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Courierology - The courier's glossary
Category: Agriculture and Industry > Courier distribution
Date & country: 23/11/2007, UK
Words: 96

ADR regulations cover the carriage of hazardous or dangerous goods (such as explosives, flammable liquids, or corrosives) by road in the EU.

air waybill-air bill (AWB)
An air waybill is used for air transport. It contains information about the consignment and has to be made out by the consignor or his agent.

See landside.

See phonetic alphabet

ATA carnet
An ATA carnet is a 'passport' for goods, so they can be taken between countries without paying customs duties. It is used for exhibition items, samples, etc that will returned to their home country within a year. The carnet is obtained by the consignor from an approved chamber of commerce.

aviation security level 4
This is the qualification you need to transport 'known cargo' into air cargo terminals. To get the certificate you have to have basic awareness training (from an approved trainer) which explains the security risks of carrying cargo on passenger flights. The course usually lasts half a day.

See air waybill.

A backload is a load you carry on a return journey. When a job is advertised as a backload on a freight exchange site, it means the company is looking for a cheap rate, and will usually accept a slow delivery.

blue pallets
See pallets

box delivery
See in-box

See ATA carnet.

See pallets

When you've finished a job and you're ready to take on another one, you're �clear“.

clearing house
A clearing house is a courier or transport company that doesn't have any vehicles. It takes bookings from customers and subcontracts the work out to other companies or owner drivers.

CMR note
A CMR note is a document that goes with goods being exported by road in the EU. The exporter or freight forwarder provides the CMR note.

This is another name for part load.

A consignment is a load collected from one place and delivered to one place. If you pick up three boxes from A and deliver them to B, C and D, that's three consignments - and you'll need a separate POD for each one. (If it's a multi-drop the arrangements might be different.)

consignment note-con note
A consignment note is a document that says where a load is to be collected from and delivered to. It can also have a description of the goods, and any special instructions. A consignment note can also be used as a POD.

consignor and consignee
The consignor is the person or company that sends the goods; the consignee is the person or company that receives them.

A controller is the person in an ops room or transport office who allocates jobs to drivers. Also called a dispatcher.

courier insurance
Courier insurance is like ordinary vehicle insurance but covers carriage of goods for hire and reward.

dangerous goods
Dangerous goods, such as explosives, acids and flammable liquids, are covered by ADR regulations for transport by road.

dead miles
The distance from your starting point to the collection address for a consignment is known as dead miles. Also called stem miles.

A dedicated load is one where the customer has paid for a consignment to be taken straight from the collection address to the delivery address, without stopping to collect or deliver other loads along the way.

delivery note
A delivery note is a document that goes with the goods. It is provided by the consignor and is given to the consignee. It shows the delivery address and describes the goods. It can also be used as a POD.

See controller.

drivers' hours rules
There are rules which apply to the hours that can be worked by drivers of goods vehicles. For vehicles over 3.5 tonnes driving hours are monitored by a tachograph. For smaller vehicles in the UK the rules are simpler and there is no legal requirement to keep a record of driving hours.

A drop is a delivery.

This is the estimated time of arrival. Sometimes you will be asked for an ETA, and sometimes the customer has already been given an ETA before you get the job.

See freight exchanges.

An express job is one where the consignment has to be delivered as quickly as possible, and often an expected delivery time (ETA) will be given.

This is a forklift truck.

A 'forkie' or 'forky' is a forklift truck driver.

freight exchanges
These are internet-based services which provide a way to match loads with couriers. They usually have a list of jobs to be done that you can bid for, and will notify your when there are jobs in your area. Some examples are Courier Directory, Courier Exchange and MT Van.

GIT (goods in transit) insurance
GIT insurance covers goods against loss, theft or damage while they are being carried.

GOB (goods on board)
GOB means you have collected the consignment and you have left the collection address. Controllers usually expect you to phone or text a GOB so they know the goods are on their way.

green card
A green card is an extension to your courier insurance, to provide full cover while travelling abroad.

Handballing is loading or unloading goods by hand.

hazardous goods
See dangerous goods.

This is a high-visibility vest or jacket. A lot of customer sites won't let you in without one. See also PPE

Used on Courier Exchange to mean an express job.

An in-box delivery is one where the consignment is left in a locked box to be collected later - usually by a service engineer. It's a bit like a left-luggage box, and you enter a number on a keypad to get into it.

This is like in-box, but the consignment is left in someone's car - usually on their driveway at night.

installation and swap-out
Some couriers offer an installation and swap-out service for things like computers, printers, faxes, etc. It means they will deliver the new item, connect it up, and take away the old one. Some people also offer an assembly and installation service for things like flat pack furniture. See also technical courier.

ITT (invitation to tender)
An ITT is like an RFP but is usually more formal. The customer lays out in detail what their requirements are, and what service levels they expect, and perhaps a budget. Courier companies respond to them with formal tenders to say how they would meet the customer's requirements.

JIT (just in time)
This is where a company doesn't hold a large stock, but relies on getting deliveries just before they run out. This is good news for couriers because when the companies get it wrong they need an urgent delivery!

known cargo
Known cargo is a consignment which has been checked and certified free from explosive or incendiary devices. The checking can be done at an airport before the consignment is taken airside, or it can be done by the consignor (if they have the necessary authority). See also unknown cargo.

Landside is 'this side' of the air cargo terminal at an airport. When a consignment has been checked and is put into the airport's secure area it is then airside.

level 4
See aviation security level 4.

This means to pick up or collect a load.

Lots of different sizes and types of business call themselves logistics companies, but usually the term applies to large-scale complex operations. It means they plan and manage the storage and delivery of goods through to the final destination.

A manifest is a list of consignments loaded onto a vehicle. For a multi-drop the manifest is usually used as a POD for all the drops.

This is where you collect a number of items from one place, to be delivered to several different places. Sometimes you also have to collect returned goods along the way. There will usually be one POD or manifest for the whole job with a different space to sign for each drop.

NATO alphabet
See phonetic alphabet.

See owner driver.

ops-operations room
The ops room is the 'control room' of a courier business - where jobs are booked, allocated to drivers, and tracked. See also controller.

owner driver
If you're a courier and you drive your own vehicle then you're an owner-driver (OD). You don't actually have to own the vehicle (you could lease or hire it) but the main thing is you provide a complete service to your customers — vehicle, driver, insurance, documentation and so on.

packing note-packing list
This can be attached to a delivery note, or it can be part of a delivery note. It shows the details of what's in the packages that make up the consignment.

Pallets are usually made of wood, but sometimes they are plastic or compressed cardboard. The most common pallet sizes in the UK are: 1200mm x 1000mm 1200mm x 800mm (Europallets) 'Blue' pallets are 1200mm x 1000mm. They are owned by GKN/Chep, and end up being returned to them. Some delivery notes have check-in/check-out boxes to fill in for blue …

part load
A part load is a consignment that only takes up part of the load space in a vehicle — usually used to mean an extra load that's being carried in addition to the main load.

payment terms
Before you do a job you should agree when you will be paid. Some common payment terms are: 14 days from date of invoice 30 days from date of invoice 30 days from the end of the month the invoice was issued in (this is the most common, and is called '30 days net') All payments terms are stated from date of invoice, not from date of job.

phonetic alphabet
The phonetic alphabet is used to spell out words when the other person can't hear you very well - so it's useful for talking on mobile phones with dodgy reception. The standard alphabet is: Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo, Foxtrot, Golf, Hotel, India, Juliet, Kilo, Lima, Mike, November, Oscar, Papa, Quebec, Romeo, Sierra, Tango, Uniform, Victor…

pick list-picking list
A pick list is what they use in a warehouse to get the items to make up a consignment.

POD (proof of delivery)
A POD can be any of the usual delivery documents (delivery note, consignment note, waybill, etc), or it can be a special POD document. It must show the delivery address, date and time of delivery, and what was delivered, as well as the recipient's name and signature. NOTE: when you've made the delivery you usually have to phone in to confirm it. I…

PPE (personal protective equipment)
The basic set of PPE is a hi-viz vest, hard hat, steel-toecap shoes, and gloves. If you're doing ADR work you might need goggles and chemical-resistant gloves, or other specialist equipment.

pplm and ppm
pplm is 'pence per loaded mile' which is the amount you charge for each mile from the pickup address to the drop adress. ppm is 'pence per mile' which usually means the same as pplm but sometimes is used to mean pence per mile for round trip mileage.


PUDO (pickup-drop off)
A PUDO point is a place where items can be left for field engineers, or collected for return to base. It can be a box (see in-box) or a counter in somewhere like a transport company or a specialist company like Unipart.

return journey
A return journey is the journey back to base after you've delivered a load. This is the bit you don't get paid for, but if you're lucky you'll get a backload to give more profit.

return load
This is another term for backload.

returns network
See freight exchange.

RFP (request for proposal)
When a customer is looking for a courier to undertake ongoing work, or support a big project, they'll ask for a proposal — saying how you would cover the work, what service levels you would promise, what rates you would charge, etc. So, the customer makes a request for proposal, couriers make the proposals, and the customer chooses which one to gi…

round trip
Round trip mileage is sometimes used as a way to work out pricing, if it's not a simple one-way job. The round trip mileage is from your base (or start point) to the collection address, to the drop addresses, and back to base. If you're using round trip mileage you would probably charge it at half your normal rate (pplm). Round trip is not the sam…

A sameday delivery is one that has to be completed before the close of business on the same day the consignment was picked up. See also express.

A screamer is a job where the customer is demanding immediate service. The usual reason for a screamer is that somebody's forgotten to allocate the job and you'll need to use all your customer service skills to keep everybody happy!

sea waybill
A sea waybill is like an air waybill, but for transport by sea.

SLA (service level agreement)
Courier companies often have SLAs with their customers. For example, they might agree to always pick up within 20 minutes of the job being booked. This is good news for owner drivers because it means the company will subcontract a job out rather than wait for one of their own drivers to be available. But it also means they'll want you to get to the…

stem miles
This is another name for dead miles.

A stillage is any kind of container that is made for transporting goods and storing them, so they don't have to be unpacked and put on shelves. A stillage can be any size or shape, but is usually made so it can be moved by forklift truck, and stored in racking. The simplest stillages are open crates or cages for holding loose items, but some are pu…

A subber is any courier who subcontracts work to another courier. The subber can be a courier or transport company, a clearing house, or an owner driver.

This is anybody who is subcontracted by another courier or transport company.

When a courier accepts a booking from a customer, they have a contract with the customer. If they farm the work out to you, that's a subcontract and you're a 'subbie'.

supply chain
This is the 'chain' of suppliers, warehouses, transport and delivery to the final customer. Some companies provide a complete supply chain logistics service for manufacturers or retailers.

Goods vehicles over 3.5 tonnes have to be fitted with a tachograph, which records the vehicle speed, driving times, break times, etc.

technical courier
A technical courier offers an installation and swap-out service, or provides other technical services such as repair as well as delivery. See also the courierology article about technical courier work.

A tender is a bid for a particular job or contract. Sometimes it's as simple as saying you can do the job and how much you would charge, but sometimes it's a more formal process with a lot of detailed requirements. See also ITT and RFP.

To tip means to deliver a load.

tipping box
This is a box painted on the floor of a warehouse, loading bay, etc, to mark where trailers and vans should be parked for tipping.

track and trace
Track and trace is a system that lets a customer check the progress of their delivery - usually just whether it's been collected, is en-route, or has been delivered. It might also tell them who signed for the goods.

Some courier companies have GPS tracking devices fitted in their vehicles, so they can see on a computer screen where their drivers are. There are also systems that use mobile phone tracking, so they don't need any extra equipment.

transport office-traffic office
The transport office is the department of a company that takes care of transporting the company's goods. It's like a courier's ops room.

A tremcard is a 'transport emergency card' which gives detailed written instructions to the driver in case a dangerous goods load is involved in a crash.

unknown cargo
Unknown cargo is a consignment which is going to be carried in the hold of a passenger plane, but which hasn't been checked for explosive or incendiary devices. When it is checked it becomes known cargo and can be taken airside.

wait and return
This is where you deliver an item, and collect from the same address for return to the original collection address. Usually you deliver a spare part to a service engineer, and they give you the faulty part to return. Sometimes you have to wait for a document to be read and signed by a specific person, then take it back again. You will need a separ…

See air waybill and sea waybill.

WTD (working time directive)
This is an EU directive which limits the number of hours people can work, what breaks they should have, minimum holiday entitlement, etc. It applies to all kinds of employment, not just driving, but it does not currently apply to self-employed people.