Logistics Terms Glossary

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These explanations are only a helpful guideline -- not a legal or definitive resource.

E F G H I J K L M N    A - D    O - Z


E.T.A.:  The Estimated Time of Arrival.

E.T.D.:  The Estimated Time of Departure.

Economic order quantity (EOQ): An inventory model that determines how much to order by determining the amount that will minimize total ordering and holding costs.

Economy of Scale:  The lowering of costs with added output due to allocation of fixed costs over more units.

EDI:  See Electronic Data Interchange.

EDI Interchange:  Communication between partners in the form of a structured set of messages and service segments starting with an interchange control header and ending with an interchange control trailer. In the context of X.400 EDI messaging, the contents of the primary body of an EDI message.

EDIFACT:  EDI for Administration Commerce and Transport.

Efficient consumer response (ECR): A customer-driven system where distributors and suppliers work together as business allies to maximize consumer satisfaction and minimize cost.

Electronic data interchange (EDI): Computer-to-computer communication between two or more companies that such companies can use to generate bills of lading, purchase orders, and invoices.  It also enables firms to access the information systems of suppliers,

Electronic data interchange (EDI): customers, and carriers and to determine the up-to-the-minute status of inventory, orders, and shipments.

Embargo:  A prohibition upon exports or imports, either with specific products or specific countries.

End User:  The final buyer of the product who purchases the product for immediate use.

Enroute:  A term used for goods in transit or on the way to a destination.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP):  A cross-functional/regional planning process supporting regional forecasting, distribution planning, operations centers planning, and other planning activities. ERP provides the means to plan, analyze, and monitor the flow of demand/supply alignment and to allocate critical resources to support the business plan.

Entry Form:  The document that must be filed with Customs to obtain the release of imported goods and to allow collection of duties and statistics. Also called a Customs Entry Form or Entry.

Equipment: The rolling stock carriers use to facilitate the transportation services that they provide, including containers, trucks, chassis, vessels, and airplanes, among others.

Equipment I.D.:  An identifier assigned by the carrier to a piece of equipment. See also Container ID.

Equipment Positioning:  The process of placing equipment at a selected location.

ERP:  See Enterprise Resource Planning.

Ex Works:  The price that the seller quotes applies only at the point of origin. The buyer takes possession of the shipment at the point of origin and bears all costs and risks associated with transporting the goods to the destination.

Exception Rate: A deviation from the class rate; changes (exceptions) made to the classification.

Exclusive Patronage Agreements: A shipper agrees to use only a conference's member liner firms in return for a 10 to 15 percent rate reduction.

Exclusive Use: Vehicles that a carrier assigns to a specific shipper for its exclusive use.

Exempt Carrier: A for-hire carrier that is exempt from economic regulations.

Expediting: Determining where an in-transit shipment is and attempting to speed up its delivery.

Expert System: A computer program that mimics a human expert.

Export:  To send goods and services to another country.

Export Broker:  An enterprise that brings together buyer and seller for a fee, then eventually withdraws from the transaction.

Export Declaration:  A document required by the U.S. Treasury department and completed by the exporter to show the value, weight, consignee, destination, etc., pertinent to the export shipment. The document serves two purposes: to gather trade statistics and to provide a control document if the goods require a valid export license.

Export License:  A document secured from a government authorizing an exporter to export a specific quantity of a controlled commodity to a certain country. An export license is often required if a government has placed embargoes or other restrictions upon exports.

Export Management Company:  A private firm that serves as the export department for several manufacturers, soliciting and transacting export business on behalf of its clients in return for a commission, salary, or a retainer plus commission.

Export Sales Contract: The initial document in any international transaction; it details the specifics of the sales agreement between the buyer and seller.

Export Trading Company:  A firm that buys domestic products for sale overseas. A trading company takes title to the goods; an export-management company usually does not.

Exporter Identification Number (EIN):  A number required for the exporter on the Shipper's Export Declaration. A corporation may use their Federal Employer Identification Number as issued by the IRS; individuals can use their Social Security Numbers.

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F.O.B.:  A term of sale defining who is to incur transportation charges for the shipment, who is to control the shipment movement, or where title to the goods passes to the buyer; originally meant "free on board ship."

Fair Return: A profit level that enables a carrier to realize a rate of return on investment or property value that the regulatory agencies deem acceptable for that level of risk.

Fair Value: The value of the carrier's property; the calculation basis has included original cost minus depreciation, replacement cost, and market value.

FAS:  See Free Along Side.

FCL:  See Full Container Load.

Federal Aviation Administration: The federal agency that administers federal safety regulations governing air transportation.

Federal Maritime Commission:  regulatory agency responsible for rates and practices of ocean carriers shipping to and from the United States.

FEU: Forty-foot equivalent unit, a standard size intermodal container.

Field Warehouse: A warehouse that stores goods on the goods' owner's property while the goods are under a bona fide public warehouse manager's custody. The owner uses the public warehouse receipts as collateral for a loan.

Fill Rate: The percentage of order items that the picking operation actually found.

Final Destination:  The last stopping point for a shipment.

Finance Lease: An equipment-leasing arrangement that provides the lessee with a means of financing for the leased equipment; a common method for leasing motor carrier trailers.

Financial Responsibility: Motor carriers must have bodily injury and property damage (not cargo) insurance of not less than $500,000 per incident per vehicle; higher financial responsibility limits apply for motor carriers transporting oil or hazardous materials.

Finished Goods Inventory (FGI): The products completely manufactured, packaged, stored, and ready for distribution.

FIPS:  Federal Information Processing Standards.

Firm Planned Order: In a DRP or MRP system, a planned order whose status has been updated to a fixed order.

Fixed Costs: Costs that do not fluctuate with the business volume in the short run.

Fixed Quantity Inventory Model: A setup wherein a company orders the same(fixed) quantity each time it places an order for an item.

Flatcar: A railcar without sides, used for hauling machinery.

Flexible-Path Equipment: Materials handling devices that include hand trucks and forklifts.

Flight Number:  An identifier associated with the air equipment (plane). Typically a combination of two letters, indicating the airline, and three or four digits indicating the number of the voyage.

Flow Rack: A storage method where product is presented to picking operations at one end of a rack and replenished from the opposite end.

For-Hire Carrier: A carrier that provides transportation service to the public on a fee basis.

Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ):  A site sanctioned by the U.S. Customs Service in which imported goods are exempted from duties until withdrawn for domestic sale or use. Such zones are used by commercial warehouses or assembly plants.

Forklift Truck: A machine-powered device used to raise and lower freight and to move freight to different warehouse locations.

Form Utility: The value the production process creates in a good by changing the item's form.

Forwarder's Bill of Lading:  See Consolidator's Bill of Lading.

FPA:  Free of Particular Average. See Marine Cargo Insurance.

Free Along Side (FAS):  The seller agrees to deliver the goods to the dock alongside the overseas vessel that is to carry the shipment. The seller pays the cost of getting the shipment to the dock; the buyer contracts the carrier, obtains documentation, and assumes all responsibility from that point forward.

Free of Particular Average:  See Marine Cargo Insurance.

Free on Board (F.O.B.) (exchange point):  This expression follows an exchange point. The exchange point indicates the transition of responsibility (risk) from the buyer to the seller. See also Terms of Sale. For example: F.O.B. Origin The seller agrees to deliver the goods to the point of origin.

Free Time:  The period of time allowed for the removal or accumulation of cargo before charges become applicable.

Free Trade Zone (FTZ):  See Foreign Trade Zone.

Freight:  Goods being transported from one place to another.

Freight Alongside Ship:  The point of embarkment chosen by the buyer, from where a carrier transports goods. Under this designation, a seller is obligated to pay the cost and assume all risks for transporting goods from a place of business to the FAS point.

Freight Bill:  The carriers invoice for payment of transport services rendered.

Freight Charge:  The rate established for transporting freight.

Freight Collect:  The freight and charges to be paid by the consignee.

Freight Forwarder:  An enterprise that provides services to facilitate the transport of shipments. Services can include documentation preparation, space and equipment reservation, warehousing, consolidation, delivery, clearance, banking and insurance services, and agency services. The forwarder may facilitate transport by land, air, ocean, or may specialize in one mode of transport. Also called Forwarder or Foreign Freight Forwarder.

Freight Forwarders Institute: The freight forwarder industry association.

Freight Prepaid:  The freight and charges to be paid by the consignor.

Freight Quotation:  A quotation from a carrier or forwarder covering the cost of transport between two specified locations.

Freight-All-Kinds (FAK): An approach to rate making whereby the ante is based only upon the shipment weight and distance; widely used in TOFC service.

FTL:  See Full Truck Load.

FTZ :  See Foreign Trade Zone and Free Trade Zone.

Full Container Load (FCL):  A term used when goods occupy a whole container.

Full Truck Load (FTL):  Same as Full Container Load, but in reference to motor carriage instead of containers.

Full-Service Leasing: An equipment-leasing arrangement that includes a variety of services to support the leased equipment; a common method for leasing motor carrier tractors.

Full-time Connection:  A communication link between two (or more) entities which is normally maintained continuously.

Fully Allocated Cost: The variable cost associated with a particular output unit plus a common cost allocation.

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Gathering Lines: Oil pipelines that bring oil from the oil well to storage areas.

GATT:  See General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.

GB/L:  See Government Bill of Lading.

General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT):  A multilateral trade agreement aimed at expanding international trade as a means of raising world welfare.

General Average:  See Marine Cargo Insurance.

General Order (GO):  A customs term referring to a warehouse where merchandise not entered within five working days after the carrier's arrival is stored at the risk and expense of the importer.

General-Commodities Carrier: A common motor carrier that has operating authority to transport general commodities, or all commodities not listed as special commodities.

General-Merchandise Warehouse: A warehouse used to store goods that are readily handled, are packaged, and do not require a controlled environment.

GO: See General Order.

Going-Concern Value: The value that a firm has as an entity, as opposed to the sum of the values of each of its parts taken separately; particularly important in determining a reasonable railroad rate.

Gondola: A railcar with a flat platform and sides three to five feet high, used for top loading long, heavy items.

Goods:  A term associated with more than one definition: 1) Common term indicating movable property, merchandise, or wares. 2) All materials which are used to satisfy demands. 3) Whole or part of the cargo received from the shipper, including any equipment supplied by the shipper.

Government Bill of Lading (GB/L):  The bill of lading used for shipments made by U.S. Government agencies.

Grandfather Clause: A provision that enabled motor carriers engaged in lawful trucking operations before the passage of the Motor Carrier Act of 1935 to secure common carrier authority w/o proving public convenience and necessity; a similar provision exists for other modes.

Granger Laws: State laws passed before 1870 in midwestern states to control rail transportation.

Great Lakes carriers: Water carriers that operate on the five Great Lakes.

Grid Technique: A quantitative technique to determine the least-cost center, given raw materials sources and markers, for locating a plant or warehouse.

Gross National Product (GNP): A measure of a nation's output; the total value of all final goods and services a nation produces during a time period.

Gross Weight: The total weight of the vehicle and the payload of freight or passengers.

GTDI:  European Guidelines for Trade Data Interchange.

Guaranteed Loans: Railroad loans that the federal government cosigns and guarantees.

GUI:  Graphical User Interface.

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hard copy: Computer output printed on paper.

Harmonized Commodity Description & Coding System(Harmonized Code):  An international classification system that assigns identification #s to specific products. The coding system ensures that all parties in int'l. trade use a consistent classification for the purposes of documentation, statistical control, and duty assessment.

Haulage:  The inland transport service which is offered by the carrier under the terms and conditions of the tariff and of the relative transport document.

HAWB:  See House Air Waybill.

Hazardous Goods:  Articles or substances capable of posing a significant risk to health, safety, or property, and that ordinarily require special attention when transported. Also called Dangerous Goods.

hazardous materials: Materials that the Department of Transportation has determined to be a risk to health, safety, and property; includes items such as explosives, flammable liquids, poisons, corrosive liquids, and radioactive material.

hi-low: Usually refers to a forklift truck on which the operator must stand rather than sit.

Highway Trust Fund: A fund into which highway users (carriers and automobile operators) pay; the fund pays for federal government's highway construction share.

highway use taxes: Taxes that federal and state governments assess against highway users (the fuel tax is an example). The government uses the use tax money to pay for the construction, maintenance, and policing of highways.

hopper cars: Railcars that permit top loading and bottom unloading of bulk commodities; some hopper cars have permanent topswith hatches to provide protection against the elements.

House Air Waybill (HAWB):  A bill of lading issued by a forwarder to a shipper as a receipt for goods that the forwarder will consolidate with cargo from other shippers for transport.

House to House:  See Door to Door.

House to Pier:  See Door to Port.

household goods warehouse: A warehouse that stores household goods.

Hub: A central location to which traffic from many cities is directed and from which traffic is fed to other areas.

hub airport: An airport that serves as the focal point for the origin and termination of long-distance flights; flights from outlying areas meet connecting flights at the hub airport.

hundredweight (cwt): The pricing unit used in transportation; a hundredweight is equal to 100 pounds.

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ICC:  Interstate Commerce Commission (U.S.).

igloos: Pallets and containers used in air transportation; the igloo shape fits the internal wall contours of a narrow-body airplane.

IMB:  See International Maritime Bureau.

IMO:  See International Maritime Organization.

Import License:  A document issued by a carrier and by some national governments authorizing the importation of goods into their individual countries.

Importation Point:  The location where goods will be cleared for importation into a country.

In Bond:  Goods are held or transported In-Bond under customs control either until import duties or other charges are paid, or to avoid paying the duties or charges until a later date.

incentive rate: A rate that induces the shipper to ship heavier volumes per shipment.

Incoterms: International terms of sale developed by the International Chamber of Commerce.

independent action: A carrier that is a rate bureau member may publish a rate that differs from the rate the rate bureau publishes.

Information:  The data, plus the interpretation necessary to understand it.

information system (I/S): Managing the flow of data in an organization in a systematic, structured way to assist in planning, implementing, and controlling.

inherent advantage: The cost and service benefits of one mode compared with other modes.

Inland Bill of Lading:  The carriage contract used in transport from a shipping point overland to the exporter's international carrier location.

Inland Carrier:  An enterprise that offers overland service to or from a point of export.

Inspection Certificate:  A document certifying that merchandise (such as perishable goods) was in good condition immediately prior to shipment.

Insurance:  A system of protection against loss under which a number of parties agree to pay certain sums (premiums) for a guarantee that they will be compensated under certain conditions for specified loss and damage.

Insurance Certificate:  A document issued to the consignee to certify that insurance is provided to cover loss of or damage to the cargo while in transit.

Integrated Carrier:  An airfreight company that offers a blend of transportation services such as air carriage, freight forwarding, and ground handling.

interchange: The transfer of cargo and equipment from one carrier to another in a joint freight move.

intercoastal carriers: Water carriers that transport freight between East and West Coast ports, usually by way of the Panama Canal.

intercorporate hauling: A private carrier hauling a subsidiary's goods and charging the subsidiary a fee; this is legal if the subsidiary is wholly owned or if the private carrier has common carrier authority.

interline: Two or more motor carriers working together to haul a shipment to a destination. Carriers may interchange equipment but usually they rehandle the shipment without transferring the equipment.

Intermediate Destination:  A stopping point for a shipment prior to the final destination.

intermittent-flow, fixed-path equipment: Materials handling devices that include bridge cranes, monorails, and stacker cranes.

Intermodal Container Transfer Facility:  A facility where cargo is transferred from one mode of transportation to another, usually from ship or truck to rail.

intermodal marketing company (IMC): An intermediary that sells intermodal services to shippers.

intermodal transportation: The use of two or more transportation modes to transport freight; for example, rail to ship to truck.

internal water carriers: Water carriers that operate over internal, navigable rivers such as the Mississippi, Ohio, and Missouri.

International Air Transport Association: An international air carrier rate bureau for passenger and freight movements.

International Civil Aeronautics Organization: An international agency responsible for air safety and for standardizing air traffic control, airport design, and safety features worldwide.

International Import Certificate:  A document required by the importing country indicating that the importing country recognizes that a controlled shipment is entering their country. The importing country pledges to monitor the shipment and prevent its re-export, except in accordance with its own export control regulations.

International Maritime Bureau (IMB):  A special division of the International Chamber of Commerce.

International Maritime Organization (IMO):  A United Nations-affiliated organization representing all maritime countries in matters affecting maritime transportation, including the movement of dangerous goods. The organization also is involved in deliberations on marine environmental pollution.

interstate commerce: The transportation of persons or property between states; in the course of the movement, the shipment crosses a state boundary.

Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC): An independent regulatory agency that implements federal economic regulations controlling railroads, motor carriers, pipelines, domestic water carriers, domestic surface freight forwarders, and brokers.

Interstate System: The National System of Interstate and Defense Highways, 42,000 miles of four-lane, limited-access roads connecting major population centers.

intrastate commerce: The transportation of persons or property between points within a state. A shipment between two points within a state may be interstate if the shipment had a prior or subsequent move outside of the state and the shipper intended an interstate shipment at

inventory: The number of units and/or value of the stock of goods a company holds.

inventory cost: The cost of holding goods, usually expressed as a percentage of the inventory value; includes the cost of capital, warehousing, taxes, insurance, depreciation, and obsolescence.

inventory in transit: Inventory in a carrier's possession, being transported to the buyer.

inventory management: Inventory administration through planning, stock positioning, monitoring product age, and ensuring product availability.

Invoice:  A detailed statement showing goods sold or shipped and amounts for each. The invoice is prepared by the seller and acts as the document that the buyer will use to make payment.

irregular route carrier: A motor carrier that may provide service utilizing any route.

ISO:  International Standards Organization.

Issuing Carrier:  The carrier whose name is printed on the bill of lading and with whom the contract of carriage exists.

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joint cost: A common cost in cases where a company produces products in fixed proportions and the cost the company incurs to produce one product entails producing another; the backhaul is an example.

joint rate: A rate over a route that requires two or more carriers to transport the shipment.

just-in-time (JIT) inventory system: An inventory control system that attempts to reduce inventory levels by coordinating demand and supply to the point where the desired item arrives just in time for use.

Just-in-Time Logistics (or Quick Response): The process of minimizing the times required to source, handle, produce, transport, and deliver products in order to meet customer requirements.

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Kanban system: A just-in-time inventory system used by Japanese manufacturers.

kitting: The process by which individual items are grouped or packaged together to create a special single item.

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lading:  The cargo carried in a transportation vehicle.

land bridge: The movement of containers by ship-rail-ship on Japan-to-Europe moves; ships move containers to the U.S. Pacific Coast, rails move containers to an East Coast port, and ships deliver containers to Europe.

land grants: Grants of land given to railroads to build tracks during their development stage.

landed cost: The total cost of a product delivered at a given location; the production cost plus the transportation cost to the customer's location.

lash barges: Covered barges that carriers load on board oceangoing ships for movement to foreign destinations.

LASH Vessel:  A ship measuring at least 820 feet long with a deck crane able to load and unload barges through a stern section that projects over the water. The acronym LASH stands for Lighter (barge) Aboard Ship.

Last Updated:  A date and time stamp that is recorded when a field or record was last modified by the user.

LCL: Less than carload rail service; less than container load.

LCL:  See Less than Container Load.

lead time: The total time that elapses between an order's placement and its receipt. It includes the time required for order transmittal, order processing, order preparation, and transit.

Leg:  A leg has an origin, destination, and carrier and is composed of all consecutive segments of a route booked through the same carrier. Also called Bookable Leg.

Less than Container Load (LCL):  A term used when goods do not completely occupy an entire container. When many shipper's goods occupy a single container, each shipper's shipment is considered to be LCL.

Less than Truck Load (LTL):  The same as Less than Container Load, but in reference to trucks instead of containers.

lessee: A person or firm to whom a lessor grants a lease.

lessor: A person or firm that grants a lease.

Letter of Credit (LOC):  An instrument of payment, issued by the buyer's bank, that ensures payment to the seller.

Lift on, Lift off (LO/LO):  A method by which cargo is loaded onto and unloaded from an ocean vessel, which in this case is with a crane.

Lighter:  A barge-type vessel used to carry cargo between shore and cargo ship. While the terms barge and lighter are used interchangeably, a barge usually refers to a vessel used for a long haul, while a lighter is used for a short haul.

Lighterage:  The cost of loading or unloading a vessel by means of barges.

line functions:  The decision-making areas companies associate with daily operations. Logistics line functions include traffic management, inventory control, order processing, warehousing, and packaging.

Line Item: A specific and unique identifier assigned to a product by the responsible enterprise.

line-haul shipment: A shipment that moves between cities and over distances more than 100 to 150 miles in length.

liner service: International water carriers that ply fixed routes on published schedules.

link: The transportation method a company uses to connect nodes (plants, warehouses) in a logistics system.

live: A situation in which the equipment operator stays with the trailer or boxcar while it is being loaded or unloaded.

LO/LO:  See Lift on, Lift off.

load factor: A measure of operating efficiency used by air carriers to determine a plane's utilized capacity percentage or the number of passengers divided by the total number of seats.

Load Tender (pick-up request):  An offer of cargo for transport by a shipper. Load tender terminology is primarily used in the motor industry.

loading allowance: A reduced rate that carriers offer to shippers and/or consignees who load and/or unload LTL or AQ shipments.

Loading Port:  The port where the cargo is loaded onto the exporting vessel. This port must be reported on the Shipper's Export Declaration, Schedule D. Schedule D is used by U.S. companies when exporting to determine which tariff is used to freight rate the cargo for carriers with more than one tariff.

LOC:  See Letter of Credit.

local rate: A rate published between two points served by one carrier.

local service carriers: A classification of air carriers that operate between less-populated areas and major population centers. These carriers feed passengers into the major cities to connect with major carriers. Local service carriers are now classified as national carriers.

localized raw material: A raw material found only in certain locations.

locational determinant: The factors that determine a facility's location. For industrial facilities, the determinants include logistics.

logbook: A daily record of the hours an interstate driver spends driving, off duty, sleeping in the berth, or on duty but not driving.

Logistics:  The process of planning, implementing, and controlling procedures for the efficient and effective storage of goods, services, and related information from the point of origin to the point of consumption for the purpose of conforming to customer requirements. This definition includes inbound, outbound, internal, and external movements.

logistics channel: The network of intermediaries engaged in transfer, storage, handling, and communications functions that contribute to the efficient flow of goods.

Logistics Costs:  The factors associated with the acquisition, storage, movement, and disposition of goods.

logistics data interchange (LDI): A computerized system that electronically transmits logistics information.

long ton: 2,240 pounds.

lot size: The quantity of goods a company purchases or produces in anticipation of use or sale in the future.

LTL:  See Less-than-Truckload.

LTL shipment: A less-than-truckload shipment, one weighing less than the minimum weight a company needs to use the lower truckload rate.

lumping: The act of assisting a motor carrier owner-operator in the loading and unloading of property; quite commonly used in the food industry.

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mainframe:  An organization's central computer system.

major carrier: A for-hire certificated air carrier that has annual operating revenues of $1 billion or more; the carrier usually operates between major population centers.

Management of All Logistics: The effective management of all costs associated with logistics functions and activities so as to minimize their sum across the product supply chain.

Manifest:  A list of all cargoes that pertain to a specific shipment, grouping of shipments, or piece of equipment. Ocean carriers will prepare a manifest will prepare a manifest per container, etc.

Manufacturing Resource Planning (MRP II): The process of identifying, performing a needs analysis, and committing the resources needed to produce a product.

Mar Ad:  See Maritime Administration.

marginal cost: The cost to produce one additional unit of output; the change in total variable cost resulting from a one-unit change in output.

Marine Cargo Insurance - Average: Average- A term in marine cargo insurance signifying loss or damage to merchandise.

Marine Cargo Insurance - FPA: FPA- Free of Particular Average. A provision in a marine cargo insurance policy that no claim shall be paid for damage to goods in the course of a voyage unless a loss is sustained that totals or exceeds a certain percentage of the value as specified in the policy. The object of such a provision is the avoidance of petty claims.

Marine Cargo Insurance - General Average: A loss arising out of a voluntary sacrifice made of any part of a shipment or cargo to prevent loss of the whole and for the benefit of all persons concerned.

Marine Cargo Insurance - Open Policy: A contract b/t an insurance company and the exporter in which all shipments made by the insured are automatically protected from the time the merchandise leaves the initial shipping point until delivery at destination.

Maritime Administration (Mar Ad):  A U.S. government agency, not actively involved in vessel operation, that administers laws for maintenance of a merchant marine for the purposes of defense and commerce.

market dominance: The absence of effective competition for railroads from other carriers and modes for the traffic to which the rail rate applies. The Staggers Act stated that market dominance does not exist if the rate is below the revenue-to-variable-cost ratio of 160 percent in 1981 and 170 percent in 1983.

Marks and Numbers:  Marks and numbers placed on goods used to identify a shipment or parts of a shipment.

Master Air Waybill (MAWB):  The bill of lading issued by air carriers to their customers.

material index: The ratio of the sum of the localized raw material weights to the weight of the finished product.

materials handling: Short-distance movement of goods within a storage area.

materials management:  The movements and storage functions associated with supplying goods to a firm.

materials planning: The materials management function that attempts to coordinate materials supply with materials demand.

Materials Requirements Planning (MRP): The process used to determine the amount of material to purchase and when to purchase it.

matrix organization: An organizational structure that emphasizes the horizontal flow of authority; the company treats logistics as a project, with the logistics manager overseeing logistics costs but traditional departments controlling operations.

MAWB:  See Master Air Waybill.

measurement ton: Forty cubic feet; used in water transportation ratemaking.

merger: The combination of two or more carriers into one company that will own, manage, and operate the properties that previously operated separately.

micro-land bridge: An intermodal movement in which the shipment is moved from a foreign country to the U.S. by water and then moved across the U.S. by railroad to an interior, nonport city, or vice versa for exports from a nonport city.

mileage allowance: An allowance, based upon distance, that railroads give to shippers using private railcars.

mileage rate: A rate based upon the number of miles the commodity is shipped.

mini-land bridge: An intermodal movement in which the shipment is moved from a foreign country to the U.S. by water and then moved across the U.S. by railroad to a destination that is a port city, or vice versa for exports from a U.S. port city.

minimum weight: The shipment weight the carrier's tariff specifies as the minimum weight required to use the TL or CL rate; the rate discount volume.

mixed loads: The movement of both regulated and exempt commodities in the same vehicle at the same time.

modal split: The relative use that companies make of transportation modes; the statistics include ton-miles, passenger-miles, and revenue.

MRO items:  Maintenance, repair, and operating items--office supplies, for example.

Motor Carrier:  An enterprise that offers service via motor carriage.

Movement of Goods:  The transfer of goods from one location to another.

MRP: See Materials Requirement Planning

MRP II: See Manufacturing Resource Planning

multinational company: A company that both produces and markets products in different countries.

multiple-car rate: A railroad rate that is lower for shipping more than one carload at a time.

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national carrier: A for-hire certificated air carrier that has annual operating revenues of $75 million to $1 billion; the carrier usually operates between major population centers and areas of lesser population.

National Industrial Traffic League: An association representing shippers' and receivers' interests in matters of transportation policy and regulation.

nationalization:  Public ownership, financing, and operation of a business entity.

National Motor Bus Operators Organization: An industry association representing common and charter bus firms; now known as the American Bus Association.

National Railroad Corporation: Also known as Amtrak, the corporation established by the Rail Passenger Service Act of 1970 to operate most of the United States' rail passenger service.

Negotiable BOL: Provides for the delivery of goods to a named enterprise or to their order (anyone they may designate), but only upon surrender of proper endorsement and the bill of lading to the carrier or the carrier's agents. Also known as an order bill of lading.

Negotiations:  A set of discussions between two or more enterprises to determine the business relationship.

Net Weight:  The weight of the merchandise, unpacked, exclusive of any containers.

no location (No Loc): A received item for which the warehouse has no previously established storage slot.

node: A fixed point in a firm's logistics system where goods come to rest; includes plants, warehouses, supply sources, and markets.

Non Vessel Operating Common Carrier (NVOCC):  A firm that offers the same services as an ocean carrier, but which does not own or operate a vessel. NVOCCs usually act as consolidators, accepting small shipments (LCL) and consolidating them into full container loads. They then act as a shipper, tendering the containers to ocean common carriers. They are required to file tariffs with the Federal Maritime Commission and are subject to the same laws and statutes that apply to primary common carriers.

Non-Negotiable BOL: Provides for the delivery of goods to a named enterprise and to no one else. Also known as a straight bill of lading.

non-vessel-owning common carrier (NVOCC): A firm that consolidates and disperses international containers that originate at or are bound for inland ports.

noncertificated carrier: A for-hire air carrier that is exempt from economic regulation.

NOS/NES: See Not otherwise specified/Not elsewhere specified.

Notify Party: The abbreviation of the name of an organization that should be notified when a shipment reaches its destination.

Not otherwise specified/Not elsewhere specified (NOS/NES): This term often appears in ocean or airfreight tariffs respectively. If no rate for the specific commodity shipped appears in the tariff, then a general class rate (for example: printed matter NES) will apply. Such rates usually are higher than rates for specific commodities.

NVOCC: See Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier.

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