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Transport Logistics Category

Monday, November 28th, 2016

Understanding Cargo Logistics, And Other Transport Industry Lexicons}

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Understanding Cargo Logistics, and Other Transport Industry Lexicons


Norman Dulwich

Every industry has its own lexicon of specialist terms. For the transport industry, this includes those such as cargo logistics or the equivalent. Its understandable if people outside of the industry dont immediately understand those terms, but on the other hand, it can be decidedly scary when people within the industry dont.

Here are a few examples:

What sort of vehicle will I need to pick up that load of cargo logistics?

Couldnt happen in a professional haulage company? Well, it did. It was even more of a pity that the question was addressed to the customer.

I dont have a tractor unit just a vehicle to connect up with and tow trailers around the country.

After that sort of comment, perhaps the customer might have responded not my trailers youre not.

What do you mean by the cubic capacity of my vehicle? Do you mean the engine size?

This was put to a customer. It really should be incorporated into a training video.

Collection at 14:30. Is that the same as half-past four?

There was a time (no pun intended) when the use of the 24-hour clock was mandatory in the haulage business just to avoid confusion. Maybe the old disciplines are dying out.

I wasnt sure what you meant by chains and tensioners, so I brought some rope instead.

You can imagine the customers expression when they learned that the transport company was a bit hazy on what chains were, and had decided that some crude and fairly tatty rope would be sufficient to secure their huge multi-tonne piece of equipment.

We dont have full refrigeration units but all our cabs are air conditioned.

Yes, no doubt the customer would have been greatly consoled, as their perishable cargo rotted, by the thought that the driver was nice n comfy!

How would a low-loader give you more height for the cargo?

This one is really terrifying because it shows not only a lack of familiarity with some of the tools of the trade but also an inability to grasp some basic geometry.

Youve asked for a road train collection but we dont offer rail services

Another one thats hard to believe, but true. This sort of thing just isnt going to inspire customer confidence though the perpetrator was no doubt very popular with his companys competition.

What does CIF and FOB mean?

Now granted, these are terms relating more to the financial side of shipping and transport, but if the above sort of question is put to a customer, well, expect some groans of despair. If you dont know, look these terms up now!

Who is Mr Bill OLading?

To be fair, the term Bill of Lading has been declining over recent years, but its still sometimes a critically important document for a number of different reasons. If you dont know what it is (or what a waybill is) then it might be sensible to find out sometime if youd like to avoid a red face.

So, terms like cargo logistics are just the tip of the iceberg. Why not use the Internet and increase your knowledge of basic transport and shipping terminology? Itll make you look so much more accomplished when dealing with customers.

Norman Dulwich is a correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the world’s largest neutral trading hub and

cargo logistics

company for trading haulage work in the express freight industry. Over 2,500 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe ‘wholesale’ environment.

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Understanding Cargo Logistics, and Other Transport Industry Lexicons