Trucking Terms

Back Haul – A return load.

Balloon FreightCargo which takes up a lot of space, but is very light.

BobtailThe tractor operating without a trailer attached.

Bona fide agentsare persons who are part of the normal organization of a motor carrier and perform duties under the carrier’s directions pursuant to a preexisting agreement that provides for a continuing relationship, precluding the exercise of discretion on the part of the agent in allocating traffic between the carrier and others.

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

BrokerA company that arranges for the truck transportation of cargo belonging to others, utilizing for-hire carriers to provide the actual truck transportation. However, the Broker does not assume responsibility for the cargo and usually does not take possession of the cargo.

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 – Freight that is not in packages or containers; normally hauled in tankers, grain trailers, and sometimes in regular van trailers.

Carriage and Insurance Paid To (CIP) – Seller is responsible for the payment of freight to carry goods to a named overseas destination. The seller is also responsible for providing cargo insurance at minimum coverage against the buyer’s risk of loss or damage to the goods during transport. The risk of loss or damage is transferred from the seller to the buyer once the goods are delivered into the carrier’s custody. This term may be used for any mode of transport.

CDL (Commercial Drivers License) – The drivers license which authorizes  individuals to operate commercial motor vehicles and buses over 26,000 pounds gross vehicle weight.

Cargo Van – A cargo van can be referred to a box-shaped trailer or semi trailer used to carry goods.

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

Check Call – Calling by telephone, or using the Qualcomm system to check in with your company/dispatcher, usually once a day, early in the morning. This informs them of your progress, and any other important information a company may require.

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.

Container – A shipping container is a standard sized metal box used to transport freight. It is used in Intermodal Transportation, which utilizes different modes of transportation ship, rail, and highway.

ConsigneeThe receiver, who accepts your delivery.

Consignment – A shipment

Consignor – The person or firm by whom articles are shipped.

Cross Dock – The term cross docking refers to moving product from a manufacturing plant and delivers it directly to the customer with little or no material handling in between. Cross docking not only reduces material handling, but also reduces the need to store the products in the warehouse. .

DAC Services – A pre-employment screening service many trucking companies use to help them select drivers.

Deadhead– traveling without a load.

Dispatching – The scheduling and control of intercity traffic and intracity pickup and delivery.

DOT – Department of Transportation

Drayage – In the shipping industry and logistics, drayage is the transport of goods over a short distance, often as part of a longer overall move and is typically completed in a single work shift. In Intermodal freight transport, drayage is the transport of containerized cargo by specialized trucking companies between ocean ports or rail ramps and shipping docks. The final recipient of the container, however, is not necessarily the final customer for the goods contained within. For example, distribution centers and container freight stations specialize in unpackaging and resorting the contents of the container for delivery in a larger semi-trailer to a final customer such as a retail store

Drop Pay – Extra pay for a delivery, usually an extra stop.

Dry Freight – Freight that’s not refrigerated.

Dry Van – This refers to a basic, full 53-foot trailer service that cannot include any hazardous materials.

Empty Call – The call you make to your dispatcher to inform him that you’re unloaded/empty, and need a new load assignment

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

Flat bed – A semi-trailer with no sides

Freight – The cargo you’re hauling. The same as product, commodity, load, etc.

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.

Freight Forwarder – A company that arranges for the truck transportation of cargo belonging to others, utilizing for-hire carriers to provide the actual truck transportation. The Forwarder does assume responsibility for the cargo from origin to destination and usually does take possession of the cargo at some point during the transportation.

Full Trailer – A trailer supported by axles on the front and on the rear of the trailer.

Gooseneck Trailer – A trailer that attaches to the hauling vehicle, generally a sizeable pickup truck, via an adjustable metal stanchion permanently affixed to the bed and underlying framework of the truck.

GVW (Gross Vehicle Weight) – The total weight of a vehicle; the vehicle’s weight, and the contents of the trailer and tractor.

Hazmat – Hazardous materials. Any transportation of hazardous materials is regulated by the United States Department of Transportation. To haul hazardous materials, a driver needs a hazmat endorsement on his CDL, plus special training.

Intermodal freight transportation – Transportation movement involving more than one mode, e.g. rail-motor, motor-air, or rail-water. Involves the transportation of freight in an intermodal container or vehicle, using multiple modes of transportation (rail, ship, and truck), without any handling of the freight itself when changing modes. The method reduces cargo handling, and so improves security, reduces damage and loss, and allows freight to be transported faster.

Lading – That which constitutes a load; the freight in a vehicle.

Loaded Call – The call you make to your dispatcher from the shipper once your trailer is loaded, and the bills are signed.

Log book – A form which describes the working duties of truck drivers for each 24-hour period.

LogisticsProcess of systematizing information to facilitate the efficient and cost-effective flows of goods and services to produce customer satisfaction.

Line Haul – Moving freight from one point to another.

LTL (Less-Than-Truckload) – A quantity of freight less than that required for the application of a truckload rate, usually less than 10,000 pounds. These smaller loads are consolidated by an LTL carrier into one vehicle headed for multiple destinations

MAP-21 – MAP-21, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (P.L. 112-141), was signed into law by President Obama on July 6, 2012. Funding surface transportation programs at over $105 billion for fiscal years (FY) 2013 and 2014, MAP-21 is the first long-term highway authorization enacted since 2005. On July 6, 2012, President Obama signed MAP-21 into law. This law is effective today– one year from the date of enactment. Under this new law, motor carriers are now required by law to hold a property broker license in addition to their motor carrier authority if they arrange for regulated for-hire interstate transportation.

Motor Carrier – A company that provides truck transportation. There are two types of motor carriers, private carriers and for-hire carriers.

MVR Report – A driver’s motor vehicle record, which shows all violations, accidents, etc.

Owner-operator – The person who owns and operates his rig; independent contractor.

Overage – Extra freight which shouldn’t have been shipped.

Pallets – The wooden base onto which a product is loaded. It has slats on the sides which enable a forklift to move products easily.

Pay Load – The weight of the cargo being hauled.

Peddle Run – A load which has multiple, and often frequent deliveries.

Pull Trailer – A short, full trailer (supported by axles on the front and rear of the trailer), with an extended tongue.

Pup Trailer – A short semi-trailer, usually between 26 and 32 feet long, and having only a single axle at the rear.

Reefer – A refrigerated trailer, where the temperature is controlled by a refrigeration unit (the reefer unit). A “reefer” can either refer to the reefer unit or the entire reefer trailer.

Regulated carrier – Those carriers transporting commodities for which operating authority from the ICC is required.

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

Semi-trailer – A trailer supported at the rear by its own axles and wheels, and at the front by fifth wheel from a tractor or dolly.

Shipper – Consignor, exporter, or seller (who may or may not be the same) named in the bill of lading as the party responsible for initiating a shipment.

Step Deck Trailer – An open trailer with a standard flatbed section at the front and a dropped section in the rear, used to transport taller cargo

TL (Truckload)– A quantity of freight sufficient to fill a trailer, usually greater than 10,000 pounds.

TL Carrier – A trucking company which usually dedicates trailers to a single shippers cargo, as opposed to an LTL carrier, which often transports the combined cargo of several different shippers.

TOFC -Trailer On Flatcar.

Tractor – A truck designed primarily to pull a semi-trailer by the use of the fifth wheel which is mounted over its drive axle/s. May be called a truck/highway tractor to differentiate it from a farm tractor

Truck– A tractor which carries cargo in a body (van, tank, etc.) which is mounted to its chassis, possibly in addition to a trailer which is towed by the tractor. This is common in truck-trailer combination vehicles which haul

Truck-Trailer – A truck-trailer combination consists of a truck which holds cargo in its body which is connected to its chassis, and which tows a trailer.

UCR – Unified Carrier Registration -As of September 2011, SAFETEA-LU is currently under extension awaiting a new act of Congress. In the meantime, UCR remains in full force and effect and compliance is mandatory