Glossary



Accessorial Charges
Charges or fees assessed by the trucking company for items not directly included in the cost of the line haul.  Examples include layovers, fuel surcharges, and stop-off fees.

Backhaul
Moving a truck back to its origin location or where it's headquartered.  Carriers will typically attempt to find a load headed towards that destination to reduce or eliminate empty (deadhead) miles.

Beam Trailer
A specialty trailer used to transport tall items in an attempt to reduce the overall loaded height of the cargo. 

Blocking
Small pieces of wood that are used to fill in spaces, to join, or to reinforce shipments.

Boxcar
A box shaped railcar with sides, a roof, and doors on the ends.

Bracing
Securing product for shipment so as to prevent damage while in transit.

Broker
A middle, third-party company that works with the carrier and the shipper in the arranging of transportation of goods.

Bulkhead Flatcar
A flat rail car with a walls at each end (the bulkheads) that prevent loads from shifting past the end of the car.  Typically used to transport stacked lumber, poles and pipe.

Carrier
A trucking company.

Centerbeam Flatcar
Used in the transportation of lumber, this specialized type of rail car features a support structure in the center of the car to support items such as posts, wallboard or lumber.

Coil Car
Used in the transport of steel coils, this is a specialized rail car.

Conestoga
A specialized trailer where the top is removable allowing for the shippers and receivers to more easily load and unload from the side while still protecting the freight from the elements while in transit.

Hopper Car
A specialized railcar used to transport bulk commodities that features a hopper bottom to allow for easier unloading of the freight.

Deadhead
The term used to describe a truck and trailer moving from one point to another with no freight.

Depressed Deck Railcar
A specialized railcar designed to handle heavy and/or over-dimensional material such as an electrical transformer.  The location of the deck onto which the load is secured is depressed, or lower than the typical flatcar deck location, allowing for a lower center of gravity when loaded.

Detention Fee
A fee assessed to account for when a shipper or receiver delay the loading or unloading of a truck.  This is only for when the shipper or receiver are at fault, not if the carrier is late.

Dimensional Rail Shipment
Often referred to as “Out of Gauge” or “High-Wide,” this is generally a rail shipment which, when loaded, exceeds the end or side sills of the railcar, and/or exceeds standard maximum weight distribution of 286,000 (including the car), and/or exceeds 17’ in height.  

Double Drop Trailer
A trailer with a depressed center section used to transport taller cargo.  Freight is generally lifted onto the trailer with a crane or driven onto the trailer with ramps. 

Double Stack
A stack of two containers/trailers on intermodal rail transport.

Drayage
A motor carrier operating in a small geographical region.  Typically used to refer to the act of transporting containers to and from intermodal terminals and ports.

Dunnage
The loose material packed/wedged between objects loaded in a trailer used to prevent damage during transport.  Dunnage is also used to prevent load shifting during transport.

Escort
A vehicle that actively monitors the progress and status of over-dimensional, high-value, or sensitive shipment.

Extendable Double Drop Trailer
A double trop trailer that is capable of stretching in length to accommodate long items such as poles and storage tanks.

Extendable Flatbed Trailer
A flatbed trailer that is capable of stretching in length to accommodate long items.

Extendable Step Deck Trailer
A step deck trailer that that is capable of stretching in length to accommodate long items.

Flatbed Trailer
A trailer with a flat loading platform without sides to accommodate a variety of cargo and easy loading and unloading.

Flatcars
A flat rail car with no sides or ends, designed for carrying loads that are too large to fit in enclosed railcars.

Frost Restrictions
Seasonal restrictions on road traffic as a result of freezing temperatures.

Fuel Surcharge
A dollar amount or percentage charged per mile often added to the standard freight rate to offset fluctuating fuel costs.

Gondola
A type of rail car featuring an open top with enclosed sides and ends.

HazMat
Abbreviation for "hazardous materials," which are items that could be dangerous if allowed into the environment.  Examples are items which are flammable, poisonous, radioactive, and/or explosive.

Heavy Haul
The term used for the transport of overweight, overdimensional freight that require special permits to meet Department of Transportation regulations.

Idler Car
A railcar placed before and/or after a railcar carrying a load that is longer than the length of the car that carries it.  Its purpose is to allow for the load to travel without the danger of striking a neighboring railcar during transit.

Intermodal
Moving products through the transportation methods of steamship, rail and truck.

Less-Than-Truckload (LTL)
Transporting freight or cargo in smaller quantities, with the freight of many different customers loaded into/onto a single trailer.

Line Haul
The transportation of cargo between two points.

Local Trucking
Transportation of freight within a specific service area such as a small region or metropolitan area.

Long-Haul Trucking
The transportation of goods over long distances, with intermodal transport often playing a role in this type of freight transport.

Low Boy Trailer
A trailer with a low loading surface designed to transport tall items in order to stay within the generally-accepted legal load height of 13 feet 6 inches when measured from the ground.

Low Profile Step Deck Trailers
A step deck trailer with a very low loading surface, typically used to transport tall cargo.

Lumper
A person that for a fee assists a motor carrier company in the loading and unloading of freight.

Multimodal
A reference to the use of more than one mode of transportation to reach a final destination.

OTR
An abbreviation for "over-the-road," which refers to transporting goods on the highway.

Overdimensional
A reference to the shipment of cargo with length, width, height or weight dimensions that exceed the generally-accepted legal limits.

Oversize
Typically used to refer to freight that is over-dimensional, with this type of shipment requiring a special permit to be shipped.

Over-Weight
Freight that exceeds the Department of Transportation weight limits and requires a special permit to be shipped.

Partial Shipment
A term used to describe a shipment that is larger than LTL, but smaller than a full truckload.

Perimeter Trailer
A trailer with a perimeter frame with no flat loading deck.  The center of the trailer is empty, allowing the load to set down between the trailer's side rails in an attempt to reduce the overall loaded height.  Typically used for items such as large liquid storage tanks.

Permit
A permit is a document that must be purchased from each state through which a load is to be transported when the length, width, and/or height exceed the generally accepted "legal" measurements for those dimensions.  The carrier is responsible for purchasing the appropriate permits for the commodity being transported.  

Project Management
The management of all aspects of a transportation project including disassembly, cranes, transportation, unloading and re-assembly.

Rail Service
Transporting goods by way of the railroad.  Access to railcars for loading purposes is generally accomplished by way of a loading ramp and/or cranes.

Refrigerated Railcar
A specialized type of boxcar with temperature control used for food and other perishable products that require a controlled temperature.

RGN
Abbreviation for removable gooseneck trailer, which is a specialty trailer that allows for the temporary removal of the gooseneck (curved portion that connects the trailer to the road tractor) to facilitate easy loading of large and/or self-propelled items.

Rigging
Chains or ropes used to secure freight to a trailer or railcar.

Schnabel Trailer
A specially-designed two-piece trailer used to transport very long items.  The two portions of the trailer attach to the ends of the item, suspending it between the two trailer pieces.  Commonly used to transport wind tower sections.

Shipping
The act of moving or transporting freight.

Steamship
An ocean-going vessel used to transport containers and other cargo overseas.

Steerable Dolly
Used when transporting very long items such as beams or poles, the dolly supports the rear of the load and is remotely steerable to allow make turning corners easier.

Step Deck Trailer
An open trailer with a rear lower section used to transport tall items.  This type of trailer helps lower the overall loaded height of a load and avoid the need of obtaining a height permit.

Transloading
The process by which a shipment is transferred from one mode of transportation to another.

Truckload
A freight shipment that utilizes all or most of the space on a trailer.  

Truck vs. Rail
The process of analyzing information relating to a commodity needing to be moved in order to determine whether the most cost-effective method for shipping the item is by truck or rail.

Unit Train
A train where all the railcars have the same origin, destination, and often the same commodity.