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Acronyms and Lingo 

This guide defines some of the many acronyms and lingo used in the trucking industry.


  • ​10-4 is a common form of acknowledgment used by truck drivers and industry professionals that has carried over since radio origins. 10-4 essentially means “Message received” and indicates the communication was understood. In the days of radio, 10-4 was used as a quick response to limit distractions. This is still an appealing benefit today.

AAMVA (American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators)​​

  • A non-government association that focuses on maintaining clarity and uniformness across trucking industry guidelines

Accounts Payable (A/P) 

  • The value of goods and services acquired for which payment has not been made. From your perspective, it is what you owe.​


Accounts Receivable (A/R)

  • The value of goods shipped or services rendered to a customer on whom payment has not been received. Usually includes an allowance for bad debts. From your perspective, it is what is owed to you.


Advanced Shipping Notice (ASN) 

  • An EDI term referring to a transaction set (ANSI 856) where the supplier sends out a notification to interested parties that a shipment is now outbound in the supply chain. This notification is list transmitted to a customer or consignor designating items shipped. The ASN may also include the expected time of arrival. 


American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI)  

  • The ATRI is an organization that has been engaged in transportation studies since 1954. The mission of the organization is to emphasize the role of the trucking industry in a safe, efficient, and viable transportation system. ATRI’s research focus includes Congestion and Mobility; Economic Analysis; Safety and Security; Technology and Operations; Environment; and Transportation Infrastructure. ATRI currently manages the DOTs Freight Mobility Program. 


American Trucking Association (ATA) 

  • The American Trucking Association is a national trade association for the trucking industry that aims to promote highway safety, security, environmental sustainability, and profitability. The ATA works with policymakers in government to make sure they are educated on the impact the trucking industry has.

Bill of Lading (BOL)  

  • A Bill of Lading (BOL) is a paper document between a shipper and carrier acknowledging the receipt of goods for transport. Describes the nature of the cargo, amount of cargo by weight, size and/or number of pieces, and the origin and destination of cargo.  


Broker-Carrier Agreement (BCA)

  • A broker carrier agreement is required in order to have a freight contract that will ensure a motor carrier hauls truck freight for the freight broker. A freight broker may negotiate a rate with a carrier before agreeing to freight contract terms and signing a Broker Carrier Agreement.


Bureau of Transportation Services (BTS)

  • A branch of the Department of Transportation that’s responsible for acquiring and providing actionable transportation statistics for the DOT across all modes of transport including personal and commercial transportation. 

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

  • This refers to information systems that help sales and marketing functions as opposed to the ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), which is for back-end integration.


Customs Border Protection (CBP)

  • An agency of the Federal Department of Homeland Security responsible for monitoring and providing security at the U.S.’ many ports and border crossing points.

Certificate of Insurance (COI) 

  • Certificate of Insurance: A negotiable document indicating that insurance has been secured under an open policy to cover loss or damage to a shipment while in transit. ​

Cost Per Mile (CPM) 

  • A method calculating the shipment's cost via the number of miles driven. This is commonly used in conjunction with Rate Per Mile.


Collect/Cash on Delivery (COD)

  • COD specifies a collection method that is sometimes used in the industry. This method has a condition that requires payment of a specified amount, usually the price of the freight, to be given by the consignee to the driver at delivery. 


Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)  

  • A Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) is a license that is required to operate a Class 8 commercial vehicle. A CDL is required to operate various commercial motor vehicles (CMV) such as heavy trucks. 


Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV)  

  • Refers to a vehicle used on a highway, in interstate commerce, that meets any one of the following criteria:

    • Has a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) or gross combination weight rating (GCWR), or gross vehicle weight (GVW) or gross combination weight (GCW) of 10,001 pounds or more, whichever is greater.

    • Is designed to transport more than 8 passengers (including the driver) for compensation.

    • Is designed to transport 16 or more people including the driver, and is not used to transport passengers for compensation.

    • Is transporting hazardous materials. 


Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) 

  • The CSA is the FMCSAs data driven safety, compliance, and enforcement program and holds carriers responsible for their role in safety. CSA affects motor carriers, including owner-operators, by identifying those with safety problems to prioritize them for interventions such as warning letters and investigations. CSA affects drivers because their safety performance and compliance impact their safety records.


Continuous Improvement (CI)

  • A structured, measurement-driven process that continually reviews and improves performance.  


Continuous Process Improvement (CPI)  

  • A never-ending effort to expose and eliminate root causes of problems; small-step improvement as opposed to big-step improvement. Synonyms: Continuous Improvement.  & API for Automated Process Improvement. 

Delivery Order (DO)

  • A document from a consignee or an owner of freight that orders the release of the transportation of cargo to another party.

Department of Transportation (DOT)

  • The U.S. Department of Transportation is a government agency that is responsible for setting safety regulations for the country. The DOT can also plan and coordinate transportation projects throughout the U.S. 


Distribution Center (DC)

  • Distribution Centers or fulfillment centers are specialized warehouses that companies use to store finished goods and fill orders. DCs add value to shippers because they serve as strategic locations that aid in picking and packing, as well as moving goods to final destinations.  

DOT Number (USDOT#)

  • The USDOT Number serves as a unique identifier when collecting and monitoring a company's safety information acquired during audits, compliance reviews, crash investigations, and inspections.     


Electronic Logging Device (ELD)

  • An ELD is a tablet or similar system that is installed in the cab of a truck and is used to record operating data for that vehicle. Types of information recorded include Hours of service (HOS). Beginning in 2017 the FMCSA indicated that most CMVs will have to be equipped with an electric logging device.  


Entry Level Driver Training (ELDT)

  • These mandates set minimum training requirements for entry-level drivers, which must be completed before taking certain commercial driver’s license (CDL) skills or knowledge tests.  


Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)

  • The FMCSA serves as the lead federal government agency that is responsible for regulating and providing safety oversight for Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMV). The FMCSA partners with industry, safety advocates, and state and local governments to keep our nation's roadways safe and improve CMV safety through regulation, education, enforcement, research, and technology.  


First Come First Served (FCFS)

  • The shipping/receiving department has limited resources and has the trucks wait in queue until they are able to be served. This option offers flexibility but can also cause trucks to wait to be loaded.  


Freight All Kinds (FAK)

  • The term used within the logistics industry when a carrier assigns a single tariff classification for freight that would typically run under several NMFC codes. 


Fuel Surcharge (FSC)

  • Fuel surcharges are fees that primarily cover fluctuations in the cost of the diesel fuel a driver uses to haul a load. These fees are billed to shippers in addition to the rate for hauling the freight. Trucking companies benefit from fuel surcharge programs because they can compensate their drivers for fuel expenses. 

Full Truckload (FTL)

  • Enough products (which can be bulk/liquid) to fill a Full Truck Load, or a dedicated truck is preferred for a partial load due to safety or security considerations.  


Federal Highway Association (FHWA)

  • The branch of the Department of Transportation charged with overseeing and assisting states with the construction and maintenance of highways, interstates and federally owned roads.  

Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW)

  • This refers to the total weight of the vehicle, including everything it’s carrying at one point in time. Cargo weight and passenger weight are considered with GVW and can alter the weight of the vehicle.  


Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)

  • The branch of the Department of Transportation responsible for monitoring and promoting the safety practices of commercial motor carriers. 


Hours of Service (HOS)

  • The legal number of hours that a driver can legally drive in a day.  


Hundredweight (CWT)

  • CWT is an abbreviation for hundredweight. This is a standard unit of weight or mass used in certain commodities markets. CWT is also used to price smaller shipments of goods. In North America, a hundredweight is equal to 100 pounds.  

  • Example: Let’s say an LTL shipment weighs 3450 lbs. The CWT of the shipment would be 34.5 (3450 / 100). 


Insurance Certificate (COI)

  • A document issued to the consignee to certify that insurance is provided to cover loss of or damage to the cargo while in transit.  

Intermodal (IM)

  • Transporting freight by using two or more transportation modes such as by truck and rail or truck and oceangoing vessel. Units of measure may vary (e.g., lbs vs kilograms, miles vs kilometers).  


International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA)

  • The International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) among U.S. States and Canadian Provinces was established to simplify the reporting of fuel use taxes by interstate carriers. Drivers join IFTA in their home state and as they drive to other states and purchase fuel, the tax on that fuel is credited to the driver’s account. At the end of each quarter, taxes on fuel are due (or refunded) and drivers are responsible for knowing the amount of fuel tax they are liable for.  


International Registration Plan (IRP)

  • The International Registration Plan (IRP) is a reciprocity agreement between different member jurisdictions in the US and Canada that allows for payments of apportionable fees based on the miles you travel in each jurisdiction. IRP is required for vehicles that travel across state lines and exceed 26,000 pounds gross vehicle weight or have 3 or more axles.

Just-In-Time (JIT)

  • This is a freight delivery operational practice where goods are delivered only as they’re needed. JIT helps organizations get a handle on their inventory and its distribution.


Less-Than-Container Load (LCL)

  • Like less-than-truckload shipments, LCL refers to shipments that don’t require the use of a full container. LCL shipments, however, specifically pertain to moving freight on ocean containers.  


Less-Than-Truckload (LTL)

  • When the quantity of freight is less than that required for the use of a full truckload (FTL). Often a carrier will place several LTL shipments on the same truck to reduce costs to the shipper.  


Lift-On/Lift-Off Cargo (LOLO)

  • Cargo lifted on and off vessels and other vehicles using handling equipment. 

Limited Liability Company (LLC)

  • Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) are hybrid entities that combine the characteristics of a corporation with those of a sole proprietorship or partnership. Limited Liability Company (LLC) business structures are flexible in allowing you to take advantage of both the corporation and partnership business structures. LLC businesses have limited lifespans in most states, but the LLC business structure is optimal for medium-to-high-risk businesses, or in cases where owners have great amounts of personal assets that they want to be protected.


Logistics Service Provider (LSP)

  • A 3rd party provider of supply chain logistics services. 


Motor Carrier (MC)

  • The individual trucker in charge of moving a freight shipment from its origin to its destination in exchange for payment.

Motor Carrier Number (MC#)

  • A Motor Carrier number (MC) is an operating authority administered to for-hire carriers by the Federal Motor Carrier Administration (FMCSA). This number is used to identify carriers.  

National Highway System (NHS) 

  • The NHS is the collective network of highways spanning the U.S. with a total distance of 160,955 miles. 


Origin and Destination Pair (OD) 

  • The place where a shipment begins its movement and the place where the shipment ends its movement.  


Over the Road (OTR)

  • Over the road (OTR) is a term applied to shipments that are being hauled over long distances by drivers. OTR drivers can spend weeks at a time on the road as they traverse through the U.S. and Canada.  


Overage, Shortage, & Damage (OS&D)

  • OS&D is used to designate the condition of the shipment upon arrival. This is important because it helps businesses track material and determine if any fees are required.

    • Overage: There is a surplus of products compared to what was expected to be delivered.

    • Short: The shipment arrived with a lower number of products than what was expected.

    • Damage: The shipment arrived with visible damage either externally on the packaging or internally to the actual products.    


Owner-Operator (O/O)

  • Owning a trucking company entails owning or leasing one or more trucks and finding freight to haul. Owner Operators not only haul freight but are also responsible for the day-to-day operations that come with owning any business. 95.7% of all registered motor carriers operate with less than 10 trucks.  


Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA)

  • The OOIDA works to serve owner-operators, small fleets, and professional truckers by advocating for a business climate where truckers are treated equally and fairly and promoting highway safety and responsibility among all highway users. OOIDA promotes a better business climate and efficiency for all truck operators. 

Pre-Arrival Processing System (PAPS)

  • An electronic data integration (EDI) system designed to speed up the documentation review process when transporting goods to the United States from Canada.

Pre-Arrival Review System (PARS)

  • An electronic data integration (EDI) system designed to speed up the documentation review process when transporting freight to Canada from the United States. 

Proof of Delivery (POD)

  • Signed documents (usually a Bill of Lading) that show a shipment was received at the delivery location.


Point of Contact (POC)

  • The individual in charge of responding to questions and providing support for a given freight shipment. In many cases, shippers are given a single point of contact from their transportation provider. 

Port of Entry (POE)

  • The international port where a marine cargo shipment is received at its destination country. 

Port of Loading (POL)

  • The international port where a marine cargo shipment is loaded while still in its country of origin.

Partial Truckload (PTL)

  • The freight quantity classification between less-than-truckload and full-truckload where freight typically weighs greater than 8,000 pounds.


Pro Number (PRO#)

  • Any progressive or serialized number applied for identification of freight bills, bills of lading, etc.  The term pro number occurs most commonly in LTL whereas other modes will use references for ‘load’, ‘shipment’, and even ‘order’ as a unique reference.  


Proof of Delivery (POD)

  • Information supplied by the carrier containing the name of the person who signed for the shipment, the time and date of delivery and other shipment delivery-related information. POD is also sometimes used to refer to the process of printing materials just prior to shipment (Print on Demand).  


Purchase Order (PO)

  • The purchaser's authorization used to formalize a purchase transaction with a supplier. The physical form or electronic transaction a buyer uses when placing an order for merchandise. 

Rate Per Mile (RPM)

  • Rate Per Mile (RPM) is trucking industry lingo regarding the pricing of a shipment on a per-mile basis. 

Rate Confirmation (AKA Load Tender)

  • A document that confirms the agreed upon amount for the cost of service between the shipper and carrier.  


Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID)

  • ​A form of wireless communication used to relay information electronically. RFID-equipped vehicles can sometimes be required to access various ports and terminals. 


Roll-On/Roll-Off Cargo (RORO)

  • Cargo that is rolled on and off vessels and other vehicles via ramp or platform. 

Removable Gooseneck (RGN)

  • Removable Goosenecks, also knowns as an RGN, is another type of flatbed and has a front gooseneck that detaches and lowers to the ground, which allows freight, such as heavy equipment, to be driven onto the trailer. This type of trailer is used for heavier shipments depending on the number of axles on the trailer.  


Request for Information (RFI)

  • A document used to solicit information about vendors, products, and services prior to a formal RFQ/RFP process.  


Request for Proposal (RFP)

  • A document which provides information concerning needs and requirements for a manufacturer. This document is created in order to solicit proposals from potential suppliers. For example, a computer manufacturer may use an RFP to solicit proposals from suppliers of third-party logistics services.  


Request for Quote (RFQ)

  • A document used to solicit vendor responses when a product has been selected and price quotations are needed from several vendors.


Standard Carrier Alpha Code (SCAC)

  • A unique 2 to 4-letter code assigned to transportation companies for identification purposes. SCAC codes are required for EDI and are printed on bills of lading and other transportation documents. Soshaul Logistics’ SCAC is SHLG.  

Stock Keeping Unit (SKU)

  • An SKU is a unique code consisting of letters and numbers that uniquely identifies a product. SKUs are used by manufacturers and retailers to identify and track their inventory. 

Statement of Work (SOW)

  • The document that’s used to describe and define the specifics of a project’s requirements on the part of the trucking company or brokerage. This includes all deliverables and timelines related to the performed services.


Terms and Conditions (T’s & C’s)

  • All the provisions and agreements of a contract.  

Third Party Logistics (3PL)/ Freight Broker

  • Individual or company that serves as a liaison between another individual or company that needs shipping services and an authorized motor carrier. Provides the necessary transportation but does not function as a shipper or carrier.  


Trailer on Flat Car (TOFC)

  • A specialized form of containerization in which motor and rail transport coordinate. Synonym: Piggyback.


Truckload Carriers (TL)

  • Trucking companies which move full truckloads of freight directly from the point of origin to destination.  


Transportation Management System (TMS)

  • A computer system designed to provide optimized transportation management in various modes along with associated activities, including managing shipping units, shipment scheduling through inbound, outbound, documentation management (especially when international shipping is involved), and third-party logistics management.  


Truck Ordered Not Used (TONU)

  • A charge that occurs when a load is cancelled, or load is rolled for later date because of it not being ready after a truck has been dispatched.  


Uniform Freight Classification (UFC)

  •  The process of classifying goods that need to be transported based on certain criteria such as type, quantity, value and perishability. 


Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT)

  • The total number of miles a vehicle travels in one year. 

Weight-in-Motion (WIM)

  • Weigh-in-motion systems are designed to capture the gross and individual axle weight of a vehicle as it passes over these areas while in transit.  

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