Come across some confusing terminology? Check out our full glossary of Freight terms below.

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Air Waybill
An air waybill is a shipping document airlines use. Similar to a bill of lading, the air waybill is a contract between the shipper and airline that states the terms and conditions of transportation. The air waybill also contains shipping instructions, product descriptions, and transportation charges.

Bill of Lading (BOL or B/L)
A bill of lading is a binding contract that serves three main purposes:

  1. a receipt for the goods delivered to the transportation provider for shipment;
  2. a definition or description of the goods; and
  3. evidence of title to the relative goods, if “negotiable”.

Bonded Carrier
A transportation provider by Customs to carry Customs-controlled merchandise between Customs points.

Break bulk
To separate parts of a load into individual shipments for routing to different destinations.

A broker is an independent contractor paid to arrange motor carrier transportation. A broker may work on the carrier or shipper’s behalf.

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

Any article of commerce. Goods shipped.

The person or place where a shipment will be transferred for the last time (destination); the individual or organization to whom the goods are addressed.

Delivery Receipt
Document a consignee or its agent dates and signs at delivery, stating the condition of the goods at delivery.

Also known as connecting road haulage.

  1. The hauling of a load by a cart with detachable sides (dray).
  2. Road transportation between the nearest railway terminal and the stuffing place.

Any product being transported.

Freight Broker
Any person who sells transportation without actually providing it. The term usually refers to an agent for truckload shipments, matching small shippers with carriers. Freight brokers often do not accept any responsibility for their shipments.

Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW)
The combined weight of the vehicle (tractor and trailers) and its goods.

Hazardous Material
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.

Hazardous material may include: an explosive, radioactive material, etiologic agent, flammable or combustible liquid or solid, poison, oxidizing or corrosive material, and compressed gas.

In Bond
Shipments move under bond from point of entry to an interior destination for clearance or to another border location for clearance.

Intermodal (also called Multimodal)
Shipment moves by more than one mode of transportation (ground, air, rail or ocean).

Minimum Charge
The lowest charge for which a shipment will be handled after discount and/or adjustment.

Multimodal Transportation (also called Intermodal)
Shipment moves by more than one mode of transportation (ground, air, rail or ocean).

Site where the shipment first enters the Freight system.

Payment Terms
Generally, the shipper is responsible for payment for prepaid shipments, and the consignee is responsible for payment for collect shipments unless a third party is indicated as payer on the shipping papers.

Pickup and Delivery (P&D)
Local movement of goods between the shipper (or pickup point) and the origin terminal or between the destination terminal and the consignee (or delivery point).

Shipping charges the transportation provider receives for transporting goods.

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

Shipper’s Agent
A Shipper’s Agent is not a carrier, freight forwarder, or broker. Shipper’s agents generally arrange for truckload or container load shipment transportation. Shipper’s agents commonly provide services related to warehousing or loading and unloading.

Shipping Documents
Papers accompanying a shipment as it moves through the Freight system, including bills of lading, packing slips, Customs paperwork, manifests and shipment bills.

The number of units received is less than the quantity shown on shipping documents. The outstanding units may be delivered later.

A Tariff is a document setting forth applicable rules, rates and charges to move goods. A tariff sets forth a contract for the shipper, the consignee and the carrier.

A party other than the shipper or consignee that is ultimately responsible for paying the shipment charges.

Truck Tonnage
The weight (in tons) of a shipment transported by truck.

UN Number
An internationally accepted 4-digit number used to identify hazardous material.

A “Waybill” is a non-negotiable document prepared by or on behalf of the carrier at origin. The document shows origin point, destination, route, consignor, consignee, shipment description and amount charged for the transportation service.