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The ABCs of Common eCommerce Shipping Terms



As an eCommerce professional, you're aware that shipping is a critical component of your business's success.

If you've been in shipping for a while or are just starting out, there is always something new to learn or something that you may have forgotten.

Like any industry, shipping has its own language and jargon.

With an extensive array of terms, it's easy to feel overwhelmed, especially if you're new to the shipping world.

The fear of not understanding each term can be daunting and can lead to mistakes that could harm your business.

At ClickShip, we understand that even the most experienced shippers need the occasional refresher.

That's why we’ve gathered a list of essential shipping terms and definitions that every eCommerce professional should know.

With this comprehensive list, even if you're a first-time shipper, you can speak confidently about shipping and sound like a shipping expert yourself.



Accessorials are extra services provided by LTL and parcel carriers that help ensure a safer, more secure delivery of your goods.

Examples of common accessorials are tailgates, residential pickup or delivery, and signature required on parcel delivery.


Bill of Lading

A Bill of Lading, or BOL, is a document that works as both a contract and receipt between all parties involved in a shipment.

The BOL contains information about the shipment such as the weight of goods, size/number of items, and the ship to and from addresses.

The BOL is one of the most important documents for shipping.


Customs Invoice

A customs invoice is a document that travels with your shipment and declares the information of the items being shipped.

The customs invoice includes the pickup and delivery addresses, an itemized description of the goods, the shipment value, tax ID of the receiver, reason for export, the country of origin and itemized values for each item.

The customs invoice is essential for any cross-border or international shipments.


Source: Wikipedia


Duty Charge

A duty charge is a form of taxation levied on certain goods that are imported and/or exported.

Duty fees are determined based on the value of the goods, and the regulations of the customs agency for the country the shipment is delivering to.


FTL (Full Truckload)

FTL, or Full Truckload, refers to a pallet shipment that requires a full 53’ trailer.

A standard FTL shipment consists of 26 full-sized pallets.


LTL (Less than Truckload)

LTL, or Less than Truckload shipping is a common type of pallet shipping where multiple shippers share a single truck to transport their goods.

The average LTL shipment consists of between one to six pallets, and weighs between 150 and 10,000lbs.



Non-conveyable parcels are parcels that carriers are unable to correctly process due to their shape, size, or bulk.

Non-conveyable parcels require manual processing and as such incur an additional charge.


Oversize/Overweight Surcharge

An additional fee charged by carriers for shipments that exceed the maximum dimensions or maximum weight limit for a given carrier’s standard rates.

These fees can are typically billed after the fact if a pallet or parcel’s weight or dimensions are input incorrectly at the time of booking.


Peak Surcharge

An additional fee charged by carriers during Peak Season, when the sudden increase in demand across the supply chain results in higher-than-normal operational costs.

These fees are unavoidable during peak season, however there are ways to lessen their impact on your own shipping costs to help offset them.


Residential Address

Any home or business located in a residential area, generally inaccessible by standard 53’ transport trucks.

Deliveries to and pickups from residential addresses must always be specified at the time of booking any pallet shipment.


Secured Locations Delivery

Delivery to locations that may have restricted access such as prisons, military bases, or airports.

Secured locations fall under the umbrella of limited access locations, which also include remote locations such as farms, and nonresidential locations such as churches and hospitals.


Toronto-Pearson-Airport-Imports-ClickShipSource: Wikipedia


Threshold Delivery

Threshold delivery indicates a shipment that is delivered to the doorway (threshold) or garage of the delivery address. Drivers will not pass the threshold or entrance for deliveries.

Threshold delivery is a common option for white glove pallet shipments.



VAT, or Value Added Tax, is a general tax placed on almost all goods and services sold.

It can be known by different names depending on its originating country, such as GST in Canada.

Shippers are required to include VAT on the declared value of items shipped.


White Glove Services

White glove services are specialized delivery services, typically for large-ticket items such as appliances, furniture, and home fixtures.

White glove services can include delivery to the doorstep, or even into the place of delivery, as well as light assembly, installation, and debris removal.

While white glove services are typically used for residential delivery, they can be used for the delivery of such goods to professional locations such as storefronts as well.


fast-shipping-document-printing-with-OnePrint-by -ClickShip


ClickShip Manages your eCommerce Shipping as Easily as ABC!

With your shipping vocabulary now on its way to making you sound like a pro, trust ClickShip to provide you with the tools to ship like one, too!

We integrate with the leading eCommerce platforms and online marketplaces to help you offer better rates on pallet and parcel shipping to your customers in real time, from the leading carriers in North America.

Our easy-to-use platform also provides you with a suite of fulfillment tools to enhance your customer experience, and all for zero startup or monthly fees!

Contact one of our shipping experts today and give your eCommerce business the kind of shipping strategy your customers expect from the professionals.

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