Freight Facts – Learn to Speak the Language of Logistics

As an electrical distributor, you play an integral part in the supply chain. Without the products and services that you provide, the maintenance and construction projects that you serve would grind to a halt. In addition to all the tools, gear, wire, lighting, and other electrical goods you offer, logistical solutions and freight services play a key role in the ultimate satisfaction of your customers.

Knowing the “language” of freight and logistics is essential to being able to deliver effective supply chain solutions. At DWC, we’ve put together the following list of common freight terms to help folks better understand the transit services that we all rely on. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or new to the electrical wholesale space, the following glossary of “Freight Facts” can serve as a desk reference when learning and understanding the vernacular of the shipping industry.

TERM                                 DEFINITION

3RD PARTY  –  Person or company where freight charges are billed that is neither the shipper nor the consignee.

ACCESSORIAL CHARGE  –  Additional charge for service performed, i.e., RSD, liftgate, inside delivery, etc.

BILL TO  –  Company or person’s address where freight charges are to be billed. This appears on the bill of lading.

BOL  –  Bill of Lading – Document given to the carrier for legal tender of shipment. Contains shipper, consignee, freight description, weight, pieces, and other pertinent info.

CBL  –  Corrected Bill of Lading – Some carriers will allow this to be corrected PRIOR to delivery.

CLASS  –  Identification Number (NMFC) to identify the commodity that is being shipped.

COLLECT  –  Consignee is liable for freight charges.

CONCEALED DAMAGE  –  Damage to the shipment that is not visible from the outside. Typically, you only have 15 days to file a claim.

CONSIGNEE  –  Person or company receiving the shipment.

DEFICIT WEIGHT  –  Difference in weight used to bump freight to a higher weight group to produce a lower rate.

DETENTION  –  When a carrier is held up during delivery or pickup – Extra charges apply.

DIMENSIONAL WEIGHT  –  Multiply the length, width, and height of a package, using the longest point on each side, then divide by 139. For example: 36x36x24 = 31,104 / 139 = 223.77.  So additional – weight would be 224 lbs  (This is typically for UPS only).

DR or POD  –  Delivery Receipt OR Proof of Delivery (signed & dated by the consignee).

FFA  –  Full Freight Allowed – The shipper pays freight costs.

FOB  –  Free on Board – A term that indicates that the price of goods includes delivery at the seller’s expense to a specified point and no further.

FREE ASTRAY  –  Carrier ships free to a specific destination.

FREIGHT DENSITY  –  The space an item occupies in relation to its weight. This is determined by dividing the weight of the item in pounds by the volume in cubic feet. This will result in a change in classification which in turn results in a higher freight charge.

FULL TRUCKLOAD  –  A single dedicated truck just for one shipment.

GROUND  –  Under 150 lbs. Shipment (UPS or Fed Ex Ground)

GSR  –  Guaranteed Service Refund (UPS) is when a shipment does not deliver on time.

GUARANTEED SHIPMENT  –  Carrier guarantees delivery at a certain time. If not delivered on time one can request a refund from the carrier.

HOT SHOT  –  Express Expedited Non-Stop Shipment – Charges are typically very high for these specialty shipping services.

HSA  –  High Service Area – Rural zip codes that are not easily accessible.

INTERLINE  –  To transfer the shipment from one carrier to another to deliver to the consignee.

LOA  –  Letter of Authorization (To assume charges from one company to another)

LTD  –  Limited Access Delivery – Airports, Schools, Construction Sites, Military Bases, Mines, Rural Areas, Prisons – Additional charges typically incur.

LTL  –  Less than a Truckload – Takes up less space than a full truckload.

NMFC  –  National Motor Freight Classification – A class number to identify the type of commodity being shipped.

ORIGIN  –  Place where freight is shipped from.

PPA  –  Prepaid – Freight charges paid by either the shipper or a 3rd party company or person.

RECLASS  –  To ask a carrier to reclass the invoice of a shipment to another classification based on the commodity and spec sheet.

RECONSIGN  –  To redirect or divert a shipment to another address. Additional charges will incur.

RSD  –  Accessorial charges added to have a shipment delivered to a customer’s residence.

RTS  –   Return to Sender can be requested, however additional charges will incur.

SKID  –  A platform used to brace freight or load freight for shipping.

TARIFF  –  Fees, agreements, or rules that a Carrier has in relation to their customer. This is usually negotiated yearly.

We hope that this list provides some clarity and understanding for some of these terms. Do you have anything that you’d like to add to our list? If you do, please leave your suggestions in the comments field below.