Logistics Terms and Definitions

Logistics Terms and Definitions

  • All
  • Types of vehicles
  • Types of shipment
  • Types of cargo
  • Companies and people in logistics
  • Common logistics definitions
  • Acronyms

A specialized type of a heavy-haul flatbed trailer that can provide drive-on / drive-off accessibility for vehicles such as tractors, loaders, or other heavy equipment. The trailer deck is attached to a \”gooseneck\” which can be raised and lowered to or from the ground hydraulically, then removed from the trailer, to allow a vehicle to drive on or off.

Also known as a rolling toaster or a cube van. It is a truck with an enclosed cargo area and can carry up to 4,000 lbs; usually, the cargo area is cuboid-shaped. Box trucks can be unibody (there is a door between cab and cargo area) or separate with chassis cab.

It is a light van that can be used for commercial or passenger transportation. Sprinters can carry up to 3,500 lbs.

The truck in which all axles are attached to a single frame. This type of truck can carry up to 10,000 lbs and can be equipped with air-ride and lift gate systems.

A small van that can carry up to 2,000 lbs. This truck is perfect for small local deliveries, students moving, and small apartments moving.

It is a trailer or enclosed box trailer with the doors on the back. Dry Van is commonly used for pallets and box shipping and can carry up to 40,000 lbs.

A trailer that can keep the temperature that is necessary for specific products.

Trailers that are staged at facilities for preloading purposes.

Large ship operating on the Great Lakes. They’re designed for bulk cargo and can carry up to 66,000 tons of cargo.

A trailer without sides used for heavy machinery hauling or oversized cargo shipment.

A trailer-type device with wheels constructed to accommodate containers, which are lifted on and off.

An enclosed railcar for packaged freight and bulk cargoes; typically 40 ft long.

Cargo-carrying vehicle for inland water shipments.

Loaded trailers transportation on specially designed wagons.

Direct rail shipment that includes the ability to load and unload containers from train to vessel directly.

The movement of freight, usually by truck or train.

When truck or container is loaded with goods from more than one consignor; when loads can’t meet full truckload requirements.

When goods delivered from a transportation hub straight to the consignee; considered the fastest delivery.

When cargo must be delivered at the exact time needed.

When cargo is delivered by two or more types of transport, usually by train and truck.

When shipment crosses two or more transportation lines.

Goods transportation from shippers and vendors to the storage facilities or production processes.

When the load from one consignor is filling a whole truck.

The type of delivery when cargo is prioritized over others; faster rate shipping.

Typically short distance shipping of train or ocean freight by truck to the final destination (e.g., from port to the warehouse).

When containers are shipped stacked two high.

A shipment direct from a distribution center right to the customer’s retail store. This shipment is bypassing distribution centers of customers.

Import or export from one country to another.

A shipment method in which goods are not re-handled. They’re placed in containers and stay inside until they unload at a destination point.

Marine shipment on short distances or between single coast ports. Also known as coastwise or short-sea shipment.

Vehicle transportation

When a vehicle is returning from the destination point to the point of origin fully or partially loaded with goods.

A non-divisible load that exceeds 16’ wide, 16’ high. 125’ length, or 200,000 pounds.

Goods that are requested by the client but are temporarily unavailable. Can be called Out of Stock (OOS) as well.

Is a scannable barcode, most often seen printed on product labels in a retail store.

Wheeled cargo (cars or cargo carried on chassis) that can be rolled on/off the vehicle. This type of cargo does not imply handling equipment.

When the shipment is made up of units of a single commodity: cars, wood, metal.

Any bulk cargo that consists of liquid materials (e.g., water, petroleum, natural gas, etc.)

Containerized cargo that must be lifted by handling equipment.

Materials or substances that can cause risk to health, safety, and property when stored or transported. Hazardous materials are determined by the Department of Transportation.

This type of cargo is usually charged higher rates, than those marked with a specific classification. Frequently shipped in containers with various types of cargo.

Any goods that can continuously serve more than three years.

Cargo that is transported in containers. Containers can be easily transported from one point to another by truck, train, or ship.

A metallic “box” that is primarily used for ocean freight shipment. The container is typically 10 to 40 ft long.

Unbound as loaded cargo; it’s without in a loose unpackaged form. This type of cargo includes grain, coal, and petroleum products.

A non-uniform sized cargo which is transported in bags, sacks, drums, or on pallets (e.g., coffee beans, pulp, logs.) This type of cargo requires a labor-intensive loading and unloading process.

Air freight carried in the belly of aircraft.

A specialist in logistics who may provide a variety of transportation, warehousing, and logistics-related services to buyers or sellers.

A team of two drivers who work in shifts; when one of them sleeps in a berth, the other driver operates a vehicle.

Party that tenders goods for transportation.

A carrier who provides transportation services to the firm that owns or leases the vehicles and does not charge a fee.

When the truck owner is also the driver.

A group of people that assist a vehicle owner operator to load and unload property and goods.

A person who consolidates shipments and coordinates booking reservations.

A carrier that provides his services on a fee basis.

A for-hire carrier that is free from economic regulation.

The person who is tasked to assign available loads to available carriers.

A carrier that provides transportation for hire. Contractors work for one or a limited number of shippers.

The sender of shipment, usually the seller.

The one who receives the shipment, usually the buyer.

A transportation company that uses land, sea, or air transport.


Class I Carrier – a classification of carriers with annual revenues:

  • Motor carrier of property more than or equal to $5 million;
  • Motor carriers of passengers more than or equal to $3 million.


Class II Carrier – a classification of carriers with annual revenues:

  • Motor carrier of property $1 million to $5 million;
  • Motor carriers of passengers less than or equal to $3 million.


Class III Carrier – a classification of carriers with annual revenues:

  • Motor carrier of property less than or equal to $1 million.

A person whose company prepares shipping and needed documents for international shipments.

A storage place for products. Principal warehouse activities include receipt of the product, storage, shipment, and order picking.

A system used to classify motor vehicles, primarily trucks. The most commonly used classification system is based on 13 different axles and body types used by the Federal Highway Administration and state departments of transportation.

The quantity of freight required to fill a truck, or at a minimum, the amount required to qualify for a truckload rate.

Starting with unprocessed raw materials and ending with a final customer using the finished goods.

Material that has been rejected by the customer or buyer’s inspection department and is awaiting shipment back to the supplier for repair or replacement.

A freight term, which indicates that charges are to be paid by the shipper. Prepaid shipping charges may be added to the customer invoice, or the cost may be bundled into the pricing of the product.

A fixed point in a firm’s logistics system where goods come to rest; includes plants, warehouses, supply sources, and markets.

The National Motor Freight Classification number used to calculate freight rates for LTL shipments. Most common cargoes have been assigned an NMFC number.

A daily record of the hours an interstate driver spends driving, off duty, sleeping in the berth, or on duty not driving.

A location where links between different transportation modes and networks connect. Using more than one mode of transportation in moving persons and goods. For example, a shipment moving over 1,000 miles could travel by truck for one portion of the trip, and then transfer to rail at a designated terminal.

A shipment status in which goods are permitted to enter a country and temporarily stored for transport to a final destination where the duty will be paid.

Ruling that stipulates the amount of time a driver is allotted to work.

The combined total weight of a vehicle and its freight.

The final market value of goods and services produced by labor and property located in a state.

The final market value of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the nation.

The combined total weight of a vehicle and its freight.

The final market value of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the nation.

A situation in which an equipment operator deposits a trailer or boxcar at a facility at which it is to be loaded or unloaded.

A space used for receiving the merchandise at a freight terminal.

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

The return of an empty transportation container back to a transportation facility. Commonly-used description of an empty backhaul.

Cubic volume of space being used or available for shipping or storage.

A national program administered by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration designed to improve motor carrier safety and to enhance the efficiency of administrative processes for industry and government.

A quantity of freight (in tons) required to fill a railcar; amount normally required to qualify for a carload rate.

A dedicated load/unload facility for cargo aircraft.

The physical facilities, personnel, and process available to meet the product or service needs of the customers. Capacity generally refers to the maximum output or producing ability of a machine, person, process, factory, product, or service.

A national law that requires costal and intercostal traffic to be carried in its own nationally registered, and sometimes built and crewed ships.

A transportation document that is the contract of the carriage containing the terms and conditions between shipper and carrier.

The total volume of truck traffic for one year (on-highway segment), divided by the number of days in the year.

Uniform Freight Classification

Uniform Intermodal Interchange Agreement

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Transportation Computer Assisted Design

Transportation Intermediaries Association

Standard Transportation Commodity Classification

Surface Transportation Board

Shipper Load, Shipper Count/Shipper Load, Driver Count

Standard Industrial Classification

Shipper’s Export Declaration

Standard Classification of Transported Goods

Standard Carrier Alpha Code

Port of Entry

Pick up and delivery

Over dimensional / Overweight

Non-Vessel Operating Common Carriers

National Motor Freight Classification

Nation Highway System

North American Industrial Classification System

North American Free Trade Agreement

Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices

Metropolitan Planning Organization

Miles Per Gallon

Intelligent Transportation System

Institute of Transportation Engineers

Intermodal Association of North America

Harmonized Series

Highway Performance Monitoring System

Global Positioning System

Geo-Information Systems

Federal Railroad Administration

Freight Professional Development

Free On Board

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

Federal Highway Administration

Free and Secure Trade

Freight Analysis Framework

Federal Aviation Administration

Department of Defense

Commercial Vehicle Operations

Commercial Vehicle Information Systems and Networks

Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism

Commercial Motor Vehicle

Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality

Commodity Flow Survey

Commercial Drivers License

Customs Border Protection

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Bodily Injury Property Damage

American Trucking Association

Automated Commercial Environment

American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials

American Association of Railroads

American Association of Port Authorities


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