10 Shipping Terms Every Small Business Owner Should Know

Are you constantly looking for ways to save your small business money? If you haven’t looked at your shipping processes as a means for doing so, you’re likely spending too much and not getting nearly enough in return. Smart shipping requires a basic understanding of industry terminology. Here are 10 terms to help you through the process. Click To Tweet

Freight Logistics Terms

Your company may not have its own shipping department. Nevertheless, you need to be aware of shipping terms and conditions before they conduct direct imports. The following is a list of some of the commonly used terms that will assist you when placing orders:

  1. Bill of Lading (BOL)
  2. Freight Broker
  3. Freight Forwarder
  4. Hazardous Materials
  5. Intermodal
  6. Less than Truckload
  7. Parcel Service Failure
  8. Shipper’s Agent
  9. Tariff
  10. Truckload

1) Bill of Lading (BoL)

There are a few different kinds of BoL, depending on payment, cargo and shipping method. Most every BoL will require the carrier name and signature, the date and an indication of what kind of goods are being shipped, terms and conditions, and a destination.

2) Freight Broker

Any person that sells transportation without actually providing the service. The term usually refers to an agent for truckload shipments, matching small shippers with carriers at a discounted rate. They’re able to do this due to having cultivated relationships with many different carriers.

Pro Tip: Working with a Freight Broker will help save small businesses money.

3) Freight Forwarder

A freight forwarder combines less-than-truckload (LTL) or less-than-carload (LCL) shipments into carload or truckload lots. Freight forwarders are designated as common carriers.

4) Hazardous Materials

This may seem like a no-brainer, but hazardous materials aren’t always so cut and dry.

5) Intermodal

Shipment moves by more than one mode of transportation (ground, air, rail or ocean).

6) Less than truckload (LTL)

Goods weighing less than 10,000 pounds from several shippers loaded onto one trailer.

7) Parcel Service Failure

When you order an item from a retailer, you’re effectively creating a contract between the two of you, even if it isn’t written down. While it’s the retailer you will need to deal with in order to get compensation (see how below), if your parcel is late then in the first instance you may be best off contacting the courier first. You may opt for a parcel failure refund service, which identifies late or lost deliveries and guarantees your shipment will arrive or be refunded to you no matter what happens.

8) Shipper’s Agent

A shipper’s agent is not a carrier, freight forwarder or broker. Shipper’s agents generally arrange for truckload or container load shipment transportation. Shipper’s agents commonly provide services related to warehousing or loading and unloading.

9) Tariff

A Tariff is a document setting forth applicable rules, rates and charges to move goods. A tariff sets forth a contract for the shipper, the consignee, and the carrier

10) Truckload

Large-volume shipment from a single customer that weighs more than 10,000 pounds or takes up all the trailer space so no other shipment can be loaded.

Working With a Freight Broker

Working with a freight broker can eliminate a lot of the anxiety surrounding freight shipping. But even then, it’s helpful to have a good handle on basic terminology. This will ensure clear communication and hopefully prevent misunderstandings.

Working with a freight broker can eliminate a lot of the anxiety surrounding freight shipping. Click To Tweet

Contact Us to learn more about procuring the best rate and carrier for your job.