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12 Common Freight Shipping Abbreviations You Need to Know

4 October 2022


Freight Shipping 101, Shippers

Whether you’re new to the world of freight shipping and logistics or you’re just looking to brush up on your industry vocabulary, this article is for you. Keep reading to discover what twelve common freight shipping acronyms stand for and where you can expect to see them.

Shipping option acronyms.

Before you start requesting quotes, you need to understand what type of carrier you need and which shipping acronyms you might see on a bill of lading or shipping invoice. Here are the most common freight carrier options and shipping abbreviations used in the freight industry:

1. LTL – Less than truckload

To ship LTL, you must have a load consisting of 1-6 pallets or a shipment that weighs under 4,000 pounds. LTL shipments usually do not require the entire capacity of the truckload trailer. 

When you ship LTL, your items are transported with goods from other shippers and may be transferred one or more times en route to their final destination. Trucking companies consolidate shipments to maximize the trailer’s entire space and utilize a network of terminals and relay points. LTL is rated upon class, weight, and distance.

2. TL – Full truckload

If you have enough product to fill an entire truck, you can ship full truckload (TL), and your freight goes on a long haul trip straight to its destination. Unlike LTL shipments, TL shipments carry only one dedicated shipment, and they do not transfer to other trucks or stop at any terminals mid-haul.

3. PTL – Partial truckload

If you have too much product for an LTL shipment, but not enough product for TL—partial truckload may be the right fit for you. Also known as PTL, this type of shipment typically stays on one truck from origin to destination and is not accessible during the trip.

4. STL – Shared truckload

If you have a load under 53 feet long or between 1-24 standard-sized pallets, then shared truckload (STL) is a great solution for you. STL enables several shippers to share trailer space in one terminal-free, multi-stop full truckload.

Flock Freight uses patented technology to pool freight onto a single truck, which is then driven by a single driver all the way to its destination. This solution helps shippers avoid damage because their freight bypasses the hub-and-spoke system. You can book shared truckload shipping via our platform here.

Common freight acronyms.

Freight quote forms are full of freight abbreviations and acronyms. Here are a few common ones you can expect to see:

5. NMFC – National Motor Freight Classification

The NMFC was created to standardize pricing for freight shipments. Every commodity shipped in the US belongs to one of eighteen freight classes, determined by four factors; shipment density, stow-ability, handling, and liability.

6. LG – Lift gate

A lift gate is a power-operated tailgate capable of lifting pallets from street level to the floor of a trailer. A semi-truck or van fitted with a lift gate will have a steel base attached to the rear side of its trailer, near the bumper. Shipper locations with no loading docks often have lift gates, as do many less than truckload (LTL) truck fleets.

7. DV – Declared value

A shipment’s declared value (DV) is the monetary value of a shipment as reported by you, the shipper. Declared value serves as a basis for determining shipping charges and can also act as a tool to limit carrier liability for damage and loss.

Lingo you’ll hear around the office.

The shipping acronyms don’t stop with shipping quotes. There are also a few important terms related to paperwork and performance that are worth knowing.

8. CNOR or CNEE – Cosignor or cosignee

This one is simplea CNOR or consigner is the person sending a shipment, and a CNEE or consignee is the person receiving a shipment. These shipping abbreviations can be seen on bills of lading and other important shipping documents.

9. BOL – Bill of Lading

A Bill of Lading is a detailed, legally binding contract between a freight carrier and a shipper. Every BOL includes the names and addresses of the shipper and carrier, pickup date, shipment description, freight class, packaging details, and hazardous material designations. All LTL shipments must come with a Bill of Lading. The shipper must give the BOL to the driver at pickup.

10. POD – Proof of Delivery

Proof of Delivery (also known as a POD) is paperwork signed by the consignee indicating receipt of a load. A BOL often doubles as a POD upon delivery, and it must be signed for a carrier to get paid. Learn more about the differences between POD and BOL.

11. OS&D Report – Overage, shortage, and damage

An OS&D report is an inspection report completed by the consignee for the contents of a load that are supposed to be received during a shipment. A consignee (CNEE) can file this report if there are issues with a shipment they received.

An overage occurs when the recipient gets more product than they ordered, while a shortage is the exact opposite. Shipment items that are unusable or unsellable are considered damaged.

12. TONU – Truck ordered but not used

If a truck comes to pick up a shipment, and the load isn’t ready – that’s TONU. If it’s your fault, you may have to pay a fine to compensate the carrier for their time and resources.


Now that you know common logistics lingo, you’re prepared to confidently tackle freight quotes and shipping contracts with ease.