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U.S. Canada free trade agreement (CFTA OR FTA)

Implemented in January 1989 to eliminate all tariffs on U.S. and Canadian goods by January 1998 and to reduce or eliminate many nontariff barriers.


A raw material that is found at all locations at the same time.


See Uniform Code Council. 

UCP 500

See Uniform Customs and Practice for Documentary Credits.


See Union Internationale des Chemins de Fer.


United Kingdom Agricultural Supply Association. Trade association for agricultural organizations concerned with, among other things, establishing a code of practice for road hauliers to improve cleanliness and safety in the carriage of food grains.


United Kingdom Warehousing Association. Trade association for warehousemen.


Ultra large bulk carrier. Ship for carrying bulk materials. See also ULCC.


See Ultra Large Crude Carrier.


See Unit Load Device.


Free space above a liquid contained in a tank, drum or tank-container, expressed as a percentage of the total capacity. Ullage is often used to leave room for possible expansion of the liquid.

Ultra Large Crude Carrier

A vessel designed for the carriage of liquid cargo in bulk with a loading capacity from 250.000 till 500.000 DWT. Abbreviation: ULCC


Unladen weight. The weight of a vehicle inclusive of its body and parts normally used but exclusive of the weight of water, fuel, loose tools and equipment and batteries (but only where these power the vehicle). Use of the term ulw is gradually diminishing in UK legislation as metric measure is progressively introduced.

Umbrella Rate

An ICC ratemaking practice that held rates to a particular level to protect another mode’s traffic.


United Nations Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce and Transport. Internationally agreed standards and guidelines for the electronic interchange of commercial data.


See United Nations Standard Product and Service Code.


Vehicle/trailer or semi-trailer shipped by ferry/rail without the driver. Collected at other end of transit by a local driver. In a passenger transport context it would mean the carriage of unaccompanied minors (ie children) by airlines for example.

Unbundled Payment/Remittance 

The process where payment is delivered separately from its associated detail.


See United Nations Conference on Trade And Development.


A supporting frame or structure of a wheeled vehicle. The landing gear of an aircraft.


A carrier in a conference or consortium who carries less cargo than the allotment distributed to him.

Undervalued currency

A currency whose rate of exchange is persistently above parity.

UNDG Number

See United Nations Dangerous Goods Number.


See United Nations Economic Commission for Europe.


A term defining legal standards of business conduct.  It provides protection against such things as simulation of trade packaging, using similar corporate and professional names, misappropriation of trade secrets and palming off one person’s goods as those of another.

Unfair dismissal

Dismissal of an employee on grounds which are held to be not fair. Employees (after two years’ service) have a right not to be unfairly dismissed and may complain to an Industrial Tribunal (within three months) if they are so dismissed. If case upheld, Tribunal will order reinstatement/re-engagement or award compensation.

Unfit driver

Vehicle driver who is not fit to drive due to the effects of drink/drugs. Also, re LGV* driver entitlement, driver who by his conduct has shown himself not fit to hold an entitlement to drive heavy vehicles – decided by TC* who may penalize the entitlement.


A means of handling a unit load from the selection aisles to the retail store aisles. It moves on four wheels and has strong sides that prevent product damage. Note: Using carts to ship merchandise lowers the cube capacity of a trailer. Carts are normally off-loaded into the trailer.

Unified driving license

New form of driving license in UK introduced in conformity with EU directives. Shows all of a drivers entitlements (ie ordinary/LGV/PCV) in a single document using EU system of categorization (eg Class I HGV license becomes C+E entitlement).

Uniform Code Council

An US association that administrates UCS, WINS, and VICS and provides UCS identification codes and UPC codes.  Also, a model set of legal rules governing commercial transmissions, such as sales, contracts, bank deposits and collections, commercial paper, and letters or credit.  Individual states give legal power to the UCC by adopting its articles of law.

Uniform Customs and Practice for Documentary Credits

The in 1993 revised rules of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) governing a letter of credit issued in respect of goods shipped applicable as from 1-1-1994.

Uniform Product Code (UPC) 

A standard product numbering and bar coding system used by the retail industry.  UPC codes are administered by the Uniform Code Council.  They identify the manufacturer as well as the item, and are included on virtually all retail packaging.  Also see:  Uniform Code Council.

Uniform Resource Locator (URL) 

A string that supplies the Internet address of a web site or resource on the World Wide Web, along with the protocol by which the site or resource is accessed.  The most common URL type is http://, which gives the Internet address of a web page.  Some other URL types are gopher:/, which gives the Internet address of a Gopher directory, and ftp://, which gives the network location of an FTP resource.

Uniform Warehouse Receipts Act

The act that sets forth the regulations governing public warehousing. The regulations define a warehouse manager’s legal responsibility and define the types of receipts he or she issues.

Union Internationale des Chemins de Fer

International railway union, in which most of the European national railway companies are united. Abbreviation: UIC

Unit Cost 

The cost associated with a single unit of product.  The total cost of producing a product or service divided by the total number of units.  The cost associated with a single unit of measure underlying a resource, activity, product, or service.  It’s calculated by dividing the total cost by the measured volume.  Unit cost measurement must be used with caution as it may not always be practical or relevant in all aspects of cost management.

Unit load

Material handling term that describes any configuration of materials that allow it to be moved by material handling equipment as a single unit.  While smaller manually handled configurations could be considered unit loads, the term generally defines larger configurations that would be moved by a lift truck such as palletized loads, crates, bales, etc.  a.k.a. unitized load

Unit Load Device

Any type of container or pallet, in which a consignment can be transported by air whether or not such a container is considered aircraft equipment. Any type of air freight container, aircraft container, aircraft pallet with a net, or aircraft pallet with a net over an igloo. Abbreviation: ULD

Unit of Driver Measure

The common denominator between groupings of similar activities. Example: 20 hours of process time is performed in an activity center. This time equates to a number of common activities varying in process time duration. The unit of measure is a standard measure of time such as a minute or an hour.

Unit train

An entire, uninterrupted locomotive, care, and caboose movement between an origin and destination.

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development

A United Nations agency whose work in shipping includes the liner code involving the sharing of cargoes between the shipping lines of the importing and exporting countries and third countries in the ratio 40:40:20. Abbreviation: UNCTAD

United Nations Dangerous Goods Number

The four-digit number assigned by the United Nations Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods to classify a substance or a particular groups of substances. Note: The prefix ‘UN’ must always be used in conjunction with these numbers. Abbreviation: UNDG Number

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

The UN/ECE is one of a number of Economic and Social Commissions established by the General Assembly of the United Nations. Despite its name it embraces both Europe and North America. The UN/ECE comprises twenty nine core member states, as well as any country which is a member of the United Nations and which applies under Article 11 of the United Nations constitution for delegate status. The aim is to advance the economic development of Europe and associated countries through trade facilitation and common agreements. Abbreviation: UN/ECE

United Nations Layout Key

A standard (ISO6422) which lays down the basic principles for the design of the image area on documents for use in international trade. Synonym: Layout Key. Abbreviation: UNLK

United Nations Standard Message

A collection of structured data that is exchanged to convey information related to a specific transaction between partners engaged in electronic data interchange. Messages are composed of logically grouped segments required for the type of message transaction covered. Note: A set of segments in the order specified in a message directory starting with the message header and ending with the message trailer (ISO9735). Abbreviation: UNSM

United Nations Standard Product and Service Code (UN/SPSC) 

Developed jointly between the United Nations and Dun & Bradstreet (D&B).  It has a five-level coding structure (segment, family, class, commodity, business function) for nearly 9,000 products.

United States Railway Association

The planning and funding agency for Conrail; created by the 3-R Act of 1973.


In warehousing, the consolidation of several units into larger units into larger units for fewer handlings.


To consolidate several packages into one unit; carriers strap, band, or otherwise attach the several packages together.

Unit-of-measure conversions

A unit-of-measure conversion is needed whenever you work with multiple units of measure. For example, if you purchased an item in cases (meaning that your purchase order stated a number of cases rather than a number of pieces) and then stocked the item in eaches, you would require a conversion to allow your system to calculate how many eaches are represented by a quantity of cases. This way, when you received the cases, your system would automatically convert the case quantity into an each quantity.


A family of operating systems known for its relative hardware independence and portable applications interface.


See United Nations Layout Key.


The action that goods are move out of the vehicle / container.

Unmanned machinery spaces

A space where alarm bells are installed on the bridge of a ship to trace or rectify any machinery faults. The computerized devices will report any fault immediately when it appears and the engineers on board can attend to the necessary ramifications.

Unplanned Order 

Orders which are received that do not fit into the volumes prescribed by the plans developed from forecasts.


The state or condition of a vessel when it is not in a proper state of maintenance, or if the loading equipment or crew, or in any other respect is not ready to encounter the ordinary perils of sea.


See United Nations Standard Message.

Unsuccessful vendor

A vendor whose response is not accepted for reasons such as price, quantity, failure to comply with specifications, etc.


See Unit of Measure.


Charges added to a bill, particularly a freight bill, to cover additional costs that were not envisioned when a contract was written. These might include costs related to rapidly increasing fuel charges or costs related to government mandates.

U-Pick Selection (Perimeter, Horseshoe, or Quad Selection)

A selecting (picking) pattern in which selectors move up one side of the aisle and down the other, returning to the point where the selection cart or truck is placed.

Upper Coupler

Load bearing surface on the underside of the front of a semitrailer. It rests on the fifth wheel of a tractor or dolly and has a downward-protruding kingpin which is captured by the locking jaws of the fifth wheel.


United Parcels Service. American, reputed to be world’s largest, express parcels carrier. Its characteristic brown coloured, standard design vehicles are recognized worldwide.


The practice of attempting to sell a higher-value product to the customer.

Upside Production Flexibility 

The number of days required to complete manufacture and delivery of an unplanned sustainable 20% increase in end-product supply of the predominant product line.  The one constraint that is estimated to be the principal obstacle to a 20% increase in end-product supply as represented in days is Upside Flexibility:  Principal Constraint.  Upside flexibility can affect three possible areas:  direct labor availability, internal manufacturing capacity, and key components or material availability.


Principal direction of movement for customer orders which originate at point of demand or use, as well as other flows, such as return product movements, payments for purchases, etc.  Opposite of downstream.

Urban Bus Challenge

Fund provided by government for which local authorities and other agencies can bid for improving public transport provision in these areas.

Urban clearway

Section of highway marked as such by appropriate signs (illustrated in Highway Code) and where vehicles must not park on carriageway during times shown on sign (except for as long as necessary to pick up or set down passengers.

Urban Mass Transportation Administration

A U.S. Department of Transportation agency that develops comprehensive mass transport systems for urban areas and for providing financial aid to transit systems.

Urban test cycle

Regarding official tests to determine fuel consumption for new cars – one of three standard tests conducted to simulate urban driving and not exceeding 50 kph (other tests are constant speed at 90 kph and optional constant speed at 120 kph). Law requires such figures to be displayed on all new cars offered for sale (since 1978).

Urine-alcohol limit

Statutory limit for amount of alcohol in urine above which it is illegal to drive, etc – 107 mg of alcohol in 100 ml of urine. Normally, determination of a drink/driving offence is based on breath/ alcohol test by breathalyzer or blood alcohol test but where this is not possible for medical reasons the urine test may be applied.


See Uniform Resource Locator.


United Road Transport Union. Trade union for transport drivers. Has statutory right of objection to ‘O’ license applications.


Eighth round of multilateral trade negotiations held under the GATT’s auspices.  The talks began in Uruguay in September 1986 and concluded successfully in December 1993.  The round resulted in a comprehensive agreement liberalizing trade in goods and services that came into force January 1, 1995.

US effective controlled fleet

That fleet of merchant ships owned by United States citizens or corporations and registered under flags of “convenience” or “necessity” such as Liberia or Panama. The term is used to emphasize that, while the fleet is not U.,$.-flag, it is effectively under U.S. control by virtue of the ship’s owners and can be called to serve U.S. interests in time of emergency.

Usage Rate

Measure of demand for product per unit of time (e.g., units per month, etc.).


United States Coast Guard.


Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers. Trade union for shop staff and for distribution drivers. Has statutory right of objection to ‘O’ license applications.

User Acceptance Testing

User performed test to determine a system for a specific task performs according to specification.

User body

An organization (eg a consultative committee) representing the interests of a particular group of customers who use transport services (eg rail users). Some are statutory, having been set up through legislation, while others are voluntary.

User Network

A public network made up of thousands of newsgroups and organized by topic. Acronym: USENET

User of vehicle

The person who drives a vehicle or who employs a person to drive it on his behalf (ie both driver and employer of the driver). Key term in transport law – most legislation is aimed at the ‘user’. For example, ‘O’ licenses must be held by the user and most C&U regulations offences are committed by the user.


United States Transportation Command, U.S. Department of Defense.


Urban traffic control. System for controlling traffic in urban areas.


Unité de Transport Intermodal. French term for Intermodal Transport Unit (ITU).


Concept of achieving maximum use of warehouse space (vehicles, vehicle load capacity, labour, capital, etc). Measure of efficiency of use, which tells (among other things) whether there is over-capacity available, excess labour or whether capital expenditure has not been effectively used.

Utilization Rate

A fleet productivity measurement that tracks % of time that vehicle is being used.


Urban traffic management and control. Intelligent (modular) control systems to manage traffic in cities.


Urban transport planning. Urban planning concept mainly adopted in the USA.

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