get a quote
go to twitter FOLLOW
go to linkedin LINK UP
go to facebook LIKE US



word mapping



Accessorial service - a service rendered by a carrier secondary to a transportation service. Examples are storage, re-consignment, stopping in transit to complete loading or to partially unload, etc.

Ad Valorem Tax - a charge levied on persons or organizations based on the value of transaction. It is normally a given percentage of the price at the retail or manufacturing state and is a common form of sales tax; e.g. Federal excise tax on new trucks and trailers.

Agent - person authorized to transact business for and in the name of another.

ATA - American Trucking Associations, Inc. -- serves the united interests of the trucking industry through a national federation of 50 independent state trucking associations plus the District of Columbia (each representing all classes and types of trucking operation), 12 independent conferences (each representing a special class or type truck operation) and the national headquarters.

Audit of freight bills - the process of verifying if transportation charges shown on the carrier’s freight bill are reasonable.

Automobile transporter - any company certified to transport motor vehicles by hauling them on special vehicles or driving them.

Average gross revenue per loaded mile - average total payment received per mile traveled with a load.

Axle weight - amount of weight transmitted to the highway by one axle.


Backhaul - The process of a transportation vehicle (typically a truck) returning from the original destination point to the point of origin. A backhaul can be with a full or partially loaded trailer. Balloon freight - light, bulky cargo.

Basing point - a point in which rates to another destination are computed through. For example, a rate from Louisville, KY to a point near Jacksonville, FL is computed as follows - The rate form Louisville to Jacksonville to the nearby point. Jacksonville, in this case, is the basing point.

Basing rate - (see proportional rate)

Bill of Lading - A transportation document that is the contract of carriage containing the terms and condition between shipper and carrier.

Billed weight - the weight shown in a freight bill.  

Blue label - atomic material shipment.

Bobtail - truck operating without a trailer.

Bogey - a two-axle assembly

Bottlers’ body - truck or trailer body designed primarily for the transportation of cased bottled beverages.

Box - trailer or semi-trailer. Also, the transmission of a motor vehicle.

Break-bulk Cargo - Cargo of non-uniform sizes, often transported on pallets, sacks, drums, or bags. These cargoes require labor-intensive loading and unloading processes. Examples of break-bulk cargo include coffee beans, logs, or pulp.

Bridge law - federal regulations specifying maximum weight based on the distance in feet between axles.

- A person whose business it is to prepare shipping and customs documents for international shipments. Brokers often have offices at major freight gateways, including border crossings, seaports, and airports.    

Brokerage license - authority granted by Interstate Commerce Commission to persons engaged in the business of arranging for motor vehicle transportation of persons or property in interstate commerce.

Bulk freight - unpackaged freight such as wheat, petroleum products, etc. 


Cab - driver’s compartment of a truck or tractor-trailer.

Cab-beside-engine motor or truck tractor motor - motor truck or truck tractor with the driver’s compartment and controls located beside the engine.

Cab-over-engine motor truck or truck tractor - motor truck or truck tractor with a substantial part of its engine located under the cab.

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

Carload - shipment of freight required to fill a rail car.

Carrier - and individual, partnership, or corporation engaged in the business of transporting goods or persons.

Carrier’s lien - carrier’s claim on property it has transported as security for charges.

Cartage - (local) hauling between locations in the same town or city or contiguous municipalities.

Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity
- authority of certificate granted by the ICC or state regulatory agencies and required of certain for-hire carriers.

Charge backs - those costs assumed by the carrier for independent contractors. It is understood through the lease that these costs will be charged back to the independent contractor at a later date.

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

Circuitous route - an indirect route.

City liner - truck used in the city for pickup and delivery. Also called "cub," "pickup," "whoopee," and "shags."

Claim - (a) a demand made upon a transportation line for payment on account of loss or damage alleged to have occurred while shipment was in possession of carrier; (b) a demand upon a transportation company for refund of an over charge.

Class I Carrier - A classification of regulated carriers based upon annual operating revenues-motor carrier of property greater than or equal to $5 million; railroads - greater than or equal to $50 million - motor carriers of passengers; greater than or equal to $3 million.

Class II Carrier - A classification of regulated carriers based upon annual operating revenues-motor carrier of property $1- $5 million; railroads - $10-$50 million - motor carriers of passengers; less than or equal to $3 million.

Class III Carrier - A classification of regulated carriers based upon annual operating revenues-motor carrier of property less than or equal to $1 million; railroads - greater than or equal to $10 million.

Classification (freight) - a publication containing a list of articles and the classes to which they are assigned for the purpose of applying class rates, together with governing rules and regulations.

Clean bill of lading - a bill of lading signed by the carrier for receipt of merchandise in good condition (no damage, loss, etc., apparent) and which does not bear such notion as "shipper’s load and count."

Clearing house - an organization set up to process and collect bills for participation trucking companies.

Collateral - pledge of security for borrowing money, usually in the form of a material possession.

Collect shipment
- a shipment where the delivering carrier collects freight charges and advances.

Combination vehicle - an equipment configuration which includes a tractor combined with a trailer. Commodity - any article of commerce; goods shipped.

Commodity tariff - a tariff containing only commodity rates.

Common carrier - a company holding itself out to the general public to provide motor vehicle transportation for compensation over regular or irregular routes, or both.

Computer simulation - some truck dealers can program different combinations of specifications into a computer in order to judge fuel economy and performance, Mechanics also hook up vehicles to computers to discover malfunctioning parts.

Consignee - The receiver of a freight shipment, usually the buyer.

Consignor - The sender of a freight shipment, usually the seller.

Container - A "box"' typically ten to forty feet long, which is used primarily for ocean freight shipment. For travel to and from ports, containers are loaded onto truck chassis' or on railroad flatcars.

Contract Carrier - A carrier that does not serve the general public, but provides transportation for hire for one or a limited number of shippers under a specific contract.

Concealed damage - a damage to the contents of a package which is apparently in good condition externally.

Concealed loss - loss or damage that cannot be determined until the package is opened.

Concrete mixer
- truck body designed to mix and agitate concrete.  

Consignment - a shipment  

Containerization - shipping system based upon large cargo-carrying containers that easily can be interchanged between trucks, trains, and ships without re-handling the contents.

Contract carrier - a company engaging in for-hire transportation of property under individual contract or agreement with one or a number of shippers.

Convertible - a truck or trailer that can be used either as a flatbed or open top by means of removing side panels.

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

Cubic foot - a common measure of the capacity of a truck. 1,728 cubic inches.


Deadhead - traveling without a load.

Demurrage - detention of a vehicle beyond the time allowed for loading, unloading, etc.  Also the payment mode for such a delay.

Depreciation - a decrease in value; a reduction of loss in exchange value or purchasing power.

Destination - the place to which a shipment is to be delivered. 

Detention Fee - The carrier charges and fees applied when rail freight cars, ship and carriers are retained beyond a specified loading or unloading time.

Differential rate - the amount added to or subtracted from a through (basing) rate to make a rate. For example, the rate Chicago to Philadelphia is made up of the basis rate (Chicago to New York) less the differential basis (or rate ) to Philadelphia.

Dispatcher - An individual tasked to assign available transportation loads to available carriers.

Dispatching - the scheduling and control of inter-city traffic and intra-city pickup and delivery.

Distance rate - charge made on basis of miles traveled, often used as one component of a freight rate.

Dolly - an auxiliary axle assembly having a fifth wheel used for purpose of converting a semi-trailer to a full trailer.

DOT - Department of Transportation Double bottom - combination consisting of a truck tractor, a semi-trailer, and a full trailer coupled together.

Drayage - Transporting of rail or ocean freight by truck to an intermediate or final destination; typically a charge for pickup/delivery of goods moving short distances (e.g., from marine terminal to warehouse). 

Dromedary - a vehicle which combines features of a truck and truck tractor. It has a van body at the rear of the cab and a fifth wheel to the rear of the body.

Dump body - truck or trailer body of any type which can be tilted to discharge its load by gravity.

Dunnage - the material used to protect or support freight in trucks. The weight of dunnage is shown separately on the bill of lading since it is material used around a cargo to prevent damage.


En route - on the way.

Entry (customs) - a statement of the kinds, quantities, and values of goods imported together with duties due, if any, declared before a customs office or designated officer.

Escrow - money placed with a third person with direction to use it for a specific purpose, usually payment of taxes or insurance.

Exclusive use of truck
- a request made by a shipper on the bill of lading for the complete use of a vehicle.

Exempt carrier - trucks hauling certain commodities which are exempt from ICC economic regulation. By far the largest portions of exempt carriers transport agricultural commodities or seafood.

Exempt commodity - a commodity that may be transported in both interstate and intrastate commerce without operating authority or published rates.


Fifth wheel - a device used to connect a semi-trailer and tractor.

Fixed charges - carrier costs that do not vary with an increase or decrease in traffic. An accounting classification, sometimes called fixed operation costs.

Flatbed - A trailer without sides used for hauling machinery or other bulky items.

Free-astray - a shipment miscarried or unloaded at the wrong terminal is billed and forwarded to the correct terminal free of charge because it is astray. Hence the term "free-astray."

Free on board (FOB) - usually indicates place where responsibility for expenses and risk for goods is passed from seller to buyer. For example, FOB motor carrier would usually mean that a price quoted for goods world include loading on a truck at the seller’s building. This term is not always used precisely and it’s best to quality it to show exactly what is meant.

Free time - the period freight will be held before storage charges are applied.

Freight bill - document for a carrier shipment giving a description of the freight, its weight, amount of charges, the rate of charges, taxes, and whether it is collect or prepaid. If the charges are paid in advance or are to be collected at the origin, it is called a prepaid freight bill. If the charges are to be collected at the destination, it is called a destination or collect freight bill.

Freight All Kinds (FAK) - Goods classified FAK are usually charged higher rates than those marked with a specific classification and is frequently in a container that includes various classes of cargo.

Freight charges
- payment due for freight transportation.

Freight Forwarder
- A person whose business is to act as an agent on behalf of a shipper. A freight forwarder frequently consolidates shipments from several shippers and coordinates booking reservations. 

Full trailer - truck trailer with wheels on both ends (as compared to a semi-trailer in which the front rests on the rear of the power unit.

Furniture van body
- Truck body designed primarily for transportation of furniture or household goods. Furniture van trailers are usually of drop frame construction.

back to top


General freight carrier
- a carrier which handles a wide variety of commodities, typically in LTL quantities and generally involves the use of terminal facilities to break and consolidate shipments.

Goods - merchandise.

Grain body - low side open top truck or trailer body primarily designed to transport dry fluid commodities.

Grandfather rights - the right provided in the Motor Carrier Act for a common or contract carrier to obtain a certification of public convenience and necessity to operate over the route or routes, over which it or its predecessor in interest was in bona fide operation on June 1, 1935, without further proof of public convenience and necessity.

Gray area - except for those carrying certain exempt commodities, for-hire trucking companies must be certificated and regulated by state and federal governments. "Gray area" carriers illegally operate as for-hire carriers through the use of some form of subterfuge or camouflage. Gross combination weight (GCW) how much the entire rig weighs including tractor, trailer and load. Gross ton - 2,240 pounds. More commonly called a long ton.

Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) - The combined total weight of a vehicle and its freight.

Gross weight - (a) the weight of an article together with the weight of its container and the material used in packing; (b) as applied to a truck, the weight of a truck together with the weight of its entire contents.


Hazardous Material - A substance or material which the Department of Transportation has determined to be capable of posing a risk to health, safety, and property when stored or transported in commerce.

Heater service - protection by heat of freight that would be damaged by freezing.

Heavy specialized carrier - a trucking company franchised to transport articles which because of size, shape, weight, or other inherent characteristics require special equipment for loading, unloading, or transporting.

High-cube - a body with above average cubic content. Usually constructed with low floors and thin walls.  

Hopper body - truck or trailer body capable of discharging its load through a bottom opening without tilting.

Horse van body - truck or trailer body designed primarily for the transportation of valuable horses.

Hot load - emergency shipment of cargo needed in a hurry.


In-bond Shipment - 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.

Inbound Logistics - The movement of materials from shippers and vendors into production processes or storage facilities.

Independent contractor - the person who owns and operates a truck, leasing himself and/or his rig for hauling products interstate. Same as owner-operator.

Initial carrier - the transportation line that picks up a shipment from the shipper.

Initial point - the point at which a shipment originates.

Insulated van body - van body designed primarily for transportation of commodities at controlled temperatures. It may be provided with equipment for refrigeration or heating.

Interchange points - a terminal where freight is transferred from one transportation line to another.

Interline Freight - Freight moving from point of origin to destination over the lines of two or more transportation lines.

Intermediate carrier (bridge) - a transportation line hauling a shipment between the originating and delivery carrier.

Intermodal terminal - 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 moved over 1000 miles could travel by truck for one portion of the trip, and then transfer to rail at a designated terminal.

Intermodal transportation - transportation movement involving more than one mode, e.g. rail-motor, motor-air, or rail-water. Interstate - between states.

ICC - Interstate Commerce Commission.

Intrastate - within a state.


Jacket - a cover placed around such containers as cans and bottles.

Joint rate - a rate for hauling a single shipment over two or more independent transportation lines, which cooperate to offer a through service. The shipment travels on one bill of lading.

Joint routes
- routes established by two or more connecting carriers for the continuous through-movement of traffic over their lines.


Knocked down - a term denoting that an article is partially or entirely taken apart (net set up).

Known damage - damage discovered before or at the time of delivery of a shipment.

Known loss - loss discovered before or at the time of delivery of a shipment.


Lading - that which constitutes a load; the freight in a vehicle.

Lawful rate - any rate constructed and published in accordance with the laws, rules and regulations administered by the ICC in interstate traffic, or by state commissions in intrastate traffic.

Layover time - the non-working time that a road driver spends away from his home terminal before being dispatched to some other destination.

Lease purchase - method of purchasing a rig from a regulated carrier, whereby rent (paid to the carrier for the privilege of using the cab) is applied to the principal owed.

Less-Than-Containerload/Less-Than-Truckload (LCL/LTL)
- A container or trailer loaded with cargo from more than one shipper; loads that do not by themselves meet the container load or truckload requirements. Usually less than 10,000 pounds.

Lift gate - a power-operated tail gate capable of lifting a load from street level to the level of the truck or trailer floor.

Line Haul - The movement of freight over the road/rail from origin terminal to destination terminal, usually over long distances. Line haul does not include pickup and delivery service.

Live axle - axle driven by engine.

Livestock body - truck or trailer body designed primarily for the transportation of livestock.

Loaded mile - distance traveled with a loaded trailer.

Local cartage carrier - a company that transports property entirely within the commercial zone of a municipality (or contiguous cities). This may be pickup and delivery service for a line haul carrier.

Local rate - a rate applying between stations located on the same transportation line.

Local tariff - a tariff containing rates applicable only between terminals located on the same transportation line.

Log body - truck or trailer body designed primarily for the transportation of logs or other loads which may be boomed or chained in place.

Log book - a book carried by truck drivers containing daily records of hours, routes, etc. Log books are required by ICC regulations.

Logistics - All activities involved in the management of product movement; delivering the right product from the right origin to the right destination, with the right quality and quantity, at the right schedule and price. The Council of Logistics Management defines logistics management as - "The process of planning, implementing, and controlling the efficient, cost-effective flow and storage of raw materials, in-process inventory, finished goods, and related information from point-of-origin to point-of-consumption for the purpose of conforming to customer requirements."

Long ton - 2,240 pounds.

Low-bed trailer - open truck trailer constructed to provide a low platform height. Designed for the transportation of extremely heavy or bulky freight.

Low-boy - see Low-bed trailer.

Lumpers - Individuals that assist a motor carrier owner operator in the unloading of property; quite commonly used in the food industry.


Manifest - a document describing a shipment or the contents of a vehicle or ship.  

Maximum gross combination weight - the most weight allowed by law for a tractor and loaded trailer combined.

Maximum rate - the highest lawful rate that may be charged.

Memorandum bill of lading - a duplicate copy of a bill of lading.

Mileage tariff - a tariff containing rates applied according to distance.

Minimum Rate - the lowest lawful rate that may be charged.

Minimum truckload weight - the lowest weight at which a shipment is handled at a truck load rate.

Mixed truckload - a truckload consisting of different articles in a single shipment.

Mode - frequently used to refer to the basis divisions of the transportation industry. The principal modes of transportation are truck, rail, air and water.

Motor vehicle - any vehicle, self-propelled or drawn by mechanical power, designed for operation on the highways or natural terrain in the transportation of property or passengers.

Munitions carrier - a company that transports munitions by motor vehicle.

Multi-stop body - fully enclosed truck body with driver’s compartment specifically designed for quick and easy entrance and exit.


NAFC - National Accounting & Finance Council, a self-sustaining group within the American Trucking Associations, Inc., composed of individuals specializing in motor carrier accounting and finance.

Net weight - (a) the weight of an article excluding packing and container; (b) as applied to a truck-load, the weight of the entire contents of the truck.

Non-powered axle - an axle that supports part of the vehicle weight but does not transmit driving force to the wheels. Also called a dead axle.

Non-regulated trucking - a carrier which is exempt from economic regulation, e.g. exempt agricultural shipments and private trucking operations.


Oilfield body - heavily-constructed platform type truck body equipped with a rear end roller or bull-nose adapted for winch loading. Designed primarily for work in oil fields.

Open top
- a truck or trailer without a permanent metal top.

Operating expense - the cost of handling traffic.

Operating ratio - total operating expenses divided by gross freight revenue.

OSHA - Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Outbound Logistics - The process related to the movement and storage of products from the end of the production line to the end user.

Overcharge - to charge more than the amount provided in the proper tariff.

Owner-operator - the person who owns and operates his rig; see independent contractor.


Pallet - a portable platform for holding material for storage or transportation typically made of wood.

Palletized - stacked on pallets.  

Payload - total weight of the commodity being carried on a truck at a given time including packaging, banding, etc.  

Perishable freight - freight subject to decay or deterioration.

Permits - (a) authority granted by the ICC to allow motor carriers to operate in interstate commerce; (b) permission granted to carriers by states to transport freight exceeding legal weight and size limits.

- transportation of a highway trailer on a rail flatcar. There are five basic piggyback plans. Plan I is transportation on a trucking company owned trailer on a rail flatcar, for which the trucking company pays a negotiated rate. In Plan II, the railroad furnishes both trailer and flatcar. In Plan III, a shipper or freight forwarder owns the trailer. Plan IV is like Plan III, but the shipper or forwarder also owns the flatcar. Under Plan V, the company and railroad cooperate to offer the joint rate. A trucking company trailer is used.

Platform body - truck or trailer body with a floor but no sides or roof.  

Point of origin - the terminal at which a shipment is received by a transportation line from the shipper.

Pole trailer - truck trailer which uses a rigid pole as a structural member connecting the axle unit to the truck pulling it. They are used to haul long, rigid loads such as logs, poles, pipe and other cargo capable of resting as a beam between the axle unit and the truck pulling the trailer.

Powered axle
- an axle that supports a portion of the vehicle weight and transmits a driving force to the wheels. Frequently called a drive axle.

Power unit - see tractor.

Prepaid - 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.

Private Carrier - A carrier that provides transportation service to the firm that owns or leases the vehicles and does not charge a fee.

Prohibited articles - articles which will not be handled.

Proof of delivery - carrier establishes proof of delivery from delivery receipt copy of freight bill signed by consignee at time of delivery. This is legal proof of delivery.

Proportional rate - a rate specifically published to be used only as a factor in making a combination through rate. A rate from New York to Chicago published to apply only on traffic destined points beyond Chicago would be a proportional rate.

Pro rate - to divide or distribute proportionally, such as license fee based on proportion of miles traveled in each state.

Publication - making public tariffs, circulars, bill instructions, guide books, territorial directories, classifications, exception sheets. This must be done in the manner required by the Interstate Commerce Act or state law.

Pulp wood body - truck or trailer body designed primarily for the transportation of pulp wood.

Purchase Order (PO) - The purchaser's authorization used to formalize a purchase transaction with a supplier. The physical form or electronic transaction a buyer uses when placing an order for merchandise.

Purchased transportation - payment of local charges to a connecting carrier, with whom we do not have occurrence of a joint route for delivering a shipment to a point, we have rights to service, but which we give to the connecting carrier for our operating convenience.


Rag top - open top trailer using a tarpaulin for a covering.

Rate - the charge for transporting freight. Rate basis - a formula containing the specific factors used in making a rate.

Rated freight bill - a freight bill showing quantities, price per unit, and total price. Rate scale - a table of rates graduated according to distance or zones.

Receiving - The function encompassing the physical receipt of material, the inspection of the shipment for conformance with the purchase order (quantity and damage), the identification and delivery to destination, and the preparation of receiving reports.

Reciprocity - the granting of privileges by a state to vehicles or vehicle owners from another state in return for similar privileges. The privileges may be complete exemption from the payment of all fees and motor vehicle taxes or partial exemption.

Red label - a label required on shipments or articles of an inflammable character.

Reefer Trailer - A refrigerated trailer that is commonly used for perishable goods.

Refrigeration - the protection of perishable freight by ice or mechanical means.

- repayment of excess freight charges.

Regulated carrier - those carriers transporting commodities for which operating authority from the ICC is required.

Regulated commodities - those commodities which are transported under governmental regulation.

Reliability - Refers to the degree of certainty and predictability in travel times on the transportation system. Reliable transportation systems offer some assurance of attaining a given destination within a reasonable range of an expected time. An unreliable transportation system is subject to unexpected delays, increasing costs for system users.

Reparation - compensation for damage.

Restricted articles
- commodities that cannot be handled at all or may be handled under certain specific conditions.

Reverse Logistics
- A specialized segment of logistics focusing on the movement and management of products and resources after the sale and after delivery to the customer. Includes product returns and repair for credit.

Rig - truck, tractor semi-trailer truck and full trailer, or other combinations.

Riggers body - truck body similar to an oilfield body designed primarily for rigging work.

Roll-on/Roll-off (ro/ro) Cargo - Wheeled cargo, such as automobiles, or cargo carried on chassis that can be rolled on or off vehicles without using cargo handling equipment. 

Route - (a) the course or direction that a shipment moves; (b) to designate the course or direction a shipment shall move; (c) the carrier or carriers by which a shipment moves.


Semi-trailer - truck-trailer equipped with one or more axles and constructed so that the front end rests upon a truck-tractor. A substantial part of the weight of both trailer and load rests on the tractor.

Shipper - Party that tenders goods for transportation.

Shipping Manifest - A document that lists the pieces in a shipment.

Shipper's order - the document authorizing release of a shipment (See bill of lading).

Shipping order - instructions to carrier for transportation of a shipment. Usually it is a copy of the bill of lading. Used also as a record by the freight agent at origin.

Shipping papers - papers used in connection with movement of freight.

Shortage - when quantity actually received is less than that shown on the waybill.

Short ton - 2,000 pounds (also, net ton) Skid - a wooden platform on which heavy articles or packaged goods are placed to permit handling equipment.

Sleeper - truck with a sleeping compartment in the cab.

Sleeper cab
- a truck tractor or more truck cab incorporating a bed or bunk.

Sleeper Team - Two drivers who operated a truck equipped with a sleeper berth; while one driver sleeps in the berth to accumulate mandatory off-duty time, the other driver operates the vehicle.

Sliding fifth wheel - a fifth wheel assembly capable of being moved forward or backward on the truck tractor to obtain desired load distribution between tractor and trailer axles.

Sliding tandem - a two-axle assembly capable of being moved forward or backward on the trailer body to obtain desired load distribution.

Specifications - descriptions of particulars or details.

Split pickup or delivery - an accessorial service of picking up or delivering portions of volume shipments at more than one place within origin or destination point boundaries.

Spread tandem - a two-axle assembly in which the axles are separated by distances substantially greater than that in conventional assemblies.

Stake body - truck or trailer platform body with readily removable stakes. The stakes may be joined by chains, slats or panels.

Standard rate - a rate established for direct routes from one point to another. Rates via other routes between the same points are set in relation to the standard rate.

Standard route - the carrier or carriers having a direct route between two points.   

Steering axle - an axle through which directional control of the vehicle is applied. A steering axle may be powered on non-powered. A unit may have more than one steering axle.

- one who loads or unloads ships.

Storage in transit - temporary safekeeping of a shipment at a point between origin and destination.

Stowage freight - freight stored or packed as in a terminal or on board a truck.

Straight truck
- a truck with the body and engine mounted on the same chassis, as contrasted to a combination unit such as a tractor-semi-trailer.

Supply Chain - Starting with unprocessed raw materials and ending with final customer using the finished goods.

Surcharge - a charge above the usual or customary charge.

Surtax - an additional or extra tax.


Tandem - an assembly of two axles, either of which may be powered.

Tandem axle - an assembly of two axles, either of which may be powered.

Tank body - fully enclosed truck or tractor body designed to transport commodities, in bulk.

Tank trailer - fully enclosed truck trailer designed solely for the transportation of commodities in bulk.

Tank truck carrier - any for-hire carrier holding itself out to serve the general public and authorized to carry petroleum, chemical, liquid or dry commodities in bulk by means of specialized tank truck units.

Tare weight - (a) the weight of a container and the material used for packing; (b) as applied to a loaded truck, the weight of the truck exclusive of its contents.

Tariff - a published schedule showing the rates, fares, charges, classification, rules, regulations, etc., applying to transportation and incidental services.

Terminal - a facility including building structures, and equipment for the storage transfer, handling, delivery and reception of vehicles and materials.

Third-party Logistics (3PL) Provider - A specialist in logistics who may provide a variety of transportation, warehousing, and logistics-related services to buyers or sellers. These tasks were previously performed in-house by the customer.

Third structure tax - registration fees and gasoline taxes are called the first two structures of highway user taxation. Any other type of tax is called a third structure tax. Through rate - a rate applicable for transportation all the way from point of origin to destination. A through rate may be either a joint rate or a combination of two or more rates.

Tilt cab - a cab-over-engine truck or truck tractor cab designed to provide ready access to the engine.

TOFC - trailer on (rail) flatcar. See piggyback.

Tolerance - permissible variation. For example, some states allow a tolerance in their maximum truck weight limits.

Toll - a charge made for the use of a facility, such as a bridge or turnpike.

Ton-mile - a unit of measure of transportation. The movement of one ton of freight one mile.

Trace - to check the movement of a shipment.

Tractor - a cab, the engine-powered vehicle used to pull a trailer.

Trailer - that part of the vehicle used to haul goods and hooked up to an engine-powered tractor.

Transit time - The total time that elapses between a shipment's delivery and pickup.

Transloading - Transferring bulk shipments from the vehicle/container of one mode to that of another at a terminal interchange point.

Trip lease - a one-trip-only lease.

Truckload (TL) - (a) quantity of freight that will fill a truck; (b) quantity of freight weighing the maximum legal amount for a particular type of truck; (c) when used in connection with freight rates, the quantity of freight necessary to qualify a shipment for a truckload rate.

Truck mile earnings - determined by dividing the gross freight revenue by total miles traveled.

Truck tractor
- a motor vehicle designed primarily for drawing truck trailers and semi-trailers. Constructed to carry part of the weight and load of a semi-trailer.

Turn around - truck run in which the driver returns to the origin point immediately after his vehicle is unloaded and re-loaded.

Twin trailer - a short semi-trailer (under 29') designed to be operated as part of a combination vehicle with a tandem trailer of similar length.

back to top


Unclaimed freight - freight which has not been called for by the consignee or owner, or freight that cannot be delivered.

Undercharge - to charge less than the proper amount.


Valuation, actual - actual value of goods required to be shown on bill of lading by shipper, when rate to be applied is dependent on that fact.

Via - by way of.

Volume rate - a low rate offered to shippers who agree to ship a large quantity of freight.


Warehouse receipt - a receipt for goods placed in a warehouse (may be issued as a negotiable or nonnegotiable document).

Way bill - description of goods sent with a common carrier freight shipment.

Weight-distance tax - a tax basing the fee per mile on the registered gross weight of the vehicle. Total tax liability is calculated by multiplying this rate times miles traveled.

Weight sheets - list furnished by shippers to weighing bureaus itemizing articles in each consignment.

Wet goods - liquids.

Wrecker body - truck body designed primarily for transportation of disabled vehicles and equipped with a means for hoisting and towing such vehicle.


Yard jockey
- person who operates a yard tractor or yard mule.

Yard mule - small tractor used to move semi-trailers around the terminal yard.

back to top

Relevant Acronyms

ATA - American Trucking Association
BOL – Bill of Lading
FHWA - Federal Highway Administration
FMCSA - Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
NAFTA - North American Free Trade Agreement

POD - Proof of Delivery

SCAC - Standard Carrier Alpha Code

UFC - Uniform Freight Classification

With our technological resources and knowledge of the industry, we are confident that we can take the confusion and anxiety out of moving your freight today, tomorrow and in to the future.