kcs resources

Terms & Definitions


Acronym for third party logistics provider, which is a company that provides outsourced logistics services for part or all of a customer's supply chain needs.


Accessorial Charges
A charge for a wide variety of services and privileges that are made in connection with the transportation of goods, such as loading, unloading, storage, pickup and delivery.
Agent Railroad
A railroad moving a container or providing terminal services as an agent for an EMP participating railroad. Containers in the care or custody of an agent railroad are treated as though they are in the care and custody of an EMP participating railroad.
Aggregates and Minerals
Aggregate commodities include stone, limestone, gravel, granite and rock (except cement and sand). Mineral commodities include borates, bentonites, clay, fly ash and lime (except alumina, ores, salt and soda ash).
Agriculture & Mineral
Agricultural products include corn, soybeans, oilseeds, sorghum, rice, seeds and wheat.
An area of roadway, loading and/or parking land by a railway station, often larger than a forecourt.
Assigned units
IMC's can acquire an assignment of units. The purpose of taking units under assignment is so that the units will not be returned empty to the ramp and will constantly be re-loaded and shipped in a high volume lane on the rail. In return, the customer typically receives a lower per diem rate.
Automotive car
Auto Rack Bi Level = 2 Racks, 10 Vehicles; Auto Rack tri level = 3 Racks, 15 Vehicles; Auto max = 2 or 3 Racks, 22 - 24 Vehicles
The time a piece of equipment is grounded and made available for pickup by the customer.


Back Haul
The return movement of a piece of equipment towards its origin point or to handle a shipment in the direction of light flow of traffic.
Back Order
A freight car or piece of equipment loaded improperly, mechanically defective or that has a safety violation.
Bad Ordered
A unit that is loaded improperly, mechanically defective, or has safety violations is considered "bad ordered."
Beneficial Owner
The actual owner of the lading that is being shipped. An IMC or 3PL negotiates transportation rates and services on behalf of the beneficial owner.
Bill Of Lading
A document issued by an IMC to the railroad specifying shipment instructions. Bill of Lading is commonly referred to as "EDI 404," "shipping instructions" or "billing."
Billable Time
Any time that a unit is not under control by a railroad and is under a particular IMC's control.
Billing Cycle
A biweekly process of invoicing by REZ-1, which is run as follows; Reservations that complete between the 1st and 15th of each month are invoiced around the 17th of the month. Reservations that are complete between the 16th and the end of the month are invoiced around the 3rd of the following month.
Billing Dispute
A discrepancy, submitted by fax or electronically filed via REZ-1, with any portion of a statement.
Motor carrier slang indicating a non-revenue movement without a trailer or container attached.
Booking/Reservation Number
A three part series of characters given out by REZ-1 to an IMC who, in turn, will give it to a drayage provider so that they can use it at a ramp to pickup an empty unit for loading and shipment.
Box car (50', 60', 60' High Cube and 86')
Fully enclosed cars equipped with doors. Equipped boxcars are boxcars with special equipment that facilitates the transportation of commodities. 50" = Paper; 60' = Paper and Plywood; 60' High Cube = Paper, Appliances and Automotive; 86' = Appliances and Automotive


Cars on Line
Cars on Line is the average of the daily on-line inventory of freight cars. Articulated cars are counted as a single unit. Cars on private tracks (e.g., at a customer's facility) are counted on the last railroad on which they were located. Maintenance of way cars are excluded.
A rubber-tired under-frame on which a container is mounted for street or highway transport. A supporting frame with wheels on which a container rides.
Chemicals and Gas
Commodities include a variety of chemical and petroleum products including organic chemicals, inorganic chemicals, commodity chemicals, and specialty chemicals. Many would be classifed as hazardous materials (HazMat).
Car Location Message, a railroad generated message that reports the location of moving rail cars, including flatbeds carrying intermodal units.
An acronym for Container on Flat Car, which is the movement of a container on a flat car without the container being mounted on a chassis.
The receiver of freight shipped by the shipper (consignor).
The individual shipping the goods. More commonly known as the shipper.
A large, reusable receptacle that resembles a truck trailer without wheels (chassis), that is lifted on to flatcars. Containers are designed for all modes of intermodal transport, and can accommodate smaller cartons or cases in a single shipment, designed for efficient handling of cargo. A receptacle that resembles a truck trailer without wheels that is lifted onto rail cars. Containers are designed for all modes of intermodal transport. Most containers are 20’, 40’, 45’ and 53’.
Container Yard
Also referred to as a CY, a container yard is a railroad or privately owned yard used for storage of containers when not in use.
Covered Hoppers
Covered hoppers are permanently enclosed cars that handle bulk commodities. They are equipped with weather-tight openings for top loading. (coal and coke; plastics; agriculture; aggregates and Minerals; chemicals and gas (supplier supplied)
A large machine used to load and unload containers and trailers from rail cars or ocean vessels.
Cross border
When a shipment originates in one country with a destination in another. The most common in rail shipping is the Mexico/US border or the Canadian/US border
When a unit is moving from one railroad to another, at the point of exchange, it will be trucked from the first railroad's yard, to the second railroad's yard. This time on the road is called "cross-town." When a drayman delivers a container or trailer from one railroad to another for furtherance to final destination.
Crossover Charge
Crossover charges occur when a unit is taken from one ramp and returned to a different railroad in the same, or a different metro area. In specific cities, the railroads may impose crossover charges.
Customs Pre Clearance
A streamlined process for a shipper to pass customs without having to stop at the border for lengthy delays.
CutOff Time
The time a container or trailer must be ingated at an intermodal facility to meet a scheduled train loading for departure.


Dead Head
When a drayage provider is required to move empty equipment a long distance to pick up a load.
Compensation paid for the use of a container during loading or unloading. A monetary charge levied by a railroad to a customer for excessive delay in loading or unloading cars. Compensation paid for the use of a container during loading or unloading.
Destination Dwell
Demurrage time after a unit has reached its destination by railroad.
Destination Ramp
The railroad terminal that a unit will go to, to be picked up by truck for delivery.
A penalty assessed to the consignor or consignee for using rail controlled equipment in excess of allotted free time.
Railroad (KCS) term; Local train for picking up and setting out cars.
Double Stack
The movement of containers on rail cars that enable one container to be stacked on another container for better ride quality and car utilization.
The process of electronically collecting funds from an IMC's bank account by REZ-1 via the Automatic Clearing House (ACH) process.
Dray Services
Drayage is the action of pulling containers in and out of the port and railroad terminals. The term drayage dates back over a hundred years and was used to describe the act of horses pulling carts or wagons.
The truck movement of a container or trailer to / from an intermodal facility and to / from the customer’s facility for loading or unloading.
Drayage Provider
A trucking company.
A person employed to pickup or drop off a container or trailer at an intermodal terminal. Term used that refers to a trucking company or an individual trucker.
Drop & Pull
Drayman drops a loaded or empty unit at the shipper or receiver and hooks up to another unit which was previously dropped for loading and returns it to an intermodal facility.
Drop Charges
The railroads may impose drop charges at certain ramps to units that return to the ramp empty. Drop charges are used to prevent congestion.
The material used to protect or support freight in containers or trailers.
Same as demurrage; used more in rail industry communications than in legal contracts.


EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) is an exchange of data between computer systems using a standardized format. EDI offers the opportunity to reduce the costs with less manual work and a more efficient way to communicate data. Electronic Data Interchange, the protocol used by companies to send and receive electronic messages concerning container reservations, movements, and invoices.
An acronym for Equipment Management Program, which is a rail controlled equipment pool designed for use by non-asset owning IMC’s or 3PL’s. EMP provides a fleet of nearly 32,000 53' domestic containers and chassis that move throughout a nationwide intermodal network. A domestic interline container service offered by Union Pacific and Norfolk Southern.


Flat Car
A rail car having a floor without any housing or body above which is frequently used to carry containers and trailers. There are generally three types of flat cars used in intermodal which are conventional, spine and well cars.
The pool of equipment owned/leased by a shipper
When a container is picked off of the ground and mounted on a chassis.
Flip Charge
Charges assessed to a shipper when an unnecessary or extra flip is provided.
Food Products
Major commodities include; corn syrup, Distiller’s dried grains, soybean meal, sweeteners, starches, oils, tallows, sugar, peanuts, corn meal, wheat flour, fresh and frozen foods.
Foreign RR
Owned by a railroad other than the one on which it is located.
Forest, Paper and Pulp Product
This commodity includes lumber, pulp, paper, OSB, plywood, packaging materials, logs and chips.
Free Time
The period allowed the shipper to accept delivery of their equipment before storage or detention charges begin to accrue. The period allowed the owner to accept delivery before storage or detention charges begin to accrue.
Freerunning Unit
A unit that is not assigned and can be used by any IMC.


A point at an intermodal facility where a clerk checks in and out all containers and trailers. Containers and trailers are checked for damage and all reservations and paperwork is checked.
General Move
A shipment in which the railroad receives revenue for its services.
Gondolas are open top cars, having fixed sides, fixed or drop ends and solid bottoms. A type of rolling stock with a flat bottom and relatively low sides, used to haul material such as ore or scrap, and loaded and unloaded from the top. May be covered or uncovered.
Units can have different grade types, such as "food grade," "paper grade," "general grade," etc. All EMP units are general grade.
Grain Unit
A measurement of mass equal to 64.79891 milligrams. It is nominally based upon the mass of a single seed of a cereal.


A rail or truck term used to define the highest revenue generating shipping lane from shipper to receiver.
High Cube
EMHU's are also called "high cubes." They are 53-feet in length like the EMRUs, but are greater in height, thus allowing greater cubic capacity.
High Cube Container
A container of standard length and width but with extra height – 9’6” instead of 8’.


An acronym for Intermodal Box Connector. A device that locks one container to another while moving in a ship or on a well car.
This is the acronym for Intermodal Marketing Company. An IMC is a broker or "middleman" who reserves containers (through REZ-1) for their customers, who are in turn, companies that want to ship truckloads of their goods from manufacturing plants to wholesalers, or from wholesalers to retailers. IMCs purchase rail and truck transportations services, utilize equipment from multiple sources and provide other value-added services under a single freight bill to the ultimate shipper.
In Transit
Shipment that is currently en route between origin and destination.
When lading clears customs at the ultimate destination instead of at the border.
The process of checking a container or trailer into an intermodal facility. The ingate process includes inspection of the unit, reservation confirmation and the filling out of the J-1. Term applied to units arriving at a railroad terminal over the road, from a trucking company.
Ingate Load or Load/Load
Term applied to a unit re-loaded while away from the railroad. A trucker takes the loaded unit from a railroad terminal and unloads its cargo, then loads the same unit with a new shipment and returns the unit to the terminal for further hauling by the railroad.
Interchange Agreement
Agreement between a railroad and a drayage company that allows a specific drayage company to drop off and pick up railroad or private intermodal equipment at a railroad’s intermodal facility.
Interchange Points
Any track or yard where rail cars are transferred from one carrier to another.
Interline refers to shipments that involve more than one railroad as they move from origin to destination.
Interline Price
A price published from an origin / destination pair that uses more than one railroad and results in one bill for the entire move.
Interchange of equipment between differing modes of transportation, which include: rail, truck, or ocean. Equipment used: TTX Supplied Equipment (53’ Rail Controlled Container Program)
Intermodal Container
20'; 40'; 45'; 48' and 53' (plastics; appliances)
The written recap of an IMC's reservation from REZ-1, to include, but not limited to, cancellation, expiration, origin and destination dwell times.


A report filled out during the ingate and outgate process. The J-1 details damage to the unit, container information, shipping information, drayman involved and the time of ingate or outgate.


Kansas City Southern (Holding company)
Kansas City Southern de Mexico (Mexico)
The Kansas City Southern Railway Company (US)


Container moving from a foreign country by vessel, transiting the United States or Mexico by railroad and then loaded aboard another vessel for delivery to a second foreign country.
Landing Gear
Movable metal legs on the front of a trailer which support the trailer when not connected to a truck / tractor.
The pre-described course a unit follows from origin to destination on the railroad, also known as a valid origin/destination pair. Valid "lanes" are determined by participating railroads.
Lane Incentive
A lane incentive is applied when a unit ships as a load from a specific origin ramp to a specific destination ramp. (Other restrictions may apply.)
Layed out
Railroad slang; being delayed by another train.
Less than Truckload (LTL)
Less than Truckload (LTL) is the transportation of relatively small freight. An acronym for Less Than Truckload, in which a shipment does not fill an entire truckload. Specialized carriers provide service exclusively for this type of shipment.
The process of moving a container or trailer to and or from a railcar, vessel or chassis.
Line Haul
The movement of a unit on the railroad from origin to destination.
Line Haul Rate
The amount charged by the railroad (to an IMC) for a shipment, dependent on the actual origin and destination.
Live Load
When a drayman stays with a container or trailer while the unit is being loaded or unloaded.


Maintenance of Way
Repairs, upgrades and overall infrastructure investments made on the rails and bridges to ensure safe and seamless transportation
Manifest Train
Railroad Term; Mixed Freight — may include all types of traffic — opposite of a Unit train.
Railroad Term; When two trains "meet" and one train has to take a siding for the other train to pass.
Metro Code
A code assigned to a particular region indicating its location in or near a large city. All EMP ramps have an assigned metro code. Several of them may be included in the same metro code.
Misuse Charge
A misuse charge is a penalty imposed by the railroads for taking a unit out of one metro area and returning the unit to another metro area empty or loaded. For example, if a unit outgates in Detroit and ingates empty or loaded to Chicago, a misuse charge will occur. These charges are determined by participating railroads and can be changed at any time.


The process whereby the railroad will inform the drayage provider or IMC that a unit is available for pickup. The notify will place the move in a destination dwell status.
Notify Party
The party that is notified at the time a container or trailer is grounded from a train. Most notify parties are draymen.
An acronym for Non-Vessel Owning Common Carrier, which is a carrier defined by maritime law, offering an international cargo transport service through the use of underlying carriers and under one’s own rate structure in accordance with tariffs.


Original equipment manufacturer, or OEM, manufactures products or components that are purchased by another company and retailed under that purchasing company's brand name. OEM refers to the company that originally manufactured the product. When referring to automotive parts, OEM designates a replacement part made by the manufacturer of the original part.
A unit is considered off-route when it travels in an invalid lane (such as Las Vegas to Allentown) or when it travels on a non-participatory railroad (such as BNSF Railway). An IMC will be charged off-route charges by REZ-1 until that unit is brought back to a valid terminal.
On the Law
Regards the Hours of Service Law; which only allows engine crew to work 12 hours. To perform service beyond 12 hours would put you "On the Law".
Origin Dwell
The demurrage time before a unit is brought to a railroad terminal to be shipped.
Origin Incentive
Origin incentives apply when units are returned to the specified origin ramp as a load for shipment. (Other restrictions may apply.)
Origin Ramp
The railroad terminal that a unit is brought to after being loaded for shipment.
The process of checking a container or trailer out of an intermodal facility. The outgate process includes inspection of the unit and filling out the J-1. Defines the event of a unit being taken from a railroad terminal by a trucking company.
OutReach Program
A rail-truck or truck-rail movement in which the rail provider has combined the rail and drayage into a single transportation package for EMP and SPDU containers. Containers are shipped via rail from one terminal to another. After that, a contracted drayage firm drays the container to the paper ramp operators lot for customer pickup. The process also works in reverse as well, shipment can originate with the truck movement and then move to the rail portion of the movement. Also referred to as a paper ramp.


Paper Ramp
A rail-truck or truck-rail movement in which a participating railroad has combined the rail and truck movements into a single transportation package for EMP units. Units are shipped via rail from one terminal to another. After that, a contracted drayage provider trucks the unit to the paper ramp operator's lot for customer pickup. The process also works reverse as well. A shipment can originate with the truck movement and then move to the rail portion of the movement.
Per Diem
A charge based on a fixed per day which a carrier makes against another carrier or customer for use of its container or trailers.
Petroleum commodities include kerosene, jet fuel, gasoline, diesel fuel and propane, destined for major cities throughout North America.
Petroleum Coke
A carbonaceous solid derived from oil refinery coker units or other cracking processes.
Pick-Up Incentive
Pick-up incentives credit customers when a unit is picked up empty from the specified reservation ramp(s).
Pickup Number
A secure number provided to the notify party listed on the waybill. It allows only the notify party to receive a container in order to outgate from an intermodal facility.
Railroad term; When cars are added to an existing train for delivery on its route.
Railroad term; Trailer on a Flat car — same as TOFC. Transportation of a highway trailer on a railroad flatcar.
A railroad term for trailers loaded on flatcars.
An assigned group of containers, trailers, chassis or cars used to satisfy the transportation requirements of a customer.
Owned by a non-railroad (i.e., has a car initial that ends in “X”) and not leased to a railroad.
A 28’ trailer used mostly for LTL (Less Than Truckload) shipments.


Rail User Number
An ID number given to an IMC by REZ-1. An IMC will use this number when they make reservations to prove that they are a valid member of the EMP reservation program.
Slang term for an intermodal facility. Ramps were originally structures from which trailers were driven onto or off of a flatcar.
Ramp to Door
A movement of lading from the intermodal facility closest to the customer to the receivers dock.
Ramp to Ramp
A movement of lading from the intermodal facility closest to the customer to the intermodal facility closest to the receiver.
A shipment generated by the railroad for repositioning empty units from one location, to another location in which they can be better utilized or to a location that is deficient.
Reservation Ramp
Term used by REZ-1 to describe a railroad terminal, where an empty unit is picked up with a valid booking / reservation number.
Return Ramp
A railroad terminal that a unit is brought back to after dropping off its shipment. This drop off will complete the original move. It will also start a new move if it's brought back with another shipment.
Company that manages the containers / trailers in the EMP program and controls the reservations made against them. An independent agent with an online system that handles all reservations and billing functions for EMP and TMXU customers.
Rigid Load
Rigid load plans are load plans having all voids filled thereby illuminating the effect of inertia within the load and evenly distributing transportation forces though the load
Rubber Tire Interchange
Containers or trailers that are interchanged between two railroads by means of drayage.


Standard Carrier Alpha Code, used for identifying truckers, railroads and other conveyors.
Special duty locomotives.
Semi-floating Load
Semi-floating load plans typically use rubber mat and/or unitizing bands and/or runners to allow the load to “float” as a unit in transit.
Set Outs
Railroad term; When cars are removed from a train for delivery at a yard for further routing or at an industry.
Shared Incentive
A shared incentive occurs when two railroads join together to share in the cost of a lane incentive.
Slot Utilization
The method of utilizing every space available on a double stack car. A slot includes the space above a container when another container can be double stacked.
A locomotive that contains traction motors yet lacks the diesel engine to create its own power, which is instead supplied by a connected 'mother' locomotive.
Spine Car
A lightweight articulated car that is assembled in permanent consists of three to five platforms. Spine cars carry containers and trailers in a single stack configuration.
Standard Point Location Code, used by railroads to identify their ramps (terminals) and other (intermediate) locations.
Stack Car
An intermodal flat car that was specifically designed to place one container on top of another for better utilization and economics.
The hitches used to support the nose end of trailers when they are mounted on a flatcar. There are two types of stanchions; collapsible and fixed.
An individual or firm employing longshoremen for the purpose of loading and unloading a vessel.
Street Interchange
A street interchange transfers financial responsibility of a unit from one IMC to another on a date and time that is specified by the drayage firm in control of that container or by an IMC that has financial responsibility for that particular container.
Street Time
The time a container or trailer is away from the possession of the railroad.
System Car
Owned by the railroad on which it is located.


Tank car
Tank cars are used only for the transportation of liquids, liquefied gases, compressed gases or solids liquefied prior to unloading. (chemicals/ supplier provided and petroleum)
Terminal Dwell (Hours)
Terminal Dwell is the average time a car resides at the specified terminal location expressed in hours. The measurement begins with a customer release, received interchange, or train arrival event and ends with a customer placement (actual or constructive), delivered or offered in interchange, or train departure event. Cars that move through a terminal on a run-through train are excluded, as are stored, bad ordered, and maintenance of way cars. Refers to the time loaded railroad cars spend in a terminal awaiting continued movement.
An acronym for Twenty Foot Equivalent unit. The common unit used in indicating the capacity of a container vessel or terminal. A 40’ container is equivalent to two TEU’s.
A rail controlled 53’ container fleet jointly owned by KCS and NS. Total fleet size is 900 units. The product was designed specifically for the IMC community to get involved in the Mexico market. The fleet is restricted to move between NS (Atlanta, Birmingham, Charlotte & Greencastle) and KCSM (Salinas Victoria, San Luis Potosi & Puerta Mexico).
Railroad acronym; Trailer on Flat Car — Same as Piggyback. A trailer or container mounted on chassis that is transported on a rail car.
A unit that has its own rear wheels, and therefore cannot be stacked on one another.
Train Speed
Train Speed measures the line-haul movement between terminals. The average speed is calculated by dividing train-miles by total hours operated, excluding yard and local trains, passenger trains, maintenance of way trains, and terminal time. System-wide average train speeds are given for the following train types; Intermodal, Manifest, Multilevel, Coal Unit, Grain Unit, All trains.
The time that a unit is on the railroad. Transit starts from the ingate load at origin and goes until the notify at destination. Transit calculates the amount of time a railroad was in possession of a unit and how long it took to ship that unit from point A to point B.
The process of transferring a shipment of a commodity from one mode of transportation to another, such as from rail to truck or truck to rail. Transloading is often a beneficial solution when the origin and destination of a shipment are most effectively served by different modes. Facilities for transloading often are designed to minimize handling and to allow direct transfer from one vehicle to another where possible.
A leading provider of railcars and related freight car management services to the North American rail industry. Our pool of railcars — over 200,000 cars strong — is ideal for supporting shippers in the intermodal, automotive, paper & forest, metals, machinery, wind energy, and other commodity groups where flatcars, boxcars, and gondolas are required.


UMAX provides access to a fleet of more than 31,000, 53-foot domestic containers and demonstrates both carriers' commitment to maximize customers' shipping options, while featuring truck-competitive services.
Unbundled Product/Rate
Term used to describe an Intermodal product for which the line haul does not include any free time and the per diem is billed separately. EMP is marketed as an unbundled product.
Unit Train
Train that carries the same cargo (opposite of Manifest train); a train whose cars all carry the same commodity, such as grain or oil.


A document giving details and instructions relating to a shipment of goods. A waybill is issued by the railroad after receipt of the Bill Of Lading.
Well Car
An intermodal flat car that was specifically designed to place one container on top of another for better utilization and economics. Referred to as a well car because the cars are depressed in the center to allow clearance of the double stacked containers when moving under low-lying structures or though tunnels.


A location where rolling stock is switched to and from trains, freight is loaded or unloaded, and consist made up.
The person(s) responsible for conducting all traffic within the yard. The Yardmaster gives orders for which cars go where in order to assemble or disassemble a consist.