Cab-Over (Cab-Over-Engine, COE)

Truck or tractor design in which the cab sits over the engine on the chassis.

Cab Signal

1) A signal located in the engine control compartment indicating a
condition affecting the movement of a train, and used in conjunction with interlocking signals and with or in lieu of block signals

2) A signal system where the signal aspect or indication is displayed in the engineer’s cab, in addition to or in lieu of wayside signals.


An abbreviation for – Currency Adjustment Factor. A charge, expressed as a percentage of a base rate, which is applied to compensate transportation companies for currency fluctuations.

Camel Back Body

Truck body with the floor curving downward at the rear.

Capital Costs

One-time costs for construction of facilities and infrastructure, or
for the purchase of rolling stock.

Cargo Weight

Combined weight of all loads, gear and supplies on a vehicle.


1) Shipment of freight required to fill a railcar.

2) A shipment of not fewer than five (5) tons of one commodity.

Car Seal

Metal strip and lead fastener used for locking freight car or truck doors. Seals are numbered for record purposes.

Cargo NOS

Cargo Not Otherwise Specified. Usually the first rate entry in a tariff
that can apply to commodities not covered under a specific item or sub-item in the applicable tariff.

Carload Rate

A rate applicable to a carload of goods.


An independent contractor or trucking firm in the business of carrying
freight. Any person or entity who, in a contract of carriage, undertakes to perform or to procure the performance of carriage by rail, road, sea, air, inland waterway or by a combination of such modes.

Some carriers are authorized for passengers only, unfortunately, for our purposes – they will appear in the carrier databases on most load boards. If the load board subscribes to the “Safer System” it will be listed in the authorization section of the carrier description. A carrier is also any mode of transportation utilized by brokers to transport freight.

Carrier’s Lien

Carrier’s claim on the property it has transported as security for

Cartage Company

Is a company that provides local (within a town, city or municipality) pick-up and delivery. Hauling between locations in the same city or contiguous municipalities.

Cash Against Documents (CAD)

Method of payment for goods in which documents transferring title are given the buyer upon payment of cash to an intermediary acting for the seller, usually a commission house.

Cash in Advance (CIA)

A method of payment for goods in which the buyer pays the seller in advance of the shipment of goods. The CIA is usually employed when the goods, such as specialized machinery, are built to order.

Cash with Order (CWO)

A method of payment for goods in which cash is paid at the time of order and the transaction becomes binding on both buyer and seller.


An abbreviation for – Cubic Meter, also abbreviated CM.


Distance from back of a truck’s cab to the end of its frame.

Certificate Holder

A third party with an interest in the insured’s ability to provide adequate coverage for the product being carried. The brokerage will ask for inclusion on the policy while the carrier is under load.

CG (Center of Gravity)

Weight center or balance point of an object, such as a truck body. Calculated to help determine optimum placement of truck bodies on chassis.

Charge backs

Costs assumed by the carrier for independent contractors in a contractual event. It is understood through the lease that these costs will be charged back to the independent contractor at a later date.

Chassis Weight (Curb Weight, Tare Weight)

Weight of the empty truck, without occupants or load.


An undercarriage with wheels and locking devices in order to secure containers or flat racks for movement.

Check Calls

Dispatcher (agent) requires the carrier’s driver to status his location and estimated delivery time.


A piece of wood or other material placed at the side of cargo to prevent
rolling or moving sideways.

City Liner

A truck used for city pick-up and delivery – also called a “cub”,
“whoopee” or “shag”.


An abbreviation for – Cars Knocked Down. Automobile parts and
sub-assemblies manufactured abroad and transported to a U.S. assembly plant.


An abbreviation for – Carload or Container load.


The process of recovery from a carrier and/or his insurance underwriter for excessive charges, loss, or damage to the load, delay in delivery, etc. – or – A demand made upon a transportation line for payment on account of a loss sustained through its alleged negligence.

Class I Motor Carrier

A carrier with annual gross revenues of $10,000,000 or more from trucking operations as defined by the ICC.

Class II Motor Carrier

A carrier with a C2 rating must have annual gross revenues of $3,000,000 to $9,999,999 from trucking operations as defined by the

Class III Motor Carrier

A C3 carrier is used to designate a carrier with annual
gross revenues of less than $3,000,000 from trucking operations – as defined by the ICC.

Clayton Act

An anti-trust act of the U.S. Congress making price discrimination unlawful.

Clean Bill of Lading

A receipt for goods issued by a carrier with an indication that the goods were received in apparent good order and condition, without damage or other irregularities.

Cleaning in Transit

The term used for when products such as peanuts, etc., are stopped for cleaning at a point between the point of origin and destination.


A strip of wood or metal used to afford additional strength, to prevent warping, or to hold in place.

CM or cm

An abbreviation for – 1) Cubic Meter (capital letters)

2) Centimeter (lower case letters).


An abbreviation for – 1) Collect On Delivery

2) Cash On Delivery

3) Carried on Docket [pricing].

Collect Shipment

Delivering carrier collects freight charges and advances.

Combination Rate

A rate made up of two or more factors, separately published.


A trucking service similar to Western Union, to allow for the transfer
of funds.


Article shipped. For dangerous and hazardous cargo, the correct
commodity identification is critical.

Commodity Code

A numerical code (typically 2, 3, 4, 5, or 7 digits) used to identify a specific type of article or articles.

Commodity Rate

A rate published to apply to a specific article or articles.

Common Carrier

A transportation company operating under a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity; provides service to the general public at published rates.

Concealed Damage

Is defined as damage that is not evident from viewing the unopened package.


A form received by the broker/agent from the shipper confirming
purchase order number, rate, pick-up/destination points, phone numbers. The broker then forwards his confirmation to the carrier. Confirmations must be completed in a timely manner to ensure a smooth and stress-free transaction.


The party designated on the bill of lading as the entity entitled to
receive delivery of the goods from the carrier. A person or company to whom commodities are shipped. The consignee is officially, the legal owner of the cargo, or – the receiver of the shipment.


1) A stock of merchandise advanced to a dealer and located at his
place of business, but with title remaining in the source of supply

2) A shipment of goods to a consignee.


The party designated on the bill of lading as the entity which has
caused the goods to be consigned into transportation. The consignor is the person or company that is shipping/sending the goods.


A person or business that brings together small amounts of freight to make a larger shipment in order to obtain the best rates.


A large, weatherproof box designed for shipping freight in bulk by rail,
truck or steamship. Typically, a truck trailer body that can be detached from the chassis for loading into a vessel, a rail car or stacked in a container depot. Containers may be ventilated, refrigerated, insulated, flat rack, vehicle rack, open top, bulk liquid or equipped with interior devices. A container may be 20′, 40′, 45′, 48′, or 53′ in length, 8’0″ or 8’6″ in width, and 8’6″ or 9’6″ in height.

Containerizable Cargo

Cargo that will fit into a container and result in an economical shipment.

Container Chassis

Single-purpose semi-trailer designed to carry a shipping container.

Container Load

A load sufficient in size to fill a container either by cubic measurement or by weight.

Container Terminal

An area designated for the stowage of cargoes in container; it is usually accessible by one or more modes of transport – truck, railroad, aircraft, and marine. Here containers are picked up, dropped off, maintained and housed.

Contingent Cargo Insurance

Insurance provided by the broker to the shipper on the freight to be shipped, usually in the amount of $250,000 in coverage.


Cargo that is prohibited.


Legally binding agreement between two or more persons/organizations to carry out reciprocal obligations or value.

Contract Carrier

A carrier who, under special and individual contracts or agreements, transports passengers or property for compensation.

Controlled Atmosphere

C.A. is a sophisticated, computer-controlled system that manages the mixtures of gases within a container throughout an intermodal journey – thus – reducing decay.

Converter Dolly (Dolly)

Auxiliary axle assembly equipped with a fifth wheel (coupling device), towed by a semi-trailer and supporting the front of, and towing, another semi-trailer.

Corner Posts

Vertical frame components fitted at the corners of the container,
integral to the corner fittings and connecting the roof and floor structures. Containers are lifted and secured in a stack using the castings at the ends.

Covered Wagon

A flatbed trailer enclosed in canvas with removable sides – designed to eliminate the need for tarp. Some dry van loads can be carried on a covered wagon.


An abbreviation for Cubic – a unit of volume measurement.

Cube Out

When a container has reached its volumetric capacity before its permitted weight limit.

Cubic Foot

Equal to 1,728 cubic inches.


Government agency charged with enforcing the rules passed to protect the country’s import revenues.

Customs Broker

An individual or company licensed by the government to enter and clear goods through Customs. The U.S. Customs Service defines a Customs Broker, as any person who is licensed in accordance with Part III of Title 19 of the Code of Federal Regulations (Customs regulations) to transact Customs business on behalf of others.

Customs business is limited to those activities involving transactions with Customs concerning the entry and admissibility of merchandise; its classification and valuation; the payment of duties, taxes, or other charges assessed or collected by Customs upon merchandise by reason of its importation, or the refund, rebate, or drawback thereof.

Customs Clearance

The procedures involved in getting cargo released by Customs through designated formalities such as presenting import license/permit, payment of import duties and other required documentations by the nature of the cargo such as FCC or FDA approval.

Customs Invoice

A form requiring all data in a commercial invoice along with a certificate of value and / or a certificate of origin. Required in a few countries (usually former British territories) and usually serves as a seller’s commercial invoice.

Cut-Off Time

The latest time a container may be delivered to a terminal for loading to a scheduled train or ship.


An abbreviation for Hundred Weight – 100 US pounds.

Cycle time

The length of time consumed by a freight car from one loading to the next.


Load board located in some major truck stops (pricey for posting).

Deadhead Hours

The hours that a vehicle travels when out of revenue service.

Deadhead Miles

The distance a carrier must run his equipment with no profit. A good rule of thumb for a pick-up would be 100 miles. 0-50 miles is optimum 51-100 and you’ll hear complaints – agreement to over 100 miles to pick-up indicates, a good paying load, a hungry driver –or- your freight is perfect for his next pick-up.

Deadweight Cargo

A long ton of cargo that can be stowed in less than 70 cubic feet.

Deficit Weight

The weight by which a shipment is less than the minimum weight.


Arrival at actual destination, either rail or shipper’s facility.


A penalty charge against shippers or consignees for delaying the carrier’s equipment beyond the allowed free time provision of the tariff.


The weight of freight per cubic foot or other unit.


1) The place to which a shipment is consigned.

2) The place where carrier actually turns over cargo to consignee or his agent.

Detention Charges

A penalty a carrier may place on a consignor –or- consignee if his truck is held beyond a reasonable period of time to load or unload.


An amount added or deducted from base rate to make a rate to or from some other point or via another route.

Dimensional Weight

Also called measurement weight. This is the size of consignment calculated by total square feet by 6000. Carrier charge for freightDirect Ship: based on the dimensional weight or actual gross weight whichever is higher.

Direct Ship

Ship without consolidation and under one MAWB i.e. non-consolidation.


The word means to send off – most trucking companies have a dispatch operation to control the movement of their equipment. The agent is also a dispatcher in the sense he is dispatching the carriers equipment. Most incoming inquiries for freight will ask for “dispatch”.


The process by which movement of trains over a railroad is prioritized and authorized. The dispatching function can be carried out either at a single central control facility or at several remote locations, or towers, along the railroad.

Distribution Center

The centrally located warehouse where goods shipped long distances by rail is loaded onto trucks for short-haul delivery to receivers, or vice versa. Also called a reload center, it combines the economies of rail with the flexibility of truck pickup and delivery.


A movement of lading from the customer’s front door (dock) to the receiver’s front door (dock).


A movement of lading from the customer’s front door (dock) to the destination intermodal ramp closest to the receiver.


A common abbreviation for the Department of Transportation

Double Stack

Palletized freight stacked one a top the other. (ALSO) The movement of containers on articulated rail cars which enable the one container to be stacked on another container for better ride quality and car utilization.


Trucking services intended for rail intermodal shipments such as cross-towns, trailer terminations, pickups and deliveries.

Drayage Charges

Charges made for local hauling by dray or truck.


The driver of the truck, or owner of the trucking company performing the trucking / drayage services.

Driver Assist

When the drayman is required to load, unload, or assist in the loading, or unloading of vehicles.

Driver inside Delivery

The driver physically moves the product inside to the consignee – again, expect an additional charge from the carrier.

Driver Load/Unload

Driver physically loads and unloads freight; expect the carrier to ask for lumper pay.

Driver No Touch

Magic words to the trucker, it means the consignor and consignee handle the freight.

Driver Standby

When the driver is required to wait with his vehicle at the actual origin or actual destination.

Driver Tailgate

The driver must move the freight to the rear opening of the trailer to be unloaded. Expect a request for compensation.

Drop and Hook/Pull

When a driver leaves a vehicle at a shipper’s facility to load or unload with the intention of picking up the loaded or empty vehicle at a later scheduled time.

Drop Deck Trailer

Flatbed trailer with the center section dropped close to the ground to allow for the accommodation of taller loads or the handling of shipments of equipment. Because of the construction of the trailer it tends to be heavier, the lengths of the decks may restrict certain kinds of freight.

Drop/Spot Trailers

The carrier will leave a trailer at the shipper to be loaded for pick-up later.

Dry Cargo

Cargo that does not require temperature control.

Dry-Bulk Container

A container constructed to carry grain, powder and other free-flowing solids in bulk. Used in conjunction with a tilt chassis or platform.

Dump Bottom/End

Trailer that discharges the product, usually bulk freight, by a dump system in the belly of the trailer –or- a trailer that, by elevating the front, dumps its load through the tailgate.


Various sizes of timbers, such as 4x4s, used in/on the trailer to make the freight easier to unload.