Transportation Glossary

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Accessorial Charges

Extra charges applied for services performed above what is considered standard.

Accessorial Services

Service performed in addition to the normal transportation service (e.g., COD service, inside delivery).


See Automated Commercial Environment.


See Advance Commercial Information.

Advance Commercial Information (ACI)

A project of the Canada Border Services Agency that requires all commercial cargo entering Canada to be electronically registered with the Agency prior to arrival at the border. The project's aim is to improve Canada border security and efficiency.


AESDirect is a free filing tool (at that processes Electronic Export Information (EEI) to the Automated Export System (AES). Export shipments that previously required a paper Shipper’s Export Declaration (SED) must now be filed electronically to the AES.


When one party is authorized to transact certain business for the other.

Air Brakes

Heavy trucks use air brakes exclusively to stop the rig. When the brakes are applied, air enters the brake chamber. The air forces a push rod out, turning a slack adjuster that rotates an “S” cam. This in turn forces the brake shoes against the drum, which applies the friction required to slow or stop the truck.


A shipping document used by carriers and indirect carriers for airfreight. It contains shipping instructions, a description of the commodity and applicable transportation charges. Airbills are not negotiable.

Airfreight Forwarding

All the activities required to organize the time-definite delivery of goods entrusted to an airfreight forwarder. The freight forwarder has the appropriate knowledge and contracts with all major airlines (commercial and cargo) and expedited ground providers. Representing the owner of the goods and protecting the owner’s interests, the airfreight forwarder recommends the best possible way to deliver the goods and tracks them up until the time of arrival. See non-asset-based provider.

Airport Mail Facility (AMF)

A U.S. Postal Service facility located at an airport.

All-Cargo Air Service

The carriage of only cargo in an aircraft, rather than the combination of passengers and cargo.


See Airport Mail Facility.


Also known as kitting, assembly is the process of packaging bulk components into finished goods at a warehouse or an outsource facility. The product’s components are picked and inserted into end-use packaging.

Asset-Based Provider

A carrier that actually has the assets (e.g., trucks, terminals, warehouses, etc.) to provide physical pickup, line-haul and delivery service. See also non-asset-based provider and airfreight forwarding.

Astray Freight

When part or all of a shipment moves on a route different from the standard route shown in the computer.

ATA Carnet

A customs document enabling one to carry or send goods temporarily into certain foreign countries without paying duties or posting bonds.

Authorized Party

The entity that can legally provide instructions that override those contained in the BOL; usually the shipper, occasionally the third party or the consignee.

Automated Broker Interface

A component of the U.S. Customs Service's Automated Commercial System (ACE) that permits qualified participants to electronically file Customs entries with U.S. Customs.

Automated Commercial Environment (ACE)

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that gives CBP and other participating government agencies the ability to access data throughout the international supply chain to anticipate, identify, track and intercept high-risk shipments at borders and ports. With ACE, carriers are able to file electronic manifests in advance of freight arrival at the customs check point for faster entry into the commerce of the U.S.

Automatic Store Replenishment

Technology and processes that automate the management of store shelves (keeping them stocked in the right amount) and retail store orders. It includes demand forecasting, inventory count, ordering algorithms and order execution and receiving. Sometimes called pull deployment.



The opposite of head haul. Traditionally referred to as the return trip of a transportation vehicle (usually a truck). Now, it generally refers to the least revenue-generating leg of a shipment haul. A backhaul can be with a full or partially loaded trailer.

Batch Picking

An order picking method where orders are grouped into small batches. An order picker will pick all orders within the batch in one pass.

Belly Pit (Hold)

The compartment located beneath the cabin of an aircraft and used for holding cargo.

Bill No Freight (BNF)

Entire shipment short.

Bill of Lading (B/L or BOL)

A legal document signed by the shipper and carrier tendering the responsibility of the freight to the carrier. The BOL states pertinent information for the shipment such as the complete address of the shipper and consignee, number of pieces, description, weight and any hazardous material information.


See Bill No Freight.


Driving a tractor without a trailer attached.


See Dolly.


See Bill of Lading.


An arrangement with a shipping company for the acceptance and carriage of freight.

Break a Trailer

Unload a trailer.

Break Terminal (Break-bulk)

The consolidation of freight from several terminals to build full loads that concentrate on longer haul lanes.


See Transportation Broker.


A surcharge assessed by the carrier to reflect the current cost of bunker fuel (fuel oil used on ships). The BAF, or Bunker Adjustment Factor, is a surcharge that is generally assessed when fuel reaches a certain point beyond that established as a benchmark. It's commonly set a full quarter behind an index recognized within the industry.



See Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism.

CAF (Currency Adjustment Factor)

A surcharge found in a carrier’s tariff. It's normally adjusted upward or downward on a quarterly basis using the currency fluctuation of the country against the U.S. dollar as an index.

Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA)

Created in 2003 as part of Public Safety Canada, this government agency "is responsible for providing integrated border services that support Canada national security and public safety priorities and facilitate the free flow of persons and goods-including animals and plants-that meet all requirements under the program legislation."(

Canada Customs Invoice

A commercial invoice for northbound shipments going into Canada that accompanies the shipment from point of pickup to Customs clearance.

Canadian Customs Broker

A licensed person or firm engaged in entering and clearing goods through customs for a client (importer). All shipments to and from Canada require a broker. The Canadian consignee typically selects the broker.

A type of automated material handling equipment generally used for high-volume, small-parts order-picking operations.


An individual, partnership or corporation engaged in the business of transporting goods.

Cash on Delivery

See COD.


See Canada Border Services Agency.

Certificate of Origin

Required by the customs broker to determine the correct rate of duty under the USMCA (United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement).

CFR (Cost & Freight or C&F)

An international trade term of sale in which the seller/exporter/manufacturer clears the goods for export and is responsible for delivering the goods past the ships rail at the port of shipment (not destination).

Chargeable Weight

The weight of the shipment used in determining airfreight charges. The chargeable weight may be the actual weight, dimensional weight—or on container shipments—the gross weight of the shipment less the tare weight of the container.

Charter Service

The temporary hiring of an aircraft, usually on a trip-by-trip basis, for the movement of passengers or cargo.

City Dispatch

The part of the terminal operations charged with coordinating the pickup and delivery of shipments.

City Driver (P&D Driver)

A driver responsible for making pickups and deliveries from a specific terminal location. These drivers usually have a designated geographical operations area. A city driver typically makes deliveries in the morning and picks up freight in the afternoon.

City Loading Diagram

A form used by destination dock personnel to record each shipment on a city trailer as it is loaded. It must include the initials of each person loading the freight on the trailer. This form also includes such information as the date, trailer number, delivery area the P&D driver will be running, PRO number and the number of pieces in each shipment.

City Run (Pedal Run)

A route in which the driver stays within the boundaries serviced by the terminal.


A written request to a carrier from a shipper to be compensated for loss, damage, delay or overcharge of a package transported by that carrier.


A rating assigned to products based on their value and shipping characteristics, e.g., density and how the freight is packaged. It's a system of 17 classes, from class 50 to 500, which determines the rate.


See Connecting Line Load and Count.

COD (Cash on Delivery)

Refers to the payment for the goods being shipped. If this section of the Bill of Lading is filled in, the carrier cannot deliver the goods unless payment is collected at the time of delivery. This money is collected on behalf of the shipper.



Collect (COL)

Freight charges to be paid by the consignee upon delivery or charged to their established account.

Combination Aircraft

An aircraft capable of transporting both passengers and cargo on the same flight.

Commercial Invoice/Pro Forma

The bill of sale featuring all relevant shipping information such as payment terms, quantities, prices, discounts and a complete description of the shipment.


Goods shipped.

Common Carrier

Any person or company available to the general public for transportation of property by motor vehicle over regular or irregular routes in interstate and/or intrastate commerce.

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) introduced the Compliance, Safety, Accountability initiative (CSA) at the end of 2010 to help reduce accidents, injuries and fatalities through improvements in commercial motor vehicle safety. CSA includes safety performance measures and evaluations and seeks to identify and correct high-risk fleets and drivers.

Concealed Damage/Shortage

This is when the customer calls the carrier to declare an exception to their shipment after delivery has occurred and after the carrier has received a clear delivery receipt. The industry standard for reporting concealed damage is 5 days after delivery.

Condition of Contract

The terms and conditions established by the carriers for the carriage of goods. The conditions are printed on the airbill.

Confirmed on Board

Verification from an airline that the freight on the bill in question has been physically loaded on an aircraft.

Connecting Line Load and Count (CLLC)

Freight being given to or received by an interline carrier without joint inspection.


The designated recipient (customer) of a shipment as indicated on the Bill of Lading.


Synonym for shipper.


The act of combining multiple shipments into one larger shipment going to a specific destination.


A trailer used by ocean carriers and rail. Containers are identified by four alpha characters, followed by a numerical code(s).

Container on Flatcar (COFC)



The practice or technique of using a box-like or other device in which a number of packages are stored, protected and handled as a unit in transit.


A pricing program for a customer that must be approved and signed by an authorized representative of Estes Express Lines and signed by the customer. This pricing contract takes precedence over tariff rates.

Converter Dolly

See Dolly.

Cost & Freight

See CFR.

Country of Origin

The country in which a product or commodity is manufactured or produced.


Typically, the action of unloading materials from an inbound trailer or rail car and immediately loading these materials in outbound trailers or rail cars, thus eliminating the need for warehousing/storage.

Crossmember, rear

The transverse member at the extreme rear of a trailer to which the bumper is normally mounted and on which the stop, tail and turn lights are often installed.


See Compliance, Safety, Accountability.


A term describing the space used in a trailer based on floor space and height.

Cubic Inches (Cu. In.)

The length times the width times the height of a given box or package; used to determine density factors, dimensional weights and container capacity.

Currency Adjustment Factor

See CAF.

Customer Order Number

The number used by the customer to identify the purchase of the goods.


The agency or procedure for collecting duties imposed by a nation on imports or exports.

Customs Broker

A company that clears freight through customs for an importer. The broker submits all pertinent customs documentation and pays any duties/taxes incurred on the importer’s behalf. NOTE: A freight forwarder and customs broker are not mutually exclusive, and oftentimes forwarders offer brokerage as well.

Customs Clearance

The act of obtaining permission to import merchandise from another country into the importing nation.

Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT)

A joint effort between the U.S. government and businesses that import goods into the United States. It is a voluntary initiative designed to strengthen and improve overall international supply chain and U.S. border security. C-TPAT-certified businesses ensure the integrity of their security practices and communicate and verify the security guidelines of their business partners within their supply chains.


Per hundred weight. Hundred weight is equal to exactly 100 pounds.

Cycle Count

Refers to the process of regularly scheduled inventory counts (usually daily) that “cycle” through your inventory.



Goods that sustain injury before, during or after transit, which can result in the shipper’s, consignee’s or carrier’s liability.

Dead Head (Dead-Heading)

A shipment from one terminal to another with no applicable freight charges. Also used to describe the return of an empty transportation container/trailer back to a terminal or facility (empty backhaul).

Declared Value (Code: “DEC”)

Documentation of the total dollar value of the goods being shipped by the shipper. This is necessary when the rates applied to a shipment are based on the value of the goods.

Dedicated Delivery

See Milk Run.


The act of transferring freight from the carrier to the consignee.

Delivery Manifest

A listing of shipments loaded on a P&D unit for delivery.

Delivery Purpose Only (DPO)

Free astrays direct to consignees and/or designated salvage freight.

Delivery Receipt (DR)

A legal document signed by the consignee and Estes that completes the contract of carriage when the freight is received.


The detention of containers by the shippers or receivers of freight beyond the specified free time. See also Waiting Time.

Density Calculation

Density of a shipment is equal to the length of the freight, times the height of the freight, times the width of the freight in inches. The product is then divided by 1,728 to convert the units to cubic feet. (12″ × 12″ × 12″ = 1,728 ÷ 1,728 = 1 cubic foot.)

Department of Transportation (DOT)

The governing body for commerce that crosses state lines. Principally, this segment of the government regulates the interstate truck operations.

Destination Terminal (DT)

The terminal that will deliver the shipment within the geographical area that the terminal serves.


The territory serviced directly by the Estes terminal network, including the six direct regions (Great Plains, Midwest, Northeast, Southeast, Southwest, West) and the Caribbean.

Direct Loading

The loading of shipments direct from one service center to another without an intermediate stop for rehandling.


The scheduling and control of intercity traffic and intracity pickup and delivery; an individual tasked to assign available transportation loads to available drivers.


Authorized instructions given to a common carrier regarding the movement of a shipment.

Distressed Freight

Any shipment that has a problem causing either a delay in delivery serviceor non-delivery.


The activities associated with the movement of material—usually finished goods or service parts—from the manufacturer to the customer. Can include the following: assembly, transportation, warehousing, inventory control, material handling, order administration, site and location analysis, industrial packaging, data processing, and the communications network necessary for effective management.

Distribution Service

A service in which the carrier accepts one shipment from one shipper and, after transporting it as a single shipment, separates it into a number of parts at the destination and distributes them to many receivers.


A space used for receiving merchandise at a freight terminal.

Dock Personnel

Persons hired to load and unload freight from the trailers.


An auxiliary axle assembly equipped with a fifth wheel (coupling device), for the purpose of converting a semi-trailer into a full-trailer (or for hauling multiple trailers behind a single power unit). The dolly, or converter dolly, is towed by a semi-trailer and supports the front of, and tows, another semi-trailer. Also known as a bogie.


See Department of Transportation.


See Delivery Purpose Only.


See Delivery Receipt.


Transport of rail or ocean freight by truck to an intermediate or final destination; typically a charge for pickup/delivery of goods moving short distances (e.g., from marine terminal to warehouse).

Drop Trailer

A situation where the carrier spots—or drops off—a trailer at the customer’s location for loading and/or unloading of freight without the carrier’s driver being present.

Drop Trailer Agreement

A mutual agreement in writing between the customer and Estes when a trailer is spotted for loading and/or unloading purposes.

Drum Truck

A manual device used to move metal and plastic drums.


Items such as scrap pallets or cardboard used to secure freight by filling in the spaces between boxes.


The tax imposed by a government on merchandise imported from another country.



See Electronic Data Interchange.


See Electronic Information Exchange.

Eighteen Wheeler

Generally, a rig with 18 wheels. Some rigs can now have 26 or 34 wheels.

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)

The process by which information in the form of data is exchanged between Estes and its customers. Different data “sets” include invoicing, shipment status, Bill of Lading, claims, remittance advice and more.

Electronic Export Information (EEI)

As of June 2008, freight forwarders and U.S. Principal Parties in Interest (USPPI) must file all commodity information for exported goods electronically via the Automated Export System at This replaces the paper export declaration known as the SED or Shipper’s Export Declaration.

Electronic Information Exchange (EIE)

See Electronic Data Interchange.

Employer Identification Number (EIN)

Also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number, the EIN is used to identify a business entity.


Trailers without freight.

En Route

On the way to the destination.

Exclusive Use

Full use of a carrier’s trailer by one customer. No other customer’s freight is allowed on the trailer.


The Standard Carrier Alpha Code (SCAC) or owner code for Estes Express Lines.


Rush handling of a shipment.


To send goods to a foreign country or overseas territory.

Export Broker

One who brings together the exporter and importer for a fee and then withdraws from the transaction.

Export License

A governmental permit required to export certain products to certain destinations.



See Federal Aviation Administration.


See Freight All Kinds.


See Free and Secure Trade.

FCL (Full Container Load)

The most common types of containers are 20′, 40′ and 40′ “High-Cube” containers.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

Created under the Federal Aviation Act of 1958, this organization is charged with the responsibility of proclaiming operational standards and procedures for all classes of aviation in the United States.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCA)

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) was established as a separate administration within the U.S. Department of Transportation. Its primary mission is to reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving large trucks and buses.

FEU (Forty-foot Equivalent Unit)

Two 20-foot containers or one 40-foot container equals an FEU.


First-in-first-out. In warehousing, this describes the method of rotating inventory to use the oldest product first.

Fifth Wheel

A coupling device mounted to a tractor or a dolly that connects a semi-trailer and a tractor, or two semi-trailers. A semi-truck trailer is supported at the rear by its own wheels, and at the front by the fifth wheel, which is mounted to a tractor or dolly.

Fill Rate

A sales order processing measurement that quantifies the ability to fill orders. There are various ways of measuring fill rate. Line fill compares the number of line items shipped complete to the number of lines ordered (95 line items shipped complete out of 100 lines ordered would result in a 95% line fill rate).

Flat Car

A rail freight car with no supporting structure above the load deck, except for bulkheads at the ends of the car on some types. See TOFC.


See Free on Board.

Force Majeure

The title of a standard clause on Bills of Lading or airway bills exempting the parties for nonfulfillment of their obligations as a result of conditions beyond their control, such as earthquakes, floods, strikes or wars.

Forklift (Tow Motor)

A motorized vehicle used to move freight that can't be handled with a dock cart.

Forklift Extensions

Longer blades that are attached to the regular blades of the forklift to enable it to move odd-shaped freight and long pallets.

Forklift Rug Pole

A specially designed forklift extension for moving rugs and large rolls of fabric.

Forty-Foot Equivalent Unit

See FEU.


A car.

Free and Secure Trade (FAST)

A joint initiative between the Canada Border Services Agency and U.S. Customs and Border Protection that enhances international trade supply-chain security while making cross-border commercial shipments simpler and subject to fewer delays.

Free Astray

A bill moving in the Estes system with no freight charges attached. This can be either a DPO (direct to consignee or designated salvage) or NOC (intra-company business only), depending on the circumstances.

Free on Board (FOB)

The point at which the title of the goods passes from the shipper to the consignee.

Free Time

The amount of time that a carrier’s equipment may be used without incurring additional charges. See Demurrage.

Freight All Kinds (FAK)

A tariff classification for various kinds of goods that are pooled and shipped together at one freight rate. Consolidated shipments are generally classified as FAK.

Freight Charge

Payment due for freight transportation.

Freight Forwarder

The company authorized by a shipper to perform the services required to facilitate the export of items from the United States. This may include air couriers or carriers.


See Fuel Surcharge.

Fuel Surcharge (FSC)

An additional charge added to the freight bill for the price of fuel (per the National Fuel Index) to offset the high cost of fuel.


A process that supplies a finished manufactured product directly from a manufacturing facility to a distributor or end user. The fulfillment cycle may include receiving customer orders, configuring the products to order, shipping and invoicing products to distribution outlets or end users.

Full Container Load

See FCL.

Full Trailer

A truck trailer with wheels on both ends (as compared to a semitrailer in which the front rests on the rear of the power unit).

Full Visible Capacity (Loaded to Full Visible Capacity)

The quantity of freight that equals the maximum legal load-carrying capacity of the vehicle authorized by law; or the quantity of freight that fills a standard truck so that no additional articles identical in size to the largest article in the shipment can be loaded in or on the truck.



The trade name for a large, reusable, standard-sized corrugated container used for shipping materials.

Gold Medal

Guaranteed on-time delivery service offered upon request by Estes Express Lines.

Gross Weight

The entire weight of a shipment including containers and packaging materials.


Hand Truck

A manual device used to move piece goods, cartons and appliances. It usually has two wheels.


See House Air Waybill.

Hazardous Materials (Hazmat)

The Transportation Safety Act of 1974 defines hazardous material as “a substance or material in quantity and form which may pose an unreasonable risk to health and safety or property when transported in commerce.”

Hazmat Regulations

Standards set by the Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA) Office of Hazardous Materials Transportation (OHMT) that regulates how hazardous materials are shipped.

Head Haul

The term used to define the highest revenue-generating shipping lane from shipper to consignee. Opposite of backhaul.

Head Load

The first load used to start a trailer.

High Value Freight

Freight with a value exceeding the limitations set in the EXLA 105 series rules tariff.


See Hours of Service.


An individual employed to move trucks and trailers within a terminal or warehouse yard area. See yard jockey.

Hours of Service (HOS)

A ruling that stipulates the amount of time a driver is allowed to work, enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. On January 4, 2004, the HOS rule was changed from a driver being allowed to drive for 10 hours and break for eight consecutive hours, with 15 hours on duty in a day, to the current rule of driving for 11 hours and breaking for 10 consecutive hours, with 14 hours on duty.

House Air Waybill (HAWB)

A shipper-to-consignee air waybill. The forwarding agent’s air waybill; not valid for transportation for the carrier. HAWB conditions are contracted between the agent and the shipper and do not concern the carrier. Also see Airbill.


The consolidation of freight at several terminals to build full loads that focus mainly on shorter haul (next-day) lanes.

Hub Terminal

Terminals that offer next-day service to specific geographical regions.

Hundred Weight

See CWT.



See Indirect Air Carrier.


A visual impression of a document such as a Bill of Lading and/or a delivery receipt.


To bring merchandise into a country from another country or overseas territory.

Import License

A governmental document that permits the importation of a product or material into a country where such licenses are necessary.

In Bond

A.) Freight that will not be released by Customs until duty or taxes are paid by the customer. B.) The movement of freight within the U.S. without formal entry into that country’s commerce. For example, a shipment going from Mexico to Canada must first pass through the U.S. to get to its final destination. So, while the freight is on U.S. soil, the carrier is bonded for that freight and takes full responsibility for it until the shipment reaches the Canada border.

In-Transit Upgrade

The act of expediting LTL shipments to the Estes Air division while en route.


Freight moving toward a terminal.


A codification of international rules for the uniform interpretation of common contract clauses in export/import transactions involving goods. Developed and issued by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in Paris.

Independent Service Contract

See ISC.

Indirect Air Carrier (IAC)

Within the United States, any person or entity not in possession of an FAA air carrier operating certificate that undertakes to engage indirectly in air transportation of property and uses for all or any part of such transportation the services of a passenger air carrier.

Inland Charges

Shipments are subject to applicable class rates, discounts, individual tariffs or contracts from the point of origin to the Estes consolidation terminal.

Inside Pickup and Delivery Service

Pickup or delivery service to locations other than the shipping dock.


An examination to ascertain the quality, authenticity or conditions of an item or product.


To keep the shipment whole and/or undisturbed by shrink-wrap, banding, plastic straps or gaylords.

Interline Agreement

An arrangement between two or more road transport companies joining operations to bring cargo to a certain destination.

Interline Carrier

A carrier with whom another carrier has an interline agreement.


Relating to transportation by more than one means of conveyance. For instance, transportation by both truck and rail is referred to as intermodal transportation.

Internal Transaction Number (ITN)

The number generated by the Customs Automated Export System (AES) that identifies individual shipments for the Electronic Export Information (EEI) filing. An ITN is generated once the EEI pertaining to an individual shipment is processed by AES and accepted. This number is a proof of filing and must be posted on loading documents prior to exportation. At the port of export, a Customs and Border Protection Officer may verify the authenticity of the ITN. A missing or invalid Proof of Filing Citation may lead to delays, fines and/or penalties.


A haul between any of the four direct Estes regions of less than 1,200 miles.


Freight moving between states.


A haul moving within a region.


Freight moving within a state.

Inventory Management

The direction and control of activities that ensure the requirements for place, time, quantity, form and cost are all met.

Inventory Turn

Number of items inventory turns during a one-year period. Generally calculated by dividing the average inventory level (or current inventory level) into the annual inventory usage (annual Cost of Goods sold).


Indian Subcontinent.

ISC (Independent Service Contract)

A contract between a carrier and a shipper that, if executed in trade from or to the United States, must be filed with the Federal Maritime Commission and must include port pairs, minimum quantity commitment, rate levees and duration.

iSeries Server

The Estes computer file server that replaced the AS400 in 2004.

Island Delivery

Additional charges that apply to island delivery in Puerto Rico and are based on cubic foot or hundred weight (CWT) pricing, whichever is higher. Shipments to the U.S. Virgin Islands have extra charges for additional ocean carriage, local island transport and wharfage.


JIT (Just-in-Time)

An inventory control system that manages material flow into assembly and manufacturing plants by coordinating demand and supply to the point where desired materials arrive just in time for use. An inventory reduction strategy that feeds production lines with products delivered “just-in-time.”


Any shipment involving more than one carrier.


King Pin

A large steel pin located beneath the front of a trailer. The king pin fits down into the jaws on the fifth wheel of a tractor or a dolly, thereby hooking the tractor up to the trailer or the pup up to the first trailer.


See Assembly.

Known Shipper

A shipping security status that allows a shipper to move freight on any commercial airline. A known shipper has a valid account number with an IAC (Indirect Air Carrier) and has executed the proper documents required by the TSA to become a known shipper to the IAC. (Estes Express Lines is an IAC.) Unknown shippers are not permitted to ship anything via passenger airplane.




Left on Board (LOB)

Freight that has not been worked or taken off a trailer.

Any national, state, provincial or local legal holiday.


See LCL.

Less-Than-Truckload (LTL)

Less than a truckload.


See Lift Gate.

Lift Gate (Code: “LGATE”)

A power-operated tailgate capable of lifting a load from street level to the level of a truck or trailer floor or vice versa.


The movement of freight over the road/rail from the origin terminal to the destination terminal, usually over long distances.

Load Bars

Removable metal bars used to brace freight inside the trailer.

Load Lock

A device used to secure and brace freight in a trailer.

Load Manifest

See Manifest.

Load Racks

Racks used like shelves in a trailer to add an additional layer of loading space.


See Left on Board.

Local Pedal Run

A trailer loaded with numerous shipments that are to be delivered within the geographical area that a terminal services. Also referred to as a City Run.

Locator System

Inventory tracking systems that allow you to assign locations to your inventory to facilitate greater tracking and the ability to store product randomly. By using locator systems, you can increase space utilization by matching the physical characteristics of your product to a location whose physical characteristics meet those specified.


A driver’s record of duty for hours of service.


All activities involved in the management of product movement, including delivering the right product from the right origin to the right destination, with the right quality and quantity, at the optimal schedule and price.

Logistics Post Trailers

Trailers with slotted posts for attaching load beams for stacking and bracing to provide optimal freight protection.

Long-nose Conventional

A truck or tractor with a front bumper to back of cab dimensions (BBC) of 112″ or more.

Lot Labels

Labels attached to each piece of a multiple-lot shipment for identification purposes.

Low-Bed Trailer

See Lowboy.

Lowboy (Low-Bed Trailer)

An open truck trailer with a low platform height. It's designed for hauling heavy equipment.


See Less-Than-Truckload.



A document that lists and describes in detail the goods on a vehicle's load. As a rule, agents at the place of loading draw up the manifest. Also referred to as the shipping document.

Maquiladora Transportation

A program allowing foreign manufacturers to ship components into Mexico duty-free for assembly and subsequent re-export.

Master Air Waybill (MAWB)

A shipper-to-carrier air waybill that outlines the conditions between the forwarding agent and the transportation carrier. See also House Air Waybill and Airbill.

Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)

A document prepared by the manufacturer that provides detailed information on hazardous and nonhazardous materials, including potential hazardous effects, their physical and chemical characteristics, recommendations for appropriate protective measures, plus cleanup and disposal methods.


See Master Air Waybill.

Maximum Charge

The highest amount of freight and/or accessorial charges Estes will bill the customer.

Milk Run

A pickup and/or delivery route involving several sequential stops. It usually refers to a regularly-run route, but it may also refer to a one-time run with several stops. Some consider a milk run to mean a route where shipments are delivered and inbound materials are picked up in the same run. Also known as dedicated delivery.

Minimum Charge

The least amount of freight and/or accessorial charges Estes will bill the customer.


A forklift attached to the back of a trailer to accomplish a ground drop.


See Material Safety Data Sheets.

My Estes

The password-protected portion of the Estes website that gives quick access to information specific to a customer’s account. This personalized resource provides customers with the convenience of a secure, one-stop shop where they can easily manage their shipping projects.


NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement)

An agreement for free trade between the United States, Canada, and Mexico that was effective from 1994 to 2020; this has been replaced by the USMCA (United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement).

National Fuel Index

Fuel surcharges are generally based on the National Fuel Index published by the U.S. Department of Energy every Monday. The index is based on several factors, including the average fuel costs by region. Whenever the cost of fuel exceeds a base range established by a carrier, a fuel surcharge may be added to base freight charges (before any accessorial charges).

National Motor Freight Classification


NMFC (National Motor Freight Classification)

The NMFC item number is assigned according to commodity type and is used by LTL carriers to determine the level of rates for a shipment.

NOI (Not Otherwise Indicated)

The abbreviation used for chemicals that are either mixtures of hazardous materials or possibly new hazardous materials that have not been given their own proper shipping name. Also referred to as NOS (Not Otherwise Specified).

Non-Asset-Based Provider

A provider that does not have the assets (e.g., trucks, terminals, planes or warehouses) of a carrier. The non-asset provider supplies the Bill of Lading and assumes responsibility for a shipment, but uses the resources of asset-based carriers to provide physical pickup, line-haul and delivery service.

Non-resident Importer (NRI)

A company or individual that, in most cases, doesn't have a physical presence in Canada, but for the purposes of customs and taxation, it acts as the importer of record for goods sold or consigned into Canada from the U.S.

Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier



The front of the trailer closest to the tractor.

NVOCC (Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier)

A firm that offers the same services as an ocean carrier, but which does not own or operate a vessel. NVOCCs usually act as consolidators, accepting small shipments (LCL) and consolidating them into full container loads. They then act as shippers, tendering the containers to ocean common carriers. NVOCCs are required to file tariffs with the Federal Maritime Commission and are subject to the same laws and statutes that apply to primary common carriers.



See Official Airline Guide.

Ocean Charges

Charges that cover transport from the mainland terminal to the destination terminal after the water portion of the journey. They include accessorial fees such as drayage, wharfage and terminal handling charges. Ocean charges are generally based on cubic feet or hundred weight (CWT) pricing.

Ocean Container

A single, rigid, sealed, reusable metal box in which merchandise is shipped by a vessel, truck or rail.

Official Airline Guide (OAG)

A standard book or computer disk that references flight schedules, rates and aircraft types.


A shipment that has been refused by the consignee for which a legal notice of undelivered freight has been mailed to the shipper.

OS&D (Overages, Shortages and Damages)

Freight that is either in excess of or less than that identified on the freight bill, or goods that have sustained injury before, during or after transit.


Freight on a trailer that's moving out from a terminal.

Over Without Bill (OWB)

See Overage.


A situation where there is more freight than is specified on the freight bill.


Added freight that, due to capacity, could not be loaded with the rest of the shipment in the original load.

Owner Code

The Standard Carrier Alpha Code (SCAC) is a unique two-to-four-letter code used to identify transportation companies. The National Motor Freight Traffic Association, Inc., (NMFTA) developed these identification codes in the late 1960s to facilitate computerization in the transportation industry. The NMFTA assigns the codes, which are the recognized transportation company identification codes used in all motor, rail and water carrier transactions where carrier identification is required. Certain groups of SCACs are reserved for specific purposes. Codes ending in the letter “U” identify freight containers. Codes ending in the letter “X” identify privately owned railroad cars. Codes ending in the letter “Z” identify truck chassis and trailers used in intermodal service.



Pickup and delivery. This is the local movement of freight between the shipper (or pickup point) and the origin terminal or between the destination terminal and the consignee (or delivery point).

Packing List or Packing Slip (Code: “PSA”)

A document provided by the shipper that travels with the freight and usually lists the contents of the shipment. It may be attached to the freight and/or the Bill of Lading or sent with the shipment as an additional piece of freight.

Pallet (Code: “PLT”)

A wooden frame, typically 48″ × 48″ used for unitizing freight.

Pallet Deck

See Load Racks.

Pallet Jack

A manual device with fork extensions that can be positioned under a pallet to move it from one location to another.

Palletized Freight

Freight that is being shipped on a pallet.


See Pre-Arrival Processing System.


See Pre-Arrival Review System.

Partners in Protection

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) program that enlists the voluntary cooperation of private industry to enhance border and trade supply chain security. Member companies are recognized as being trusted traders, which allows the CBSA to focus its resources on areas of higher or unknown risk.


The total weight of the commodity carried on a truck at a given time, including packaging, banding, etc.

Pedal Run

See Local Pedal Run or City Run.

Per Hundred Weight

See CWT.


Any goods transported that are subject to deterioration or spoiling if not used for their intended purpose within time restraints. (Examples: foodstuffs, drugs, flowers, flower bulbs, etc.)

Pick and Pack

A process, usually done in a warehouse facility, wherein a company or third party organization (usually from a warehouse facility) accepts retail orders, picks products from inventory, packs them and then ships them to an end user.

Pick and Pass

See Zone Picking.

Pick Up

The act of transferring freight from the shipper to the carrier, ultimately delivering the freight to the consignee.


A rail/truck combination service wherein 1) a shipper loads a highway trailer, 2) a carrier drives it to a rail terminal to load it on a flatcar, 3) the railroad moves the trailer-on-flatcar combination to the destination terminal, and 4) the carrier offloads the trailer and delivers it to the consignee.


A cable used to transmit electrical power from the tractor to the trailer. It is so named because it's coiled like a pig’s tail.

Pintle Hook

A coupling device used in double-trailer, triple-trailer and truck-trailer combinations. It has a curved, fixed towing horn and an upper latch that opens to accept the drawbar eye of a trailer or dolly.


See Partners in Protection.


The square-on-point symbol on each side of the trailer signifying the hazardous materials loaded on the trailer.


See Proof of Delivery.

Point of Origin

The terminal at which freight is received from the shipper.

Pool Distribution

To help avoid excessive offloads, multiple LTL shipments headed for a common marketplace are combined onto one trailer. The freight is then delivered to a central distribution facility for local or short-route delivery. This generally reduces handling, lowers costs and shortens transit times.


See Prepaid.

Pre-Arrival Processing System (PAPS)

The system for processing customs paperwork before southbound freight originating in Canada reaches the U.S. border. As a result, the freight crosses into the U.S. from Canada much more quickly.

Pre-Arrival Review System (PARS)

The Pre-Arrival Review System processes customs paperwork before northbound freight reaches the Canada border. As a result, the freight crosses from the U.S. into Canada much more quickly.

Prepaid (PPD)

Freight charges that have been or will be paid by the shipper and/or a third party.

Private Residence

Any house, apartment, barracks or dormitory serving as the living quarters of the shipper or the consignee.

PRO Labels

Self-adhesive stickers used to identify shipments. They are placed on the customer’s Bill of Lading, the freight bill and the freight itself.

PRO Number

A pre-assigned, 10-digit freight bill number given to each shipment to serve as a tracking number. PRO is an acronym for progressive rotating order.

Progressive Rotating Order (PRO)

See PRO Number.

Proof of Delivery (POD)

Information supplied by the carrier containing the name of the person who signed for the shipment, the time and date of delivery, and other shipment delivery-related information.

Public Auction

The sale of any shipment or portion of a shipment that's on-hand to the highest bidder by an auctioneer hired by Estes.

Pull Deployment

See Automatic Store Replenishment.


A 28-foot trailer.

Purchased Transportation

Any transportation service that a carrier needs for its operations that it does not perform itself or that another carrier can perform in a less costly manner. Also, a term describing service offered by third-party logistics providers. It generally involves the program of buying freight capacity at volume levels for many shippers at substantial discounts, and it can include the administration and coordination of all activities associated with a freight management system.


Q1 Certification

Ford Motor Company's Q1 certification is its highest supplier recognition of superior quality and service. The award is based on high-quality management practices sustained over six consecutive months that enable a provider to deliver products and services that meet and exceed the requirements set by Ford.


Rapid Clear Form

This form allows you to reduce the amount of paperwork involved in crossborder shipping since it replaces the need to complete the Bill of Lading, Commercial Invoice and Certificate of Origin.


The basic cost of a shipment, excluding accessorial charges.


Any changes made in the consignment of a shipment before delivery is accomplished.

Recovery Drum

An oversized container in which a damaged shipping container can be placed to contain leaks. It can be either plastic or metal.


An attempt to deliver the freight back to the consignee after the freight was originally refused.


Freight for which delivery was attempted, but the consignee was not willing to accept the goods for a number of potential reasons.


A haul of up to 500 miles that begins and ends in a single Estes regional territory (Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, Southwest).

Release Value (Code: “RVNX”)

Shipper value cannot be more than stated value per pound.

Request Number

A reference number given to the customer by the time-critical team when they request a time-critical shipment. It's the number used to identify the request in the system throughout the shipping process.

Reserved PRO

A PRO number that has been reserved for either a) a shipper or b) a shipment for freight to be tendered to Estes.

Restricted Articles

Articles that in certain forms are either excluded entirely from air cargo, or are subject to stringent requirements on volume or packaging.

Return to Shipper

A shipment being sent back to the shipper with or without freight and accessorial charges.


See Reverse Logistics.

Reverse Logistics

Sometimes called returns, the service that enables end users to reposition used, damaged or outdated products or reusable packaging. These items are retrieved from end users, consolidated and delivered back to the requestor’s centralized receiving locations.

Road Driver

A driver that does not usually perform the final delivery of the freight. Instead, road drivers haul the freight from terminal to terminal, generally during the night.

Roll on-roll off (RO-RO)

A sea-going vessel designed to carry wheeled cargo including freight semi-trailers. Built-in ramps allow the cargo to efficiently roll on and off the vessel when in port, resulting in reduced handling.


See Release Value.


Safety Stock

A quantity of inventory used in inventory management systems to allow for deviations in demand or supply.

Said to Contain

See STC.


The portion of damaged goods or property that has been saved or recovered.


Standard Carrier Alpha Code. See Owner Code.

Schedule B

Schedule B: Statistical Classification of Domestic and Foreign Commodities Exported from the United States is the official schedule of commodity classifications used by shippers in reporting export shipments from the United States. Schedule B codes are used in the EEI filing and can be obtained from

Screen Shot

A saved image of a particular screen viewed on the computer.

Seal Intact

An unbroken seal placed on a trailer door.

Seals and Locks

Devices designed to ensure the security and contents of a trailer. Seals are metal self-locking strips with numbers that match the numbers on the manifest. They must be broken in order to access the contents of the trailer.

Section 7 (SEC 7)

This relieves the shipper of the responsibility of the freight charges if the carrier is unable to collect said charges from the consignee.


A truck trailer with no front-end axle. A king pin underneath the front end of the trailer attaches to a fifth wheel allowing that end of the trailer to rest on a tractor or a dolly. It's supported at the rear by its own wheels.


A single consignment of one or more pieces from one shipper at one address. Shipments are signed for in one lot and move on one waybill or airbill to one receiver at one destination.


The person/company that gives the shipment to the carrier for delivery to the consignee; the person/company shipping the freight.

Shipper’s Load and Count (SLC)

The standard Bill of Lading and manifest clause used by mutual agreement of both shipper and carrier for containerized cargo that's loaded and sealed by the shipper. As a result, the piece count in the container is not checked or otherwise verified by the carrier.

Shipper’s Load and Count Agreement

A mutual agreement in writing between the shipper and the carrier. It's signed when a trailer is dropped for the shipper to load the freight without a driver being present.

Shipping Document

See Manifest.

Shipping Manifest System

Software used to associate shipments with a carrier, service or a rate. Shipping manifest systems produce reports (physical or electronic) sent to the carrier for billing purposes.


A situation that occurs when a shipment has fewer pieces than called for on the freight bill.


See Stretch-Wrap.

Skid (SK)

See Pallet.


See Shipper’s Load and Count.


A truck tractor with a sleeping compartment in the cab.

Sleeper Teams

Two drivers who operate a truck equipped with a sleeper berth. While one driver sleeps in the berth to accumulate mandatory off-duty time, the other driver operates the vehicle.

Sliding Tandem (Slider)

A mechanism that allows a tandem axle suspension to be moved back and forth at the rear of a semi-trailer for adjusting the distribution of weight between the axles and fifth wheel.


Placing a container in a required place for loading or unloading.

Spread Axle (Spread Tandem)

A tandem axle assembly spaced further apart than the standard spacing of 54 inches. The U.S. federal bridge formula favors trailer axles with an 8-or-9 foot spread by allowing higher weight than on tandems with standard spacing.

Stacker and Loading Diagram

A form used by origin dock personnel to record each shipment on a trailer as it's loaded for other destination terminals. It must include the initials of each person loading the freight on the trailer. This form also includes such information as the date, outbound trailer number, tractor number, destination terminal, destination relay and a place for the weight of each shipment signed on the trailer.

Standard Carrier Alpha Code (SCAC)

See Owner Code.

STC (Said To Contain)

A term in a Bill of Lading signifying that the carrier is unaware of the nature or quantity of the contents of a carton, crate, container or bundle and is relying on the description furnished by the shipper. It's usually used in conjunction with shrink-wrapped skids.


Truckload shipments with multiple stops delivered in sequence.

Storage Charges

Costs that begin to accrue after the shipper has been notified of nondelivery and has not provided disposition.

Straight Truck

A vehicle with a cargo body and cab mounted on the same chassis.


A protective layer of stretchy plastic wrapping, usually clear, used to hold cartons and products together in transit. It shrinks slightly after it's applied, and is commonly used to secure product to skids. Also known as shrink-wrap.


The act of unloading a trailer.

Sufferance Warehouse

Licensed terminals that act as official sufferance warehouses for northbound freight that fails PARS at the U.S./Canada border. They provide temporary storage in Canada where the imported goods can be examined and either released or exported back to the point of origin. For Estes, these warehouses are within the Estes network to help minimize the delays experienced by most other carriers that must move the non-cleared freight to an independent sufferance warehouse.


A haul among the four Estes regions of 1,201 miles or more.

Supply Chain

The organization of processes for moving goods from the order through the raw materials stage, assembly, supply, production and final distribution to the customer.


Unitized freight on skids wrapped in plastic.


Tare Weight

The weight of a container and/or packing materials without the weight of the goods it contains (the actual weight of the empty container).


Legally published rates and charges to price shipments. Tariffs also include packaging guidelines.


A building for the handling and temporary storage of freight pending transfer between locations. Also, the area where containers are prepared for loading into a vessel, train, truck or airplane or are stacked immediately after unloading from the vessel, train, truck or airplane.

TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units)

A measurement of cargo-carrying capacity on a container ship, referring to a common container size of 20 feet in length. Example: One 40-foot container is equal to two TEUs.

Third Party

The paying party other than the shipper or consignee. Terms can be prepaid or collect.

TOFC (Trailer on Flatcar)

Trailers resting on railway flatcars without a chassis underneath. Also referred to as COFC or Container on Flatcar.


The cab or the engine-powered vehicle used to pull a trailer.

Tractor Trailer

Tractor and semitrailer combination; a complete rig.


The part of the rig used to haul goods. A trailer is hooked to an engine-powered tractor.

Trailer Exception Report

A form used by the unloading terminal that alerts the shippers and/or carriers to any exceptions on freight picked up on a Shipper’s Load and Count basis. The report must be given to the shipper within 24 hours after the first break of a trailer.

Trailer on Flatcar


Transportation Broker

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. See also Customs Broker.

Transportation Security Administration

See TSA.

Travel Copies

The document that the drivers work off of. Also referred to as red copies, reds or working copies.

Truck Check Entry

A computer entry of detailed information on a shipment moving through the system.

Truck Tractor

See Tractor.


An Estes truck can be considered full in one of two ways. Freight can either weigh out at 45,000 lbs. or take up all the cubic footage in the trailer. To qualify for either volume or truckload rates, the shipment must be greater than 4,999 lbs or it must take up at least 10 liner feet of the trailer. Shipments weighing less or taking up fewer linear feet are considered LTL shipments and are not eligible for volume pricing.

TSA (Transportation Security Administration)

A division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Twenty-foot Equivalent Units

See TEU.


Short semi-trailers (under 28′) designed to operate as part of a combination vehicle with a trailer of similar length. Or, the combination of a tractor and two semi-trailers connected in tandem by a converter dolly.


UN/NA Number

Hazardous materials classification numbers specific to types of hazardous commodities. “NA” stands for North American and “UN” stands for United Nations.

Unknown Shipper

A shipper that can only move on the ground or on all-cargo airlines because it has not been approved as a known shipper.

Unloading Manifest (Road)

A document that lists all the shipments on the trailer and is used by dock personnel in the unloading of freight. This document also records any exceptions off the trailer.

USD (U.S. Dollar)

With a few exceptions, USD is the currency utilized in basic ocean freight throughout the world, regardless of the currency of the exporting country.

USMCA (United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement)

An agreement for free trade between the United States, Canada, and Mexico that became effective in 2020, replacing NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement).

USPPI (U.S. Principal Parties in Interest)

The person or entity in the United States that receives the primary benefit, monetary or otherwise, from the export transaction. The USPPI must be identified for all EEI filings.



A trailer with an enclosed cargo space.


Waiting Time

When a vehicle is held at a pickup or delivery site beyond the specified free time.


A storage place for products. Principal warehouse activities include receipt of product, storage, order picking and shipment.


A document containing the description of the goods that constitute a single shipment. The waybill shows origin, destination, consignee/consignor and amount charged. Copies of this document travel with the goods and are retained by originating/delivering parties. Carriers use the waybill for internal records and control, especially during transit. It is not a transportation contract.

Weight and Inspection

A carrier’s internal inspection of goods shipped to determine the accuracy of the shipper’s description of the cargo’s weight, class and density.

Weight Break

Levels at which the airfreight rate per 100 pounds (CWT) decreases because of substantial increases in the shipment's weight.


A charge assessed by a pier or dock owner for handling incoming or outgoing cargo.

WMS (Warehouse Management System)

Computer software designed specifically for managing the movement and storage of materials throughout the warehouse.


Yard Jockey

A person who operates a yard tractor.

Yard Tractor (Yard Mule)

A special tractor used to move trailers around a terminal, warehouse or distribution center.