Delivery Industry Dictionary

The Delivery of Goods Industry uses a lot of terminology and abbreviations that can sometimes be confusing. To assist we have created the following Industry Glossary.


A 3PL is a third-party, or contract, logistics company to whom a firm outsources part or all logistics services. a 3PL will typically handle many of the following tasks: purchasing, inventory & warehouse management, transportation management and order management.

Cartage Company

A trucker that provides local pick-up and delivery services.


An individual or firm to whom freight is shipped. The receiver of the shipment.


A joining together of many small shipments – often from different shippers – into large shipment quantities, in order to take advantage of economies of scale in transportation costs.


A single, rigid, sealed and reusable metal box in which merchandise is shipped by vessel, truck, or rail. Container types include standard, high cube, hardtop, open top, flatbed and refrigerated or bulk.


Transportation terminal in which received items are transferred directly from inbound to the outbound shipping dock. Temporary storage only and used mostly for vehicle transfers. Often owned and operated by large shippers.


Also known as Chain of Custody. Is the documentation that leaves a chronological paper trail of sequential records of custody and  transfer of physical goods.


A platform where trucks are unloaded and loaded.


A transportation service arrangement in which freight is moved from origin (shipper), through to the ultimate destination (consignee), for a given rate. Approved provides door-to-door service from/to any point in US and Canada.


Also known as Direct to Store Delivery. Is the distribution of goods directly from the manufacture/supplier to the retailer, skipping to retailers distribution warehouse/distribution center. Goods travel directly from the the supplier to the retail store.


Electronic Data Interchange; A business-to-business interconnection of computers for the rapid exchange of a wide variety of documents.


Estimated time of arrival.


Accelerating transportation times.

FCL; CL; Container load; Full Container load

A direct shipment where an entire container is contracted for direct movement from shipper’s door – via ocean – to its destination. Approved moves many FCL loads each year.

Final Mile 

Also known as Last Mile is a phrase widely used to refer to the final leg of a deliver to the retailer or consumer.

Freight Bill-of-Lading

A document providing a binding contract between a shipper and a carrier for the transportation of freight. Specifies obligations of both aprties. Serves as a receipt of freight by the carrier for the shipper. Usually designates the consignee, and FOB point

FTL; TL; Truckload; Full Truckload

Trucking industry terms to describe a contract for direct point-to-point service of an entire truck.


Just in Time; A manufacturing system which depends on frequent, small deliveries of parts and supplies, to keep on-site delivery to a minimum.


Less-Than-Containerload Shipping industry term which refers to a shipment which will not require an entire container.


Movement of freight between cities usually more than 1,000 miles apart.


Is a part of the supply chain process that plans, implements and controls the efficient, effective forward and reverses flow and storage of goods, services and related information between the point of origin and the point of consumption in order to meet customer’s requirements.


Terminal-to-terminal freight movement in transportation for long distance moves, as distinguished from local freight moves.


Also known as Less-Than-Truckload. Trucking industry term for a shipment which does not require an entire truck.


Excess freight over the quantity believed to have been shipped, or more than the quantity shown on the shipping document.


Small, typically wooden or plastic platform on which goods are placed for handling and movement to and from facilities; or for simple movement and storage in a warehouse. Standard pallet dimensions are 40″x48″ — but can vary greatly. Oversized pallets (greater than 40″x48″) can limit the amount of freight that can be loaded into a container

Pick-Up and Delivery (Cartage)

Local hauling of freight. Transferring freight from the shipper to a terminal, or from a terminal to a consignee.


Also known as Proof of Delivery. Is the name of the receiver of a shipment as captured at the point of delivery.


Also known as Proof of Pick Up. Is the name of the shipper of a shipment as captured at the point of pick up.


Stock-keeping unit; a line-item of inventory which refers to a specific type or size of good.

Supply Chain Management

Is the flow of raw materials between the Supplier, Manufacturer, Wholesaler and Retailer that ensures the finished goods provide value.


A description of goods sent with a common carrier.
1. System Access: Points where freight enters and leaves the transportation system.
2. Freight Consolidation & Distribution
3. Mode Transfer, for example – rail to truck.
4. Vehicle Transfer: within a single mode, freight may transfer from one vehicle to another
5. Storage and Warehousing
6. Fleet Maintenance