The logistics industry has a language all of its own. Here are some commonly used logistics terms and their definition. 


“3PL” is simply an abbreviation for “Third Party Logistics.”

Third Party Logistics

This term (also called 3PL) describes the process by which a logistics company coordinates the warehousing, order fulfillment, shipping and distribution of their products by engaging an outside firm. This firm may be hired to do a number of critical tasks, from warehousing, packaging and labeling to minor repairs to home delivery and billing.

Supply Chain

This is a general term to identify the various stages of product delivery, from production to shipping and delivery.  


Direct-to-Consumer refers to marketing and delivering merchandise on an individual basis to specific consumers, usually to their home address.


Warehousing is storage of merchandise for future shipment. Can be customized to meet the unique requirements of the type of product and/or the specialized needs of the client.

Furniture Warehousing

Furniture Warehousing is the storage of home furnishings and related merchandise, such as lamps, rugs and accessories. Usually includes reference to unique handling required for home furnishings, such as special handling equipment designed to move merchandise without damage. May also refer to atmospherically controlled environments developed to reduce moisture, mold and mildew.

Inventory Management

A warehousing system by which you can maintain control of all stored goods, keeping accurate inventory, tracking and utilizing warehouse space to facilitate fast shipment and turnover.

Customs Clearance

Managing the complex systems required to receive goods from overseas. International shipping companies like Massood handle all forms, duties, taxes, quarantines, inspections and eventual approval by the destination country for entry and distribution.

Cross Dock (Cross Docking)

The movement of goods within a warehouse facility without entering permanent storage, usually moving from one shipping container or truck to another.

Pick and Pack

Pick and Pack is the process of breaking down bulk containers into individual parcels, matching to orders and labeling them for shipping to ordered destinations.

Pack and Ship

 (same as pick and pack)

Drop Shipping

Drop Shipping is the process by which a (3PL) third party logistics company ships goods for the original manufacturer, then labels and documents the shipment on their behalf.

Custom Labeling

Preparing goods for shipment by affixing a manufacturers shipping label on individual orders by a third party. Along with any necessary paperwork such as invoices or manifests.

White Glove Delivery

Last mile delivery by a designated carrier who specializes in handling goods with extra care to avoid damage, unsightly stains or dented cartons.

eCommerce Fulfillment

Receiving, storing, and shipping merchandise that is sold on-line by an internet-based on-line retailer. Could also entail repackaging, labeling and drop shipping as described above.

Order Fulfillment

Order Fulfillment is the act of shipping merchandise after the order has been placed, usually (but not always) by individual consumers for home delivery.

Last Mile Delivery (same as white glove)

Home delivery by a designated carrier who specializes in handling goods with extra care to avoid damage, unsightly stains or dented cartons. Last Mile Delivery is also called Final Mile Delivery.

Freight Tracing

Locating merchandise that is in transit, usually by means of a tracing number provided by a shipping carrier, known in the trucking industry as a “Pro” number.

Full Truck Load (FTL)

A full tractor trailer. The term is usually used to determine freight rate based on volume.

Less-than-Truckload (LTL)

Partial truck load, usually requiring special handling and loading, as well as an adjusted freight rate.

Freight Broker

Individual 3PL logistics provider who acts on behalf of a shopping customer, to negotiate rates and delivery schedules.

Freight Forwarder

A 3PL company who receives freight, then transfers it to another carrier, often moving the goods from ship or rail, to trucks.

3PL - Third Party Logistics - Glossary
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