Transportation terminology: 6 freight shipping acronyms to know.

June 14, 2019

FAK, NMFC, BOL, EDI, FOB, huh? If you find yourself frequently lost in acronym land, you must work in the transportation industry. Why? Because with all of the different terms used in the transportation and shipping industries, acronyms are a must!

And while we all throw around these letters freely, their actual meaning often gets lost in the juggling. To help refresh your memory (or for those just entering the space, get you up to speed), we’ve put together a quick overview of some of the more common acronyms, what they stand for and their definition. Let’s take a look at this transportation terminology breakdown for the 6 freight shipping acronyms you should know.


1. FAK = Freight of All Kinds.

FAK stands for Freight of all Kinds. It simply means a pooling of different products into one load for simplification of rating and pricing. This is a helpful acronym for small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) to stay aware of, as it will be the bulk of what is being dealt with.


2. NMFC = National Motor Freight Classification.

NMFC stands for National Motor Freight Classification and it’s the category of your freight as defined by the National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA)

NMFC codes are a must know for shippers, as a shipment’s freight class determines shipping charges. 

There are 18 freight classes ranging from class 50 (the least expensive) to class 500 (the most expensive.) This number gives can be complicated to determine for many shippers, but it’s best to get it right the first time to avoid an adjustment.

Want more? We have everything you need to know about freight class.


3. BOL = Bill of Lading.

The acronym BOL stands for Bill of Lading. A BOL is the mandatory and legally binding paperwork providing the driver and the trucking company with all the details they need to process the shipment.

The Bill of Lading essentially acts as an invoicing receipt in the shipping world. It provides information including shipping address, packaging type, freight class, description of goods and more. SMBs should always ensure their BOL is as accurate as possible, as it is the most crucial piece of documentation in the freight shipping process. If there is an error on your BOL, you could end up with added charges, delays and other inconveniences.


4. EDI = Electronic Data Interchange.

EDI stands for Electronic Data Interchange. At the most basic level, EDI is defined as the business-to-business interconnection of computers for the rapid exchange of documents. In the freight shipping industry, this applies to things like bills of lading, invoices and tracking information. 

EDI allows Freightquote by C.H. Robinson to notify carriers of pickup requests, as well as receive invoice and tracking information.


5. FOB = Free on Board.

FOB stands for Free on Board. It’s a designation used to indicate when liability and ownership of goods is transferred from a seller to a buyer. When used with an identified physical location, the designation determines which party has responsibility for the payment of the freight charges and at what point title for the shipment passes from the seller to the buyer.


6. GVW = Gross Vehicle Weight.

GVW stands for Gross Vehicle Weight. This is the total weight of the transport and its cargo. GVW is more frequently used when discussing GVWR, or Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. GVWR is the maximum operating weight of a vehicle as specified by the manufacturer. GVWR includes everything from the vehicle's chassis, body, engine, fluids, accessories, driver, passengers and cargo but does not include the weight of trailers.

These just a sampling of the hundreds of commonly used acronyms in the transportation industry. For our the full list of transportation terminology, visit our Freight Dictionary. If you’re interested in partnering with Freightquote for your next shipment, start a quote today.



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