The ABCs of Logistics: General Logistics Terms

We have prepared an excellent glossary of general logistics terms for you. Arm yourself with the right logistics terminology by bookmarking this handy glossary. Make smart business moves that keep your customers satisfied and your profits steady.

API – Application Program Interface

APIs are critical to automating information exchange, which is transforming the logistics industry. APIs provide a structure for data exchange between systems. For example, a fulfillment center that automatically updates an ecommerce store’s inventory uses an API to exchange inventory information.

B/L or BOL – Bill of Lading

A document issued to a shipper which contains details about the method and destination of a shipment, plus basic information about the contents. A BOL can act as a receipt for the cargo and can be used as proof of ownership or authority to pickup and deliver.

CFR – Code of Federal Regulations

The US government’s comprehensive list of laws and rules. The CFR is divided into 50 chapters (or “titles”) that represent broad areas of federal regulation. Title 49 deals with transportation.

Cradle the Grave

Model of operations where operators or agents own all communications related to a shipment.

DimWt – Dimensional Weight

Also called “volumetric weight,” DimWt is a measurement of weight that is estimated based on a package’s length, width, and height.

EDI – Electronic Data Interchange

The electronic exchange of information that was transmitted on paper in the past. The UN has developed EDI standards known as EDIFACT (Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce, and Transport), which provide a standard set of syntax rules to structure data.

ERP – Enterprise Resource Planning

ERP generally refers to the software- and tech-assisted integrated management of business processes. Resources and commitments are tracked to more efficiently allocate resources and meet obligations. Adoption of logistics-specifics ERP software is becoming more common as automation makes it easier to track physical goods in real time across multiple locations.

FMCSA – Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

FMCSA regulates safety in trucking in the United States, including safe working hours and conditions for truck drivers.

GRI – General Rate Increase

An amount by which ocean carriers increase their base rates due to increased demand.

HAWB – House Air Waybill

A receipt issued by a freight forwarder for goods. It differs from an AirWay Bill in that the freight forwarder does not own or operate the aircraft.

HazMat – Hazardous Materials

Any item or chemical which, when being transported or moved in commerce, is a risk to public safety or the environment, and is regulated as such under its Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration regulations (49 CFR 100-199).

INCO – International Commercial Terms

The INCO, or Incoterms, are published by the International Chamber of Commerce; they define the rights and responsibilities of each party to a sales contract. They clarify when the legal possession of goods transfers from buyer to seller.

Supply Chain

Supply Chain refers to the steps in the life cycle of a product’s design, manufacture, transport and sale. These might be factories, freight forwarders, customs brokers, fulfillment warehouses or trucking companies.

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