Discover our comprehensive freight transport glossary, an essential resource for understanding key terms and concepts in the logistics industry.


Contractors include:

  • Shippers
  • Freight Forwarders

Freight forwarders

Freight forwarders include :

  • Charterers
  • Transport agents
  • Combined transport operators: the company organizes routing as well as pre- and post-carriage.


Carriers include :

  • road carriers
  • rail carriers (rail companies)
  • Shipping carriers (companies and shipowners)
  • river carriers (river shipowners or boatmen)
  • air carriers (airlines, passengers and freight)
  • simple transport operators: the company only deals with the central link routing, without including pre and post delivery, these are the railways, maritime, air or river, therefore the TK’Blue index depends directly on company fleets of railway undertakings, sea or air or river.

Accidents: Accidents have an immediate impact in terms of lost production, penalties and loss of customer confidence. Personal injury or material accidents caused by transport also result in high social costs in terms of medical expenses.

Noise pollution: Noise pollution has repercussions on health: stress, sleep disturbance, which can lead to cardiovascular disease in the long term.

Climate change: Climate change linked to greenhouse gases is now a reality, and its consequences will have a lasting impact on our environment and lifestyles.

Congestion: The costs induced by road congestion are both the internal cost to the company linked to time lost by the operator and delivery delays incurred by its customers, and the external cost corresponding to the costs incurred by other road users.

Social dumping: For a company, social dumping is the practice of deliberately violating or circumventing current social legislation in order to gain an economic advantage, particularly in terms of competitiveness.

Negative externality: A negative externality, as defined by the TK'Blue methodology, is a nuisance caused by one or more forms of transport. There are six such externalities: pollution, climate change, upstream-downstream processes, accidents, noise and congestion.

GHG: Greenhouse Gases including carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sodium hexafluoride (SF6). The common unit of measurement for these gases is the gram of CO2 equivalent (gCO2e). These gases are emitted during energy production and fuel combustion.

Distance IOL: The distance IOL indicates the average distance required to transport 1 transport unit (ton or parcel, pallet, container, rack).

IOL in tonnage: The Logistics Optimization Indicator in tonnage shows the performance of the logistics chain, indicating for each modality the average tonnage transported per 1 kilometer traveled.

TK'T index: The TK'T index is calculated for a given carrier, fleet category and transport mode. It reflects the carrier's degree of commitment to reducing the negative externalities associated with its activity.

TK'Ext index: A carrier's TK'Ext index indicates both its logistical and technological performance. This index is expressed in € cents/TK

Rating perimeter: The rating perimeter defines the flows on which the TK'Blue rating is based. The perimeter can be a geographical area (country, continent), a type of delivery (upstream, downstream, import, export, etc.) or a customer.

Air pollution: Air pollution (excluding greenhouse gases) is responsible for adverse effects on human health (new cases of chronic bronchitis, premature death or lost years of life). The economic cost of these effects (mobility, hospitalizations, restricted activity days) is high for the community, between 20 and 30 billion euros per year in France. There are numerous pollutants, each of which is included in the evaluation grids: fine particles (PM2.5), nitrogen oxide (NOx), sulfur oxide (SO2) and non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC).

Customer service: We consider that a customer service, also known as a freight service, groups together in a single service the different segments on which the same freight is transported. The distance covered is therefore the sum of the distances covered by the same goods, while the weight transported is counted only once for the same goods.

Carrier service: A carrier service, also known as a segment, groups together all goods transported on the same means of transport, on the same day, on the same route, but separated into several flows in a data file. The total weight transported is therefore the sum of the weights of each flow, while the distance covered is counted only once.

Upstream-downstream process: The upstream-downstream process concerns emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases resulting from the production and delivery to the reservoir of the energy consumed. The pollutants concerned by this externality are the same as those of the air pollution externality. The greenhouse gases concerned are the same as for climate change. This externality makes it possible, for example, to highlight the upstream emissions generated by electricity production, when no emissions are recorded when electric vehicles are used. This externality is said to be inter-sectoral, as it impacts the whole community and not just the users of the mode of transport concerned.

Intercity road mode: Intercity road mode covers road transport activities linking several cities. It corresponds to medium- to long-distance links, often on motorways.

Urban road haulage: Urban road haulage covers the transport of goods in cities (including the immediate suburbs). It corresponds to dedicated urban distribution activities (rounds and last-mile deliveries).

CSR: Corporate Social Responsibility

TK: Tonne Kilometre