Freight Shipping: Essential Jargon & Definitions Guide

Learn the Jargon: Freight Shipping Terms You Need to Know

Posted on:
Jul 25, 2018

In the world of freight shipping and logistics, there are a ton of freight shipping terms and acronyms to learn. If you’re not a seasoned logistics professional, this may seem overwhelming and confusing. At GoShip, we want to make sure that you understand these terms and have a quick place to reference.

So, to help you out here is a curated list of some of the most common important terms and their definitions: Accessorial Charge – Fees for services beyond normal pickup and delivery. i.e.: shipment storage

Back Haul – The second half of a carrier’s round trip. This half is usually cheaper than the first half.

Bill of Lading (BOL) – The Bill of Lading, aka BOL, is the contract between the shipper and carrier. It binds the parties together and defines all aspects of the shipping arrangement.

Broker – A person who makes freight shipping arrangements on behalf of another person or company.

Carmack – Loss or damage to goods.

Carrier – Utilizes trucks and/or trailers to move goods from point A to point B.

Consignee – The receiver of a shipment.

Consolidation – Combining multiple shipments to save money on shipping.

Embargo – An event that prevents the acceptance or handling of freight. i.e.: floods, tornadoes, etc.

Freight Forwarder – An organization that combines less-than-truckload (LTL) shipments into truckload shipments.

Fuel Surcharge (FSC) – The price of fuel can substantially change the cost of moving freight. Therefore, the Energy Information Administration of the U.S. Department of Energy publishes a U.S. National Average Fuel Index every week. Transportation companies will often include an FSC to the cost of moving freight either based on cents per mile or percentage of the line haul amount.

Full-Truck-Load (FTL) – Shipments that take up an entire truck.

Gross Vehicle Weight – The total weight of the transport vehicle and its cargo.

Intermodal Transportation – When freight is shipped using two or more modes of transportation.

Less-Than-Truckload (LTL) – Shipments weighing between 100 and 20,000 lbs. and don’t take up an entire truck.

Nested – When materials are stacked so that one item goes inside another to reduce the amount of space taken up, which makes LTL shipping more efficient.

Owner-Operator – the Truck driver who owns and operators their truck(s).

Waybill – Non-negotiable document prepared by the carrier. Shows origin point, destination, route, consignor, consignee, shipment description, and price for the service. If you have any questions regarding anything, including terms, during your shipment, is happy to help!

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