3PL – 3rd Party Logistics provider – A firm that provides multiple logistics services for use by customers.  Among the services 3PLs provide are transportation, warehousing, cross-docking, inventory management, packaging, and freight forwarding. Asset-based 3PLs typically own their own trucks, equipment, and/or warehouses.  Non-asset-based 3PLs provide extensive management and sourcing capabilities but do not own the assets involved.

Accessorial Charges or Fees – charges made for additional, supplemental, or special services performed in addition to the basic transportation service.  Requiring a lift-gate, a fork lift, or incurring a fee for keeping a truck waiting for a load to be ready are very common examples.

Barge – A flat-bottomed boat designed to carry cargo on inland waterways, usually without engines or crew accommodations.  Barges can be lashed together and either pushed or pulled by tugs, carrying cargo of 60,000 tons or more.

BOL – Bill Of Lading – A document that establishes the terms of a contract between a shipper and a transportation company. It serves as a document of title, a contract of carriage and a receipt for agreed-upon delivery services.  A BOL typically has a unique serial number that is used to identify the transaction between the shipper and the transportation company.

Carriers – The business who, in a contract of carriage, undertakes to perform the physical transportation of the agreed upon goods from a pick-up location to a drop-off location as dictated by the BOL.  A carrier might be an independent trucker or a multi-national transportation company with a whole fleet of trucks and ships, or anything in between.

Cartage – Charge for transporting goods for short distances, such as within a commercial area or town. Also called drayage or haulage.  Often the carrier provides power only to move the shipper’s container or trailer from one location to another within a metro area.

CIF – Cost, Insurance and Freight – A trade term requiring the seller to arrange for and pay for the carriage of goods and necessary insurance, by sea to a port of destination, and provide the buyer with the documents necessary to obtain the goods from the carrier.

Classes & Tariffs – A grouping of goods or commodities under one general heading.  All the items in the group make up a class. The freight rates that apply to all items in the class are called Tariffs.

Classification – The National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) is a standard that provides a categorization of commodities moving in interstate, intrastate and North American commerce. It is similar in concept to the groupings or grading systems that serve many other industries. Commodities are grouped into one of 18 classes—from a low of class 50 to a high of class 500—based on an evaluation of four transportation characteristics: density, stowability, handling and liability. Together, these characteristics establish a commodity’s “transportability.”

COD – Collect/Cash On Delivery.

Commercial  Invoice – A commercial invoice is a document used in foreign trade. It is used as a customs declaration provided by the person or corporation that is exporting an item across international borders. Although there is no standard format, the document must include a few specific pieces of information such as the parties involved in the shipping transaction, the goods being transported, the cost of goods, the country of manufacture, and the Harmonized System codes for those goods. A commercial invoice must also include a statement certifying that the invoice is true, and a signature.

Common Carrier – A person or company that transports goods for any person or company at published rates, and that is responsible for any possible loss of the goods during transport.  A common carrier offers its services to the general public under license or authority provided by a regulatory body.

Consignee – In a contract of carriage, the consignee is the person to whom the shipment is to be delivered.

Contract Carrier – A carrier that transports goods for only a certain number of clients and that can refuse to transport goods for anyone else.

Customs Broker – A professional who assists in the ‘clearing’ of goods through customs barriers for importers and exporters (usually businesses). This involves the preparation of documents and/or electronic submissions, the calculation (and usually the payment) on behalf of the client of taxes, duties and excises, and facilitating communication between the importer/exporter and governmental authorities.

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