Glossary of Terms for the Auto Moving Industry

Posted on
5 min to read

Shipping your car can be overwhelming and a bit confusing if you don’t understand the industry’s vocabulary. Reference this handy glossary of commonly used terms to gain a better understanding of the vehicle shipping process. Have a question? Just call one of our experienced agents at (888) 666-8929.

Glossary of Terms for the Auto Moving Industry

Auto Delivery/Auto Moving: Terms that refer to physically moving a vehicle as freight from its origin to its specified destination.

Auto Logistics: The detailed organization and implementation of a complex auto shipping operation. It applies to all methods of transporting, including rail, freight and maritime.

Auto Shipping/Auto Transport: Also known as car transport. The process of physically moving or shipping an automobile as freight.

Auto Transport Company: A company that specializes in providing vehicle shipping, transport and hauling services. They are professionals that are licensed and insured to ship vehicles anywhere in the nation or to ports if the final destination is abroad.

Bill-of-Lading (BOL): The bill of lading is a legal document which will specify exactly what vehicle is to be transported from location A to location B and by whom. It will document the condition of the vehicle before it is turned over to the trucker at pickup and then document the condition again before it is turned over to the owner at delivery. The bill of lading serves as the contract between the trucker and the vehicle owner and includes the terms of that agreement. The final function of the Bill of Lading is as a receipt for the transaction.

Boat Transport: The process of physically moving or shipping a boat from one location to another. Some auto transport companies also arrange the transport of boats on specialized carriers. 

Bonded: By law, auto shipping brokers are required to have a bond to protect the carriers by guaranteeing that they’ll be paid for the job. These bonds are issued as a requirement by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). 

Broker: An auto transport broker has a large network of car carriers serving multiple areas across the country. In most cases, a broker can offer a lower rate, since they have multiple carriers that are all competing for business. Brokers also verify the USDOT authority, federal licenses and cargo insurance of the carrier company transporting the vehicle. A broker is an expert in the industry and will guarantee that the car is shipped by a legitimate carrier. Montway is a licensed broker.  

Car Hauling: Takes into account relocation, the buying and selling of a vehicle out of state and other factors. Basically, anytime a client needs a way to ship or transport a vehicle more than a few miles, a car hauling company or an auto transport broker like Montway can provide a cost-effective solution that also saves time and hassle.

Car Carrier: Also known as a car-carrying trailer, car hauler, an auto hauler or auto transport trailer. These types of trailers come in various configurations and can be loaded with multiple vehicles for delivery to sales agencies or other locations. The truck pulling the trailer is normally a semi-truck. 

Carrier: A company or driver who operates trucks and is the party that does the actual transporting of vehicles or other freight. 

Car Shipping: The process of physically moving or shipping an automobile as freight.

Car Shipping Calculator: A car shipping calculator estimates shipping costs. Montway Auto Transport was the first in the industry to offer an instant, online calculator to quickly give customers the information they need. 

Co-loading: To load more than one vehicle on a single transporter. This essentially reduces shipping costs for both the carrier and customer.

Dealership Auto Transport: Specialized transport services, specifically made for the transporting of vehicles for dealerships. It takes into account the number of vehicles to be shipped and time sensitivity regarding their delivery.

Delivery Network: The trucks, ships, planes and railroads of the automobile transport system.

Diversion: This term denotes the changing of the route for a shipment in transit.

Door-To-Door Auto Shipping: This means that the truck driver will pick the vehicle up and drop it off as close to your home as they can legally and safely get. Many cities have restrictions on large trucks that prohibit them from driving into some residential areas. Transport trucks are enormous and need a lot of room to maneuver and turn around, so if access to your home is restricted by narrow streets, low-hanging trees, speed bumps or tight turns the driver may ask that you meet the truck at a large parking lot nearby such as a grocery store lot.

D.O.T. or Department of Transportation: The Department of Transportation was established by an act of Congress on October 15, 1966. The D.O.T. oversees federal highway, air, railroad, and maritime and other transportation administration functions. (

Drop-off Window: This is your vehicle delivery time or day. 

Enclosed Car Hauler/ Trailer: Enclosed car haulers are generally used for shipments that demand protection from the elements or have special requirements. 

En Route: Communicates that a vehicle is in the process of being transported from its point of origin to a specified destination. Simply put, the vehicle is on its way from one place to another.

FMCSA: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration; a governmental entity which assists the Feds in regulating laws, and it provides information for the States about new statutes and needs. It also offers a public database of information that details insurance and licensing information for automobile logistics service providers.

Freight: Transported goods and inventory.

Inoperable: This refers to a vehicle that does not run and cannot be driven onto a car hauler. 

Montway Auto Transport: An award winning, five-star rated, car moving company. We’ve worked hard to earn the trust of everyone, from car dealers to private customers, for secure door-to-door vehicle delivery. We offer exceptional licensed and insured auto transport services including enclosed auto transport for exotic cars, high-end autos and collector vehicles, as well as the wide array of cars, trucks and vans used for everyday purposes.

New/Finished Vehicle Logistics: Terminology used to describe management, planning and shipping services for automobile transport for manufacturers and others in the auto industry.

Open Carrier: This is a type of carrier that is not covered and the most common type of car transport. The vehicles on this carrier are exposed to the elements of weather. 

Operable: For a vehicle to be considered operable it must be able to drive in forward and reverse under its own power, brake and steer. If any of these conditions are not met it is considered inoperable. Basically, if a car can be driven on and off a transport truck with no additional work on the part of the trucker then it’s an operable vehicle.

Outside the Continental United States (OCONUS): Hawaii, Alaska, U.S. territories and all other countries. Vehicles may be shipped OCONUS via air or sea transport.

P.O.D. or Proof of Delivery: Documentation that showcases receipt of auto shipment, usually the bill of lading.

Permanent Change of Station (PCS): An assignment or transfer of an active member of the military to a new duty station. The military may ship one car for free in a PCS situation.
Privately Owned Vehicle (POV): A motor vehicle not owned by the government and used by an individual and their family for personal transportation purposes.

Shipping Quotes: A car shipping quote is an estimated cost received from an auto transportation company for delivering your vehicle from one place to another. Factors that affect the quote include the season, distance, location access and vehicle specifications.

Single Vehicle Shipping: A term used to denote the delivery of a single vehicle from one destination to another.

Terminal-to-Terminal Shipping: Terminal-to-terminal shipping involves the car owner dropping off their vehicle at a terminal (an assigned area where vehicles are prepared for loading) closest to the pickup location and upon delivery, picking it up from a terminal closest to the delivery location. This type of shipping often takes considerably more time than door-to-door shipping since the vehicles don’t leave the origin until there’s enough to fill a full trailer.

Tracking: Following a shipment throughout its delivery process.

Transit Time: The total time between the vehicle’s departure from the origin to the vehicle’s arrival at the destination.

Transport Status: The status of the vehicle during the transportation process, including in transit, delayed, diverted or delivered.

Vehicle Delivery: The process of moving a car, truck, motorcycle or other vehicle from one point of origin to another.

Vehicle Identification Number (VIN): A vehicle identification number is a unique code, including a serial number, used by the automotive industry to identify individual motor vehicles.  

Vehicle Logistics: A term used to describe the management, planning and transport within the auto industry; including methods of shipping–whether by road, railways or maritime.

Vehicle Logistics Company: Specialized service provider with the capacity to plan and manage auto transport services, like Montway Auto Transport.

Vehicle Shipping: The transport or delivery of a vehicle. 

Vehicle Transport: The process of moving a vehicle from one location to another. See Auto Transport. 

Read what our customers say about their experience with Montway at Montway Auto Transport reviews.

Get an instant quote


How Much Does it Cost to Move Across the Country?

Posted on 11/23 2021 3 min to read
Tips-tricks, Useful

What Is Auto Transport?

Posted on 07/17 2019 3 min to read

How Motorcycle Shipping Works

Posted on 12/18 2020 2 min to read
Motorcycles, Useful

How Much Does it Cost to Ship a Motorcycle?

Posted on 01/12 2021 3 min to read
Motorcycles, Useful
Safer Transportation Tech, Stoplights to Texts

Safer Transportation Tech, Stoplights to Texts

Posted on 04/15 2015 4 min to read
New Year, New Montway

New Year, New Montway

Posted on 01/01 2015 1 min to read