Freight Glossary Terms

Referring to cargo being put, or laden, onto a means of conveyance.

Accessorial charges are for services that are in addition to typical transportation services such as: inside delivery, a residential delivery, liftgate delivery, and other similar services.

Aircraft charter is the business of renting (a charter) an entire aircraft, partial aircraft space for the purpose of transporting oversize, urgent or time-sensitive cargo. Sometimes referred to ad hoc air transportation. Air charter companies offer a large variety of aircraft for different cargo air transportation needs.

U.S. Customs Automated Broker Interface, by which brokers file importers entries electronically.

The commercial trade processing system being developed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to facilitate legitimate trade and strengthen border security. (Implemented in multiple release phases with full completion schedule for 2015).

Automated Commercial Environment (ACE)

The Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) system designed to facilitate legitimate trade while enhancing border security.  ACE will improve collection, sharing, and processing of information submitted to CBP and government agencies.

The Automated Commercial System is used by U.S. Customs and Border Protection

(CBP) to track, control, and process all goods imported into the United States.   A key component of ACS is the Automated Broker Interface (ABI) allows qualified participants to electronically file required import data with Customs.

AES capabilities allow the electronic filing of export information and ocean manifest information directly to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

An air freight forwarder provides pickup and delivery service under its own tariff, consolidates shipments into larger units, prepares shipping documentation and tenders shipments to the airlines. Air freight forwarders do not generally operate their own aircraft and may therefore be called indirect air carriers. Because the air freight forwarder tenders the shipment, the airlines consider the forwarder to be the shipper.

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. See also waybill.

Group of airlines or ocean carriers who coordinate and cross list schedules, and sell capacity on each others flights / voyages.

Automated Manifest System (AMS) is designed by U.S. Customs to facilitate cargo arrival information and release information between the Steam Ship Lines, Airlines and Rail Carriers for shipments destined to or transiting the United States. AMS information works in conjunction with the ABI system to help customs to identify low risk shipments thus allowing for faster, electronic customs clearance.

AMS information must be transmitted to US customs before the cargo leaves the origin country. Failure to file AMS information will result in monetary penalty. Air AMS information is transmitted directly by the airlines. Sea AMS can be transmitted by carriers or NVOCCs with the appropriate bonds. PWS is a direct filer with AMS and can ensure timely error free transmission of AMS entries. This is another consideration when choosing the best provider for your importing needs.

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)

A agency with a mission to protect and promote U.S. agricultural health, regulate genetically engineered organisms, administer the Animal Welfare Act, and carry out wildlife damage management activities.

Appointments are used when the freight must be delivered at a specific time and or within a specific time-frame that is smaller than standard business hours. Standard business hours are considered 8am-5pm and or 9am-4pm. Exceptions may be available by contacting your dispatch agent.

An arrival notice is the notice that the consignee receives when their freight has arrived at its destination. See also Delivery Receipt

Carriers are not liable for documents, coin money, or articles of extraordinary value unless the items are specifically rated in published classifications or tariffs. Exceptions may be made by special agreement. If an agreement is made, the stipulated value of the articles must be endorsed on the bill of lading. Articles may include precious stones, jewels and currency. Many tariffs include restrictions on goods with values in excess of a specified amount.

Astray freight is freight that is separate from the waybill, but has markings that indicate freight origin and destination.

The Automated Targeting System is a United States Department of Homeland Security computerized system that, for every person who crosses U.S. borders, scrutinizes a large volume of data related to that person, and then automatically assigns a rating for which the expectation is that it helps gauge whether this person may be placed within a risk group of terrorists or other criminals. Similarly ATS analyzes data related to container cargo.

An attempt to deliver by which the delivery location is unable to accept the load causing us to bring the freight back to our terminal for re-consignment.

Each freight shipping transport has a weight limit. The axle load refers to the weight limit permitted for each axle over the nations highways.

Transportation term that describes the activity of picking up, transporting, and delivering a new load on a return trip from delivering another load (known as the fronthaul). The return movement of a vehicle from its original destination to its original point of origin, especially when carrying goods back over all or part of the same route. To haul a shipment back over part of a route it has traveled.

The cargo-carrying vehicle that inland water carriers primarily use. Basic barges have open tops, but there are covered barges for both dry and liquid cargoes.

A system that assesses the risk and examination requirements for high volume borders.

Air freight carried in the belly of passenger aircraft.

This is a rail term that refers to the actual owner of the lading (cargo) being shipped.

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

The terms and conditions of most bills of lading release transportation providers from liability for loss or damage arising from:

• The act or default of the shipper.

In addition, except in the case of negligence, a transportation provider will not be liable for loss, damage, or delay caused by:

• The property being stopped and held in transit at the request of the shipper, owner or party entitled to make such request;

• Lack of capacity of a highway, bridge or ferry;

• A defect or vice in the property; or

Also known as bracing, refers to wood or other supports used to keep shipments in place on trailers or in containers.

This is a rail term that refers to a frame with wheels on which a container is mounted for over-the-road transport.

An import or export cargo shipment that has not cleared customs. Customs duties on the shipment are secured by indemnity bonds.

A transportation provider U.S. Customs allows to carry customs-controlled merchandise between customs points.

A bonded warehouse is a warehouse that is approved by the Treasury Department. These warehouses are used for storing goods under bond until duties are paid.

A section of a highway or rail network that experiences operational problems such as congestion. Bottlenecks may result from factors such as reduced roadway width or steep freeway grades that can slow trucks.

An enclosed railcar, typically 40 or more feet long, used for packaged freight and some bulk commodities.

Border Release Advanced Screening and Selectivity (BRASS)

Formerly known as line release; the process of releasing goods (typically rail shipments) across the border. CBP preapproves products and a bar code label is used to effect release.

Break bulk cargo and general cargo are goods that must be loaded individually, not in intermodal type containers or in bulk form such as with oil, grain, coal.

Ships that carry this sort of cargo are often called general cargo ships. The term break bulk derives from the phrase breaking bulk or the extraction of a portion of the cargo of a ship or the beginning of the unloading process from the ships holds. These cargo goods may not be in shipping containers.

Break bulk cargo is transported in bags, boxes, crates, drums, or barrels. Unit loads of items are typically secured to a pallet or skid.

Consolidation and distribution center. A terminal in a freight system that unloads and consolidates shipments received from its smaller terminals and from other breakbulks. This terminal may have its own city operation.

A break bulk point is the terminal or location that break bulk takes place.

A broker is an independent contractor paid to arrange motor-carrier transportation. A broker may work on the carriers or shippers behalf.

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.

Cargo that is stowed loose on transportation vehicles, in a tank or hold without specific packaging, and handled by pump, scoop, conveyor, or shovel.

• Examples: grain, coal, petroleum, chemicals.

A water transportation term regarding the shipments between ports of a nation; also refers to coast-wise or inter-coastal navigation or trade. Most nations, includi

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.

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

Cargo Agents Reservation Air Waybill Issuance and Tracking (CARAT)

A barge equipped with tracks on which up to about 12 railroad cars are moved in harbors or inland waterways.

Provides liability insurance for transportation carrier who carry the cargo of others and is used in the event that the cargo is destroyed, damaged, stolen, or otherwise declared a loss while in the process of being shipped.

A document (manifest) that lists all cargo carried on a specific vessel voyage.

CargoNet provides a multi-layered solution to the cargo theft problem. CargoNet helps prevent cargo theft and increases recovery rates by facilitating secure information sharing among theft victims, their business partners, and law enforcement.- CargoNet, the cargo theft prevention and recovery network along with their 24/7 Command Center become an extension of your cargo security program.

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

A dedicated load/unload facility for cargo aircraft.

A rate applicable to a carload of goods.

Most ocean freight is billed on the basis of weight or measurement tons (W/M). Weight tons can be expressed in short tons of 2000 pounds, long tons of 2240 pounds or metric tons of 1000 kilos (2204.62 pounds). Measurement tons are usually expressed as cargo measurement of 40 cubic feet (1.12 meters) or cubic meters (35.3 cubic feet.)

Quantity of freight (in tons) required to fill a railcar; amount normally required to qualify for a carload rate.

An industry term regarding loss or damage of goods. Carmack is governed by 49 U.S.C 14706, which states that a motor carrier must:

Issue the bill of lading and pay the actual loss or injury to the property. Carriers limit their liability for release-value products, and can limit their damages to $25 a pound or $100,000 a shipment.

A Customs document permitting the holder to temporarily carry or send merchandise into certain foreign countries (for display, demonstration or similar purposes) without paying duties or posting bonds. Any of various Customs documents required for crossing some international borders.

A customs document allowing special categories of goods to cross international borders without payment of duties.

A firm that provides transportation services, typically owning and operating transportation equipment.

• Examples include: trucking company, railroad, airline, steamship line, parcel/express company

Used to advise customs of the shipments details. By means of this document, the carrier certifies that the firm or individual named in the certificate is the owner or consignee of the cargo.

A certificate required by U.S. Customs to release cargo properly to the correct party.

A common carrier is liable for all shipment loss, damage, and delay with the exception of that caused by act of God, act of a public enemy, act of a public authority, act of the shipper, and the goods inherent nature.

A trucking term that refers to shipping freight within the same city or area.

A carrier who performs pickup or delivery in areas another freight company does not serve.

• Cartage agents use their own paperwork while transporting the shipment.

A certificate of insurance is a document issued by an insurance company/broker that is used to verify the existence of insurance coverage under specific conditions granted to listed individuals.

A certified document showing the origin of goods; used in international commerce.

A document containing an affidavit to prove the origin of imported goods. Used for customs and foreign exchange purposes.

Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA)

A Canadian federal agency that is responsible for border enforcement, immigration enforcement and customs services.

C.O.D. is a request to the carrier from the shipper. This request is for the carrier to pick up a check upon delivery that is payment for the goods being delivered. A C.O.D. request will be stated on the bill of lading and will state accepted forms of payment (company check or cashiers check).

Cargo: A Cargo Claim is a demand made on a transportation company for payment for goods allegedly lost or damaged while the shipment was in the transportation providers possession. Pursuant to the National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) Uniform Bill of Lading, all cargo claims must be filed within nine months.

The organization of the dispatching function into one central location. This structure often involves the use of data collection devices for communication between the centralized dispatching function, which usually reports to the production control department and the shop manufacturing departments.

A chargeback is basically a financial penalty placed against a supplier by a customer when a shipment to the customer does not meet the agreed upon terms and conditions. Examples of where suppliers may be charged back would include late shipments, lack of proper packaging and labeling (compliance labels), incorrect shipping terms (shipping collect instead of prepaid or not using the correct carrier or account).

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

Charges made against a carrier for loss, damage, delay, or overcharge.

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.

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.

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 is used to assign rates to shipments. They are based on density, size, and value of the freight. The NMFC board has created a guide that is universally accepted by all major LTL freight carriers. Correct classification is crucial to receiving accurate freight quotes.

A railroad terminal area where railcars are grouped together to form train units.

The official authorization for something to proceed or take place.

Also known as short-sea or coastwise shipping, describes marine shipping operations between ports along a single coast or involving a short sea crossing.

Containers resting on railway flatcars without a chassis underneath.

Freight payable to the carrier at the port of discharge or ultimate destination. The consignee does not pay the freight charge if the cargo does not arrive at the destination.

All documents (commercial invoices, bills of lading, etc.) submitted to a buyer for the purpose of receiving payment for a shipment.

Collect terms state that the consignee is responsible for the freight charges.

An aircraft specially designed to carry unitized cargo loads on the upper deck of the craft, forward of the passenger area.

An Item that is traded in commerce. The term usually implies an undifferentiated product competing primarily on price and availability.

A for-hire carrier providing transportation services to the general public. Obligations: to serve, to deliver, to charge reasonable rates, to avoid discrimination. Previously regulated in the United States; most are now deregulated.

When the recipient of a package is not able to see damage to the item(s) until the package is opened. The damage was not visible at the time of delivery.

Container freight station to container freight station (CFS/CFS)

Container freight station to container freight station. Shipping term meaning that goods will be packed into container(s) at the port of origin and unpacked at the port of destination at the carriers risk and expense. Also called pier to pier.

A shipping dock where cargo is loaded (stuffed) into or unloaded (stripped) from containers. Generally, this involves less than container load shipments, although small shipments destined to same consignee are often consolidated. Container reloading from/to rail or motor carrier equipment is a typical activity.

To hand over, deliver formally, officially, to commit.

The consignee is the entity who is financially responsible (the buyer) for the receipt of a shipment. Generally, but not always, the consignee is the same as the receiver.

A party (usually a buyer) named by the consignor (usually a seller) in transportation documents as the party to whose order a consignment will be delivered at the port of destination.

The consignee is considered to be the owner of the consignment for the purpose of filing the customs declaration, and for paying duties and taxes. Formal ownership of the consignment, however, transfers to the consignee only upon payment of the sellers invoice in full.

The consignor is the person or business that originates the shipment. Also, known as the shipper.

When two or more shipments are combined to save money on freight shipping costs.

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.

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.

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

Cargo Agents Reservation Air Waybill Issuance and Tracking (CARAT)

A barge equipped with tracks on which up to about 12 railroad cars are moved in harbors or inland waterways.

Provides liability insurance for transportation carrier who carry the cargo of others and is used in the event that the cargo is destroyed, damaged, stolen, or otherwise declared a loss while in the process of being shipped.

A document (manifest) that lists all cargo carried on a specific vessel voyage.

CargoNet provides a multi-layered solution to the cargo theft problem. CargoNet helps prevent cargo theft and increases recovery rates by facilitating secure information sharing among theft victims, their business partners, and law enforcement.- CargoNet, the cargo theft prevention and recovery network along with their 24/7 Command Center become an extension of your cargo security program.

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

A dedicated load/unload facility for cargo aircraft.

A rate applicable to a carload of goods.

Most ocean freight is billed on the basis of weight or measurement tons (W/M). Weight tons can be expressed in short tons of 2000 pounds, long tons of 2240 pounds or metric tons of 1000 kilos (2204.62 pounds). Measurement tons are usually expressed as cargo measurement of 40 cubic feet (1.12 meters) or cubic meters (35.3 cubic feet.)

Quantity of freight (in tons) required to fill a railcar; amount normally required to qualify for a carload rate.

An industry term regarding loss or damage of goods. Carmack is governed by 49 U.S.C 14706, which states that a motor carrier must:

Issue the bill of lading and pay the actual loss or injury to the property. Carriers limit their liability for release-value products, and can limit their damages to $25 a pound or $100,000 a shipment.

A Customs document permitting the holder to temporarily carry or send merchandise into certain foreign countries (for display, demonstration or similar purposes) without paying duties or posting bonds. Any of various Customs documents required for crossing some international borders.

A customs document allowing special categories of goods to cross international borders without payment of duties.

A firm that provides transportation services, typically owning and operating transportation equipment.

• Examples include: trucking company, railroad, airline, steamship line, parcel/express company

Used to advise customs of the shipments details. By means of this document, the carrier certifies that the firm or individual named in the certificate is the owner or consignee of the cargo.

A certificate required by U.S. Customs to release cargo properly to the correct party.

A common carrier is liable for all shipment loss, damage, and delay with the exception of that caused by act of God, act of a public enemy, act of a public authority, act of the shipper, and the goods inherent nature.

A trucking term that refers to shipping freight within the same city or area.

A carrier who performs pickup or delivery in areas another freight company does not serve.

• Cartage agents use their own paperwork while transporting the shipment.

A certificate of insurance is a document issued by an insurance company/broker that is used to verify the existence of insurance coverage under specific conditions granted to listed individuals.

A certified document showing the origin of goods; used in international commerce.

A document containing an affidavit to prove the origin of imported goods. Used for customs and foreign exchange purposes.

Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA)

A Canadian federal agency that is responsible for border enforcement, immigration enforcement and customs services.

C.O.D. is a request to the carrier from the shipper. This request is for the carrier to pick up a check upon delivery that is payment for the goods being delivered. A C.O.D. request will be stated on the bill of lading and will state accepted forms of payment (company check or cashiers check).

Cargo: A Cargo Claim is a demand made on a transportation company for payment for goods allegedly lost or damaged while the shipment was in the transportation providers possession. Pursuant to the National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) Uniform Bill of Lading, all cargo claims must be filed within nine months.

The organization of the dispatching function into one central location. This structure often involves the use of data collection devices for communication between the centralized dispatching function, which usually reports to the production control department and the shop manufacturing departments.

A chargeback is basically a financial penalty placed against a supplier by a customer when a shipment to the customer does not meet the agreed upon terms and conditions. Examples of where suppliers may be charged back would include late shipments, lack of proper packaging and labeling (compliance labels), incorrect shipping terms (shipping collect instead of prepaid or not using the correct carrier or account).

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

Container freight station to container freight station (CFS/CFS)

Container freight station to container freight station. Shipping term meaning that goods will be packed into container(s) at the port of origin and unpacked at the port of destination at the carriers risk and expense. Also called pier to pier.

A shipping dock where cargo is loaded (stuffed) into or unloaded (stripped) from containers. Generally, this involves less than container load shipments, although small shipments destined to same consignee are often consolidated. Container reloading from/to rail or motor carrier equipment is a typical activity.

To hand over, deliver formally, officially, to commit.

The consignee is the entity who is financially responsible (the buyer) for the receipt of a shipment. Generally, but not always, the consignee is the same as the receiver.

A party (usually a buyer) named by the consignor (usually a seller) in transportation documents as the party to whose order a consignment will be delivered at the port of destination.

The consignee is considered to be the owner of the consignment for the purpose of filing the customs declaration, and for paying duties and taxes. Formal ownership of the consignment, however, transfers to the consignee only upon payment of the sellers invoice in full.

The consignor is the person or business that originates the shipment. Also, known as the shipper.

When two or more shipments are combined to save money on freight shipping costs.

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.

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.

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.

A single, rigid, sealed, reusable metal box in which merchandise is shipped by vessel, truck, or rail. Container types include standard, high cube, hardtop, open top, flat, platform, ventilated, insulated, refrigerated, or bulk. Usually 8 ft. x 8 ft. in width and height, 20 to 55 ft. long.

Specialized containers also exist for air transportation modes, but are much smaller and cannot be directly transferred to truck or rail.

Containers, Chassis, and Vans (Trailers)

Standard trucking companies use vans (or trailers) to move standard dry goods. These trailers consist of a storage box that is permanently attached to a set of wheels (the set of wheels is often known as a truck). Intermodal ocean containers are moved on the road by attaching them to a separate piece of equipment, a chassis, which is essentially a set of wheels on a lightweight frame.

A shipment method in which commodities are placed in containers, and after initial loading, the commodities per se are not re-handled in shipment until they are unloaded at destination.

Cargo that is transported in containers that can be transferred easily from one transportation mode to another.

To package (cargo) in large standardized containers for efficient shipping and handling.

A corrected bill of lading (CBL) is a documented that the shipper would issue to amend the original bill of lading (BOL).

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

Customs Self Assessment (CSA) program is designed for low-risk, pre-approved importers, carriers and registered drivers. To take advantage of the program, CSA-approved importers and carriers must use a registered driver to carry CSA-eligible goods into Canada in the highway mode.

The CSA program simplifies many of the import border requirements so that low-risk shipments can be processed more quickly and efficiently at the border, saving businesses time and money.

It also allows the CBSA to better focus its r