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Logistics Dictionary

Air-Ride Suspension

Trailers built to reduce shock from roads traveled in order to secure product safety. Trailers of this type are generally used to haul fragile items such as light bulbs. The suspension system on this trailer supports the load on air-filled rubber bags rather than steel springs.


Structural component to which wheels, brakes and suspension are attached.


In the trucking industry, a backhaul refers to a return trip that a truck makes after completing a delivery. For example, if a truck delivers a load of goods from a manufacturer to a retailer, the return trip from the retailer back to the manufacturer is referred to as a backhaul.

Backhauls are important because they help trucking companies to maximize their utilization of their trucks and drivers. Rather than returning empty, a truck can pick up a new load on its backhaul trip, which helps to offset the cost of the trip and increase the profitability of the company.

Backhauls can be arranged through a variety of means, such as through brokers who match available capacity with shipper needs, or through direct contracts between shippers and carriers. Trucking companies may also use technology tools, such as load boards or transportation management systems, to find and book backhaul loads.

Bill Of Lading (BOL)

A transportation document that is the contract of carriage containing the terms and conditions between the carrier and shipper. Required for all LTL shipments; Shipper must give the BOL to the driver at pick up. Learn more here

Blind Shipment

A term used when our client requests that the shipper and/or consignee do not know about each other. The client who requests a blind load is a third party (middleman or broker). The shipper is the supplier and the consignee is the customer. If the consignee and shipper knew about each other they may cut out the middleman.

Blocks and Brace

This term refers to wood or other supports used to keep shipments in place on trailers or in containers throughout the shipping process. This technique is widely used by expert shippers to secure their freight shipment. LTL will generally not provide this service, only Partial and Full Truck carriers will provide this service.


Operating a tractor unit with no trailer.

Broker/ Freight

An outside company that brings together shippers in need of transportation of goods and carriers looking for backhauls together. Learn more here.

Bulk Freight

Freight that is not packaged or containerized. Freight normally hauled via tanker truck.


The ratio between the number of loads to trucks in a given area.

Carrier Sales Representive(CSR)

The carrier sales rep is an employee of the broker. Their primary responsibility is to manage and build a relationship with carriers. Their duties include looking for trucks for availability shipment for existing carriers network or finding new carriers, They also negotiate the rate and book the carrier. furthermore, they do the dispatch and tracking pre pick up to the delivery.


A charge made against a carrier for loss, damage or overcharge.

Commercial Invoice

An official document which is used to indicate, among other things, the name and address of the buyer and seller, the products being shipped, and their value for customs, insurance or other purposes.

Common Authority

Approved general carrier transporting commodities.

Common Carrier

Transportation available to the general public that does not provide special treatment to anyone party and is regulated as to the rates charged, the liability assumed and the service provided.


Flat bed with soft covering over it, similar to a wagon.

Consignee (CNEE)

Party in which goods are shipped and delivered.

Consignor (CNOR)

The party who originated a shipment of goods (shipper) The sender of a freight shipment. Also known as the seller, client or bill to.


Standard- sized rectangular box used for intermodal transport.

Cross Dock

Warehouse operation that involves moving goods between different trucks to consolidate loads without intermediate storage.

Cubic Capacity

The carrying capacity (inside dimensions) of a piece of equipment according to measurement in cubic feet. When shipping light goods, load the trailer to the highest cubic capacity possible. Cubic Capacity may be calculated by multiplying the length x the width x height.

Customs Broker

A firm that represents importers/exporters in dealings with customs. Normally responsible for obtaining and submitting all documents for clearing merchandise through customs, arranging inland transport and paying all charges related to these functions.


Miles a driver moves empty without a load.


Freight that is not physically touching each other but placed on a moveable shelf.

Declared Value (DV)

A shipment’s declared value is the monetary value of a shipment as reported by you, the shipper. It serves as a basis for determining shipping charges and can also act as a tool to limit carrier liability for damage and loss.

Department of Transportation (D.O.T.)

Department of Transportation for the United States. Regulates rules and regulations relating to the transportation industry.


The scheduling and control of truck pick up and delivery. A critical link in the dispatching process is communication with the drivers through phone, pages, radio, satellite etc.

Distribution Center

The warehouse facility that holds inventory from manufacturing pending distribution to the appropriate stores.


The process of changing the destination while the shipment is en route. An additional charge for the excess miles will be charged.

Door to Door

Movement from a customers front door (dock) to a receivers (dock) (known as drayage).

Double Blind Shipment

Freight shipment where both the pickup location and delivery location are falsified to the consignee and shipper, respectively.

Double Drop Deck

A flatbed with the lowest deck. Featuring a raised step at the front. where the trailer attaches to the fifth wheel, and at the back, where the wheel wells are located. Normally used for oversized/overweight items.


A tractor and two semi trailers connected in tandem by converter dolly.


Movement of a container or trailer to or from the railroad intermodal. terminal to or from the customers facility for loading or unloading.


A person hired to pick up or drop off a container or trailer at an intermodal terminal.

Drive Axle

An Axle that is driven by the engine; legal axle weight is 34k lbs.

Driver Assist

When a draymen is required to assist in the loading and unloading of a container/trailer.

Drop Trailer

When a trailer or boxcar is left at a facility to either be loaded or unloaded to/from.


A flatbed with a lowered deck, featuring a raised step at the front, where the trailer attaches to the fifth wheel.

Dry Van

A simple, enclosed non-climate controlled rectangular trailer that carriers general cargo, including food and other products that do not require refrigeration. Usually loaded and reloaded through rear doors, requiring elevated access for forklifts to enter the trailer.


Pieces of lumber used to protect a product from damage during transport. The lumber is nailed to the floor around the freight to prevent it from shifting.

Exclusive Use

Cargo Van or freight truck where the freight in the truck is dedicated to one person or company.

Flat Bed

A flat trailer with no enclosures or doors. Can be loaded/ unloaded from the sides or above, and doe not require elevated access for forklifts.


A freight car having a floor without any housing or body above – used to carry containers/trailers/oversized- odd shaped commodities.


Gas powered, used for full truckload, larger freight. Lifts up to 4,000lbs. Forklift services at pick up or delivery need to be arranged by the customer.

Freight Bill

The carrier’s invoice for payment of transport services rendered.

Freight Class

Freight classes are a measurement that allow for standard prices across all LTL freight carriers and businesses. Freight classes are determined by the NMFTA, or National Motor Freight Traffic Association.

Freight Payables

Freight Bill in need of payment.


To the carrier, it is the total weight of the loaded truck (sum of the weight of the goods, fuel, packaging, pallets, tractor and trailer.

Full Truckload (TL)

A shipment that utilizes the entire space of the trailer. These shipments take up most or all of the space and or weight the trailer can handle. Also known as TL shipping.

Gross weight

Total weight of the vehicle and the payload of freight or passengers.


Explosive, poisonous, or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Hazardous materials must be transported by specialty certified carriers.


When a carrier picks up freight near their home base, then brings it to a different location for delivery.


Hours of service; the hours a driver is legally allowed in a 24 hour window.

Hub & Spoke System

The system by which LTL shipments currently move via LTL carriers. Multiple stop points and transfer of products throughout transit.

Insurance by Liability

Cargo and Accident liability.


A single trailer or container that encounters multiple forms of transportation along it’s route, such as truck and rail, truck and air or rail and ocean; Drayman or Drayage carriers are sued to haul between connecting points.


Freight term for route from pick up to destination; the path of shipment from point A to point B.


A delay that requires a driver to stay for an extended period of time or overnight to get loaded or unloaded.

Lead Time

Amount of time client tenders the load to when it is picked up.

Less Than Truckload (LTL)

A shipment that does not require the entire capacity of the truckload trailer. Weight is typically less than 7,500 lbs. and less than 12ft of trailer space. Trucking companies consolidate shipments to maximize the trailer’s space. Trucking companies consolidate shipments to maximize the trailer’s entire space and utilize a network of terminals and relay points. LTL is rated upon class and weight and distance.

Letter of Authority

License to engage in operations, interstate and foreign commerce. This is granted by the Department of Transportation (DOT)

Lift Gate (LG)

A lift gate is a power-operated tailgate capable of lifting pallets from street level to the floor of a trailer. Shipper locations with no loading docks often have lift gates, as do many LTL truck fleets.


The inter-city portion of the trip that occurs after freight is picked up and delivered to the origin and prior to the delivery at the destination.

Load to Ride

Picking up your freight directly at the shipping location and loading it to ride directly to the delivery eliminates loading and unloading your freight at numerous terminals.

Loading time

Time it takes to load a truck

Loose Capacity

More trucks than loads (Loose Market): Truckers in low demand

LTL Tariffs

A tariff may be either tax on imports or exports (trade tariff) or a list or schedule of prices.

Lumper Service

When freight is unloaded from a trailer and pallets are broken down into smaller bundles if required per the receiver’s instructions.

MC Number

Motor Carrier Number – Every carrier and 3PL is assigned a MC number. This number allows carriers to cross state lines and it also allows the government to track brokers through their system.


COGS (Cost of Goods Sold) determined by a base unit of one mile.


Load contains more than one pick up or drop off for completion of delivery.

Net Weight

Weight obtained by deducting the weight of the tractor trailer from the total weight of the truck.


National Motor Freight Classification. The NMFC was created to standardize pricing for freight shipments. Every commodity shipped in the US belongs to one of eighteen freight classes, determined by four factors; shipment density, stow-ability, handling, and liability.


National Motor Freight Traffic Association; Provides expertise in freight classification, packaging and transportation codes.

No Touch

Load that des not require driver to load or unload product.


When a product doesn’t have a specific class; dependent on density.

Over- Dimensional

Special permits are require for Oversized Loads; May vary by state.


(48×48) Accessible by all 4 sides. Can hold up to 2,500 lbs, weighs between 25-50 lbs.

Pallet Jacks

A pallet jack is a tool used to lift and move pallets. Pallet jacks are the most basic form of a forklift and are intended to move pallets within a warehouse.

Partial Truckload (PTL)

Shipments that are larger than LTL but less than Full Truckload. Also known as PTL shipping.

Pickup Flexibility

Options that client has on when a shipment can be picked up (multiple days).

PO (Purchase Order)

The purchaser’s authorization used to formalize a purchase transaction with a supplier.

Private Carrier

A carrier that provides transportation services to the firm that owns or leases the vehicles and does not charge a fee. Private Motor carries may haul at a fee for wholly owned subsidiaries.


A carrier assigned number used to identify a specific shipment in their system.

Proof of Delivery (POD)

Information supplied by the carrier containing the name of one person who signed for the shipment, the time and date of delivery and other shipment delivery – related information. Also known as a POD.

Pup Trucks

A trailer between 26 feet and 29 feet long that can be used singularly as a delivery trailer in congested areas or in combination with another trailer for over the road.

Receiving Dock

Location where product is being unloaded from the truck.


When a customer changes the name and location of the consignee when the truck is en route. A charge is assigned for the assessment.


A term used for refrigerated vehicles.

Shared Truckload

A freight mode that enables several shippers to share trailer space in one multi-stop full truckload


A flatbed with specifically fitted side plates and curved ribs supporting a tarp covering.


(48×40) Accessible by 2 sides. Can hold up to 2,500 lbs, weighs between 25-50 lbs.

Sort and Seg

Required when a shipper wants verification that all the goods shipped reached the destination. Sort and Seg means that the driver, lumpers or dock workers count every case on the pallet when it is received.

Stackable Freight

Freight that can be stacked on one another.

Super Sack

Giant tote bag mainly used for grain, corn, rice.

Swing Doors

Must be opened before backing up to dock; swing doors allow for taller products.


When a driver is required to bring the cargo to the back of the trailer. This generally occurs when the receiver does not have a loading dock or forklift.

Team Driver

A team of two or more drivers who ride together and drive the same truck in shifts, essentially allowing the truck to remain in motion almost constantly. Primarily used for time sensitive freight.


A dock at which freight is sorted and redistributed onto different trucks.

Third Party Logistics

Outsourced provider that manages all or a significant part of an organization’s logistics requirements; Freight Broker.


Used to package chemicals.


The process of transferring a shipment from one mode of transportation to another.

Transit Time

The total time that elapses from pick up to delivery of a shipment. Transit days typically do not include the day of pick up weekends or holidays.

Volume LTL

Shipments of partial loads serviced by LTL carriers.

White Glove Services

Specially trained drivers and specialty equipment for the safe transport of sensitive shipments.