Landed cost, waybill, dunnage & dead-head.

We’ve realized that sometimes trying to decode the specialized vernacular of the Transportation Industry is tough. To ensure you are always in the know — the Approved ‘Ohana wants to help.

So, we’ve created a Glossary of common terms. We think this will simplify and bring clarity to everyday business; as well as help to broaden the knowledge of all of our partners.

Bookmark this page, and check back as we add to the list.

Want a Printable Copy of the Approved Transportation Glossary?

3PL A 3PL is a third-party, or contract, logistics company to whom a firm outsources part or all logistics services. a 3PL will typically handle many of the following tasks: purchasing, inventory & warehouse management, transportation management and order management.
Alliance Group of airlines or ocean carriers, who coordinate and cross list schedules; sell capacity on each other’s flights/voyages.
Backhaul Freight movement in a direction (or lane) of secondary importance or light demand.
Bobtail Slang term for a tractor driven without its trailer. Can be used to refer to a straight truck.
Bulk Cargo Cargo which is stowed loose on transportation vehicles, in a tank or without specific packaging. Handled by a pump, scoop, conveyor, or shovel. Examples: grain, coal, petroleum, chemicals
Cab Driver compartment of a truck or tractor.
Carrier Provides transportation services — typically owning and operating transportation equipment. Examples: trucking company, railroad, airline, etc…
Cartage Company  A trucker that provides local pick-up and delivery services.
Certificate of Insurance Document certifying that one has met specified requirements. Issued by an office of an insurance company stating the party named has insurance coverage in the amounts & types named.
Chassis A piece of trucking equipment which is essentially a set of wheels on a lightweight frame.
Chocks Block or stop barriers placed behind/in front of the wheels of a trailer, or container, to keep the vehicle from rolling.
Commodity Article of commerce (goods, merchandise) that is shipped. Proper description of freight commodity is extremely important.
Common Carrier A for-hire carrier providing transportation services to the general public. Obligations: to serve, to deliver, to charge reasonable rates, to avoid discrimination. Previously regulated in the United States; Most are now deregulated.
Concealed Damage Damage to the contents of a package which in good condition externally
Concealed Loss Loss or damage to product which cannot be determined until the package is opened.
Consignee An individual or firm to whom freight is shipped. The receiver of the shipment.
Consolidation A joining together of many small shipments – often from different shippers – into large shipment quantities, in order to take advantage of economies of scale in transportation costs.
Container A single, rigid, sealed and reusable metal box in which merchandise is shipped by vessel, truck, or rail. Container types include standard, high cube, hardtop, open top, flatbed and refrigerated or bulk.
Container Crane Used to lift containers from truck chassis (or rail flatcar, or from the dock) and load onto a ship.
Cross-Dock  Transportation terminal in which received items are transferred directly from inbound to the outbound shipping dock. Temporary storage only and used mostly for vehicle transfers. Often owned and operated by large shippers.
Customs Broker Specialists in customs procedures who act for importers for a fee; licensed by the Treasury Department.
Dead-Head A portion of a transportation trip in which no freight is conveyed; an empty move.
Detention & Demurrage Penalty charges assessed by a carrier to a shipper or consignee, for holding transportation equipment, i.e. trailers, containers, railcars, kept longer than a stipulated time for loading or unloading.
Diversion; Reconsignment Rerouting of freight by the shipper while the goods are in transit.
Dock A platform where trucks are unloaded and loaded.
Door-to-Door A transportation service arrangement in which freight is moved from origin (shipper), through to the ultimate destination (consignee), for a given rate. Approved provides door-to-door service from/to any point in US and Canada.
Drayage Local trucking, to and from rail or to and from port facilities.
Dunnage Wood and packaging materials which are used to keep cargo in place while inside a container or transportation vehicle.
EDI  Electronic Data Interchange; A business-to-business interconnection of computers for the rapid exchange of a wide variety of documents.
ETA Estimated time of arrival.
Expediting Accelerating transportation times.
FCL; CL; Container load; Full Container load A direct shipment where an entire container is contracted for direct movement from shipper’s door – via ocean – to its destination. Approved moves many FCL loads each year.
FEU Forty-foot equivalent unit; A method of measuring vessel load or capacity of units of forty-foot long containers.
Flatbed A level bed platform with no sides or top. Most often used for oversized shipments. But in Hawaii and Guam – where space is limited – flatbeds are used to deliver freight where no docks are available for off-load.
Flatrack Similar to flatbed trailer offering a level platform with no top. However, there are sideboards at each corner that allow stacking of the unit for vessel transport.
Fork Lift A machine used to move goods loaded on pallets or skids.
Freeze & Chill Temperature controlled equipment used for the transport of perishable goods.
Freight Bill-of-Lading A document providing a binding contract between a shipper and a carrier for the transportation of freight.  Specifies obligations of both aprties. Serves as a receipt of freight by the carrier for the shipper. Usually designates the consignee, and FOB point
Freight Forwarder An agency that receives freight from a shipper and arranges for transportation with one or more carriers to the consignee. Often used for international shipping. Will usually consolidate freight from many shippers to obtain low, large volume transportation rates from carriers (through contract). Often owns pick-up and delivery equipment; uses to transport freight to/from consolidation facilities. Frequently provide packaging, temporary freight storage, and customs clearing services. Approved is a licensed freight forwarder.
Freight Size Most commonly measured by weight. But is often measured by cube – or cubic feet — of the shipment.
FTL; TL; Truckload; Full Truckload Trucking industry terms to describe a contract for direct point-to-point service of an entire truck.
High Cube A trailer or container which allows above average cubic capacity.
Household Goods Carrier An HHG Carrier is any carrier authorized to transport furniture, household goods, and other properties involved in a change of location. Our sister companies Royal Hawaiian Movers, Royal Alaskan Movers, and DeWitt Guam are all certified HHG Carriers.
Hundredweight; CWT 100 weight; common weight unit for domestic mainland moves. Payer is charged a determined amount per 100lbs of freight.
In-Bond Storage of goods in custody of government bonded warehouses, or carriers from whom goods can be taken only upon payment of duties, to appropriate government agencies.
Interline Shipment Shipments moving from origin to destination via two or more carriers. Frequently occurs in rail transportation.
Intermodal Transportation which uses a specialized container that can be transferred from the vehicle of one mode to the vehicle of another.
JIT Just in Time; A manufacturing system which depends on frequent, small deliveries of parts and supplies, to keep on-site delivery to a minimum.
Landed Cost The total cost of a shipment to the port of destination. Can include cost of goods, transportation, insurance and all taxes
LCL; Less-Than-Containerload Shipping industry term which refers to a shipment which will not require an entire container.
Linehaul  Movement of freight between cities usually more than 1,000 miles apart.
Lo-lo  Lift-on, lift-off services. Cranes are used to move containers onto and off of ocean vessels.
Longhaul Terminal-to-terminal freight movement in transportation for long distance moves, as distinguished from local freight moves.
Loss or Damage  Loss or damage of freight shipments while in transit or in a carrier-operated warehouse.
LTL; Less-Than-Truckload Trucking industry term for a shipment which does not require an entire truck.
LTL; Less-Than-Truckload Trucking industry term for a shipment which does not require an entire truck.
NVOCC A Non-Vessel-Operating Common Carrier. Owns no vessels (ships), but provides ocean freight-forwarding services. Provides consolidated negotiated rate services, for ocean and inland water carriers.
Open Top Containers with sides but no permanent tops.
Over Dimensional Movement Refers to shipment where size and weight are over legal restrictions.
Overage Excess freight over the quantity believed to have been shipped, or more than the quantity shown on the shipping document.
Over-the-Road Commonly referred to as OTR, it is the transport of goods by road; usually in trucks.
Owner-Operator Drivers who own and operate his or her own truck.
P&D Abbreviation for pick-up and delivery of freight.
Packing List A detailed inventory of items contained in a shipment.
Pallet  Small, typically wooden or plastic platform on which goods are placed for handling and movement to and from facilities; or for simple movement and storage in a warehouse. Standard pallet dimensions are 40″x48″ — but can vary greatly. Oversized pallets (greater than 40″x48″) can limit the amount of freight that can be loaded into a container
Pick-Up and Delivery (Cartage) Local hauling of freight. Transferring freight from the shipper to a terminal, or from a terminal to a consignee.
Placard A diamond shaped sign attached to a vehicle hauling hazardous materials, which indicates the class & type of the materials being moved.
Private Carrier Owned and operated by a shipper. Usually, refers to private trucking fleets. Components include vehicle fleet, drivers, maintenance equipment.
Proof of Delivery The “POD” is a delivery receipt copy of a signed freight bill at the time of delivery.
Reefer A shortened name for a refrigerated container. Must be plugged into a ship’s power system.
Ro-ro Roll-on, roll-off; Using a vessel with ramps which allows wheeled vehicles to be loaded and discharged without cranes.
Semitrailer A term referring to a truck and trailer/container combination, constructed so that the front end rests upon a truck tractor.
Shipper; Consignor Individual or firm who sends freight. The freight originator.
Shippers Association A not-for-profit association of shippers using collective bargaining and freight consolidation to obtain lower, high-volume transportation rates.
Shipping Order A document providing instructions to a carrier for transportation of a shipment; usually, this is simply the bill of lading.
SKU Stock-keeping unit; a line-item of inventory which refers to a specific type or size of good.
Sleeper Team A pair of drivers who alternate driving and resting.
Straight Truck Vehicles on which all axles are attached to a single frame
Terminal Transportation facility with one of the following roles:
TEU Twenty-foot equivalent unit; a method of measuring vessel load or capacity, in units of containers which are twenty feet long.
Transportation Broker An agency that obtains negotiated large-volume transportation rates from carriers, and resells this capacity to shippers. Unlike freight forwarders, brokers will not handle freight and owns no pick-up-/delivery equipment or storage facilities.
Transshipment Off-loading of shipments from one type of container or trailer, to another type, for transport.
Vans Trucking term meaning trailers.
Waybill A description of goods sent with a common carrier.
1. System Access: Points where freight enters and leaves the transportation system.
2. Freight Consolidation & Distribution
3. Mode Transfer, for example – rail to truck.
4. Vehicle Transfer: within a single mode, freight may transfer from one vehicle to another
5. Storage and Warehousing
6. Fleet Maintenance

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