Logistics Terms Glossary

Industry Glossary for Logistics Terms

Save this glossary for reference which includes all the major logistics terminology including some of the lesser known terms, still commonly used by industry professionals.

There are literally hundreds upon hundreds of logistics terms that make up the diverse industry language.

Read our glossary of top logistics terms to know.


Account Payable (A/P) – When a company or individual buys goods on credit they create a short term debt payment that needs to be paid within a limited period of time

Account Receivable (A/R) – Any amount of money owed by customers for goods bought on credit

AEO (Authorised Economic Operator) –  The AEO standard was created by the European Union in 2011 to reinforce the importance of customs and security standards within the industry while encouraging best practices in the international logistics chain

Air Freight – Logistics is the shipment of goods via a chartered or scheduled air carrier therefore known as air freight

B2B – Business to Business

B2C – Business to Consumer

Back Order – A product ordered that is out of stock and promised to ship when the product becomes available

Backhaul – return movement of a vehicle from its original destination to its original point of departure

Bill Of Lading (BOL) – A document produced by a carrier that acts a receipt for goods sent

Cargo – Goods that are being transported

Carrier – Someone who uses transport (usually trucks or trailers) to move goods from A to B

Cbm – Cubic meter

Courier Service – A fast, door to door service for high valued goods and documents

CIF – Cost, Insurance and freight. An international shipping agreement which represents the charges paid by a seller to cover the costs

Country of Origin – The country where the goods were manufactured

Country of Destination – The country that is the final destination for goods

Consignor – Company/person shipping the product

Consignee – Customer or client receiving the goods being shipped

Cross-border – Movement across a border between two countries

Customs / Customs Clearance – A place/department where incoming goods are checked, making sure the duties have been paid before entering the country

Deconsolidation – Act of separating out LCL shipments to prepare them for final delivery

Demurrage – The carrier charges and fees applied when freight is retained beyond a specified loading or unloading time

DDU – Delivered Duty Unpaid means the seller is responsible for ensuring goods arrive safely to a destination and the buyer is responsible for import duties

DDP – Delivered Duty Paid is an agreement between buyers and sellers that places all risks, costs, and responsibilities associated with the transportation of goods on the seller up until the buyer receives them

Delivery Note – A document that describes the content of a package

Distribution Centre – A facility filled with goods available for distribution to various outlets. AKA Fulfilment Centre, Package Handling centre

E-Commerce – A platform that allows individuals to buy and sell things online

Export – Transporting goods from one country to another for future sales

Express Delivery / Shipping – Fastest form of shipping

EXW – Ex Works

FCL – Full container load. Browse our blog for a detailed explanation about FCL vs LCL and the differences between the two terms

FEU – Forty-foot equivalent unit

FIFO – First in / First out

FOB – Free on Board

Free Time – The amount of time offered for goods to be collected from the port without incurring additional fees

Freight – Any product being transported by different modes of transport

Freight Forwarding – The movement or arrangement of goods to be transported from one place to another using carriers via marine, air, road or rail. For a comprehensive overview see our blog which explores the topic of what is a freight forwarder in detail

Haulage – The commercial act of transporting goods by road or railway. Moving containers from one point to another

HS Code – Commodity/tax code on imports. For a comprehensive overview see our blog which explores the topic of what HS codes are in detail

Import – Goods bought from overseas coming into your own country

Incoterms – International Commercial Terms. Something that describes and defines a transaction between two parties

Invoice – A document listing the products or services sold, mode of transport used (if the case) and the payment terms. An invoice is issued by the seller to a buyer

JIS – Just in sequence / A method for delivering the components at the right time to the production line before they get assembled

JIT – Just in time / A method for streamlining the delivery process meaning goods are only received as they are needed

LCL – Less than Container Load. Browse our blog for a detailed explanation about FCL vs LCL and the differences between the two terms

Linehaul – Refers to the route of the freight or the ‘line’ of transportation

Line stop – Process of stopping the production line due to a problem

LO-LO – Load On, Load Off / Lift On, Lift Off – Cargo ships with onboard cranes to help the movement of containers

Logistics –  Refers to the process of planning and controlling the flow of materials, products or goods from the point of origin to the point of destination, at the right time and location

Multimodal Transport – Transportation of goods under a single contract but performed with at least two different modes of transport

Ocean Freight – Logistics is the shipment of goods via a chartered or scheduled vessel therefore known as ocean freight

Outbound Logistics – Refers to the transportation, storage and delivery of goods to customers or other businesses. The outflow of goods from the production line to the end-user

P&D – Pickup & Delivery

POD – Proof Of Delivery

POD – Port of Discharge

PUDO – Pick up, Drop off

Protectionism – A government policy that restricts international trade to help domestic industries

Quality Assurance – A term used to ensure goods meet quality requirements

Ro-Ro – Roll On, Roll Off – Cargo ships designed to carry wheeled cargo

Stop-Call-Wait – This concept refers to the responsibility to ‘stop’ a process when an issue arises, ‘call’ for support and ‘wait’ for the support before continuing

Supply Chain – A system of different organisations, activities, processes, dates and resources involved to transport goods from the supplier to the customer

Supplier – A person or company who provides goods to another person or entity. The seller is mostly referred to as the supplier while the receiver is the buyer

Tariff – A tax or duty that needs to be paid on imports and exports

TEU – Twenty-foot equivalent unit

VAT – Value Added Tax

WISMO – Where Is My Order

Waybill – An essential document prepared by or on behalf of the carrier at origin. Contains origin point, destination, route, consignor, consignee, shipment description and the amount charged for the transportation service


To download our glossary, please see the link below.

DG International glossary pdf

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