider U.S. Customs allows to carry customs-controlled merchandise between customs points.
To separate parts of a load into individual shipments for routing to different destinations.
Cargo in-between bulk and containerized, that must be handled piece-by-piece by terminal workers (stevedores). Often stored in bags or boxes and stacked onto pallets. Smaller lift equipment (forklifts, small cranes) used than for containerized cargo, but more labor intensive.
Consolidation and distribution center. A terminal in the Freight system that unloads and consolidates shipments received from its smaller terminals and from other break-bulks. This terminal may have its own city operation.
Example: Freight destined for Texas from several New England states will be consolidated at our Stroudsurgh, Pa., break-bulk terminal for forwarding to Texas.
A broker is an independent contractor paid to arrange motor-carrier transportation. A broker may work on the carrier’s or shipper’s behalf.
Cargo that is stowed loose on transportation vehicles, in a tank or hold without specific packaging, and handled by pump, scoop, conveyor, or shovel. Examples: grain, coal, petroleum, chemicals.
An industry term regarding loss or damage of goods. Carmack is governed by 49 U.S.C 14706, which states that a motor carrier must issue the bill of lading and pay the actual loss or injury to the property. However, carriers limit their liability for release-value products, and can limit their damages to $25 a pound or $100,000 a shipment.
A firm that provides transportation services, typically owning and operating transportation equipment.
Examples include: trucking company, railroad, airline, steamship line, parcel/express company.
Cartage (Pickup and Delivery)
Local hauling of freight. Often the trucking service used for transferring freight from the shipper to a terminal, or from a terminal to a consignee.
A carrier who performs pickup or delivery in areas that a large freight does not serve. Cartage agents use their own paperwork while transporting the shipment.
Cargo: A Cargo Claim is a demand made on a transportation company for payment for goods allegedly lost or damaged while the shipment was in the transportation provider’s possession. Pursuant to the National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) Uniform Bill of Lading, all cargo claims must be filed within nine months.
Overcharge/Undercharge: Overcharge or undercharge claims are demands on a transportation company for a refund of an overcharge from the erroneous application of rates, weights and/or assessment of freight charges.
A shipment for which the transportation provider is responsible for collecting the sale price of the goods shipped before delivery.
Container-On-Flatcar. A term used in intermodal transportation in which containers are stacked onto rail flatcars for rail transportation. No truck chassis is used, and double stack cars are possible, thus more containers can be carried by a shorter, lighter train.
Any article of commerce. Goods shipped.
Company that provides transportation services to the public in return for compensation.
Shortage or damage not evident at delivery.
A single, rigid, sealed, reusable metal box in which merchandise is shipped by vessel, truck, or rail. Container types include standard, high cube, hardtop, open top, flat, platform, ventilated, insulated, refrigerated, or bulk. Usually 8 ft x 8 ft in width and height, 20 to 55 ft long. Specialized containers also exist for air transportation modes, but are much smaller and cannot be directly transferred to truck or rail.
Container Leasing / Railcar Leasing
Some companies specialize in the business of owning transportation equipment (containers or railcars), and renting them out to shippers or carriers. These companies often face significant equipment management problems.
Containers, Chassis, and Vans (Trailers)
Standard trucking companies use vans (or trailers) to move standard dry goods. These trailers consist of a storage box that is permanently attached to a set of wheels (the set of wheels is often known as a truck). Intermodal ocean containers are moved on the road by attaching them to a separate piece of equipment, a chassis, which is essentially a set of wheels on a lightweight frame.
The person or place where a shipment will be transferred for the last time (destination); the individual or organization to whom the goods are addressed.
An individual or firm that sends freight. A freight originator.
Bringing together many small shipments, often from different shippers, into large shipment quantities, in order to take advantage of economies of scale in transportation costs. In-vehicle consolidation is when a vehicle makes pickups from many customers and consolidates freight inside the vehicle. Out-of-vehicle consolidation occurs at a terminal facility; shipments to a single customer/region are consolidated before shipment.
Transportation terminal in which received items transferred directly from inbound to the outbound shipping dock, with storage only occurring temporarily during unloading and loading. No long-term storage is provided. Usually used only for vehicle transfers. Often owned and operated by large shippers.
Examples: Home Depot, food service companies, hub passenger airports.
A portion of a transportation trip in which no freight is conveyed; an empty move. Transportation equipment is often dead-headed because of imbalances in supply and demand. For example, many more containers are shipped from Asia to North America than in reverse; empty containers are therefore dead-headed back to Asia.
The number of long tons that a vessel can transport of cargo, supplies and fuel. It is the difference between the number of tons of water a vessel displaces “light” (empty) and the number of tons it displaces when submerged to the “load line”.
Trailers with rows of tracking on each sidewall and deck load bars. The load bars fit into the tracks to form temporary “decks” on which goods can be loaded. Decks allow more goods to be loaded in the trailer, reduce damage and speed loading and unloading.
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.
Penalty charges assessed by a carrier to a shipper or consignee for holding transportation equipment, i.e. trailers, containers, railcars, longer than a stipulated time for loading or unloading.
The act of sending a driver on his/her assigned route with instructions and required shipping papers. Freight carriers maintain contact with drivers throughout the day by phone, pager, radio, satellite communication or cellular phone.
Diversion / Reconsignment
Diversion is a tactic used by shippers to change the destination (consignee) of freight while the goods are in transit. The shipper will notify the carrier prior to the arrival of freight at the destination of the new consignee, and the carrier will adjust the freight routing accordingly. Reconsignment is a similar concept, except that the shipper notifies the carrier of the new consignee after the freight arrives at the destination, but (obviously) before delivery/unpacking. Carriers impose extra charges for these services typically, but they provide flexibility to the shipper.
A platform, generally the same height as the trailer floor, where trucks are loaded and unloaded.
Converter that provides an extra axle and fifth wheel and is used to connect multiple trailers. See also Jifflox.
Transportation service arrangement in which freight is moved from origin (shipper) through to ultimate destination (consignee) for a given rate. Trucking companies typically offer door-to-door service. Railroads do not, unless the shipper and consignee both have rail sidings. Brokers, forwarders, NVOCCs etc. often package together door-to-door service through contracts with multiple carriers.
Vehicle configuration in which a tractor pulls two trailers connected by a dolly or jifflox.
Also known as connecting road haulage. The hauling of a load by a cart with detachable sides (dray). Road transportation between the nearest railway terminal and the stuffing place. Local trucking, typically describing truck movement of containers and trailers to and from rail intermodal yards and to and from port facilities.
Wood and packaging materials used to keep cargo in place inside a container or transportation vehicle.
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. The data formats, or transaction sets, are usually sent between mainframe computers.
An exception is any delivery in which the recipient or driver notes a problem on the delivery receipt before signing it. Typically, exceptions concern shortage and/or damage.
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 destination. When a shipper requests an exclusive-use trailer, no other freight may be added to the unit even if space permits.
Products that are exempt from federal regulation, such as agricultural and forestry products.
FAS (Free Along Side)
A basis of pricing meaning the price of goods alongside a transport vessel at a specified location. The buyer is responsible for loading the goods onto the transport vessel and paying all the cost of shipping beyond that location.
FCL (Full Container-Load)
An ocean-shipping and intermodal industry term; a full container-load shipment is when a shipper contracts for the transportation of an entire container. The vast majority of intermodal and ocean freight is contracted in this manner. Historically, FCL also stands for full carload which is the primary business of all modern railroads, and is the railroad equivalent of TL trucking.
Forty-foot equivalent unit. Method of measuring vessel load or capacity, in units of forty-foot long containers.
FOB (Free On Board)
An acronym for free on board when used in a sales contract. The seller agrees to deliver merchandise, free of all transportation expense, to the place specified by the contract. After delivery is complete, the title to all the goods and the risk of damage become the buyer’s.
Under this arrangement, title and risk remain with the seller until it has delivered the goods to the location specified in the contract.
Title and risk pass to the buyer at the moment the seller delivers the goods to the carrier. The parties may agree to have title and risk pass at a different time or to allocate shipping charges by a written agreement.
Any product being transported.
Freight FOB Terms-of-Sale
Indicates (1) Who arranges for transport and carrier, (2) Who pays for transport, (3) Where/when does title (ownership) of goods transfer from seller to buyer (FOB point). Freight charges: collect, prepaid, prepaid and charged back. Collect: Buyer pays the freight charges. Prepaid: seller pays. Prepaid and charged back: seller prepays (bears), bills buyer for the charges.
FOB-origin, freight collect: consignee pays freight charges and owns goods in transit.
FOB-destination, freight prepaid: shipper pays freight charges and owns goods in transit.
FOB-destination, freight prepaid and charged back: shipper owns goods in transit, pays for freight but bills consignee for the charges.
Shipping document the freight prepares to confirm shipment delivery and indicate payment terms (prepaid or collect). The document describes the shipment, its weight, the amount of charges and taxes and whether the bill is collect or prepaid. If the bill is prepaid, the shipper pays the shipping charges. If the bill is collect, the consignee pays the shipping charges.
Any person that sells transportation without actually providing it. The term usually refers to an agent for truckload shipments, matching small shippers with carriers. Freight brokers often do not accept any responsibility for their shipments. (See also freight forwarder and shipper’s agent.)
A freight forwarder combines less-than-truckload (LTL) or less-than-carload (LCL) shipments into carload or truckload lots. Freight forwarders are designated as common carriers. They also issue bills of lading and accept responsibility for goods. The term may also refer to the company that fills railroad trains with trailers. (See also freight broker and shipper’s agent.)
Freight is most often measured by its weight, and transportation vehicles of varying sizes typically have weight capacities that cannot be exceeded due to engineering or regulatory reasons. Freight may also be measured by cube, which generally refers to the volume of the freight. A vehicle is said to cube-out if it does not exceed its weight capacity, but its volume is completely full.
Freight Weight Measures
Short ton (American) 2000 lbs. Long ton (English) 2240 lbs. Metric ton (1000 kg.) 2204.6 lbs.
GVW (Gross vehicle weight)
The combined weight of the vehicle (tractor and trailers) and its goods.
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 health and safety or property. Hazardous material may include: an explosive, radioactive material; etiologic agent; flammable or combustible liquid or solid; poison; oxidizing or corrosive material; and compressed gas.
Container yard jargon for a forklift truck used for heavy lifting of containers.
A transportation system design in which large hub terminals are used for freight consolidation. Medium-volume services serve the spoke-to-hub collection and hub-to-spoke distribution tasks. Large-volume services are operated in the hub-top-hub markets. In most systems, all outbound/inbound freight for a spoke uses the same hub, and thus larger shipment sizes are realized. Many transportation systems oriented in this way.
Examples: Delta airlines, FedEx, LTL, and now ocean shipping. Not TL, however.
Hundredweight / CWT
100 pounds. A common shipping weight unit.
Shipments move under bond from point of entry to an interior U.S. destination for clearance or to another border location for clearance.
Companies that provide door-to-door domestic and international air freight service. Own and operate aircraft, as well as ground delivery fleets of trucks. In contrast, freight-hauling airlines (e.g., Delta, Lufthansa) typically do not provide door-to-door service. Example: UPS, FedEx, BAX Global, Emery Worldwide.
Shipment moving from origin to destination via two or more carriers. Occurs frequently in rail transportation: for example, each rail container moving from Atlanta to Los Angeles is moved interline, using for example CSX and Union Pacific with an interline junction in New Orleans.
Transportation that uses a specialized container that can be transferred from the vehicle of one mode to the vehicle of another; a single freight bill is used for the shipment.
Example: Ocean shipping containers which can be hauled by trucks on chassis, railcars, ocean vessels, and barges. Also: UPS line-haul vans (these vans can be stacked onto railcars for long distance moves).
Converter that provides an extra axle and fifth wheel and is used to connect multiple trailers. See also dolly.
An ocean-shipping and intermodal industry term; LTL equivalent in container shipping. Container freight stations at ports serve as consolidation and deconsolidation terminals. Historically, LCL also stands for less-than-carload. Before the prominence of interstate trucking, railroads offered less-than-carload (LCL) service but this business has largely disappeared.
Movement of goods between cities, particularly between origin terminal and destination terminal, excluding pickup and delivery service.
Liners are vessels sailing between specified ports on a regular schedule; schedule is published and available to the public. Most large container shipping companies operate liner services.
“Lift-on, lift-off” Conventional container or cargo ships, in which quay cranes are used to load and unload containers or generalized cargo.
Sometimes, linehaul. Terminal-to-terminal freight movements in transportation. Such long distance moves are distinguished from local freight movements.
Loss and Damage
Loss or damage of freight shipments while in transit or in a carrier-operated warehouse. Terms for the handling of claims are usually stipulated in the freight bill. Shippers/consignees usually take out insurance against L&D with premiums a function of the value of goods shipped, and the likelihood of L&D.
A trucking industry term; a less-than-truckload (LTL) shipment is when a shipper contracts for the transportation of freight that will not require an entire truck. LTL shipments are priced according to the weight of the freight, its commodity class (which generally determines its cube/weight ratio), and mileage within designated lanes. An LTL carrier specializes in LTL shipments, and therefore typically operates a complex hub-and-spoke network with consolidation/deconsolidation points; LTL carriers carry multiple shipments for different customers in single trucks.
Examples include: Yellow Freight, Consolidated Freightways, Roadway Express.
The lowest charge for which a shipment will be handled after discount and/or adjustment.
Shipment moves by more than one mode of transportation (ground, air, rail or ocean). See also intermodal.
NMFC (National Motor Freight Classification)
Industry standard tariff published by motor carriers containing rules, descriptions and rating on all products moving in commerce; used to classify goods to rate the freight bill. You can obtain more information about shipment classes and the NMFC. To determine your shipment’s classification, contact your local terminal.
NVOCC (Non-Vessel Operating Common Carriers)
A type of ocean freight forwarder. NVOCCs book space in large quantities for a reduced rate, then sell space to shippers in lesser amounts. NVOCCs consolidate smaller shipments into a container load that ships under one bill of lading.
Cartel of vessel operators operating between specific trade areas. Set cargo rates for liners between ports.
Also called negotiable bill of lading, this is a shipment requiring the consignee to surrender the original endorsed bill of lading at delivery. A shipper may use this method to guarantee payment for goods shipped. It’s most commonly used with truckload shipments.
Site where the shipment first enters the freight system.
Number of units received is in excess of the quantity shown on shipping documents. Overages should not be delivered to a customer. They’re returned to the terminal unless the terminal receives more information while the driver is making pickups and deliveries.
The payor of the shipping charges files an overcharge claim to dispute a discrepancy in charges that can stem from overpayment, weight or description corrections, etc.
Pallet / Skid
A small platform, 40×48 inches usually, on which goods are placed for handling within a warehouse or a transportation vehicle such as a ship. Good for grouping break-bulk cargo for handling.
Generally, the shipper is responsible for payment for prepaid shipments, and the consignee is responsible for payment for collect shipments unless a third party is indicated as payor on the shipping papers.
Pickup and delivery (P&D)
Local movement of goods between the shipper (or pickup point) and the origin terminal or between the destination terminal and the consignee (or delivery point).
A deliberate delay in committing inventory to shipment by a shipper. Usually, shippers utilize postponement in order to consolidate freight into larger shipments that have a lower unit transportation cost.
Owned and operated by a shipper. Usually refers to private trucking fleets. Components include: vehicle fleet, drivers, and maintenance equipment. Often more expensive than contracting out, but not always. Can serve special needs: fast, high-on time-reliability delivery; special equipment; special handling; availability.
Examples: Safeway (grocery), Office Depot (office products).
An acronym for progressive rotating order; it is a 10-digit number assigned to each shipment and is a tracking number and sometimes a freight invoice number.
Quay crane/portainer crane
A quay is the dock. The portainer cranes are the large cranes used to lift containers from truck chassis (or rail flatcar, or from the quay) and load onto a ship.
A refrigerated container. For long storage in transit (or in ports) must be plugged into a ship’s power system (or port’s). Temporary power units can be attached that last for 18-36 hours.
Shipping charges the transportation provider receives for transporting goods.
“Roll On/Roll Off” A method of ocean cargo service using a vessel with ramps which allows wheeled vehicles to be loaded and discharged without cranes.
A shipper’s agent is not a carrier, freight forwarder or broker. Shipper’s agents generally arrange for truckload or container load shipment transportation. Shipper’s agents commonly provide services related to warehousing or loading and unloading. (See also freight forwarder and broker)
Papers accompanying a shipment as it moves through the freight system, including bills of lading (PDF), packing slips (PDF), customs paperwork, manifests and shipment bills.
The number of units received is less than the quantity shown on shipping documents. The outstanding units may be delivered later.
Stock-keeping unit. A line-item of inventory, that is a different type or size of good.
A place for a container onboard a container ship; typically, one TEU fits in a slot.
Mobile truck equipment with the capacity for lifting a container within its own framework, and transporting containers around yards. Containers stacked in rows one across.
Switching is a railroad term denoting the local movement of freight rail cars. Rail cars are switched from the private siding of a shipper to the terminal, or switched from the terminal to the private siding of the consignee. (Note: a siding is a section of rail line that runs from a railroad’s line into an industrial facility. If an industry using rail shipping does not have a siding, they will likely use (1) intermodal containers, or (2) use a cartage service to transfer goods to/from a rail terminal.)
A Tariff is a document setting forth applicable rules, rates and charges to move goods. A tariff sets forth a contract for the shipper, the consignee and the carrier. Since Jan. 1, 1996, motor carriers are not required to publish tariffs. However, in accordance with federal law, tariffs must be provided to a shipper on request.
Transportation facility and grounds where shipments are prepared for local delivery or transportation to other terminals. Terminals may have one or more of the following roles:
System access: terminals are points at which freight enters and leaves the transportation system.
Mode transfer: freight may change from one mode to another, for example, rail to truck.
Vehicle transfer: within a single mode, freight may transfer from one vehicle to another.
Storage and warehousing
Twenty-foot equivalent unit. Method of measuring vessel load or capacity, in units of containers that are twenty feet long. A 40’ long container measures 2 TEUs.
A party other than the shipper or consignee that is ultimately responsible for paying the shipment charges.
Transtainer / RTG
Rail or rubber-tired gantry crane. Large yard (ship or rail) container crane. Lifts from a stack of containers 5,6,7 wide, and deposits onto truck chassis or rail flatcar.
An ocean carrier company operating vessels not on regular runs or schedules. They call at any port where cargo may be available. Sometimes used for bulk cargo shipping.
Transit Privileges / Stopoff Charges
Carriers may allow cargo to be stopped in transit from initial origin to final destination to be unloaded, stored, and/or processed before reloading and final shipment. Extra charges are imposed for these transit privileges. Stopoff charges are levied for when shippers request that a shipment may be partially loaded at several locations and/or partially unloaded at several locations en route.
An agency that obtains negotiated large-volume transportation rates from carriers, and resells this capacity to shippers. Unlike freight forwarders, will not handle freight and owns no pickup/delivery equipment or storage facilities.
The weight (in tons) of a shipment transported by truck.
TL / FTL (Truckload, Full Truckload)
A trucking industry term; a truckload shipment is when the shipper contracts an entire truck for direct point-to-point service. Truckload shipments are priced per mile within designated lanes, regardless of the size of the shipment provided it fits (weight, cube) within the vehicle. Less expensive per unit weight shipped than LTL. A truckload carrier is a trucking company specializing in point-to-point truckload shipments.
Examples include: J.B. Hunt, Schneider.
TOFC / Piggyback
Trailer-on-flatcar. A term used in intermodal transportation in which truck trailers or container/chassis combinations are placed directly onto rail flatcars for the rail portion of the trip. TOFC trains are generally heavier and longer per unit ton shipped, but have the advantage that unloaded trailers can be moved out of the intermodal terminal without worrying about finding a chassis; thus, the equipment management issues are simpler
An internationally accepted four-digit number used to identify hazardous material.
A “Waybill” is a non-negotiable document prepared by or on behalf of the carrier at origin. The document shows origin point, destination, route, consignor, consignee, shipment description and amount charged for the transportation service. See also air waybill.
A third-party, or contract, logistics company. A firm to which logistics services are outsourced. Typically handles many of the following tasks: purchasing, inventory management/warehousing, transportation management, order management.
Example: Agile SCS, Schneider Logistics, Ryder Logistics, UPS Logistics.