Shipping Terms Glossary

We understand that the world of shipping might be packed with perplexing terms and phrases. That is why we decided to establish a shipping glossary.
You’ll always know what freight terminology or shipping acronyms to use, whether you’re talking to a courier about prices and services or chatting to customers about numerous delivery options. Now it’s time to ship!

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Body content: While it may sound technical, API stands for “application programming interface”.

In simple terms, an API is a set of routines, protocols, and tools that allow one program to access and use another program’s capabilities.

As an example, an API allows you to integrate Twitter data into your own applications. Rather than having to download, parse and store Twitter’s data in your own database, you can instead access and use the data through an API. This allows you to add real-time updates, news alerts, etc., to your own apps.

API is just one of many types of APIs. These include Open API, SOAP, REST, and OAuth, just to name a few.


Agents represent the cargo vessel owners at ports where the vessel is to discharge or load cargo. An agent may be a company or an individual.

Body content: An agent represents a business at a port. A business may have an agent at every port where it ships. Each agent serves a specific function or area of interest.

An agent can be licensed by a particular port or agency but is often licensed by the vessel. Vessel agents operate in a similar manner to a broker and act on behalf of a business. However, a vessel agent must be registered with the U.S. Coast Guard.

Arrival Notice

It provides an overview of the shipment, including the name of the shipment, its date of arrival, and its tracking information. It is an email sent to the recipient, usually by the freight forwarder who handled the shipment.

Body content: An arrival notice is a very important tool for any logistics company to utilize. It helps to keep your customers informed, as well as your own staff. It helps in the following ways:

• Keeps customers up-to-date on the progress of the shipment

• Allows your staff to get the necessary paperwork signed and on-time

• Helps ensure the timely payment of your bills

In addition to these benefits, you can use arrival notices for many other purposes such as:

• Providing a quick and easy way for your customers to track their shipment

• Keeping your customers informed


Base Rate

It is an estimate of how much it will cost to ship a package before any potential additional charges or fees are added.

Body content: Many online retailers use a base rate to set a shipping cost for each product.

It is usually based on the size and weight of the product, how far the package is going, the location it is being shipped from, and whether or not it is a residential delivery. It is also based on the shipping carrier the customer chooses.

Most companies choose a base rate that is cheaper than the market average. It is a way of encouraging people to buy more from them and spend more.

Bill Of Lading

A bill of lading is an important document that is usually issued by a courier to a shipper, detailing the type, quantity, and destination of the goods being carried. A bill of lading is also known as a manifest, a freight bill,   or a cargo bill.

Body content:

Bill of lading or “Bill of lading” is a legal document issued by couriers to shippers, that details the type, quantity, and destination of the goods being carried.

A bill of lading is also commonly called a “Shipper’s Manifest” or a “Shipper’s Export Declaration”.

A bill of lading typically includes the following information:

• The name of the shipping company

• The name and address of the shipper or consignee

• The description of the cargo, including its contents, dimensions, weight and value

Bonded Warehouse

The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) defines bonded warehouses as those located in any foreign country where the operator is subject to the laws of the country. CBP has the authority to seize goods or impose monetary fines on importers for violating the law.

The purpose of a bonded warehouse is to provide storage for goods traveling abroad, while they are being inspected, or waiting for a shipment to be cleared. This service is typically offered by the warehouse company to companies operating internationally, so the warehouses themselves are often located in third-party countries.

Bulk Cargo

Body content: In general, bulk cargo refers to goods that are packaged, shipped, and delivered in large quantities. Bulk cargo can include raw materials, processed or packaged goods, and other similar goods that are transported by truck, rail, sea, or air.

A bulk cargo shipment is considered to be large when it includes multiple containers and/or pallets. The most common bulk cargoes include grains, cement, coal, salt, and steel.

Some bulk cargoes include multiple types of goods. For example, cement shipments may contain concrete, sand, and other ingredients that go into the cement mix.

Bulk cargo is usually shipped in large quantities, often over several days. However, shipments can also arrive over a period of weeks or months.

The purpose of a bonded warehouse is to provide storage for goods traveling abroad, while they are being inspected, or waiting for a shipment to be cleared. This service is typically offered by the warehouse company to companies operating internationally, so the warehouses themselves are often located in third-party countries.

Bulk Shipping

Body content: The term “bulk shipping” is used to describe shipping of large quantities of a commodity (often perishable) over a given distance.

Bulk shipping is the best way to ship a large number of products between locations over a long period of time. Bulk shipping is often associated with perishable goods, and the term is often used interchangeably with “LTL” (less than truckload). The word “LTL” is used to describe the freight classification for shipment of less than a full load of goods.

There are several advantages to using bulk shipping services to ship goods:

Lowest cost per pound or kilogram shipped, even for very large orders

Speed: Bulk shipping is faster than most other forms of shipping. For example, it takes about one day to ship a container of fruit from California to New York, versus several weeks for normal delivery.

Convenience: Bulk shipping can be done at a time convenient for the customer


CIF (Cost, Insurance, and Freight)

CIF is an Incoterm (International Commercial Term) used in international trade to define the responsibilities and costs between the seller and buyer. Under CIF, the seller is responsible for the cost, insurance, and freight of the goods until they reach the agreed-upon destination. The seller handles transportation and insurance, while the buyer assumes ownership and risk once the goods are loaded onto the vessel. CIF is commonly used for maritime shipments.


A carrier is a company or individual responsible for the transportation of goods or people. Carriers can operate in various modes of transportation, including air, sea, road, or rail. They provide shipping services, transport goods from one location to another, and ensure the safe delivery of cargo. Examples of carriers include shipping lines, airlines, trucking companies, and railway operators.

Carrier Liability

Carrier liability refers to the legal responsibility of the carrier for loss, damage, or delay of goods during transportation. The extent of carrier liability depends on various factors, including the terms and conditions of the contract, the mode of transportation, and applicable international conventions. Carriers may limit their liability through contractual provisions, such as declaring a specific value of goods or offering additional insurance coverage.

Certificate of Origin

A certificate of origin is a document issued by the exporter or a relevant authority that certifies the country of origin of goods. It provides evidence to customs authorities and buyers about the origin of the goods, which can be important for determining import duties, complying with trade agreements, or meeting regulatory requirements. Certificates of origin may be required for certain products or when exporting to specific countries.


In shipping, a claim refers to a formal request made by the shipper or consignee for compensation due to loss, damage, or delay of goods during transportation. It is a legal process where the claimant seeks to recover the value of the goods or damages incurred. The claimant needs to provide supporting documentation, such as the bill of lading, photographs, and evidence of the value of the goods, to substantiate the claim.


The consignee is the party named in the shipping documents or bill of lading as the recipient of the goods. They are typically the buyer or the receiver of the shipment. The consignee is responsible for customs clearance, taking delivery of the goods, and ensuring their proper handling upon arrival. It is essential for the consignee to provide accurate contact information and coordinate with the carrier or freight forwarder for a smooth delivery process.


A courier is a company or individual that specializes in the delivery of small parcels or documents. Couriers offer fast and efficient door-to-door delivery services, often with expedited transit times. They handle shipments on a smaller scale compared to traditional freight carriers and are commonly used for urgent or time-sensitive deliveries. Well-known courier companies include FedEx, DHL, UPS, and TNT.

Cross Border Shipping

Cross border shipping refers to the movement of goods or cargo across international borders. It involves complying with customs regulations, documentation requirements, and import/export procedures of different countries. Cross border shipping can involve multiple transportation modes and may require the involvement of customs brokers or freight forwarders to navigate the complexities of international trade.

Custom Clearance

Custom clearance is the process of completing the necessary formalities and documentation required by customs authorities to allow the import or export of goods. It involves submitting relevant documents, paying customs duties and taxes, and complying with customs regulations. Custom clearance ensures that goods can legally enter or exit a country and involves activities such as cargo inspection, classification, valuation, and determination of applicable duties and taxes.


Customs is a government authority responsible for regulating the flow of goods in and out of a country. Customs administrations enforce customs laws, collect customs duties and taxes, and ensure compliance with import/export regulations. They conduct inspections, process customs declarations, and facilitate trade by facilitating the movement of goods while ensuring security and adherence to trade policies.

Customs Broker

A customs broker is a licensed professional or company that assists importers and exporters in navigating the customs clearance process. They have expertise in customs regulations, documentation requirements, and import/export procedures. Customs brokers help clients with tasks such as preparing and submitting customs declarations, paying duties and taxes, obtaining necessary permits, and ensuring compliance with customs regulations.

Customs Duty

Customs duty, also known as import duty or tariff, is a tax imposed by the government on imported goods. It is based on the value, quantity, or weight of the goods and serves various purposes, including revenue generation, protection of domestic industries, and regulation of international trade. Customs duties can vary significantly between countries and are usually paid by the importer or consignee before the goods are released from customs custody.

Customs Invoice

A customs invoice, also called a commercial invoice, is a document provided by the exporter that contains a detailed description of the goods, their value, and other relevant information required for customs purposes. It is used to determine the customs duties and taxes applicable to the imported goods and serves as evidence of the transaction between the buyer and seller. The customs invoice is an essential document for customs clearance and should accurately reflect the contents and value of the shipment.


Crowdfunding is a method of raising funds for a project or venture by collecting small contributions from a large number of individuals, typically through online platforms. It allows entrepreneurs, artists, or individuals with innovative ideas to access capital without traditional financing methods. Crowdfunding campaigns often offer rewards or incentives to contributors, such as early access to products or exclusive experiences. Popular crowdfunding platforms include Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and GoFundMe.


DDP (Delivered Duty Paid)

DDP is an Incoterm that places the maximum responsibility on the seller for the transportation, customs clearance, and delivery of goods to the buyer’s designated destination. Under DDP, the seller assumes all risks and costs, including customs duties, taxes, and transportation charges, until the goods are delivered to the buyer. The seller is responsible for handling all import procedures and ensuring that the goods are cleared for importation. DDP is commonly used when the seller wants to provide a seamless door-to-door delivery experience to the buyer.

DDU (Delivered Duty Unpaid)

DDU is an Incoterm where the seller is responsible for delivering the goods to the buyer’s designated destination but is not responsible for paying import duties or taxes. Under DDU, the seller handles the transportation and associated costs until the goods reach the destination country. However, the buyer assumes the responsibility for customs clearance, including paying applicable duties, taxes, and any other import-related charges. DDU is commonly used when the buyer wants more control over the customs clearance process and is willing to handle the associated responsibilities and costs.

Dimension Weight Charge

Dimension weight charge, also known as volumetric weight charge, is a fee imposed by carriers when the size of a shipment is disproportionate to its actual weight. It is calculated by measuring the dimensions of the package (length, width, and height) and applying a specific formula to determine its volumetric weight. If the volumetric weight exceeds the actual weight of the shipment, carriers may charge based on the higher value to account for the space the package occupies in their transportation network. Dimension weight charges encourage shippers to optimize their packaging and minimize wasted space.


Dispatch refers to the process of sending out or initiating the shipment of goods. It involves preparing the goods for transport, generating shipping labels or documents, and coordinating their pickup by the carrier. Dispatch can also refer to the action of assigning or allocating resources, such as vehicles or personnel, to fulfill delivery orders. Efficient dispatch practices are crucial for ensuring timely and accurate shipments, as well as effective coordination between shippers, carriers, and other stakeholders.

Distribution Center

A distribution center, also known as a warehouse or fulfillment center, is a facility where goods are stored, sorted, and prepared for distribution to retail stores, wholesalers, or end customers. Distribution centers play a vital role in supply chain management, serving as central hubs for receiving, storing, and dispatching goods. They facilitate efficient inventory management, order fulfillment, and often employ technologies like automation and robotics to optimize logistics operations.


Door-to-door shipping is a service that provides transportation of goods directly from the seller’s location to the buyer’s designated destination. It offers convenience and end-to-end visibility, as the carrier takes care of all aspects of the shipment, including pickup, transportation, customs clearance, and final delivery to the buyer’s doorstep. Door-to-door shipping is commonly used for e-commerce transactions, international shipments, and time-sensitive deliveries, providing a seamless shipping experience for both businesses and consumers.


Drayage is the transportation of goods over short distances, typically between a port or rail yard and a nearby warehouse or distribution center. It involves moving containers or cargo from one point to another within a limited geographic area. Drayage services are commonly required to transport goods between maritime ports and inland locations, where trucks or other short-haul vehicles are used to transport containers or breakbulk cargo. Drayage plays a critical role in facilitating efficient intermodal transportation and connecting different modes of transportation in the supply chain.


Dropshipping is a retail fulfillment method where the seller does not keep products in stock but instead transfers customer orders and shipment details to a manufacturer, wholesaler, or another retailer who then ships the products directly to the customer. The seller acts as an intermediary, handling customer orders, marketing, and customer service while relying on a third-party supplier to fulfill and ship the products. Dropshipping eliminates the need for inventory management and upfront investment in stock, making it an attractive business model for e-commerce entrepreneurs.

Duties and Taxes

Duties and taxes refer to the fees and charges imposed by governments on imported goods. Duties are taxes levied on the value of the goods, typically calculated as a percentage of the import price. Taxes, such as value-added tax (VAT) or goods and services tax (GST), are applied to the value of the goods, including any applicable duties. Duties and taxes are collected by customs authorities to generate revenue, protect domestic industries, and regulate international trade. Importers are responsible for paying duties and taxes when bringing goods into a country.


ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival)

ETA is an acronym for Estimated Time of Arrival, which indicates the expected arrival time of a shipment at its destination. It provides an estimated timeframe when the goods are likely to arrive, allowing shippers, consignees, and other stakeholders to plan accordingly. The ETA is influenced by various factors, including distance, transportation mode, weather conditions, customs clearance, and potential delays. While ETA provides an estimate, it is important to note that actual arrival times may vary due to unforeseen circumstances during transit.

Exempt Carrier

An exempt carrier is a transportation provider that is exempt from certain regulations or requirements typically imposed on carriers. The exemption may be granted based on specific criteria, such as the type of cargo transported, the nature of the services provided, or the size of the operation. Exempt carriers may be exempted from certain licensing, insurance, or safety regulations, allowing them to operate under different rules compared to standard carriers. Exempt carriers play a role in providing specialized or niche transportation services in specific industries or regions.

Expedited Shipping

Expedited shipping refers to a shipping service that prioritizes the quick delivery of goods within a shorter timeframe compared to standard shipping methods. It is typically used for time-sensitive shipments, urgent orders, or situations where faster delivery is required. Expedited shipping services often involve faster transportation modes, dedicated resources, and specialized handling processes to ensure speedy delivery. However, expedited shipping usually incurs higher costs due to the premium service level and the need for expedited processing at various stages of the supply chain.


Export refers to the process of sending goods or services from one country to another for the purpose of trade or sale. It involves complying with export regulations, obtaining necessary permits or licenses, preparing shipping documentation, and arranging transportation for the goods to reach the destination country. Exporting is an essential element of international trade, enabling businesses to reach global markets, expand their customer base, and participate in the global economy.


Final Mile

The final mile, also known as last mile, refers to the last segment of the delivery process where goods are transported from a distribution center or local hub to the final destination, often a residential address or a retail store. The final mile is considered a crucial and challenging stage of the supply chain, as it involves navigating complex urban environments, managing individual deliveries, and meeting customer expectations for timely and convenient delivery. Final mile logistics often require efficient route planning, optimized vehicle utilization, and effective communication with recipients to ensure successful and satisfactory delivery.

FOB (Free On Board)

FOB is an Incoterm that defines the point at which the seller’s responsibility for the goods ends and the buyer’s responsibility begins. FOB indicates that the seller is responsible for delivering the goods to the designated port of shipment and covering the costs and risks associated with loading the goods onto the vessel. Once the goods are on board the vessel, the responsibility and risk transfer to the buyer, who assumes the transportation costs, insurance, and any further risks or charges associated with the shipment.

Free Trade Zone

A free trade zone, also known as a foreign trade zone or free economic zone, is a designated geographic area within a country where goods can be imported, stored, processed, or manufactured without being subject to customs duties or taxes until they enter the domestic market. Free trade zones are established to promote international trade, attract foreign investment, stimulate economic growth, and provide logistical advantages. Businesses operating within free trade zones can benefit from streamlined customs procedures, tariff exemptions, and other incentives to facilitate trade and enhance competitiveness.


Freight refers to goods or cargo that are transported by various modes, such as ships, airplanes, trucks, or trains. It can include a wide range of products, materials, or commodities being shipped from one location to another. Freight can be classified into different categories based on characteristics like size, weight, perishability, or hazardous nature. Freight transportation is a critical component of the global supply chain, enabling the movement of goods between producers, suppliers, and consumers.

Freight Shipping

Freight shipping refers to the transportation of goods in bulk or large quantities using various modes of transportation, such as ships, aircraft, trucks, or trains. It involves contracting with carriers or freight forwarders to move the cargo from the point of origin to the destination. Freight shipping services encompass activities like booking cargo space, preparing shipping documents, coordinating pickup and delivery, and ensuring the safe and timely movement of goods.

Fuel Surcharge

A fuel surcharge is an additional fee imposed by carriers or logistics providers to compensate for the fluctuating cost of fuel, primarily diesel fuel. It is designed to recover the increased expenses incurred by carriers due to rising fuel prices. Fuel surcharges are typically calculated as a percentage of the base transportation charges and are adjusted periodically based on changes in fuel prices. The purpose of the fuel surcharge is to pass on the fuel-related costs to shippers in a transparent and equitable manner.


Fulfillment refers to the process of receiving, processing, and delivering customer orders in a timely and accurate manner. It involves tasks such as order picking, packing, labeling, and shipping goods to the customer’s designated location. Fulfillment operations can be managed in-house by businesses or outsourced to third-party logistics providers. Efficient fulfillment processes are crucial for meeting customer expectations, ensuring order accuracy, and maintaining customer satisfaction.

Full Container Load (FCL)

Full Container Load, or FCL, is a shipping method where an entire shipping container is dedicated to a single consignee or shipment. In FCL, the shipper fills the entire container with their goods, and the container remains sealed until it reaches the destination. FCL offers several benefits, including reduced handling and less risk of damage or loss compared to shared container shipments. It is commonly used when the shipper has a sufficient volume of goods to fill an entire container or requires the exclusive use of a container for security or logistical reasons.

Full Truck Load (FTL)

Full Truck Load, or FTL, is a mode of transportation where the entire capacity of a truck is utilized by a single shipper or consignee. In FTL, the shipper’s goods occupy the entire truck trailer, and the truck travels directly from the pickup location to the destination without intermediate stops or sharing the space with other shipments. FTL offers advantages such as faster transit times, reduced handling, and lower risk of damage or loss compared to less-than-truckload (LTL) shipments. It is often used for larger or time-sensitive shipments that require dedicated transportation capacity.


Goods and Services Tax (GST)

Goods and Services Tax, or GST, is a consumption tax imposed by many countries on the supply of goods and services. It is designed to replace multiple indirect taxes and streamline the taxation system. GST is levied at each stage of the supply chain, from the manufacturer to the retailer, and is ultimately borne by the end consumer. The tax rate and regulations vary between countries, and compliance with GST requirements is essential for businesses engaged in domestic or international trade.

Gross Weight

Gross weight is the total weight of a shipment, including the weight of the goods and any packaging materials or containers. It is the combined weight of the cargo and its immediate surroundings, without deducting the weight of the packaging or other materials. Gross weight is an important factor in determining transportation costs, assessing load capacity, and complying with weight restrictions imposed by carriers or regulatory authorities.


Harmonized System

The Harmonized System, or HS, is an internationally recognized classification system for goods traded across borders. It provides a standardized framework for classifying and identifying products based on a hierarchical structure of codes and descriptions. The HS system is used by customs authorities and other stakeholders to determine the appropriate tariff rates, track trade statistics, and facilitate international trade. Each product is assigned a unique HS code, consisting of six digits, which allows for uniformity and consistency in customs documentation and trade data.


A haulier, also known as a carrier or trucking company, is a business or individual that specializes in transporting goods by road using trucks or other commercial vehicles. Hauliers play a critical role in the transportation industry, providing efficient and reliable trucking services for the delivery of goods between different locations. They may operate within a specific region or offer long-haul transportation services, depending on the scope and nature of their operations.

Hazardous Material

Hazardous material, also referred to as dangerous goods or hazardous goods, is any substance or material that poses a risk to health, safety, property, or the environment. Hazardous materials can include flammable, explosive, toxic, corrosive, or radioactive substances. The transportation of hazardous materials is subject to strict regulations and requires compliance with specific packaging, labeling, and handling requirements to ensure the safe transportation and minimize the potential risks associated with these materials.



In-transit refers to the period during which goods are being transported from the point of origin to the final destination. It encompasses the time when the goods are in motion, traveling by various modes of transportation, and are not yet delivered to the consignee. In-transit shipments may be tracked using tracking systems or technologies to provide real-time visibility and updates on the location and status of the goods. Monitoring in-transit shipments helps ensure timely delivery, identify potential delays or issues, and provide accurate information to stakeholders.

Inbound Logistics

Inbound logistics refers to the processes and activities involved in the management of goods, materials, and information flowing into a company or organization. It encompasses tasks such as procurement, supplier management, transportation, warehousing, and inventory control. Inbound logistics aims to ensure the timely and cost-effective arrival of inputs or raw materials to support production or distribution operations. Efficient inbound logistics contribute to optimized supply chain operations, reduced costs, and improved overall organizational performance.

Intermodal Transportation

Intermodal transportation, also known as multimodal transportation, refers to the movement of goods using multiple modes of transportation, such as combining truck, rail, air, and sea transport. It involves the use of standardized containers or other intermodal equipment that can be easily transferred between different modes of transportation without the need for repacking or handling of the goods. Intermodal transportation offers flexibility, efficiency, and cost savings by leveraging the strengths of each mode and providing seamless door-to-door connectivity.

Inventory Management

Inventory management involves the planning, control, and optimization of the flow of goods, materials, and products within an organization’s supply chain. It encompasses activities such as forecasting demand, replenishing stock, tracking inventory levels, and ensuring adequate storage and distribution of goods. Effective inventory management aims to strike a balance between maintaining sufficient stock to meet customer demand while minimizing carrying costs, obsolescence, and stockouts. It plays a crucial role in achieving operational efficiency, customer satisfaction, and profitability.


An invoice is a commercial document issued by a seller to a buyer that itemizes the products or services provided, their quantities, prices, and any applicable taxes or fees. It serves as a formal request for payment and provides a record of the transaction between the seller and the buyer. Invoices typically include information such as the seller’s and buyer’s details, payment terms, invoice number, and the date of issuance. In international trade, invoices often include additional information required for customs clearance and compliance with regulatory requirements.


Just-in-Time (JIT)

Just-in-Time, or JIT, is a production and inventory management approach aimed at delivering products or materials precisely when they are needed in the production process, minimizing inventory holding costs and reducing waste. JIT emphasizes synchronization between suppliers, production, and customer demand, with materials and components arriving at the production line only when required. JIT principles focus on efficiency, quality control, and continuous improvement to achieve lean manufacturing and optimal supply chain performance.


Key Performance Indicator (KPI)

A Key Performance Indicator, or KPI, is a measurable metric used to evaluate the performance and progress of an organization, department, or specific activity. KPIs are typically linked to strategic objectives and provide insights into critical aspects of performance, such as productivity, efficiency, quality, customer satisfaction, or financial results. KPIs can be used to monitor and track performance over time, identify areas for improvement, and support data-driven decision-making within an organization.


LCL (Less than Container Load)

LCL is a shipping method where goods from multiple shippers are consolidated into a single container for transportation. LCL allows shippers with smaller volumes of goods to share container space and benefit from more economical shipping rates compared to booking a full container load (FCL). In LCL shipments, each shipper’s goods are separated and labeled within the container, and the container is deconsolidated at the destination port for individual delivery to the respective consignees.

Lead Time

Lead time refers to the duration between placing an order and receiving the goods or services. It encompasses the time required for processing the order, manufacturing or sourcing the products, and delivering them to the customer’s designated location. Lead time can vary depending on various factors, including production capacity, transportation mode, inventory availability, and any customizations or special requirements. Managing lead time is crucial for meeting customer expectations, coordinating supply chain activities, and optimizing inventory levels.


Logistics encompasses the planning, implementation, and control of the flow of goods, services, and information between the point of origin and the point of consumption. It includes activities such as transportation, warehousing, inventory management, packaging, and distribution, as well as related functions like order processing, procurement, and reverse logistics. Effective logistics management aims to ensure the timely and cost-effective movement of goods while optimizing resources, minimizing costs, and meeting customer requirements.


Key Performance Indicator (KPI)

A Key Performance Indicator, or KPI, is a measurable metric used to evaluate the performance and progress of an organization, department, or specific activity. KPIs are typically linked to strategic objectives and provide insights into critical aspects of performance, such as productivity, efficiency, quality, customer satisfaction, or financial results. KPIs can be used to monitor and track performance over time, identify areas for improvement, and support data-driven decision-making within an organization.



A manifest is a document that provides a detailed listing of the goods, passengers, or cargo carried by a vehicle, vessel, or aircraft. It includes information such as the description of the goods, their quantities or weights, the names of the consignor and consignee, and other relevant details. Manifests are used for regulatory compliance, customs clearance, transportation planning, and documentation purposes. They provide an overview of the contents and status of a shipment, allowing for effective tracking, monitoring, and management of the cargo.

Maritime Shipping

Maritime shipping, also known as ocean shipping or sea freight, refers to the transportation of goods by ships or vessels across domestic or international waters. Maritime shipping is a major mode of transportation for global trade, facilitating the movement of bulk commodities, manufactured goods, and other cargo between countries and continents. It offers advantages such as large carrying capacities, cost-effectiveness for long-distance transport, and access to ports and trade routes worldwide.

Materials Handling

Materials handling encompasses the activities involved in the movement, storage, control, and protection of goods, materials, or products within a warehouse, manufacturing facility, or distribution center. It includes tasks such as loading and unloading, palletizing, shelving, packaging, and organizing items for efficient storage or transportation. Materials handling equipment, such as forklifts, conveyors, or automated systems, is often used to facilitate these operations and optimize productivity, safety, and space utilization.


Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier (NVOCC)

A Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier, or NVOCC, is a transportation intermediary that consolidates smaller shipments from multiple shippers into larger volumes for booking with ocean carriers. NVOCCs function as carriers, issuing their bills of lading and assuming responsibility for the transportation of the consolidated cargo. They provide services similar to freight forwarders but have their containerized cargo operations. NVOCCs offer shippers flexibility, cost savings, and simplified documentation for international ocean shipments.


Open-Top Container

Order fulfillment is the process of receiving, processing, and delivering customer orders from the point of sale to the customer’s designated location. It involves tasks such as order confirmation, inventory management, picking and packing items, labeling, and arranging for transportation or shipping. Order fulfillment aims to ensure that customer orders are accurately and promptly fulfilled, meeting delivery expectations and maintaining customer satisfaction. Efficient order fulfillment processes are crucial for e-commerce, retail, and other industries that rely on timely and reliable order processing.

Order Fulfillment

Maritime shipping, also known as ocean shipping or sea freight, refers to the transportation of goods by ships or vessels across domestic or international waters. Maritime shipping is a major mode of transportation for global trade, facilitating the movement of bulk commodities, manufactured goods, and other cargo between countries and continents. It offers advantages such as large carrying capacities, cost-effectiveness for long-distance transport, and access to ports and trade routes worldwide.

Outbound Logistics

Outbound logistics refers to the processes and activities involved in the management of goods, materials, and information flowing out of a company or organization. It encompasses tasks such as order processing, packaging, warehousing, transportation, and distribution of finished products to customers or retail locations. Outbound logistics aims to ensure the timely, cost-effective, and accurate delivery of goods to end-users or intermediaries. Effective outbound logistics contribute to customer satisfaction, inventory turnover, and overall supply chain performance.



A pallet is a flat, portable platform used for the storage and transportation of goods. It serves as a base for stacking, storing, and securing products, allowing for efficient handling by forklifts, pallet jacks, or other material handling equipment. Pallets are typically made of wood, plastic, or metal and come in various standard sizes and designs. The use of pallets facilitates the movement of goods, enhances storage efficiency, and reduces the risk of damage during handling and transportation.

Pick and Pack

Pick and pack is a fulfillment process that involves selecting individual items from inventory (picking) and packing them into appropriate containers or packages for shipping (packing). It is a crucial step in order fulfillment, ensuring the accurate assembly of customer orders and the preparation of shipments for delivery. Pick and pack processes can be manual, where workers physically pick and pack items, or automated, using technologies such as barcode scanners, conveyors, or robotic systems to optimize efficiency and accuracy.

Port of Entry

A port of entry is a designated location, such as a seaport, airport, or land border crossing, where goods and individuals enter a country or region. Ports of entry play a crucial role in facilitating international trade and controlling the flow of goods, ensuring compliance with customs regulations, security checks, and documentation requirements. They serve as entry points for imported goods, where customs officials inspect and clear shipments, collect duties or taxes, and enforce trade laws and regulations.


Procurement refers to the process of acquiring goods, services, or works from external sources to meet an organization’s needs or requirements. It involves activities such as sourcing suppliers, requesting and evaluating bids or proposals, negotiating contracts, and managing supplier relationships. Effective procurement aims to obtain the right quality, quantity, and price of goods or services while considering factors such as reliability, sustainability, and total cost of ownership. Strategic procurement practices can contribute to cost savings, supply chain resilience, and value creation.


Quality Control

Quality control is the process of ensuring that products or services meet or exceed specified quality standards and customer expectations. It involves activities such as inspections, testing, monitoring, and corrective actions to identify and rectify defects, non-conformities, or deviations from desired quality requirements. Quality control measures are implemented throughout the production or service delivery process to prevent, detect, and address quality issues and ensure that only satisfactory products or services are released to customers.


Reverse Logistics

Reverse logistics refers to the processes and activities involved in the management of goods, materials, or products moving backward in the supply chain, from the point of consumption or use to the point of origin or disposal. It encompasses tasks such as product returns, repairs, refurbishment, recycling, or disposal. Reverse logistics aims to optimize the handling, recovery, or disposition of returned or end-of-life products while minimizing costs, environmental impact, and legal compliance. Effective reverse logistics processes are important for customer satisfaction, sustainability, and resource optimization.


Supply Chain

A supply chain is a network of organizations, activities, resources, and technologies involved in the creation, production, distribution, and delivery of goods or services to end customers. It encompasses the flow of raw materials, components, and information from suppliers to manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and ultimately, consumers. Supply chain management involves the coordination and integration of these activities to optimize efficiency, reduce costs, enhance customer value, and achieve strategic objectives.

Shipping Container

A shipping container, also known as a freight container, is a standardized, reusable metal box designed for the efficient transport and storage of goods. Shipping containers come in various sizes and types, such as dry van, refrigerated (reefer), open-top, or flat rack, to accommodate different types of cargo. They are constructed to withstand the rigors of transportation, including stacking, handling, and exposure to the elements. Shipping containers have standardized dimensions and fittings, enabling easy intermodal transfer between different modes of transportation, such as ships, trucks, or trains.

Shipping Label

A shipping label is a label or tag affixed to a package or shipment that contains information about the contents, origin, destination, and handling instructions. It typically includes details such as the sender’s and recipient’s addresses, tracking numbers, carrier information, and barcode or QR code for scanning and tracking purposes. Shipping labels play a crucial role in ensuring accurate and efficient handling, tracking, and delivery of shipments, and they are often required for compliance with carrier and regulatory requirements.


Third-Party Logistics (3PL)

Third-Party Logistics, or 3PL, refers to the outsourcing of logistics and supply chain management activities to external service providers. 3PL providers offer a range of services, such as transportation, warehousing, inventory management, order fulfillment, and customs brokerage. They act as intermediaries between shippers and carriers, leveraging their expertise, resources, and networks to provide integrated logistics solutions. By engaging 3PL services, companies can focus on their core competencies, reduce operational complexities, and access specialized logistics capabilities.


Transshipment is the transfer of goods from one transportation vehicle or mode to another during the journey from origin to destination. It occurs at designated transshipment hubs, such as ports, airports, or rail terminals, where cargo is temporarily unloaded, sorted, and reloaded onto a different carrier or mode of transportation. Transshipment facilitates the movement of goods across different transportation networks, enables efficient routing, and optimizes transport costs. It is commonly used in international trade to connect various shipping routes and achieve global connectivity.


Unit Load

A unit load refers to a grouping or consolidation of goods or materials into a single larger entity, such as a pallet, container, or shipping crate. Unit loads are designed to optimize handling, storage, and transportation efficiency by treating multiple items as a single load. They facilitate the movement of goods using material handling equipment, reduce the risk of damage or loss, and streamline logistics operations. Unit loads can be easily moved, stored, and tracked as a single entity, simplifying inventory management and improving supply chain visibility.


Value-Added Services (VAS)

Value-added services, or VAS, are additional services or activities that enhance the value or utility of a product or service for customers. In logistics, VAS can include activities such as kitting, labeling, repackaging, assembly, customization, or product configuration. These services go beyond the core transportation or warehousing functions and provide customers with tailored or specialized solutions that meet their unique requirements. VAS can differentiate logistics providers, improve customer satisfaction, and create additional revenue streams.



A warehouse is a facility or building used for the storage, handling, and distribution of goods or materials. Warehouses serve as centralized locations where inventory is stored before being shipped to customers or other distribution points. They often include equipment and systems for receiving, storing, picking, packing, and shipping goods. Warehouses can be operated by retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers, or third-party logistics providers and play a critical role in supply chain management by ensuring the availability of products, order fulfillment, and inventory control.

Weight and Volume Measurement

Weight and volume measurement are important aspects of logistics for calculating shipping costs, optimizing load capacity, and complying with weight restrictions. Weight is typically measured in kilograms (kg) or pounds (lb), while volume is measured in cubic meters (m³) or cubic feet (ft³). The weight and volume of a shipment are used to determine factors such as freight rates, load planning, packaging requirements, and compliance with legal weight limits. Accurate weight and volume measurements are essential for efficient transportation planning and accurate cost calculations.


X-ray Charges

X-ray charges refer to the fees associated with the inspection of cargo using X-ray scanning technology. X-ray scans are conducted to ensure the security and safety of shipments by detecting hidden or prohibited items, such as contraband, weapons, or hazardous materials. X-ray charges cover the costs of operating and maintaining the scanning equipment, as well as the expertise of trained personnel who analyze the X-ray images. These charges are typically incurred by the shipper or consignee and may vary depending on the size and complexity of the shipment being scanned.



In logistics, a yard refers to a designated area within a transportation facility, such as a port, terminal, or distribution center, where containers, trailers, or vehicles are stored, organized, and prepared for onward transportation. The yard serves as a temporary holding location for inbound or outbound shipments, providing space for parking, sorting, and staging. It facilitates the efficient movement of cargo, enabling the loading and unloading of goods from transport units and coordinating the flow of vehicles in and out of the facility. Yards are often equipped with equipment such as cranes, forklifts, and yard management systems to optimize operations.


Zone Rate

Zone rate is a pricing structure used in transportation and logistics to determine shipping costs based on the geographic zones or regions involved in the shipment’s origin and destination. Each zone is typically defined by a specific distance or a combination of factors such as postal codes, zip codes, or predefined boundaries. Zone rates take into account the distance traveled, transportation mode used, and other relevant factors to calculate the cost of shipping. This structure allows for more accurate and tailored pricing based on the distance or complexity of the transportation route, offering flexibility and transparency in shipping costs.