A-Z Transport
Jargon Dictionary

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Table of Contents

The Dictionary to Help You Learn Your Artics from your Yodels

We couldn’t find a logistics industry term beginning with Z so far, so Y will have to do. Use the table of contents menu below to skip straight to your favourite letter of the alphabet. Our Jargon Dictionary is being regularly updated as we remember some of the crazy terms used by freight and logistics companies every day.



Short term for ‘Articulated’ vehicle. Not to be confused with Arctic, which is a really cold place that surrounds the North Pole. It basically means truck and trailer. They’re the really big ones you see everywhere.


You MUST know what Amazon is. I doubt there’s a person left in the modern world that doesn’t know that name by now. They have numerous options for a career as a either a delivery driver or a transport company. FLEX, RELAY and LOGISTICS.

  • Flex is the option for part-time drivers that have a smaller vehicle and want to be able to pick up extra delivery work when it suits them.
  • Logistics is a fully fledged support model for creating a small transport business with Amazon, also known as a ‘Delivery Service Provider‘. We’ll have more info on this in the coming months.
  • Relay is for the truckers to access full trailer loads into and out of Amazon hubs.



A Backload is usually a delivery that pays less than a hotshot and has more flexibility on time, aimed at people who are already travelling along a set route. It’s a load that gets you back home. Drivers are often encouraged/willing to accept a lower rate on these as it helps covers the costs incurred on the outbound run.



Shouldn’t need explaining really – but you never know. A Co-load is when you carry two or more separate jobs on your vehicle at the same time. It’s highly frowned upon in the industry, and is forbidden in the member charter of some networks. Usually because it can cause customer and/or insurance issues when things go horribly wrong.


You really should know what a collection is. And if you don’t, then please don’t buy a van or start a courier business. The Collection is the exact opposite of a delivery. It’s the point at which you ‘collect’ the goods that your customer has asked you to deliver.


This is probably what you are, or what you want to be. Regarded as a person that collects and delivers goods direct, offering a more secure and direct approach than a typical postal service.

Courier Exchange

A place where couriers can effectively swap work with other drivers. There are many exchange-type services, although the best known is ‘The Courier Exchange‘ – part of the Transport Exchange Group Ltd

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We’re kind of hoping you already know what a delivery is. If not, then maybe courier work isn’t the path for you. It’s the destination where the goods you are carrying are offloaded, or ‘delivered’ to. It’s the exact opposite of a Collection.


One of the UK’s largest parcel carriers. We’ve all seen the vans and many drivers have worked for them at some point. Has a good reputation within the next-day parcel delivery field, for delivering on time, in good condition and with good communication with customers. Probably because they’re a German company and Germans do seem good at efficiency. We’re not saying they’re perfect, but there are far worse choices (not naming names, but we all know who).


This is the E section



As in ‘Fail this delivery‘. Also a well-known internet term for when people fall over and stuff. A failed delivery is a big no-no in the courier industry. Often comes down to missing delivery slots although other issues can cause fails too.


Generic term for the stuff that you use to power your vehicle, like Diesel or Petrol.

And fuel for yourself. Like Greggs or a Full English Breakfast.

Fuel Card

A more efficient way of paying for your Diesel (or petrol). Fuel cards allow you access to a variety of payment methods, such as 14-day account so that it reduces the impact on your cashflow. They often also offer lower prices than what you see at the pump, which can mean big savings when using in large volume.






Hotshot is a term used to describe a direct, urgent delivery. Generally understood to mean that you should make all reasonable efforts to collect and deliver goods in the shortest timeframe possible (allowing for driving breaks and speed limits) unless told to do otherwise (such as having a timed delivery slot).


Broking 2.0 – Hubb uses AI to save couriers time and money when they need insurance cover. Definitely worth trying – they are currently the brokers for our parent company Avango Couriers.


Hydrogen Vehicle Systems are manufacturers of Zero-emission hydrogen-electric commercial vehicles.



Nobody likes it, everybody needs it. You will need courier insurance that specifically includes ‘Hire and Reward’ usage, as well as goods in transit cover, liability insurance, possiblly employers insurance… the fun never ends. Because it never starts, when insurance is involved.


This is the thing that will earn you money when you’re self-employed. You do the work, you raise an invoice, the person you send the invoice to pays it and then you spend that money on stuff from Amazon. At least that’s what happens in our house.

Invoice finance

If you need help with your cashflow, then a service like invoice financing or invoice factoring can really help. They’re a way of drawing some of the money tied up in your invoices before your customer pays. Especially useful if your customers have long payment terms (over 30 days) or if they have a habit of paying late.

close up of the word dictionary in the book of same name









Logistics is the term that encompasses the entire end-to-end service of storage, organisation, distribution and transportation of goods. You’ll see a lot of small couriers include the word ‘Logistics’ in their name but that’s a very loose interpretation of the term. To be a logistics operator you need a warehouse, or access to one, at the very least.












POD (Proof of Delivery)

The make-or-break article that determines whether you’re going to get paid. Especially if you only work through the Courier Exchange. Without a POD you haven’t really got any proof of delivery. See how it works? It’s typically a form, sometimes on paper although more recently on a mobile device, that records the whole who/what/where of the delivery.








Same Day

A term for deliveries that are requested to be collected and delivered on the same day. See how it works? Easy, isn’t it? As a courier, you can often charge more for this type of delivery than a next day service. But on the downside it requires you to deliver quicker.

Same Day Courier Network (SDCN)

Currently the biggest contender to the Courier Exchange when it comes to a work exchange network. Still some way off, but shows promise. Read the full review of Same Day Courier Network


The ‘Screamer’ is a term for an urgent delivery. Or to be more specific, an extremely urgent delivery. Seems to be a relic from the courier industry and mostly seen on Friday afternoon CX listings from sellers that want to finish early for the weekend.


Officially the name of the large vans made by Mercedes. So common in courier work that now any time someone needs a large van, they just ask for a ‘Sprinter‘ even though they often don’t know the difference between this and any other large van. It’s a brand synonymous with the role, like ‘Hoover’ instead of vacuum cleaner and ‘Tannoy’ for a loudspeaker.


These are the things that will stop the pallets in the back of your van from tipping over when you hit the brakes, or take a roundabout too fast. You should buy some. Sometimes known as ‘Ratchet straps‘ as the ones designed for load-restraint purposes have a ratchet system that helps them tighten and lock, but also release easily.



The art of tracking your vehicle/s and everything they do. Want to know what gear you were in last Thursday when you took that roundabout in Swindon? Or how much fuel you used going up that big hill near Kirkby Stephen? No, me neither – but some bigger companies think it’s a good idea to have Telematics and know that stuff so they can tell you off when you get back.

PS – we’re just kidding – some systems have useful info that used properly can benefit most businesses


Come on now. Everyone knows a Transit van. There are big ones and little ones and everything in between. Which makes it confusing because if your custom asks for a Transit van, these days you have to check which size. Not as popular for courier work, but only because there’s some weird club that thinks you can only have a Sprinter to be a courier. And that’s a lie.



This is a procedure done by a driver when you suddenly realise you forgot something, or when the sat nav leads you down a road you really shouldn’t have. Left something at the depot? Missed out one of your delivery addresses? Driving the wrong way down a one-way street? Do a U-Turn and go back.



You don’t have to have a van to be a courier. There are lots of other options. You can use a bicycle, or walk, or if you’re crazy rich maybe even a helicopter. But for the vast majority of us, the humble van fits the bill perfectly. Most often found with 4 wheels and some form of engine (diesel combustion) or motor (electric). Large space at the back for carrying goods is preferable.

Volta Trucks

Volta Trucks is a scale-up full-electric commercial vehicle manufacturer and services company. Volta Trucks’ Head Office is in Stockholm, Sweden, with its engineering led from the UK, and forthcoming manufacturing facility in Steyr, Austria. The company also has sales teams across France, Spain, Italy, Germany, and the UK. Volta Trucks is partnering with a number of global leaders in the supply chain for the development and production of the Volta Zero.









A well known parcel delivery company. Allegedly an abbreviation of the terms ‘Your Delivery‘. Were big back in the early 2010’s but have struggled a bit in the 2020’s with the rise of their competitors.



Come on. It’s 2021 and almost every person on earth has had a ‘Zoom’ meeting haven’t they? No, me neither. But right now I can’t think of another word beginning with Z that relates to small businesses and courier work.

That’s it for the transport jargon dictionary for now. These terms should help you understand the most interesting and important phrases in the world of delivery work and freight transportation for now, but if you have any to add make sure to let us know using the contact form.

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