Fleet management and trucking industry glossary
From "Accessorial service" to "Yard mule" and everything in-between, make sense of the technical terms and colorful slang frequently used within the trucking industry.
FMCSA performance specifications that require an automatic onboard recording device (or AOBRD) will synchronize with the vehicle's engine, allow drivers to update duty status, records HOS, and is tamper proof.
FMCSA performance specifications for electronic onboard recorders (or EOBRs); state that the devices must synchronize to the truck's engine, use GPS to collect location, date, and time data at duty status changes, and are tamper proof.
4th generation mobile device standards; 4G devices will offer faster speeds and better coverage than their predecessors.
Secondary services offered by a carrier, which may include packaging and handling, storage, loading and unloading, and processing.
Ad Valorem Tax
A common form of sales tax, which is based upon the value of the property.
A person who acts as a go-between for shippers and O/Os or small trucking companies, coordinating logistics and pricing.
A mobile device operating system for smartphones and tablets developed by Open Handset Alliance, now owned by Google.
Automatic onboard recording device; a driver e-log system that is 395.15 compliant.
An item of economic value that can be converted to cash or a cash-equivalent.
Audit of freight bills
An evaluation of carriers’ freight bills to verify the transportation charges are reasonable, given the service rendered.
Any carrier certified to operate open trailer car carriers or enclosed trailers used in the transportation of motor vehicles.
Average gross revenue per loaded mile
The average total payment received for every mile traveled with a load.
The weight transferred to the highway by one axle.
A financial statement that identifies a company’s assets, liabilities and owner’s/shareholders’ equity at a specific point in time.
Light, bulky cargo.
An electronic, handheld device that captures data contained within barcodes; data is then uploaded to a computer for analysis.
Seven Behavior Analyis and Safety Improvement Categories measured by the FMCSA through its Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) initiative, in an effort to improve driving behaviors and highway safety. Catgeories include unsafe driving, HOS violations and fatigued driving, driver fitness, controlled substance and alchohol impairment, vehicle maintenance violations, cargo-related safety violations, and crashes.
A geographical location used in the determination of basing point pricing; delivery charges based upon shipping from that particular location (e.g., the manufacturing site).
A reference freight-rate from Point A to Point B; used to establish shipping costs from Point B to Point C.
The designated weight of any particular shipment identified on a freight bill; used to calculate freight rate.
A proprietary operating system developed for Blackberry mobile devices.
A shipment of atomic materials.
A secure, wireless technology that transmits data through short wavelength radio waves from both fixed and mobile communication devices.
A rear-wheel assembly employing four wheels mounted on two axles.
A truck or trailer body designed with the transportation of bottled beverages in mind.
A trailer or semi-trailer.
Cargo consisting of several individual shipments that may be unloaded from the trailer and delivered to different destinations.
A federal regulation that determines the maximum weight that can be carried across a bridge, based upon the distance between axles (in feet).
Unpackaged goods shipped in volume, such as wheat, petroleum products and ore.
Cab-beside-engine motor or tractor motor
A motor truck or tractor in which the driver’s compartment and controls are located beside the engine.
A motor tractor in which a substantial part of the engine is located beneath the cab.
Camel back body
A truck body design, in which the floor curves downward at the rear.
A solid bar mobile phone form factor; shaped like a candybar.
The quantity of freight that will fill a rail car.
The right of a carrier to hold assets as security until the party responsible for paying freight charges has done so.
Local hauling; this may be between destination points in the same town, city, or contiguous municipalities.
Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity
A certificate issued by the Interstate Commerce Commission or state regulatory agencies that authorizes for-hire carriers to offer their services to the public.
Costs assumed by a carrier on behalf of independent contractors; these are billed to the independent contractor at a later date.
A XataNet feature that allows administrators to easily find and correct common driver login, hours of service (HOS), and geo-fence errors and inconsistencies.
An indirect route.
A truck used for pickup and delivery within a city. They may also be referred to as a cub, pickup, whoopee or shag.
A shipper’s demand for an overcharge refund or payment from the carrier for loss or damage to freight while in the carrier’s possession.
Class I motor carrier
A carrier with annual gross operating revenue of $10M or more derived from motor carrier operations, as defined by the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC).
Class II motor carrier
A carrier with annual gross operating revenue of $3M to $9,999,999 from motor carrier operations, as defined by the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC).
Class III motor carrier
A carrier with annual gross operating revenue of less than $3M from motor carrier operations, as defined by the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC).
A publication that identifies articles and their respective classes, which are used in the application of class rates and in conjunction with governing rules and regulations.
An entity that processes and collects bills for participating trucking companies.
A chassis-less container carried by railflat car, which allows for intermodal movement of freight by rail and sea.
A pledge made by a borrower to secure a loan, usually in the form of material assets.
A shipment in which the carrier collects freight charges and advances from the receiver, rather than the shipper.
A tractor-trailer equipment configuration; includes a separate power unit (the tractor) and at least one trailer.
Any good or article of commerce; it may be transported to supply market demand.
A tariff on carriers that contains commodity rates and rules for transportation.
Controlled, computer-generated situations used to test and improve driver and vehicle performance; mechanics may also employ computers for maintenance testing and to identify malfunctioning parts.
Destruction or damage of contents, in which external packaging appears to be in good condition and damage-free.
Loss of or damage to package contents that cannot be identified until the package is opened and contents examined.
A truck built to transport and mix concrete in a specially-designed drum; the concrete is agitated using a spiral blade and through the rotational spin of the drum.
The person or firm to whom the goods are shipped; the receiver.
The shipment; the goods exchanged between shipper and receiver.
The person or firm by whom the goods are shipped; the shipper.
A shipping system that employs large, cargo-carrying containers that are easily shipped by and moved between trucks, trains and ships without handling the contents.
A fleet or owner-operator engaged by one or more shippers in the for-hire transportation of freight.
A truck or trailer with removable side panels, allowing it to be used as both a flat bed or open top.
Compliance Review; a comprehensive audit of a carrier's records to determine whether or not their fleet is a threat to public safety and out of compliance with FMCSA rules and regulations. Audits are conducted by Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) or State safety investigators at the carrier's place of business.
Compliance Review Work Group; Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) staff tasked with recommending compliance and enforcement program improvements. The group's primary recommendation was CSA 2010, a performance-based safety and compliance enforcement model.
"Compliance. Safety. Accountability." is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration initiative to improve highway safety through the measurement of key driver behaviors.
Cargo Systems Messaging Service; a searchable database of U.S. Customs and Border Protection messages of interest to truck carriers and others in the trade community, including new and updated entry procedures, port closings and power outages, exchange rates and more.
A common, non-metric measure of truck capacity; 1,728 cubic inches.
Current assets and liabilities
Any assets and liabilities belonging to a person or firm that may be respectively liquidated or come due in under one year.
The decline in an asset’s value over time.
The place to which a shipment is to be delivered.
An amount added to or subtracted from a basing rate (between points A and B) when determining a rate to, from, or through a third location (point C).
A charge based upon miles traveled; often a component of the freight rate.
An auxiliary axle assembly that may be towed by a semitrailer or used to tow another semitrailer through the use of a coupling device or fifth wheel.
Department of Transportation; established in 1966, the DOT regulates United States transportation systems.
A combination of truck tractor, semi-trailer and full trailer coupled together.
A unique truck design, in which the body’s floor curves downward at the rear.
A fee paid for hauling freight; also the transportation of freight on carts, drays or trucks over short distances.
A vehicle that has a van body behind its cab, as well as a fifth wheel to accommodate a trailer.
Any truck or trailer that can unload its freight by elevating the front end of its body and discharging the load by gravity.
Materials that support and protect freight during transport; dunnage weight is called out separately on bills of lading.
Driver Vehicle Inspection Report; FMCSA required daily reporting of vehicle inspections to include service brakes, parking brakes, tires, horn, coupling devices, wheels and rims, and more.
A device used to measure a truck’s torque and power.
Electronic Driver Vehicle Inspection Report; data captured and reported by an electronic device to meet FMCSA-required daily vehicle inspection mandates.
Electronic onboard recorder
A device that complies with 395.16 and records a driver's hours behind the wheel and duty status changes.
A law authorizing the Interstate Commerce Commission to levy fines on railroads that issued rebates, as well as on shippers that accepted them.
Currently in transport; on the way.
A customs declaration of the type, amount and value of freight imported, as well as any duties due.
An electronic onboard recorder; a 395.16 compliant device that records hours-of-service and duty status.
Monies held by a third party for a specific purpose, often taxes and insurance.
Exclusive use of truck
A shipper’s request for sole use of a vehicle, made on the bill of lading.
Trucks hauling freight that is exempt from ICC economic regulation, most often agricultural products or seafood.
Any commodity that may be shipped inter- or intrastate without an operating authority or published rates.
Federal Communications Commission.
Federal Insurance Contribution Act (Social Security).
A coupling that connects a semi-trailer to a tractor.
Carrier costs that don’t fluctuate due to an increase or decrease in traffic; a common accounting classification, also referred to as fixed operation costs.
A device that is permanently mounted to a vehicle's dashboard; it records vehicle data through a connection to the data bus.
A semi-trailer without sides; also called a float.
A mobile phone form factor in which the device is comprised of two or more sections that open on a hinge.
A semi-trailer without sides; also called a flat bed.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration; established within the DOT in 2000, the FMCSA is charged with preventing commercial motor vehicle crashes, injuries and fatalities.
Free on board (FOB)
Identifies which shipping and loading costs are paid by the shipper and which are paid by the receiver, as well as where responsibility for the freight is transferred from shipper to receiver.
Any period in which goods will be stored before charges are applied.
Any shipment, which is delivered to the incorrect terminal or miscarried and then forwarded to the correct terminal free of charge.
Payment due for transportation of goods by a carrier.
Any truck trailer that features wheels on both the front and back end.
Furniture van body
Most often of drop frame construction, any truck body specifically designed to transport furniture or household goods.
Federal Unemployment Tax Act.
General freight carrier
A carrier that ships a wide variety of freight, typically in LTL quantities; often pass through terminals to consolidate freight shipments.
Freight, merchandise, commodities.
A trailer body designed specifically to transport dry fluid commodities; features a low side, open top trailer body.
As outlined in the Federal Motor Carrier Act of 1935, carriers in operation on or before June 1st, 1935, are exempted proving convenience and necessity before being issued a certificate by the Interstate Commerce Commission, authorizing them to transport passengers and property interstate.
Carriers that operate illegally as for-hire carriers through subterfuge.
Gross combination weight (GCW)
The combined weight of tractor, trailer and freight.
2,240 pounds; commonly referred to as a long ton.
An owner-operator that hauls freight from any shipper he or she can; does not hold a contract with a trucking company.
Transportation via heated trailer thereby protecting freight that would otherwise be damaged by cold temperatures.
Heavy specialized carrier
A trucking company that utilizes special equipment for loading, transporting, and unloading freight of unusual size, shape and weight that makes it difficult or impossible to be transported by a standard truck and trailer rig.
A trailer body, often featuring low floors and thin walls, that offers above-average cubic content.
High-torque rise engines
Fuel efficient engines that allow trucks to operate at a higher RPM while moving freight.
Hazardous Materials Regulations; Issued by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the regulations direct carriers on the lawful transportation of hazardous materials, as well as hazardous materials classification, hazard communication, and emergency response.
A truck or trailer body designed to discharge its load through a bottom opening.
A truck or trailer body designed to safely transport horses.
Hours-of-Service; FMCSA limits on the number of hours a driver can legally operate his or her commercial motor vehicle (e.g. a freight trucker may drive 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off-duty).
An emergency cargo shipment; urgent delivery needed.
FMCSA regulations that limit a driver's on-duty hours in an effort to prevent fatigue-related crashes (e.g. CMV drivers transporting cargo may drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive off-duty hours).
Household good miles
The shortest distance between two points, which permit the transportation of household goods.
Interstate Commerce Commission; regulatory body whose purpose is to regulate the trucking and railroad industries.
International Fuel Tax Agreement; an agreement that simplifies fuel use reporting for fleets that operate in more than one jurisdiction.
Any person who operates his or her own truck and offers services to a third party; also an owner-operator or O/O.
A trucking company that picks up freight from a shipper.
The location from which a shipment originates.
Insulated van body
A van body designed specifically for the transportation of temperature-sensitive commodities; may also include refrigeration or heating for greater temperature control.
A terminal where shipments are transferred from one carrier to another.
Cargo transported from shipper to consignee by two or more trucking, rail and/or airline companies.
Intermediate carrier (bridge)
A trucking company (or other transportation line) that transports cargo from an origination carrier to a delivery carrier.
Transportation of freight that involves more than one mode, e.g. rail-motor, motor-air, or rail-water.
Involving two or more states.
Within a state.
J1708 vehicle bus
A heavy-duty truck SAE specification developed for serial communications between the vehicle and computer.
J1939 vehicle bus
A vehicle bus standard intended for heavy duty vehicles; similar to J1708, but is built on controller area network (CAN)
A programming language developed at Sun Microsystems; it is one of the most popular languages in use.
The pin located in a semi trailer's upper coupler, which serves as the pivot point between a coupled trailer and tractor. A driver backs the tractor until the kingpin, found under the front of the trailer, is positioned into the slot of the towing vehicle's skidplate. The jaws of the fifth wheel close onto this anchor pin, connecting tractor to trailer.
A XataNet feature that captures historical route information, such as distance between stops, idle times, and delivery times, allowing administrators to optimize future performance, based upon past performance efficiencies and inefficiencies.
A rent-to-own agreement between driver and carrier; a legal contract in which rent is applied to the principal owned and, upon final payment, the title is transferred to the payor.
Lift tail gate
A power-operated tailgate able to raise cargo from the ground to level with the truck or trailer floor.
Movement of cargo between one city and another, or between one terminal and another; does not include pickup and/or delivery service.
A type of suspension system; driveshafts transmit power to the tractor's wheels which turn with the axel.
Large Truck Crash Causation Study; a joint study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in which data from 1,000 CMV-involved crashes resulting in injury or death was captured and analyzed. Statistical analysis of LTCCS data is used to determine crash risk and identify the causes and contributing factors of crashes now under investigation.
Slang term for a shipment.
A series of letters, numbers and other characters that identify a shipment.
Maximum gross combination weight
The legal weight limit for combined tractor and loaded trailer for roads and bridges.
The largest legal rate that may be charged by a transportation company.
Memorandum bill of lading
A bill of lading duplicate.
A tariff that applies rates, according to distance.
The lowest lawful rate that may be charged.
Minimum truckload weight
The lowest weight at which a shipment will be transported at the truck load rate.
A truckload that consists of several articles in a single shipment.
A device that enables digital information to be transmitted through analog carrier signals.
National Accounting and Finance Council; supports the American Trucking Association Tax Policy Committee with research and analysis; also provides education, research, and finance and accounting help to its members.
The weight of product, less packaging and container weights; also, the weight of a truck’s contents.
An inexpensive alternative to a laptop computer that is also more portable, due to its smaller size.
An axle whose purpose is to provide additional support to the vehicle, but does not transmit driving force to the wheels; often referred to as a dead axle.
Any carrier that is exempt from economic regulation.
OBD-II vehicle bus
A vehicle bus standard that allows microcontrollers and devices to communicate with each other within a vehicle without a host computer.
A product or service in the process of becoming obsolete.
A heavy-duty platform truck body specifically designed for work in oil fields; it features a bullnose or rear-end roller for winch loading.
A truck or trailer that doesn’t have a permanent metal roof or top.
Normal business expenses incurred as a result of ordinary business activities.
The quotient (result) of total operating expenses divided by gross freight revenue.
Operating system; software that runs other mobile device programs, manages hardware and software resources, allocates memory, manages files, and controls peripherals, including scanners and printers.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration; a federal agency whose primary function is to enforce on-the-job health and safety legislation.
A portable platform for holding, storing and moving freight within a warehouse or on a vehicle.
Freight that has been stacked on pallets.
The amount of power absorbed by truck components and not available to the drive tires.
The total weight carried by a truck, including goods, packaging, banding, pallets, etc.
Shipments transported to small, surrounding communities outside normal delivery limits from a central terminal.
A route in which freight is hauled from a terminal to multiple, separate destinations in a nearby locale.
Freight that requires refrigeration, including meat and produce.
ICC authority granting carriers to engage in interstate commerce. Also, special exclusion from legal weight and size limits granted to carriers by states.
Highway trailer transportation by way of railcar.
Performance and Registration Information Systems Management; a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) program that ensures all vehicles deployed interstate are identified through a USDOT number, allowing FMCSA to check a carrier's safety fitness before issuing registrations. The program also enforces carrier safety by tracking safety performance improvements (or lack thereof) through the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Process (MCSIP). Carriers that do not demonstrate improvement may face increasingly more aggressive penalties, culminating with a Federal Out-of-Service Order.
PTT (push to talk)
Push-to-talk; allows callers to use their mobile device as a walkie-talkie with unlimited range.
Pulp wood body
A truck or trailer body used primarily to transport pulp wood to pulp and paper mills.
The most common keyboard layout; it's name comes from the first six letters found at the upper-left of most computer keyboards: Q-W-E-R-T-Y.
An open-top trailer with a tarpaulin covering to protect freight from the elements.
A charge for transporting freight from the shipper to receiver.
A formula that takes special factors into account in determining a shipping rate.
A table that specifies rates graduated by distance or zones.
Commodities that may not be transported. Also, restricted items, such as fuel and hazardous waste, that require special permits to be legally transported.
A truck, tractor, or tractor-trailer.
A rugged truck body, similar in design to an oilfield body, meant primarily for rigging work.
Metric-driven science coupled with the study of driver behavior to improve fleet safety, performance, and profitability.
Mobile devices built to withstand harsh conditions and abuse without breakage
A corporation that passes corporate income and losses through to its shareholders for federal tax purposes.
Software as a Service; access to remotely-hosted software, typically via a monthly subscription fee. This option is often less costly than licensing the software.
Safety Evaluation Areas; four carrier safety categories assessed under CSA 2010's precursor, SafeStat, which included accidents, driver safety, vehicle safety, and safety management.
Self-Employment Contributions Act; a law requiring small business owners to contribute 15.3 percent of their net income to Social Security, Medicare, and Old Age Survivors and Disability Insurance costs.
A trailer equipped with at least one axle and designed so the front end of the trailer rests on the tractor.
Shipper's load and count
Freight that has been counted and loaded by the shipper, but hasn’t been verified by the carrier.
A written authorization releasing a shipment; also bill of lading.
Alerts that provide adminstrators with real-time visibility into events and driver behaviors that impact safety and profitability, including HOS alerts, unscheduled stops, and excessive drive time.
A sophisticated mobile phone that incorporates PDA and mobile phone functionality; many offer cameras, media players, web browsers, GPS navigation, and WiFi.
Short message service; more commonly known as text messaging available through phone, web, and mobile communications systems.
Split pickup or delivery
A secondary service offered by carriers, entailing volume shipment pick-up and delivery at multiple locations between the origin and destination point boundaries.
A two-axle assembly in which the distance between axles spans a greater distance than conventional assemblies.
A truck or trailer platform body design with easily removable stakes, which may be tethered by chains, slats or panels.
An established delivery rate for direct routes between two points.
A direct route between two points, determined by the carrier.
A tablet-sized device that features many computing features, but whose smaller size makes it more portable than a laptop computer.
A two-axle assembly, either one may be powered.
A truck or tractor body that is fully enclosed and specifically designed to transport cargo in bulk.
A carrier authorized to operate specialized tank-trucks to carry petroleum products, chemicals and commodities in bulk.
A point of origin to destination delivery rate. A through rate can entail a joint rate, as well as a combination of two or more rates.
A truck design in which the entire cab tilts forward to provide access to the engine.
Trailer on flatcar. Also known as piggyback.
A pay-per-use fee paid to access highways, bridges, and other infrastructure.
An electronic visual display that users interact with directly (e.g. touching a button or icon with their finger), rather than through the indirect use of a touchpad or keyboard.
Any shipment that can’t be delivered or that has been refused by the receiver.
To bill less than the fair price.
The value of a shipment, as set by the shipper on the bill of lading, when the rate is based upon that value.
By way of.
A low or discounted rate available to shippers who ship freight in large quantities.
Documentation of freight stored in a warehouse; the receipt may be issued as a negotiable or nonnegotiable document.
A description of goods to be transported; is sent with the carrier freight shipment.
A list provided by shippers to weighing bureaus that documents the articles and weights in each consignment.
A tax in which the fee per mile is based on the registered gross weight of the vehicle.
Liquids transported by tanker trailer.
Wireless local area network; a means of sending and transmitting data via high frequency radio signals.
Win Mobil (OS)
An operating system (OS) developed for mobile devices by Microsoft Corporation.
Windows 7 (OS)
A mobile operating system developed by Microsoft Corporation, and the successor to Win Mobile.
A truck body designed to tow disabled vehicles.
A mobile fleet management solutions provider. XRS stands for Xata (the company's former name) Road Science, and it strives to put the power of science and technology into the hands of carriers of all sizes, allowing them to run their fleets more safely and efficiently.
Any person that operates a yard mule or yard tractor.
A small tractor used at a terminal yard to move semi-trailers; also known as a yard tractor.
A location serviced by a small number of pick-up and delivery drivers, as opposed to a fully-staffed service center. A zone location could be as limited as one leased door. Zone locations will keep their own Income & Expense statements.