Glossary Of Terms

3PL – Third Party Logistics

3PL is an abbreviation of 3rd-party logistics. A third-party logistics provider typically forms part of the supply chain, providing an outsourced alternative for its customers. If you would like to discuss your Third Party Logistic requirements please contact +44(0) 1527 596 222.

4PL – Fourth Party Logistics

Fourth Party Logistics is generally seen as the management of the complete supply chain process including the control of 3PL suppliers.

BRCGS – Brand, Reputation and Compliance Global Standard

BRCGS, previously known as the British Retail Consortium (BRC), is the lead trade association representing the whole range of retailers, from the large multiples and department stores through to independents, selling a wide selection of products through centre of town, out of town, rural and virtual stores.


Pallet sized food grade plastic bin – typically measuring 1200mm wide x 1,000mm long x 1,000mm tall.

Euro Pallet

A wooden pallet measuring 800mm x 1200mm. A typical 44ft artic can carry either 32 or 33 euro pallets, depending on which direction the pallets are loaded.

Standard UK Pallet

Also known as an ‘Industrial Pallet’. This is a wooden pallet with full perimeter base measuring 1200mm by 1000mm.

Chep Pallet

Also known as GKN Chep pallets. These pallets are rented rather than owned. Chep pallets are heavy duty and are blue. This is the standard normally insisted upon by UK retailers. Other suppliers are now in the market who can supply similar standard pallets such as LPR. Chep can supply euro, industrial and dusseldorf pallets.

Roll Cage

The most common method of retailers transporting their goods from their RDC to their shops. Cages can have multiple shelves or simply be tall open units. Cages can be designed to ‘nest’ whereby when they are empty, the cages can be consolidated to take up around as little as 30% of the space occupied by the cages when they are full.

Freeze Down/Chamber Freeze

Reducing temperature from ambient or chilled to –18ºC.


Accumulation of product from more than one supplier on one vehicle to be delivered to one or multiple destinations.

Rapid Freeze

Reducing product temperature by re-stacking with the use of layer pads to ensure consistent temperature reduction throughout pallet.


Stock Keeping Unit. Often referred to as a ‘product line’. Can be confusing because you could have one product line e.g. Cheddar Cheese, but this may be sold to the retailer in various case sizes such as cases of 6 packs per case and 12 packs per case- i.e. this would be 2 Stock Keeping Units or SKUs.

Pallet Wrapping

To apply plastic stretch film to minimise product movement within transit or storage.


Reception, Handling and Despatch – The initial charge incurred when storing. Includes removal of product from delivery vehicle, moving and locating within storage area, removing from storage area and loading onto collection vehicle.

Dock Leveller

A mechanical device used to allow pallets to be transferred from the truck to the warehouse without the need for forklift trucks or tail lifts. Used in many warehouses, especially those which are temperature controlled because it allows for vehicles to back up against the building and effectively form a seal between the truck and the building to prevent temperature loss.



Standard artics now have a carrying capacity of 26 standard pallets, 33 euro pallets, 60 dusseldorf pallets or between 44 and 54 roll cages.

24 Tonne

Typically capable of holding up to 16 standard pallets or 21 euro pallets.

17 Tonne

Typically capable of holding up to 12 standard pallets or 15 euro pallets.

7.5 Tonne

Typically capable of holding up to 8 standard pallets or 10 euro pallets – some large distribution centres do not allow deliveries on 7.5 tonne lorries because of their loading bay restrictions using dock levelers.

Transhipping/ Cross-Docking

Cross Docking is the practice of transferring materials or products from an incoming vehicle directly onto an outbound vehicle. This may be done to sort the products from different origins into vehicles with the same or similar destination. Cross docking may include a brief period of warehousing, to allow for the products to be sorted, consolidated prior to shipping. Click for more information on consolidation.


(Electronic Data Interchange) Electronic transfer of data via a secure route. Advance Shipment Notification. Electronic communication between the supplier and its warehouse provider to notify them in advance of what the delivery is made up of. Also a requirement now for suppliers into Tesco and Sainsbury’s.

RF Stock System Handball

Radio frequency (i.e. wireless and remote) using product scanners and computers. This is where stock has to be manually transferred either from pallet to pallet or bulk stock (for example on a shipping container) onto new pallets.

Primary Logistics

Also known as Factory Gate collections. This is where the retailer themselves organize their own vehicles or subcontracted vehicles to collect from a supplier or their appointed warehouse provider.