Shipping Terms

We've provided a definition of some of the terminology used in the shipping industry.

portfolio1 portfolio2 portfolio3 portfolio4

Tradeshow Shipping

Ship with confidence. We've been shipping exhibits to tradeshows for over 25 years.

Exhibit Storage

We can warehouse your exhibit between events.

International Shipping

ELITeXPO offers worldwide shipping for tradeshows. Import & Export.

Shipment Tracking & Status Emails

Available automated shipment status emails and web tracking.

small portfolio1 small portfolio2 small portfolio3 small portfolio4
themed object
There's More To Shipping Your Tradeshow Exhibit, Than Just Moving The Freight

get in touch

Shipping Terms

Actual Weight

Gross shipping weight, determined by (1) weighing the vehicle empty, (2) loading the shipment and returning to the scale to obtain a gross weight and (3) subtracting the two weights. Can also be obtained by individually weighing each piece of freight.

Air Express

Expedited air freight, usually referring to overnight air.

Air Freight

Materials transported by an air freight company. However, not all freight designated in this manner is shipped by plane; truck shuttles are used between cities in close proximity.

Air Waybill (AWB)

Document used by an air freight company to transport shipment. All pertinent information is contained in this document.

Air-Ride Suspension

Smoothest ride for fragile cargo, made possible by two to four air bags located at the rear axle of the trailer, tractor or fifth-wheel.

Bill of Lading

Written receipt from a carrier for goods accepted for transportation. Serves as a receipt, contract and operating paperwork and is the single most important document in the shipping process.

Bone Yard

Area designated for the storage of empty exhibit crates and air freight containers.

Break-Bulk Center

Regional Distribution center that consolidates and distributes multiple Less Than a Truckload (LTL), shipments headed in the same direction.


A non-asset based transportation provider that arranges transportation services for commercial shippers.

Cargo Insurance

Additional coverage protecting the owner of goods for loss or damage while goods are in a carrier's possession. Recommended for all international shipments.


Trucking materials a short distance, such as transporting air freight between the origin or destination and the airport.


Commodity tariff used to classify shipments. Shipments are evaluated by their density, sensitivity, packaging and other criteria. Rates are assessed on a shipment after a commodity classification is established.

Clean Bill of Lading

Carrier-receipted bill of lading without an exceptions noted, such as "shortage", "damages", etc.

Collection and Consolidation Service

Service performed for a shipper in which a number of LTL shipments are picked up or received and forwarded as one truckload shipment.

Common Carrier

Department of Transportation (DOT)-certified trucking firm that can be hired by the public for shipment of goods.

Contract Carrier

Trucking company that enters into a specific contract with a shipper to transport goods for an agreed-upon price. Contained within the contract are all the terms and conditions, liability, transit times, etc. Contract carrier is required to secure authorization from DOT for such operation.


Receiver of the shipped goods.


Shipper of the goods.


Container, usually wood, used for protecting exhibits during shipping.


Area occupied by an exhibit within a trailer, determined by multiplying the exhibit's length times width times height.


Hundredweight (100 lbs.)

Declared Value

Shipper's stated value of the entire shipment in dollars.

Deferred Air Freight

Air freight that can wait for available cargo space because of low delivery priority. Usually a three-to-five-day service that moves at a reduced cost.


Area where goods are received.

DOT (Department of Transportation)

Federal Government agency responsible for all safety, interstate highway and interstate commerce matters.


Handling of exhibit properties between the loading dock and the booth area. Also includes handling of goods from advanced receiving and the removal and return of empty containers.

Drayage Contractor

Handler who moves exhibit goods from the dock to the exhibit booth or from the drayer's warehouse to the exhibit booth. Responsible for all material handling activities at a show.

Drayage Form

Form filled out by exhibitor requesting material handling.

Exclusive Use of Vehicle

Service in which the shipper pays to have sole use of entire trailer for a particular shipment. Also referred to as a dedicated move.

Expedited Service

Service offered by a transportation company to assure prompt or specific delivery.

FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) and TSA (Transportation Security Administration)

Federal Government agencies responsible for all safety and security for matters relating to airports, the airlines,  aviation and all other modes of transport.

Field Services

Installation and dismantling, including freight, drayage, carpentry, electrical, plumbing, iron work, riggers, and maintenance.

Fixed Jig

Permanent support mounted within a shipping container to protect the contents and hold them in place

Forced Freight

Routing of freight not picked up by an exhibitor's carrier or shipments left behind at the booth at the close of the show.**(Generally tendered at time of force to the official carrier for the show.)

Freight Forwarder

Transportation company that arranges and manages all aspects of shipping but does not own vehicles.**(Some Freight Forwarders do own vehicles and can provide carrier and cartage services.)


Exhibits, products and equipment for a show, moved by a carrier.


Moving of materials, usually to and from a loading dock.

Harmonized Code

Commodity number assigned to goods shipped internationally. Also referred to as a Schedule B number.


Reusable exhibit or display with scheduled shipping from place to place.

Knock-Down (KD)

Exhibit or display components that break down into smaller, more easily managed pieces for shipping.


Carrier's legal financial responsibility for lost or damaged goods.

Load Chart

Chart showing the weight of shipments loaded in a trailer and the position in the vehicle of larger items, dangerous articles or special-attention shipments.


Procurement, maintenance and transportation of materials. Involves all related functions and services.

Loose Jig

Removable support in a shipping case.

LTL (Less Than a Truckload)

Shipments picked up by a trucker and consolidated with other LTL shipments to be transported to the destination city, unloaded and delivered.

Marshalling Yard

Area designated to stage or check trucks in for delivery and pick-up from/to a show.

Minimum Truckload

Weight above which a shipment is charged at a truckload rate.


Van shipment weighing 500 lbs. or less, for which the minimum charge is the 500 lb. rate. Carriers' minimum can vary.

Mixed Truckload

Truckload of different articles, crated and uncrated, in a single shipment.

Net Weight

Weight of goods without the shipping container.

NVOCC (Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier)

Transportation company that operates by obtaining wholesale space from other carriers and reselling it. Does not operate its own planes, trucks or ships.

Official Carrier

Carrier designated by the show manager or general contractor to be on-site for the inbound and outbound shipments of a show. Use of these carriers is recommended but not required. Medium to large shows may have one van line, one common carrier and one air freight carrier designated for the show.

Official Contractor

Organization appointed by show management to provide services such as set-up and tear-down of exhibit booths and to oversee labor, drayage and loading dock procedures.

Packing List

Detailed list or inventory of a shipment's contents.


Used to protect shipments. Have cotton fill and quilted design to keep filler in place. Commonly referred to as moving blankets.

Pallet or Skid

Wood runner protecting the exterior of a shipping case. Also describes a wooden base constructed to carry multiple cartons or equipment.

Panel Dolly

L-shaped dolly with wheels on both the vertical and horizontal sides. Used for moving display panels.


Loading freight on trailers and then shipping the trailers on specially designed rail cars.

Portable Display

Lightweight exhibit capable of being carried by one person. Usually refers to a tabletop or pop-up exhibit.

Preferred Carrier

Carriers that have alliances with exposition service firms and general service contractors. Receive preferential treatment.


Progressive numbering system used primarily by the trucking industry for tracking, billing and identifying freight.

Release Forms

Forms provided by show management to permit removal of goods from show.

Released Value

Stated value of shipment when released to carrier. If shipment declares a higher value than per pound limit, shipping costs will increase.

Self-Contained Exhibit

Display that itself is an integral part of the shipping case.


Assembly of exhibit components for display or use.

Set-Up Drawing

Plans or blueprint from which the exhibit components are assembled.


Individual or company whose goods are being shipped.

Shipping Case

Container for exhibit components, usually not for extended use, typically with a screwed or nailed lid.


Storage in transit.


Used to protect small items. Made of burlap, sometimes have a soft underside.


Levering strip on which flooring or horizontal panels are fixed. Also used to describe the sleeping compartment of a tractor-trailer.

Split Pick-up/Delivery

Pick-up or delivery of multiple shipments at more than one place of business.

Staging Area

Yard or lot for trucks delivering to or picking up from a show. Also refers to a place for demonstrations within an exhibit.

Storage Area

Space at a show set aside for storage of crates or materials.

Straight Bill

Bill of lading that is non-negotiable.

Straight Truck

Flat-floor truck, usually with a cargo area of 14-20 feet. Normally used for local or short-haul moves.


Exhibit system with interlocking components or modules, which can make up a variety of configurations. Usually lightweight and packed in fiber cases to reduce shipping and handling weight charges.

T/L (Truckload)

Shipment that uses the entire cubic contents of a semi-trailer or straight truck.

Tare Weight

Empty weight of vehicle prior to loading the shipment.


Schedule of published rates and charges.

Trailer Interline

Temporary transfer of control of a trailer from one carrier to a connecting carrier without the need to re-handle the cargo.


Method of consolidating shipments. Usually defines function of an LTL trucker grouping freight for shipment to a particular show.

Van Line

Carrier that specializes in shipping uncrated exhibits, high-tech equipment and delicate materials that require special handling.

Waiting Time

Waiting time is the time between drivers check in at show site to recover or deliver shipments and the actual time the driver has the freight loaded or off-loaded on/from their vehicle by the decorator. This time period can vary from minutes to many hours based on the number of trucks in line to be loaded/unloaded at the show.


Document that contains the address of the shipper and recipient and other pertinent information. Used by air freight companies to transport and route shipments. Contains a number used in tracking shipments.



We're proud to be the Official Air Carrier for the AAOS Annual Meeting.

slide up button