A discount allowed for damage or overcharge in the payment of a bill.


One carrier assumes the charges of another without any increase in charges to the shipper.

ABS (Anti-lock Braking System)

Computer, sensors and solenoid valves which together monitor wheel speed and modulate braking force if wheel lockup is sensed during braking. This system helps the driver retain control of the vehicle during heavy braking on slippery roads.

Accessorial Fees

Typically the compensation expected by a carrier for anything other than the pickup and delivery of the load.


A written receipt in full, in discharge from all claims.

Act of God

An act beyond human control, such as lightning, flood, or earthquake.

Act of Man

The deliberate destruction of cargo, such as vandalism, arson, theft, or war. Also, the deliberate sacrifice of some cargo to protect the remaining cargo aboard a train, a vessel, or in a storage facility.

Actual Receive

Person who receives freight at the final destination, generally the party accepting or using the freight.

Actual Shipper

Person whose goods are being shipped, generally the manufacturer or producer.

Administrative Law Judge

A representative of a government commission or agency vested with power to administer oaths, examine witnesses, take testimony, and conduct hearings of cases submitted to, or initiated by, that agency. The position is also called Hearing Examiner.

Advice of Shipment

A notice sent to a local or foreign buyer advising that shipment has gone forward and containing details of packing, routing, etc. A copy of the invoice is often enclosed and, if desired, a copy of the bill of lading.


A company effectively controlled by another, or associated with others, under a common ownership or control.

Agency Tariff

A tariff published by an agent on behalf of several carriers.


Is the representative of a licensed broker. The agent operates under the authority of the broker and is paid a commission for the freight booked through the agency.

Aggregate Shipment

Numerous shipments from different shippers to one consignee that are consolidated and treated as a single consignment.

Agreed Valuation

The value of a shipment agreed upon in order to secure a specific freight rate.

Agreed Weight

The weight prescribed by agreement between carrier and shipper for goods shipped in certain packages or in a certain number.

Air Ride Suspension

Suspension that supports the load on air-filled rubber bags rather than steel springs. The same engine-driven air compressor and reservoir tanks that provide air to the air brake system supply compressed air.

All In

The total price to move cargo from origin to destination, inclusive of all charges.

Ambient Temperature

The temperature of a surrounding body. The ambient temperature of a container is the atmospheric temperature to which it is exposed.

American Public Transit Association (APTA)

Trade association representing the transit industry in the United States and Canada.

Any Quantity (A.Q.)

Usually refers to a rating that applies to an article regardless of size or quantity.

Apparent Good Order

When freight appears to be free of damage so far as a general survey can determine.


A stated amount over a fixed rate to one point to make a rate to another point.


A term commonly used in connection with a bill of lading. It involves the transfer of rights, title and interest in order to assign goods by endorsing the bill of lading.


Actual Time of Arrival.


An abbreviation for – American Trucking Association.

ATC (Automatic Traction Control)

Usually, an optional feature based on ABS, it prevents spinning of the drive wheels under power on slippery surfaces by braking individual wheels and/or reducing engine throttle. Also called ASR, an acronym sometimes loosely translated from the German as anti-spin regulation.


Actual Time of Departure.

Audit of Freight Bills

The process of verifying transportation charges shown on the carrier’s freight bill – to ascertain the rates are reasonable.


Both the brokerage and the carrier must show documentation that they have obtained permission from the FMCSA to move freight within the United States.

Average Fleet Age

The cumulative year’s active revenue vehicles are in service divided by the sum of all active revenue vehicles.

Average gross revenue per loaded mile

Average total payment received per mile traveled with the load.

Average Weekday

A representative weekday in the operation of the transit system, computed as the mathematical average of several typical weekdays (usually in the Spring and Fall).

AVI (Automatic Vehicle Identification)

A system combining an on-board transponder with roadside receivers to automate identification of vehicles. Uses include electronic toll collection and stolen vehicle detection.

AVL (Automated Vehicle Location)

Class of technologies designed to locate vehicles for fleet management purposes and for stolen vehicle recovery. Infrastructure can be land-based radio towers or satellites.


Structural component to which wheels, brakes and suspension are attached.

Axles (Drive) [powered wheels]

An axle that is driven by the engine or prime mover is called a drive axle. … Each half axle connects to the wheel by use of a constant velocity (CV) joint which allows the wheel assembly to move freely vertically as well as to pivot when making turns.

Axel (Front)

Front axles is usually called the steer axle.

Axles (Pusher)

Pusher axles are not powered and go ahead of drive axles.

Axles (Rear)

Rear axles may be drive, tag or pusher types.

Axles (Tag)

Tag axles are not powered and go behind drive axles.

Axle Weight

The amount of weight transmitted to the highway by one axle.


Distance from a truck’s front bumper to the back of its cab.


An abbreviation for – Bill of Lading.


Every carrier is looking for the load that will get the piece of equipment to his next pick-up or home. A backhaul is a load that a carrier gets after delivery of his original load to get him back to his home or his next load.

Barrel (BBL)

A unit of measure equal to 42 gallons of liquid at 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Balloon freight

Light bulky cargo.

Base Rate

A tariff term referring to a rate less accessorial charges, or simply the base tariff rate.

Basing Point

Example – a rate from Birmingham, AL to a point near New Orleans, LA is computed as – The rate from Birmingham to New Orleans to the nearby point – New Orleans would be the basing point.

Beneficial Owner

A Person who owns or has title to the freight during transportation.


A contract term meaning both parties agree to provide something for the other.

B. O. L. or B/L (Bill-of-Lading)

Documentation received at the pick-up point indicating the carrier has accepted the load, checked it, and is responsible for its condition and delivery. Once the carrier signs the B. O. L. it becomes a legal contract. It is:

1) 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;

2) Shipping documents or shipping instructions sent from a shipper that initiates the movement of a vehicle.

Types of Bills of Lading:

See below

Amended B/L:

B/L requiring updates that do not change financial status; this is slightly different from the standard.

B/L Terms & conditions

The fine print on back of B/L; defines what the carrier can and cannot do, including the carrier’s liabilities and contractual agreements.

B/L’s Status

Represents whether the bill of lading has been input, rated, reconciled, printed, or released to the customer.

Blind Shipment

A B/L wherein the paying customer has contracted with the carrier that shipper or consignee information is not given.

B/L’s Type

Refers to the type of B/L being issued.

Canceled B/L

B/L status; used to cancel a processed B/L; usually per shipper’s request; different from voided B/L.

Clean B/L

A B/L that bears no superimposed clause or notation that declares a defective condition of the goods and/or the packaging.

Combined B/L

A Bill of lading that is used to cover cargo movement over various transports is considered a Combined B/L.

Consolidated B/L

B/L combined or consolidated from two or more B/L’s.

Corrected B/L

B/L requiring any update which results in money, or other financially related changes.

Domestic B/L

Non-negotiable B/L primarily containing routing details; usually used by truckers and freight forwarders.

Duplicate B/L

Another original Bill of Lading set if first set is lost. A duplicate is also known as reissued B/L.

Express B/L

Non-negotiable B/L where there are no hard copies of originals printed.

Freight B/L

A contract of carriage between a shipper and forwarder (who is usually a NVOCC); a non-negotiable document.

Government B/L (GBL)

A document issued by the U.S. government.

Hitchment B/L

B/L covering parts of a shipment which are loaded at more than one location. Hitchment B/L usually consists of two parts, Hitchment and Hitchment memo. The Hitchment portion usually covers the majority of a divided shipment and carries the entire revenue.

House B/L

B/L issued by a freight forwarder or consolidator covering a single shipment containing the names, addresses and specific description of the goods shipped.

Inter-modal B/L

B/L covering cargo moving via multimodal means. An Intermodal B/L is also known as Combined Transport B/L or Multimodal B/L.

Long Form B/L

B/L form with Terms & Conditions written on the back.

Memo B/L

UN-freighted B/L with no charges listed.

Military B/L

B/L issued by the U.S. military; also known as GBL, or Form DD1252.

Negotiable B/L

Consignment/banking term. B/L names are legal and by endorsement the shipper can transfer the title of the goods to the bank representing the buyer or directly to the buyer of the goods

Non-Negotiable B/L

See Straight Consignment. Sometimes means a file copy of a B/L.

Optional Discharge B/L

B/L covering cargo with more than one discharge point option possibility.

Original B/L

The part of the B/L set that has value, especially when negotiable; rest of set is only informational file copies. An Original Bill of lading may be abbreviated as OBL.

Reconciled B/L

B/L set, which has completed a prescribed number of edits between the shipper’s instructions and the actual shipment received. This produces a very accurate B/L.

Short Term B/L

Opposite of Long Form B.L, a B/L without the Terms & Conditions written on the back. Also known as a Short Form B/L.

Split B/L

One of two or more B/L’s which have been split from a single B/L.

Straight (Consignment) B/L

Consignment issue. See Non-Negotiable B/L.

Voided B/L

Related to Consolidated B/L; are those B/L’s absorbed in the combining process. A Voided bill of lading is different from Canceled B/L.

Bill of Sale

Confirms the transfer of ownership of certain goods to another person in return for money paid or loaned.

Bill to Party

Customer designated as party paying for services.

Blanket Rate

1) A rate applicable to or from a group of points; 2) A special rate applicable to several different articles in a single shipment.


Documentation for payment submitted to the broker by the carrier and by the broker to the shipper. The billing typically contains the purchase order number or pick-up number, a description of the freight, weight, the number of pallets or pieces, etc.

Blanket/Pad Wrap

The product being shipped is wrapped in a blanket or pad to prevent damage in transit. Blanket/Pad wrap is used in moving items such as UN-crated furniture, large displays, etc.

Blind Shipment

A Bill of Lading wherein the paying customer has contracted with the carrier that shipper or consignee information is not given.

Blind Spot

Areas around a commercial vehicle that is not visible to the driver either through the windshield, side windows or mirrors.

Blocking or Bracing

In the technical sense treated here, dunnage is inexpensive or waste material used to load and secure cargo during transportation; more loosely, it refers to miscellaneous baggage, brought along during travel. Wood or metal supports (dunnage) to keep shipments in place to prevent cargo shifting.

Board Feet

The basic unit of measurement for lumber. One board foot is equal to a 1-inch thick board, 12 inches wide and one foot long. Thus, a board ten feet long, 12 inches wide, and one inch thick contains ten board feet.


Tractor operating without a trailer. Also refers to straight truck.

Bogie (also spelled bogey)

Assembly of two or more axles, usually a pair in tandem.


Commonly called a Surety Bond is a monetary guarantee maintained by the broker to cover loss or damages of the consigned freight.


Arrangements with a carrier for the acceptance and carriage of freight; i.e., a space reservation.

Booking Number

Reservation number used to secure equipment and act as a control number prior to completion of a Bill of Lading.

Brake Horsepower (bhp)

Engine horsepower rating as determined by brake dynamo-meter testing.

Bridge Formula

A bridge protection formula used by federal and state governments to regulate the amount of weight that can be put on each of a vehicle’s axles, and how far apart the axles (or groups of axles) must be to legally carry a given weight.

Bridge Law

The Federal regulations specifying maximum weight based on the distance in feet between axles.


Truly the hub in the wheel of transportation. The broker helps both the shipper and the carrier achieve their goals. The shipper wants the best rates possible and the carrier wants the most efficient thus profitable freight to stay in the lanes that provide the best loads for his equipment.

Bull Rings

Cargo-securing devices mounted in the floor of containers; allow lashing and securing of cargo.


Unpacked product shipped in quantities such as raw ore, liquids, etc. Typically freight not in packages or containers; shipped loose in a freight car, container, trailer, or the hold of a ship. Grains, coal, and chemicals are some examples bulk freight.

Bulk Freight or Bulk-Freight Container

A container with a discharge hatches in the front wall; allows bulk commodities to be grasped through loading hatches.

Bulk Tank

Usually a tanker used to haul dry or liquid bulk products.

Bulk Transfer

The transfer of bulk products, such as plastic pellets, or liquid sweeteners, from one mode of transportation to another. Bulk transfer permits off-rail shippers and receivers of varied commodities to combine rail’s long-haul efficiencies with truck’s convenient door-to-door delivery.


Same as sleeper