shipping terms

Updated 9 July 2020 | Anastasia Kholod

If you wish to expand your expertise in e-Commerce, we offer you to start with learning some basic shipping terms, which will help you understand its core processes. Even if your main activity field is different, whether it is a data feed management, an order fulfillment, or other related sphere, shipping is an integral part of every e-Commerce business and a little superficial acquaintance with shipping terms will only be to the good.

Consignor (also sender, shipper) -- a person or company that sends freight.

Consignee (also receiver) -- a person or company that receives and pays for the shipment.

Carrier -- a company that provides transportation services and delivers the freight.

Freight bill (also freight invoice) - an invoice for freight charges rendered by a carrier to a consignee. It typically includes description and weight of the freight, the name of the shipper, point of origin, and other necessary details of the transaction.

Freight bill of landing -- a contract between the shipper and the carrier that includes the necessary transaction details. It is an official document that may be admissible in a court of law, unlike the freight bill.

Freight Forwarder -- an agency that coordinates the shipping of the freight that needs to be delivered by a few carriers before it gets to the consignee. It can receive freight and then send it to the consignee with help of one or more carriers. Freight Forwarding is commonly used for international shipping.

Freight broker - an agency that organises shipping freight from its point of origin to its final destination via different means of transport. Though brokers may never see or handle the freight being shipped, unlike freight forwarders, they are responsible for all aspects of the shipment.

Integrator -- a company that provides door-to-door air freight service. It has its own aircraft, as well as trucks in their disposal.

3PL -- an outsourcing service that handles logistics for other companies. Among their responsibilities are replenishment, warehousing, order, and shipping management.

Interline Shipping -- delivering from point of origin to destination using two or more carriers. It is a common practice in rail transportation.

Consolidation (grouped shipment) -- a shipping method that implies combining small shipments from different shippers with the same destination into one container and sending them together in order to save on transportation costs.

Hub-and-Spoke -- a centralized transportation model which can be graphically pictured as a wire wheel in which all traffic moves along spokes connected to the hub at the center. Large hub terminals are used for freight consolidation. Medium services serve the spoke-to-hub collection and hub-to-spoke distribution tasks.

Cross-docking --  is a practice in logistics which implies transferring products from a supplier or manufacturing plant directly to a customer or retail chain with minimal to no handling or storage time. It typically used only for vehicle transfers and owned and operated by large shippers.

Dead-head -- a part of a transportation trip in which the truck goes without freight. Trucks can be dead-headed on their way back from the destination of the trip.

Dunnage -- wood and packaging materials used to protect cargo from mechanical damage, moisture, and contamination inside a container or a vehicle.

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