Freight & Logistics Glossarycase

Global logistics and freight forwarding seem to have their own language dedicated to complicated terminology. Here at Expeditors, we'll always be your top resource to navigating through the complexities of this industry. These are some terms used daily by our team for your reference broken down into clear and concise definitions.

*Expeditors is not responsible for any interpretations of these definitions. These definitions are not owned by Expeditors International of Washington.*



An Accessorial Service is an additional service that must be performed in the context of a Primary Service. For example, Inside Delivery or Debris Removal are Accessorial Services for the Primary Service of Delivery (local cartage).

A= Autonomous vehicles are using self-driving technology. Different levels of autonomy equip vehicles with capability of self -driving (1 is parking assist to 5 ‘hands-free’ driving)

C= Connected, using semi-conductors allow for vehicles to exchange data and information between ‘connected parties’

E=Electric, often used to describe alternative fuel powered vehicles using battery technology and charging infrastructure. The use of a battery replaces an internal combustion engine for a range of transportation including passenger, light commercial, heavy goods, motorcycles, bikes and scooters and leisure products including campervans, and agriculture vehicles such as tractors

S=Shared riding uses technology to provide transportation solutions under lease or hire terms without ownership. The business model used by shared users include taxi, rental, e-bike offering a range of choice via app technology and payment methods

An Advance is a charge that Expeditors pays to another party on behalf of our Customer for which Expeditors is reimbursed.

The Advance Manifest is information about one or more Consignments submitted to a Customs Authority in advance of departing the origin country.

Parts, products and services used in the repair and maintenance in a range of vehicles, commonly called spare parts or service parts which could be sold by dealers, distributors or independent stores.

An Agent is a strategically chosen forwarder in a country where Expeditors does not have its own office. The Agent acts on behalf of Expeditors in that location.

The Air Waybill is a documented agreement with an air Carrier to identify parties, services, commodities, and rates for the movement of air freight.

A status of an airplane in need of repair that triggers critical logistics handling and moves.

A notification or cargo arrival mailed by ocean carriers a week or so prior to cargo availability to the named consignee.

The collection of cargo from multiple sources, received at different times, into a single shipping unit, typically covered under a single contract of carriage.

AES strengthens the enforcement of U.S. export laws, collects harbor maintenance fees, and reduces government costs by streamlining and combining diverse administrative processing into a single system.

AMS assists U.S. customs in selecting higher risk cargo for inspection under the Exodus program.

Average Achieved Cost is the average of Freight costs for a service across multiple Service Providers over a period of time. It is used for industry trend analysis and to construct rates in Pricing Responses.


The return trip of a vehicle to its point of origin.

A Back-to-back is when a single House Bill moves on a single Master Bill.

A vessel designed to carry cargo or perform specialized functions and are frequently used for bulk transportations.

A portion or particular location alongside a wharf at which a vessel is moored.

A Bid Request is a request of rates for services across a list of lanes over time.

  • A Bill of Lading is a documented agreement for the transportation of Freight.
  • A Bill of Lading always includes the parties entering the agreement (Carrier, Customer), the parties involved (Shipper, Consignee, etc.), the Freight Lines to be transported, the origin and destination Locations, and the terms and conditions of the agreement.
  • A Bill of Lading is either rated (includes costs and charges) or unrated.
  • A Bill of Lading has a different page of terms and conditions for the Contract of Carriage depending on the mode (Air, Ocean, Truck, or Generic).

A Billing Party is the party to whom invoices are sent. This is usually the Shipper or Consignee, but may be any party related to the transaction, including third party payment centers.

When an ocean carrier cancels or skips a scheduled port of call or region in the middle of a fixed rotation, that route is considered a Blank Sailing.

A shipment which is carried under customs and may not be delivered to the consignee without customs authorization.

A Bonded Warehouse is a secure warehouse where imported goods or goods intended for export can be stored, manipulated, or manufactured before payment of duty.

Branch Standard Rate is the price for a service provided by a branch that is generally available to all Customers.

Branch Territory is a geographic area that a Branch is responsible for. This is usually the local customer service territory, but may refer to a different business purpose such as sales territory, product territory, etc.

All cargo which is not bulk, most cargo stowed in containers would be breakbulk if shipped loose.

A variety of functions which must be performed to reverse the consolidation or assembly process. This includes physically receiving cargo and dispersing cargo into separate consignments for delivery to respective consignees.

Cargo which is shipped unpackaged and unmarked, and assumes the shape of vessel or conveyance.

Tanks on vessels, rail cars, trucks, and intermodal containers designed for transportation of liquid bulk cargo.

  • BAF / Bunker Surcharge
  • A surcharge added to the basic transportation rate by an ocean carrier to compensate for increased fuel costs.


A Capacity Agreement is an agreement between a Forwarder and a Carrier. The Forwarder agrees to provide that Carrier with a certain amount of Freight on specific lanes and time intervals in exchange for guaranteed space and a preferred rate.

A Cargo Acceptance is the conditions, rules, and processes Carriers or Forwarders use for taking custody of Freight.

Cargo Insurance is an agreement to compensate for lost or damaged cargo per the terms of the agreement.

A Cargo Manifest is a document specifying the nature and quantity of all the Freight on the Master Bill of Lading as Freight Lines for the Carrier.

A Carrier is a type of Service Provider contracted for the physical transportation of Freight.

A Charge is the price paid or amount expected for a service.

Commercial Goods are a collection of Parts bought and sold using a Commercial Invoice.

A Commercial Invoice is a documented, itemized bill from the Seller to the Buyer containing details about the parties involved, Commercial Goods sold, charges, and payment terms.

Company Materials (COMAT) are materials or supplies transported without being bought or sold (i.e., while there is a Customer and a Consignee, there is no commercial transaction). Company Materials are owned by the Customer and transported in support of their own operations.

A Consignee is the party listed on the Bill of Lading responsible for ensuring Freight is received from the Carrier.

A Consignment identifies freight received from one Shipper, intended to be transported together and delivered together to one Consignee at a single Location.

A Consignment Security Declaration (CSD) is an industry standard document providing regulators with an audit trail of how, when, and by whom Freight has been secured along the supply chain.

A Consignor is the party listed on the Bill of Lading responsible for ensuring Freight is tendered to the Carrier. Also known as Shipper.

A Consolidation is two or more Customer Shipments represented on a single Carrier Shipment.

A Container is a uniquely identifiable, reusable item of equipment designed for the carriage of Freight.

A Container Booking Confirmation is an inventory control document issued by an ocean Carrier to a Booking Agent confirming space on the Carrier's Conveyance and authorizing the appropriate party to retrieve empty shipping containers from that Carrier, load the containers, and tender those containers to the Carrier for transport.

A Conveyance is a uniquely identifiable vehicle used or operated by a Service Provider for transporting Freight (e.g., a plane, vessel, truck).

A Courier is a Service Provider that delivers Parcels (documents or packages) to business and residential locations.

A Customer is the party that can award business to Expeditors in the form of an agreement to purchase services from Expeditors.

A Customer Booking is a Service Request for transportation services submitted to Expeditors by a Customer or on a customer's behalf (e.g., by a vendor or shipper).

A Customer Invoice is a document sent to a party by Expeditors requesting payment for charges listed on the document with payment terms.

A Customer Sell Rate is the price for a Sell Service based on the combination and values of relevant Service Factors.

A Customer Shipment is the Customer's perspective of one or more Consignments that are assumed to be transported together.

A Customs Authority is the governmental party responsible for regulating the flow of goods to or from a country and collecting duties on imports and exports.

A Customs Bond is a contract to ensure that all the duties and fees associated with the rules and regulations of importing or other Customs activities are paid.

A Customs Broker is a Service Provider or Self-Filer licensed to enter and clear goods through Customs as designated by the Customer.

A Customs Manifest is a document specifying the nature, cost, and quantity of all the Goods on the Bill of Lading for the Customs Authority.


  • Alternative Term: Hazardous Materials
  • Dangerous Goods are freight containing items or substances that are a risk to health, safety, property, or the environment.

A shipment moving directly from point of production to delivery to the store or customer without being received and handled by a distribution center.

Charges applied when a container is left in a terminal past its designated "free" time.

  • Alternative Term: Ground Port
  • A Designated Port is a location from which Extended Area charges are calculated, including any airport, ocean port, or service provider location.

This term refers to charges incurred when a container that has been offloaded from a vessel, taken from the port to a designated destination, and unloaded is not returned, either to the port or to an empty container depot, within a certain predetermined time period.

  • Alternative Term: DIM Factor
  • Dimensional Factor is a mathematical factor used to calculate the dimensional weight (i.e., volume weight) of an object.
  • The Dimensional Factor represents the volume of a package allowed per unit of weight.

  • Alternative Terms: Direct, Direct Bill of Lading
  • A Direct Bill is a documented transportation agreement between the Customer or their Trading Partner and the principle Carrier.

Delivery of a sales order directly to the customer from the point of production, typically smaller packages associated with ecommerce.

  • Alternative Term: Origin Bypass
  • Direct to Gateway is a pickup that bypasses an Origin branch in order to move directly to a Gateway warehouse.

Delivery of a shipment directly to a retail store location from point of production.

A Door Move is a pickup from the dock of a Consignor/Shipper or delivery to the dock of a Consignee.

The transport of whole containers of goods via ground freight over a short distance, often as part of a longer overall move, such as a ship to a warehouse.

A document issued by a carrier, carrier agent, or break bulk agent authorizing or ordering its terminal or another carrier to release cargo to a named party.

Terms of sale defined when title passes from the seller of goods to the buyer of goods, and therefore, which party has the responsibility, cost, and risk associated with each service required to accomplish the physical delivery of goods from the seller and buyer.

The job of unloading a truck, van, or intermodal container.

A general term describing a contract of carriage covering a consignment originating and terminating in the U.S.

Movement that has two general usages with respect to transportation. A service or rate basis under which a single carrier undertakes the through transportation of cargo from a shipper's door to the consignee's door.

An instrument for the exchange of funds.

A standard fully enclosed intermodal container.

The refund of customs duty previously paid to the U.S. Customs service on imported merchandise when such merchandise is exported after having been used in the manufacture of another product; or exported in the same condition as imported.


Electronic data interchange is the exchange of electronic data over a computer network among two or more trading partners using a common format inclusive of communication protocols.

To place an endorsement on a negotiable document.

When referring to a negotiable document, this means a signature by the bearer or to the order of part on the reverse document. Means of conveying the ownership or rights expressed in a negotiable document from one party to another party and asserting one's right to delivery of the cargo.

Equipment Management is the ability to mobilize and de-mobilize containers, chassis, and other equipment supporting the movement of freight.

An Exclusive Use Vehicle (EUV) is a conveyance dedicated to Expeditors' purposes, such as local pickups, local deliveries, GNS routes, etc.

A term to describe an ocean/intermodal where no Original Bill of Lading is issued.

  • An Exporter of Record is the party on whose behalf the export declaration is made.
  • Responsible for obtaining export clearance and complying with export regulations.

An Extended Area is the area outside a customer's pickup or delivery tariff (i.e., the Local Area).


Freight All Kinds Rate

The independent U.S. Agency created by Congress to commercially regulate foreign and intercoastal ocean commerce.

  • A Feeder Service is recurring transportation between a major port and nearby secondary ports to consolidate Freight for shipment.
  • Feeder Services are usually provided by Carriers. Expeditors operates a feeder service to optimize our network, namely Ground Network Service.

An ocean or inland waterway port served primarily or exclusively by feeder vessels. Typically smaller ports with restricted access or cargo volumes too low to justify port calls by larger, line-haul vessels.

A smaller ship which provides cargo service to smaller ocean or inland waterway ports which larger line-haul vessels cannot physically or economically serve.

First-in-first-out: In warehousing describes the method of rotating inventory to ensure the oldest part is picked from stock or first in production. This term is standard within Automotive warehousing controls.

FVL is the term given to the transportation, handling and logistics operation for fully assembled vehicles.

A liquid having a flash point of not more than 60.50C, or any material in liquid phase with a flash point over 37.80C. Intentionally heated and offered for transportation in bulk or above its flash point.

A type of open intermodal container consisting of a floor base, with bulkheads fore and aft, but without sides or a top. Used to transport long or very heavy items of cargo which must be side-loaded or wider than the interior dimensions of a standard dry container.

Minimum temperature at which a liquid gives off vapor within a test vessel in sufficient concentration to form an ignitable mixture with air near the surface of the liquid.

Any major circumstance which is totally beyond a party's control and prevents them from fulfilling part of all of their obligations under a contract.

A Forwarder is a Service Provider responsible for arranging the transport of a Customer Shipment, including services and Customs formalities.

A Forwarder's Cargo Receipt (FCR) is documentation issued by the Forwarder to the Consignor attesting that the Consignor has fulfilled their obligation in supplying Commercial Goods and services.

  • Free Time is the time allowed for Freight or Containers to be retrieved from a Yard or CFS before it accrues demurrage/detention or storage charges.
  • Free Time may also refer to the time allowed to return equipment (containers, chassis) to their owner before accruing additional charges.

  • Alternative Term: Foreign Trade Zone, Free Zone
  • A Free Trade Zone (FTZ) is a geographic area where goods may be landed, stored, displayed, handled, manufactured or reconfigured and re-exported under specific customs regulation and generally not subject to customs duty.

  • Freight is any collection of Commercial Goods or Company Materials intended to be transported.
  • Freight is represented by one or more Freight Lines that describe one or more Freight Items packed with Parts, Company Materials, or other Freight Items.

Freight Charges are the transportation-related charges on an invoice, or for the Main Move of any Shipment in a quoting/bidding process. The latter excludes services at Origin or Destination.

  • Alternative Term: Dock Receipt, Cargo Receipt
  • A Freight Receipt is a signed, documented acknowledgement that Freight has transferred custody to a receiving party.

Cargo in a carrier's custody which cannot be transported, transferred, or delivered due to a variety of causes including misplacement, misrouting, misloading, erroneous offloading, misstowage, separation from main portion of shipment, loss of documents, erroneous documents, illegible marks and numbers, or damage to packaging.

A type of ocean carrier surcharge imposed to cover increases in fuel costs.

A charge periodically assessed by truck other carriers added to the otherwise applicable basic transportation rate to compensate the carrier for increases in the cost of fuel since the rate was established.


A type of crane consisting of two primary structural members:

  • A vertical structure of sufficient height for the intended lifting
  • A horizontal structure which extends out over the length or area which the items to be lifted must travel from point of pick-up to set-down.

A type of retail apparel handling involving movement of clothing in containers and on racks where the product is kept hanging.

Contribution by all the parties in a sea adventure to make up for a loss sustained by one of their number on account of sacrifices voluntarily made of part of the ship or cargo to save the residue and lives of those on board from an impending peril, or for extraordinary expense necessarily incurred by one or more of the parties, for the general benefit of all the interest embarked in the enterprise.

A quality standard used within the healthcare industry to measure supply chain quality.

A specialized independent marine adjuster, appointed by the vessel owner who has declared general average. A neutral party charged with determining a loss among all responsible parties.

A document which is typically required by the general average adjuster before release of cargo subject to a declaration of general average.

Insurance against general average losses or claims.

A broad category of cargo having the following characteristics:

  • Packaged, or safely shipped "stand alone" unpackaged
  • Not classified as dangerous goods
  • Of unit sizes and weights which can be handled routinely with normal available MHE
  • Not requiring controlled temperature
  • Non-perishable
  • Not sensitive to damage in normal course of transportation if properly packaged
  • Not requiring feeding or special care during transport
  • Not high value cargo requiring security

An increase in transportation rates by all or most carriers serving a general trade route or market segment.

A tariff containing transportation rates which applies to a given shipment under a specified set of circumstances, including a particular aspect of shipment such as cargo class rating.

The combined shipping weight of goods plus packaging materials.

Freight consolidation or cargo pooling by forwarders in order to achieve a more economical shipping unit.


  • Alternative Terms: Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System
  • Product classification used by U.S. Customs and all other members of the World Customs Organization (WCO) to classify goods for customs purposes.

  • Alternative Terms: Harmonized Tariff Schedule
  • Product classification codes between 8-10 digits that determine tariff classification for imported goods in the United States.

A House Bill is a documented agreement between Expeditors and a Customer for the transportation of a Customer Shipment.


An Import Declaration is a documented statement used in Customs filings attesting to the correctness of description, quantity, commercial value, tariff classification, etc., of Commercial Goods or Company Materials for import into a country.

An Importer of Record is a party responsible for ensuring goods are imported in compliance with the law of a Customs Authority.

Inbound logistics refers to the detailed plans focused on the moving of materials, products and supplies from a manufacturer or distribution center to a warehouse or other storage area.

The sourcing and transport of part and raw materials from their point of origin/manufacture through to the manufacturing plant or assembly facility.

An Incident Report is a documented record of the facts of an event unforeseen in the course of business. Examples include damaged freight, seal anomalies, any shipment discrepancies, theft, disposal of any cargo, cybersecurity threats, and/or any other security related concerns.

  • Alternative Term: Legacy Program Type
  • An Inclusive Service is a bundle of services quoted and sold as a logistics solution under one name and rate.

Integrated logistics is focused on integrating business operations into supply-chain logistics to ensure production optimization.

Intermodal transportation is the transportation of freight using a combination of different transportation modes such as land, air, or ocean.

Companies that provide door-to-door domestic/international air freight service. They own and operate aircraft, as well as ground delivery fleets of trucks.

Inventory is the physical goods that Expeditors handles for Customers. Inventory may be represented by a Part or piece, a SKU, or other collection.

Standard set of definitions for delivery terms by the International Chamber of Commerce for use in international trade.

An intermodal container yard located outside the port area, typically at a rail head, border crossing, or other inland point.

A form separating the designation of origin and destination land or air carriers in addition to water carriers.

Organization affiliated with the united nations which regulates international navigation and shipping safety through a framework of treaties, rules, and regulations.

Cargo moving through a port, country, or customs jurisdiction whose ultimate destination is other than the particular port, country, or customs jurisdiction.


Agreement between ocean common carriers operating as a joint venture whereby a separate service is established.

Term usually describing parts arriving or being produced just in time for the manufacturing process., JIT is a process for optimizing manufacturing processes by eliminating all process waste including wasted steps, wasted material, excess inventory, etc.

In this method of inventory control, warehousing is minimal or nonexistent; the container is the movable warehouse and must arrive "just in time;" not too early nor too late. The context of “JIT” in Automotive is often -/+ 15 minutes from the planned arrival timeslot. In Automotive logistics, JIT uses “pull” replenishment to ensure deliveries are completed at the right time in order to meet production schedules.


Cargo has been physically placed on or into the subject conveyance.

The total cost which an importer pays to have goods delivered into their premises. This typically includes the costs of the goods, international transport, insurance premium, port charges, customs duties, delivery charges, bank charges, etc.

A Lane is a pair of Ports, Countries, or Regions.

Less than Container Load; Consignment of cargo insufficient to fill a container to an economical shipping unit under a carrier's tariff.

A lead logistics provider (LLP) is a logistics service provider that provides both an end-to-end logistics solution and manages parts of a business's supply chain, including vendor management, transportation booking, detailed inventory in transit, and more. LLPs connect businesses to 3PL partners that deliver logistics services, and then take on the role of managing those supply chain processes on behalf of their employer.

  • A Leg is a Conveyance's movement between two locations at which freight can be loaded or unloaded.
  • A Leg has identifying information such as a voyage/flight number, and data for estimated/actual departure/arrival dates/times at all locations (including Stops).

A separate contract entered into between a commercial bank, an applicant, bank's accountee, in which the bank promises a third party, the beneficiary, up to a certain sum of money in a stated currency upon the condition that the beneficiary perform a certain act.

A written promise provided to a third party on behalf of oneself or a second party to indemnify a third party for stated costs or damages in the event that the first or second party fails to meet a stated obligation.

The common law concept that one is responsible to compensate or make good to another for the damage or loss one causes to another.

The maximum amount of hazardous material for which there is a specific labeling or packaging exception.

A Load Plan is a set of instructions and/or a diagram proposing a plan for a Warehouse Agent to load Freight into one or more Containers.

  • A Local Area is the area defined in a Customer's tariff as their local pickup or delivery area.
  • Pickup or delivery within this area does not accrue an Extended Area charge.

A Location is any geographically identifiable place.

Detailed three-dimensional plan for the loading of cargo in a vessel, intermodal container or other conveyance.


  • Alternative Terms: Linehaul, Main Carriage
  • A Main Move is an abstract term for any transportation Leg that is not a pickup, delivery, or local transfer.

A listing of cargo on-board a transportation conveyance needed and required for load planning, cargo compatibility checks, cargo staging, and loading/unloading.

A Manufacturer is the party that makes or processes materials into a sellable product.

A Master Bill is a documented agreement with a Carrier for the transportation of one or more Customer Shipments.

  • Master Data are complex collections of data that represent real-world business concepts shared across the organization.
  • Complex concepts like "Customer" contain a number of relationships to other concepts like contacts, addresses, business rules, and rates.
  • Master Data generally require a dedicated system for management beyond what a simple list (or spreadsheet) can support.

  • A Milk Run is a recurring route using a dedicated conveyance on a consistent round trip visiting a fixed number of locations on a time-definite schedule.
  • Milk Runs are planned as a consolidation schedule recurring for a designated period of time. Each instance of a milk run is documented by a Multi-Stop Master Bill.

Term most commonly used to describe a rate. The rate basis being either a flat-rate per container, or else subject to a minimum revenue rule.

A Mode of Transportation is a term used to distinguish substantially different ways to move Freight (e.g., air, ocean, ground, and rail).

A Move is an abstract term for any transportation Leg and is represented by a single Master Bill.

A Multi-Stop Master Bill is a truck bill that picks up and/or delivers freight at more than one location between the master bill's origin and destination.


The Network is all of Expeditors’ people, processes, offices, warehouses and technologies, which together execute globally, supporting a single vision for providing services to our Customers in cooperation with Services Providers and third parties.

A Notify Party is any party whom Expeditors is authorized to provide notifications about the status and movement of a Customer Shipment.

A Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier (NVOCC) is a Carrier that provides ocean freight services on vessels which it neither owns nor operates.


The Ocean Bill of Lading is a documented agreement with an ocean Carrier to identify parties, services, commodities, and rates for the movement of ocean freight. It is a type of Bill of Lading. Certain bills of lading for Ocean are negotiable, which are referred to as Original Bills of Lading.

A party who contracts to carry cargo via ocean transportation mode. May be a direct or indirect carrier.

Original Equipment Manufacturer. Term used to represent companies that assemble and sell finished vehicles.

A term where a CFS is physically located outside the ocean carrier port terminal, typically outside the immediate port area or a major inland traffic center.

An Ongoing Quote Request is a request from an existing Customer for a Quote valid across multiple future transactions without going through a formal bidding process.

A general term used in ocean shipping to indicate cargo which cannot be routinely handled through an ocean terminal, thus requiring more expensive special handling.

Over, Short, and Damaged is a category used to document a discrepancy between Freight as it was received compared with what was expected.


A Packing List is a document created by the Shipper listing the Parts identified in the Customer Shipment.

A moveable platform onto which cargo is placed in order to facilitate efficient handling and protect cargo.

A type of intermodal container consisting of a rigid base to which cargo may be fastened for shipment.

A Parcel is a package of Commercial Goods or documents shipped with a Courier.

  • Alternative Term: Stock Keeping Unit (SKU)
  • A Part is a piece of merchandise. Its characteristics are defined by its Supplier with supplementary details from Expeditors and/or the Customer.

A Pick Plan is a list of Parts for a Warehouse Agent to gather for one or more Consignments, generally organized for efficient picking.

A Plan is a list of actions for achieving an objective, developed in advance.

A Preferred Network Route is any lane in a Consolidation Schedule that is promoted as the result of a business initiative or directive.

  • A Pro Forma Invoice is a documented, itemized bill for goods and/or services, and their value.
  • It is equivalent to a Commercial Invoice when an invoice document is needed, but is based on estimated or projected values.
  • For example, Expeditors may issue a Pro Forma Invoice for Company Materials (COMAT).

A Profile is any documented and governed collection of master data and business rules working together to control the behavior of manual and/or automated business processes.

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.

  • A Purchase Order is a documented request from a Buyer to a Seller indicating types, quantities, and agreed prices for products or services under the terms and conditions stated within the order.
  • A Purchase Order has a collection of purchase order lines, each of which specifies the type, quantity, and price of a product or service.


Quality control is about ensuring and maintaining the quality of a product by conducting tests and guaranteeing specifications are met.


Reference Data are simple lists containing standard names and codes that are shared across the organization.

A Request for Information (RFI) is a request for written information about the capabilities, financial information, reliability, experience, standard practices, and other qualifications of a provider.

The process of collecting, handling and transporting used, damaged, unwanted and end-of-life (EOL) goods and/or packaging for the purposes of their disposal, recycling or recovery. Can also refer to the return of re-usable packaging - for example pallets and containers which have been collapsed or not to a point further up the supply chain (that is, upstream).

A Request for Information (RFI) Response is a written response containing information about the capabilities, financial information, reliability, experience, and standard practices, and other qualifications of a provider.

Type of ocean vessel commonly used to move finished automobiles and other large industrial machinery.

  • A Route is a series of one or more Legs to move a Customer Shipment.
  • The activity of determining the series of legs to move a Customer Shipment is known as Routing.

Route Design is an activity to create standard operating procedures specifying how Expeditors will transport Freight on a Customer's Lanes.

Route Development is a strategic sales activity for researching opportunities for future growth on a Lane, resulting in route development initiatives or directives that are shared with Sales and Service Provider Management.

Route Optimization is the process of selecting Service Providers and their services to move a Customer Shipment based on the Customer's requirements for transit time and service, resulting in a Route Plan that minimizes Freight charges while balancing other factors such as time, equalization, contractual obligations, load factors, etc.

A Route Plan is an itinerary for booking consisting of one or more Transportation Legs to move a Customer Shipment on one or more Carrier Shipments.


A Seal is a uniquely-identifiable device attached to the door of a container to detect and deter theft and tampering.

  • Alternative Terms: Primary and Accessorial Services
  • A Sell Service is Expeditors' standard name for services that Expeditors offers. For example, Air Freight, Ocean FCL, Pickup, and Inside Delivery are all Sell Services.
  • The Sell Service list simplifies and creates consistent operational and reporting use of services among Customers, Products, and offices.

A Seller is the party responsible for providing Commercial Goods or Company Materials to a Buyer.

A Service Order is a documented request for one or more transportation or other services that also facilitates the fulfillment of those services.

A Service Provider is a party responsible for executing services under contract. All Expeditors Service Providers are managed under the Service Provider Management program.

A Service Provider Booking is a Service Request from Expeditors to a Service Provider for one or more services.

A Service Provider Profile is a collection of business rules and reference data to initiate and manage service execution.

  • Service Provider Service Name is the name used by a Service Provider for a service they offer.
  • The Service Provider may use these service names as charge names when providing quotes or invoicing.

  • Alternative Term: Customer Booking
  • A Service Request is a documented request for one or more services.
  • A Service Request is one of three types: freight and related services, services only, or a reservation for space (freight).

  • A Shipment is a generic term used casually by any party and may refer to any of the following: Consignment, Customer Shipment, Carrier Shipment, and the related contracts.
  • It is a best practice to always use a modifier before/after the term to communicate its context.

  • Alternative Term: Consignor
  • A Shipper is the party responsible for preparing the Freight for transport and consigning the Freight as stipulated in the Bill of Lading.

A Shipper's Export Declaration (SED) is a documented statement submitted at the port of export attesting to the correctness of description, quantity, commercial value, commodity classification, weight, destination, and other basic information of Commercial Goods or Company Materials for export from a country.

The Shipper's Letter of Instruction (SLI) is a letter from the Shipper instructing a Service Provider to arrange the transportation of a Customer Shipment, including requested routing and handling instructions, insurance needs, document distribution requirements, consignee name and address, method of transport, etc.

A Slot Booking is a request for an appointment window to pick up or deliver freight at a facility, such as a Container Freight Station.

A Spot Market Rate is a Service Provider Buy Rate determined by a Carrier based on current market conditions and available capacity.

  • A Spot Quote Request is an inquiry requesting the rate for one or more transportation services for an imminent Shipment.
  • The request must include sufficient information to determine the rate. This must include origin, destination, and weight, and may include other shipment specific information such as commodity, pieces, dimensions, etc.
  • A Spot Quote Request may result in a Spot Quote Response, which may lead to a Booking.

  • A Spot Quote Response is a documented reply specifying the rate for one or more services as defined in a Spot Quote Request.
  • The response is valid for a limited period of time.

A Stop is a Location where a Conveyance stops on its route from origin to destination.

A String is a recurring sequence of Ports on a sailing itinerary that Vessels plan to call on.

A Supplier is a party responsible for providing goods or services to a Vendor or Manufacturer in a supply chain.

Surcharge is an extra fee charged in addition to the normal cost for a service (e.g., fuel, road toll, peak season).


The meaning of Tariff is dependent on context.

  • Quoting & Rating: A Tariff is a documented agreement to set prices for services for a period of time.
  • Customs: A Tariff is duty, taxes, or fees to be paid for the import or export of goods to a Customs Authority.

Term used to represent companies that supply component parts or raw materials to the vehicle manufacturing process. Tier 1 suppliers provide finished product directly to OEMs for vehicle assembly. Tier 2 suppliers provide component parts to Tier 1 suppliers. Tier 3 suppliers supply to Tier 2 etc.

  • A Tracking Number is a reference to Freight as identified by an agreement, label, or other document.
  • The primary use for Tracking Number is for a Customer to identify a the ETA of a shipment.

A Trading Partner is any party in a Customer's supply chain that is not part of the Customer's organization.

A Transaction is an instance of executing an operational process.

  • Transactional Data are collections of data that support operational process execution and, later, reporting.
  • Transactional data have an active life span limited to the processes they support.

A Transfer is a local ground Move between any combination of Expeditors' and/or Service Provider's facilities, excluding Customer Pickup, Consignee Delivery, or Main Move.

Transload is the process of transferring Freight directly between Conveyances or Containers.

The Truck Bill is a documented agreement with a truck Carrier to identify parties, services, commodities, and rates for the movement of freight.

A Truck Broker is a ground transportation intermediary (a Service Provider) that provides truck freight services with assets that it typically neither owns nor operates.


An Ultimate Consignee is the party that receives the Freight. In most cases, the Consignee and the Ultimate Consignee are the same, but they may differ in practice. See: Consignee.

A Unit Load Device (ULD) is a Container designed specifically to load Freight into an aircraft.

Unitary Information is the statistical aggregation of shipment data for reporting purposes.

User Authentication is the data and process of establishing an identity for the purpose of accessing a system or facility.

User Authorization is the data and process of providing or limiting access to a system or facility.


Performance of services required prior to delivery to the end customer, these can include packaging, ticketing, labeling, pressing, and inspection.

A Vendor is a party that purchases goods or services from Manufacturers or Suppliers in order to sell Commercial Goods to the Customer.

Vehicle Identification Number. A unique alpha-numerical identifier issued to each vehicle used primarily for identification and registration. VIN coding can indicate country and location of manufacture, vehicle type, and model year along with other details unique to that vehicle.

A Visit is a period of time that a Visitor is on the premises of an Expeditors facility.

A Visitor is either:

  • An external party, such as a service provider or customer
  • An Expeditors employee visiting locations other than their normal work place.

Vehicle off Road. Service parts status whereby a customer of a company dealership has their car in for service, and the necessary parts are not in stock. Requires a high level of service and fast transit for shipping


A domestic contract of carriage typically used by motor and rail carriers, similar to a bill of lading, but which is not negotiable.

  • A Workflow is a report organizing operational tasks visually and prioritizing them to be performed as soon as possible, driving efficiency and consistency.
  • A Workboard is a workflow tool that enables the user to take action on a given task within the same interface.


A Zone is an area or territory having a particular characteristic, purpose, use, or restriction that make it a subject for business rules.