Semi-Truck Glossary

Semi-Truck Glossary

Last Updated on November 25, 2019 by Andreanne Lafleur

From an Underbody tool box to a Bill Of Lading: Here are 33 trucking terms you need to know.

When starting a new job, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the jargon used by people who have been around for years. The trucking business is no different. Underbody tool box, semi truck accessories, cargo manifest, deadhead, CPM…there are hundreds of terms that can be mind-boggling.

We came up with a trucking glossary that includes some of the most common words used in the business and since Trebor Manufacturing is in the truck accessories business, we’ve included them so you don’t look like a fool when your boss asks you to check the cross frame tool box or to put the chains in the semi underbody tool box.

Battery box

This is one is self-explanatory, but we felt it would be good for you to know that this semi truck accessory exists. The battery box is tucked into your semi truck’s frame and can hold up to two batteries. A side-frame battery box is also available.

Berth (or bunk)

Term used to designate the sleeping compartment behind the cab.

Bill Of Lading (B/L)

Bill Of lading or “B/L” refers to the transportation document describing the content of a specific shipment. In accordance with where you are, the terms, conditions and responsibilities may vary.


The cab is the interior of a truck where the driver sits to operate the vehicle.

Canadian Provincial Authority Number

This unique number is given to a motor carrier in the trucking industry. It provides the authorization to conduct road transportation within the Canadian Province boundaries.

Cargo Manifest 

A cargo manifest is a document listing the consignments on a truck for the use of customs and other officials. Notably, the document consists of information regarding the quantity, marks identification and the consignor or consignee of every item.

Closet headache rack

The closet headache rack will provide you with the safety you need behind your cab while providing you with great storage space, thanks to its overhead door that lifts up.

CPM – Cents per Mile

The per-mile rate by which drivers are paid.

Cross frame tool box

The cross frame tool box is a storage unit that will perfectly fit behind your truck. Like every Trebor Manufacturing tool box, it’s customizable to ensure you maximize the space available.


A truck with no cargo.


A combination of a truck and two trailers.

Dump bodies

A dump body is any type of truck body which is tilted to discharge the load.

Enclosed headache rack

The enclosed headache rack will protect you and your cab while providing you with an extra storage option for your straps, chains and other gear. You can even add a window to your enclosed headache rack for visibility purposes.


A flatbed is a flat trailer with no enclosure or doors used for carrying construction materials and equipment and other objects of unusual size and shape.


The materials or goods being transported.

GAWR – Gross Axle Weight Rating

The manufacturer’s rating of how much weight an axle can carry. The GAWR involves both the axle’s portion and the weight of the vehicle being carried by the axle.

GCW – Gross Combination Weight

The total weight of an entire loaded vehicle including truck, trailer and cargo.

GVW – Gross Vehicle Weight

The total weight of a vehicle and everything on it.

GVWR – Gross Vehicle Weight Rating

The maximum operating weight of a vehicle as specified by the manufacturer, including the vehicle’s chassis, body, engine, engine fluids, fuel, accessories, driver, passengers and cargo, but excluding that of any trailers.

In-frame tool box

The in-frame tool box is a cost-effective storage unit made to store equipment you rarely need. You can securely step or stand on the sturdy lid when changing trailer connections.


A logbook is a form which describes the working duties of truck drivers for each 24-hour period.

Logging headache rack

If you’re in the logging business, you have an obligation to install a logging headache rack to your truck, which needs to be certified by the Department of Transportation.       .


Self-employed independent drivers who operate privately owned or leased trucks, as opposed to company drivers.


Stands for pickup and delivery.

Private Carrier

A business which operates trucks primarily for the purpose of transporting its own products. The private carrier’s main business is not transportation.


This term is used to designate two drivers who start out in two different origin points several hours apart with loaded trucks and then meet in the middle, exchange cargo and return to their points of origin.

Semi truck headache rack

Semi truck headache racks include a variety of headache racks that are meant to protect a semi-truck cab. Find out why a custom headache rack can be a real life saver.

Standard headache rack

This is your standard version meant to protect your cab – and yourself – from being crushed should the load you are carrying ever shift towards the front of your truck.

Step tool box

The step tool box will help you maximize storage space on your semi truck. It’s mounted to your truck frame to improve safety when climbing on your truck while adding valuable and accessible storage for your gears.

Top lid tool box

The top lid tool box is a storage unit installed on your semi-truck or flatbed. It can hold more cargo than any other semi truck tool box because you can load them to the top.

Trailer bulkhead

A strong wall-like structure placed at the front of a flatbed trailer (or on the rear of the tractor) used to protect the driver against shifting cargo during a front-end collision.

Underbody tool box

The underbody tool box is a storage unit installed underneath the truck bed, just behind the cab and in front of the back tires, which makes the equipment easily accessible. Discover why the underbody tool box is the best truck tool box to have.


Vehicle Identification Number.