Glossary of Shipping Terms

Freight Shipping

Freight shipping is the process of transporting goods, commodities, or cargo over land, sea, or air. Some of the most common types of freight shipping include full truckload (FTL), less than truckload (LTL), and intermodal.


Short for,Less Than Truckload. The general freight carriers in the US offer two types of service, Full Truckload (FTL) service or Less-Than-Truckload (LTL). While the FTL carrier moves full containers or trucks of one product from one customer, the LTL carrier moves goods from many different customers on one truck.


TL is short for Truck Load and dedicates trailers to a single shipper's cargo, as opposed to an LTL (Less Than Truckload) carrier which transports the consolidated cargo of several shippers and makes multiple deliveries, TL is one shipment from point A to point B only.

LTL Freight

Less than truckload freight is relatively small freight that does not take up the entire cargo space of a truck.

LTL Shipping

Less than truckload shipping is the transportation of smaller freight loads by land. Common alternatives to LTL shipping include parcel carriers and full truckload carriers.

FTL Freight

Full truckload freight is larger freight that takes of the entire truck by itself.

FTL Shipping

Full truckload shipping is the transportation of a large shipment of goods by land. FTL shipments stay on the same truck the entire time, making the transportation process faster and safer for products.

Dry Van

A dry van or enclosed box trailer is any truck trailer that is enclosed to protect the cargo from the elements. This type of trailer is the most popular choice for freight transportation because it is designed to carry pallets, boxes of cargo, and equipment. Mostly used in the transport of non-perishable goods, interior width is usually 96-100'' inches wide inside, 100-110'' inches tall and can range from 28' to 52'7 feet long inside. Notice no motor on the fronts of these trailers.

Flat Deck

A flat deck is a type of truck that has a bodywork consisting of a flat, level deck with no roof or sides. This type of truck is ideal for transporting goods that do not have to be shielded from the elements. Flat or open decks do not have walls or a roof and can accept freight from the sides and top. Flat decks come in a variety of combinations and lengths.

Freight Shipping Canada to USA

Freight shipping services in which cargo is transported from Canada to the USA.

Cargo Shipping

Cargo shipping is the transportation of all articles, goods, materials, merchandise, or wares via aircraft, ship, train, or truck.

Freight Company

Freight companies specialize in the transportation of freight or cargo from one location to the next.

International Shipping Company

International shipping companies are responsible for the handling of shipments and cargo being transported from one country to another.

Freight Shipping Rates

Freight shipping rates are the prices by which it costs to deliver cargo from one destination to another. In most cases, shipping services use dimensional weight (accounts for both weight and volume of the cargo) to determine the freight shipping rate.

Vehicle Transportation

Vehicle transportation services are used to transport a vehicle by land, sea, or air, from one location to another.

Scrap Metal Trucking

Scrap metal trucking is the process in which scrap metal (crushed cars, ferrous & non-ferrous metal bales, structural steel, and pipes) is transported to a proper recycling facility.

Freight Tracking

Freight tracking provides customers with a PRO number, which can be used to organize and track the process of each shipment.

Cross-Border Shipping

Cross-border shipping services are used for the transportation of goods that need to cross over the border between two countries, such as Canada and the USA.

Step Deck Trailers

Step deck trailers, much like flat decks, consist of a bodywork that has no roof or sides; however, step decks have two deck levels. This type of trailer, also known as a drop deck trailer or lowboy trailer, features a lower deck that is ideal for transporting taller or oversized loads. This trailer steps down after the tractor to get shipments lower to ground and not exceed height restrictions.

Time Sensitive Shipping

Time sensitive shipping is used when a shipment needs to arrive at its destination faster than a standard shipping service would be able to get it there. This type of shipping can be more expensive than other shipping options.


Also known as a " SKID" They are used to transport most products, makes products easy to handle with a pallet jack or forklift and made of wood. Standard dimensions are 40''x48''x6'' or 48''x48''x6''. 26-30 pallets can fit in a 53' foot dry van. (In a pricing environment, 1 pallet accounts for 2 feet of trailer space).


Used to load and unload trailers, average lifting capacity is about 4500 lbs. Runs on propane or electricity. They typically do not drive inside 5 tons or straight trucks.

Pallet Jack

Used to manually move pallets, typically used on smaller trucks to move freight to the back of the trailer.

Tractor Truck

Truck designed primarily to pull a semitrailer by means of a fifth wheel mounted over the rear axle(s). Sometimes called a truck tractor or highway tractor to differentiate from it from a farm tractor.

Commercial Invoice

What the importer needs to provide customs if their shipment is crossing the border. This is usually provided by the importer or shipper. Commercial invoices provide the cost of goods and country of origin so that customs can apply the proper duties and or taxes. Commercial invoices are supplied to the customs broker for clearance in most cases by the carrier.

Bill of Lading

Also known as "BOL" A bill of lading is a LEGAL document between the shipper of goods and the carrier detailing the type, quantity and destination of the goods being carried. The bill of lading also serves as a receipt of shipment when the goods are delivered at the predetermined destination. Most shipments move on a BOL and should be carefully reviewed if in your possession.

Customs Broker

Provides customs clearance on behalf of an importer so that they do not have to deal directly with customs, be present, or pay duties or taxes to customs at the time when the shipment actually crosses the border.

Tailgate or Liftgate

Used to take shipments from the trailer to ground level. This is usually an extra charge for most carriers. Lift capacity is usually 1500 lbs.

Single Axle Tractor

Used for mostly in town work to make sharper turns, this one is hauling a 53 foot dry van.

5 Ton / Straight Truck

These are used primarily in the city as they are smaller, box sizes vary from 20-28 feet in length, usually also carry a power tailgate or liftgate. Usually can handle about 10,000lbs of freight payload and 10 to 14 pallets.

Air Ride Suspension

The suspension system supports the weight of the load giving it a smoother ride, (air filled rubber bags) better than the old system which used steel springs. The compressed air is supplied by the air compressor and reservoir tanks which provide air for the air brake system as well.


A dock or hub where freight originates, terminates, or is handled in the transportation process; or a location where motor carriers maintain operating facilities.

Fuel Surcharge

(FSC) Additional fee for travel used to cover increase in fuel cost for the type of transportation used. Collected on a per shipment basis and usually updated monthly. (FSC) Additional fee for travel used to cover increase in fuel cost for the type of transportation used. Collected on a per shipment basis and usually updated monthly.

Residential Delivery or Pick Up

When a shipment is to be picked up or delivered at a non commercial location like a house or apartment. This type of delivery or pick up usually requires special equipment like a smaller truck, extra man and power tailgate. This service usually comes at an extra charge.

Shrink Wrap

Used to hold the contents of a pallet together for shipping. Similar to clear food wrap.

Beyond Point

A location that is not regularly serviced by a transport company. Usually remote areas are called beyond points.

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