Glossary

Terminology defined by various sources*

Agent

A person who transacts business on behalf of another person or company with full or limited decision- making authority. In shipping, an agent may supervise customs procedures, documentation, or insurance. This person may also receive a portion of any monetary gain from a transaction as payment.

Air Freight

The transportation of goods by aircraft.

American Trucking Associations (ATA)

The largest national trade association for the trucking industry.

Application Programming Interface (API)

Technology used to expose functionality to an external system.

Arrival Notice

A notification provided to the consignee or notify party by the carrier when a shipment has arrived.

Beneficial Cargo Owner (BCO)

An importer that takes control of a shipment at the destination using their own logistics assets instead of utilizing a third-party source.

Bill of Lading (BOL)

The bill of lading (BOL) is the legally-binding contract between the shipper and the carrier, broker or agent that defines all aspects of the freight shipping arrangement including what is being shipped and to whom.

Bonded Goods

Imported shipments on which customs charges are still owing.

Booking Confirmation

A receipt for the main shipment leg (ex. air or ocean).

Brokerage License

A brokerage license is a legally required document that a broker obtains in order to have the ability to make land, sea and air freight shipping arrangements.

Bulk Freight

Freight that is not contained within packages or containers is referred to as bulk freight. Sometimes, bulk freight comes in the form of liquid or a granular form such as sand.

Bunker Adjustment Factor (BAF)

A floating part of ocean freight charges which represents additions due to oil prices.

Cargo

Any goods being transported by a carrier.

Cargo Insurance

Insurance to protect against damages or theft in transit. Usually arranged through forwarders.

Carrier

A party that transports goods for another person or company.

Claim

A demand made on a transportation company for payment for goods allegedly lost or damaged while the shipment was in the transportation provider's possession.

Collect on Delivery (COD)

A shipment for which the transportation provider is responsible for collecting the sale price of the goods shipped before delivery.

Consignee

The individual who is financially responsible for the receipt of a freight shipment. This person is usually the receiver of the shipment as well.

Consignor

An individual (usually the seller) who sends goods to the consignee and is the legal owner until the consignee pays them in full.

Consolidation

A consolidated shipment is when two or more shipments are combined to save money on freight shipping costs. This shipping method is used in less than truckload shipping with multiple stops before reaching the final destination.

Container

A container looks like a truck trailer with no wheels and is now among the most common freight shipping methods in the United States and abroad. Containers are used for intermodal shipping and come in standard sizes to ensure they fit on standard trucks, rail cars and container ships.

Customs

The agency within a government that is responsible for collecting duties and enforcing import and export regulations.

Customs Broker

A person or company who acts on behalf of freight importers and exporters with respect to the country’s customs transactions.

Customs of the Port (COP)

A phrase referring to local rules and practices which may impact a shipment.

Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT)

A supply chain security program led by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection focused on improving the security of private companies’ supply chains with respect to terrorism.

Cut-Off Time

The latest time cargo may be delivered to a terminal for loading.

Dangerous Goods

A product may be considered dangerous if it is one of the following: flammable, explosive, poisonous, toxic, etc. This may require special shipping, packaging and warehousing.

U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)

A U.S. agency within the executive branch which oversees transportation in the United States.

Distribution Center

A facility where cargo is kept until it is ready to be moved. Also known as a warehouse.

Dock

A platform, generally the same height as the trailer floor, where trucks are loaded and unloaded.

Duties

Taxes collected on importing and exporting goods. Also known as tariffs.

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)

The electronic transmission of routine business documents, such as purchase orders, invoices and bills of lading, between computers in a standard format. The data formats, or transaction sets, are usually sent between mainframe computers.

Embargo

A government order restricting the transport of freight to a certain destination.

Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA)

The date by which cargo is estimated to arrive at its destination.

Estimated Time of Departure (ETD)

The date by which cargo is estimated to depart from its origin.

Exceptions

When a problem such as shortage or damage is noted at the time of delivery, an exception is noted on the bill of lading before it is signed to designate there was a problem with the shipment.

Expedited Shipping

Streamlined freight that ships at a faster rate than would normally be customary.

Freight Lane

The route on which a large amount of freight flows back and forth. Frequently just called a “Lane.”

Free on board (FOB)

The seller agrees to deliver merchandise, free of transportation expense, to the place specified by the contract.

FOB destination

Under this arrangement, title and risk remain with the seller until it has delivered the goods to the location specified in the contract.

FOB origin

Title and risk pass to the buyer at the moment the seller delivers the goods to the carrier.

Freight bill

A shipping document used to confirm shipment delivery and indicate payment terms (prepaid or collect) and that describes the shipment.

Freight Broker

A company that arranges for the transportation of freight belonging to others, utilizing for-hire carriers to provide the actual transportation. Brokers do not assume responsibility for the cargo and usually do not take possession of the freight.

Freight forwarder

A freight forwarder combines less-than-truckload (LTL) or less-than-container-load (LCL) shipments into full container or truckload lots. Freight forwarders are designated as common carriers and can issue bills of lading and accept responsibility for goods.

FCL (Full Container-Load)

A full container-load shipment is when a shipper contracts for the transportation of an entire container. The vast majority of intermodal freight is contracted in this manner.

Garment on Hanger (GOH)

Garment on Hanger containers are converted to be able to safely and conveniently carry garments on hangers, the same way you see them hanging at major retail stores.

Green Freight Asia

An industry-led network focused on driving sustainable road freight in the Asia Pacific region to ultimately improve fuel efficiency, reduce CO2e emissions and lower logistics costs across the entire supply chain.

Green Shipping

Shipping technologies and practices that mitigate the effects of freight on the environment, usually related to carbon emissions.

Hazardous Materials (HazMat)

A substance or material may be designated as hazardous if the transportation of the material in a particular amount and form poses an unreasonable risk to health and safety or property.

Inbound Freight

Shipments that come from a vendor to a business or facility, like a warehouse.

INCO Terms

INCO terms are the universal trade terms published by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). They consist of three-letter codes that define these terms and are used globally.

Intermodal Transportation

When freight is shipped using two or more modes of transportation. Intermodal transportation typically refers to truck-rail-truck shipments but may also include truck to air shipping or truck to ship in the event freight is being shipped overseas.

International Air Transport Association (IATA)

A trade association of the world’s airlines that sets technical standards for airlines.

Just in Time (JIT)

A method of inventory control which minimizes warehousing and in which the container acts as a moveable warehouse. Arriving on schedule is crucial.

Kitting

Light assembly of components or parts into defined units. Reduces the need to maintain an inventory of pre-build, completed products.

Lading

The cargo carried in a transportation vehicle.

Less than Container Load (LCL)

Merchandise that takes up less than the entire space of a full container, which typically means grouping various shipments together in one container.

Less than Truckload (LTL)

Merchandise that takes up less than the entire space of a full truck, which typically means grouping various shipments together in a single truckload.

Maritime

Relating to transportation by sea.

Multimodal Transportation

Shipment moves by more than one mode of transportation (ground, air, or ocean).

Non-Vessel Operating Common Carriers (NVOCC)

A type of ocean freight forwarder. NVOCCs book space in large quantities for a reduced rate, then sell space to shippers in lesser amounts. NVOCCs consolidate smaller shipments into a container load that ships under one bill of lading.

North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)

A free trade agreement, implemented in 1994, between Canada, the United States and Mexico.

Ocean Freight

The transportation of goods by sea vessel.

Origin

The place where a shipment first enters EFL’s freight system; the starting point for a shipment.

Outbound Freight

Shipments that leave warehouses or other facilities.

Overage

When the number of units received is greater than the quantity stated on the export documents.

Packing List

A list that shows how the goods were packed for inspection and shipping purposes.

Pallet

The platform which cartons are stacked on and then used for shipment or movement as a group.

Parcel

A small shipment.

Peak

The time period during which customers demand the greatest quantity.

Pick and Pack

Picking and packing immediately into shipment containers.

Pier

A structure to which a ship is secured in order to load or unload freight.

Port

A harbor with piers used to load or unload freight.

Proof of Delivery (POD)

Information supplied by the carrier containing shipment delivery-related information to confirm delivery of goods.

Purchase Order (PO)

The purchaser’s authorization used to formalize a purchase transaction with a supplier.

Quality Control

The management function that ensures that the goods or services meet the product or service specifications.

Request for Information (RFI)

A document which provides information concerning needs and requirements for a manufacturer. This is used to solicit proposals from suppliers.

Sanction

An embargo enforced by a government against another country.

Shipper

The party that tenders goods for transportation.

Shortage

When the number of units received is less than the quantity stated on the shipping documents.

Spot Demand

Demand with a short lead time, usually provided at a premium price.

Statement of Work (SOW)

A description of products to be supplied under a contract.

Tariff

A tariff establishes the cost and contract of a freight shipment for the shipper and the carrier.

Tender

The document which describes a business transaction to be performed.

Terminal

EFL building and grounds where shipments are prepared for local delivery or transportation to other terminals.

Third-Party Logistics (3PL)

Outsourcing all or much of a company’s logistics operations to a specialized company.

Tonnage

The weight (in tons) of a shipment.

Transit Time

The total amount of time from freight being picked up to freight being delivered.

Transshipment

The transfer of cargo from one carrier to another during the freight’s journey.

Trucking

The transportation of goods by truck.

Twenty-Foot Equivalent Unit (TEU)

A shipping container whose internal dimensions measure about 20 feet long, 8 feet wide and 8 feet tall. This container can hold between 9 and 11 pallets. Two TEUs have the capacity of a single forty-foot equivalent unit (FEU), which can hold between 20 and 24 pallets.

Value-Added Service

A logistical service which forwarders provide beyond the most basic shipping services. These additional activities can include services like customs clearance, door delivery, repackaging or Garment on Hanger (GOH).

Vessel

A floating structure designed for transport.

Visibility

The ability to access or view information related to your cargo or shipment as it relates to your supply chain.

Warehousing

The storage of goods in a facility for a specified period. Freight shippers usually store their goods at warehouses until they’re ready to ship.

Waybill

A non-negotiable document prepared by or on behalf of the carrier at origin that specifies origin point, destination, route, consignor, consignee, details of the shipment and amount charged for the service.

Warehouse Management System (WMS)

A software application designed to support and optimize warehouse functionality and distribution center management.

World Trade Organization (WTO)

An organization established in 1995 that forms the cornerstone of the world trading system.