Shipping Glossary


Abatement: a discount allowed for damage or overcharge in bill payment.

Aboard: Goods placed or loaded on a means of conveyance.

Absolute Minimum Charge: The minimum charge after application of all pricing terms.

Act of God: an event beyond human control.

Advanced Warehouse: a common carrier or service contractor warehouse for receiving and storing exhibitors' shipments before a trade show move-in date.

Agreed Weight: the weight prescribed by agreement between transportation provider and shipper for goods shipped in certain packages or in a certain number.

Astray Goods: goods bearing marks indicating origin and destination, but separated from the waybill; see also 'Over Freight'.


Bar Code: a series of lines of various widths and spacing that can be scanned electronically to identify a carton or individual item.

Bar Code Scanner: a device to read bar codes and communicate data to computer systems.

Bill of Lading (BOL): a written contract between shipper and transportation provider (or their agents) that identifies the goods, who is to receive them, the place of delivery and the terms of the agreement. All goods going to a receiver at one destination in a single shipment or on one truck must be on a single BOL.

Billed Weight: the weight shown on a freight bill.


Class I Motor Carriers: common or contract motor carriers of property that have annual carrier operating revenues of $5 million or more.

Class II Motor Carriers: common or contract motor carriers of property that have annual carrier operating revenues of $1 million but not more than $5 million.

Class Ill Motor Carriers: common or contract motor carriers of property that have average gross operating revenues of less that $1 million from motor carrier operations.

Class Rate: a transportation charge set for a group of products; unless an article is given a special rate, it is grouped into a class; see also 'Classification Rating'.

Class Tariff: a schedule of rates that contains only class rates.

Classification: a publication containing shipping ratings; see also 'Classification Rating'.

Classification (products): a list of articles and the classes to which they are assigned for applying a class rate together with governing rules and regulations.

Classification (rating): the class to which an article is assigned for applying transportation charges.

Collect Shipment: a shipment where the transportation provider collects shipping charges and advances.

Commercial Invoice: a statement of characteristics and value of goods being shipped.

Commercial Zone: a geographical area of commercial influence of a specified point.

Commodity: any article of a shipment; goods shipped.

Commodity Exempt: an item that may be transported in interstate commerce without operating authority or published rates.

Concealed Loss or Damage: loss or damage to the contents of a package that is not apparent until opened.

Consign: to send or address goods to another.

Consignee: the person or organization to whom goods are shipped.

Consignee: The person, firm or corporation shown on the BOL as the party to whom the transportation provider delivers the property.

Consignor: one who ships articles.

Consignor: The person, firm or corporation shown on the bill of lading as the shipper of the property received by the transportation provider for transportation.

Consolidate: putting together several loads bound for the same destination.

CWT: Per Hundred Pounds


Delivery Order: shipment owner-issued instructions directing that goods be released or shipped to a specified party.

Demurrage: detention of a shipping vehicle or container beyond a stipulated time; the payment made for such delay.

Density: the weight of an article in kilograms per cubic meter or pounds per cubic foot; the ratio of mass to bulk or volume. Density is represented as either product density or stowed density.

Department of Transportation (DOT): federal agency that regulates the highway transportation of freight, including goods designated as hazardous material.

Deficit Weight: less than the minimum weight requirement.

Detention: a charge made for a vehicle held by or for shipper or consignee for loading or unloading, for forwarding directions or for any other purpose; see also 'Demurrage'.

Direct: via the route of a single transportation provider; often used as one component of a freight rate.

Diversion: any shipment relinquished to a shipper, consignee or his agent at point of origin or intermediate point or before the shipment has reached its ultimate destination; reconsignment.

Divert: to change the route of a shipment in transit; reconsignment.

Drayage: the charge made for hauling goods on carts, drays or trucks.

Dunnage: material used to protect or support goods in trucks. Dunnage weight is shown separately on the BOL.


FAK: Freight, All Kinds

Along Ship (FAS): a term of sale where the seller is responsible for transporting goods to the destination port.

Free on Board (FOB): a term of sale where responsibility for expenses and risk for goods is passed from seller to buyer. Because this term is not always used precisely, it is best to qualify it to show exactly what is covered.

Free Time: the period allowed the owner to accept delivery before storage charges begin to accrue.

Freight All Kind (FAK): the pooling of different goods to simplify rating or pricing.

Freight Forwarder: one who assembles small shipments into one large shipment that is then tendered to a regulated over-the-road transportation provider. On reaching destination, the shipment is separated into small shipments.

Freight-Astray: a shipment miscarried or unloaded at the wrong service center, billed and forwarded to the correct service center, free of charges, because it was astray.


Gateway: a point where goods moving from one territory to another is interchanged between transportation lines.

Gross Weight: the weight of an article, together with the weight of its container and packing material; the weight of the truck, together with the weight of its contents.


Hazard Class: a numerical designation of the primary transportation hazard.

Hazard Label: a diamond-shaped placard that portrays each of the nine hazard classes.

Hazardous Material (HM): a substance or material that has been determined by the DOT to be capable of posing an unreasonable risk to health, safety and property when transported in commerce. A listing of hazardous materials is in 49 CFR 172.101.

Hundred Weight: 100 pounds (United States) or 112 pounds (United Kingdom), abbreviated CWT.


In-Bond: shipments moving under U.S. Customs bond.

Interline: between two or more transportation providers.

Interline Carrier: transportation provider that may provide origin and/or destination service.

Interline Freight: goods moving from point of origin to destination over the lines of two or more transportation providers.

Intermediate Carrier: a transportation line, over which a shipment moves but on which neither the point of origin nor destination is noted.

Intermodal: goods movement between motor, air, sea and rail transportation; equipment that is compatible with multiple transportation systems; multimodal.

Interstate: Origin and destination points are not in the same state.

Interstate Commerce Act: an act of Congress regulating the practices, rates and rules of transportation lines engaged in interstate traffic.

Interstate Commerce or Traffic: traffic having origin in one state and destination in another.

Intrastate: Origin and destination points are in the same state

Intrastate Commerce or Traffic: traffic having origin and destination in the same state.


King Pin: a coupling pin centered on the front underside of a chassis; couples to the tractor.

Kitting: the process of grouping or packaging individual items together to create a special single item.

Knocked Down: an article taken apart, folded or telescoped so as to reduce its normal cubage when set up or assembled by one-third.

Knocked Down Flat: an article taken apart, folded or telescoped so as to reduce its normal cubage when set up or assembled by two-thirds.


Lading: that which constitutes a load; the shipments in a vehicle

Less-than-Container Load (LCL): a shipment that is less than an entire container.

Less-than-Truckload (LTL): a shipment that is less than that required for the application of truckload rate.

Lift Tail-Gate: a powered tail-gate capable of lifting a load from street level to the level of the truck or trailer floor.

Line Item: a specific and unique identifier assigned to a product by the responsible enterprise.

Linehaul: goods movement between cities, excluding pickup and delivery service.

Linehaul Freight Charges: The rate or charge for transporting a shipment from an origin to a destination as stated on the bill of lading and will not include any accessorial, storage or service center charges.


National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC): a publication for motor carriers containing rules,descriptions and ratings on all goods moving in commerce.

Nested: packed one within another.

Net Charge: Net dollar amount billed to the debtor after reduced rates or charges through application of governing discounts, allowances, product rates, exception ratings, or any other reduction have been applied.

Net payload: payload weight excluding tare weight.

Net Square Footage: amount of space occupied by only the exhibits in a building; does not include aisles, registration area, lounges, etc.

Net Tare Weight: the weight of an empty trailer plus any permanently attached fixtures.

Net Ton: 2,000 pounds.

Net Weight: the weight of an article less it's packing and contents of the truck.

NMF: National Motor Freight Traffic Association Inc., Agent

NMFC: National Motor Freight Classification

Non-Certificated Carrier: an air carrier that is exempt from economic regulation.

Non-Integrated Carriers: carriers that receive most of their traffic from freight forwarders who handle the retail point-of-sale and pick-up-and-delivery functions.

Non-Negotiable BOL: provides for goods delivery to a named enterprise and to no one else; also a straight BOL.


Packing Case: a container for components for one-time use that is usually screwed or nailed closed; also a shipping case.

Packing Group: a degree of danger designator for hazardous material; packing Group I indicates great danger; II indicates medium danger; Ill indicates minor danger.

Packing Improper: any packing that does not comply with the classification rules and regulations for proper packing.

Packing List: a detailed inventory of items contained in a shipment.

Pallet: a wood, paper or metal platform usually with top and bottom on which packaged goods are placed to facilitate movement by shipment-handling equipment.

Palletized: stacked on pallets.

Palletized Shipment: a shipment tendered to and transported by a transportation provider on pallets (elevating truck pallets or platforms or lift-truck skids with or without standing sides or ends, but without tops).

Prepaid Freight: goods a shipper pays the transportation provider for when merchandise is tendered for shipment that is not refundable if the merchandise does not arrive at the intended destination.

Prepay: to pay before or in advance.

Pup: a short semi-trailer, approximately 28 feet long, connected in tandem to another trailer for over-the-road travel; also double bottoms.


Reciprocity: the granting of privileges by a state to vehicles or vehicle owners from another state in return for similar privileges; these privileges may be complete or partial exemption from paying fees and motor vehicle taxes.

Reefer: a refrigerated container.

Regional Carrier: an air carrier, usually certified, that operates in a particular region of the country and has annual operating revenues of less than $75 million

Request for Proposal (RFP): a request given to contractors to begin the bid process for a contract.


Standard CarrierAbbreviation Code (SCAC): three-letter carrier identification; an owner code


Tare Weight: the weight of a container and the material used for packing. Subtracting tare weight from gross payload yields net payload.

Terms of Sale: the point at which sellers have fulfilled their obligations to buyers.

Third Party: a payer of the charges on the BOL that is neither shipper nor consignee.

Third-Party Logistics: a firm that supplies logistics services to other companies.

Third-Structure Tax: registration fees and gasoline taxes are called the first two structures of highway user taxation; any other type of tax is a third-structure tax.

Third-Party: a party other than the Consignor or Consignee