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Freight Solutions
LTL Shipping

LTL Freight Shipping Terms Dictionary

There are many aspects of the LTL shipping that may seem daunting to businesses just entering the industry. This can be especially true with the transportation and logistics terminology. We’ve put together a list of commonly used terms that can help beginners (and even more experienced shippers) become more familiar with the most important LTL shipping expressions and acronyms.



The freight term used to describe any shipment that goes beyond the usual dock-to-dock transportation. These often involve the need for special equipment and services like liftgates, non-commercial destinations and a specially planned inside pickup and/or delivery.

Accessorial Charges
Charges made for performing services beyond normal pickup and delivery such as inside delivery or storage charges.

Costs acquired after a shipment has delivered. Such costs can be added for a discrepancy between the freight characteristics quoted and the delivered shipment details of class and dimensions, weight, and any additional costs for extra services performed.

A person who does business on behalf of another person or company with full or limited decision-making authority. In shipping, an agent may supervise customs procedures, documentation, or insurance. This person may also receive a portion of any monetary gain from a transaction as payment.

Axle Load
The axle load refers to the weight each axle puts on highways.


BOL (Bill of Lading)
The Bill of Lading is also a critical document for sharing the official details of the shipment including, but not limited to, the origin and destination addresses, payer identification, and shipment contents. The shipper must give the BOL to the driver at pick up for LTL shipments. MyCarrier digitizes the Bol via API technology, which automates the process and eliminates common paperwork mistakes.

Blocks and Brace
This term refers to wood or other supports used to keep shipments secure in containers or on trailers throughout the shipping process. This technique is commonly used by experienced shippers to protect their freight shipment. LTL will generally not provide this service; only Volume and Full Truckload carriers will offer this option.

Break Bulk
A major hub for the region that all or most terminals load into as a central relay point.

Bulk Order Upload
A feature offered exclusively by MyCarrier, which allows shippers to import hundreds of orders in seconds. The Bulk Order mapping tool means shippers will never waste time manipulating Excel files to fit into a rigid import template. Instead, shippers can tell MyCarrier how exports are set up, and the platform takes it from there. customer orders can include as much or as little information as shippers would like.


Cargo Insurance
Cargo insurance protects shippers from financial loss due to damaged or lost cargo. It pays out the amount shippers are insured for if an unexpected event happens to the freight. Some examples of covered events are vehicle accidents, natural disasters, cargo abandonment, customs rejections, acts of war, loss, etc.

The ratio between the number of loads to available trucks in a designated area.

A charge made against a carrier for damage, loss, or overcharge. Find out more about various types of insurance and accompanying claims.

Commercial Invoice
An official document that contains, among other things, the goods being shipped, the name and address of buyer and seller, and the freight’s value for insurance, customs, and other purposes.

Common Carrier
An LTL common carrier consolidates and deconsolidates freight for multiple companies, businesses or brands while offering a set rate and route. They are often trucking companies, motor carriers, or freight service providers that operate on a comparable schedule to one another, offer similar services, and maintain a strict set of guidelines.

CNEE (Consignee)
Party in which goods are shipped and delivered. The consignee receives the shipped goods.

CNOR (Consignor)
The party who originated the shipment of goods (the shipper). Other terms used for consignor are seller, bill to, or client.

Standard-sized rectangular box used for Intermodal transportation. Intermodal transport is the use of two or more modes, or carriers, to transport goods (freight) from shipper to consignee.

Cross Dock
Warehouse operation that entails moving cargo between different trucks to consolidate loads without using transitional storage.

Cubic Capacity
The carrying capacity (inside dimensions) of cargo according to measurement in cubic feet. When shipping light goods, carriers load the trailer to the highest cubic capacity possible. Cubic Capacity is calculated by multiplying the length x the width x height. Most carriers impose minimum cubic capacity rules to ensure fairness of rates for each shipper.


DV (Declared Value)
A shipment’s declared value is the monetary value of a shipment as reported by the shipper. It helps to determine shipping charges and can also be used to limit carrier liability for loss or damage.

D.O.T (Department of Transportation)
The United States Department of Transportation which creates and enforces rules and regulations relating to the transportation industry.

The scheduling and control of carrier pick-up and delivery. An essential link in the dispatching process, dispatching allows for communications with the drivers via pages, radio, satellite, phone etc.

Distribution Center
The warehouse facility that stores inventory while waiting for distribution to the appropriate stores.

The process of altering the destination while the shipment is in route. An additional charge for the excess miles will be charged.

Door to Door
Journey from a senders’ front door (dock) to a receivers’ (dock).

Dry Van
An enclosed non-climate controlled trailer that carries general cargo, including food and other goods that do not require refrigeration. Goods are customarily loaded and reloaded through rear doors, and elevated access is required for forklifts to enter the trailer.

Pieces of lumber used to protect a product from damage during transport. The lumber is nailed to the floor around the freight to prevent it from moving during transit.


Electronic Bill of Lading (eBOL) 

The electronic Bill of Lading standard creates a parcel-like experience, in which the only paper needed is a label. The eBOL supports digitization of shipping and billing processes for all LTL industry participants, enabling process automation and eliminating a common source of error and paperwork.


Flat Bed
A flat trailer with no enclosures or doors. Can be loaded/ unloaded from the sides or above, and does not necessitate elevated access for forklifts. Flatbed LTL is any type of shipment other than a Truckload that needs be moved in a side or top accessible trailer. Certain shipments such as industrial products, machinery, lumber, metals, and other items that would not fit on a normal 4’x4’ pallet are often shipped via flat bed.

Portable, gas powered machines that can lift up to 4,000lbs of freight. Forklift services at pick up or delivery are arranged by the customer.

Freight Bill
The carrier’s invoice for payment of transport services provided.

Freight Class
Freight class is a standardized classification system for commodities transported. Freight class is assigned to a shipment based on either the specific commodity being transported, or the total density of the freight being shipped. The freight class will determine, among other things, the cost of your shipment.

Calculated by the carrier, it is the total weight of the loaded truck (sum of the weight of the goods, fuel, packaging, pallets, tractor, and trailer.


Gross weight
Total weight of the vehicle and the payload of passengers and freight.


Poisonous, explosive, or otherwise potentially hazardous freight. Hazardous materials must always be transported by specialty certified carriers.

HOS (Hours of Service)
This refers to the hours a driver is legally allowed to drive in a 24-hour window.

Hub and Spoke System
The system by which LTL shipments move via LTL carriers. This includes multiple stops and transfers throughout the transit process. The system is a distribution model that resembles the spherical shape of a bicycle wheel. In the middle of a wire-spoked wheel is a hub, which allows each spoke heading in different directions to meet at a central location.


Insurance by Liability
Every freight shipment is covered by some form of liability coverage, determined by the carrier. The amount of coverage is based on the commodity type or freight class of the goods being shipped and covers up to a certain dollar amount per pound of freight. This is different than Cargo Insurance




Freight term describing the route from pick up to delivery (the path of transport from point A to point B).

A delay that requires a driver to stop for an extended period (sometimes overnight) to get unloaded or loaded.

LTL (Less Than Truckload)
A shipment that does not require the entire capacity of the truckload trailer. The shipment takes up less than 12ft of trailer space and typically weighs less than 7,500 lbs. The consolidation of shipments maximizes trailer space and saves shippers money. LTL is rated upon class, weight, and distance.

Letter of Authority
A license that carriers use to engage in interstate, operations, and commerce.

Lift Gate
A power-operated tailgate that is capable of lifting pallets from street level to the height of a trailer floor. Shipper locations with no loading docks often have lift gates, as do many LTL truck fleets.

Limited Liability Insurance
Also called Freight insurance. It is payable by the freight forwarder, but it is often passed on to the shipper when the forwarder’s service is used. A fee for freight insurance is typically included in the sender’s shipping quote and is then included in what the sender pays for. The carrier is financially responsible for loss or damage ONLY when it's proven to be attributable to carrier negligence.
What Is LTL Cargo Insurance and Do You Really Need It? (mycarrier.io)

Line Haul
Line Haul refers to the movement of freight (in a long-haul truck) between distant cities. The supporting infrastructure of hubs, depots, tractors, trailers, dockworkers, and drivers is collectively called the Line Haul Network.

Live Quotes
A place on the MyCarrier platform that allows you to shop for the best quote. Shippers can choose from 70+ API connected carriers. Shippers can seamlessly integrate to their direct accounts eliminating the need to hop from site to site for dispatching, imaging, rating, and tracking.

LTL Tariffs
A rate matrix that defines rates for all classes and weights for all zip code combinations. When rating an LTL shipment, the origin and destination zip codes as well as the weight and classification of each product being shipped are needed.

Lumper Service
When freight is unloaded from a trailer and pallets are broken down into smaller bundles (if required per the receiver’s specific instructions).


MC Number
Motor Carrier Number: Each carrier is assigned an MC number. This number permits carriers to cross state lines and it also allows the government to track brokers through their system.

Load requires more than one pick-up or drop-off for completion of delivery.


Net Weight
Weight attained by deducting the weight of the tractor trailer from the overall weight of the truck.

NMFC (National Motor Freight Classification)
The NMFC® is a voluntary standard that delivers a comparison of commodities moving in interstate, intrastate and foreign commerce. It is similar in concept to the groupings or grading systems that serve many other industries. The NMFC was created to standardize pricing for freight shipments.

NMFTA (National Motor Freight Traffic Association)
Organization that provides expertise in freight classification, packaging, and transportation codes.


Overlength Limit
This is an accessorial that you can select when you have an individual piece of cargo that is quite long but not very wide, thus it will not take up much of the trailer’s width. Usually, the Overlength Limit is a few feet shorter than the full LTL Limit. As with any special service, there is an additional charge for overlength. However, paying for overlength on a single piece can often be cheaper than a full volume quote.


Pallets are portable rigid platforms used to combine shipments and allow for ease of freight movement. The properties of a pallet are as follows: (48×48) Accessible by all 4 sides, weighs between 25-50 lbs. and can hold up to 2,500 lbs.

Pallet Jacks
A pallet jack is a tool used to lift and move pallets. Pallet jacks are a simple form of a forklift and are used to rearrange pallets within a warehouse.

P&D (Pickup and Delivery)
final mile delivery and or pick is referred to as P&D, or pickup and delivery.

PTL (Partial Truckload)
Shipments that are larger than LTL but less than Full Truckload. They usually consist of anywhere from 8 to 18 pallets and weigh between 8,000 and 27,500 lbs. Like traditional LTL, Partial truckload shipments take up only a limited amount of trailer space.

PO (Purchase Order)
The purchaser’s authorization used to formalize a purchase transaction with a supplier.

POD (Proof of Delivery)
Information supplied by the carrier with the name of one person who signed for the shipment, the time and date of delivery and other pertinent shipment and delivery information.

A carrier assigned number used to identify a particular shipment in their system.

Pup Trucks
A trailer between 26 feet and 29 feet long that can be utilized as a delivery trailer in congested areas or in combination with another trailer for over the road shipping.



Receiving Dock
The location where the shipment is being unloaded from the truck.

When a customer changes the location and name of the consignee when the truck is en route. An extra fee is charged for the change.


Shared Truckload
A freight mode that allows multiple shippers to share trailer space in one multi-stop full truckload.

Shipping Calendar
The calendar offered by the MyCarrier platform that features 24/7 tracking of shipments, automated alerts, and color-coded statuses, all on one page.

Sort and Seg
Required when a shipper requires verification that all the goods shipped reached the destination. Sort and Seg means that the driver, lumpers, or dock workers count every case on the pallet when it is received.


When a driver is required to bring the cargo to the back of the trailer. This generally occurs when the receiver does not have a loading dock or forklift.

Team Driver
A team of two or more drivers who ride together and drive the same truck in shifts, essentially allowing the truck to remain in motion almost constantly. This is primarily used for time sensitive freight.

A dock location at which freight is sorted and redistributed onto different trucks.

Third Party Logistics
Outsourced provider that manages all or a large part of an organization’s logistics requirements for a fee.

Transit Time
The total time that elapses on the shipping journey, from pick up to delivery of a shipment. Transit days generally do not include the day of pick-up, weekends, or national holidays.

Truck in Hand
When the driver/carrier/operator has been selected and is ready to pick up the shipment.



Volume LTL
Shipments larger than a typical LTL shipment that don’t take up the room of a full truck. These shipments consist of 6 or more pallets, weight over 5,000 pounds and/or occupy more than 12 linear feet. These shipments are smaller than a partial truckload but larger than LTL.


White Glove Services
Specially trained drivers and specialty equipment for the safe transport of sensitive shipments.




Are we missing a term that you think should be included? Contact us!