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Glossary of terms for phrases beginning with “A”


The assumption that the carrier will cover extraordinary or other special charges without increasing the price to the shipper.


1. Accessorial Service – Service rendered by a carrier in addition to transportation services. (e.g. sorting, packing, pre-cooling, heating and storage.)

Act of God

An extraordinary force of nature (such as a severe flood or earthquake) that experience, prescience or care cannot reasonably foresee or prevent.

Activity Based Costing (ABC)

An accounting system that measures the cost and performance of specific activities performed within an organisation. For example, an ABC approach might measure the cost incurred by the accounts receivable department in handling calls for billing errors, whereas the traditional accounting approach ignores the activity and measures the cost of the accounts receivable department as a percentage of revenue.

Ad Valorem (Latin) – According to Value (English);

For example, if a bill of lading shows a value for the cargo being carried, an Ad Valorem charge will be levied. This charge is required because the insurance liability of the carrier increases. This charge may be a levied as a percentage of the value that has been shown.

Advising Bank

Bank where a shipper negotiates documents or where documents are first presented, usually at country of origin.

Also, often referred to as the negotiating bank.


(1) Abbreviation for 'Freight Agent'.

(2) A person, association or corporation authorised to publish and file rates and provisions for a carrier's account in tariffs published in the agent's name.

(3) One that acts for, or in the place of, another by authority from him, e.g. a (business) representative, emissary, or official of a government.

Aggregated Shipments

Numerous shipments from different shippers delivered to one consignee, that are consolidated and treated as a single consignment.


All Inclusive.

Air Freight Forwarder

A non-asset based firm that negotiates low shipping rates with airlines, then takes orders at a higher rate in order to make a profit using the airline's assets to move the product.

All Water

When a shipment is transported from its origin to its destination solely by water transportation.

Any Quantity (AQ)

A rating that applies to an item regardless of weight.


Agriculture Quarantine Inspection.


For more information on OPA – Arbitrary – Origin, please click here (will click through to page “O” of glossary).

For more information on DPA – Arbitrary – Destination, please click here (will click through to page “D” of glossary).

Arrival Notice

Documentation that notifies the consignee of arrival information for the goods and the freight charges due to be paid in exchange for the goods.

Asset-Based, Third Party Provider

A third party provider that owns transportation and/or warehouse assets.


1. The transfer to another of one's own legal interests or rights.

2. Especially the transfer of property to be held in trust or to be used for the benefit of creditors.

3. The document by which such an interest or right is transferred.

ATD (Artificial Tween Decks)

Forty feet long, eight feet wide, one foot thick steel platform with hardwood flooring. Equipped with ten bullrings for securing oversized, heavy lift or wheeled cargo.

Average Inventory

The average inventory level over a period of time.