Welcome to the Hot Freight online shipper’s glossary. To learn more about a freight, shipping or trucking term, click on one of the links below.


Border Clearance

The practice of clearing freight through either U.S. Customs or Canada Customs at the border instead of at an inland customs facility.


An acronym for North American Free Trade Agreement. NAFTA is a trilateral trade agreement between Canada, United States and Mexico to allow the free movement of goods within the North American marketplace.


Acronym for Pre-Arrival Processing System. This is a process devised and run by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Carriers in Canada must fax ahead or electronically transfer a shippers customs entry for review by U.S. Customs in advance of the freight arriving at the port of entry (U.S. – Canadian border point)..


Acronym for Pre-Arrival Review System that refers to the initiative by Canada Customs to speed up the entry process at the border for shipments inbound to Canada. A customs entry is assigned a bar-coded control number at the time of pick-up and faxed to the border in advance of the truck arriving. This gives Canada Customs personnel the opportunity to review the entry while the freight is actually in transit.

SCAC (Standard Carrier Alpha Code)

This is an acronym for Standard Carrier Alpha Code.  The SCAC is issued to carriers and freight forwarders/brokers operating in North America by the NMFTA in Alexandria, VA.  Every carrier and freight forwarder/broker must hold a valid Certificate of Standard Carrier Alpha Code  Assignment.  All SCAC identifiers are 4 letters.   Hot Freight’s SCAC is HFIA.


Air Ride Van

A trailer that has pneumatic cushioning for suspension rather than conventional spring suspension.

Bill of Lading

The legal document that sets out the details of a shipment such as consignor, consignee, pieces, weight, product description, collect, prepaid, declared value and any particular service requirements. The bill of lading is signed by the shipper and the driver picking up the freight.ace.

Blanket Wrapping

The practice of using protective blankets to wrap freight to prevent damage during transit.


Acronym for “cash on delivery”. The shipper instructs the carrier to collect cash or a certified cheque for the invoice value of the goods shipped to the consignee. Usually done when the consignee does not have credit standing with the shipper.


The term referring to the fact that freight charges for a shipment are paid by the receiver or consignee.

Curtain Side

A trailer with roof and canvas sides that can be pulled back for ease of loading or unloading.


The place where a shipment is delivered. Also referred to as the receiver or consignee.


Plywood placed in between or on top of freight when stacking to prevent damage during transit.

F.O.B. (Freight On Board)

A term indicating that a price quote includes loading a product on a railroad car, truck, aircraft or some other transport vehicle and transporting it to a designated location. Further transportation from the designated location is not included.

Fifth wheel

A fifth wheel is the device a truck tractor to which the kingpin on trailer is inserted to provide a solid yet flexible link between the two pieces of equipment.  To see a picture of a fifth wheel, click on this link:  http://www.etrucker.com/apps/news/article.asp?id=52029


A trailer without sides or a roof. A flat bed is used to move larger pieces of freight that must be loaded or unloaded with a crane.


A kingpin is the anchor pin at the underneath center of a trailer which is captured by the locking jaws of a tractor’s fifth wheel to attach the tractor (truck) to the trailer.  Click on this link to see a diagram of kingpin: http://www.tpub.com/content/engine/14081/css/14081_172.htm

Kingpin Lock

A Kingpin Lock is a sleeve that is placed over a trailer’s Kingpin and then secured.  A Kingpin Lock is used by truckers and shippers to prevent the theft of a trailer that is parked without a tractor.  Click on this link to see a picture of an installed Kingpin Lock: http://www.truckinglocks.com/product/121-king-pin-lock-for-fifth-wheel-rv-s

Load Bars

Steel bars that snap into cleats on each side of a van interior. Load bars are used to secure freight and prevent movement or tipping while in transit.

Logistics Van

A trailer that is equipped with air-ride suspension and cleats for the installation of load bars and straps.


This is an acronym for “less-than-truckload“. LTL describes the practice of co-loading smaller shipments with other smaller shipments going to the same destination or in the same route. In general and LTL shipment is less than 10,000 lbs.  Follow this link for a discussion and definition of LTL shipping: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Less_than_truckload_shipping


Extra labour hired by a trucking company to assist a driver and/or customer unloading or loading a truck.


The place where a shipment is picked up. Also referred to as the shipper or consignor.


The term referring to the fact that freight charges for a shipment are paid by the shipper or consignor.

Prepaid & Charge

The term referring to the fact that freight charges for a shipment are paid by the shipper and charged back to the consignee by the shipper.


The living space behind the driver’s seat in a tractor where driver’s can sleep and relax when off duty.

Speed Limiter

A speed limiter is an electronic microchip that has been installed on virtually every new heavy truck engine built since the mid-1990’s and when set, acts as a “speed governor.” The activation of speed limiters has been mandated in the European Union for well over a decade.  Several jurisdictions in Canada, including Ontario and Quebec now have laws in place that require trucks to have speed limiters set at a maximum of 105 kilometers per hour (approx. 63 miles per hour).  The purpose of this law is to make highways safer and encourage fuel conservation.  For more information on the speed limiter regulations that became law for trucks in Ontario on Jan. 1, 2009 visit this website:  http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/trucks/trucklimits.shtml

Straight Truck

A van and tractor permanently attached together. The van section of the of the straight truck is typically 24 or 26 feet long and may be equipped with a hydraulic lift gate.

Third Party Billed

The freight charges are paid for by a third party rather than by the shipper or consignee.

Third Party Logistics (3PL)

For more information on third party logistics or 3PL, follow this link:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_party_logistics


This is an acronym for “Truckload“. TL refers to the practice of loading a single, usually large, shipment on a truck.


The power unit (truck) used to pull a van, flatbed or other trailer conveyance.


The enclosed 53 foot trailer that is hauled by a tractor.


In Fee

This is the charge associated with receiving freight into a warehouse. This fee covers the costs of labour, forklift handling and storage of the freight. Typically, the In Fee is charged on a per pallet basis.

Out Fee

This is the charge associated with moving freight out of a warehouse. This fee covers the costs of labour, forklift handling and retrieving the freight from inventory. Typically, the Out Fee is charged on a per pallet basis.