Transports glossary

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Group of airlines or ocean carriers, who coordinate and cross list schedules; sell capacity on each other’s flights/voyages.



Freight movement in a direction (or lane) of secondary importance or light demand.


Slang term for a tractor driven without its trailer.

Bulk Cargo

Cargo which is stowed loose on transportation vehicles, in a tank or without specific packaging. Handled by a pump, scoop, conveyor, or shovel. Examples: grain, coal, petroleum, chemicals



Driver compartment of a truck or tractor.


Provides transportation services — typically owning and operating transportation equipment. Examples: trucking company, railroad, airline

Cartage Company

A trucker that provides local pick-up and delivery services.


A piece of trucking equipment which is essentially a set of wheels on a lightweight frame.


Block or stop barriers placed behind/in front of the wheels of a trailer, or container, to keep the vehicle from rolling.

Common Carrier

A for-hire carrier providing transportation services to the public.

Concealed Damage

Damage to the contents of a package which in good condition externally

Concealed Loss

Loss or damage to product which cannot be determined until the package is opened.


An individual or firm to whom freight is shipped. The receiver of the shipment.


A joining of many small shipments – often from different shippers – into large shipment quantities, to take advantage of economies of scale in transportation costs.


A single, rigid, sealed, and reusable metal box in which merchandise is shipped by vessel, truck, or rail. Container types include standard, high cube, hardtop, open top, flatbed and refrigerated or bulk.

Container Crane

Used to lift containers from truck chassis (or rail flatcar, or from the dock) and load onto a ship.


Transportation terminal in which received items are transferred directly from inbound to the outbound shipping dock.

Customs Broker

Specialists in customs procedures who act for importers for a fee; licenced by the Treasury Department.


A portion of a transportation trip in which no freight is conveyed; an empty move.

Detention & Demurrage

Penalty charges assessed by a carrier to a shipper or consignee, for holding transportation equipment, i.e. trailers, containers, railcars, kept longer than a stipulated time for loading or unloading.


Rerouting of freight by the shipper while the goods are in transit.


A platform where trucks are unloaded and loaded.


A transportation service arrangement in which freight is moved from origin (shipper), through to the ultimate destination (consignee), for a given rate.


Local trucking, to and from rail or to and from port facilities.


Wood and packaging materials which are used to keep cargo in place while inside a container or transportation vehicle.


Electronic Data Interchange; A business-to-business interconnection of computers for the rapid exchange of a wide variety of documents.


Estimated time of arrival.

FCL; CL; Container load; Full Container load

A direct shipment where an entire container is contracted for direct movement from shipper’s door – via ocean – to its destination.


Forty-foot equivalent unit; A method of measuring vessel load or capacity of units of forty-foot long containers.

Fork Lift

A machine used to move goods loaded on pallets or skids.

Freeze & Chill

Temperature controlled equipment used for the transport of perishable goods.

Freight Bill-of-Lading

A document providing a binding contract between a shipper and a carrier for the transportation of freight

Freight Forwarder

An agency that receives freight from a shipper and arranges for transportation with one or more carriers to the consignee.

Freight Size

Measured by weight, by cube – or cubic feet — of the shipment.

FTL; TL; Truckload; Full Truckload

Trucking industry terms to describe a contract for direct point-to-point service of an entire truck.

High Cube

A trailer or container which allows above average cubic capacity.

Household Goods Carrier

An HHG Carrier is any carrier authorised to transport furniture, household goods, and other properties involved in a change of location.


Storage of goods in custody of government bonded warehouses, or carriers from whom goods can be taken only upon payment of duties, to appropriate government agencies.

Interline Shipment

Shipments moving from origin to destination via two or more carriers. Frequently occurs in rail transportation.


Transportation which uses a specialised container that can be transferred from the vehicle of one mode to the vehicle of another.

Landed Cost

The total cost of a shipment to the port of destination. Can include cost of goods, transportation, insurance, and all taxes

LCL; Less-Than-Container Load

Shipping industry term which refers to a shipment which will not require an entire container.


Movement of freight between cities usually more than 1,000 miles apart.


Terminal-to-terminal freight movement in transportation for long distance moves, as distinguished from local freight moves.

Loss or Damage

Loss or damage of freight shipments while in transit or in a carrier-operated warehouse.


A Non-Vessel-Operating Common Carrier. Owns no vessels (ships), but provides ocean freight-forwarding services.

Open Top

Containers with sides but no permanent tops.

Over Dimensional Movement

Refers to shipment where size and weight are over legal restrictions.


Excess freight over the quantity believed to have been shipped, or more than the quantity shown on the shipping document.


Commonly referred to as OTR, it is the transport of goods by road; usually in trucks.


Drivers who own and operate his or her own truck.


Abbreviation for pick-up and delivery of freight.

Packing List

A detailed inventory of items contained in a shipment.


Small, typically wooden or plastic platform on which goods are placed for handling and movement to and from facilities; or for simple movement and storage in a warehouse.

Pick-Up and Delivery (Cartage)

Local hauling of freight. Transferring freight from the shipper to a terminal, or from a terminal to a consignee.


A diamond shaped sign attached to a vehicle hauling hazardous materials, which indicates the class & type of the materials being moved.

Private Carrier

Owned and operated by a shipper. Usually, refers to private trucking fleets. Components include vehicle fleet, drivers, maintenance equipment.

Proof of Delivery

The “POD” is a delivery receipt copy of a signed freight bill at the time of delivery.


A term referring to a truck and trailer/container combination, constructed so that the front-end rests upon a truck tractor.

Shipper; Consignor

Individual or firm who sends freight. The freight originator.

Shippers Association

A not-for-profit association of shippers using collective bargaining and freight consolidation to obtain lower, high-volume transportation rates.

Shipping Order

A document providing instructions to a carrier for transportation of a shipment; usually, this is simply the bill of lading.


Stock-keeping unit; a line-item of inventory which refers to a specific type or size of good.

Sleeper Team

A pair of drivers who alternate driving and resting.


Transportation facility


Trucking term meaning trailers.
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