Glossary of Haulage Terms


Common Haulage Terms

The buying and selling of goods may seem like a simple process, but the process of moving these goods through a supply chain is anything but simple. With its variety of jargon and terms, it can be confusing and frustrating. We know, so this Glossary of Haulage Terms is built for you. Read on to learn more!


Arrival Notice

Notification provided by the carrier when a shipment has arrived to the consignee.

Available Inventory

The amount of shippable product in the warehouse; does not include product designated as damaged, on hold, or pending shipment.



Cargo carried on a return journey.

Bill of Lading (aka BoL, BL, B/L)

A document issued by a carrier or their agent acknowledging receipt of cargo for shipment.

Break Bulk

Loose cargo, such as cartons, stowed directly in the ship’s hold as opposed to containerized or bulk cargo.

Bulk Cargo

A commodity cargo that is transported unpackaged in large quantities. These cargo are usually dropped or poured as a liquid or solid, into a bulk carrier’s hold.


A bulkhead is a rigid wall or sheet installed at the inside of container doors to constrain bulk material within a shipping container. It should be secured independently and not supported by the doors.



Carriers are companies that own the vessels to ship containers. Top carrier companies in the world include Maersk Line, CMA CGM, Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), China Ocean Shipping Company (COSCO), Hanjin Shipping, Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL), American President Lines (APL), Hyundai Merchant Marine, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K Line) and Wan Hai Lines.

Check Digit

A check digit is the 7th number of a container that is used to verify the container number based on the first 6 numbers.

Container Management System (CMS) Charges

CMS charges are charged by some depots in Singapore. In order to return or collect containers, hauliers have to pre-book a timing with the depot. This pre-booking is chargeable, known as the CMS charges (Note: Not all depots refer to this prebook charge as CMS.)

Related to: Depot Haulier Event (DHE) charges
Read more: Fees in the Haulage Industry

Combo Chassis

A 40’ long chassis that can hold two 20’ containers simultaneously.


A shipment of goods to a consignee.


The person or place to whom a shipment will be transferred.

Bonus: The ultimate consignee is the final recipient of the goods, while an intermediate consignee takes possession of the goods for a portion of the time that they are in transit.


The exporter or shipper from which the goods originate.


When cargo from multiple shippers is combined in a single container.

Container Depot

Container depots areas for storing empty shipping containers. Typically, hauliers obtain empty containers from depots, or deliver empty ones for storage.

Container Yard (CY)

The container yard refers to an area within the port or container terminal or dry port where Full Container Load (FCL) containers are stored either after it is off loaded from the ship (for import) or before it is loaded on a ship (for export).


The controller plays a crucial role in a haulage company. He/She plans the daily jobs and trips for their fleet of drivers, liaising between drivers and customers to ensure smooth operations and execution of trucking jobs.


Demurrage Charges

Demurrage charges are charges levied onto the importer by the carrier, if they have not collected the container from the port within the given number of free days.

Dangerous Goods (DG)

Dangerous goods, abbreviated “DG”, are items or substances that when transported are a risk to health, safety, property or the environment. Carriers will issue DG stickers, which will have to be pasted on containers.


A depot is a place where containers are checked and repaired for damages and stored for carriers. Empty container (aka MT) are also kept here.

Depot Handling Charges (DHC)

Whenever a container enters or leaves the depot, Depot Handling Charges are imposed. The charge differs across different depots.

Read more: Fees in the Haulage Industry

Depot Haulier Event (DHE) Charges

DHE charges are charged by some depots in Singapore. In order to return or collect containers, hauliers have to pre-book a timing with the depot. This pre-booking is chargeable, known as the DHE charges (Note: Not all depots refer to this prebook charge as DHE.)

Related to: Container Management System (CMS) Charges

Detention Charges

Detention charges occur when containers have not been returned to the depot for more than the given number of free days. Terms and conditions may differ between import and export workflows.

Direct Delivery (DD)

When a particular set of cargo has been certified as a dangerous good, it cannot cannot touch the ground. The crane lifts it off the vessel, places it on a trailer, which gets driven off to its final location, where another crane lifts it off again to its resting spot. Hence its name – direct delivery.

Double Mount

When 2 x 20 foot containers are loaded onto a single 40 foot trailer, it is commonly known as a double mount.

Double Mount Charge

A fee that is imposed when a double mount occurs.


Durable padding material used to protect goods during shipping. Dunnage can be anything that provides cushioning so that cargo stay put within the container.


Electronic Shipping Note (ESN)

The Electronic Shipping Note is a shipping document that gives details about the contents of a consignment to carriers, receiving authorities and forwarders.

Equipment Interchange Receipt (EIR)

The Equipment Interchange Receipt (EIR) is a document required when transferring a cargo container from one vessel to another, to a shipping terminal or depot. The receipt includes the apparent exterior status of the container.

Empty ("MT") Repositioning

Empty repositioning, also called “MT”, refers to the transportation of empty containers. The empty containers can be shifted to other depots, i.e. empty depot-to-depot shifting or empty repositioning.

Empty ("MT") Containers

Empty containers, are sometimes referred to as “MT” containers. These empty containers are usually collected for stuffing, or returned after unstuffing of the goods in the container.

Export jobs

Jobs going out of the country are referred to as Export jobs. There are some procedural differences with Import workflows.



Also known as Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier (NVOCC), forwarders organise shipments for individuals or corporations to get goods from the manufacturer or producer to a market, customer or final point of distribution. 

Free Storage Period (FSP)

Free Storage Period (FSP) is offered by ports or terminals, and refers to the free period of time for customers to store offloaded containers at the container yard, before store rent is charged. Different ports and terminals offer different periods of FSP.


A trailer with no sides or top.

Read more: Loose Cargo and their Suitable Trailers

Flatrack Container

A container without sides or tops that has ends that fold up. Large equipment and pipe that cannot fit inside a container is often loaded on this type of equipment.

Read more: Common Types of Shipping Containers

Full Container Load (FCL)

FCL stands for Full Container Load, where your shipment occupies the whole container.

Related to: Less Container Load (LCL)


This is an export-related term. Fumigation of a container is done in precaution of importing pests from imported goods into the said country. Fumigation is always done in the exporting country.  


General Purpose Containers (GP)

General Purpose containers are also known as dry containers. These are the most common type of containers and are used to load most types of cargo.

Read more: Common Types of Shipping Containers


A genset, or generator set, is a unit that is usually attached to a reefer to cool the container.

Read more: Reefer Trucking Tips

GST Payment Permits

For import containers, before truckers can truck out of the port, GST must be paid. Otherwise, a Customs compound fine will be incurred, and the trucker will be stuck at the port. GST permits are important as they state the condition of who is liable to pay for GST and are sent to hauliers by forwarders. Hauliers will then check with the relevant parties (as stated on the permit) to ensure that GST is paid before trucking out.


Half Height Container/Offshore Containers

Half height/offshore containers have an open top, and half the height of regular containers. They are supplied with slings, cargo net or shackles, and are used to load cargo that is both heavy and dense. They are also designed to be stackable to save space. 

Read more: Common Types of Shipping Containers

High Cube

A 9’6″ high container.

Read more: Common Types of Shipping Containers


Inter-Terminal Trucking (ITT) jobs

Inter-terminal trucking (ITT) jobs are jobs within PSA’s ports. Hauliers can assign their drivers to do jobs within the port itself.

Read more:  Taking ITT jobs with Haulio

Inter-Gate Haulage (IGH) jobs

Inter-Gate Haulage (IGH) jobs are jobs between different ports.

IMEX job

Short for import-export, IMEX jobs are typically round trips with both the import leg and export leg in one job.

Import job

Jobs coming into the country are referred to as Import jobs. There are some procedural differences with Export workflows.

Import License

A government-issued permit to allow a party to import goods into a country.


Jurong Port

Jurong Port is a multi-purpose port and the main bulk and conventional cargo gateway for Singapore and the region.



Less than Container Load (LCL)

LCL stands for Less than Container Load, where your shipment occupies less than a whole container. If your goods cannot accommodate in a fully loaded container, you can arrange with a consolidator to book his cargo. In other words, you will share the space, and cost, with others.

Related to: Full Container Load (FCL)

Lift On/Lift Off (LOLO)

LOLO is short for Lift On/Lift Off. It refers to the action where the cargo needs to “lifted on and off” a vessel with a crane.

In Singapore, hauliers need to have a LOLO account where the charges for PSA LOLO services are charged.

Related to: Roll On/Roll Off (RORO)
Read more: Fees in the Haulage Industry


A loader refers to the ship transporting the cargo. Also known as Vessel or Discharger.

Loose Cargo

Also known as Break Bulk Cargo, Loose Cargo are goods that are not transported within a container.

Examples: Large steel pipes that cannot fit within containers, or containerised cargo that got broken up, and are now transported in smaller pieces.

Read more: Loose Cargo and their Suitable Trailers


The care and movement of product from raw material, through the manufacturer, through the warehousing and distribution process, to the end customer, and on to the consumer.


Mode of Transport (MOT)

MOT stands for Mode of Transport, and can refer to air, sea, road, rail or inland waterways. Each mode has varying processes and information requirements, and its usage depends on factors like cost, urgency of the shipment and value of the goods.


Net Weight

Net weight is the weight of the cargo that a container can hold. It is also sometimes referred to as the payload.


One-way job

One-way jobs refer to trips that are made from Point A to B only.

Open Top

An open top container does not have a hard top. Instead, it has a tarp that can be removed. This is for cargo that will fit in a container but cannot be loaded/unloaded through the doors of the container.

Read more: Common Types of Shipping Containers

Orange Plate

In Singapore, vehicles that have been licensed to carry hazmat goods can be identified via their orange vehicle plates.

Read more: Vehicle Plates in Singapore

Out-of-Gauge (OOG)

When goods are either too huge (i.e. its dimensions exceed those of the container), or too dangerous to be loaded onto a regular container, shipping companies charge an OOG surcharge for lost slots. After all, wherever goods protrude, no other containers can be loaded. These cargo will instead be transported on a platform, flat rack or in an open top container.

Related to: Loose cargo, Oversized Cargo
Read more: Loose Cargo and their Suitable Trailers

Out of Jurong (OOJ)

This term is only used in Singapore, and stands for Out-of-Jurong or OOJ. OOJ charges are charged by hauliers, for trips that go out of the Jurong area in Singapore.

Overlanded Goods

Overlanded goods refer to goods which are in excess of the quantity stated in the inward manifest, whether imported by air, sea or rail. Vessel owners are required to pay the duty and/or Goods and Services Tax (GST) on the excess quantity.

Similar to: Shortlanded Goods, Un-manifested Goods
Read more: Loose Cargo and their Suitable Trailers

Oversized Cargo

Oversized cargo is defined as general cargo or goods that do not fit in standard shipping containers, or may be too heavy to be transported by air. This type of cargo usually needs to be transported in special types of trailers.

Similar to: Out-of-gauge (OOG) cargo, Loose cargo
Read more: Loose Cargo and their Suitable Trailers



Payload is the weight of the cargo that a container can hold. It is also sometimes referred to as the net weight.


Platform containers have a base without side or end walls. They are used to load irregularly sized cargo. 

Read more: Loose Cargo and their Suitable Trailers


Pre-gate is a mandatory process that is done before entering a port regardless of operation type (import or export). Common details that have to be filled in include :

  • Voyage number
  • Haulier code
  • Prime mover number
  • Vessel name


PSA is a leading global port group and a trusted partner to cargo stakeholders around the world. With flagship operations in Singapore and Antwerp, PSA’s portfolio comprises a network of over 50 coastal, rail and inland terminals in 18 countries. Drawing on the deep expertise and experience from a diverse global team, PSA actively collaborates with its customers and partners to deliver world-class port services alongside, develop innovative cargo solutions and co-create an Internet of Logistics. As the partner of choice in the global supply chain, PSA is “The World’s Port of Call”.

PSA wrong weight charge

The wrong weight fee charged by PSA for weight discrepancies between the declared weight against the actual weight of the container, when it is handled inside the port. The charge is S$8/container, excluding GST.



Roll On/Roll Off (RORO)

RORO is short for “Roll On/Roll Off“. It refers to when wheeled cargo rolls on and off a vessel.

Related to: Lift On/Lift Off (LOLO)

Reefer Container

A reefer container is one that can be mounted with a refrigeration power unit (genset) to keep the container cooled to a specific temperature.

Read more: Reefer Trucking Tips


Shortlanded Goods

Shortlanded goods refer to goods that fall short of the quantity stated in the inward manifest, whether imported by air, sea or rail. Vessel owners may apply for a refund if duty and/or GST has been paid.

Similar to: Overlanded Goods, Un-manifested Goods

Standard Containers

An 8’6″ high container

Read more: Common Types of Shipping Containers

Store Rent

Store Rent is the charge levied by ports or terminals, for the storage of containers within the container yard beyond the free storage period.

Related to: Free Storage Period

Street Turn

Street Turn, also known as empty container triangulation, allows truckers to interchange empty intermodal containers without the need to return to a port or container yard/depot. This allows for improved trucking efficiencies, utilization of drivers and equipment while reducing emissions and congestion.

Read about what Haulio is doing to drive container efficiency through street turn.


Tank Containers

Tank Containers are mostly used to transport liquids. They are made of anti-corrosive materials (e.g. steel) to protect the liquids.

Read more: Common Types of Shipping Containers


The Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit (TEU) is the industry standard to measure containers. A TEU’s dimensions are twenty feet long (6.09 meters), 8 feet wide (2.4 meters) and 8 feet six inches high (2.6 meters). These dimensions have been set by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).


Transloading refers to unloading and reshipping cargo from one form of transport to another such as from a container to a van.

Triaxle Chassis

A triaxle chassis is used in hauling 20″ containers with three axles and a center that slides out. This allows for better weight distribution and allows hauling of heavier containers.


The twistlock is a lock that inserts into a container from the chassis to lock or hold the container in place.


Un-manifested Goods

Un-manifested goods refer to actual goods that are shipped but not listed in the inward manifest.

Similar to: Overlanded Goods, Shortlanded Goods


Vehicle License Plates

Singapore has different colored vehicle license plates to identify various heavy vehicle types. Heavy vehicles that transport hazmat goods need to have an orange plate.

Read more: Types of Vehicle License Plates

Vehicle Parking Certificate

All heavy vehicle owners are required to obtain a Vehicle Parking Certificate in order to prove that the vehicle already has a designated parking space. The certificate is also necessary whenever registering for a brand new heavy vehicle and for the renewal of road tax.

Read more: Heavy Vehicle Parking in Singapore

Verified Gross Mass (VGM)

The Verified Gross Mass (VGM) is the certified Gross Cargo Mass (including the weight of all packing material) plus container tare mass. VGM is required prior to loading a packed container to a vessel. Cargo will not be loaded onto a vessel unless a certified VGM is provided.

The VGM weight can be determined in 2 ways: 

  1. The weight of a loaded container will be verified by weighing the container on a certified and calibrated platform scale/weigh bridge.
  2. The weight of a loaded container will be verified by the shipper and proved based on a certified calculation procedure (i.e. container’s tare weight + cargo weight).



A weighbridge is installed in ports to weigh trucks and the respective VGM of their containers. An incoming truck can drive over the weighbridge and the total weight will be recorded immediately. To calculate the container weight, the tare weight of the truck is deducted from the total weight. The truck’s tare weight can be measured if the truck leaves the terminal empty or the weight of the truck can be declared when entering the terminal.

Related to: Verified Gross Mass (VGM)





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