XPO Business Glossary

Contract Logistics

An asset-light, technology-enabled business characterized by long-term contractual relationships with high renewal rates, low cyclicality and a high-value-add component that minimizes commoditization. Contracts are typically structured as either fixed-variable, cost-plus or gain-share. XPO services include highly engineered solutions, e-fulfillment, reverse logistics, packaging, factory support, aftermarket support, warehousing and distribution for customers in aerospace, manufacturing, retail, life sciences, chemicals, food and beverage, and cold chain.


A non-asset business that facilitates time-critical, high-value or high-security shipments, usually on very short notice. Revenue is either contractual or transactional, primarily driven by unforeseen supply chain disruptions or just-in-time inventory demand for raw materials, parts or goods. XPO provides three types of expedite service: ground transportation via a network of independent contract carriers; air charter transportation facilitated by proprietary, web-based technology that solicits bids and assigns loads to aircraft; and a managed transportation network that is the largest web-based expedite management technology in North America.

Freight Brokerage

A variable cost business that facilitates the trucking of freight by procuring carriers through the use of proprietary technology. Freight brokerage net revenue is the spread between the price to the shipper and the cost of purchased transportation. In North America, XPO has a non-asset freight brokerage business, with a network of 32,000 independent carriers. In Europe, XPO generates over €1 billion in freight brokerage revenue annually, with capacity provided by an asset-light mix of owned fleet and independent carriers.

Global Forwarding

A non-asset business that facilitates freight shipments by ground, air and ocean. Shipments may have origins and destinations within North America, to or from North America, or between foreign locations. Services are provided through a network of market experts who provide local oversight in thousands of key trade areas worldwide. XPO’s global forwarding service can arrange shipments with no restrictions as to size, weight or mode, and is OTI and NVOCC licensed.


An asset-light business that facilitates the movement of long-haul, containerized freight by rail, often with a drayage (trucking) component at either end. Intermodal is a variable cost business, with revenue generated by a mix of contractual and spot market transactions. Net revenue equates to the spread between the price to the shipper and the cost of purchasing rail and truck transportation. Two factors are driving growth in intermodal in North America: rail transportation is less expensive and more fuel efficient per mile than long-haul trucking, and rail is a key mode of transportation in and out of Mexico, where the manufacturing base is booming due to a trend toward near-shoring.

Last Mile

A non-asset business that facilitates the delivery of goods to their final destination, most often to consumer households. XPO specializes in two areas of last mile service: arranging the delivery and installation of heavy goods such as appliances, furniture and electronics, often with a white glove component; and providing logistics solutions to retailers and distributors to support their e-commerce supply chains and omni-channel distribution strategies. Capacity is sourced from a network of independent contract carriers and technicians.

Less-than-Truckload (LTL)

The transportation of a quantity of freight that is larger than a parcel, but too small to require an entire truck, and is often shipped on a pallet. LTL shipments are priced according to the weight of the freight, its commodity class (which is generally determined by its cube/weight ratio and the description of the product), and mileage within designated lanes. An LTL carrier typically operates a hub-and-spoke network that allows for the consolidation of multiple shipments for different customers in single trucks.


The ground transportation of cargo provided by a single shipper in an amount that requires the full limit of the trailer, either by dimensional or weight. Cargo typically remains on a single vehicle from the point of origin to the destination, and is not handled en route. See Freight Brokerage for additional details.