Logistics Glossary: 50 Delivery Terms to Know

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Each industry has its own set of terms specific to the industry. The logistics industry is no exception.

There are hundreds of delivery terms out there and understanding them facilitates coordination, collaboration, and timely decision-making among stakeholders.

In this blog, we have highlighted 50 delivery terms you should know alphabetically.

50 Delivery Terms to Know

  1. Advanced Shipping Notice (ASN): A notification sent by a supplier to the recipient detailing the contents and shipment of a delivery before it arrives.

  2. ATA: Actual time of arrival

  3. ATD: Actual time of departure

  4. Backhaul: The return trip of a vehicle after delivering cargo, often used to transport goods back to the point of origin or another destination.

  5. Bill of Lading (BOL): A legal document between the shipper and carrier detailing the type, quantity, and destination of the goods being shipped.

  6. Benchmark: In logistics, benchmarks refer to KPI thresholds set by an organization to measure supply chain performance.

  7. Billing: A process commonly performed by the carrier that determines the total charges for a completed order.

  8. Bulk Cargo: Unpackaged goods transported in large quantities, such as grains, coal, or petroleum, usually loaded directly into a vessel's hold.

  9. Cash On Delivery (COD): This is a payment method where the recipient pays for the goods at the time of delivery, rather than in advance.

  10. Customs Broker: A third-party entity that assists vendors in dealing with import or export customs.

  11. Custom Clearance: Customs clearance is the process by which goods are approved by customs authorities for import or export. This involves submitting required documentation and information, paying applicable duties and taxes, and ensuring compliance with regulations and laws.

  12. Cross-Docking: A logistics practice where products from suppliers are directly distributed to customers or retail stores with minimal handling and storage time.

  13. Deadhead: The movement of a transport vehicle, such as a truck or aircraft, without any cargo, often to position it for the next load.

  14. Dead on Arrival: It is used to describe a product that is damaged upon delivery to its destination.

  15. Declared Value for Carriage: The value of goods according to the shipper. This amount is declared on a BOL.

  16. Dimensional Weight: A pricing technique for shipping freight, considering the package's dimensions to calculate the cost, rather than just its weight.

  17. Dispatch: The office in charge of allocating assets to haul shipments.

  18. EDI (Electronic Data Interchange): The electronic interchange of business information using a standardized format, enabling automated data exchange between trading partners.

  19. Freight Bill: An invoice from the carrier to the shipper, detailing the charges for the transportation of goods.

  20. Free on Board (FOB): Used to decide who is liable for goods that are damaged during shipment.

  21. Handling Costs: The cost of moving or transferring inventory.

  22. Inbound Logistics: Refers to the transportation and storage of incoming goods into your supply chain

  23. Informal Settlement: The unregulated and illicit use of land for residential purposes in logistics, can hurt supply chain and distribution activities. These settlements often lack formal facilities, making transportation and delivery services difficult.

  24. Just-in-Time (JIT) Inventory: An inventory management system where materials are produced or acquired only as demand requires, minimizing inventory costs.

  25. Key Performance Indicator (KPI): In logistics, KPIs are critical metrics that highlight the performance of your supply chain.

  26. Lane: A specific route between two locations regularly used for the transportation of goods.

  27. Less than Truckload (LTL): A shipping service for relatively small freight loads that do not require a full truck's capacity, combining shipments from multiple customers.

  28. Load Tender: The process by which a shipper offers a shipment to a carrier, often including details such as pickup and delivery times, location, and freight characteristics.

  29. Mileage Rate: A rate that is determined by the number of miles an order is shipped.

  30. Network Analysis: The careful analysis of a logistics network. They are designed to analyze warehousing, transportation, and other means of distribution.

  31. Order: A shipment of goods.

  32. Outsource: The process of using a third party to complete functions that were previously performed in-house.

  33. Order Fulfillment: The complete process from receiving, processing, packing, and delivering an order to the customer.

  34. Pallet: A flat structure used to support and transport goods, making them easier to move with forklifts and other handling equipment.

  35. Packing List: A document that specifies the quantity and location of each item in a package.

  36. Private Carrier: A transportation company that transports goods exclusively for a specific entity, not available for hire by the general public.

  37. Pro Forma Invoice: A preliminary bill of sale sent to buyers in advance of a shipment or delivery of goods, detailing the goods, prices, and terms.

  38. Real-Time: In logistics, this term refers to a shipper’s ability to track an order from origin to destination.

  39. Routing Guide: A document that outlines the preferred shipping methods, carriers, and routes to be used for transporting goods, ensuring consistency and efficiency.

  40. Scalability: How quickly a supplier can increase productivity to meet rising demand

  41. Scorecard: A tool used by retailers to grade their suppliers’ ability to deliver products on time and in full.

  42. Shipper: The person or company that is sending goods or cargo to a receiver or consignee.

  43. Short Shipment: An order that is incomplete or missing agreed-upon parts.

  44. Tare Weight: The weight of an empty vehicle or container, which is deducted from the gross weight to determine the net weight of the cargo.

  45. Third-Party Logistics (3PL): Companies that provide outsourced logistics services to support various aspects of the supply chain, such as warehousing, transportation, and order fulfilment.

  46. Traceability: In shipping, this term refers to real-time or close to real-time location tracking.

  47. Track and Trace: Following a shipment’s movement from origin to destination.

  48. Value-Added Partner: A strategic partner that creates value for a firm that goes beyond benefits received from a transaction.

  49. Visibility: Access to key data within the supply chain.

  50. Warehouse Network: Refers to a vendor’s chain of warehousing locations throughout a given geographic area.


Don't just stop at this list, go for further resources. Remember, a good understanding of delivery terms improves communication, which leads to an efficient supply chain.

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