Glossary of Transportation Industry and Port Terms
Berth: The place where a vessel lies at a wharf.
Breakbulk: Non-containerized general cargo. Examples include iron, steel, machinery, linerboard, woodpulp and yachts.
Consolidated Freight Station or Container Freight Station (CFS): Location on terminal grounds where stuffing and stripping of containers is conducted.
Container: A 20, 35, 40 or 45 foot box which can be handled interchangeably among trucks, railcars, barges and ocean going vessels.
Container On Flat Car (COFC): A container placed directly on a railroad flatcar without chassis.
Customs Broker: Represents an importer of cargo. Performs duties related to documentation, cargo clearance, coordination of inland and ocean transportation,
dockside inspection of cargo, etc.
Dead Weight Tonnage (DWT): Maximum weight of a vessel including the vessel, cargo and ballast.
Dock: A structure built along or at an angle form a navigable waterway so that vessels may lie alongside to receive and discharge cargo.
Dry Bulk: Minerals or grains stored in loose piles moving without mark or count.
Examples are potash, industrial sands, wheat, soybeans and peanuts.
Electronic Data Interchange (EDI): The exchange of information through an electronic format. Examples include transACTION, the GPA automated terminal
information and operations network.
Feeder Service: Ocean transport system involving use of centralized ports to assemble and disseminate cargo to and from ports within a geographic area.
Commodities are transported between major ports, then transferred to feeder vessels for further transport to a number of additional ports.
Forwarder: Consultant in logistics and international traffic. The forwarding agent assists the exporter in finding the most economic and efficient methods of
transporting and storing cargo.
Gantry Crane: Track-mounted, shoreside crane utilized in the loading and unloading of breakbulk cargo, containers and heavy lifts.
Gross Tonnage: The sum of container, breakbulk and bulk tonnage.
Home port: Port from which cruiseship loads passengers and begins its itinerary, and to which it returns to disembark passengers upon conclusion of its voyage. Sometimes referred to as "embarkation port" and "turn around port".
Hopper Car: A freight car used for handling dry bulks, with an openable top and one or more openings on the bottom through which the cargo is dumped.
Interchange: Point of entry/exit for trucks delivering and picking up containerized cargo. Point where pickups and deposits of containers in storage
area or yard are assigned.
Intermodal: Relating to cargo which can be handled interchangeably among different transportation modes, i.e. truck, rail, ocean and air.
Length Overall (LOA): Linear measurement of a vessel from bow to stern.
Lift On-Lift Off (LO/LO): Cargo handling technique involving transfer of commodities to and from the ship using shoreside cranes or ship's gear.
Lighter Aboard Ship (LASH): Transportation mode using barges (lighters), tugs and mother vessels. Lighters are loaded at shallow draft facilities, pushed by
tug to deepwater ports where they are loaded by mother ships for ocean crossing.
Liner Service: Sailings between specified ports on a regularly scheduled basis.
Liquid Bulk: Cargo which is transported and stored in liquid form.
Longshoremen: Individuals who perform services under the direction of a stevedoring company such as operating equipment, rigging cargo or administrative
tasks associated with the loading or unloading of a vessel.
Long Ton: A long ton equals 2240 pounds.
Marshaling Yard: Any open are for assembly of cargo for export or placement of imported cargo awaiting inland transport.
Mean Low Water (MLW): Lowest average level water reaches on an outgoing tide.
Mean High Water (MHW): Highest average level water reaches on an outgoing tide.
Motor Ship (MS) or Motor Vessel (MV): A ship propelled by internal-combustion
On-Dock Rail: Direct shipside rail service. Includes the ability to load and unload containers/breakbulk directly from rail car to vessel.
On-Terminal Rail: Rail service and trackage provided by a railroad within a designated terminal area.
Port-of-call: Port at which cruiseship makes a stop along its itinerary. Port-of-calls may range from five hours up to 24 hours. Sometimes referred to as "transit port" and "destination port".
Reefer: Refrigerated cargo, whether breakbulk or containerized. Also refers to a
ship's capability to handle such cargo, and storage areas, containers, etc.,
used to store and transport them.
Roll on-Roll off (RO/RO): Transportation mode utilizing ramp equipped vessels where wheeled equipment and cargo on flatbeds can be driven on or off.
Rubber-Tired Gantry (RTG): Traveling crane used for the movement and positioning
of containers in a container field. RTG's may also be used for loading and
unloading containers from rail cars.
Short Ton: A short ton equals 2,000.
Steamship Line: Organization that operates ocean carriers/vessels to transport cargo.
Stevedore: Agency retained by the vessel operator or agent to determine the method cargo is to be loaded/discharged and to provide the necessary equipment
and labor to execute the handling and supervise the actual handling process.
Stripping: The process of removing cargo from a container.
Stuffing: The process of packing a container with loose cargo prior to inland or
Toplift: A piece of equipment similar to a forklift that lifts from above rather
than below. Used to handle containers in the storage yard to and from storage
stacks, trucks and railcars.
Trailer On Flat Car (TOFC): A container placed on a chassis which is in turn placed on a railroad flat car.
Transit Shed: Located dockside, these buildings are used for temporary storage of commodities just before export and immediately following import.
Twenty Foot Equivalent Unit (TEU): A unit of measurement equal to the space occupied by a standard twenty foot container. Used in stating the capacity of
container vessel or storage area. One 40 ft. Container is equal to two TEU's.