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Trucking Terminology

Below is a glossary of terminology used throughout the trucking industry.

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

  • 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. 



  • A carrier's ability to provide service between an origin and a destination. 


Accessorials (AKA Accessorial Charges) 

  • Accessorial charges stem from extra services performed by the carrier that goes beyond the typical dock to dock / business to business pick up and deliveries. Common examples of these charges are lift gate service, residential pickup or delivery, limited access locations (i.e. jails, prisons, churches, schools, storage units) and inside delivery. Accessorial charges can be negotiated to a flat rate or even waived altogether. A fuel surcharge is the most common accessorial as it’s typically factored in on every shipment. 


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.



  • Pickup or delivery requires an appointment to be scheduled prior to pickup and delivery times. The carrier will then have to meet these appointed windows to either pickup or deliver.



  • The return movement of a transportation vehicle from its delivery point back to its point of origin. Many companies, often ones who haul their own product, take a load from their home location to a certain area the country, then they need to go back to the original location to pick up another similar load. Instead of returning empty, they'll find another load (the "back haul") going back to the original location. 


Blanket Wrap 

  • A service pioneered by the moving companies to eliminate packaging material by wrapping product in padded "blankets" to protect it during transit, usually on "air ride" vans.


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.  


Bounce (Live)

  • Actively looking for other trucks to cover a load if the current truck is not empty before a particular cutoff time.


Bounce (Dead)

  • When a truck that has been scheduled to pick up a shipment is now unable to, a new truck is needed.


Broker-Carrier Agreement 

  • 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.



  • A federal law that requires coastal and inter-coastal traffic to be carried in U.S.-built and registered ships. 



  • (1) A secure enclosed area for storing highly valuable items (2) A pallet-sized platform with sides that can be secured to the tines of a forklift and in which a person may ride to inventory items stored well above the warehouse floor. 



  • Utilizes trucks and/or trailers to move goods from point A to point B. or from pickup point to delivery point.


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. 


Certificate of Origin 

  • Certificate of Origin: A document containing an affidavit to prove the origin of imported goods. Used for customs and foreign exchange purposes. 


Check Calls  

  • A method of tracking and tracing where the Freight Broker calls or emails the carrier for a status update on the location of the shipment.



  • A wedge, usually made of hard rubber or steel, that is firmly placed under the wheel of a trailer, truck, or boxcar to stop it from rolling.  



  • A charge made against a carrier for loss, damage, delay, or overcharge. Class I Carrier: A classification of regulated carriers based upon annual operating revenues -- motor carriers of property; $5 million; railroads; $50 million; motor carriers of passengers; $3 million.  


Carrier Classes  

  • Class II Carrier

    • A classification of regulated carriers based upon annual operating revenues -- motor carriers of property: $1-$5 million; railroads: $10-$50 million; motor carriers of passengers: $3 million.

  • Class III Carrier

    • A classification of regulated carriers based upon annual operating revenues -- motor carriers of property: $1 million; railroads $10 million.

  • Class 1 Railroad

    • A line haul freight railroad of US ownership with operating revenue in excess of $272.0 million. There are seven (7) Class 1 Railroads in the United States. Two Mexican and two Canadian railroads would also qualify, if they were US companies.


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 Invoice

  • A document created by the seller. It is an official document which is used to indicate, among other things, the name and address of the buyer and seller, the product(s) being shipped, and their value for customs, insurance, or other purposes.  


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. 


Commodity Code 

  • A code describing a commodity or a group of commodities pertaining to goods classification. This code can be carrier tariff or regulating in nature. 


Common Carrier 

  • Transportation available to the public that does not provide special treatment to any one party and is regulated as to the rates charged, the liability assumed, and the service provided. A common carrier must obtain a certificate of public convenience and necessity from the Federal Trade Commission for interstate traffic. 


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.



  • Combining two or more shipments in order to realize lower transportation rates. Inbound consolidation from vendors is called make-bulk consolidation; outbound consolidation to customers is called break-bulk consolidation. 



  • (1) A box, typically 10 to 40 feet long, which is primarily used for ocean freight shipments. For travel to and from ports, containers are loaded onto truck chassis or on railroad flatcars. (2) The packaging, such as a carton, case, box, bucket, drum, bin, bottle, bundle, or bag, that an item is packed and shipped in.  


Container Chassis 

  • A vehicle built for the purpose of transporting a container so that, when a container and chassis are assembled, the produced unit serves as a road trailer. 


Container Depot 

  • The storage area for empty containers.  


Container on Flat Car 

  • A container that is transported on a rail flatcar. It can be shipped via tractor/trailer using a chassis as the wheel section.

Container Yard  

  • The location designated by the carrier for receiving, assembling, holding, storing, and delivering containers, and where containers may be picked up by shippers or redelivered by consignees. 


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. 



  • An agreement between two or more competent persons or companies to perform or not to perform specific acts or services or to deliver merchandise. A contract may be oral or written. A purchase order, when accepted by a supplier, becomes a contract. Acceptance may be in writing or by performance, unless the purchase order requires acceptance in writing.


Contract Administration  

  • Managing all aspects of a contract to guarantee that the contractor fulfills his obligations. Contract Carrier: A for-hire carrier that does not serve the general public but serves shippers with whom the carrier has a continuing contract. The contract carrier must secure a permit to operate.  


Cross dock 

  • Cross dock operations in a warehouse involve moving goods between different trucks to consolidate loads without intermediate storage. 


Cross Docking

  • A distribution system in which merchandise received at the warehouse or distribution center is not put away, but instead is readied for shipment to retail stores. Cross docking requires close synchronization of all inbound and outbound shipment movements. By eliminating the put-away, storage, and selection operations, it can significantly reduce distribution costs.  


Cube Out

  • The situation when a piece of equipment has reached its volumetric capacity before reaching the permitted weight limit.


Cube Utilization 

  • In warehousing, a measurement of the utilization of the total storage capacity of a vehicle or warehouse.


Cubic Capacity 

  • The carrying capacity of a piece of equipment according to measurement in cubic feet. 


Cubic Space 

  • In warehousing, a measurement of space available, or required, in transportation and warehousing.  


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 Broker

  • ​A business firm that oversees the movement of international shipments through Customs and ensures that the documentation accompanying a shipment is complete and accurate.

Customs Clearance

  • The act of obtaining permission to import merchandise from another country into the importing nation.

Customs House Broker

  • A business firm that oversees the movement of international shipments through Customs and ensures that the documentation accompanying a shipment is complete and accurate. 

Customs Invoice

  • A document that contains a declaration by the seller, the shipper, or the agent as to the value of the shipment.

Customs Value

  • The value of the imported goods on which duties will be assessed. 

Cycle Time

  • The amount of time it takes to complete a business process.


  • Driving a truck without cargo. Typically refers to the portion of a trip that a driver must take from the point of origin to the pickup location. 

Delivery Appointment

  • ​The time agreed upon between two enterprises for goods or transportation equipment to arrive at a selected location. 

Delivery Instructions

  • A document issued to a carrier to pick up goods at a location and deliver them to another location. See also Delivery Order



  • The carrier charges and fees applied when rail freight cars and ships are retained beyond a specified loading or unloading time 


Department of Transportation

  • 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. 


  • When a driver is stuck waiting to load or unload freight at a set location, and more time has passed than what is reasonable or customary, they can charge hourly detention fees depending on how long they’re held beyond that. Generally, it is understood that loading/unloading can take up to a maximum of 2 hours depending on the type of freight. However, if the process is longer than that, drivers will charge the additional detention fees. 


  • The carrier activities involved with controlling equipment; involves arranging for fuel, drivers, crews, equipment, and terminal space.  


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

  • 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.  



  • Double trucks are two 28-foot trailers that are pulled by one tractor. Doubles also are known as "double bottoms."  



  • The service offered by a motor carrier for pick-up and delivery of ocean containers or rail containers. Drayage agents usually handle full-load containers for ocean and rail carriers.  



  • The packing material used to protect a product from damage during transport.  

DUNS Number 

  • A coded, numerical representation assigned to a specific company (USA).  


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.  



  • Moving shipments through regular channels at an accelerated rate. To take extraordinary action because of an increase in relative priority, perhaps due to a sudden increase in demand.  


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.  



  • A flatbed, also called a haul brite, is a type of trailer on a truck that consists of a floor and no enclosure.



  • A railcar without sides, used for hauling machinery. 


  • Accounts Payable (A/P)  

    • The value of goods and services acquired for which payment has not yet been made.

  • 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.

  • Freight Collect

    • The freight and charges to be paid by the consignee.

  • Freight Prepaid

    • The freight and charges to be paid by the consignor.

  • Invoice

    • A detailed statement showing goods sold or shipped and amounts for each. The invoice is prepared by the seller and acts as the document that the buyer will use to make payment.  


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.  


Free Time

  • The period of time allowed for the removal or accumulation of cargo before charges become applicable.  



  • Freight is defined as commercial goods transported via air, sea, or land. Freight refers to larger quantities of goods that exceed the normal parcel size, or weight, handled by common carriers. Goods are ordered into boxes, loaded on pallets, and moved using various modes of transportation.  

Freight Bill

  • The carrier's invoice for payment of transport services rendered.  

Freight Charge

  • The rate established for transporting freight.  


Freight Class

  • In LTL shipping, the category of freight as defined by the National Motor Freight Traffic Association. Identifies the size, value, and difficulty of transporting your freight. This determines the carrier’s shipping charges.  


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 (TL)

  • 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.  



  • A railcar with a flat platform and sides three to five feet high, used for top loading long, heavy items.  


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.  


Harmonized Commodity Description & Coding System (Harmonized Code)

  • An international classification system that assigns identification numbers to specific products. The coding system ensures that all parties in int'l. trade use a consistent classification for the purposes of documentation, statistical control, and duty assessment.  



  • Hazardous materials are more difficult to transport and require special endorsements from the Department of Transportation.  


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). 

Inside Delivery

  • If a loading dock is not available at your delivery site, you can request inside delivery on most freight shipments for an additional fee. This means, the driver will carry your shipment through the threshold of the delivery location.  


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 Transportation

  • Transporting freight by using two or more transportation modes, such as by truck and rail or truck and oceangoing vessel.  


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.

Lane AKA OD Pair

  • A move from point A to point B. Many companies will have a lane that they run on a regular basis called a “dedicated lane”.  



  • A charge that occurs when a driver has to wait until the next day for the shipment to be loaded or unloaded.   Lead Time The total time that elapses between an order's placement and its receipt. It includes the time required for order transmittal, order processing, order preparation, and transit. 


Load Tendering

  • The practice of providing a carrier with detailed information and negotiated pricing (the tender) prior to scheduling pickup. This practice can help assure contract compliance and facilitate automated payments (self-billing).  


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.  



  • A liftgate is a piece of equipment that is installed near the rear of trailers and allows freight to be lifted from the ground to the height of the tailgate. The hydraulic, sometimes electric, equipment makes the trailer heavier, adding weight to the gross vehicle weight. Liftgates are a good option when moving freight to receivers without shipping docks or forklifts. An example of using a liftgate would be when new furniture is delivered to residential homes.

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.



  • A document which describes individual orders contained within a shipment.  


Mileage Rate

  • A rate based upon the number of miles the commodity is shipped.  


Minimum Weight

  • The shipment weight the carrier's tariff specifies as the minimum weight required to use the TL or CL rate, the rate discount volume.  


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.  



  • A carrier is onboarded once they have met the performance criteria (safety, insurance, etc.) and signed the Broker Carrier Agreement. The onboarding evaluation will determine if they are acceptable within the defined levels of risk tolerance. 



  • A unique customer request with a single origin and single destination.  Often times the order will be communicated as a ‘Release’ from a customer which will batch transmit a variety of order data to business partners.  In the world of TM platforms an Order will capture the OD pair and specific address information for the shipper and consignee.  It will also contain product and weight information.  


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.    


Oversized / Over-dimension / Overlength

  • If the shipment is heavier, wider, taller, or longer than the state specified legal limit, shippers will have to pay additional fees charged by the carrier for permitting the transport of the load. Some extremely oversized loads may require vehicle escort services which are an additional charge.  


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. 

Pallets & Skids

  • The platform which cartons are stacked on and then used for shipment or movement as a group. Pallets may be made of wood or composite materials. Some pallets have electronic tracking tags (RFID) and most are recycled in some manner. Pallets are also referred to as skids. Skids are pallets without the bottom decking.  A pallet or skid with freight loaded is often times referred to as a ‘Unit Load’.  


Pallet Jack

  • Material handling equipment consisting of two broad parallel pallet forks on small wheels used in the warehouse to move pallets of product, but not having the lifting capability of a forklift. It may be a motorized unit guided by an operator who stands on a platform; or it may be a motorized or manual unit guided by an operator who is walking behind or beside it. Comes as a "single" (one pallet) or "double" (two pallets).  


Proof of Delivery (POD)

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


Packing List

A document containing information about the location of each Product ID in each package. It allows the recipient to quickly find the item he or she is looking for without a broad search of all packages. It also confirms the actual shipment of goods on a line item basis.  



  • A grant of authority to operate as a contract carrier.  



  • A freight term which indicates that charges are to be paid by the shipper. Prepaid shipping charges may be added to the customer invoice, or the cost may be bundled into the pricing for the product. 

Prepaid Freight

  • Freight paid by the shipper to the carrier when merchandise is tendered for shipment that is not refundable if the merchandise does not arrive at the intended destination.  



  • A type of quotation or offer that may be used when first negotiating the sales of goods or services. If the pro-forma is accepted, then the terms and conditions of the pro-forma may become the request.  


Pro Forma Invoice

  • An invoice, forwarded by the seller of goods prior to shipment, that advises the buyer of the particulars and value of the goods. Usually required by the buyer in order to obtain an import permit or letter of credit.  


Pro Number

  • 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. 


  • The first step in the sales process, which consists of identifying potential customers, aka prospects. The goal of prospecting is to develop a database of likely customers and then systematically communicate with them in the hopes of converting them from potential customer to current customer.  


Rate Confirmation (AKA Load Tender)

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



  • Buy Rate

    • The dollar amount that the freight broker/3PL will buy the transportation services from the carrier for.

  • Sell Rate

    • The dollar amount that the freight broker/3PL will sell the transportation services to the shipper for. This rate will include the Buy Rate and the Freight Broker's margin.  


Receiver / Consignee

  • The person or location to whom the shipment is to be delivered whether by land, sea or air.  


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.  


  • Consignor, exporter or seller named in the bill of lading, who may or may not be the 17  same as the party responsible for initiating a shipment.  


  • Pulling material for an order from inventory before the material is required. This action is often taken to identify shortages, but it can lead to increased problems in availability and inventory accuracy.  

Straight Truck

  • Straight trucks do not have a separate tractor and trailer. The driving compartment, engine and trailer are one unit.  

Stops / Stop Offs

  • Multiple pickups and deliveries for one truck.  


  • A tax assessed by a government on goods entering or leaving a country. The term is also used in transportation in reference to the fees and rules applied by a carrier for its services. 


  • Tarps are commonly used on flatbeds to protect freight from the elements and typically have additional fees for shippers because tarps cost money to have and to use.  

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.  


  • Time is the single most valuable intangible commodity there is.  It is the only item that cannot be extended or created in the transportation world.  Logistics uses ‘Military Time’ which operates according a 24-hour day.  This helps prevent confusion between AM and PM when entering data into system and communicating.  12 AM to 12:59 AM is communicated as 00:00 – 00:59 and any time after 1 PM is communicated as 13:00.  The trick is to add 12 hours to any time after noon to calculate military time.  


  • The tractor is the driver compartment and engine of the truck. It has two or three axles.  A tractor is often times referred to as a ‘Power Unit’ as it has an engine (power to move freely). 


  • The part of the truck that carries the goods.  


Trailer Drops

  • When a driver drops off a full truck at a warehouse and picks up an empty one.  


Trailer on Flat Car (TOFC)

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


Transit Time

  • The total time that elapses between a shipment's pickup and delivery.


Transportation Mode 

  • The method of transportation: land, sea, or air shipment.


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.  


U.S. Customs Border and Protection (CBP)

  • A law enforcement agency that regulates all shipped goods in the United States with lawful cargo inspections. The CBP will also collect import duties when necessary.  



  • The manufacturer or distributor of an item or product line  



  • Document containing description of goods that are part of common carrier freight shipment. Shows origin, destination, consignee/consignor, and amount charged. Copies travel with goods and are retained by originating/delivering agents. Used by carrier for internal record and control, especially during transit. Not a transportation contract.  


Weight Break

  • The shipment volume at which the LTL charges equal the TL charges at the minimum weight.      



  • Net Weight

    • The weight of the merchandise, unpacked, exclusive of any containers.

  • Gross Weight

    • The weight of the product, packaging, pallets, and other shipping protection and documentation. 

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