4 Way Logistics Shipping Terms
Bill of Lading – The transportation documentation that acts as a contract of carriage between the shipper and carrier; also provides a receipt for the goods tendered to the carrier.
COFC – Container of flatcar; intermodal container that ships without chassis on rail flatcars.
Consignee – The receiver of a freight shipment.
Consignor – The sender (shipper) of a freight shipment.
CWT – Hundredweight or per 100 lbs.
Demurrage – Charges that are assessed when consignor or consignee fail to load or unload shipments in specified time limits. Also known as detention.
Density – The physical characteristic measuring mass in pounds per foot; affects equipment utilization and rate decisions.
Detention – See Demurrage.
Expedited Shipment – Shipments that need to move more quickly than normal service, usually at a higher cost.
FAK – Freight all kinds; either a mixture of products and/or special rates being applied.
Flatbeds – Some shipments require that the main deck be free of walls or ceiling constraints. To facilitate loading or unloading, these shipments may require a flatbed trailer. A wide variety of flatbed trailers accommodate the trucking of almost any type of surface shipment. Flatbeds are also used for trucking anything that cannot be moved in a van, such as: special equipment; wide, long, oversized or heavy haul loads; or, any other type of trucking that can legally move by highway in North America.
Fuel Surcharge – Surcharge imposed by carriers when fuel prices reach over certain levels.
Heavy Haul and Oversized Shipments – Heavy haul and oversized are also known as over-dimensional shipments and can pose special challenges for shippers. Shipments can be both heavy haul and oversized in nature. Heavy haul shipments may require special routings because only certain highways allow extremely heavy vehicle weights. These shipments also may require special trucks and trailers or special permits issued by various state or local government agencies.
Intermodal – Shipments moving two modes, ie: rail and ground.
Intrastate California – This is the most popular segment of the trucking business on the West Coast.
LTL (Less-Than-Truckload) – This is a shipment that does not fill an entire truckload. Specialized carriers provide service exclusively for this type of shipment. These providers services are priced by weight, density, value and ease of handling in combination with distance. Pricing is calculated based on cents per hundredweight rating. They also consider volumetric pricing, or dimensional weight pricing, if a commodity’s density is the issue. Their services are readily available in the U.S. and Canada. The National Motor Freight Classification standards are commonly used in order to identify the best pricing for a particular commodity on a particular shipping lane. Example: A 10,000 pound shipment of ball bearings takes up less space in a trailer than does 10,000 pounds of ping pong balls! Carriers commonly use a system of pricing that accounts for weight, as well as density, volume and distance.
NMFC – National Motor Freight Classification. This publication contains descriptions for commodities transported by LTL carriers. The NMFC contains class descriptions and rankings used to determine pricing.
Pallet – A small platform, usually 40 x 48 on which goods are placed. Depending on how it’s loaded into the trailer, 22-24 pallet positions fit in a 48′ trailer; 26-28 pallet positions in a 53′ trailer.
Piggyback – Rail-truck service. Same as intermodal.
Rail Shipments – Rail shipments are also known as piggyback or intermodal shipments. Shipping by rail is a cost effective alternative to over the road trucking, but has longer transit time, so if expense is more of a concern than time, rail service becomes a viable option.
SLC – Shippers Load & Count; notation on Bill of Lading.
TOFC – Trailer on Flatcar; truck trailer that ships on rail flatcar.
Team Service – This can be the answer to the time-critical or intrinsically valuable large shipment. This is a service used when a shipment requires expedited delivery beyond what normal transit time can deliver. A two-person team drives in shifts and the truck is stopped only for fuel. Team drivers take turns sleeping, while the fresh driver is at the wheel. Although slightly more expensive due to additional labor costs, team service is used when critical shipments need to be moved quickly. These shipments may be so large or heavy that air freight costs are prohibitively expensive. Team service is the fastest, over-the-road shipping option available.
Truckload – Full truckloads (FTL or sometimes TL) utilizing van or flatbed trailers, depending upon shipment configuration.
Vans – Many shipments are serviced by van trailers, especially loads comprised of loose cartons or unitized or palletized freight. (In order to determine an accurate cost estimate, it is important to know whether or not a palletized shipment can be stacked.) This type of service usually requires 48 or 53-foot trailers. While trailer lengths are standard, styles vary.
Warehousing – Warehousing is sometimes needed, and can be provided, to complement inbound and outbound transportation services. There are 4 distinct types of warehousing available, depending upon load content: for finished goods; for raw materials; for consumer fulfillment; and for vendor-managed inventory (VMI).