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Do you know what LTL means?

Making sense of the transport and logistics industry - one word at a time

The transport and logistics industry can seem to have its own language, with more than 5,000 acronyms, words, phrases and terms alongside formal legal definitions. We’ve put together a supply chain terminology list of some of the most commonly used logistics and shipping  terminology, acronyms, word and phrases and created a second list of the most common acronyms and terms related to DSV.

General terms


Third-party logistics. 3PL in logistics and supply chain management is an organisation's use of third parties to whom they outsource elements of its distribution, warehousing etc. DSV is primarily considered a third-party logistics provider.


Fourth-party logistics, also referred to as lead logistics. 4PL providers assume many of the same roles as 3PL providers but have a much broader role within the supply chain. While we are primarily considered a 3PL provider, we also offer lead logistics/4PL.


Authorised Economic Operator. A company or organisation involved in the international movement of goods and that has been approved by a national Customs administration.


Also referred to as self-driving car, robot car and driverless car.


A bill of lading is a detailed list of a ship’s cargo.

Bonded warehousing

A type of warehousing in which companies place goods in storage without paying taxes or tariffs until the goods are ready for onward distribution.

Cold chain

A cold chain is a refrigerated temperature-controlled supply chain most commonly used for pharmaceutical products or foodstuffs. An unbroken cold chain is an uninterrupted series of refrigerated production, storage and distribution facilities which maintain a stipulated low-temperature range.


Compliance means that products, services, processes and/or documents meet relevant requirements.

Dangerous Goods

Dangerous goods are substances or articles that pose a risk to people, property or the environment, due to their chemical or physical properties. Dangerous goods are often confused with hazardous cargo, which relates to a slightly different risk. See hazardous cargo.


The adoption or increase in use of digital or computer technology.


The conversion of analogue data into digital form.

Driverless car

Also referred to as self-driving car, robot car or an autonomous car.


Full truckload. When you want your shipment to occupy a truck exclusively. This can be because your shipment would fill a whole truck, or because you want to pay for a whole truck even though your shipment would not fill it completely. This may be the case if you want faster collection and delivery, but it is probably more expensive than booking LTL - less than truckload.


This abbreviation is used in two different contexts: Good distribution practice = guidelines for the proper distribution of medicinal products for human use.  Gross domestic product = a monetary measure of the market value of all final goods and services produced in a period in a country or region.


Haulier is used primarily in the UK, but elsewhere 'trucking company' is used more often.

Hazardous cargo

Hazardous substances are classified only on health effects, whether immediate or long term, while dangerous goods relate to physical or chemical effects, including fire, explosion, corrosion and poisoning, whether affecting property, the environment or people.

Healthcare vertical

A healthcare vertical provides services to several sectors including biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, medical devices and diagnostics, medical products and personal care and hospitals and care homes.


They are standard sets of global trading terms and conditions, issued by the International Chamber of Commerce, designed to help traders, lawyers, transporters and insurers when goods are bought, sold and transported. Essentially, the 11 Incoterms rules set out obligations for trading partners (for example, who is responsible for transport, import and export clearance etc.) and, importantly, the point in the journey where risk transfers from the seller to the buyer.

Lead logistics

Lead logistics providers, also referred to as 4PL providers, assume many of the same roles as 3PL providers but have a much broader role within the supply chain. DSV is primarily considered a 3PL provider but also provides lead logistics/4 PL: DSV Lead Logistics.

Load metre,
load meter

1 linear metre of loading space in a truck or trailer for calculating freight cost. Used when goods cannot be stacked. One europallet is 0.4 load metres.


Less than truckload. When your shipment does not need a whole truck, you book "LTL" and your goods are shipped with other customers' goods. This is a lower-cost solution than booking a whole truck.

Robot car

Also referred to self-driving car, autonomous car and driverless car.


Also referred to as robot car, autonomous car and driverless car.


A standard operating procedure is a set of instructions to help an organisation’s employees carry out complex routine operations in an efficient and uniform way, in accordance with industry regulations, and to reduce miscommunication.


Twenty-foot equivalent unit. Standard unit for describing a ship's cargo carrying capacity, or a shipping terminal's cargo handling capacity. A standard forty-foot (40x8x8 feet) container equals two TEUs (each 20x8x8 feet).


A transport management system is a supply chain management subset which helps optimise the effectiveness and efficiency of transportation fleets.

Track and

Track and trace is the process of identifying past and current locations of inventory items in the supply chain.


A warehouse management system is a software application which supports and enhances warehouse functionality and distribution centre management.


Sea Freight Specific terms



Demurrage costs are incurred at the port if the container is not removed during the specified free time. The costs are charged directly by the ocean carrier. Read more about it here: Demurrage and Detention


Detention costs are so-called container rental costs. They are incurred if the container is not returned to the empty depot within the regulated free time after acceptance in port. Costs will be charged by shipping line. Read more about it here: Demurrage and Detention


Full container load – loading of a complete container. 


Less than container load – loading of individual / single packages.

Low water Surcharge

Low water surcharges are charged by barge operators when the water level of a river is critically low which affects the loading capacity of a barge. 

Storage Charge

Storage charges are costs incurred when the goods are stored for a longer period of time on a third-party property like an inland terminal, warehouse or seaport terminal. Charges will be charged by the property owner. 


Verified Gross Mass - means the weight of goods, stowage material and the tare weight of the container. There are fees for weighing the goods or for the correct transmission of VGM to the shipping company.



DSV Specific terms 

The following acronyms and terms are specific to DSV.


Company acquired by DSV in 2008.


DSV Road's transport management system. Abbreviation: CL

CargoWise One

DSV Air & Sea's transport management system. Abbreviation: CW1.


DSV Solutions' warehouse management system. 


DSV’s holding company is listed on NASDAQ Copenhagen (Denmark).

DSV Air & Sea Holding A/S

The holding company for the DSV Air & Sea Division's companies.

DSV Flow Control

Name of DSV's 3,5 PL product previously known as 'control tower'.

DSV Lead Logistics

In addition to 3PL, DSV also provides 4PL under this service name.

DSV Road Holding A/S

The holding company for the Road Division's companies.

DSV Solutions Holding A/S

The holding company for the Solutions Division's companies.

DSV Track & Trace

Name of DSV's online track and trace service.

DSV XPress

Name of DSV's express/courier service.

DSV's divisions

DSV consists of three divisions: DSV Road, DSV Air & Sea and DSV Solutions.


e-services comprises self-service tools such as Online Booking, Purchase Order Management, Track & Trace etc.

Frans Maas

Company acquired by DSV in 2006.


DSV's extranet. Targeted towards customers.

Panalpina Welttransport (Holding) AG

Company acquired by DSV in 2019.

UTi Worldwide Inc

Company acquired by DSV in 2016.


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