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Getting to Know Important Freight Shipping Business Terms

30 Apr 2014

Freight shipping companies often use terminology that may seem foreign to people who do not work in the industry. In order to better understand this field, it is important to know some of the most important terms used in the freight shipping business.

Air Waybill

An air waybill is a document used by airlines that serves as a contract between the airline and the shipper. This document includes the conditions and terms of transportation, such as product description, charges, and specific shipping instructions.

Bill of Landing

Sometimes referred to as a B/L or a BOL, a bill of landing is a contract that serves three purposes:

  • A receipt for goods that were delivered for shipment to the transportation provider
  • A description or definition of the goods
  • Title evidence to the goods

Break Bulk

Breaking bulk refers to separating parts of a load into different and individual shipments. This is done when separate parts of a load need to be routed to different destinations.


A carmack is an industry term that has to do with damaged or lost goods. This regulation requires that all motor carriers issue a Bill of Landing and pay the actual injury or loss of property.


A consignee is a place where a shipment is going to be transferred for the final destination. If the consignee is a person, he or she will be the person to whom the shipment is addressed.


Dispatching is the act of sending a freight driver to his assigned route with required shipping papers and specific instructions.

Freight Broker

A freight broker is a person who sells transportation services without actually providing those services. These professionals usually don’t accept responsibility when it comes to shipments, and they typically refer agents to shipments by matching carriers and shippers.

Hazardous Material

The U.S. Department of Transportation defines hazardous materials as a substance that could be designated as hazardous in the event that transporting that material could pose risk to property, safety, and/or health. These may include explosives, radioactive materials, poison, or flammable liquids, among others.


An overage is the number of units that were received in excess of the number indicated on the shipping documents. Overages should never be delivered to the customer, and instead, they should be returned to the original terminal until more information is provided by the customer.