Air bag: A durable bag inflated with air and used to force and secure freight to the inside walls of a trailer.
All short: A situation in which none of the freight is received with the movement document.
Astray freight: A situation in which freight is separated from the movement document.
Axle weight: The amount of weight carried by one axle of a truck or truck-trailer combination.


Banding machine: Used to place metal bands around freight or to secure freight to a pallet.
Barrel: A round metal cylinder (drum) used as a container. Barrels must always be loaded on cardboard dunnage.
Barrel wheeler or barrel truck: A handcart designed to move drums or barrels because their round shape cannot be handled safely by any other means.
Bill of lading (BOL): A legal contract between the shipper and the carrier for the transportation of goods. The shipper always retains one copy of the bill of lading as a receipt for the goods shipped, and the carrier retains the shipping order copy. The bill of lading shows, among other information, where the freight is going, where the freight originated, description of the freight, number of pieces and weight.
Blocking or bracing: Wood or metal supports used to secure freight in place when loaded on a trailer.
Bobtail: A tractor without a trailer attached to it.
Box: The enclosed cargo space of a truck or trailer.
Bulk freight: Freight not secured to a pallet, or in packages or containers, such as raw materials or agricultural commodities.
Bulkhead: A temporary wall built in a trailer to keep freight from shifting while en route.


Cable seal: A durable cable used to secure closed trailer doors.
Cart: A four-wheeled vehicle used to move freight on the dock. Carts are used to move one or several shipments across the dock at the same time.
Checkstand: A dock stand (desk) used by freight handlers on which to perform paperwork duties.
Chock: A wood, metal or rubber object used to block a trailer's wheels while parked at the dock. Chocks are also used in trailers to block floor freight from shifting en route.
Claim: A customer's request for payment (reimbursement) for freight that is lost and/or damaged.
Claim prevention: The continual effort of every employee to reduce the number of claims by performing the basic requirements of receiving, handling, transporting and delivering shipments on time without any shortages or damages.
Class 1 motor carrier: A common or contract motor carrier with annual gross revenues of $5 million or more.
COD: Collect on delivery. The driver collects for the value of the goods on behalf of the shipper, and collects any freight or other transportation charges due the carrier. The COD amount must be collected before the freight can be released to the consignee.
COE: Cab over engine; a type of tractor, or power unit, in which the driver sits in a cab mounted over the engine. The COE has a flat nose and is shorter in length compared with a conventional power unit.
COFC: Container-on-flat-car; a mode of transportation in which freight in containers moves on special rail flat cars, sometimes in a "double stack" arrangement.
Commodity: Any article of commerce (e.g., goods, products, articles of merchandise) that is offered for shipment.
Consignee: The person or firm who receives the shipped articles.
Consignor: The person or firm who ships the articles, usually referred to as the shipper.
Copy bill: A computer-generated printout that can be requested when the original freight bill PRO number is known. The copy bill will show all the necessary information about the shipment.
COSO: Copy of shipping order. It is actually a photocopy of the shipping order. The COSO is the primary document used to move shipments from the origin terminal to the destination terminal.
Cube: Term used to describe how much loading space (percentage) inside a trailer has been used or is available. For example, a trailer that is loaded exactly half full would be called 50 percent cubed out of a possible 100-percent cube.
Customer: The person or firm for which the carrier is providing freight transportation services.
Cycle time: In a retail environment, this refers to the time needed for a customer order to be received, processed, filled, shipped and delivered. In a manufacturing environment, it is the time required to collect the raw materials or components and have them delivered to the plant, to assemble or manufacture the product, and to prepare it for availability to the customer.


DD Form 836: A special "instructions for motor vehicle drivers" form issued by a government agency when transporting hazardous materials for the U.S. government. The pickup driver and the delivery driver must read and sign the form; the delivery driver gives it to the consignee when delivering the shipment.
Deadhead: A tractor pulling an empty trailer, or freight loaded on the trailer that does not generate any revenue (deadhead freight sometimes can be company materials or goods).
Defensive driving: When a driver thinks ahead, anticipates problems, expects the unexpected, and is on the defensive while driving.
Delivery receipt (DR): The control document used to deliver freight to the consignee. The delivery receipt is signed by the consignee and the driver. Also used as a receipt for collecting monies and for recording delivery exceptions.
Density: The weight of an article per cubic foot.
Direct loading: Loading of shipments direct from one service center to another without an intermediate stop for rehandling.
Dock plate: Metal plate used as a ramp between a trailer and the dock platform.
Dolly: A single-axle unit that is used to hook two trailers together.
Double units: A set of twin 28-foot trailers, connected with a converter dolly, used to transport less-than-truckload (LTL) freight.
Driver collect: A notation on a delivery receipt to alert the driver salesmen to collect the freight charges at the time of delivery.
Drums: See Barrels.
Dub: A 28-foot trailer, also referred to as a pup, designed to be pulled in sets (two at a time) by one tractor.
Dunnage: Materials such as cardboard, pallets, plywood, foam rubber, air bags, etc., and other materials used for protecting freight while en route.


Electronic data interchange (EDI): Computer-to-computer communication between two or more companies that is used to generate documents such as purchase orders and invoices. EDI also enables firms to access the information systems of suppliers, customers and carriers to determine real-time status of shipments and inventory.
Empty: A trailer that contains no freight.
Equipment daily inspection and condition report: The pre-trip inspection form used by drivers to perform equipment inspections on their tractors and trailers.
Exception: A shortage, overage or damage that occurred to a shipment. These exceptions are noted on COSOs, bills of lading, delivery receipts or terminal unloading check sheets.
Extensions: Longer blades that are used on forklifts when the standard blades are inadequate.


Fifth wheel: The device that hooks the trailer to the tractor; also known as a dolly.
Floor freight: Heavy freight that must be loaded on the trailer floor and not on top of light freight.
Flow-through distribution: A process in which goods from multiple locations are brought into a central point, resorted by delivery destination and shipped in the same day. Typically involving a combination of truckload and less-than-truckload carrier resources, this practice eliminates warehousing, reduces inventory levels and speeds order turnaround time.
Forklift: Motorized vehicle used for hoisting and moving freight on the dock or on and off a trailer. Also known as a jeep, towmotor or hi-lo.
Freight assembly center (FAC): A large service center that sorts, loads, routes and dispatches freight into the carrier's system.
Freight bill: A document that describes the freight, identifies the name of the consignee and shipper, shows the point of origin and destination, the pieces and weight of the freight, and the amount of freight charges.
Freight flow: The routing plan that directs the transport freight over a relatively long distance, usually between cities and/or service centers and FACs.


Hazardous material tag: A red tag attached to delivery receipts and COSOs. The tag denotes the type and amount of hazardous material in the shipment.
Hazardous materials: Commodities classified by the Department of Transportation as hazardous, and which require special handling and documentation. Also known as hazmat.
Header: Term used to identify a shipment loaded in front of the trailer.
High and tight: Loading freight high in a trailer uses the full cube of the trailer and allows more freight to be loaded. Loading freight tight in a trailer eliminates the possibility of damage while en route.
Hostling tractor: Tractor used for moving trailers to and from the dock and around the yard.
Household goods: Also referred to as personal effects.
Hubometer: The meter on the wheel of a tractor used to record mileage.


In-bond: Import shipments moving into or through the United States that have not cleared U.S. Customs at the border and, therefore, travel under a U.S. Customs (Treasury) bond.
Intermodal transportation: Transporting freight using two or more transportation modes. An example would be freight in containers that is moved from shipper's dock to rail yard, then placed on rail container stack train, and at destination, returned to a truck for delivery to the receiving customer.
Interstate: Delivery from one state to another.
Intrastate: Delivery between two points within one state.


Johnson bar: A large portable crowbar used on the dock to pry up heavy freight.
Just-in-time (JIT): A production practice that precisely controls material flow into assembly and manufacturing plants. JIT reduces inventory needs by managing delivery of product to arrive exactly where and when it is needed, from multiple suppliers.


Landing gear: The support legs located at the front of the trailer that hold up the trailer when it is unhooked from a tractor.
Less-than-truckload (LTL) carriers: Trucking companies that consolidate and then transport small shipments of freight by utilizing a network of terminals.
Lift jib: A forklift boom attachment that allows the operator to lift and move pipe or other bulky objects. Also called a porta crane or boom.
Linehaul: The movement of trailers from one location to another, typically between cities over specific routes and on specific schedules.
Load bars: A tool used to secure freight in a trailer.
Load factor: The computed value of weight loaded into trailers factored by the miles the trailer travels. If trailers are loaded to full capacity, the cost is lower because fewer trailers are needed and fewer miles are traveled per pound of freight.
Load manifest: A form for tallying weight and the number of shipments loaded on a trailer that is destined for another service center.
LTL: Less-than-truckload. LTL shipments are manufactured goods or commodities that generally weigh between 10 and 10,000 pounds. and are tendered to the carrier as either loose boxes or parcels, or combined on wooden pallets generally weighing less than 10,000 pounds. Multiple LTL shipments are typically combined with other similar shipments from many customers to fill a trailer.


Manifest: See Load Manifest.
Markings or marks: Letters, numbers or other identification marks placed on a package for identification purposes.


Nose: The front of a trailer.
Noseload: See Header.


OB: Order bill of lading. A shipment that is released to the consignee only when the original (yellow) copy is paid for and payment is obtained by the driver prior to release of the shipment.
Open-top trailer: Trailer with a removable top, which is usually made of tarp material. Also referred to as a ragtop.
Origin: The location from which a shipment originated.
OS&D: Over, short and damaged. Common term referring to a particular shipment with an OS&D exception problem.
Overage: A situation in which the actual piece count is greater than the piece count shown on the document accompanying the shipment.


P&D: Pickup and delivery. LTL freight systems typically have operations for pickup and delivery within cities, and freight flow operations for transport of freight between cities.
Pallet: A wood structure used to stack freight that allows the freight to be handled by a forklift or pallet jack.
Pallet jack: A hand-operated nonmotorized forklift tool.
Perishable freight: Shipments that are subject to decay or deterioration.
PRO label: A preprinted label containing bar-coded numbers that is used to identify a shipment.
PRO number: The nine-digit number used to identify a freight bill, and which corresponds to a scannable bar code. Same as freight bill number.
Pup: A 28-foot trailer, also referred to as a dub, designed to be pulled in sets by one tractor.


Quick response (QR) delivery: A practice used by retailers to have stock on shelves when needed while maintaining minimum backroom inventories; the retail equivalent of just-in-time manufacturing production practices.


Rag top: See Open-Top Truck.
Rail trailers: Trailers that are loaded and moved to the destination freight assembly center by the railroad.
Recooper: To repair damaged cartons or containers.
Red line: The halfway point in a trailer. The line is painted across the top inside ceiling of the trailer.
Regional LTL: Transportation delivery of less-than-truckload shipments covering a particular region of the country, such as the western U.S. or the South. Regional LTL service typically involves overnight or two-day "short-haul" service as opposed to national "long-haul" deliveries.
Reship: Freight that is rehandled (cross-docked) at an intermediate service center. The freight did not originate at, nor is it destined for, the service center now handling it.
Rug pole: A forklift attachment for handling carpets.


SCAC: A carrier's alpha code.
Seal: A device that is serially numbered and used to temporarily fasten trailer and truck doors so that unauthorized entry into the unit can be detected.
Semi-trailer: A 45-foot trailer designed to be pulled singly by a tractor.
Service window: A freight assembly center works each night to process all the incoming and outgoing freight through a critical "service window." This is the period during which freight must be moved through the center in order to meet the next day's delivery schedules.
Shortage: When the number of pieces in a shipment are fewer that the piece count shown on the movement document.
Sidewall: Loading a shipment along the wall of a trailer.
Single shipment: A shipment weighing less than 500 pounds that is picked up at one location with no other shipments.
Skid: See Pallet.
SL&C: Shipper's load and count. Freight is loaded in a trailer at the shipper's dock by the shipper. Because a carrier representative is not present when the trailer is loaded, extreme care must be taken when unloading an SL&C trailer. The carrier has to ensure that the freight is properly marked and the piece count agrees with the movement document.
Stack train: An intermodal transportation service utilizing railroads to move containerized freight on special rail flatcars, called "well cars" with container boxes in a "double stacked" arrangement.
Stacking: The proper loading of freight in a damage-free manner.
Stretch wrap: Plastic sheeting used by shippers to secure cartons on a pallet; also called shrink wrap.
Strip: To unload freight from a trailer.


TL: Truckload. A freight shipment that generally weighs more than 10,000 pounds, and by itself can be one full shipment, or one full trailer of a single customer's product.
TOFC: Trailer-on-flat-car; a mode of transportation in which over-the-road truck trailers are shipped via railroads on specially designed flat cars.
Top freight: Fragile freight that must be loaded near the ceiling of the trailer so that it will not be crushed.
Top-heavy freight: Freight that must be tied to the wall of the trailer to prevent tipping over in transit (e.g., large transformers).
TPRO: Computer-generated report containing information on each shipment loaded in a trailer (e.g., consignee, weight, pieces, PRO number, bill destination).
Triples: A set of three 28-foot trailers, connected with two converter dollies, used to transport less-than-truckload freight.
Truckload (TL) carriers: Trucking companies that move full truckloads of freight directly from the point of origin to their destinations.


Unloading allowances: A tariff allowance to a customer for unloading its shipments from a carrier's trailer. Usually a fixed sum per hundredweight, conditioned on a specific volume that must be tendered in a single day. Usually, the customer files for (claims) the allowance once each month.
Unloading checksheet: The back of the trailer manifest/release form. Exceptions and headers left on the trailer are noted on this document.


Via: A linehaul stop-in-transit to load or deliver a shipment.
Volume rate: A (usually lower) rate for volume shipments. Typically, volume rates apply to exempt commodity shipments.


Warehouseman's liability: A warehouseman is liable for loss or damage to goods caused by failure to exercise "reasonable care" while the product is in the warehouse's possession. Under certain circumstances, the carrier's cargo claim liability reverts to that of a warehouseman (usually when the carrier cannot deliver a shipment and must store the product at carrier's location or at a public warehouse). The interpretation of "reasonable care" and the corresponding financial responsibilities in these situations are sometimes vague and are often determined by common law cases. In general, warehouseman's liability has proven to be less than full common carrier liability.


Yard goat/Yard mule: A tractor used to move trailers around the service center yard. Also called a hostling tractor.


Zone location: A location (sometimes just one leased door) manned by only one or two P&D drivers. Not a fully staffed service center. Usually established in areas that have substantial business, but not enough to warrant a "full-service" service center. A zone location has its own I&E statement.



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