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Logistics Linguistics
Logistics Terminology Explained

When it comes to the language of logistics, there are almost as many acronyms as there are borders to cross. For the uninitiated, this can be quite daunting and overwhelming. To settle those nerves, we have put together a guide to some of the more common terminology and abbreviations used around the industry. 

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API – Application Program Interface

APIs automate the exchange of information between the various factions of any logistical operation. This means the fulfilment centre can update the stores inventory. This creates real time tracking of a packages journey and up to date stock levels across warehouses and stores. 

B/L or BOL – Bill of Lading

This document acts like a receipt for a shipment and provides proof of ownership for its current keeper. Contained within the document are the contents, method of shipment and its destination 

Certificate of Origin

This document proves the country of origin. They are used as part of the customs process when any package is handed over a border. The Certificate of Origin is usually certified by an official organisation in the country of origin, such as a chamber of commerce or consular office. 

DimWt – Dimensional Weight

Sometimes called the volumetric weight, DimWt is the measure of a packages weight based on its dimensions. 

EDI – Electronic Data Interchange

Previously processed on paper, EDI refers to the standardized syntax rules that structure data and keep it universal. Developed by the UN, the EDIFACT (Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce, and Transport) helps keep communication unary across borders.

ETA – Estimated Time if Arrival

The ETA is the assumed time of arrival for any carrier. 

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GRI – General Rate Increase 

When demand increases, Ocean Carriers will increase their prices. This is known as GRI. 

HazMat – Hazardous Materials 

Chemicals or items which present a danger to the environment or public safety require extra precautionary measures. These materials are regulated under the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration regulations (49 CFR 100-199).

INCO – International Commercial Terms 

INCO, or Incoterms characterize the responsibility and rights of each agent in a sales contract. They determine at which point the legal possession transfers between buyer and seller. 

POD – Proof of Delivery

The signature of a package’s recipient serves as a proof of delivery. 

Supply Chain

The supply chain refers to any aspect of a products journey from its manufacture to its delivery. This could include factories, freight operators, brokers, warehouses, stores, or logistical companies.

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