GENERAL TRUCKING TERMS

 A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

A

Axle Weight

Weight carried by one axle.

B 

Backhaul

A haul that returns you to home or base of operation.

 BBC

The distance from the truck's front bumper to the back of its cab.

 Billed weight

The weight shown on a freight bill.

 Bill of lading

Written transportation contract between shipper and carrier; it identifies who receives the freight and the place of delivery. It also gives terms of the agreement.

 Bobtail

A tractor operating without a trailer.

 Bobtail Insurance

Insurance covering accidents during non trucking use (i.e., not hauling a load; during maintenance service, etc.

 Bridge Formula

Federal regulation of how far apart the axles must be to legally carry a given weight.

 Broker

A person who arranges loads for owner/operators.

 Bulk Freight

Unpackaged freight, (for example, petroleum products).

C

Cargo Insurance

Insurance on the freight paid for by the carrier.

 Carrier

A person, partnership or corporation engaged in the business of transporting goods.

 Carrier's Lien

Carrier's claim on property it has transported as security for charges.

 Cash Advance

Money received from carrier generally used for fuel and deducted from owner operator's final settlement check.

 CDL

Commercial Driver's License: A license which authorizes an individual to operate commercial motor vehicles over 26,000 pounds gross vehicle weight.

 Chargeable Accidents

An accident that a driver could have prevented whether or not it was his fault.

 Charge backs

Those temporary costs assumed by the carrier for independent contractors. It is understood through the lease that these costs will be charged back to the independent contractor usually at settlement.

 Clearing House

An organization set up to process and collect bills for participating trucking companies.

 COE

Cab-Over-Engine: Truck/tractor design where the cab sits over the engine on the chassis.

 Commodity

Any article of commerce, including raw material, manufactured or grown products.

 Common Authority

Certificate from the ICC that allows the holder to haul regulated commodities in a for-hire trucking operation.

 Common Carriers' Insurance

Insurance that covers transportation company's liability for loss of, or damage to, cargo or property being transported by them.

 Consignee

The person or firm to whom articles are shipped.

 Consignor

The person or firm who shipped the product.

Containerization

A shipping system based on large cargo carrying containers that can be easily interchanged between trucks.

 Contract Carrier

Truckers who are providing dedicated service under contract to specific shippers using an ICC certificate.

 Curtainside

A trailer with a bulkhead, doors and a roof and sides that are made to open like drapes on a window and is used for products that have to be loaded or unloaded from ground level, and must also be protected from the environment.  This type of trailer allows for easy loading and unloading and protects the freight from the weather without the need for tarps.

 CVSA

Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance: An organization of federal, state and provincial government agencies and representatives from private industry dedicated to improving commercial safety.

D

Deadheading

Operating a truck with no load.

Detention (Demurrage)

Detention of a vehicle beyond the time normally allowed for loading, unloading, etc.

 Disability Insurance

Insurance policy that covers income if a truck driver is unable to work for a few weeks or more.

 Dispatcher

A person who schedules and controls intercity traffic and intra-city pickup and delivery.

 D.O.T.

 United States Department of Transportation

 Doubles

A tractor with two semi trailers connected in tandem by a converter dolly.

 Drayage

Trucking goods from a warehouse to a rail yard or vice versa. Drayage is the trucking component of intermodal transportation.

E 

Exempt Carrier

Truckers hauling certain commodities that are exempt that may be transported in both interstate and intrastate commerce without operating authority ICC.

 Exempt Commodity

Commodities that are moved interstate and intrastate by truck and not subject to regulation (i.e., any fresh fruit or vegetables except bananas)

F

FOB

Free on Board: Usually indicates place where responsibility for expenses and risk for goods is passed from seller to buyer.

Fifth Wheel

A heavy metal device mounted atop the rear axles and wheels of a tractor which engages the kingpin underneath the nose of a trailer. When engaged, the trailer is then locked to the tractor for movement and the lubricated faceplate of the fifth wheel allows the seated flat plate around the trailer's kingpin to rotate smoothly when the tractor and trailer make turns.

 Flatbed

An open trailer with only a front bulkhead. It has no walls, roof, or doors and is used for products that have to be loaded or unloaded from ground level, such as building materials.

Forced Dispatch

Being forced to take a load whether the driver wants to or not.

Freight

Any commodity being transported.

Freight Bill

Document for a shipment with the description of the freight, weight, charges, rate for charges, taxes and whether it is a prepaid or collect shipment.

 Freight Charge

Payment due for the transportation of the freight

 Fuel taxes

Taxes paid to each state a vehicle runs in based on miles driven in that state.

G

GCW

Gross Combination Weight: Total weight of tractor- trailer combinations, including trucks, trailers and payload.

 GVW

Gross Vehicle Weight: Total weight of the loaded vehicle, including chassis, body and payload. Used to refer to the maximum GVW allowed by D.O.T. regulations.

 Glad Hand Lock

A lockable device that interlocks with the pneumatic fittings (brake line connectors) of a trailer that prevents a tractor from connecting to the brake lines for towing. This is a basic security device

H 

Haz Mat

Short for hazardous material; refers to product that may pose a risk to personal health and safety, environment or property, if improperly transported,  handled, stored or damaged. Examples include flammables, corrosives, explosives, and poisons. The handling and transportation of such products are strictly regulated by several governmental agencies.

I

 ICC

Interstate Commerce Commission: The federal body charged with enforcement of acts of Congress affecting interstate commerce.

 IFTA

International Fuel Tax Agreement A system of centralized fuel tax payment allowing truckers to pay all state fuel taxes to a collection agency. This agency disburses funds to each state or provincial agency based on the total miles you reported traveling in each state.

 Independent Contractors           

Independent contractors are owner operators who lease themselves and their vehicles to trucking companies regulated by the ICC.

 Intermodal

Transportation movement involving more than one mode, example, rail motor, motor air, or rail water.

 Interstate

Between states.

 Intrastate

Within a state.

J 

Jackknife

Placing the tractor/trailer at a very sharp angle resulting from lock-up of tractor drive axle(s).

K

Kingpin

Kingpin is a broad, heavy metal bit or pin of steel located on the underside of the noise of a trailer or chassis. The kingpin engages the fifth wheel on a tractor and when locked in place enables the trailer to be towed by the tractor

 Kingpin Lock

A heavy locked mechanism that fits over the kingpin on a trailer and which prevents the trailer from engaging the fifth wheel of the tractor and, therefore, prevents movement. A basic trailer security device.

L

Lading

The freight in a truck.

 Landing Gear

Metal legs with a pad at the foot that support the front of a trailer when it is not hooked to a tractor. The landing gear is cranked down until the trailer pad is lifted off the trailer's fifth wheel before the tractor pulls away and cranked up under the trailer again in order to engage the fifth wheel and trailer plates before the trailer is moved to a new location.

 Liability Insurance

Insurance that covers any third party injuries or damages.

 Line Haul

The movement of freight between distant points. It does not include pickup and delivery service, or intra-city delivery.

 Loaded Mile

Distance traveled with paid freight in a trailer.

 Logbook

Drivers book containing daily hours, routes, etc. They are required by DOT regulation.

 LTL

Less Than Truckload: A quantity of freight that is less than required for the application of a truckload rate.

 Lumpers

Helpers hired to load/unload freight

M

Manifest

A document describing a shipment or the contents of a vehicle

 MCSAP

The Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program: Federal Government program distributing monies to help states conduct effective truck inspection and safety efforts.

 MCS-90

A document that shows proof of adequate insurance

N 

 NTSB

The National Transportation Safety Board: A Federal Government organization charged with investigating accidents in every sector of transportation, suggesting ways of improving transportation safety through effective regulatory requirements, and reporting on its findings and conclusions to Congress.

O

 OTR

Over the road drivers.

 Owner Operator

A person who owns one or more trucks and personally drives at least one of them. Also known as a small fleet owner operator if more than one vehicle is owned.

P

 Payload

Total weight of the commodity carried on a truck including packaging, banding, etc.

 Permanent Lease

A lease for at least 30 days where an owner operator leases himself and his equipment to a regulated carrier.

 Permits

Permission granted to carriers by states to transport freight exceeding legal weight and size limits.

 Pig

A type of trailer that can be transported on a rail car and also pulled by a tractor.

 Piggyback

A transportation system in which truck trailers are carried on railroad flatcars.

 PMs

Preventive maintenance inspection

 Pre Trip Inspection

A walk around inspection of a truck that every driver is required to perform prior to every trip in a commercial vehicle. This involves following a complete check list related to the particular type of vehicle being inspected. The pre-trip inspection is considered by experts to be one of the most neglected, potentially effective means of improving truck safety.

 Private Carrier

A company that has its own trucks to transport its own freight.

 Pro Rate

To distribute proportionately.

 Pup

A short trailer, typically 28', that can either be handled alone or in tandem with a second trailer

R

 Rate

The charge for transporting freight

 Reefer

A refrigerated trailer, container, or railcar used for either frozen or refrigerated foods.

 Regulated commodities

Commodities that are transported under governmental regulation.

 Regulated Common carrier

Carriers that transport general commodities that are regulated by the ICC.

 Road Use Taxes

Annual federal tax applied to each vehicle.

S

 SCAC/SCAC Code:

Standard Carrier Alpha Code; a unique 2 to 4-letter code assigned to transportation companies for identification purposes. SCAC codes are required for EDI, and are printed on bills of lading and other transportation documents. WhiteStar Logistics SCAC code is "CUFO."

 Scale (Weigh) Station

A place where trucks are weighed to ensure that GVW and axle weights are below permissible levels.

 Seal

A simple device, typically made of plastic or thin metal and carrying a unique identification number used to "seal" a transportation vehicle and to detect whether or not the vehicle has been opened without authorization. Seals are constructed so that they must be cut or broken in order to open the vehicle doors.

 Settlement

A net amount paid for hauling a load.

 Surcharge

A charge above the usual or customary charge.

 Surtax

An additional or extra tax.

T

 Tandem

An assembly of two axles, either of which may be powered.

 Tariff

A published rate for hauling goods

 TL: Truckload

A full or nearly full trailer of goods. Usually the shipment is made without stopover to load/unload.

 Tractor

            The truck that pulls a trailer or container

 Trailer

A wheeled transportation vehicle with attached wheels and landing gear, pulled by a tractor (together called a tractor trailer) to transport cargo. A container on chassis is also commonly called a trailer although this is not strictly correct. The most common trailer is a "van" or "dry box" enclosed dry trailer. Trailers come in other types however: such as reefers, which are temperature controlled, flat beds, tanks, etc. Trailers also come in many sizes: 53' is most common, but there are 28', 40', 45', 48', and 53' and 57' sizes. Dry vans have two door types: swing door and roll up doors.

 Transportation Insurance

This insurance covers loss to shippers because of an accident to goods in transit.

 Trip Recorder

On- Board Computer - Cab mounted device which records data such as speed, engine rpm, idle time and any other information that may be useful to trucking management.

U

 U.S. DOT Number

Vehicle Registration Number. U.S Dot numbers are supplied without charge, and are required for all vehicles exceeding 10,000 lbs. GVW or GCW.

V

 Van

            A dry enclosed trailer. The most common type of trailer.

 

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