What They Mean

We've had the pleasure in recent weeks of witnessing meetings in which carriers, logistics providers and shippers have come together to exchange views and seek common ground.

Yet, as uplifting as such sessions have been, we can't escape the feeling that the different sides of the transport and logistics industry don't really understand one another.

That's why we've created a handy translation sheet to help carriers, shippers and others in the field understand what they really mean as they take part in the ongoing dialogue that keeps commerce moving.

If it doesn't work precisely as a translation device we hope at least that it works to lighten a few loads and help keep that exchange of views a friendly one.

When a carrier says capacity is tight,  and you should know this, what they mean is rates are too low.

When a shipper says the check has been mailed, what they mean is, "We plan to file a claim by the end of the week."

When a carrier says there are no trailers available, what they mean is, "I've got 42 empty 53-footers in Moline right now if you add two cents a mile."

When a shipper says a load is 1,500 pounds, what they mean is, "The load is 1,650."

When a carrier says they can't handle multiple stops today, what they mean is, "Did you know we have an LTL division?"

When a carrier says, "I'll check on whether we can get something down to Tampa," what they mean is, "Only if you can get me some backhaul from Sarasota."

When a shipper says you're their preferred carrier, what they mean is, "We'll call you if our real preferred carrier can't get any backhaul out of Sarasota."

When a railroad says, "We can get it to Chicago in three days," they mean, "We can get it to Des Moines in five days."

When a shipper tells a railroad, "My rates are too high," what they mean is, "Whatever happened to the ICC?"

When a carrier or shipper says they have state of the art technology, what they mean is, "We think we've caught up to our competition."

When a forwarder says they are a value-added partner in the global supply chain, what they mean is they started a Web site.

When a carrier says they are known for their flexibility, what they mean is, "Not only can we turn on a dime but we'll stop to pick up the dime."

When a carrier says they can get a shipment to your city on Tuesday, what they mean is, "We'll get it to the greater metropolitan area, but delivery - when do you really need it?"

When a shipper says they need a delivery Tuesday, they need it Wednesday.

When a carrier says they will make the delivery Tuesday, they know the shipper doesn't really need it until Thursday.

When a carrier says they are adjusting rates, what they mean is they are raising rates.

When the receptionist says that Wal-Mart is on the phone about their upcoming logistics contract tender, what they really mean is that a reporter is calling and you wouldn't pick up the phone otherwise.

When a carrier or shipper says the economy is hurting them, what they mean is, "It's the media's fault."

And when a carrier or shipper says, "It's the media's fault," give us a call. We'll make it a story.

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