Practice your logistics knowledge with the following transportation lingo!

Practice your logistics knowledge with the following transportation lingo!

Let’s Talk Logistics: 10 Transportation Terms You Should Know

Released February 26, 2021


Do you feel like your transportation vocabulary is lacking? Would you like to expand your knowledge of supply chain terms? You’re in luck! We’ve compiled a list of transportation and logistics terms and definitions to boost your industry know-how.

Bob Tail

1. Bobtail

A truck that is moving without a container hooked on to it. This happens when a driver either has just dropped off their cargo or is in route to pick it up.

2. Force Majeure

An unforeseeable circumstance or circumstances that prevent companies like Union Pacific or Loup from fulfilling a contract. This regulation is necessary for when historical weather events occur like the snow storms and hurricanes we’ve seen happen in recent years.

3. Chassis

A rubber-tired trailer under-frame upon which containers are mounted for street or highway movement.

4. Flip

When a container is picked up off a damaged chassis and moved on to a chassis that is safe for the container to travel on.

5. Load Shift

A term used when the contents of a container or trailer shift when traveling between the origin and final destination.

6. Rework

When a container is not loaded properly and the contents are adjusted to ensure it is safe for travel, whether by truck or by train. Reworking is important because if a container is overweight, loads shift or proper blocking and bracing measures aren’t taken, it can cause to lean and cause an accident or derailment.


7. Transload

When the contents of a container are unloaded and reloaded from one transportation mode to another (for instance, between trucks and rail cars). Transloading allows companies to leverage both rail and truck transportation in supply chains, giving them the benefits of both shipping modes: the flexibility of truck and the economics and environmental benefits of rail.

8. Live Load

When a driver waits on site while a container or trailer is being loaded or unloaded. This happens when a shipment isn’t loaded and ready for the truck driver to pick up. These loads must be completed in a short period of time.

9. Drop & Pull

When a driver delivers (or “drops”) a loaded or unloaded unit at shipper or receiver, then hooks up to (“pulls”) a unit that was previously dropped to return it to an intermodal ramp. Making this exchange helps to reduce shipping time.


10. In-gate

The action of a container arriving to a gate/ramp and successfully getting inside to deliver or pick-up a unit. This process, as regulated by Union Pacific, entails an inspection of the unit, reservation confirmation, inputting data into our system, and filling out a J-1.

To find more valuable logistics and transportation terms, check out our Glossary or Union Pacific‘s Glossaries.

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