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Glossary of Terms

To help you understand the various terms used by a removals company we have compiled the following glossary of terms.

Acceptance of Quotation

Acceptance of Quotation form is the document which outlines the price and scope of removal service.  Booking the service is formalised when this document is completed and returned to the mover by the by the client.


Access refers to the accessibility to the property for heavy goods vehicles and delivery crews.   In the UK and other parts of the world, removal quotations assume large heavy goods vehicles (measuring 17mtrs long, 4mtrs high and 2.5mtrs wide) are able to park, free of charge, without weight restriction, within 20mtrs of the entry doorway to property.  Situations such as narrow roads, low bridges, tight turns and government parking controls can sometimes affect accessibility.  For the removal crew, situations such as long carries, stair walking and elevator usage will have a significant impact on the duration of the loading or unloading activity.  It is therefore essential that access both at collection and delivery are clearly explained to the moving company at the quotation stage.  Early disclosure of access details ensures quotations issued include any special arrangements necessary and avoids nasty surprises on the moving day. 

Accessorial Charges

Accessorial Charges is a term often used by moving companies in the United States and means ‘additional charges’ beyond the scope of a normal move.  Typically it may refer to crate building, cleaning maid services, employment of electricians, carpenters or other 3rd party groups.


Agent normally refers to business partners in the moving and transport business that perform packing, freight, customs clearance, unloading and other services.

Air Ride Suspension

Air Ride Suspension may be fitted to some removal vehicles to provide a smoother transport for the cargo.

Air Waybill

Air Waybill is a document that acts as a receipt for the consignment, contract for transportation between a shipper and an air carrier and confirmation that goods were loaded onto an airplane. 

Bill of Lading

Bill of Lading is a document giving proof that a consignment has been loaded onto a ship.  It is normally required in order to obtain the release of the goods at destination port arrival. 

Blanket Wrap

Blanket Wrap is a method of protecting furniture items during local home moving.  Woollen blankets are loose wrapped around the pieces as they are stacked inside the vehicle. 

Bonded Warehouses

Bonded Warehouses are Customs approved storage facilities.  Sometimes the import or export of goods may be delayed during the customs clearance process.  In order to avoid port storage charges (which can be very high at ports) it is often less expensive to hold the consignment in a movers warehouse.  Holding goods which have not yet been cleared requires the warehouse to be an approved Customs Bonded facility.  Goods that come in to store under bond cannot be moved until official release has been issued.  Bonded Warehouses are regularly inspected by customs authorities and the moving company must comply with strict procedures.

Booker or Booking Agent

Booker or Booking Agent is the name that contractors refer to the moving company which holds the original contract with the client.   Contractors could be shipping lines, airlines, road transport carriers and other moving companies. 

Cft or Cuft

Cft or Cuft is the abbreviation of the volume measurement, Cubic Feet.  The removals industry uses the volume measurement of household goods to assess labour hours and identify appropriate means of transport and size of truck.  Cubic volume is calculated by multiplying the width, height and depth of an item or consignment together after packing materials have been applied.  ‘Feet’ is an imperial measurement still widely used in USA and UK.

CBM or CuM

CBM or CuM is an abbreviation of the metric volume measurement, Cubic Meters.  Outside of the UK and USA, cubic meter is the more commonly used type of measurement.


CWT is an abbreviation for the ‘charge per 100 pounds weight’ (lbs).  Many freight systems and agents (particularly in the US) make their charges by 100lbs weight (actual or estimated weight).


COD is an acronym for Cash-on-Delivery.  This normally refers to circumstances where payment must be collected upon delivery of goods.


Carrier normally means the company providing the freight and transport for your household goods.


Cartons are cardboard boxes which are used for packing smaller items into.  Moving companies will carry a wide variety of different sized cartons in stock to suit the many types of goods they will encounter during loading.


Casing (See crating).

Chargeable weight

Chargeable weight is the weight calculation formula used by an airline to assess the freight charge (see also under Volumetric weight).


Consignee is the person to whom a shipment will be delivered.


Consolidator is a company that collect lots of small shipments all bound for a particular destination with the aim of consolidating them into one single transport mode (i.e. a whole sea container).


Consultant is a person who will call at your property, discuss your particular move requirements, usually making a note of items to be moved, provide information about their company and a removal quotation (also known as a surveyor).


Container (See under ‘Storage Container’ or ‘Sea Container’).

Containerised Vehicles

Containerised Vehicles are specialist removal vans designed to carry wooden Storage Containers.  Household goods are loaded directly into or out of the containers outside your property, the advantage being reduced manual handling and therefore reduced risk of damage.

Conventional Storage

Conventional Storage is still operated by some older warehouses. It is a system whereby goods are stacked on the floor in an allocated space and usually covered with sheeting.

Corporate Account

Corporate Account is the organization that pays for the removal charges.

Crates or Crating

Crates or Crating maybe recommended for high value, vulnerable or unstable fragile items (such as glass or marble tops, antiques, pictures, ornate mirrors etc.).  The moving company may recommend the supply of wooden crates if they identify sensitive items and this service will normally be at an additional cost.


Crew is another name for the packing or unloading team.

Custom Approved Warehouse

Custom Approved Warehouse is another name for a Bonded Warehouse. 

Customs Clearance

Customs Clearance is the government process required to approve the import or export of goods across country border points.  The relevant government department (normally called the Customs Department) will approve the movement of goods and assess the consignment for taxes and duties.  In many countries this may involve some sort of inspection ranging from a simple X-ray or sometimes a complete physical out turn.

Declared Value

Declared Value refers to the value of goods submitted for packing and transport for the purpose of insurance as declared by the client. This will form the basis of insurance cover and therefore must reflect the true value of your belongings.  Valuation could be based on the full replacement value in new condition (new for old insurance) or the second-hand value (Indemnity insurance) value dependant on the type of cover you are arranging.


Deconsolidators are companies that receive containers loaded with many consolidated shipments inside.  These companies are responsible for breaking the load back down into individual lots.

Dedicated Transport

Dedicated Transport is a relocation transport arrangement whereby the truck or container is carrying your belongings exclusively.


Demurrage is the industry term for the cost of storage at if incurred at ports of entry.

Density Factor

Density Factor. Freight charges can be based on weight, cubic volume or a mixture of both.  Whilst the estimation of volume can be done accurately by visual inspection, nobody can estimate the weight of an item just by looking at it.  Therefore the freight and removal industry makes assumptions about the weight of a consignment based on the volume.  Converting the known volume to an estimated weight is done by multiplying the cubic volume by a density factor of typically 6lbs, 6.5lbs or 7lbs per cubic foot.  It is important that overseas removal companies agree with each other which density factor will be used for charging prior to engagement.


Destination within the removal industry generally refers to the delivery point.

Destination Agent

Destination Agent is the moving company responsible for arranging customs clearance and delivery of your shipment.


Domestic.  House removals that take within the same country are often referred to as ‘domestic’ but also the words ‘local’ or ‘national’ can have the same meaning.


Door-to-Door.  This refers to the typical managed removal service inclusive of transportation from collection address through to delivery address.


Door-to-Port.  This refers to removal services where transportation terminates at destination port.  Responsibility for costs and organization of onward movement after port arrival become the responsibility of the client.  This is not a recommended service as liaising with customs authorities and port contractors is best left professional firms who are able to control costs.


Door-to-Warehouse.  Collection from residence with delivery to a warehouse.


Duties refer to a type of government tax that may be payable on imported goods.


ERC is an abbreviation for the Employee Relocation Council, an association of interested parties who debate and advance best practice for global workforce mobility.


Estimate.  One of the main purposes of the pre-move survey is to estimate the weight and volume of your goods.  With this information a quotation can be issued. 


Excess.  In relation to insurance matters, this is the amount that will be deducted from any claims settlement, may be a per item excess or per total claim.  If an excess is applicable to a policy is should be clearly stated in the terms and conditions written on the original proposal.

Export packing

Export packing.  The style of packing normally used during an export to another country.  Before being loaded into the transport conveyance all furniture pieces are individually and permanently wrapped in heavy duty protective materials such as specialist designed bubble wrap or multi-ply paper sheets.  This wrapping process will typically take twice as long as domestic removal using wool transit blankets.

Express Transport

Express Transport.  Goods requiring immediate dispatch and transport for the quickest possible delivery time may be referred to as an express transport.


FAIM is an acronym for FIDI Accredited International Mover.  FAIM is the quality assurance programme developed by FIDI specifically for the activities of international moving companies.  To gain FAIM certification a removal firm must allow regular inspections of their facilities, files and accounting information by an independent third party. Our parent company is a FIDI member and has therefore passed the FAIM criteria.


FCL is an acronym for Full container load.  FCL provides you with sole use of a metal shipping container when moving overseas


FEDEMAC is an acronym for Federation of European Moving Associations, a trade body which promotes good practice in the home moving industry. Cooks of Cranleigh are members of FEDEMAC.


FIDI is a federation of international moving companies which promotes best practice for relocation transport services between countries and sets standards of agent co-operation rules. Our parent company is a FIDI member and therefore very connected with quality overseas removals networks.


FSA is an acronym for The Financial Services Authority, a UK Government appointed body which regulates the sale of insurance products in the UK.

Ferry Vehicle

Ferry Vehicle.  When vehicle access at residence is restricted (due to narrow roads, low bridges, weight restrictions etc), a ferry van, also known as shuttle or transhipment van, is required to transfer your possessions between the house and large removal truck.

Force Majeure

Force Majeure is a defence protecting the parties in the event that a part of the contract cannot be performed due to causes which are outside the control of the parties and could not be avoided by exercise of due care.


Foreman is the person in a packing team with overall responsibility during the removal service is normally referred to as the foreman.

Freight Forwarders

Freight Forwarders are companies that arrange transportation of cargo’s belonging to others.  The freight forwarder may also perform consolidation and deconsolidation services.

Full Cover

Full Cover is an insurance term meaning a detailed insurance cover, usually includes loss, theft, fire and breakage, (breakage maybe restricted to items packed by your professional mover). Such cover may carry excess or deductibles, maximum limits on total value or certain types of items, pairs and set clause, mechanical derangement clause and specific exclusions, for example money, stamp collection and jewellery.


GST is a General Sales Tax.  Goods and services supplied locally in some countries are liable to GST which is a similar government taxation system as in the UK known as VAT (Value Added Tax).

General Average

General Average is an international shipping law or convention which may be declared in the event of a maritime disaster.  Example – if a shipping vessel is at risk of sinking the Captain may decide to sacrifice some cargo overboard in an attempt to save the ship, crew and remaining cargo.  The shipping line might then declare a General Average Loss which means the cost of preserving the vessel would be shared amongst all the shippers on board.  This is an insurable risk.

Gross Volume or Gross Weight

Gross Volume or Gross Weight is the weight or volume of a consignment after accounting for all packaging materials including over casing and pallets.


Groupage is a low cost freight transport service option.  Your belongings use part of the space in the container, the costs are shared and this method of transport usually results in a saving although transit times are usually longer.

High value items

High value items should be declared on your insurance proposal form.  Items such as cash money and jewellery are often either excluded from contracts or insurance policies or have value limitations applied.  Therefore you should check all terms and conditions prior to moving and consider carrying such items by hand.

Household Goods

Household Goods is a generalised phrase which refers to all the items one might to expect to find in residential house including furniture, ornaments, clothes, garden equipment etc


IAM is an acronym for International Association of Movers.  This is a moving industry association based in USA which promotes best practice amongst its members and circulated news and legislation changes that concern the shipping of personal effects. Our parent company is a member of this organisation.


IATA is an acronym for International Air Transport Association.  This trade association represents and serves the airline industry world-wide.

Indemnity Cover

Indemnity Cover is the value of your items allowing for depreciation and ware, in other words it’s the second-hand value.

Inland Move

Inland Move refers to a removal service within same country.

Intrastate Move

Intrastate Move is a term from the USA meaning a move within same state.


Insurance.  If you purchased an insurance policy from your mover to cover household goods you should receive documentation including the insurance terms and conditions.  These will detail exactly what is covered by the insurance policy.  You will also be required to provide a list of the items to be insured (see Valuation).

Insurance Certificate

Insurance Certificate is the document given to you by your mover confirming cover has been arranged on your behalf.

Insurance Proposal Form

Insurance Proposal Form.  In order to arrange insurance cover for your effects you will need to complete a proposal form.  Ensure that you complete the proposal form accurately and in detail as this will help speed up the settlement process if in the unfortunate event of a claim.  Any items you do not show will be considered not insured.  Make sure you specify items of high value or of a special nature.  There is normally listing format on the proposal form however you may produce your own valued listing as an alternative providing it is attached to the proposal form.


Insurer is the insurance company which provides the insurance cover


Inventory is a packing list compiled during overseas work or domestic storage collections.  Packing crew will compile a list of individual packages.  This is called an inventory and a copy will be handed to you after completion.


Kg is the abbreviation of the metric weight, Kilogram


Kraft describes a paper based packing material which uses virgin wood products (i.e. Kraft card, Kraft paper)


LCL is an acronym for Less than Container Load.  If the volume of your sea freight shipment does not justify a full sea container load an alternative is to over case the consignment in wood and transport in a shared container by LCL service

Ladder lift (outside elevator/hoist)

Ladder lift (outside elevator/hoist).  In situations where items are too large for the stairway an alternative means of access can sometimes be made via windows or balconies outside.  To facilitate the lifting of goods to high places a special machine called a ladder lift or outside elevator is required

Liability Cover

Liability Cover.  Sales of insurance products in the UK are now regulated by the government appointed body, the FSA.  In instances where insurance products are not available some removal companies may offer to extend their contract liability beyond the normal basic limits


Liftvan is a wood crate specially made and used when packing your belongings as an LCL consignment

Line Haul

Line Haul is the inland transportation of goods or a shipping container from one terminal to another

Local Move

Local Move is relocation transport within same country or state (county).

Long carry

Long carry.  Carrying articles a longer than usual distance between the mover’s vehicle and the residence entry door is referred to as ‘long carry’.  Depending on the country and agent, a normal carry distance will be between 15 and 20mtrs; additional charges may be payable for carrying further distances.

Loss Adjuster

Loss Adjuster.  Working on behalf of insurance companies, a loss adjuster is a firm or individual whose task is to investigate circumstances giving rise to any claims and report findings.


MAWB is an acronym for Master Airway Bill (see Air Waybill)

Maid Service

Maid Service.  Some removal companies offer a ‘Maid Service’, an additional activity at extra cost that involves staff putting items into cupboards such as clothing (including folding the clothes), bedding and kitchen equipment.

Marine Insurance

Marine Insurance.  Insurance specifically to cover your belongings whilst in transit over long distances and or across water by vehicle, ship or aircraft. The policy will cover specific marine risks; ensure that you are aware of the nature of the cover and its inclusions and exclusions.


Materials.  Various items with which your belongings are packed for safe transit e.g., cartons, crates, bubble wrap and removal blankets.

Multimodal Transport

Multimodal Transport.  Transportation of goods which involves the use of various modes of transport during the journey (i.e. sea containers are often carried by road, sea and rail during to effect a door to door removal)


NVOCC is an abbreviation for Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier, a term which describes a shipping company that utilizes the carrying capacity provided by other shipping lines.

National Move

National Move refers to a home moving within the same country, usually long distance

New for Old

New for Old is an insurance term that describes the type of cover available.  New for Old cover means claims are settled on the basis that old items will be funded as new replacement items (provided that premiums paid were based on new replacement values).


Origin is the place from which goods are originally collected

Origin Agent

Origin Agent is the moving company responsible for physically collecting the goods from a residence

Outside Elevator

Outside Elevator.  (see Ladder Lift)

Owner Packed

Owner Packed.  When clients pack their goods into cartons themselves, the consignment is called owner packed (also identified as OP or PBO on an inventory).  When moving overseas it is important to check with the moving company before packing goods yourself as customs procedures in some countries cause costly problems for owner packed goods.  In addition, owner packed goods may have a reduced level cover where an insurance product has been purchased

Over carding

Over carding is an export wrapping process where sheets of card are fashioned around vulnerable items to provide extra protection (typically used on highly polished surfaces, pictures, fragile antique items etc.)


Packers are the persons in charge of wrapping and packing your belongings into boxes and loading onto a van or container at origin and also unloading and unpacking your belongings at the destination (also referred to as packing team, crew, porters or removalists).

Packing List

Packing List is a numbered listing of your belongings, with general description and the condition of items prior to storage or moving overseas.  It is used for checking that all items collected are properly accounted for at the time of delivery.  You will be asked to sign the form at the time of collection and delivery in agreement with the details, noting any exceptions

Part Load

Part Load.  Your belongings take up part of the space on a truck or in a container, the cost is therefore shared and usually results in a saving, suitable for small moves. Note transit times are usually longer and you must have some flexibility on your move dates


Pantechnican is a specially built removal vehicle (also removal van).

Port Authority

Port Authority is a company, government body or organization that owns or controls the land and activities at a sea port


Pre-Packing.  Sometimes packing staff and materials arrive before the actual loading date to prepare your belongings for moving

Pre-move survey

Pre-move survey.  Our surveyor will visit to your home, understand your service level requirements and estimate the volume & weight of effects to be shipped.  With this information a detailed written quotation can be issued


Premium is the amount paid to an insurance company for policy cover

Private Move

Private Move.  The person who is moving is responsible for paying the move charges (as opposed to a ‘corporate move’ where the employer pays for the relocation).

Professional packing

Professional packing.  ‘Professionally packed’ goods means that packing has been done by a removal company as opposed to the client (client packed goods are known as ‘owner packed’)

Proposal Form

Proposal Form normally refers to an insurance application form.  When completing such a document it is essential to provide as much detail as possible

Protective Pads

Protective Pads.  Method of packing furniture to prevent damage in transit, in the UK it is referred to as ‘woollen blanket wrap’ or ‘transit wrap’


Quotation is the document in which we state our charges and detail the scope our service.  It is important to check that all your requirements have been quoted for and to read the terms and conditions printed on the reverse of the quotation

Relocation Consultant

Relocation Consultant.  To provide advise / information source on aspects of home relocation, not usually removal specialist

Replacement value

Replacement value.  In the context of insurance, replacement value refers to the cost to replace an item at destination in the event of damaged beyond economical repair or loss


Ro-Ro is an abbreviation of roll on, roll off.  This is shipping service whereby a motor vehicle can be driven onto a vessel without the need for loading into a sea container.  The service is not available to every destination


Routing refers to the route a shipment will take to reach its destination as well as mode of transportation i.e. Sea, Air etc


SIT is an acronym for Storage in Transit; this refers to a temporary storage requirement during an overseas removal

Sea Container

Sea Container.  The large metal containers used to carry goods on a sea vessel are referred to sea or shipping containers.  These steel boxes are normally either 20ft or 40ft long


Shipper is the person whose goods are being moved (shipped).

Shipping Container

Shipping Container.  (Same as Sea Container)

Sealing Tape

Sealing Tape is an adhesive tape used for sealing packing cartons

Shuttle Vehicle

Shuttle Vehicle.  Sometimes large removal vehicles are unable to gain access to residential streets.  In these situations a smaller vehicle used to shuttle goods between the house and the removal truck.  This may also be referred to as a Transhipment or Ferry service

Special Load

Special Load.  This refers to the exclusive use of a truck or container to transport your effects.  Under this service level collection and delivery dates can be specified by you and agreed by the moving company

Stair carry

Stair carry is an extra charge for carrying items up or down more than one flight of stairs.

Storage container

Storage container.  Most modern removal companies will hold goods for storage in an exclusive holding unit, box or storage container.  In the UK this is normally a large wooden box with a typical loading capacity of 7 cubic meters or 250cubic feet

Storage Extension Insurance

Storage Extension Insurance is the extension of an original removal insurance policy to cover a period of storage, for more information see Insurance Section

Storage Module

Storage Module is a large wooden container, your belongings are loaded into them, sealed and then the container is stacked away (also referred to as storage containers or storage vaults)


Sub-Contractor is a company appointed by your mover to carry out packing, loading, collection or delivery services on your mover’s behalf

Surface Shipment

Surface Shipment normally refers to a consignment that travels by sea


Survey. see Pre-Move Survey


Surveyor is a person who visits your home to conduct the pre-move survey


Swap Body is a type of freight container that can be interchanged with different modes of transport, such as road, rail, sea and barge


Tariff is pre-determined charging scale

Tare Weight

Tare Weight is the empty weight of a truck or shipping container

Third Party Services

Third Party Services are activities outside the normal scope of a removal contract such as hiring of Plumbers, Gas installers, Carpenters, Electricians, Painter/Decorators, Builder/Handyman, House Cleaners, Maid Service, Waterbed dismantling/assembling, Pool Table dismantle/re-assemble etc.  Some moving companies maybe able to engage these services on your behalf if required

Total Loss Cover

Total Loss Cover is a type of Insurance for your belongings on the restricted basis of total loss only; this is very limited cover and you should check the details carefully

Transit Insurance

Transit Insurance.  Insurance for your belongings whilst they are in transit, the cover provided maybe Indemnity or New for Old/Replacement, check the details of the cover you are offered

Transit Time

Transit Time is the estimated time in days or weeks that your move will take from door to door


Transhipment.  See under Shuttle Vehicle

Under Insured

Under Insured.  When the declared value of an item is less than the replacement cost, the insurance compensation will be restricted to the value declared as a maximum level of compensation


VAT is an acronym for Value Added Tax.  Goods and services supplied locally in the UK are liable to VAT at the prevailing rate (currently 20%).  Other countries have similar taxation schemes such as GST, IVA etc


Valuation.  Generally provided for insurance, this would be your estimated value of household goods and personal effects to be transported and/or stored

Van Lines

Van Lines are groups of independent moving companies who co-operate together to provide moving services throughout a specified country e.g., U.S.A

Volumetric weight

Volumetric weight is the freight industry charging method where the rate charged is based on the weight or volume, whichever is the higher amount.  The principle is that 1cubic meter of bricks is a completely different prospect to 1 cubic meter of feathers.  Therefore bricks would be charged on weight and feathers would be charged on volume

Warehouse Handling

Warehouse Handling is the unloading and loading activity when goods are transported via a warehouse.  The work can be carried out by forklift machines of by manpower


X-Ray.  Customs Departments in many countries around the world will use large x-ray machines to scan sea containers and crates to check for illegal imports.  Such inspections are often random and Customs departments will make a charge for this.  Customs inspections either by X-ray or physical examinations are normally excluded from removal quotations as these are Government controlled activities and are outside the control of the mover
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