The world of shipping is dynamic and complex – yet it doesn’t have to be confusing. To help clarify your understanding of parcel and freight, explore Refund Retriever’s small parcel glossary.

Accessorial Charges: Also known as surcharges or value-added services, accessorial charges refer to the additional fees applied to the transportation charges for a shipment and may include such fees as residential delivery area, large package fee, weekend delivery, adult signature required and more.

Additional Handling Surcharge (length): Any package with the longest side exceeding 48 inches will be charged an additional fee.

Additional Handling Surcharge (weight): Any package with an actual weight of more than 71 pounds and greater will be charged an additional fee.

Additional Handling Surcharge (width): Any package with its second-longest side exceeding 30 inches will be charged an additional fee.

Additional Handling Surcharge (packaging): Any shipment not fully encased in corrugated cardboard or any cylindrical-like item, such as a barrel, drum, pail, or tire, not fully encased in corrugated cardboard will be charged an additional fee.

Address Correction: An accessorial fee issued for shipments whose initial ship-to-address does not match what the carrier determines it should be. Learn More.

Audit: In the shipping industry, audit refers to the examination of claims that are due for late shipment deliveries and unnecessary costs applied to senders. Without this process, shippers risk increasing their shipping spend. Audits are necessary to help reduce bottom-line expenses and improve shipping efficiency.

Base Shipping Rate (BSR): Commonly referred to as Base Rate, Published Rate, or List Rate, the BSR is identified by each carrier and is a base rate for shippers to confidently know what their base spend is on shipments outside of potential surcharges and additional fees that may be applied. BSR’s are identified in shipping contracts.

Benchmark: The act of comparing rates between carriers and/or fleets to best support your shipping initiatives and investments.

Carbon Neutral UPS: UPS calculates the CO2 emissions associated with the conveyance of your package and purchases carbon offsets to negate the consequence. The shipping label and email notifications include a carbon-neutral indicator.

Carrier: A company that delivers delivery via road, air, or sea – such as Fed and UPS.

Carrier Agreement: The agreement provided by a carrier – such as FedEx and UPS – that identifies the terms they set to perform shipping services. Carrier agreements may vary according to each carrier and shipment; therefore, they should be reviewed no less than annually to best support shipper needs.

Carrier Liability: The responsibility of carriers, such as FedEx or UPS, to be liable for all shipment loss, damage, and delay of goods with common exceptions to include those caused by weather, acts of a public enemy, acts of a public authority, act of the shipper, and the goods’ inherent nature.

Carrier Manifest: References a “cargo document” and may be referred to as a “customs manifest”, listing the cargo, passengers, and crew of a ship, aircraft, or vehicle and used for the use of customs and other officials.

Chargebacks: In the occurrence of non-payment by the consignee or third party, the original shipper will be billed a refusal fee in addition to the shipping charges. Learn More.

Claim: The process of a shipper or recipient reporting a package has been lost or damaged during a shipment. The declared value of the shipment is what should be returned in response to the claim.

Collect on Delivery (C.O.D.): C.O.D. service is available on an individual package basis for most service levels. FedEx and UPS deliver the C.O.D. package and collect from the consignee the amount requested. Learn More.

Contract Negotiations:  The process of capturing better shipping rates that carriers such as FedEx or UPS offer, ultimately delivering clarity to the details impacting weight, zones, and costs that apply to a sender. For a stronger understanding of contract negotiations, click here.

Cross docking: A common process where a carrier transfers goods directly from one transport vehicle to another. Cross docking reduces or eliminates the need for onsite receiving and storage.

Declared Value: A term carriers use to describe the value a shipper identifies on a shipment, essentially becoming the insured value if there is any loss or damage to the shipment. The declared value can often vary from the actual shipment value.

Delivery Area Surcharge: A delivery area surcharge applies to shipments intended for select U.S. ZIP codes. Learn More.

Dimensional Weight Charges (DWC): Dimensional Weight Charges are identified by the calculation of multiplying the dimensions of a package and dividing them by the volumetric divisor. The value determined is the dimensional weight in either kg or lbs. Carriers typically charge on the volumetric or dimensional weight, whichever is greater.

Direct Delivery Only (DDO): Direct Delivery Only guarantees a package is delivered to the residential or commercial address you furnish. This service prevents recipients from redirecting packages and UPS drivers from rerouting deliveries when recipients are not available. Learn More.

Drop Shipping: Refers to a retail fulfillment method where a store does not keep the products it sells in stock, but rather when a store sells a product, it purchases the item from a third party and has it shipped directly to the consumer.

Duplicate Charges: Duplicate charges refer to the duplication of costs identified on carrier statements – with the potential to be on one or more invoices – and are most often identified via parcel auditing. Learn more about parcel auditing here.

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI): Refers to computer-to-computer exchanges of business documents in a standard electronic format between business partners.

Export: A shipment transported out of a country.

Extended Service Area Delivery: Extended Service Area Delivery
Shipments delivered to points outside the primary service areas are assessed an extended service area delivery charge.

FBA: The Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) program allows sellers to store their products in Amazon’s warehouses, where the eCommerce giant then handles the packing, shipping, and customer service for those products. Learn More.

My FedEx Rewards: A free program that helps FedEx small parcel shippers. With My FedEx Rewards, shippers can earn rewards such as brand-name gift cards from merchants due to daily shipping. Learn More.

Freight: The act of goods or cargo being transported in bulk by air, road or sea.

Fuel Surcharge: extra fees FedEx and UPS charge to cover the fluctuating cost of fuel.

Fulfillment: A company that stores, picks, packs and ships goods on behalf of e-commerce, retail and wholesale businesses.

General Rate Increase (GRI): Each year, FedEx and UPS increase the published base rates and accessorial fees for all shippers. Learn More.

Girth: A dimension equal to the distance around an object at its widest point. Learn More.

Gross Weight: The total weight of a shipment, including the internal and external packaging.

Gross Value:  The total value of all items in a shipment.

Guaranteed Service Refund (GSR): The guarantee from carriers that delivery will arrive on time or is free.

Import: A shipment being delivered from a foreign country.

Inventory management: The management of inventory and stock. Inventory management is all about having the right inventory in the right quantity, in the right place, at the right time, and at the right cost.

Inventory Performance Index (IPI): A number between 0-1000 that measures Amazon FBA inventory health. Amazon IPI captures low inventory and excess inventory levels of your FBA SKUs. Read More.

Large Package Surcharge (domestic): a FedEx or UPS package with length (longest side of the package) plus girth [(2 x width) + (2 x height)] combined exceeds 130 inches, or its length exceeds 96 inches will be charged an additional fee.

Logistics: A broad term that refers to all modes of transportation – including land, air, or sea – as well as refers to the handling, packaging, and storing of shipments and goods as part of the delivery and shipment process.

LTL (Less-Than-Truckload): A quantity of freight less than that required for a truckload rate, usually less than 10,000 pounds. An carrier consolidates these smaller loads into one semi headed for numerous destinations

Minimum Billable Charge: Charges applied to specific delivery details – such as a shipping zone or weight of a package – that represent a minimum amount the shipper will spend. Read more.

Money Back Guarantee: Carriers may apply a money-back guarantee for certain services and deliveries. Shippers may request a refund or credit of their shipping charges if carriers miss their published or quoted delivery times by even 60 seconds. Shippers should refer to their contracts as these guarantees may often be suspended or revoked without notice to the shipper.

My FedEx Rewards: Rewards system created by FedEx to award shippers for their loyalty in shipping and printing with FedEx. Enrollment also allows refunds on all FedEx service levels. Read more.

Peak Surcharge: During specified times of the year, the Peak Surcharge will apply to packages meeting the criteria and characteristics as determined by UPS and FedEx.

Order Fulfilment: A broad term used to identify everything a company does between receiving an order from a customer and placing the product in the customer’s hands.

Over Maximum Limits Surcharge: Packages with an actual weight of more than 150 pounds, or that exceed 108 inches in length, or exceed a total of 165 inches in length plus girth [(2 x width) + (2 x height)] combined will be charged an additional fee.

Oversize Cargo: Cargo that exceeds the standard restrictions for shipment and as a result, will be applied additional fees.

Oversize Charge: A FedEx oversize charge applies to any package that exceeds 96 inches in length or 130 inches in length and girth. The rating will be based on the greater of the package’s actual rounded weight or dimensional weight, subject to a 90-lb. minimum billable weight. Refer to this blog.

Parcel: Refers to a package bearing the name and address of a recipient in order to be routed through the services of a postal service or carrier to that recipient. In broader terms, parcel references the at-large industry of shipping.

Parcel-Auditing: The process of reviewing shipping invoices for invalid charges and billing inaccuracies such as duplicate charges, late deliveries and more. To learn more about parcel auditing, click here.

Peak Season Surcharge: additional charges applied to packages shipped during a Peak Period, based on service level and package characteristics. These are in addition to all other applicable charges.

Proof of Delivery: Identification established by shipping carriers to confirm the fact that recipients have received shipments sent by their sender.

Residential Surcharges: Additional charges applied to packages when sent to a residential location.

Saturday Delivery: The delivery of shipments guaranteed to arrive on a Saturday which result in additional charges to the shipment being applied to this specific day of delivery.

Service: A term used to identify the speed and preference of delivery for packages, with options including priority, overnight and ground shipping.

Shipping Discount: Discounts applied by carriers to help incentivize shippers to use their services. Discounts vary per carrier and can change without notice.

Shipping Zones: Reference to the regions and countries that shippers send to, with each zone having specific shipping fees attached to them based on the carrier being used and where the shipment originates from. Essentially is identified by the total miles a package is moved.

Surcharges: Also referred to as accessorial charges or value-added services, surcharges are additional fees applied to the transportation charges for a shipment and may include such fees as residential delivery area, large package fee, weekend delivery, adult signature required and more.

Termination Fee: Early termination language is a contractual language that carriers include in aggressive pricing contracts. The carrier can assess an early termination fee if specific events occur due to the customer’s efforts. The penalty fee will be a dollar amount of a percentage of yearly small parcel shipping spend. Learn More. 

Third-Party Billing: A form of billing where an external company handles the invoicing and payment between a purchaser and a vendor, including shipping carriers and shippers.

Unauthorized Package Charge: This is a large FedEx surcharge for any shipment measuring more than 108 inches in length, more than 165 inches in length and girth combined, or weighing more than 150 lbs. Learn More.

Value-Added Services: Also referred to as surcharges or accessorial charges, value-added services are additional fees applied to the transportation charges for a shipment and may include such fees as residential delivery area, large package fee, weekend delivery, adult signature required, and more. Learn More.

Voids: The act of canceling charges or shipping requests – including scheduled shipping – via carriers in an effort to eliminate charges or shipments that no longer need to be made or were scheduled in error.

Waiver: An act or claim that dismisses a right or claim. Carriers may apply these to certain shipments with specific details typically identified in carrier contracts.