Auto Transport Glossary

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Every trade has its unique language that often sounds opaque to the rest of the world. It should come as no surprise that the auto transport industry makes no exception.

Logistics agents, dispatchers, and truck drivers all speak the “auto transport slang” that doesn’t always make sense to those not related to the industry. In this post, we’ve demystified the most commonly used terms in the auto shipping industry which, will be especially helpful for those who are shipping a car for the first time.

Auto Transport Glossary

  • Auto Logistics – Thisis a general term that wraps all process. The whole organization and management of the auto shipping process. It includes all methods of transport and communication – rail, freight, and marine.
  • Auto Transport – The process of physically moving or shipping an automobile as freight (cargo, load) from one location to another usually via a big multi-vehicle truck or a single-car trailer, a train or a vessel.
  • Auto Transport Company – A professional auto logistics company that specializes in transportting (shipping, moving) all types of vehicles. The company most often employ logistics agents, dispatchers, and owner-operators driving auto carriers. All truck drivers must be licensed and insured to ship vehicles nationwide.
  • Auto Transport Broker – A logistics management company that finds carriers for customers who need to move their vehicles. Brokers have access to a wide network of car carriers and, hence, facilitate shipping and communication between the customers and the carrier. Almost all carriers rely on brokers to find their loads.
  • Car Carrier (trucking company)– This is the actual truck (and driver) that will be transporting the vehicles. It can haul multiple vehicles, often up to 10 at a time. Some trailers are single-car flatbeds that only transport one vehicle at a time.
  • Bill of Lading (BOL) – The document auto transport companies use to ensure that a person or business entity receives vehicles they booked for shipping. On this document, a carrier notes pick up and delivery dates as well as car condition. The customer signs the Bill of Lading at pick up and delivery and gets a copy.
  • Car Shipping Quote CalculatorSoftware that instantly calculates vehicle shipping quote based on predetermined parameters and your input information. Rates do not reflect the most current market prices.
  • Co-loading – The loading of more than one car on a single transporter. Co-loading is widely used because it’s the most efficient and cheapest method to ship a car (for the consumer and for the company).
  • Cut-off Time – Shipping ports and terminals use this term to define the latest time for a shipment to be delivered to its location.
  • Delivery Network – This is the auto transport trucks, ships, and railroads of the vehicle transport system and/or company.
  • Delivery Window – The time it takes to deliver your vehicle after the carrier picks it up. It mainly depends on distance, but weather, traffic, truck failures, and other customers’ delays may also affect it.
  • Diversion – This term means the carrier will be changing the route for a shipment due to weather or road conditions.
  • Door-To-Door Car Transport – This is a type of car shipping service which defines that an auto carrier will pick-up and deliver a car as close as legally possible to customers front door.
  • D.O.T. – This acronym stands for ‘The Department of Transportation’. D.O.T. was established by an act of Congress on October 15, 1966. The Department oversees federal highway, air, railroad, and maritime and other transportation administration functions.
  • Enclosed Auto Transport  – Enclosed car carriers are generally used for automobiles requiring protection from potentially harmful weather and road elements. Auto transport companies often recommend it for exotic, sports, and classic car shipping.
  • En Route – This term means that a vehicle is in transit and on its way to the final destination the customer has requested.
  • FMCSA – Stands for Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. It’s a government entity. Formerly a part of the Federal Highway Administration, the FMCSA’s primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities. The Administration has to ensure safety in vehicle carrier operations through enforcement of safety regulations; targeting high-risk carriers and commercial motor vehicle drivers. They work on improving safety information systems, commercial motor vehicle technologies and equipment, operating standards and work for increasing safety awareness.
  • ETA – Estimated time of arrival.
  • Freight – Transported goods and inventory.
  • Open Auto Transport – This is the most common method to transport a car. The trailer is open and exposes the vehicles to road and weather elements.
  • Pick up Window – The time it takes to pick up your vehicle. The standard pick up window averages between 1 and 5 business days. Due to the nature of the auto transport industry, it is always an estimate.
  • Proof of Delivery (POD) – A document or receipt indicating that customer has received the vehicle.
  • Terminal – A vehicle storage facility where a carrier can pick up and/or drop off your vehicle.
  • Top Load – Loading a vehicle on the top deck of a multi-vehicle carrier.
  • Tracking – The process of following the shipping of a vehicle throughout its delivery process.

Auto transport made simple with Corsia Logistics

Corsia Logistics is a small, family-owned company. As a family, we understand the importance of building trust through real human connection and take pride in offering a very personalized service to every one of its customers. For more than a decade in the vehicle shipping industry, we’ve become one of the most trusted auto transporters in the US. We love our customers and always go above and beyond to provide them and their cars with the best service and exceed all expectations. In turn, our customers refer to us as trustworthy and professional.

We strive to make every car relocation easy and affordable for all of our customers.The rates we offer are manual – we do not use a car shipping quote calculator to automate the process. Our agents manually track daily vehicle shipping price fluctuations to provide our customers with the most accurate quotes that reflect current market conditions.

When you call our office you will speak with one of our logistics experts who will accompany you from the planning stage to final delivery of your vehicle to ensure smooth shipping process. Your agent will recommend the right auto transport option tailored to your specific situation. We have our own truck serving the west coast and work with multiple reliable partners to service every state, including Alaska and Hawaii.

Now, if there is any term you have heard and do not understand, let us know in the comments below or call to speak with one of our logistics experts. Our agents are here daily to help you understand how auto transport works, give you a price and schedule your shipment. Request your free, no-obligation quote online or call us at (818) 850-5258. Thank you!

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About the Author:

I am the co-owner and marketing director of Corsia Logistics. I believe in creating useful content for our customers and readers. If you would like to contact me please do so via our contact us form or any social media channel. Thank you.
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