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The air cargo dictionary

Tags: Dictionary   Belly   e-freight

Oliver Evans on Wednesday, July 03, 2013 10:30 AM

Do you ever get bored with all the pompous jargon we use in our industry? Well, I consulted a dictionary, and believe me, once you know the true meaning of some of our buzz words, you´ll discover that it is actually fun to use them, especially during the long (and, from a European perspective, soon hopefully hot) summer months.

So enjoy – and have a very nice summer!


A misnomer if ever there was one, because a belly (in the animal world) is a place where an awful lot of digestion and decomposition goes on, whereas a belly (in our world) is a place where strictly nothing happens.

Otherwise known as freight (see below), first example of using two words for the same thing, an industry disease. Cargo is almost any object or animal imaginable which is not moving of its own volition but carried with hope and an awful lot of trust.

Replacement of one lousy paper document out of the many used in the industry. A very modest step indeed, but one that we can all understand and hopefully execute very quickly, to be followed by the next e-step (see below). 

Otherwise known as e-fright, concentrated and coordinated push of many experts in the industry to confuse each other and everyone else by talking about a future that never comes. Thankfully the initiative is dying, replaced by a push for e-awb (see above).

A common sense (and therefore very rare) approach to modernising the industry by tackling one thing after another, and therefore ensuring progress (very rare indeed).

Otherwise known as cargo (see above), but (due to the common origin with the German word “Fracht”) sounding a lot more efficient and imposing.

Full freighter
A contradiction in terms, as freighters are rarely, if ever, full. Very old animal of the skies, brought to the brink of extinction by a new species with an immense and always hungry belly. Still to be found in over-sized maintenance halls, under-funded museums, the Arizona desert and a few specialised niches.

Industry body
Presumably lacking a head, this creature is driven by the sole purpose of leaving an impressive and uninterrupted trail of papers, statements, and sound bites in its wake, a feat this rather dull-looking beast never fails to accomplish.

Throwback to a bygone era of self-sufficiency, the integrator grows, cooks and serves his own food, and is doing remarkably well in a globalised world. 

Rapidly proliferating electronic device measuring vibration, contact or temperature and designed to vastly multiply the number of questions without increasing the number of answers at all.

Supply chain
A chain frequently pulled by exasperated consignees tired of waiting for their freight.


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Published by Air Freight Philippines on Wednesday, August 07, 2013 9:49 AM
Very informational. Your blog educates a lot of people who are interested or who have business with cargo shippings. Great one.
Published by Hillel Magnes on Wednesday, July 03, 2013 11:13 AM
Hello Oliver, Like your article and funny comments. Here is another one, should you publish additional list: Passengers: Self loading cargo when loaded at the upper deck. Perishables: Temperature sensitive Cargo/Freight that tends to rot/perish during transportation Known abbreviation PER. Live animals: Like on stage, the cargo that usually attracts most attention. Known as AVI Valuables: Like perishables, cargo with a tendency to perish during transportation process. Only difference is that Perishables perish due to ground staff ignoring the cargo while Valuables require ground staff active attention known also as VAL. Hazardous Cargo: cargo that gives airline and forwarders staff a bi annual time off in the DGR course, Pharmaceuticals: cargo that is valuable like VAL, temperature sensitive like PER, requires attention like AVI and training like DGR...

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