Confused? Use this glossary to learn logistics lingo.

Common Logistics Terms

Third Party Logistics. The transportation, warehousing, and other logistics services provided by companies employed to assume tasks that were previously performed in-house by the client.
49 CFR
Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) contains the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) for shipping materials of a hazardous nature.
Bill of Lading
A document that establishes the terms of a contract between a shipper and a transportation company. It serves as a document of title, a contract of carriage, and a receipt for goods. 
Break Bulk
To separate a composite load into individual shipments and route to different destinations.
Break Bulk Terminal
A terminal, used by large common carriers, designed to act as an intermediate sorting point for interregional freight. Freight from various end-of-line terminals is sent to a regional break bulk terminal to be combined into full trailers that the carrier then routes to a subsequent end-of-line terminals.
Freight that is loaded onto a container or trailer.
Cartage Company
Company that provides local (within a town, city or municipality) pick-up and delivery.
Common Carrier
A freight transportation company which serves the general public. May be regular route service (over designated highways on a regular basis) or irregular route (between various points on an unscheduled basis).
Connecting Carrier
A carrier which interchanges trailers with another for completion of shipments.
The individual/company who is receiving the shipment.
The individual/company who is shipping the shipment.
Container Load
A load that is sufficient in size, either by weight or volume.
Contract Carrier
Company that transports freight under contract with one or a limited number of shippers.
The place to which a shipment is consigned; the place where the carrier actually turns over the cargo to the consignee.
The scheduling and control of truck pickup and delivery. A critical link in the dispatching process is communication with drivers, which may be accomplished by phone, pager, radio, satellite communication, and cellular phone.
Domestic Intercity Trucking
Trucking operations which carry freight in their local areas and commercial zones.
Transportation of freight from consignor to consignee.
Drayage Firms
Motor carriers that provide local pickup and delivery of trailers and containers (on chassis).
End-Of-Line Terminal
A terminal used for pick-up and delivery of freight. Freight collected is sorted and routed to other end-of-line terminals or break bulk terminals for eventual delivery. Freight received from other terminals is sorted and allocated to drivers for delivery.
For-Hire Carrier
A company that provides truck transportation of cargo belonging to others and is paid for doing so. There are two types of for-hire carriers: common carriers and contract carriers. A separate registrations to obtain both licenses. For-hire carrier may be both a common and a contract carrier, but must file to obtain both licenses.
Refers to the cargo that is being transported.
Freight Bill
A document issued by the carrier based on the bill of lading and other information; used to account for a shipment operationally, statistically, and financially; an Invoice.
Freight Broker
Refers to a non-asset-based company which sells and manages freight transportation services on behalf of their clients. Freight brokers play an important role in the trucking industry managing very large volumes of truckload and less-than-truckload shipments. They typically arrange and manage, on behalf of their clients, the entire transportation process of a freight shipment. Their service includes finding a qualified carrier (with the proper insurance and operating authorities) who can move the freight in a timely manner, negotiating a good rate and then managing the entire process from pickup through to delivery. Related terms include Freight Agent, Freight Management, Load Broker, and Transportation Broker.
Freight Carrier
Refers to those companies that haul freight, also called "for-hire" carriers. Methods of transportation that freight carriers use include trucking, railroads, airlines, and seaborne shipping.
General Freight Carrier
A carrier which handles a wide variety of commodities in standard trailers. Such carriers can provide truckload or less-than-truckload (LTL) service.
Gross Weight
The entire weight of shipment, including packaging and any additional materials associated with the shipment.
Interline Freight
Freight that moves from point of origin to destination over the lines of two or more transportation companies.
Inter-modal Transportation
Transportation movement involving more than one mode, e.g. rail-motor, motor-air, or rail-water.
LTL Carrier
Trucking companies that consolidate less-than-truckload cargo for multiple destinations on one vehicle. Specialize in shipments under 10,000 pounds.
Motor Carrier
Refers to an individual, partnership, or corporation that is engaged in the transportation of goods. Enterprise that offers service via motor carriage (truck).
Pickup and Delivery.
A platform with or without sides, on which a number of packages or pieces may be loaded to facilitate handling.
The transportation of highway trailers or removable trailer bodies on rail cars specifically equipped for the service. It is essentially a joint carrier movement in which the motor carrier forms a pickup and delivery operation to a rail terminal, as well as a delivery operation at the terminating rail head.
Private Carrier
A company which maintains its own trucks to transport its own freight.
A refrigerated trailer.
Refrigerated Carrier
Refers to a trucking company that specializes in moving temperature-sensitive freight. Utilize vans that have controlled temperature reefer units on their trailers to keep specialized products at a constant temperature. Food items and pharmaceuticals are common products that are shipped by refrigerated carriers.
The person or company who is usually the supplier or owner of commodities shipped. Also called the consignee.
Shipper's Agent
Company which coordinates all aspects of an intermodal move, hiring drayage at both ends, and providing shippers with a single invoice.
A publication setting forth the charges, rates and rules of transportation companies.
Two drivers who alternate driving and resting.
A building for the handling and temporary storage of freight pending transfer between locations.
Time-Definite Service
Delivery is guaranteed on a specific day or at a certain time of the day.
Tracking and Tracing
Monitoring and recording shipment movements from origin to destination.
Transit Time
The total time that elapsed between a shipment's pickup and delivery.