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Talk the Talk: Courier Terminology to Take You from Go to Pro

Desiree Michels

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Starting any new job is challenging with new things to learn and new systems to put in place but courier jobs throw up the extra complication of demanding what seems like a whole new language of haulage terms. Don’t stand out from the crowd because you don’t know your DG from your DK – get on top of all the terms you’re going to need with our handy guide.

Accessorial Charges

A courier’s charge for services provided as part of delivery such as loading or unloading.


The person or company who has orchestrated the delivery.


The person or company who will receive the delivery.


The shipment itself, which has been organised by a sender to be delivered by a courier or courier company.

Consolidated Freight

When a shipment is made up of several consignments, sometimes from several different consignees, which have been put together for one delivery.


An important abbreviation because it warns that what you’re transporting is ‘dangerous goods’. This means they may be harmful to people or the environment or may be dangerous to transport because they are flammable or toxic.


Stands for ‘door knocker’, the card left at a delivery address to provide information to the recipient if they are not there to take delivery of goods.


Relate to the value of the goods being couriered. HDV stands for ‘high declared value’ and NDV stands for ‘no declared value’.


Paperwork regarding courier jobs; it usually covers several consignments which are all out for delivery.

Limitation of Liability

The amount you or your shipping company is responsible for damages which take place during a shipment while a package is under your care.


An owner operator, someone who undertakes courier jobs in their own vehicle.


If you see P/U on your paperwork it simply means ‘pick up’ and can relate to a time or place.


Courier jobs that require POD need a signature or other ‘proof of delivery’.

Safe Hands Procedures (SHP)

The way in which high value goods are transported. Special procedures are put in place for high value items like mobile phones and expensive electrical equipment, to ensure there is no damage during shipment.


This just means you don’t need proof of delivery, ‘signature not required’.

Volumetric Mass

The amount of space a package or parcel takes up in the courier vehicle proportional to the actional mass (the actional mass = the parcel’s weight).


The contract between the person or company organising the shipment and the courier or courier company. A waybill should include all the delivery details including service, sender, receiver, weight and dimensions of the shipment and the conditions of carriage.

I’m sure there will be many more terms you’ll come across during your career as a courier but I hope this glossary will have covered some of the basics so that you don’t find yourself scratching your head when you’re asked to P/U an item that needs POD.

Norman Dulwich is a correspondent for Courier Exchange, the world's largest neutral trading hub for same day courier jobs in the express freight exchange industry. Over 4,000 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe ‘wholesale’ environment.


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