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Transport Lingo: 5 Shipping Terms You Probably Didn’t Know

Whether you’re a seasoned shipping pro or a complete beginner, there are plenty of terms and lingo to get up to speed on. With the increase in the number of businesses shipping equipment, it can be hard to keep up with the ever-changing language of transportation. To help you out, here are five shipping terms you may not have heard of but should know. From cartage and liftgate services to not otherwise indicated (NOI) and trucking cost per mile, dive into these lesser-known transportation terms and better understand the industry.

Importance of Understanding Shipping Terms

Before we delve into their definitions, let’s take a look at why it’s helpful to be familiar with these terms. Shipping heavy equipment involves more than merely transporting them from one location to another. The safe delivery of cargo is guaranteed by following established protocols and laws. Everyone involved in shipping must have a basic understanding of the terms we’ll be discussing. By learning these terms, supply chain mistakes can be avoided and reduced.

Cartage Services

Cartage shipping service is the transportation of goods across short distances, typically within a city or a business district. Because they concentrate on long-distance shipment, most carriers don’t provide cartage services. As a result, many clients look for cartage brokers to handle their light haul shipment over relatively short distances that carriers won’t.

Cartage firms employ delivery vehicles or vans to transport their customers’ goods as LTL or less than truckload shipments. As a result, several cartage firms impose a cartage fee on shippers that employ their services. This is comparable to what you would pay for the services of a customs broker, storage facility, or shipping agent.

To use cartage services, you must first contact a cartage agent, then deliver your freight to a cartage company, and finally, fill out cartage advisory paperwork.

Deadhead Trucking

What is deadhead trucking? When a truck is pulling an empty trailer, it is said to be “riding deadhead.” This may be a dry van trailer or a flatbed trailer with nothing on it. If you’re deadheading, you’re operating a cargo-hauling truck (semi-truck) with an empty trailer attached. It is common practice for truck drivers to “deadhead” their empty cargo containers back to their respective terminals. Do not confuse deadheading with bobtailing, which is driving a freight truck without a trailer.

Deadhead trucking is extremely risky. One large study found that the risk of an accident was 2.5 times higher for empty trucks. When towing a full or partially full, trailers and tractor-cabs are built to perform in a specific manner. When a trailer is devoid of cargo, its center of gravity shifts, making it difficult to control. The trailer’s movement is unpredictable and may be more prone to slipping, swerving, or overturning.

Liftgate Services

Liftgate services are additional services provided by freight carriers while picking up or transporting freight. A hydraulic lift called a liftgate is mounted on the back of the truck to raise and lower cargo between ground level and the vehicle’s bed. Most homes and small companies won’t have access to a docking station, making it difficult or impossible to load and unload goods.

If you are shipping a load that weighs more than 150 pounds and don’t have the necessary equipment to complete the loading and unloading operation, you will likely need liftgate services. Liftgate services will be charged extra by freight delivery services, and you must notify them in advance if you require the service. Failure to do so may result in a billing adjustment that is more expensive than pre-reserving the liftgate in advance.

Not Otherwise Indicated (NOI)

Not Otherwise Indicated (NOI) is a distinct category for freight that does not appear to fit into any of the NMFC classes. The freight fees assigned to your cargo are determined by the NMFC figures based on its liability, density, freight stowability, and ease of handling.

Since most freight has a definite NMFC figure allocated, the NOI class should be utilized with caution. Additionally, the inspection team is likely to look at a strange shipment. Therefore, it’s crucial that you only use this class if there are no other options at all. If in doubt, consult a professional.

Trucking Cost Per Mile

Trucking cost per mile entails looking at your expenses to figure out how much it costs to run and maintain the trucks in your fleet on a per-mile basis. Cost per mile typically considers fuel, upkeep, employee salaries (drivers and non-drivers), insurance premiums, and other driving-related expenses. If you calculate your trucking cost per mile, you’ll get a clearer picture of how various costs affect your profits.

Heavy Haulers Final Thought

Although there are many other terms associated with freight shipping, knowing these most key ones will help you decide which mode of shipment to utilize or when you are asked for specific details related to your cargo.

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