Meet the Audax Team


ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) 

An anti-lock braking system utilizes computers, sensors, and valves to modulate the braking force if the wheels lock up. Used on aircraft, and vehicles such as cars, trucks, and buses, this helps the driver maintain control of the vehicle during heavy braking and on slippery roads.

Accessorial Charges

An accessorial charge is an amount assessed as a result of additional services rendered outside normal transportation procedures, such as hazmat, overweight, yard pull or storage.


An individual who negotiates contracts or acts in a legal capacity on behalf of another party.

Air Ride Suspension

An air spring system uses air-filled rubber bags rather than steel springs to reduce the vibration felt during travel.


A vessel sharing agreement, typically on a global scale, between ocean carriers who cross-list schedules and sell capacity on each other’s vessel services (also termed as vessel sharing).

Automated Commercial Environment (ACE)

Formerly known as ACS, ACE is the system used to electronically transmit commercial cargo transactions between cargo owners and US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) such as customs entry, collection of duties and taxes, control of merchandise, and selection of cargo for physical inspection.

Automated Gate Services (AGS)

A high-tech kiosk that utilizes RFID, cameras, and optical recognition to capture information on containers, chassis and trucks entering and exiting the terminal, increasing gate throughput.

Back Haul 

A back haul is a term used when hauling freight back to the point of origin for the truck.

Bad Order 

An equipment status applied to containers, chassis, or rail cars to imply a mechanical defect.

Bad Order Equipment Status (BOES)

An IANA/UIIA information service that provides a clearinghouse for equipment status information (bad order, gate hold, release) that allows for standardization of data communication formats, simplification of operating system, interconnectivity, and streamlining of trading partner information for all industry participants as it relates to bad order equipment.

Bar Coding

A system of coding data for faster processing by utilizing electronic readers/scanners.


A flat-bottom boat that is pushed or towed. A barge is used to transport stacked boxes on inland or coastal waterways and is referred to as Container-on-Barge (COB).

Beneficial Cargo Owner (BCO)

A person or entity that owns or has title to the cargo being transported. BCOs are also known ad the importer of record.


The wharf space at which a ship docks. A wharf may have multiple berths, depending on the length of incoming ships.

Bill of Lading

A legal document issued by a carrier (transportation company) to a shipper that details the type, quantity, and destination of the goods being carried. It is both a receipt for freight and a contract for delivery of goods by a carrier. The principal bills of lading are:

Blind Spot

Areas around a vehicle that are not visible to the driver either through the windshield, side windows or mirrors.

Blocking and Bracing

Wood, metal, or other materials used to secure cargo inside containers or trailers to prevent the cargo from moving.

Board of Commissioners

A governing board, either elected or appointed, which oversees the procedures of a port authority.


Slang term used in trucking which refers to a move without a trailer or chassis attached to the truck.


Also known as a chassis, it is a frame with wheels used to mount a container for travel on the roadways.

Bomb Cart

A heavy-duty trailer utilized inside the marine terminal for quick repositioning. Unlike a standard chassis, bomb carts do not have twist locks but have side guides that hold the container inside. Bomb carts are often moved by a hostler or yard truck.

Bonded Goods

Foreign shipments that have not been paid for in terms of duties or taxes. These goods are held at a secured warehouse (bonded warehouse) and are still controlled by customs authorities. Bonded goods are not released until payment is made in full.

Bonded Warehouse

A secured facility monitored by customs authorities, where bonded cargo is stored pending its release and payment of import duties, taxes, and other charges.


A booking is a reservation made with the ocean carrier to reserve space on a vessel for cargo/containers.


A boxcar is an enclosed rail car used for packaged freight and some bulk commodities on the railway, typically forty to fifty feet long.

Bridge Law

The term Bridge Law refers to the Federal Bridge Gross Weight Formula, which is a mathematical formula that determines the maximum weight that a commercial truck can carry on a bridge based on the number and spacing of its axles. The formula was enacted by Congress in 1975 to protect bridges from damage caused by heavy trucks. The formula also limits the gross vehicle weight to 80,000 pounds and the single axle weight to 20,000 pounds.

Break-Bulk Cargo

Cargo that cannot fit into standardized shipping container and instead is transported in boxes, crates, drums, or rolls and is pushed or lifted directly onto the ocean vessel. Examples include iron, steel, machinery, and vehicles.


A person or firm who arranges transactions between two parties. In logistics there are two occasions in which a broker is used:

Bulk Cargo

Loose cargo (dry or liquid) that is shoveled, scooped, or pumped directly into a ship’s cargo hold, or specialty trailer/container. Examples include grain, coal, and oil.


A structure used to protect against shifting cargo and/or to separate cargo within a container/trailer.

Bureau International Des Containers (BIC)

An international association that oversees technical aspects of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) code as it relates to maritime transportation containers. BIC helps to define and standardize areas such as technical control, strength, coding, identification and marking of containers.


Goods carried on a ship, aircraft, rail, or motor vehicle.

Cargo Weight

The combined weight of the commodity and packaging loading into an ISO container.


The quantity of cargo that can be loaded into railroad freight car.


A person or company that engages in the conveyance of goods.


The transporting of goods a short distance, also known as drayage or haulage.


A rectangular frame with twist-locks on which a shipping container is mounted for road transport. Chassis come in a variety of sizes and configurations depending on the weight and length of the container.

Class I Railroad

The STB’s (Surface Transportation Board) current definition of a Class I railroad was set in 1992, as any carrier earning annual revenue greater than $250 million.

Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)

A driver’s license required in the U.S. to operate heavy-duty commercial vehicles including tractor trailers.


Goods or materials used in commerce that is shipped.

Common Carrier 

A business or agency that is for hire and assumes responsibility for the transportation of goods.

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

A major safety measurement and reporting initiative of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). As described by FMCSA, it is a “data-driven safety compliance and enforcement program designed to improve safety and prevent commercial motor vehicle crashes, injuries, and fatalities.” A key component of the CSA program is a scoring system that identifies non-compliant and unsafe companies to prioritize them for compliance interventions.


A type of vessel designed to permit cargo to be driven on at origin and off at destination; used extensively for the movement of automobiles. Some vessels are hybrids between Roll-on-Roll-Off (RoRo) and a container ship with below-deck vehicle storage and containerized freight above deck; this type of vessel configuration is called ConRo.


The receiver of goods or import shipments.


The individual or organization shipping the goods, more commonly referred to as the shipper.


Combining multiple consignees or commodities under one master bill of lading. (see also Freight Consolidation)


Standard-sized rectangular box used to transport freight by ship, rail and highway.

Container Freight Station (CFS)

A designated facility that consolidates or de-consolidates freight before preparing for the next leg of its journey. Usually located near ports or railway hubs, there are two types of container freight stations.

Container Handler

This specialized truck loads/unloads trucks containers by attaching a spreader to the four top corner castings or the underside of a container. Also known as a Top-Pick or Top-Lift.

Container-on-Barge (COB)

The movement of an intermodal container on a barge that is towed on inland waterways to its destination. (see also Barge)

Container-on-Flat-Car (COFC)

The transport of an intermodal container on a railroad flatcar. (see also Flatcar)

Container Yard

A yard used for storage of containers when not in use, usually empty waiting reuse from import to export shipments.


Goods /cargo shipments which are prohibited by law.

Contract Carrier

Motor carriers that serve a specific shipper(s) who hold contracts and are therefore not available for carrying freight for the public.

Converter Dolly

A device which connects two pup trailers allowing a truck to pull both at once. (see also Doubles)

Corner Casting

The reinforced standardized corners of an intermodal container used to lift and secure the container to the chassis or other containers. This is the female end to a Twist-Lock system.

Corps of Engineers

A department of the U.S. Army, they are responsible for keeping U.S. channels open to vessel operators.


A large machine that straddles a vessel, railroad track, or container stack for the purpose of loading or unloading containers.

Cube Out

Reaching the maximum capacity of a container spatially.

Customs Border and Patrol (CBP)

A federal enforcement agency responsible for regulating and facilitating international trade, collecting import duties, and enforcing U.S. regulations including trade, customs, and immigration.

Customs Broker

An individual who clears goods through customs for importers and exporters. This involves the preparation of documents and/or electronic submissions; the calculation and payment of taxes, duties and excises; and facilitating communication between government authorities and importers and exporters.

Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT)

A voluntary public-private partnership program which recognizes that CBP can provide the highest level of cargo security only through close cooperation with the stakeholders of the international supply chain such as importers, carriers, consolidators, licensed customs brokers, manufacturers, and warehouses.


A deadhead is a drayage movement of empty equipment before picking up the next load.

Delivery Order

A document authorizing the delivery of goods to a specific location. The delivery order is typically issued by the consignee or their agent and must be presented to the carrier at the time of delivery.

Delivery Receipt

A document dated and signed at the delivery location, documenting that the cargo has been received and that the goods have arrived intact. Also referred to as Proof of Delivery.


Demurrage relates to container storage while on a marine terminal. It is a penalty assessed on laden containers inside a port beyond the agreed free time.

Department of Transportation (DOT)

The federal agency that regulates the U.S. transportation industry. DOT oversees and establishes safety regulations, issues operating licenses, and provides funding for infrastructure projects.

Detention Charges

Detention relates to container usage and is charged by the ocean carrier. It is a penalty assessed based on the length of time from when an importer has picked up a laden container to when the empty is returned to the port or depot. (see also Per Diem)


The process of assigning loads to drivers. Typically managed by a dispatcher or dispatch team, it involves coordinating with shippers and drivers providing specific instructions for the movement of cargo.

Distribution Center (DC)

A facility where goods are loaded or unloaded, and redistributed to consumers, retailers, or wholesalers.


A change made in the route /destination of a shipment while in transit.


The raised platform, found at warehouse and distribution centers, in which cargo is offloaded/loaded on the truck.

Dock Receipt

A document given for a shipment received or delivered at a pier or dock. When delivery of foreign goods is completed, the dock receipt is surrendered, and a bill of lading is issued.

Domestic Container 

A standardized shipping container, 48 or 53-foot in length, transported via rail or truck in North America.


A combination of a tractor hauling two semitrailers connected by a converter dolly.


The movement of containers on rail cars where one container is stacked on another container for better utilization. (see also Stack Train)


The depth of a loaded vessel in the water taken from the waterline to the lowest point if the haul (keel).


The transportation of freight between a cargo facility and a customer’s facility. Also known as cartage or haulage.


An individual or carrier employed to perform the drayage move to/from an intermodal terminal.

Driver Assist

The loading/unloading of a container or trailer when a drayman is required to assist in the process.

Driver Vehicle Examination Report (DVER)

A Driver Vehicle Examination Report is provided to intermodal equipment providers and motor carriers of the outcome of findings from roadside inspections. It is an IANA/UIIA method for inspecting equipment and ensuring CSA standards are met.

Driver Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR)

A formal record that confirms a driver has inspected their commercial motor vehicle before and after taking it out on the road. These are called pre-trip and post-trip inspections.

Drop and Pick

A service offered by the drayman in which containers are dropped either empty or loaded at a shipper or receiver, and a previously dropped container is picked up to return to the port or rail.


A non-climate controlled container shipment used to carry general cargo.

Dry Run

When the motor carrier goes to a facility to pick up a shipment and for some reason leaves without one.

Dry Van

An enclosed non-climate-controller trailer used to carry general cargo. Also referred to a trailer.


Material used to fill the empty space inside a container or trailer to protect or support the cargo inside.

Electronic Data Interchange

The process of sending data electronically.


A restriction placed on commodities permitted to be transported between countries or regions.


The vehicle or vehicles that provides power to a freight train. It is common for several locomotives to be attached to a long intermodal train.

Equipment Interchange Receipt (EIR)

A document executed between a terminal and the motor carrier transferring possession of a container/chassis from one to the other, showing the equipment condition at the time of transfer.

Equipment Provider

The holder of the beneficial title to the equipment, whether it be a container, chassis or trailer. They can be ocean carriers, rail carriers and/or leasing companies. Some shippers and motor carriers also own their own containers and/or chassis, and would be considered equipment providers.


The shipment of goods and commodities to another country.

Federal Highway Administration (FWHA)

The division of the U.S. Department of Transportation dedicated to the construction, maintenance and preservation of U.S. highways, bridges, and tunnels.

Federal Maritime Commission (FMC)

The U.S. agency responsible for regulating ocean transportation in foreign commerce.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The division in the U.S. Department of Transportation that regulates the trucking industry in the U.S.

Fifth Wheel

The coupling on a truck that provides the connection between the truck and chassis/trailer.

Flat Rack

A piece of intermodal equipment used to transport items too large to fit inside a box.


A trailer with a main deck that is free of walls which accommodates a wide variety of unusually sized freight.


A standard piece of rail equipment that can transport a variety of freight configurations including heavy containers, trailers, or a combination of both.


The transfer of a container from the ground to a chassis at the port or rail.

Flip Charges

The cost assessed to a shipper when the port or rail are required to provide an unnecessary extra flip. This occurs when a chassis is not available at the time a container is removed from the train, or when a container needs to be removed from a pool chassis to a private chassis.

For Hire Carrier 

A company that provides truck transportation of freight belonging to others and is paid for doing so. There are two types of for-hire carriers, Truckload — TL, and Less Than Truckload — LTL.


This equipment is used to handle limited loaded 20-foot containers or empty containers of other dimensions. Forklifts with special attachments may be used to stack chassis in a yard or hook up gensets.

Forty-Foot-Equivalent (FEU) 

A term used when indicating vessel or terminal capacity. Two twenty-foot containers equal one FEU.


An agent responsible for organizing the transport of freight from origin to destination on behalf of the shipper or beneficial cargo owner (BCO).

Free Time

The period of time allotted to the shipper or BCO to accept delivery of freight before demurrage or detention charges accrue.

Free Trade Zone

  1. Broadly referring to the reduction or elimination of customs duties on goods produced within and shipped between the participating countries in a reciprocal trade agreement. NAFTA is an example of such an agreement, creating a North American free trade zone, as is the European Union.
  2. A defined geographic area — typically a city or port area, similar to a free port — which has “extra-territorial” status with respect to the collection of customs duty, import and export taxes and other cargo admissibility restrictions. Free trade zones are created to improve the export competitiveness of manufacturing, warehousing and processing, and assembly businesses. By eliminating duty on imported raw materials components and scrap which are used or consumed in the trade zone, costs of finished products are reduced.


Cargo that is being transported by a carrier.

Freight Bill

A shipping document that details the description of the freight, its weight, amount of charges, taxes and whether the bill is collect or prepaid. If the bill is prepaid, freight charges are paid by the shipper. If the bill is collect, freight charges are paid by the receiver of the goods or a third party.

Freight Broker

A licensed intermediary who contracts the transportation services for a shipper or forwarder.

Freight Consolidation

The process of combining multiple commodities/consignees into a single container for more economical shipping costs.

Freight Consolidator

A party serving as an indirect carrier, though the term may also refer to a party other than a carrier who is physically contracted to perform freight consolidation services, for example a container freight station.

Freight of All Kinds (FAK)

A shipping classification usually when three or more different commodities are shipped as a single freight class.

Full Container Load (FCL)

A shipment that takes up the entire shipping container.

Fuel Surcharge (FSC)

An assessorial assessed to offset the rising cost of fuel. The FSC is calculated based on the price of fuel at the time of shipping and is subject to change based on weekly market rates.


A point at an intermodal facility where a clerk checks in and out all containers, chassis, and trailers. All reservations and paperwork are checked at the gatehouse.

General Freight Carrier

A shipper which handles a wide variety of commodities in standard trailers. Such carriers can provide less-than-truckload service.


A portable diesel generator that supplies power to a refrigerated container. A genset is mounted to the front of the container or to the chassis.

Global Intermodal Equipment Registry (GIER)

An IANA/UIIA virtual technology solution to meet the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations requiring the identification of intermodal equipment and the intermodal equipment provider responsible for maintenance and repair of that equipment.

Gross Weight

The total weight of a shipment to include cargo weight, pallet weight, dunnage weight and container weight.


Intermodal equipment storage in which containers are not connected to a chassis and may be stacked on top of one another.


Transportation of freight between a facility or terminal to the customer’s facility. Also known as drayage or cartage.

Hazardous Material 

Any item or chemical which when moved is a risk to public safety or an environmental hazard. Hazardous material, also known as HAZMAT, includes explosives, radioactive materials, etiologic agents, flammable or combustible liquids or solids, poisons, oxidizing or corrosive materials and compressed gases.

Heavy Haul

The transport of over-weight material. This freight requires a state permit and specialized chassis in order to meet DOT regulations. These shipments may also require special routings, as only certain highways allow extremely heavy vehicle weights.

Heavy Lift Charge

A fee assessed in addition to ocean freight charges when cargo is too heavy to be handled by normal means, necessitating the use of special cranes.

High Cube Container

A container similar in length and width to a standard container, but a foot taller in height. Standard containers have a maximum height of 8’6”, while high-cube containers are or 9’6”tall. ISO high cube containers share the same width and length as regular containers.


A smaller truck tractor used to reposition containers, trailers and chassis within an intermodal terminal, cargo yard, port or warehouse facility. Also known as a yard truck, terminal tractor, utility tractor, rig or shunt truck.

Hours of Service

Regulations issued by the FMCSA governing the daily and weekly hours of truck drivers in the U.S.


The party purchasing goods for import into a country and/or who is responsible for the processing and correctness of the customs entry and payment of customs duty, if any. An importer is typically, though not always, the consignee and/or party with beneficial interest in the cargo.


The status of merchandise admitted provisionally into a country without payment of duties, either for storage in a bonded warehouse or for trans-shipment to another point where duties will eventually be imposed and paid.


A list of standard terms for foreign trade contracts. The terms are created by the International Chamber of Commerce — ICC. Also known as International Commerce Terms.


Location within an intermodal ramp where entering trucks are inspected, or the process of checking a container or trailer into the intermodal facility. This process includes inspection of the unit, reservation confirmation and the input of data into a computer system.

Inland Carrier 

A transportation company which hauls export or import freight between ports or rail hubs and inland points.

Inland Port

An intermodal container transfer facility that is situated in the interior of a country with rail, barge or truck services to a larger coastal port.

Institute of International Container Lessors (IICL)

A trade association whose member companies are engaged in leasing marine cargo containers and chassis to ship operators and others on an international basis.


The transfer of physical possession of intermodal equipment from one segment of the logistics supply chain to another.

Interchange agreement

A legally binding arrangement between an equipment provider and a drayage company that outlines the responsibilities of both parties involved in the equipment interchange. Also referred to as an EIR or TIR.


The movement of freight, in a container, by more than one mode of transportation. The movement can be made from rail to truck, or rail to ship, or any combination of the three.

Intermodal Association of North America (IANA)

The industry trade association representing the combined interests of the intermodal freight industry. IANA promotes the growth of efficient intermodal freight transportation through innovation, education and dialogue. IANA’s membership roster of over 1,000 corporate members includes railroads — Class I; ocean carriers, port authorities, intermodal truckers and over-the-road carriers, intermodal and logistics companies, suppliers to the industry such as equipment manufacturers, intermodal leasing companies and consulting firms. IANA’s associate, non-voting, members include shippers — defined as the beneficial owners of the freight to be shipped — academic institutions, government entities and non-profit associations.

Intermodal Container Transfer Facility (ICTF) 

A local facility near the marine terminal where containerized cargo is transferred from one mode of transportation to another. (such as truck to rail)

Intermodal Drivers Database (IDD)

In conjunction with the UIIA and in response to the call for increased security at intermodal facilities, IANA developed a secure, web-based system for motor carriers to provide and maintain driver identification information that is required to access specific intermodal facilities.

Intermodal Equipment (IME)

The towing apparatus used in the intermodal transportation of containers over public highways in interstate commerce. While primarily container and chassis, IME can also include trailers for piggyback transit.

Intermodal Equipment Provider (IEP)

Any company that interchanges intermodal equipment — IME — with a motor carrier pursuant to a written interchange agreement or has a contractual responsibility for the maintenance of the IME.

Intermodal Expo 

IANA’s annual event is where the industry’s products and services are showcased, and the industry’s issues and challenges are dissected. Intermodal EXPO’s networking, dialogue, and educational seminars make it the essential event for the intermodal supply chain.

Intermodal Interchange Executive Committee (IEC)

The standing committee of the Intermodal Association of North America (IANA) is responsible for the administration of the Uniform Intermodal Interchange (UIIA), and for the processing of changes and/or modifications to the agreement. The committee consists of a minimum of two representatives from each mode representing motor, ocean and rail carriers participating in the agreement, with equal representation. Each representative also names an alternate from their respective mode who participates in committee meetings and serves as the voting member in the absence of the principal representative.

Intermodal Shipping Container 

A large reusable rectangular box, constructed of steel or aluminum, designed to withstand the rigors of repeated travel from ship to truck to rail and back. Containers are designed to be interoperable with all modes of intermodal transport. Most standard dry containers are 20, 40, 45, 48 or 53 feet in length. Also known as a box.

Intermodal Tractor Registry (LTR)

Within the UIIA system, it is a point of registration for motor carriers to provide tractor/truck information on behalf of their company drivers or owner operators.

International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU)

The North American labor union representing approximately 42,000 members in over 60 local unions in California, Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Hawaii. An additional 3,500 members belong to the Inlandboatmen’s Union of the Pacific, which constitutes the Union’s Marine Division. Another 14,000 members belong to the autonomous ILWU Canadian area.

International Longshoremen’s Association, AFL-CIO (ILA)

The largest union of maritime workers in North America, representing upwards of 65,000 longshoremen on the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, Great Lakes, major U.S. rivers, Puerto Rico and Eastern Canada.

International Standard Organization (ISO) 

An independent and non-government organization responsible for the standardization of container dimensions, carrying capacity and securement points. ISO boxes, often referred to as marine containers, come in 20-, 40-, or 45-foot lengths.


An interchange report filled out during the ingate/outgate process at a rail ramp that details damage to the unit, container information, shipping information, drayman involved and time of ingate/outgate.

Just in Time (JIT) 

A cargo movement in which the goods arrive as soon as the product is needed, typically in a production environment, and is a business practice to avoid storing raw material or parts.


The large pin that connects a chassis or trailer to a truck’s fifth wheel, locking the two units together.

Lading (Laden)

The loaded cargo in the container or trailer.

Land Bridge 

Intermodal system of getting international cargo across a large landmass from one coast to another via a railway network.

Landing Gear

The legs of a chassis that support the vehicle when not attached to truck.


A regularly used route with specified origination and destination for the transportation of cargo.

Lashing Rod

A piece of equipment used to provide additional stability when securing containers onboard a ship. Also known as a turnbuckle.

Less than Container Load (LCL)

An individual shipment that does not completely fill a container. When many shippers’ goods occupy a single container, each shipper’s shipment is considered to be LCL and is usually a consolidated shipment.

Less than Truck Load (LTL) 

A shipment that does not fill an entire trailer. Specialized carriers provide service exclusively for this type of shipment. These services are priced by weight, density, value and ease of handling in combination with distance.


The process of moving a container or trailer to/from a rail car, vessel, or chassis.

Lift Gate

It is a hydraulic platform mounted on the rear of a truck and is used to lift heavier cargo into the truck.

Line Haul

The transport of goods by land, air or water between two specified stations.

Load Shift

The movement of the cargo inside a container or trailer after it leaves the origin and before it arrives at the destination.


The vehicle or vehicles that provides power to a freight train. It is common for several locomotives to be attached to a long intermodal train. Also known as an engine.


Required for interstate commercial trucking by DOT, it is a book carried by truck drivers in which they record their hours of service and duty status for each 24-hour period.


The management of resources, not only goods, between the point of origin and the point of destination. Logistics involves the integration of information, land transportation, inventory, warehousing, material handling, packaging and often security.


A person employed in a port to load and unload ships and interchange containers.

Maintenance of Way 

The upkeep and repair of the railroad roadbed — rail, ties, ballast, bridges, etc.

Marine Terminal

A facility within a port where freight is handled, specifically the loading and unloading of ships.

Marine Terminal Operator (MTO)

An organization that provides wharfage, dock, or other marine terminal facilities to ocean carriers moving cargo in ocean-borne foreign commerce of the United States.


Refers to businesses engaged in commerce of foreign goods traveling over waterways.

Maritime Administration (MARAD) 

The DOT agency responsible for America’s commercial maritime transportation system.

Mode of Transportation

The different ways of moving freight: air, road, rail, and sea.

Motor Carrier 

A freight carrier using a highway/road conveyance, commonly referred to as a trucker.

Motor Carrier Database (MCD)

A database maintained by Intermodal Association of North America (IANA) which is comprised of motor carriers participating in the Uniform Intermodal Interchange and Facilities Access Agreement (UIIA). The database is updated daily and is the most comprehensive and accurate database of intermodal motor carriers.

Multimodal Transport

The movement of freight under a single contract but performed by more than one mode of transport. Intermodal transport is a particular type of multimodal transport, with land and sea as the transport method.

Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier (NVOCC)

A carrier defined by maritime law as a common carrier that provides ocean transportation, issues its own house bill of lading, and does not operate the vessels by which ocean transportation is provided.

Notify Party

The company or individual that is notified at the time a container is grounded from a train or a ship.

Ocean Carrier

A company that operates container cargo vessels. Many are international corporations that facilitate intermodal transportation around the world, also known as a steamship line.

Ocean Carrier Equipment Management Association (OCEMA) 

The U.S.-based group of major ocean common carriers that focus on operational and safety matters pertaining to the intermodal transportation of ocean freight within the U.S.

On-Dock Rail

A marine terminal that offers rail access on terminal for containers transferring between vessels and rail cars without leaving the facility.

Open Top Container 

An intermodal box without a steel roof to facilitate the loading of heavy or oversize cargo. Many open tops feature a tarp to protect the freight from the elements.


Commercial driver or equipment condition(s) that reflect violation(s) of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations — FMCSR — that pose an imminent hazard to public safety and therefore is deemed out-of-service.


The process/status of checking a container/chassis out of an intermodal facility.

Over the Road (OTR) 

The long distance movement of freight by truck.


A professional truck driver who owns and operates his/her own trucking business. The driver may lease on to a carrier or they may operate under their own authority. There are approximately 350,000 owner-operators registered in the United States; most lease on to larger carriers and operate under that carrier’s DOT number.

Packing List

A detailed, itemized list of goods packed into a container or trailer.


A flat wooden or plastic platform, on which packaged goods are placed to facilitate movement by forklift, pallet jack, front loader or other type of handling equipment.


Weight of the cargo being hauled.

Per Diem

A fixed rate assessed by the equipment owner against another carrier or customer for use of its containers after the contracted free time expires.


The dock in a seaport at which cargo is loaded or unloaded from ships or vessels.


A sign affixed to a container, which identifies the product being transported in that vehicle, i.e. hazardous material, flammable liquid, etc.


An assigned group of containers or chassis used to satisfy the transportation requirements of a customer.


A city, town, or other place where ships load or unload, especially where customs officers are stationed.

Port Authority

A state or local government that owns, operates or otherwise provides wharf, dock and other terminal investments at ports.

Port of Call

A port where a ship stops on a voyage to discharge or receive cargo.

Port of Entry

A port, officially designated by the government, in which foreign goods are admitted into the receiving country.

Private Carrier

A trucking company which maintains its own equipment to transport its own freight.

Private Equipment

Equipment or machinery (including chassis) owned by an individual or company that is not engaged in common carrier services.

Rail Carrier 

A provider that offers rail service. Rail carriers are present at port facilities through on-dock and near-dock service, providing shippers with more efficient routes for imports and exports.

Rail Mounted Gantry Crane (RMG)

A specialized container handling a gantry crane, which runs along a track, lifting, stacking, and transferring containers in a specified range of a container yard or terminal.

Rail Ramp 

The intermodal rail terminal where containers are loaded/unloaded on rail cars.


A network of railroad tracks for storage and maintenance of rail cars and engines.

Reach Stacker 

A truck with a long boom that allows it to load/unload trucks and rail cars as well as access containers in an adjacent row. Also known as a side-loader.


A slang term for a refrigerated container used for the transport of temperature or climate sensitive cargo like meat, fruit, vegetables, dairy products, chemicals or pharmaceuticals.


The condition of intermodal equipment where it is in a good state of repair and ready for service. Generally referring to chassis, it can also refer to the safety check conducted on equipment prior to leaving an intermodal facility.

Roll-On-Roll-Off (RORO)

A type of vessel designed for cargo to be driven on at origin and off at destination; used extensively for the movement of automobiles.

Rubber-Tired Gantry Crane (RTG)

A mobile wheeled gantry crane used for stacking and grounding intermodal containers.

Rubber-Wheel Interchange 

Containers interchanged between two railroads by means of drayage carrier.

Security Seal 

A mechanism used to seal intermodal containers, providing security and tamper evidence. These seals come in a variety of designs; however, all have a uniquely generated number which is checked for signs of tampering during each step in the supply chain.

Ship-to-Shore Crane (STS)

A large crane at a marine terminal is used to load/unload ships by transferring containers between the dock and the vessel. Also known as a Portainer Crane.


The individual or company who is usually the supplier or owner of cargo being shipped.

Shipping Documents 

A set of documents that provide information about the goods being shipped and it accompanies the shipment as it moves from its origin to its destination.

Short Line

A small regional or local railroad that operates line-haul, switching or terminal services.

Short Shipped

Cargo which was originally scheduled for a particular vessel/voyage, but is left behind by the operator of the vessel.


The cabin of a semi-truck equipped with living quarters so a driver may sleep in the vehicle during long-haul trips or when mandated by Hours of Service regulations.


A type of chassis that slides out in order to add length to accommodate heavier weights due to Bridge Law, typically seen on a 20 foot chassis.

Split Shipment 

Multiple container load shipment booked for one vessel, but split and moved on multiple vessels.


The device used by container handling equipment to lift boxes by locking into the corner casting.

Stack Train

A rail service where railcars carry containers double stacked on specially operated trains.


The hitch used to support the nose end of a trailer when mounted on a flatcar. There are two types of stanchions: collapsible and fixed.

Standard Carrier Alpha Code (SCAC)

A unique code issued by the National Motor Freight Traffic Association used to identify transportation companies and their associated shipping documents. Participants in the UIIA are required to maintain a SCAC as it is used to identify freight carriers, containers, and chassis.

Standard Industrial Code (SIC)

A standard commodity/product classification system used in the United States for shipped goods.

Standard Transportation Commodity Codes (STCC)

A seven-digit coding structure designed to classify all commodities or articles which move or may move in freight transportation.

Steel Wheel Interchange

Containers or trailers that are interchanged between two railroads while on the railroad flatcar.


A firm employing longshoremen for the purpose of loading and unloading a vessel.

Storage Charge

A charge assigned to shipper or consignee for holding containers or trailers at an intermodal terminal beyond the allotted free time contracted to them.

Straddle Carrier 

A motorized crane that runs on rubber tires designed to load and unload railcars and chassis or stack boxes within the terminal by straddling the containers.

Straight Truck 

A vehicle which carries cargo in a body mounted to its chassis rather than on a trailer towed by a vehicle.

Street Turn

A transfer of financial responsibility for a container from one IMC to another. Generally, these transactions take place outside of an intermodal facility.


The process of removing cargo from a container.


The process of loading cargo into a container.

Supply Chain

A system of organizations working together in moving a product from supplier to customer. The supply chain activities convert raw materials and components into a finished product that is delivered to the end customer.

Tank Container 

An intermodal container specifically designed to transport liquids, gases or powders.

Tare Weight 

The weight of a container exclusive of its contents.


A legal list of rates, additional charges, regulations and requirements of a carrier, port or conference. Ocean tariffs are regulated by the Federal Maritime Commission. Inland tariffs, as well as ocean tariffs to/from Puerto Rico/U.S. Virgin Islands, are regulated by the Surface Transportation Board.


A commercial motor vehicle with a powerful engine and a driver’s cab, designed for hauling a trailer.


A tractor and trailer combination.

Trailer-on-Flatcar (TOFC)

A rail trailer, or container mounted on a chassis, that is transported on a rail car. Also known as Piggyback.

Transit Time 

The period for freight to move between two points, i.e., from port of loading to port of discharge.


The process of transferring goods from one transport mode to another.

Transportation Broker 

A non-asset based company which offers freight transportation services on behalf of their clients. Their service includes finding a qualified carrier — with the proper insurance and operating authorities — who can move the freight in a timely manner, negotiating a good rate and then managing the entire process from pickup to delivery.

Transportation Worker Identification Card (TWIC)

A Transportation Security Administration and U.S. Coast Guard program that uses a biometric card that is tamper-resistant to control access to marine terminals for improved security.


The unloading of cargo at a port or point where it is then reloaded, sometimes into another mode of transportation, for transfer to a final destination.


Typically, an intermodal chassis with three axles grouped together at the rear. A tri-axle chassis allows the container to carrier a greater cargo weight.

Twenty-Foot Equivalent (TEU)

The common unit used in indicating the capacity of a container vessel or terminal. A 40-foot container is equal to two TEUs.


The device inserted into a container’s standardized corner casting that locks the box to chassis, ships, rail cars, handling equipment and other containers.

Uniformed Intermodal Interchange and Facilities Access Agreement (UIIA)

The only standard industry contract that governs the interchange of equipment between the intermodal trucking company and the equipment provider.

United States Coast Guard (USCG)

The uniformed service responsible for maritime law enforcement, safety, and security.


A ship or large boat.

Vessel Sharing Agreement (VSA)

An arrangement between ocean carriers to operate shared services along specified routes by sharing space and container slots on the vessels. These alliances help steamship lines save on operating costs by reducing the number of vessels an individual carrier would need to deploy to offer the same frequency and competitive cost of services. Also see Alliance.


A vessel’s long journey usually from foreign to foreign ports.


The practice or process of storing goods in a warehouse.


A shipping document indicating the origin and destination, consignor and consignee, routing, description, weight of the commodity, any instructions for special services, rate and total charges.

Well Car

An intermodal rail car designed to place one container on top of another. Cars have a depressed well in the center to provide improved clearance for the double stacked containers and stabilize the cargo being transported. Also known as a Stack Car.

Weigh Station

A check point along a highway where commercial vehicles are weighed and inspected.


A charge assessed by a pier operator for handling incoming or outgoing cargo.


A term describing an intermodal facility where containers are stored on a chassis.


Different from a container yard, it is the motor carrier’s yard and is used to store loaded or empty containers or trailers until they can be delivered to the customer, depot or marine terminal.

3PL (Third Party Logistics)

3PL stands for third-party logistics. A 3PL provider is a company that offers logistics services, such as transportation, warehousing, inventory management, and other supply chain activities, to other businesses.

4PL (Fourth Party Logistics)

4PL stands for fourth-party logistics. A 4PL provider is a company that coordinates the supply chain services for its customers. Unlike a 3PL provider, which typically offers specific logistics services, a 4PL provider manages the entire supply chain on behalf of its customers.


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