Air unload aka Airing Off aka Blowing off : Unloading method using an air compressor, either mounted on the truck (Truck Air) or provided by the plant (Plant Air) to pressurize a tank for offloading, used for unloading dry bulk products from both pneumatic tank trucks and PD railcars. Sometimes used on liquids instead of pumping from liquid tank trucks.
Axle weights: Truck's weight at each axle (front, center, rear) added together for total weight, used when the whole truck is too big to sit entirely on the scale. More on weights here.
Back haul: The loading of a truck back towards its home terminal after it has already shipped out of the home terminal. (Because it is helpful for the company to get their drivers and equipment home, it can be lower priced.)
Bad-ordered Railcar: A railcar that is improperly loaded (often meaning overloaded), mechanically defective or has safety violations.
Belly Unloader aka Center Unloader: Liquid tank truck whose interior slopes down towards the middle of the tank to unload from the bottom.
Bill of Lading aka BOL aka B/L aka B of L: Paperwork that includes legal description of the product, amount shipped, special instructions and the origin and destination. Usually supplied by shipper, it serves as proof of delivery for billing.
Blind shipment: A shipment where one or both parties do not know who the other is. Often used when a third party is selling the product and doesn't want the shipper and consignee to work directly with each other and cut the third party out. Requires a detailed blind bill of lading and extra care by the driver.
Blind pick up means the supplier doesn't know who or where the product is being delivered to.
Blind delivery is when the recepient of the product doesn't know who or where it shipped from.
Double blind is when neither know of each other.
Blowing Off: See air unload.
Border Broker: Customs broker who handles the paperwork at the Mexico and Canadian borders. The shipper typically selects the broker and always supplies the commerical invoice and other export documenation to the broker.
Bond: As in “shipping in bond,” if material is passing through the country and not altered in any way, it can be bonded to shield it from import taxes and fees.
Bob Tailing: When a tractor travels without the trailer attached.
Bottom Drop aka hopper bottom: Dry bulk trucks that can unload from hopper openings underneath the trailer. Can be a dump truck, railcar or a pneumatic truck (but not all have bottom drops). Grain hoppers always have bottom drops.
Boxcar: An enclosed, versatile railcar shaped like a box, rectangular with side doors.
Calibration chart aka strapping chart: Markings on the interior of a tank that help estimate the approximate volume of product in the tank. Accuracy is inexact!
Cancellation charge: Fee charged when a load is cancelled after the truck has been dispatched. Usually avoidable with 24 hours notice when cancelling. Also referred to as Truck Ordered Not Used or "TONU".
Cat Walk: Walkway on top of tank truck to aid in access to the top of tank.
Carrier: Trucking company.
Caustic Wash: Tankwash using caustic cleaner, stronger than detergent.
Centerbeam railcar aka Spine car: A flatbed car with a vertical partition running the length of the car providing a structure to secure the load, usually with integral cables.
Center Unloader: see Belly unloader
Certificate of Analysis aka COA aka C of A: Lab report issued by shippers that gives a breakdown of the product, usually required by the consignee with delivery.
Certified Tank Wash: Official tank wash rack that issues certificates after washing as evidence of cleaning.
Chassis: Wheel base used to transport containers like ISO tanks.
Change-over wash aka Conversion wash: Thorough cleaning involving dismantling of pipes, changing of gaskets, etc., usually performed before dedicated service to a new product.
Circle Point: Certain cities within the Rand McNally mileage guide for which the mileage is printed to other circle points as a time-saver. Then additional mileage from non-circle points to a circle point can be added on by the user for total mileage.
Clean dry and odor free: Lingo for a clean liquid tank ready for service.
Coded Tank: System of coding to differentiate between different types of liquid tanks.
MC 307 and 407 coded tanks are the most common chemical tank, though they can be used in food grade service. Have 3/16 inch thick stainless steel walls and internal valves.
MC 304 tanks aka sanitary tanks or noncoded tanks, are food grade with no internal valves for better cleaning (due to this, not suitable for products like alcohol and unable to air unload).
MC 312 tanks are less common, heavy duty tanks generally used for acids.
Coiled and Insulated: Specialized feature for a liquid tank truck where coils run through the insulation to facilitate steaming, and sometimes Heat in Transit.
Collect: A billing term which usually means the receiving party will be billed, and sometimes means payment will be collected by the driver before unloading.
Compartmentalized Tank Truck aka compartment tank: A liquid tank separated into 2-5 compartments so that different products may ship at the same time.
Compression release engine brakes aka Jake Brakes aka engine brake: Supplemental braking system on large vehiches, using engine compression for braking. The loud noise they produce has necessitated regulations on their use in noise sensitive areas.
Consigned to: Party receiving the product.
Consignee: Receiver of product, delivery site.
Container: Box-like shipping vessels used to ship by rail and highway (loaded onto a chassis), or on a freight ship. International containters conform to ISO standards and are either 20' or 40' long. Domestic versions are designed exclusively for rail and highway use, are lighter and can be up to 53' long.
Container Drayage: The shipping of a container on a chassis.
Contamination aka Contaminated load: When a bulk product is delivered with a foreign substance present in the intended product. The source of the contamination determines the liable party.
Conversion Wash: See Change-over wash.
Cubic Feet aka CFT: The way volume capacity of dry bulk tanks is measured. Smaller tanks = 1000-1100, and larger, common "high cube" tanks = 1500-1600. High cube trailers over 1600 cft are rare and specialized.
Deadhead: The mileage driven without a load, usually en route to pick up a product.
Dedicated: Equipment in exclusive use, either by one customer or for one product (or both).
Demurrage: The time a truck is detained at loading or unloading beyond the "free" time (which is usually 2 hours, with the clock starting when the truck enters the gates - unless it is early - and ending when it's released). Charges are accrued, usually at an hourly rate of $40-75 per.
Detergent Wash: Tank wash using detergent.
Double Blind: See blind shipment.
Double Conical: Interior shape of a center unloading liquid tank.
Double Stacked: Pallets stacked on top of each other in a van for maximum use of space (must defer to weight restrictions).
Dunnage: Materials used to secure, brace and protect ("block and brace") cargo as well as the cargo vehicle's hold from damage during shipping. Common dunnage materials: boards, air filled bags, cribs, etc.
Drayage: See Container Drayage
Drumming Nozzle: Special equipment for unloading liquids directly from the tank into smaller containers, like drums or totes.
Dust Collector: Special filter/trap for containing dust created by airing off or vacuuming dry, fine products
End Dumps: BIG tractor trailer type dump trucks (vs smaller construction style ones) that unload via a gate at the end. Can be tarped.
Engine Brakes: see compression release engine brakes.
Federal Highway Administistration aka FHWA: US DOT agency involved in the design, construction and maintenance of the nation's highway system. The FHWA Office of Motor Carriers was the predecessor to the FMCSA.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration aka FMCSA: US DOT agency whose mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries through licensing, safety initiatives, promoting awareness, and by enforcing adherence to safety, hazardous material handling and other regulations.
Flash Point: Minimum temperature at which a substance will give off flammable vapor that could ignite if in contact with a spark or flame.
Flatbed truck: Flat trailer without sides, usually used for lumber and steel. Can be tarped.
Flat car: Open, flat railcar.
Food Grade: Refers both to edible products meant for human consumption and to tanks that are coded or maintained to handle edibles.
Food Grade Wash: Special certified tank wash that is thorough enough for edibles.
Frost Laws: Canadian law limiting legal vehicle gross weight to 20% less than usual during severe winter months to protect roads from damage. Dates vary.
Fuel Surcharge aka FSC: A fluctuating cost (usually a percentage) applied to loads to offset high fuel prices. Carriers each have their own formula to calculate this, based on the national average of diesel fuel week to week.
Gondola railcar: Open top railcar with low sides, typically carrying bulk goods or steel.
Gooseneck Trailer: Special low, open trailer used for shipping over-tall items like machinery.
Hazard Class: A group of materials the DOT has identified as sharing the same hazardous characteristics when transported (flammable, corrosive, etc.). An alternative numerical classification system
Hazardous Material aka HM: Substance capable of posing an unreasonable risk to health, safety, or property when handled or transported commercially.
Hazardous Material Regulations aka HMR: 49 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Parts 100-185 detail the regulations for handling materials identified by the PHMSA to be hazardous.
Head haul: Lingo for a route that originates from the "home" terminal area and delivers away from it, therefore it's usually more expensive than a back haul.
Heat In Transit aka HIT aka In-transit heat: Special equipment that helps maintain, but cannot raise, loading temperatures of liquid products, typically ones that thicken too much if they cool. System can be coil-based with the truck's radiator fluid circulating through the coils while it's being driven. But not all coiled trailers can run heat in transit. Usually some heat is lost, especially when the truck is not running and when the climate is very cold. Not always an effective substitute for steaming.
Heel: Leftover product stuck to the tank after unloading, necessitating heel removal and disposal, usually by a tankwash facility. Can get pricey - $3-15 per gallon typically.
Heel Disposal Charge: Charges necessitated by a product heel, above.
High Cube trailer: Dry bulk trailer whose volume capacity is 1500 cubic feet or more.
Hopper Bottom: See bottom drop.
Hopper car: Railcar, open at the top or enclosed, with bottom drop openings, used for bulk, loose goods.
Hose: Trucks typically carry 40 ft of hose, and sometimes food grade trucks don't carry any. For liquids, a hose size of 2" hose is common for chemicals, 3" for food grade. 4" is the standard dry bulk size. Extra hose is often an extra charge.
Hoses Capped and Bagged: Lingo for a special sanitary measure (usually for food grade or pharmaceutical grade products) where hoses are capped then sealed in plastic bags by the tankwash.
Hours of Service aka HOS: The legal hours that a driver can work. Current regulations allow for 14 hours max per day for the driver to be 'on', only 11 of which can be driving hours, with 10 hours off per day. Weekly maximum is 60 hours per week with a 34 hour break before the next 60.
Hundred Weight: A rate structure, mainly for liquid bulk, where freight is billed per every 100 lbs, usually on a minimum of 44,000 lbs or 48,000 lbs. (Example: $2.50 cwt would be 2.50 times 440 for 44,000 lbs, so $1100.)
Intermodal: The interconnectivity of more than one mode of transportation (ie, rail to truck). Intermodal facilities serve to switch product from one mode to another.
Internal Valves: Valves inside a liquid tank in between the tank and the unloading outlet. A safety feature to prevent leaking.
Interstate Commerce Commission aka ICC: Former government agency that regulated rates and other trucking industry concerns. Replaced by Federal Motor Carrier Safey Administration aka FMCSA.
International Organization for Standardization aka ISO: Non-governmental developer and publisher of International Standards from a network of 164 institutes (one per country) and a Central Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland that aims to create a consensus that meets the needs of both business and society.
ISO 9000: Chemical industry safety program instituted by ISO to improve safety.
ISO Tank: Liquid bulk shipping container, 20 ft. long, that can typically hold 5500 gallons and can ship by truck (on a chassis), by rail ("piggy back", on a flatbed car) and by container ship. A crane is required to move them.