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Shipping / Trade Terminologies




A.T.: American Terms (Marine Insurance) A term used to differentiate between the conditions of American Policies from those of other nations, principally England.

ABCC: Association of British Chambers of Commerce

ABI - Automated Brokerage Interface: Is a system available to U.S. Customs Brokers with the computer capabilities and customs certification to transmit and exchange customs entries and other information, facilitating prompt release of imported cargo.

ABI: Association of British Insurers

Acceptance: A time draft (or bill of exchange), which the drawee has accepted and is unconditionally obligated to pay at maturity. Drawee's act in receiving a draft and thus entering into the obligation to pay its value at maturity. An agreement to purchase goods under specified terms.

Ad Valorem ("according to the value"): A fixed percentage of the value of goods that is used to calculate customs duties and taxes.

Add Hoc Charter: A one-off charter operated at the necessity of an airline or charterer.

Admiralty Court: Is a court having jurisdiction over maritime questions pertaining to ocean transport, including contracts, charters, collisions, and cargo damages.

Advance Against Documents: Load made on the security of the documents covering the shipment.

Advising Bank: A bank that receives a letter of credit from an issuing bank, verifies its authenticity, and forwards the original letter of credit to the exporter without obligation to pay.

Advisory Capacity: A term indicating that a shipper's agent or representative is not empowered to make definite decisions or adjustment without the approval of the group or individual represented.

AF: Advance freight (i.e. prior to shipment)

Affiliate: Is a company that controls, or is controlled by another company, or is one of two or more commonly controlled companies.

Affreightment: The hiring of a ship in whole or in part

AFT: At or towards the stern or rear of a ship

Agency Agreement: The steamship line appoints the steamship agent and defines the specific duties and areas of responsibility of that agent.

Air Cargo Agent: Is a type of freight forwarder who specializes in air cargo and acts for airlines that pay him a fee (usually 5%). He is registered with the International Air Transport Association, IATA (See also Air Freight Forwarder; Forwarder, Freight Forwarder, Foreign Freight Forwarder).

Air Freight Forwarder: Is a type of freight forwarder who specializes in air cargo. He usually consolidates the air shipments of various exporters, charging them for actual weight and deriving his profit by paying the airline the lower consolidated rate. He issues his own air waybills to the exporters, is licensed by the CAB (Civil Aeronautics Board) and has the status of an indirect air carrier (See also Air Cargo Agent, Forwarder, Freight Forwarder, Foreign Freight Forwarder.)

Air Waybill: A bill of landing that covers both international and domestic flights transporting goods to a specified destination. This is a non-negotiable document of air transport that serves as a receipt for the shipper, indicating that the carrier has accepted the goods listed and obligates itself to carry the consignment to the airport of destination according to specified conditions.

Affreightment: An agreement by a steamship line to provide cargo space on a vessel at a specified time and for a specified price to accommodate an exporter or importer, who then becomes liable for payment even though he is later unable to make the shipment.

AITA: International Air Transport Association, IATA, (French, German).

All Risk Insurance: Is a clause included in marine insurance policies to cover loss and damage from external causes, such as fire, collision, pilferage, etc. but not against innate flaws in the goods, such as decay, germination, nor against faulty packaging, improper packing/ loading or loss of market, nor against war, strikes, riots and civil commotions (See Marine Insurance)

All Risk Clause: Is an insurance provision that all loss or damage to goods is insured except that of inherent vice (self caused). (See All Risk Insurance).

Alongside: A phrase referring to the side of a ship. Goods to be delivered "alongside" are to be placed on the dock or barge within reach of the transport ship's tackle so that they can be loaded abroad the ship.

AN: Advice note

ANF: Arrival notification form

AP: Additional premium

Arbitration Clause: Is a standard clause to be included in the contracts of exporters and importers, as suggested by the American Arbitration Association. It states that any controversy or claim will be settled by arbitration in accordance with the rules of the American Arbitration Association.

Assignment of Proceeds: A stipulation within a letter of credit in which some or all of the proceeds are assigned from the original beneficiary to one or more additional beneficiaries.

Assignment: The transfer of the rights, duties, responsibilities and/or benefits of an agreement, contract, or financial instrument to third party.

ATP: Accorde Transports Perissable, (European Agreement on the International Carriage of Perishable Foodstuffs)

Automated Brokerage Interface (ABI): An electronic system allowing customhouse brokers and importers to interface via computer with the US Customs Service for transmitting entry and entry summary data on imported merchandise.

Automated Commercial System (ACS): The electronic system of the US Customs Service, encompassing a variety of industry sectors, that permits on-line access to information in selected areas.

Automated Manifest System (AMS): The electronic system allowing a manifest inventory to be transmitted to the US Customs Service data center by carrier, port authority or service center computers.



BB: Ballast Bonus  (Special payment above the Chartering price when the ship has to sail a long way on ballast to reach the loading port.)

BB: Bareboat (Method of chartering of the ship leaving the charterer with almost all the responsibilities of the owner.)

B/B: (See Break-Bulk Cargo)

B/D: Banker's Draft

B/E: bill of exchange

B/S: Bill of Sale

BAA: British Airports Authority

BACA: Baltic Air Charter Association

BACS: Banker's Automated Clearing System

BAF: Bunker adjustment factor: A fuel surcharge expressed as a percentage added or subtracted from the freight rate reflecting the movement in the market price for bunkers.

Balance of Trade: The difference between a country's total imports and exports; if exports exceed imports, favorable balance of trade exists, if not, a trade deficit is said to exist.

Ballast: Heavy weight, often seawater, necessary for the stability and safety of a ship at sea.

Barter: Trade in which merchandise is exchanged directly for other merchandise without use of money. Barter is an important means of trade with countries using currency that is not readily convertible.

BCN: Banker's Cover Note

BEA: British Exporters Association

Beam: The maximum breadth of a ship.

Belly Cargo: Freight accommodation below the main deck.

Beneficiary: A firm or person on whom a letter of credit has been drawn. The beneficiary is usually the seller or exporter.

Bermuda Agreement: An agreement concluded in 1946 between the U.K. and the U.S., designed to regulate future international air traffic. Most governments accept its principles and follow it inter alia by limiting traffic rights on international routes to one or two carriers.

Berth: Place alongside a quay where a ship loads or discharges cargo.

Berth Liner Service: Is a regular scheduled steamship line with regular published schedules port of call) from and to defined trade areas.

Berth or Liner Terms: Is an expression covering assessment of ocean freight rates generally implying that loading and discharging expenses will be for ship owner's account, and usually apply from the end of ship's tackle in port of loading to the end of ship's tackle in port of discharge.

Berth: Is the place beside a pier, quay or wharf where a vessel can be loaded or discharged.

BIFA: British International Freight Association

Bill of Entry: A shipper's detailed statement for Customs purposes of the nature and value of goods in a consignment.

Bill of Exchange (B/E): Legally defined as "an unconditional order in writing, addressed by one person to another, signed by the person giving it, requiring the person to whom it is addressed to pay on demand or at a fixed or determinable future time, a sum certain in money to or to the order of a specified person, or to bearer". It is the most general method of obtaining payment for goods shipped abroad.

Bill of Lading: A document that establishes the terms of a contract between a shipper and a transportation company under which freight is to be moved between specified points for a specified charge. Usually prepared by the shipper on forms issued by the carrier, it serves as a document of title, contract of carriage, and a receipt for goods. Also see Air Waybill and Ocean Bill of Lading.

Bolster: This is a piece of equipment equivalent to the bottom of a container without sides. Often used for stacking parcels of sawn timber and bags of cocoa. Otherwise known as a flat or pontoon

Bonded Warehouse: A warehouse storage area or manufacturing facility in which imported goods may be stored or processed without payment of customs duties.

BOTB: British Overseas Trade Board

Bottle screws, container shoes, twist locks, chains and chain tensioners: All pieces of lashing equipment for securing cargo (twist locks and container shoes are used only on containers, pontoons and stackmasters).

Boules: A boule is a log that has been sliced through into at least 12 pieces. The bark is left intact.

Break bulk: Another term for general cargo, i.e. non-unitized cargoes.

Brussels Tariff Nomenclature Number (BTN): The customs tariff number used by most European nations. The United States does not use the BTN, but a similar system known as the Harmonize Tariff Schedule.

BSC: British Shippers Council

BSI: British Standards Institution

BSS: British Standard Specification

Bunkers: Name given for vessel’s fuel and diesel oil supplies (originates from coal bunkers).

BV: Bureau Veritas

B/L: Abbreviation for "Bill of Lading."

Backhaul: To haul a shipment back over part of a route it has traveled.

BAF: Abbreviation for "Bunker Adjustment Factor." Used to compensate steamship lines for fluctuating fuel costs. Sometimes called "Fuel Adjustment Factor" or FAF.

Balloon Freight: Light, bulky articles.

Bank Guarantee: Guarantee issued by a bank to a carrier to be used in lieu of lost or misplaced original negotiable bill of lading.

Barratry: An act committed by the master or mariners of a vessel, for some unlawful or fraudulent purpose, contrary to their duty to the owners, whereby the latter sustain injury. It may include negligence, if so gross as to evidence fraud.

Barrel (BBL): A term of measure referring to 42 gallons of liquid at 60o F.

Base Rate: A tariff term referring to ocean rate less accessorial charges, or simply the base tariff rate.

BCO: Abbreviation for "Beneficial Cargo Owner." Refers to the importer of record, who physically takes possession of cargo at destination and does not act as a third party in the movement of such goods.

Beam: The width of a ship.

Belt Line: A switching railroad operating within a commercial area.

Entity to whom money is payable.
 The entity for whom a letter of credit is issued.
 The seller and the drawer of a draft.

Berth Terms: Shipped under rate that includes cost from end of ship's tackle at load port to end of ship's tackle at discharge port.

Beyond: Used with reference to charges assessed for cargo movement past a line-haul terminating point.

Bilateral: A contract term meaning both parties agree to provide something for the other.

Bill of Exchange: In the United States, commonly known as a "Draft."   However, bill of exchange is the correct term.

Bill of Lading (B/L): A document that establishes the terms of a contract between a shipper and a transportation company. It serves as a document of title, a contract of carriage and a receipt for goods.
Amended B/L: B/L requiring updates that do not change financial status; this is slightly different from corrected B/L.
B/L Terms & Conditions: the fine print on B/L; defines what the carrier can and cannot do, including the carrier's liabilities and contractual agreements.
B/L's Status: represents whether the bill of lading has been input, rated, reconciled, printed, or released to the customer.
B/L's Type: refers to the type of B/L being issued. Some examples are: a Memo (ME), Original (OBL), Non-negotiable, Corrected (CBL) or Amended (AM) B/L.
Canceled B/L: B/L status; used to cancel a processed B/L; usually per shipper's request; different from voided B/L.
Clean B/L: A B/L which bears no superimposed clause or notation which declares a defective condition of the goods and/or the packaging.
Combined B/L: B/L that covers cargo moving over various transports.
Consolidated B/L: B/L combined or consolidated from two or more B/L's.
Corrected B/L: B/L requiring any update which results in money or other financially related changes.
Domestic B/L: Non-negotiable B/L primarily containing routing details; usually used by truckers and freight forwarders.
Duplicate B/L: Another original Bill of Lading set if first set is lost. also known as reissued B/L.
Express B/L: Non-negotiable B/L where there are no hard copies of originals printed.
Freight B/L: A contract of carriage between a shipper and forwarder (who is usually a NVOCC); a non-negotiable document.
Government B/L (GBL): A bill of lading issued by the U.S. government.
Hitchment B/L: B/L covering parts of a shipment, which are loaded at more than one location. Hitchment B/L usually consists of two parts, hitchment and hitchment memo. The hitchment portion usually covers the majority of a divided shipment and carries the entire revenue.
House B/L: B/L issued by a freight forwarder or consolidator covering a single shipment containing the names, addresses and specific description of the goods shipped.
Intermodal B/L: B/L covering cargo moving via multimodal means. Also known as Combined Transport B/L, or Multimodal B/L.
Long Form B/L: B/L form with all Terms & Conditions written on it.  Most B/L's are short form which incorporate the long form clauses by reference.
Memo B/L: Unfreighted B/L with no charges listed.
Military B/L: B/L issued by the U.S. military; also known as GBL, or Form DD1252.
B/L Numbers: U.S. Customs' standardized B/L numbering format to facilitate electronic communications and to make each B/L number unique.
Negotiable B/L: The B/L is a title document to the goods, issued "to the order of" a party, usually the shipper, whose endorsement is required to effect is negotiation.  Thus, a shipper's order (negotiable) B/L can be bought, sold, or traded while goods are in transit and is commonly used for letter-of-credit transactions.   The buyer must submit the original B/L to the carrier in order to take possession of the goods.
Non-Negotiable B/L:
See Straight B/L. Sometimes means a file copy of a B/L.
"Onboard" B/L: B/L validated at the time of loading to transport. Onboard Air, Boxcar, Container, Rail, Truck and Vessel are the most common types.
Optional Discharge B/L: B/L covering cargo with more than one discharge point option possibility.
"Order" B/L: See Negotiable B/L.
Original B/L: The part of the B/L set that has value, especially when negotiable; rest of set are only informational file copies. Abbreviated as OBL.
Received for Shipment B/L: Validated at time cargo is received by ocean carrier to commence movement but before being validated as "Onboard".
Reconciled B/L: B/L set which has completed a prescribed number of edits between the shippers instructions and the actual shipment received. This produces a very accurate B/L.
Short Term B/L: Opposite of Long Form B/L, a B/L without the Terms & Conditions written on it. Also known as a Short Form B/L. The terms are incorporated by reference to the long form B/L.
Split B/L: One of two or more B/L's which have been split from a single B/L.
Stale B/L: A late B/L; in banking, a B/L which has passed the time deadline of the L/C and is void.
Straight (Consignment) B/L: Indicates the shipper will deliver the goods to the consignee.  It does not convey title (non-negotiable).  Most often used when the goods have been pre-paid.
"To Order" B/L: See Negotiable B/L.
Unique B/L Identifier: U.S. Customs' standardization: four-alpha code unique to each carrier placed in front of nine digit B/L number; APL's unique B/L Identifier is "APLU". Sea-land uses "SEAU". These prefixes are also used as the container identification.
Voided B/L: Related to Consolidated B/L; those B/L's absorbed in the combining process. Different from Canceled B/L.

Bill of Lading Port of Discharge: Port where cargo is discharged from means of transport.

Bill of Sale: Confirms the transfer of ownership of certain goods to another person in return for money paid or loaned.

Bill to Party: Customer designated as party paying for services.

Billed Weight: The weight shown in a waybill and freight bill, i.e., the invoiced weight.

Blanket Bond: A bond covering a group of persons, articles or properties.

Blanket Rate
 A rate applicable to or from a group of points.
 A special rate applicable to several different articles in a single shipment.

Blanket Waybill: A waybill covering two or more consignments of freight.

Blind Shipment: A B/L wherein the paying customer has contracted with the carrier that shipper or consignee information is not given.

Block Stowage: Stowing cargo destined for a specific location close together to avoid unnecessary cargo movement.

Blocked Trains: Railcars grouped in a train by destination so that segments (blocks) can be uncoupled and routed to different destinations as the train moves through various junctions. Eliminates the need to break up a train and sort individual railcars at each junction.

Blocking or Bracing: Wood or metal supports (Dunnage) to keep shipments in place to prevent cargo shifting.

Bls: Abbreviation for "Bales."

Board: To gain access to a vessel.

Board Feet: The basic unit of measurement for lumber. One board foot is equal to a oneinch board, 12 inches wide and one foot long. Thus, a board ten feet long, 12 inches wide, and one inch thick contains ten board feet.

Bobtail: Movement of a tractor, without trailer, over the highway.

Bogie: A set of wheels built specifically as rear wheels under the container.

Bolster: A device fitted on a chassis or railcar to hold and secure the container.

Bond Port: Port of initial Customs entry of a vessel to any country. Also known as First Port of Call.

Bonded Freight: Freight moving under a bond to U.S. Customs or to the Internal Revenue Service, and to be delivered only under stated conditions.

Bonded Warehouse: A warehouse authorized by Customs authorities for storage of goods on which payment of duties is deferred until the goods are removed.

Booking: Arrangements with a carrier for the acceptance and carriage of freight; i.e., a space reservation.

Booking Number: Reservation number used to secure equipment and act as a control number prior to completion of a B/L.

Bottom Side Rails: Structural members on the longitudinal sides of the base of the container.

Bottom-Air Delivery: A type of air circulation in a temperature control container. Air is pulled by a fan from the top of the container, passed through the evaporator coil for cooling, and then forced through the space under the load and up through the cargo. This type of airflow provides even temperatures.

Bow: The front of a vessel.

Boxcar: A closed rail freight car.

Break Bulk
To unload and distribute a portion or all of the contents of a rail car, container, or trailer.
Loose, non-containerized cargo.

Broken Stowage
 The loss of space caused by irregularity in the shape of packages.
 Any void or empty space in a vessel or container not occupied by cargo.

Broker: A person who arranges for transportation of loads for a percentage of the revenue from the load.

Brokerage: Freight forwarder/broker compensation as specified by ocean tariff or contract.

Bulk Cargo: Not in packages or containers; shipped loose in the hold of a ship without mark and count." Grain, coal and sulfur are usually bulk freight.

Bulk-Freight Container: A container with a discharge hatch in the front wall; allows bulk commodities to be carried.

 A partition separating one part of a ship, freight car, aircraft or truck from another part.

Bull Rings: Cargo-securing devices mounted in the floor of containers; allow lashing and securing of cargo.

Bunker Charge: An extra charge sometimes added to steamship freight rates; justified by higher fuel costs. (Also known as Fuel Adjustment Factor or FAF.)

Bunkers: A Maritime term referring to Fuel used aboard the ship. Coal stowage areas aboard a vessel in the past were in bins or bunkers.

Bridge Point: An inland location where cargo is received by the ocean carrier and then moved to a coastal port for loading.

Bridge Port: A port where cargo is received by the ocean carrier and stuffed into containers but then moved to another coastal port to be waded on a vessel.



C&F Terms of Sale, or INCOTERMS.: Obsolete, albeit heavily used, term of sale meaning "cargo and freight" whereby Seller pays for cost of goods and freight charges up to destination port. In July, 1990 the International Chamber of Commerce replaced C&F with CFR.

Cabotage: Water transportation term applicable to shipments between ports of a nation; commonly refers to coast-wise or inter-coastal navigation or trade. Many nations, including the United States, have cabotage laws which require national flag vessels to provide domestic interport service.

CAF: Abbreviation for "Currency Adjustment Factor." A charge, expressed as a percentage of a base rate, that is applied to compensate ocean carriers of currency fluctuations.

Carnet: A Customs document permitting the holder to temporarily carry or send merchandise into certain foreign countries (for display, demonstration or similar purposes) without paying duties or posting bonds. Any of various Customs documents required for crossing some international borders.

Captain's Protest: A document prepared by the captain of a vessel on arriving at port; shows conditions encountered during voyage, generally for the purpose of relieving ship owner of any loss to cargo and shifting responsibility for reimbursement to the insurance company.

Carfloat: A barge equipped with tracks on which up to about 12 railroad cars are moved in harbors or inland waterways.

Car Pooling: Use of individual carrier/rail equipment through a central agency for the benefit of carriers and shippers.

Car Seal: Metal strip and lead fastener used for locking freight car or truck doors. Seals are numbered for record purposes.

Cargo: Freight loaded into a ship.

Cargo Manifest: A manifest that lists all cargo carried on a specific vessel voyage.

Cargo NOS: Cargo Not Otherwise Specified. Usually the rate entry in a tariff that can apply to commodities not covered under a specific item or sub item in the applicable tariff.

Cargo Preference: Cargo reserved by a Nation's laws for transportation only on vessels registered in that Nation.  Typically the cargo is moving due to a direct or indirect support or activity of the Government.

C & D: Collected and delivered

C & E: Customs & Excise

C & I: Is a quoted price includes cost of goods and insurance.

C&F: Is a quoted price includes cost of goods and freight.

C.C.E.F: Is a Customs Centralized Examination Facility.

C.I.F: Is a quoted price includes cost of goods, insurance and freight.

C.I.T.E.S: Committee on International Trade of Endangered Species.

C/P: Charter party

C/V: Certificate of value

C/VO: Certificate of Value and Origin

CAA: Is the Civil Aviation Authority. Government body responsible for regulating U.K. airlines.

CAAC: Customs and Allied Affairs Committee

Cabotage: Is where cargo is carried on what is essentially a domestic flight and therefore not subject to international agreements that fix set rates. Cabotage rates are negotiable between shipper and airline and apply on flights within a country and to its overseas territories.

CAD / Can: has two meanings in the industry

CAD/CAM: Computer Aided Design/Computer Aided Manufacturing.

CAD: The acronym meaning "cash against documents," a method of payment for goods in which documents transferring title are given to the buyer upon payment of cash to an intermediary acting for the seller.

CAF: Currency adjustment factor: A surcharge expressed as a percentage (or subtracted) from the freight rate compensating the Line (or shipper) for a change in the exchange rates relationship between the currency of freight collected from the shippers and currency of costs incurred by the Line.

Cage: The transporting of goods by truck to or from a vessel, aircraft, or bonded warehouse, all under customs custody.

CAN: Customs Assigned Number

Cargo Receipt: Is a receipt of cargo for shipment by a consolidator (used in ocean freight).

Cargo: means merchandise/commodities/freight carried by means of transportation.

Carnet: A customs document permitting the holder to carry or send merchandise temporarily into certain foreign countries (for display, demonstration, or similar purpose) without paying duties or posting bonds.

Carrier: Any person who undertakes to perform or procure the performance of carriage by rail, road, sea, air, inland waterway or any combination.

Carrier - Common: A public or privately owned firm or corporation that transports the goods of others over land, sea, or through the air, for a stated freight rate. By government regulation, a common carrier is required to carry all goods offered if accommodations are available and the established rate is paid.

Carriers(s) Containers or Shipper(s) Containers: The term Carrier(s) Container(s) or Shipper(s) Container(s) means containers over which the carrier or the shipper has control either by ownership or by the acquisition thereof under lease or rental from container companies or container suppliers or from similar sources. Carriers are prohibited from purchasing, leasing or renting shipper owned containers.

Cartel: Is an association of several independent national or international business organizations that regulates competition by controlling the prices, the production, or the marketing of a product or an industry.

Cargo Tonnage: Most ocean freight is billed on the basis of weight or measurement tons (W/M). Weight tons can be expressed in short tons of 2000 pounds, long tons of 2240 pounds or metric tons of 1000 kilos (2204.62 pounds). Measurement tons are usually expressed as cargo measurement of 40 cubic feet (1.12 meters) or cubic meters (35.3 cubic feet.)

Carload Rate: A rate applicable to a carload of goods.

Carrier: Any person or entity who, in a contract of carriage, undertakes to perform or to procure the performance of carriage by rail, road, sea, air, inland waterway or by a combination of such modes.

Carrier's Certificate: A certificate required by U.S. Customs to release cargo properly to the correct party.

Cartage: Usually refers to intra-city hauling on drays or trucks.

Cartment: Customs form permitting in bond cargo to be moved from one location to another under Customs control, within the same Customs district. Usually in motor carrier's possession while draying cargo.

Cash Against Documents (CAD): Payment for goods in which a commission house, or other intermediary, transfers title documents to the buyer upon payment in cash.

Cash in Advance (C.I.A.): Payment for goods in which the price is paid in full before shipment is made. This method is usually used only for small purchases or when the goods are built to order.

CBI: Confederation of British Industry

CC/O: Certificate of consignment/origin

CCA: Connecting carrier agreement: A contract between carriers such that line or both operators will transport a said amount of cargo on behalf of the other on the other's Bill of Lading, thus acting as a bridge for cross traded cargoes needing a first or second leg carrier to compliment the first

CCT: Common Customs Tariff (within the EU)

CD: Customs declaration

CDV: Current domestic value

Cell Guides: Metal Guides fitted in the vessel holds for easy positioning of marine containers in the vessel.

Certificate of Analysis: A certificate required by some countries as proof of the quality and composition of food products or pharmaceuticals. The required analysis may be made by a private or government health agency. The certificate must be legalized by a foreign consul of the country concerned, as is the case with such similar certificates as the phytosanitary certificate.

Certificate of Inspection: A document certifying that the goods were in apparent good condition immediately prior to shipment.

Certificate of Manufacture: A statement in which a producer specifies where his goods were manufactured, certifies that manufacturing has been completed, and confirms that the goods are at the buyer's disposal.

Certificate of Origin: A statement signed by the exporter, or his agent, and attested to by a local Chamber of Commerce, indicating that the goods being shipped, or a major percentage of them, originated and were produced in the exporter's country.

CES: Is a Customs Examination Station

CFR: Cost and Freight - One of the thirteen Inco terms and one of four 'C' terms.

 The seller must clear the goods for export.
A sales term denoting that the seller is responsible for arranging and paying for the carriage of goods to the agreed port of discharge, excluding insurance costs.
CFR is used for goods that are to be carried by sea.

CFS (Container Freight Station): The term CFS at loading port means the location designated by carriers for the receiving of cargo to be packed into containers by the carrier. At discharge ports, the term CFS means the bonded location designated by carriers in the port area for unpacking and delivery of cargo.

CFS CHARGE (Container Freight Charge): The term CFS Charge means the charge assessed for services performed at the loading or discharging port in packing or unpacking of cargo into/from containers at CFS.

CFS Receiving Service: The term "CFS Receiving Services" means the service performed at loading port in receiving and packing cargo into containers from CFS to CY or shipside. "CFS Receiving Services" referred herein are restricted to the following
 Moving empty containers from CY to CFS
Drayage of loaded containers from CFS to CY and/or ship's tackle
Issuing dock receipt/shipping order
Physical movement of cargo into, out of and within CFS
Stuffing, sealing and marking containers
Ordinary sorting and stacking
Preparing carrier's internal container load plan

CFS/CFS (Pier to Pier): The term CFS/CFS means cargo delivered by break-bulk to Carrier's CFS to be packed by Carrier into containers and to be unpacked by Carrier from the container at Carrier's destination port CFS.

CFS/CY (Pier to House): The term CFS/CY means cargo delivered break-bulk to Carrier's CFS to be packed by Carrier into containers and accepted by consignee at Carrier's CY and unpacked by the consignee off Carrier's premises, all at consignee's risk and expense.

CH: Custom House

Chargeable Kilo: Rate for goods where volume exceeds six cubic metres to the tonne.

Charges forward: Charges to be paid by the buyer on arrival of the goods.

Charter party Bill of Lading: A bill of lading issued under a charter party. It is not acceptable by banks under letters of credit unless so authorized in the credit.

Charter Party: The contract between the owner of a ship and the individual or company chartering it. Among other specifications, the contract usually stipulates the exact obligations of the ship-owner (loading the goods, carrying the goods to a certain point, returning to the charterer with other goods, etc.); or it provides for an outright leasing of the vessel to the charterer, who then is responsible for his own loading and delivery. In either case, the charter party sets forth the exact conditions and requirements agreed upon by both sides.

Charter: Originally meant a flight where a shipper contracted hire of an aircraft from an airline. Has usually come to mean any non-scheduled commercial service.

Charterer: Person or company who hires a ship from a ship owner for a period of time.

Chassis: A wheel assemble including bogies constructed to accept mounting of containers.

CIA: The acronym meaning "cash in advance," a method of payment for goods whereby buyer pays seller in advance of shipment of goods.

CIF & C: Cost, Insurance, and Freight & Commission

CIF & E: Cost, Insurance, and Freight & Exchange

CIF & I: Cost, Insurance, and Freight & Interest

CIF (cost, insurance and freight): Seller is responsible for inland freight, ocean/air freight, and marine/air insurance to the port of final entry in the buyer's country. The buyer is responsible for inland transportation to his or her location.

CIFC & I: Cost, Insurance, Freight, and Commission & Interest

CIP: Carriage and Insurance Paid To - One of the thirteen Inco terms and one of four 'C' terms.
 The seller has the same obligation asunder CPT but is also responsible for contracts for insurance of goods during the carriage. The seller also pays the insurance premium.
Under CIP the seller is only required to obtain minimum insurance cover.

CITHA: Confederation of International Trading Houses Associations

Class Rates: A class of goods or commodities is a large grouping of various items under one general heading. All items in the group make up a class. The freight rates that apply to all items in the class are called class rates.

Classification: is a customs term. The placement of an item under the correct number in the customs tariff for duty purposes. At times this procedure becomes highly complicated; it is not uncommon for importers to resort to litigation over the correct duty to be assessed by the customs on a given item.

Claused Bill of Lading: Is a bill of lading which has exemptions to the receipt of merchandise in "apparent good order" noted.

Clean Bill of Lading: is a bill of lading, which covers goods, received in "apparent good order and condition" and without qualification.

Clean Draft: Is a draft to which no documents have been attached.

CLECAT: European Liaison Committee of Common Market Forwarders

CM (cm): Centimeters

CNS: Cargo Network Services, an IATA company. See IATA.

COD: Cash on delivery, customers own delivery

Collective Paper: All documents (commercial invoices, bills of lading, etc.) submitted to a buyer for the purpose of receiving payment for a shipment.

Combi: Is an aircraft with pallet or container capacity on its main deck as well as in its belly holds.

Combination Vessels: Container/Break-bulk vessel - this type of ship accommodates both container and break-bulk cargo. It can be either self-sustaining or non-self sustaining.

Combo/Combi: Combination vessel: A dry vessel designed to carry either dry bulk (grain, etc,) break bulk or containers. Such vessels are normally equipped with their own cranes.

Commercial Code: A published code designed to reduce the total number of words required in a cablegram.

Commercial Invoice: An itemized list of goods shipped, usually included among an exporter's collection papers.

Commercial Risk: Risk carried by the exporter (unless insurance is secured) that the foreign buyer may not be able to pay for goods delivered on an open account basis.

Commodity Specialist: An official authorized by the U.S. Treasury to determine proper tariff and value of imported goods.

Common Carrier: A firm or individual that transports persons or goods for compensation.

Conference: A group of vessel operators joined together for the purpose of establishing freight rates.
RoRo/Container Vessel:
Ship designed to accommodate containers and roll-on roll-off cargo. It can be self-sustaining.
RoRo/Container/Break-bulk Vessel: Designated to accommodate three types of cargo, usually self-sustaining.

Confirmed Letter of Credit: A letter of credit, issued by a foreign bank with validity confirmed by a U.S. bank.

Confirmed Letter of Credit: A letter of credit, issued by a foreign bank, with validity confirmed by a U.S. bank. An exporter who requires a confirmed letter of credit from the buyer is assured of payment by the U.S. bank even if the foreign buyer or the foreign bank defaults.

Confiscation: The taking and holding of private property by government or agency acting for a government. Compensation may or may not be given to the owner of the property.

Consignee Marks: A symbol laced on packages for identification purposes; generally consisting of a triangle, square, circle, diamond, cross, with letters and/or numbers as well as port of discharge.

Consignee: Person or firm to whom goods are shipped under a bill of landing.

Consignee: The individual or company, to whom a seller or shipper sends merchandise and who, upon presentation of necessary documents, is recognized as merchandise owner for the purpose of declaring and paying customs duties and taking the property of the goods in his possession.

Consignment: Is the physical transfer of goods from a seller (consignor) with whom the title remains, to another legal entity (consignee) who acts as a selling agent, selling the goods and remitting the new proceeds to the consignor.

Consignor: A term used to describe any person who consigns goods to himself or to another party in a bill of lading or equivalent document. A consignor might be the owner of the goods, or a freight forwarder who consigns goods on behalf of his principal.

Consolidated Shipment: An arrangement whereby various shippers pool their boxed goods on the same shipment, sharing the total weight charge for the shipment.

Consolidator: An agent, which brings together a number of shipments for one destination to qualify for preferential airline rates.

Consortium: The name for an agreement under which several nations or nationals (usually corporations) of more than one nation, join together for a common purpose. It could be for management or exploitation of a natural resource, as in the case of some international petroleum consortiums.

Consul: A government official residing in a foreign country, charged with representing the interests of his or her country and its nationals.

Consular Declaration: A formal statement, made to the consul of a foreign country, describing goods to be shipped.

Consular Documents: Special forms signed by the consul of a country to which cargo is destined.

Consular Invoice: A document, required by some foreign countries, describing a shipment of goods and showing information such as the consignor, consignee, and value of the shipment. Certified by a consular official of the foreign country, it is used by the country's customs officials to verify the value, quantity and nature of the shipment.

Consular Invoice: A document, required by some foreign countries, describing a shipment of goods and showing information such as the consignor, consignee, and value of the shipment. Certified by consular official of the foreign, it is used by the country's customs official to verify the value, quantity, and nature of the shipment.

Container: Metal box used for the carriage of cargo. Usual dimensions 20 x 8 x 8.5ft or 40 x 8 x 8.5ft.

Container demurrage: Money paid by the shipper for the use of containers or other Line owned equipment beyond a specified ‘free time’ period.

Container Ship: Ocean going ship designed to carry containers both internally and on deck. Some are self-sustaining.

Container vessel: Ship specially designed to carry shipping containers. The vessel often has bays into which the containers are lowered and where they are held in place by upright steel sections called cell guides. Containers are frequently carried on deck where they need to be lashed and secured.

Container: The term container means a single rigid, non-disposable dry cargo, insulated, temperature controlled flat rack, vehicle rack portable liquid tank, or open top container without wheels or bogies attached, having not less than 350 cubic feet capacity, having a closure or permanently hinged door that allows ready access to the cargo (closure or permanently hinged door not applicable to flat rack vehicle rack or portable liquid tank). All types of containers will have constructions, fittings and fastenings able to withstand without permanent distortion, all the stresses that may be applied in normal service use of continuous transportation. All containers must bear manufacturer's specifications.

Containerization: Is a concept for the ultimate unitizing of cargo used by both steamship lines and air cargo lines. Containers allow a greater amount of cargo protection from weather, damage, and theft.

Containers (Air Cargo): Many types of air cargo containers are offered: The containers are designed in various sizes and irregular shapes to conform to the inside dimensions of a specific aircraft.

Containers (Ocean): Are designed to be moved inland on its own chassis and can be loaded at the shippers plant for shipment overseas. Basic types of containers are; dry van, open top, half high, hi cube, flat rock, tank container, refrigerated container, insulated container, tilting container. Average outside dimensions are generally 20, 35, and 40 feet in length, 8 feet wide and 8 feet high standard.

Continuous Bond: is an annual customs bond insuring compliance with all regulations and requirements.

Contract Rate: Is a charge levied by carriers selling capacity forward over a given route to a shipper of forwarder; the client is therefore assured of capacity, which must be paid for regardless of load carried.

Coordinating Committee for Export Controls (COCOM): An informal group of 15 western countries established to prevent the export of certain strategic products to potentially hostile nations.

Correspondent Bank: A bank that, in its own country, handles the business of a foreign bank.

COU: Clip-on unit

Counter-trade: is a reciprocal trading arrangement, which includes a variety of transactions involving two or more parties.

Countervailing Duties: is a special duties imposed on imports to offset the benefits of subsidies to producers or exporters of the exporting country.

CPT: Carriage Paid To - One of the thirteen Inco terms and one of four 'C' terms.
The seller pays the freight for the carriage of the goods to the named destination. Under CPT the seller must clear the goods for export i.e. obtain the export license, pay export taxes and fees if required and furnish the buyer with the invoice and relevant documents.
 CPT can be used for any mode of transport

Cranage: Charge for use of wharf crane when a ship's own appliances for loading or unloading are now used.

Credit Risk Insurance: Insurance designed to cover risks of nonpayment for delivered goods.

CRF: Clean Report of Findings, details the quality, quantity and state of goods

CRN: Customs registered number

Curl: Small nugget of dense hardwood which has a high oil content. This is used for bearings and is very rare. Sometimes used in Takaradi.

Customhouse Broker: An individual or firm licensed to enter and clear goods through Customs.

Customs Bonded Warehouse: Is a warehouse where imported goods may be stored for a total of three years without the payment of duty or taxes.

Customs Court: Is the court to which importers might appeal or protest decisions made by Customs officers.

Customs Tariff: Is a schedule of charges assessed by the federal government on imported goods.

Customs Union: Is an agreement between two or more countries in which they arrange to abolish tariffs and other import restrictions on each other's goods and establish a common tariff for the imports of all other countries.

CWE: Cleared without examination

CWO: The acronym meaning "cash with order," a method of payment for goods where cash is paid at the time of order and the transaction becomes binding on both buyer and seller.

CY (Container Yard): The term CY means the location designated by Carrier in the port terminal area for receiving, assembling, holding, storing and delivering containers, and where containers may be picked up by shippers or re-delivered by consignees. No container yard (CY) shall be a shipper's, consignee's, NVOCC's, or a forwarder's place of business, unless otherwise provided.

CY/CFS (House to Pier): The term CY/CFS means containers packed by shipper of carrier's premises and delivered by shipper to Carrier's CY, all at shipper's risk and expense and unpacked by Carrier at the destination port CFS.

CY/CY (House to House): The term CY/CY means containers packed by shipper off Carrier's premises and delivered by shipper to Carrier's CY and accepted by consignee a t Carrier's CY and unpacked by consignee off Carrier's premises, all at the risk and expense of cargo.

Cash Against Documents (CAD): Method of payment for goods in which documents transferring title are given the buyer upon payment of cash to an intermediary acting for the seller, usually a commission house.

Cash in Advance (CIA): A method of payment for goods in which the buyer pays the seller in advance of the shipment of goods. Usually employed when the goods, such as specialized machinery, are built to order.

Cash With Order (CWO): A method of payment for goods in which cash is paid at the time of order and the transaction becomes binding on both buyer and seller.

CBM (CM): Abbreviation for "Cubic Meter."

CE: Abbreviation for "Consumption Entry." The process of declaring the importation of foreign made goods for use in the United States.

Cells: The construction system employed in container vessels; permits ship containers to be stowed in a vertical line with each container supporting the one above it.

Center of Gravity: The point of equilibrium of the total weight of a containership, truck, train or a piece of cargo.

A document certifying that merchandise (such as of Inspection perishable goods) was in good condition immediately prior to its shipment.
 The document issued by the U.S. Coast Guard certifying an American flag vessel's compliance with applicable laws and regulations.

Certificate of Origin: A certified document showing the origin of goods; used in international commerce.

CFS: Abbreviation for "Container Freight Station." A shipping dock where cargo is loaded ("stuffed") into or unloaded ("stripped") from containers. Generally, this involves less than container load shipments, although small shipments destined to same consignee are often consolidated. Container reloading from/to rail or motor carrier equipment is a typical activity.

Charter Party: A written contract between the owner of a vessel and the person desiring to employ the vessel (charterer); sets forth the terms of the arrangement such as duration of agreement, freight rate and ports involved in the trip.

Chassis: A frame with wheels and container locking devices in order to secure the container for movement.

Chock: A piece of wood or other material placed at the side of cargo to prevent rolling or moving sideways.

CI: Abbreviation for "Cost and Insurance." A price that includes the cost of the goods, the marine insurance and all transportation charges except the ocean freight to the named point of destination.

CIF: Abbreviation for "Cost, Insurance, Freight." (Named Port) Same as C&F or CFR except seller also provides insurance to named destination.

CIF & C: Price includes commission as well as CIF.

CIF & E: Abbreviation for "Cost, Insurance, Freight And Exchange."

CIFCI: Abbreviation for "Cost, Insurance, Freight, Collection And Interest."

CIFI & E: Cost, Insurance, Freight, Interest and Exchange.

CKD: Abbreviation for "Completely Knocked Down." Parts and sub-assemblies being transported to an assembly plant.

CL: Abbreviation for "Carload" and "Containerload".

Claim: A demand made upon a transportation line for payment on account of a loss sustained through its alleged negligence.

Classification: A publication, such as Uniform Freight Classification (railroad) or the National Motor Freight Classification (motor carrier), that assigns ratings to various articles and provides bill of lading descriptions and rules.

Classification Rating: The designation provided in a classification by which a class rate is determined.

Classification Yard: A railroad yard with many tracks used for assembling freight trains.

Clayton Act: An anti - trust act of the U.S. Congress making price discrimination unlawful.

Clean Bill of Lading: A receipt for goods issued by a carrier with an indication that the goods were received in "apparent good order and condition," without damage or other irregularities.  If no notation or exception is made, the B/L is assumed to be "cleaned."

Cleaning in Transit: The stopping of articles, such as peanuts, etc., for cleaning at a point between the point of origin and destination.

Clearance: The size beyond which cars or loads cannot use Limits bridges, tunnels, etc.

Cleat: A strip of wood or metal used to afford additional strength, to prevent warping, or to hold in place.

Clip-On: Refrigeration equipment attachable to an insulated container that does not have its own refrigeration unit.

CM: Abbreviation for "Cubic Meter" (capital letters).

Cm: Abbreviation for "centimeter."

Coastwise: Water transportation along the coast.


Abbreviation For
 Collect (cash ) on Delivery
 Carried on Docket (pricing).

COFC: Abbreviation for the Railway Service "Container On Flat Car."

COGSA: Carriage of Goods by Sea Act. U.S. federal codification passed in 1936, which standardizes carrier's liability under carrier's bill of lading. U.S. enactment of The Hague Rules.

Collecting: A bank that acts as an agent to the seller's bank (the presenting bank). The collecting bank assumes no responsibility for either the documents or the merchandise.

Collection: A draft drawn on the buyer, usually accompanied by documents, with complete instructions concerning processing for payment or acceptance.

Combination Export Mgr.: A firm that acts as an export sales agent for more than one non-competing manufacturer.

Combination Rate: A rate made up of two or more factors, separately published.

Commercial Invoice: Represents a complete record of the transaction between exporter and importer with regard to the goods sold. Also reports the content of the shipment and serves as the basis for all other documents about the shipment.

Commodity: Article shipped. For dangerous and hazardous cargo, the correct commodity identification is critical.

Commodity Rate: A rate published to apply to a specific article or articles.

Common Carrier: A transportation company which provides service to the general public at published rates.

Common Law: Law that derives its force and authority from precedent, custom and usage rather than from statutes, particularly with reference to the laws of England and the United States.

Concealed Damage: Damage that is not evident from viewing the unopened package.

Conference: An association of ship owners operating in the same trade route who operate under collective conditions and agree on tariff rates.

Confirmed Letter of Credit: A letter of credit, issued by a foreign bank, whose validity has been confirmed by a domestic bank. An exporter with a confirmed letter of credit is assured of payment even if the foreign buyer or the foreign bank defaults.

Confirming Bank: The bank that adds its confirmation to another bank's (the issuing bank's) letter of credit and promises to pay the beneficiary upon presentation of documents specified in the letter of credit.

Connecting Carrier: A carrier, which has a direct physical connection with, or forms a link between two or more carriers.

Consignee: A person or company to whom commodities are shipped.

Consignee Mark: A symbol placed on packages for identification purposes; generally a triangle, square, circle, etc. with letters and/or numbers and port of discharge.

 A stock of merchandise advanced to a dealer and located at his place of business, but with title remaining in the source of supply.
A shipment of goods to a consignee.

Consignor: A person or company shown on the bill of lading as the shipper.

Consolidation: Cargo containing shipments of two or more shippers or suppliers. Containerload shipments may be consolidated for one or more consignees.

Consolidator: A person or firm performing a consolidation service for others. The consolidator takes advantage of lower full carload (FCL) rates, and savings are passed on to shippers.

Construction Differential Subsidy: A program whereby the U.S. government attempted to offset the higher shipbuilding cost in the U.S. by paying up to 50% of the difference between cost of U.S. and non U.S. construction. The difference went to the U.S. shipyard. It is un-funded since 1982.

Consul: A government official residing in a foreign country who represents the interests of her or his country and its nationals.

Consular Declaration: A formal statement describing goods to be shipped; filed with and approved by the consul of the country of destination prior to shipment.

Consular Invoice: A document, certified by a consular official, is required by some countries to describe a shipment. Used by Customs of the foreign country, to verify the value, quantity and nature of the cargo.

Consular Visa: An official signature or seal affixed to certain documents by the consul of the country of destination.

Consumption Entry (CE): The process of declaring the importation of foreign-made goods into the United States for use in the United States.

Container: A truck trailer body that can be detached from the chassis for loading into a vessel, a rail car or stacked in a container depot. Containers may be ventilated, insulated, refrigerated, flat rack, vehicle rack, open top, bulk liquid or equipped with interior devices. A container may be 20 feet, 40 feet, 45 feet, 48 feet or 53 feet in length, 8'0" or 8'6" in width, and 8'6" or 9'6" in height.

Container Booking: Arrangements with a steamship line to transport containerized cargo.

Container Freight Station: See CFS.

Container Manifest: Document showing contents and loading sequence of a container.

Container Pool: An agreement between parties that allows the efficient use and supply of containers. A common supply of containers available to the shipper as required.

Container Terminal: An area designated for the stowage of cargoes in container; usually accessible by truck, railroad and marine transportation. Here containers are picked up, dropped off, maintained and housed.

Container Yard (CY): A materials handling/storage facility used for completely unitized loads in containers and/or empty containers. Commonly referred to as CY.

Containerizable Cargo: Cargo that will fit into a container and result in an economical shipment.

Containerization: Stowage of general or special cargoes in a container for transport in the various modes.

Container Load: A load sufficient in size to fill a container either by cubic measurement or by weight.

Contraband: Cargo that is prohibited.

Contract: A legally binding agreement between two or more persons/organizations to carry out reciprocal obligations or value.

Contract Carrier: Any person not a common carrier who, under special and individual contracts or agreements, transports passengers or property for compensation.

Controlled Atmosphere: Sophisticated, computer controlled systems that manage the mixtures of gases within a container throughout an intermodal journey reducing decay.

Corner Posts: Vertical frame components fitted at the corners of the container, integral to the corner fittings and connecting the roof and floor structures. Containers are lifted and secured in a stack using the castings at the ends.

Correspondent Bank: A bank that, in its own country, handles the business of a foreign bank.

Cost, Insurance and Freight (CIF): Cost of goods, marine insurance and all transportation (freight) charges are paid to the foreign point of delivery by the seller.

Countervailing Duty: An additional duty imposed to offset export grants, bounties or subsidies paid to foreign suppliers in certain countries by the government of that country for the purpose of promoting export.

Cross Member: Transverse members fitted to the bottom side rails of a container, which support the floor.

Cu.: An abbreviation for "Cubic." A unit of volume measurement.

Cube Out: When a container or vessel has reached its volumetric capacity before its permitted weight limit.

Cubic Foot: 1,728 cubic inches.  A volume contained in a space measuring one foot high, one foot wide and one foot long.

Custom house: A government office where duties are paid, import documents filed, etc., on foreign shipments.

Customhouse Broker: A person or firm, licensed by the treasury department of their country when required, engaged in entering and clearing goods through Customs for a client (importer).

Customs: Government agency charged with enforcing the rules passed to protect the country's import and export revenues.

Customs Bonded Warehouse: A warehouse authorized by Customs to receive duty-free merchandise.

Customs Entry: All countries require that the importer make a declaration on incoming foreign goods. The importer then normally pays a duty on the imported merchandise. The importer's statement is compared against the carrier's vessel manifest to ensure that all foreign goods are properly declared.

Customs Invoice: A form requiring all data in a commercial invoice along with a certificate of value and/or a certificate of origin. Required in a few countries (usually former British territories) and usually serves as a seller's commercial invoice.

Customs of the Port: A phrase often included in charter parties and freight contracts referring to local rules and practices which may impact upon the costs borne by the various parties.

Cut-Off Time: The latest time cargo may be delivered to a terminal for loading to a scheduled train or ship.

Cwt.: Hundred weight (United States, 100 pounds: U.K.,112)

Abbreviation for Container Yard
The designation for full container receipt/delivery.



D&H: Abbreviation for "Dangerous and Hazardous" cargo.

D.B.A.: Abbreviation for "Doing Business As." A legal term for conducting business under a registered name.

DDC: Abbreviation for "Destination Delivery Charge." A charge, based on container size, that is applied in many tariffs to cargo. This charge is considered accessorial and is added to the base ocean freight. This charge covers crane lifts off the vessel, drayage of the container within the terminal and gate fees at the terminal operation.

D.F.: Dead Freight

D.W: Deadweight (tons of 2,240 lbs.)

D.W.C: Deadweight for cargo

D/O: Delivery order

DAF: Delivered At Frontier - One of the thirteen Inco terms and one of five 'D' terms.
 The seller is obliged to deliver the goods at the frontier before the customs border of the adjoining country. The goods should be made available and cleared for export. The seller must also provide documents to enable the buyer to take delivery such as the document of transport or warehouse warrant.

Dangerous Goods: Articles or substance capable of posing a significant risk to health, safety or property, and that ordinarily require special attention when being transported.

DAT: Dangerous articles tariff.

Date Draft: Draft that matures in a specified number of days after the date it is issued, without regard to the date of Acceptance. See Draft.

DCA: Department of Civil Aviation. Commonly used term to denote the government department of any foreign country that is responsible for aviation regulation and granting traffic rights.

DDP: Delivered duty paid. Also known as "free domicile."

DDU: Delivered duty unpaid. Reflects the emergence of "door-to-door" intermodal or courier contracts or carriage where only the destination customs duty and taxes (if any) are paid by consignee.

Dead Freight: means freight charges paid by the charterer of vessel for the contracted space, which is left partially unoccupied.

Dead Leg: is a sector flown without payload.

Deck Cargo: Is cargo carried on deck rather than stowed under deck. On deck carriage is required for certain commodities, such as explosives.

Deferred Payment Credit: Type of letter of credit providing for payment some time after presentation of shipping documents by exporter.

Deferred Rebate: The return of a portion of the freight charges by a carrier or a conference shipper in exchange for the shipper giving all or most of his shipments to the carrier or conference over a specified period of time (usually 6 months). Payment of the rate is deferred for a further similar period, during which the shipper must continue to give all or most of his shipments to the rebating carrier or conference. The shipper thus earns a further rebate which will not, however, be paid without an additional period of exclusive or almost exclusive patronage with the carrier of conference. In this way, the shipper becomes tied to the rebating carrier or conference. Although, the deferred rebate system is illegal in U.S. foreign commerce, it generally is accepted in the ocean trade between foreign countries.

Demurrage: A penalty for exceeding free time allowed for loading or unloading at a pier or freight terminal. Also a charge for undue detention of transportation equipment or carriers in port while loading or unloading.

Density: Density means pounds per cubic foot. The cubage of loose articles or pieces, or packaged articles of a rectangular, elliptical or square shape on one plane shall be determined by multiplying the greatest straight line dimensions of length, width and depth in inches, including all projections, and dividing the total by 1728 (to obtain cubic feet). The density is the weight of the article divided by the cubic feet thus obtained.

DEQ: Delivered Ex Quay (Duty Paid) - One of the thirteen Inco terms and one of five 'D' terms.
 The seller is obliged to deliver the goods on the quay at the port of destination, cleared for importation. The seller must pay unloading costs and provide import clearance such as import licences, pay duties, taxes and fees. The buyer simply takes delivery of the goods.

DES: Delivered Ex Ship - One of the thirteen Inco terms and one of five 'D' terms.
 The seller is obliged to deliver the goods on board the ship at the port of destination, uncleared for importation.
 The seller must provide documents to enable the buyer to take delivery of the goods i.e. the bill of lading.
 The buyer must pay unloading costs and provide import clearance ie duties, taxes & fees.

Destination Control Statement: Any of various statements that the U.S. government requires to be displayed on export shipments and that specify the destination for which export of the shipment has been authorized.

Deadhead: One leg of a move without a paying cargo load.  Usually refers to repositioning an empty piece of equipment.

Deadweight Cargo: A long ton of cargo that can be stowed in less than 40 cubic feet.

Deadweight: The number of tons of 2,240 pounds that a vessel can transport of cargo, stores and bunker fuel. It is the difference between the number of tons of water a vessel displaces "light" and the number of tons it displaces when submerged to the "load line."

Deconsolidation Point: Place where loose or other non-containerized cargo is ungrouped for delivery.

Deficit Weight: The weight by which a shipment is less than the minimum weight.

Delivery Instructions: Order to pick up goods at a named place and deliver them to a pier. Usually issued by exporter to trucker but may apply to a railroad, which completes delivery by land. Use is limited to a few major U.S. ports. Also known as shipping delivery order.

DEMDES: Demurrage/Dispatch money.  (Under vessel chartering terms, the amount to be paid if the ship is loading/discharging slower/faster than foreseen.)

Demurrage: A penalty charge against shippers or consignees for delaying the carrier's equipment beyond the allowed free time. The free time and demurrage charges are set forth in The charter party or freight tariff.
 See also Detention and Per Diem.

Density: The weight of cargo per cubic foot or other unit.

Depot, Container: Container freight station or a designated area where empty containers can be picked up or dropped off.

Despatch: An incentive payment paid to a carrier to loading and unloading the cargo faster than agreed.  Usually negotiated only in charter parties.

 The place to which a shipment is consigned.
 The place where carrier actually turns over cargo to consignee or his agent.

Destination Control Statements: Various statements that the U.S. government requires to be displayed on export shipments. The statements specify the authorized destinations.

Detention: A penalty charge against shippers or consignees for delaying carrier's equipment beyond allowed time. Demurrage applies to cargo; detention applies to equipment. See Per Diem.

Devanning: The unloading of a container or cargo van.

DGN: Dangerous Goods Note

DGR: Dangerous Goods Requirement.

Dimensional Weight or Volume freight: ( Dimensionalized Weight) Determined by calculating length x width x height and dividing by 166. Charged when actual weight is less than the dim. weight.

Disbursement: Sums paid out by a ship’s agent at a port on behalf of the owner.

Discharging: Removing goods from a ship.

DF Car: Damage Free Car. Boxcars equipped with special bracing material.

Differential: An amount added or deducted from base rate to make a rate to or from some other point or via another route.

Discrepancy Letter of Credit: When documents presented do not conform to the requirements of the letter of credit (L/C), it is referred to as a "discrepancy." Banks will not process L/C's which have discrepancies. They will refer the situation back to the buyer and/or seller and await further instructions.

Displacement: The weight, in tons of 2,240 pounds, of the vessel and its contents. Calculated by dividing the volume of water displaced in cubic feet by 35, the average density of sea water.

Diversion: A change made either in the route of a shipment in transit (see Reconsignment) or of the entire ship.

Division: Carriers' practice of dividing revenue received from through rates where joint hauls are involved. This is usually according to agreed formulae.

Dock Receipt: When cargo is delivered to a steamship company at the pier, the receiving clerk issues a dock receipt.

Documents Against Acceptance (D/A): Instructions given by a shipper to a bank indicating that documents transferring title goods should be delivered to the buyer (or drawee) only upon the buyer's acceptance of the attached draft.

DOT: Department of Transportation

 For ships, a cargo handling area parallel to the shoreline where a vessel normally ties up.
 For land transportation, a loading or unloading platform at an industrial location or carrier terminal.

Dock Receipt: A form used to acknowledge receipt of cargo and often serves as basis for preparation of the ocean bill of lading.

Docket: Present a rate proposal to a conference meeting for adoption as a conference group rate.

Documents Against Acceptance (D/A): Instructions given by a shipper to a bank indicating that documents transferring title to goods should be delivered to the buyer only upon the buyer's acceptance of the attached draft.

Documents Against Payment (D/P): An indication on a draft that the documents attached are to be released to the drawee only on payment.

Dolly: A set of wheels that support the front of a container; used when the automotive unit is disconnected.

Door-to-Door: Through transportation of a container and its contents from consignor to consignee. Also known as House to House. Not necessarily a through rate.

D.O.T.: Department of Transportation.

DST: The acronym meaning "double stack train" service, which is the transport rail between two points of a trainload of containers with two containers, one on top of the other, per chassis.

DTI: Department of Trade and Industry

Dunnage: Materials of various types, often timber or matting, placed among the cargo for separation, and hence protection from damage, for ventilation and, in the case of certain cargoes, to provide a space in which the tynes of a forklift truck may be inserted.

DWT: Deadweight: Weight of cargo, stores and water, i.e. the difference between lightship and loaded displacement.

 The number of feet that the hull of a ship is beneath the surface of the water.
 An unconditional order in writing, addressed by one party (drawer) to another party (drawee), requiring the drawee to pay at a fixed or determinable future date a specified sum in lawful currency to the order of a specified person.

Draft, Bank: An order issued by a seller against a purchaser; directs payment, usually through an intermediary bank. Typical bank drafts are negotiable instruments and are similar in many ways to checks on checking accounts in a bank.

Draft, Clean: A draft to which no documents are attached.

Draft, Date: A draft that matures on a fixed date, regardless of the time of acceptance.

Draft, Discounted: A time draft under a letter of credit that has been accepted and purchased by a bank at a discount.

Draft, Sight: A draft payable on demand upon presentation.

Draft (or Bill of Exchange): An unconditional order in writing from one person (the drawer) to another (the drawee), directing the Drawee to pay a specified amount to a named Drawer at a fixed or determinable future date.

Draft: Widely used alternative spelling of draught. Depth to which a ship is immersed in the water. This depth varies according to the design of the ship and will be greater or lesser depending not only on the weight of the ship and everything on board, but also on the density of the water in which the ship is lying.

Drawback: A U.S. customs law that permits an American exporter to recover duties paid on imported foreign raw materials or components included in products that are subsequently exported out of the United States.

Drawee: The individual or firm on whom a draft is drawn and who owes the stated amount to the drawer.

Dry Lease: The rental of a "clean" aircraft without crew, ground staff or supporting equipment.

Dry Van: A basic 20/40ft container.

Draft, Time: A draft that matures at a fixed or determinable time after presentation or acceptance.

Drawback: A partial refund of an import fee. Refund usually results because goods are re-exported from the country that collected the fee.

Drawee: The individual or firm that issues a draft and thus stands to receive payment.

Drayage: Charge made for local hauling by dray or truck. Same as Cartage.

DRFS: Abbreviation for "Destination Rail Freight Station." Same as CFS at destination, except a DRFS is operated by the rail carrier participating in the shipment.

DSU: Delay in Startup Insurance is a policy to protect the seller of a construction project from penalties if the project is not completed on time.   See "Liquidated Damages."

Dry Cargo: Cargo that is not liquid and normally does not require temperature control.

Dry-Bulk Container: A container constructed to carry grain, powder and other free-flowing solids in bulk. Used in conjunction with a tilt chassis or platform.

Dumping: Attempting to import merchandise into a country at a price less than the fair market value, usually through subsidy by exporting country.



E.C.M.C.A: Eastern Central Motor Carriers Association.

Edge Protector: An angle piece fitted over the edge of boxes, crates, bundles and other packages to prevent the pressure from metal bands or other types from cutting into the package.

"Ex": Signifies that the quoted price applies only at the indicated point of origin (e.g. "price ex factory" means that the quoted price is for the goods available at the factory gate of the seller).

E.A.O.N.: Except as otherwise noted.

EAR: Export after repair

ECE: Economic Commission for Europe

ECI: port Consignment Identifier

ECOFIN: Economic and Financial Affairs Council (EC)

ECPD: Export Cargo Packing Declaration

EDI or EDIFACT: Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce and Transport, from the UN-backed electronic data interchange standards body, to create electronic versions of common business documents that will work on a global scale. One digital document under consideration, the International Forwarding and Transport Message will do the jobs of six different electronic messages currently in use.

EFTA: European Free Trade Association

Empty Leg: Results from an aircraft primarily chartered outbound having cargo capacity inbound or vice versa. A cheap form of airfreight to cover fixed return leg costs.

Endorsee: Person to whom a bill of exchange is transferred by the endorsement of a third party.

Endorsement in Blank: Commonly used on a bank check, an endorsement in blank is an endorsement to the bearer. It contains only the name of the endorser and specifies no particular payee. Also, a common means of endorsing bills of lading dawn to the order of the shipper. The bills are endorsed "For..." (See Bill of Lading, Order).

Endorser: One who endorses a bill, and thereby accepts liability for it.

ERP: Economic Recovery Programme for the cocoa industry in Ghana launched in 1983

ETA: Estimated Time of Arrival.

ETD: Estimated Time of Departure.

ETS: Estimated Time of Sailing

EU: European Union

Eurodollars: U.S. dollars on deposit outside of the United States to include dollars on deposit at foreign branches of U.S. banks, and dollars on deposit with foreign banks.

EDI: Abbreviation for "Electronic Data Interface." Generic term for transmission of transactional data between computer systems. EDI is typically via a batched transmission, usually conforming to consistent standards.

EDIFACT: International data interchange standards sponsored by the United Nations. See UN/EDIFACT.

A charge for services performed in connection with floating elevators.
Charges assessed for the handling of grain through grain elevators.

Elkins Act: An act of Congress (1903) prohibiting rebates, concession, mis-billing, etc. and providing specific penalties for such violations.

Embargo: Order to restrict the hauling of freight.

Eminent Domain: The sovereign power to take property for a necessary public use, with reasonable compensation.

Empty Repo: Contraction for Empty Repositioning. The movement of empty containers.

Endorsement: A legal signature usually placed on the reverse of a draft; signifies transfer of rights from the holder to another party.

Entry: Customs documents required to clear an import shipment for entry into the general commerce of a country.

Equalization: A monetary allowance to the customer for picking up or delivering at a point other than the destination shown on the bill of lading. This provision is covered by tariff publication.

Equipment Interchange Receipt (EIR): A document transferring a container from one  carrier to another, or to/from a terminal.

Estimated Time of Availability. That time when a tractor/partner carrier is available for dispatch.
Estimated time of arrival.

Ethylene: A gas produced by many fruits and vegetables that accelerates the ripening and aging processes.

EU: European Union

Eurodollars: U.S. dollars on deposit outside of the United States to include dollars on deposit at foreign branches of U.S. banks, and dollars on deposit with foreign banks.

E.W.I.B.: Eastern Weighing and Inspection Bureau.

"Ex Dec": Contraction for "Shipper's Export Declaration."

Ex - "From": When used in pricing terms such as "Ex Factory" or "Ex Dock," it signifies that the price quoted applies only at the point of origin indicated.

Exception: Notations made when the cargo is received at the carrier's terminal or loaded aboard a vessel. They show any irregularities in packaging or actual or suspected damage to the cargo. Exceptions are then noted on the bill of lading.

EXIM Bank: Abbreviation for Export-Import Bank of the United States. An independent U.S. Government Agency which facilitates exports of U.S. goods by providing loan guarantees and insurance for repayment of bank-provided export credit.

Expiry Date: Issued in connection with documents such as letters of credit, tariffs etc. to advise that stated provisions will expire at a certain time.

Export: Shipment of goods to a foreign country.

Export Declaration: A government document declaring designated goods to be shipped out of the country. To  be completed by the exporter and filed with the U.S. Government.

Export License: A government document which permits the "Licensee" to engage in the export of designated goods to certain destinations.

Export Rate: A rate published on traffic moving from an interior point to a port for transshipment to a foreign country.

Ex. B.L.: Exchange bill of lading.

Export Broker: The individual who brings together buyer and seller for a fee, eventually withdrawing from any transaction.

Export Declaration: A form to be completed by the exporter or their authorized agent and filed in triplicate by a carrier with the United State Collector of customs at the point of exit. It serves a twofold purpose:
Primarily, it is used by the U.S. Bureau of Census for the compilation of export statistics on United States foreign trade (for this reason an export declaration is required for practically all shipments from the United States to foreign countries and the United States possessions, except for mail shipments of small value, or for those of a non commercial character);
The declaration also serves as an export control document because it must be presented, together with the export license, to the United States Customs at the port of export. If the goods may be exported under general export license, this fact must be stated on the export declaration.

Export License: A document secured from a government, authorizing an exporter to export a specific quantity of a particular commodity to a certain country. An export license is often required if a government has place embargoes or other restrictions upon exports. See General Export License.

Export Trading Company: A corporation or other business unit organized and operated primarily for the purpose of exporting goods and services, or of providing export related services to other companies.

Express: Premium-rated service for urgent deliveries.

EXW: Ex Works - One of the thirteen Inco terms.
This represents the seller's minimum obligation.
 The seller fulfils his obligation to deliver when he has made the goods available at his premises to the buyer.
 He is not responsible for loading the goods on the vehicle provided by the buyer or for the clearing of the goods for export, unless otherwise agreed.
 The buyer bears all the costs and risks in taking the goods from the seller's premises to the desired destination.



F. &. D.: Freight and demurrage.

F.C.L.: Full container load, full car load.

F.C.S: Free of capture and seizure.

F.C.S.R.C. C: Free of capture, seizure, riots and civil commotions.

F.I. B: Free in bunkers; free into barge.

F. O. D: Free of damage

F.P.A.: Free of Particular Average (Marine Insurance Term). A term used in marine insurance policies to indicate that while the underwriter is unwilling to assume liability for ordinary partial losses due to the peculiar qualities of the particular article or to its form of package, he is willing to bear partial losses, the direct result of stranding, sinking, burning, collision, or other named peril

F.P.A.A.C. F.p.a. (A.C.): Free of Particular Average, American Conditions- (Marine Insurance Term). The American form of clause commonly used, as distinguished from that used by the English underwriters. Under the American clause the underwriter does not assume responsibility for partial losses unless caused by stranding, sinking, burning or collision with another vessel whereas under the English clause, the underwriter assumes responsibility for partial losses if the vessel be stranded, sunk, burnt or in collision even though such an event did not actually cause the damage suffered by the goods. Conditions (See F.P.A.A.C.).

FAK: Freight All Kinds - uniform airline charging scale applying to a number of commodities; as opposed to SCR (Specific Commodity Rate) applying to one commodity only.

FAS (free alongside ship): Seller is responsible for inland freight costs until goods are located alongside the vessel/aircraft for loading. Buyer is responsible for loading costs, ocean /air freight and marine/air insurance.

Factor: A factor is an agent who will, at a discount (usually five to 8% of the gross), buy receivables.

FAK: Abbreviation for "Freight All Kinds." Usually refers to full container loads of mixed shipments.

False Billing: Misrepresenting freight or weight on shipping documents.

FAS: Abbreviation for "Free Alongside Ship."

Fathom: (Nautical) Conversion equivalents: 6 feet; 1.83 meters.

FBY: Free buyers yard: As FOT but also includes delivery to buyer’s premises.

FCA: Free Carrier - One of the thirteen Inco terms and one of three 'F' terms.
This is the main term for handing over goods for carriage and can be used irrespective of the mode of transport.
 The seller fulfills his obligation to deliver when he has handed over the goods, cleared for export, into the charge of the carrier named by the buyer at the named point. If no point has been indicated the seller may choose within the range stipulated where the carrier should take charge of the goods.

FEU: Forty foot equivalent

FIATA: International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations.

Fifth Freedom Flight: Where cargo is carried by an airline between two countries in neither of which it is based.

FILO: Free in, liner out: Sea freight, which the shipper pays load costs and the carrier pays discharge costs.

FIO: Free in and out: Freight booked FIO includes the sea freight, but not loading and discharging costs.

FIOS: Free in and out and stowed: As FIO but includes stowage costs.

FIOT: Free in and out and trimmed: As above but includes trimming, e.g. the leveling out of bulk cargoes.

First of Exchange: First or principal copy of a bill of exchange to be presented and honoured the other copies then being automatically cancelled.

FIT: Federation of International Traders

Flag Carrier: An airline of one national registry whose government gives it partial or total monopoly over international routes.

Flat: This is a piece of equipment equivalent to the bottom of a container without sides. Often used for stacking parcels of sawn timber and bags of cocoa. Otherwise known as a pontoon or bolster.

FOB (free on board): Seller is responsible for inland freight and all other costs until the cargo has been loaded on the vessel/aircraft. Buyer is responsible for ocean/air freight and marine/air insurance.

Folded: An article folded in such a manner as to reduce its bulk 33 1/3% from its normal shipping cubage when not folded.

Force Majeure: The title of a standard clause found in marine contracts exempting the parties for non-fulfillment of their obligations by reasons of occurrences beyond their control, such as earthquakes, floods or war.

Foreign Bill: A bill of exchange drawn on an acceptor overseas.

Foreign Trade Zone Entry: A form declaring goods, which are brought duty free into a Foreign Trade Zone for further processing or storage and subsequent exportation.

Foreign Trade Zone: A free port in the United Stated divorced from Customs authority but under Federal control. Merchandise, except that which is prohibited, may be stored in the zone without being subjected to the United States tariff regulation. Also called Free Trade Zone.

Forwarder, Freight Forwarder, Foreign Freight Forwarder: An independent business that dispatches shipments for exporters for a fee. The firm may ship by land, air, or sea, or it may specialize. Usually it handles all the services connected with an export shipment; preparation of documents, booking cargo space, warehouse, pier delivery and export clearance. The firm may also handle banking and insurance services on behalf of a client. The U.S. forwarder is licensed by the Federal Maritime Commission for ocean shipments.

FOT: Free on truck: Includes all loading, discharging and sea freight costs. Also includes costs of placing goods onto trucks at the quay.

Foul Bill of Landing: A receipt for goods issued by a carrier with an indication that the goods were damaged when received.

FRA: Forward Rate Agreement

Free Alongside: Quoted price includes the cost of delivering the goods alongside a designated vessel.

Free discharge: Free out: Includes loading costs and sea freight only.

Free In (F.I.): Cost of loading a vessel is borne by the charterer.

Free In and Out (F.I.O.): Cost of loading and unloading a vessel is borne by the charterer.

Free of Capture and Seizure (F.C.& S.): An insurance clause providing that loss is not insured if due to capture, seizure, confiscation and like actions, whether legal or not , or from such acts as piracy, civil war, rebellion and civil strife.

Free of Particular Average (F.P.A.): A marine insurance clause providing that partial loss or damage is not insured American conditions (F.P.A.A.C.). Partial loss is not insured unless caused by the vessel being sunk, stranded, burned, on fire, or in collision. English conditions (F.P. A.E.C.). Partial loss not insured unless a result of the vessel being sunk, stranded, burned, on fire, or in collision.

Free Out (F.O.): Cost of unloading a vessel is borne by the charterer.

Free Port: A port which is a foreign trade zone, open to all traders on equal terms; more specifically a port where merchandise may be stored duty-free, pending re-export or sale within that country.

Free Trade Zone: A port designated by the government of a country for duty-free entry of any non-prohibited goods. Merchandise may be stored, displayed, used for manufacturing, within the zone and re-exported without duties being paid. Duties are imposed on the merchandise (or items manufactured from the merchandise) only when the goods pass from the zone into an area of the country subject to the Customs Authority.

Freight Account: The debit note received from the ship owner for freight due on goods shipped.

Freight Collect Forward: Payable by consignee.

Freight Forwarder: An individual or company , acting on the behalf of a shipper, who arranges all necessary details of shipping and documentation for a manufacturer or exporter, which includes employing the services of a carrier of carriers.

Freight Release: Ship owner’s authorization to captain to give delivery of goods, freight having been paid on them.

FTA: Freight Transport Association or Free Trade Agreements

FTL: Full Trailer Load

FCL: Abbreviation for "Full Container Load."

FD: Abbreviation for "Free Discharge."

F.D.A.: Food and Drug Administration.

Feeder Service: Cargo to/from regional ports are transferred to/from a central hub port for a long-haul ocean voyage.

Feeder Vessel: A short-sea vessel which transfers cargo between a central   "hub" port and smaller "spoke" ports.

FEU: Abbreviation for "Forty-Foot Equivalent Units." Refers to container size standard of forty feet. Two twenty-foot containers or TEU's equal one FEU.

Fifth Wheel: The semi-circular steel-coupling device mounted on a tractor which engages and locks with a chassis semi-trailer.

FIO: See Free In and Out.

Firkin: A capacity measurement equal to one-fourth of a barrel.

Fixed Costs: Costs that do not vary with the level of activity. Some fixed costs continue even if no cargo is carried. Terminal leases, rent and property taxes are fixed costs.

Flat Car: A rail car without a roof and walls.

Flat Rack/Flat Bed Container: A container with no sides and frame members at the front and rear. Container can be loaded from the sides and top.

FMC (F.M.C.): Federal Maritime Commission. The U.S. Governmental regulatory body responsible for administering maritime affairs including the tariff system, Freight Forwarder Licensing, enforcing the conditions of the Shipping Act and approving conference or other carrier agreements.

FOB: See Free On Board. See also Terms of Sale, FOB.

FOR: Abbreviation for "Free on Rail."

Force Majeure: The title of a common clause in contracts, exempting the parties for non-fulfillment of their obligations as a result of conditions beyond their control, such as earthquakes, floods or war.

Fore and Aft: The direction on a vessel parallel to the center line.

Foreign Sales Corporation: Under U.S. tax law, a corporation created to obtain tax exemption on part of the earnings of U.S. products in foreign markets.  Must be set-up as a foreign corporation with an office outside the USA.

Foreign Trade Zone: A free port in a country divorced from Customs authority but under government control. Merchandise, except that which is prohibited, may be stored in the zone without being subject to import duty regulations.

Fork Lift: A machine used to pick up and move goods loaded on pallets or skids.

Foul Bill of Lading: A receipt for goods issued by a carrier with an indication that the goods were damaged when received. Compare Clean Bill of Lading.

Four-Way Pallet: A pallet designed so that the forks of a fork lift truck can be inserted from all four sides. See Fork lift.

Forwarder Compensation: See Brokerage.

F.P.A.: See "Free of Particular Average."

Free Alongside (FAS): The seller must deliver the goods to a pier and place them within reach of the ship's loading equipment. See Terms of Sale.

Free Astray: An astray shipment (a lost shipment that is found) sent to its proper destination without additional charge.

Free In and Out (FIO): Cost of loading and unloading a vessel is borne by the charterer/shipper.

Free of Particular Average (FPA): A marine insurance term meaning that the assurer will not allow payment for partial loss or damage to cargo shipments except in certain circumstances, such as stranding, sinking, collision or fire.

Free on Board (FOB - U.S. Domestic Use): Shipped under a rate that includes costs of delivery to and the loading onto a carrier at a specified point.
FOB Freight Allowed: The same as FOB named inland carrier, except the buyer pays the transportation charge and the seller reduces the invoice by a like amount.
FOB Freight Prepaid: The same as FOB named inland carrier, except the seller pays the freight charges of the inland carrier.
FOB Named Point of Exportation: Seller is responsible for the cost of placing the goods at a named point of exportation. Some European buyers use this form when they actually mean FOB vessel.
FOB Vessel: Seller is responsible for goods and preparation of export documentation until actually placed aboard the vessel.

Free on Board (Int'l Use): See Terms of Sale.

Free Out (FO): Cost of unloading a vessel is borne by the charterer.

Free Port: A restricted area at a seaport for the handling of duty-exempted import goods. Also called a Foreign Trade Zone.

Free Sale Certificate: The U.S. government does not issue certificates of free sale. However, the Food and Drug Administration, Silver Spring, Maryland, will issue, upon request, a letter of comment to the U.S. manufacturers whose products are subject to the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act or other acts administered by the agency. The letter can take the place of the certificate.

Free Time: That amount of time that a carrier's equipment may be used without incurring additional charges. (See Storage, Demurrage or Per Diem.)

Free Trade Zone: A port designated by the government of a country for duty-free entry of any non-prohibited goods. Merchandise may be stored, displayed, used for manufacturing, etc., within the zone and re-exported without duties.

Freight: Refers to either the cargo carried or the charges assessed for carriage of the cargo.

Freight Bill: A document issued by the carrier based on the bill of lading and other information; used to account for a shipment operationally, statistically, and financially.  An Invoice.

Freight Forwarder: A person whose business is to act as an agent on behalf of the shipper. A freight forwarder frequently makes the booking reservation.

Freighters: See Ships.



Gateway: Industry-related: A point at which freight moving from one territory to another is interchanged between transportation lines.

GATT: Abbreviation for "General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade." A multilateral treaty to help reduce trade barriers between the signatory countries and to promote trade through tariff concessions. The World Trade Organization (WTO) superseded GATT in 1994.

G.R.Wt./G.W.: Gross Weight.

Gang: Group of stevedores usually 4 to 5 members with supervisor assigned to a hold or portion of the vessel being loaded or unloaded.

Gateway: Port of entry into a country or region.

GATT: General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, a multilateral treaty intended to help reduce trade barriers and promote tariff concessions.

GCBS: General Council of British Shipping

GCR: General Cargo Rate. The basic tariff category which was introduced to cover most air cargo now covers only a minority, the remainder being under SCR or class rates.

General Average: When damage to cargo on board a vessel exceeds carrier's insurance, carrier will release cargo only with an acceptance agreement to claim only a general percentage of all the damage sustained.

General Cargo: Any cargo that is not carried in a container or vehicle/machinery that can be loaded/discharged using its own power, e.g. palletized, bagged, bales, bundles, crates, etc.

General Export License: Any of various export licenses covering export commodities for which validated export licenses are not required. No formal application or written authorization is needed to ship exports under a general export license.

General Order: Government contract warehouse for the storage of cargoes left unclaimed for ten working days after availability. Unclaimed cargoes are auctioned publicly after one year.

GNP: Gross national product

Gooseneck: Devise for connecting a tug master to a mafi trailer. It is attached to the tug masters 'fifth wheel'

Gross Weight: Entire weight of goods, packing, and container, ready for shipment.

Groupage: A container with cargoes from/for different shippers/receivers, i.e. containing more than one shipper’s cargo. Otherwise known as LCL (Less than a container load)

GRT: Gross registered tonnage

GSA: General Sales Agent acting on behalf of an airline. Usually Broker or Forwarder.

GBL: Abbreviation for "Government Bill of Lading."

GDSM: Abbreviation for "General Department Store Merchandise." A classification of commodities that includes goods generally shipped by mass-merchandise companies. This commodity structure occurs only in service contracts.

General Order (G.O.): When U.S. Customs orders shipments without entries to be kept in their custody in a bonded warehouse.

Generator Set (Gen Set): A portable generator which can be attached to a refrigerated container to power the refrigeration unit during transit.

Go-Down: In the Far East, a warehouse where goods are stored and delivered.

Gooseneck: The front rails of the chassis that raise above the plane of the chassis and engage in the tunnel of a container leading to the connection to tractor.

GRI: Abbreviation for "General Rate Increase." Used to describe an across-the-board tariff rate increase implemented by conference members and applied to base rates.

Gross Tonnage (GT): Applies to vessels, not to cargo, (0.2+0.02 log10V) where V is the volume in cubic meters of all enclosed spaces on the vessel.

Gross Weight: Entire weight of goods, packaging and freight car or container, ready for shipment. Generally, 80,000 pounds maximum container, cargo and tractor for highway transport.

Groupage: A consolidation service, putting small shipments into containers for shipment.

GVW: Abbreviation for "Gross Vehicle Weight." The combined total weight of a vehicle and its container, inclusive of prime mover.



Hague Rules: A multilateral maritime treaty adopted in 1921 (at The Hague, Netherlands). Standardizes liability of an international carrier under the Ocean B/L. Establishes a legal "floor" for B/L. See COGSA

Harbor Master: An officer who attends to the berthing, etc., of ships in a harbor.

Harmonized Code: An internationally accepted and uniform description system for classifying goods for customs, statistical and other purposes.

Harmonized Systems: A key provision of the recently signed trade bill, effective Jan. 1, 1989, that establishes international uniformity for product classifications. Most U.S. Trading partners adopted it a year earlier, and it was drafted in Brussels a decade ago with U.S. representatives' input. In essence, it is a new tariff schedule in that it changes methods of rating some items.

Harmonized System of Codes (HS): An international goods classification system for describing cargo in international trade under a single commodity-coding scheme. Developed under the auspices of the Customs Co-operations Council (CCC), an international Customs organization in Brussels, this code is a hierarchically structured product nomenclature containing approximately 5,000 headings and subheadings. It is organized into 99 chapters arranged in 22 sections. Sections encompass an industry (e.g., Section XI, Textiles and Textile Articles); chapters encompass the various materials and products of the industry (e.g., Chapter 50, Silk; Chapter 55, Manmade Staple Fibers; Chapter 57, Carpets). The basic code contains four-digit headings and six-digit subheadings. Many countries add digits for Customs tariff and statistical purposes. In the United States, duty rates will be the eight-digit level; statistical suffixes will be at the ten-digit level. The Harmonized System (HS) is the current U.S. tariff schedule (TSUSA) for imports and is the basis for the ten-digit Schedule B export code.

Hatch: The cover of - or opening- in the deck of a vessel, through which cargo is loaded.

Heavy Lift Vessel: Specifically designed to be self sustaining with heavy lift cranes, to handle unusually heavy and/or out-sized cargoes.

Heavy Lifts: Freight too heavy to be handled by regular ship's tackle.

HMC&E: Her Majesty's Customs and Excise

HMC: Her Majesty's Customs

HMSO: Her Majesty's Stationery Office

House Air Waybill: An air waybill issued by a freight consolidator. See Air Waybill.

Hub: A central location to which traffic from many cities is directed and from which traffic is fed to other areas.

Hundredweight (cwt.): A short ton hundredweight = 100 pounds. Long ton hundredweight = 112 pounds.

Husbanding: Term used by steamship lines, agents, or port captains who are appointed to handle all matters in assisting the master of the vessel while in port to obtain bunkering, fresh water, food and supplies, payroll for the crew, doctors appointments, ship repair, etc.

HVR: Hague-Visby Rules

Hatch: The opening in the deck of a vessel; gives access to the cargo hold.

HAZ MAT: An industry abbreviation for "Hazardous Material."

Heavy-Lift Charge: A charge made for lifting articles too heavy to be lifted by a ship's normal tackle.

High-Density Compression: Compression of a flat or standard bale of cotton to approximately 32 pounds per cubic foot. Usually applies to cotton exported or shipped coastwise.

Hitchment: The marrying of two or more portions of one shipment that originate at different locations, moving under one bill of lading, from one shipper to one consignee. Authority for this service must be granted by tariff publication. See Bill of Lading.

Hopper Barge: A barge which loads material dumped into it by a dredger and discharges the cargo through the bottom.

House-to-House: See Door-to-Door.

House-to-Pier: Cargo loaded into a container by the shipper under shipper's supervision. When the cargo is exported, it is unloaded at the foreign pier destination.

Humping: The process of connecting a moving rail car with a motionless rail car within a rail classification yard in order to make up a train. The cars move by gravity from an incline or "hump" onto the appropriate track.



I/A: Abbreviation for "Independent Action." The right of a conference member to publish a rate of tariff rule that departs from the Agreement's common rate or rule.

I.C.T.F.: Intermodal Container Transfer Facility, an on-dock facility for moving containers from ship to rail or truck.

I.C.T.F.: Intermodal Container Transfer Facility, an on-dock facility for moving containers from ship to rail or truck.

I.P.A.: Including particular average

IATA: International Air Transport Association.

ICAO: International Civil Aviation Organization. A specialized agency of the United Nations, with headquarters in Montreal. Its task is to promote general development of civil aviation (e.g. aircraft design and operation, safety procedures, contractual agreements).

ICB: International Container Bureau

ICC: International Chamber of Commerce

Abbreviation for
Interstate Commerce Commission,"
International Chamber of Commerce."

ICCH: International Commodities Clearing House

ICCO: International Cocoa Council

ICD: Inland Clearance Depot

ICHCA: International Cargo Handling Co-ordination Association

ICS: International Chamber of Shipping or Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers

ID: Import Duty

IDR: Import Duty Report, stipulates the value of an imported good and the amount to be paid as duty. Nigeria only.

IFF: Institute of Freight Forwarders.

Igloo: Container designed to occupy full main deck width of carrying aircraft.

IMDG: International Maritime Dangerous Goods code

IMF: International Monetary Fund

IMO: International Maritime Organisation

Import License: A certificate, issued by countries exercising import controls, that permits importation of the articles stated in the license. The issuance of such a permit frequently is connected with the release of foreign exchange needed to pay for the shipment for which the import license has been requested.

In-Bond: A customs program for inland ports that provide for cargo arriving at a seaport to be shipped under a Customs bond to a more conveniently located inland port where the entry documents have been filed. Customs clears the shipment there, and the cargo is trucked to its destination, which normally is close to the inland port.

Inco terms: A codification of terms used in foreign trade contracts that are maintained by the International Chamber of Commerce.

Incremental Cost to Export: The additional costs incurred while manufacturing and preparing a product for export (e.g., product modifications, special export packaging and export administration costs.) This does not include the costs to manufacture a standard domestic product, export crating and transportation to the foreign market.

Independent Action: A move by whereby a member of a shipping conference elect to depart from the specific service rates set forth by the conference, giving ten calendar days notice of such action. The conference member's new schedule of rate, or rates, officially takes effect no later than ten days after receipt of notice by the conference.

Inducement: Some steamship lines publish in their schedules the name of a port and the words by inducement in parentheses. This means the vessel will call at the port if there is sufficient amount of profitable cargo available and booked.

Inland Carrier: Transportation line which hauls export or import traffic between ports and inland points.

INSA: International Ship owners' Association

Inspection Certificate: A document certifying that merchandise (such as perishable goods) was in goods condition immediately prior to shipment.

Integrated Carrier: Forwarder which uses own aircraft, whether owned or leased, rather than scheduled airlines.

Intellectual Property: Ownership of the legal rights to possess, use or dispose of products created by human ingenuity, including patents, trademarks and copyrights.

Interline: Mutual agreement between airlines to link their route network.

Intermeddle: Referring to the capacity to go from ship to train to truck, or the like, the adjective generally refers to containerized shipping or the capacity to handle same.

Intermodal: Carriage of a commodity by different modes of transport, i.e. sea, road, rail and air within a single journey.

IOE: Institute of Export

IRN: Import Release Note

Irrevocable Letter of Credit: A letter of credit with a fixed expiration date that carries the irrevocable obligation of the issuing bank to pay the exporter when all of the terms and conditions of the letter of credit have been met.

ISF: International Shipping Federation

ISO: International Standards Organization also referred to as the International Organizational for Standardization.

IE: Stands for "Immediate Exit." In the U.S., Customs IE Form is used when goods are brought into the U.S. and are to be immediately re-exported without being transported within the U.S.

I.M.C.O.: International Maritime Consultative Organization. A forum in which most major maritime nations participate and through which recommendations for the carriage of dangerous goods, bulk commodities, and maritime regulations become internationally acceptable.

I.M.D.G. Code: International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code. The regulations published by the IMO for transporting hazardous materials internationally.

Immediate Exportation: An entry that allows foreign merchandise arriving at one port to be exported from the same port without the payment of duty.

In-Transit Entry (I.T.): Allows foreign merchandise arriving at one port to be transported in bond to another port, where a superseding entry is filed.

Import: To receive goods from a foreign country.

Import License: A document required and issued by some national governments authorizing the importation of goods.

In Bond: Cargo moving under Customs control where duty has not yet been paid.

In Gate: The transaction or interchange that occurs at the time a container is received by a rail terminal or water port from another carrier.

In Transit: In transit, or in passage.

Incentive Rate: A lower-than-usual tariff rate assessed because a shipper offers a greater volume than specified in the tariff. The incentive rate is assessed for that portion exceeding the normal volume.

INCOTERMS: The recognized abbreviation for the International Chamber of Commerce Terms of Sale. These terms were last amended, effective July 1, 1990.

Indemnity Bond: An agreement to hold a carrier harmless with regard to a liability.

Independent Action: Setting rate within a conference tariff that is different from the rate(s) for the same items established by other conference members.

Independent Tariff: Any body of rate tariffs that are not part of an agreement or conference system.

Inducement: Placing a port on a vessel's itinerary because the volume of cargo offered at that port justifies the cost of routing the vessel.

Inherent Vice: An insurance term referring to any defect or other characteristic of a product that could result in damage to the product without external cause (for example, instability in a chemical that could cause it to explode spontaneously). Insurance policies may exclude inherent vice losses.

Inland Carrier: A transportation line that hauls export or import traffic between ports and inland points.

Inspection Certificate: A certificate issued by an independent agent or firm attesting to the quality and/or quantity of the merchandise being shipped. Such a certificate is usually required in a letter of credit for commodity shipments.

Installment Shipments: Successive shipments are permitted under letters of credit. Usually they must take place within a given period of time.

Insulated Container: A container insulated on the walls, roof, floor, and doors, to reduce the effect of external temperatures on the cargo.

Insulated Container Tank: The frame of a container constructed to hold one or more thermally insulated tanks for liquids.

Insurance with Average-clause: This type of clause covers merchandise if the damage amounts to three percent or more of the insured value of the package or cargo. If the vessel burns, sinks, collides, or sinks, all losses are fully covered. In marine insurance, the word average describes partial damage or partial loss.

Insurance, All-risk: This type of insurance offers the shipper the broadest coverage available, covering against all losses that may occur in transit.

Insurance, General-Average: In water transportation, the deliberate sacrifice of cargo to make the vessel safe for the remaining cargo.  Those sharing in the spared cargo proportionately cover the loss.

Insurance, Particular Average: A Marine insurance term to refer to partial loss on an individual shipment from one of the perils insured against, regardless of the balance of the cargo. Particular average insurance can usually be obtained, but the loss must be in excess of a certain percentage of the insured value of the shipment, usually three to five percent, before a claim will be allowed by the company.

Interchange Point: A location where one carrier delivers freight to another carrier.

Intercoastal: Water service between two coasts; in the U.S., this usually refers to water service between the Atlantic and Pacific or Gulf Coasts.

Interline Freight: Freight moving from origin to destination over the Freight lines of two or more transportation carriers.

Intermediate Point: A point located en route between two other points.

Intermodal: Used to denote movements of cargo containers interchangeably between transport modes, i.e., motor, water, and air carriers, and where the equipment is compatible within the multiple systems.

Invoice: An itemized list of goods shipped to a buyer, stating quantities, prices, shipping charges, etc.

Inward Foreign Manifest (IFM): A complete listing of all cargo entering the country of discharge. Required at all world ports and is the primary source of cargo control, against which duty is assessed by the receiving country.

IPI: Abbreviation for "Inland Point Intermodal." Refers to inland points (non-ports) that can be served by carriers on a through bill of lading.

Irrevocable Letter of Credit: Letter of credit in which the specified payment is guaranteed by the bank if all terms and conditions are met by the drawee and which cannot be revoked without joint agreement of both the buyer and the seller.

I.S.O.: International Standards Organization which deals in standards of all sorts, ranging from documentation to equipment packaging and labeling.

Issuing Bank: Bank that opens a straight or negotiable letter of credit and assumes the obligation to pay the bank or beneficiary if the documents presented are in accordance with the terms of the letter of credit.

Issuing Carrier: The carrier issuing transportation documents or publishing a tariff.

I.T.: Abbreviation for "Immediate Transport." The document (prepared by the carrier) allows shipment to proceed from the port of entry in the U.S. to Customs clearing at the destination. The shipment clears Customs at its final destination.   Also called an "In-Transit" Entry.



Jacket: A wood or fiber cover placed around such containers as cans and bottles.

Jacob's Ladder: A rope ladder suspended from the side of a vessel and used for boarding.

J. &W.O.: Jettison and washing overboard

JETSAM: Goods from a ship's cargo, or parts of its equipment, that have been thrown overboard to lighten the load in time of danger, or to set a stranded ship adrift.

Joint Venture: A form of business partnership involving joint management and the sharing of risks and profits between enterprises sometimes based in different countries.

Jettison: Act of throwing cargo or equipment (jetsam) overboard when a ship is in danger.

Just-In-Time (JIT): The principle of production and inventory control in which goods arrive when needed for production or use.

JIT: Abbreviation for "Just In Time." In this method of inventory control, warehousing is minimal or non existent; the container is the movable warehouse and must arrive "just in time;" not too early nor too late.

Joint Rate: A rate applicable from a point on one transportation line to a point on another line, made by agreement and published in a single tariff by all transportation lines over which the rate applies.



KT: Kilo or metric ton. 1,000 Kilos or 2,204.6 pounds.

Kilogram: 1,000 grams or 2.2046 pounds.

King Pin: A coupling pin centered on the front underside of a chassis; couples to the tractor.

K.D.C.L.: Knocked down in carload lots

K.D.L.C.L.: Knocked down in less than carload lots.

KD Flat: An article taken apart, folded, or telescoped to reduce its bulk at least 66 2/3% below its assembled size.

Keelage: Toll on vessels entering a port.

Knock Down (KD): An article taken apart, folded or telescoped in such a manner as to reduce its bulk at least 33 1/3% below its assembled bulk.

Knot (Nautical): The unit of speed equivalent to one nautical mile, or 6,080.20 feet per hour or 1.85 kilometers per hour.

Knocked Down (KD): Articles which are taken apart to reduce the cubic footage displaced or to make a better shipping unit and are to be re-assembled.

Knot: One nautical mile (6,076 feet or 1852 meters) per hour. In the days of sail, speed was measured by tossing overboard a log which was secured by a line. Knots were tied into the line at intervals of approximately six feet. The number of knots measured was then compared against time required to travel the distance of 1000 knots in the line.

Known Loss: A loss discovered before or at the time of delivery of a shipment.



L/C: Abbreviation for "Letter of Credit."

Laden: Loaded aboard a vessel.

L. & D.: Loss and damage

L.T. or L.Tn.: Long ton (2240 lbs.).

L/C - Letter of Credit: A document issued by a bank per instructions by a buyer of goods, authorizing the seller to draw a specified sum of money under specified terms. Issued as revocable or irrevocable.

Lagan: Cargo or equipment to which an identifying marker or buoy is fastened, thrown over-board in time of danger to lighten a ship's load. Under maritime law if the goods are later found they must be returned to the owner whose marker is attached; the owner must make a salvage payment.

Lane metre: A method of measuring the space capacity of Ro Ro ships whereby each unit of space (linear metre) is represented by an area of deck 1m in length by 2.5m in width.

Lash Vessel: Designed to load internally, barges specifically designed for the vessel. The concept is to quickly float the barges to the vessel (using tugs or ships wenches) load these barges through the rear of the vessel, then sails. Upon arrival at the foreign port, the reverse happens; Barges are quickly floated away from the vessel and another set of waiting barges quickly are loaded. Designed for quick vessel turn-around. Usually crane-equipped; handles mostly break bulk cargo.

LASH: Lighter aboard ship: This technique for sea transport of cargoes uses barges floated into specially designed vessels. One of our competitors, Baco Line employs such vessels on the Europe/Africa trade. This technique enables low drafted barges to access shallow ports ie some of those in the Niger delta including Onne and Warri.

Lashing: To hold goods in position by the use of, for example, wires, ropes, chains, or straps.

Laycan: Abbreviation for lay days cancelling periods during which a ship owner must tender notice that a ship has arrived at the port of loading and is ready to load cargo.

Laytime / Lay days: Time given by the ship owner to allow a chartered vessel to load and/or discharge cargo.

LCL: Less than a container load: A container with cargoes from/for different shippers/receivers, i.e. containing more than one shipper’s cargo.

Legal Weight: The weight of the goods plus any immediate wrappings, which are sold along with the goods: e.g., the weight of a tin can as well as its contents. (See Gross Weight).

Less than Truck Load (LTL): Rates applicable when the quantity of freight is less than the volume or truckload minimum weight.

Letter of Credit - payment by sight draft: The exporter receives guaranteed payment from the confirming bank in the U.S. upon presentation of the sight draft and documents required by the letter of credit.

Letter of Credit: A document issued by a bank at a buyer's request honoring debt obligations to the seller upon receipt of the document.

LI: Letter of Indemnity

LIC: Local import control

LIFFE: London International Financial Futures Exchange

Lighter: An open or covered barge equipped with a crane and towed by a tugboat. Used mostly in harbors and inland waterways.

Lighterage: The cost of loading or unloading a vessel by means of barges alongside.

LILO: Liner in, liner out or full liner terms: Qualification to a freight rate which signifies that it consists of the ocean carriage and the cost of cargo handling at the loading and discharging ports (to ship’s rail) according to the custom of a particular set of ports.

Linear metre: Method of measuring volume of cargo on Ro Ro vessels, in which the measurement is an estimate of the length of the cargo laid end to end. (See lane metre.)

Liner: The word "liner" is derived from the term "line traffic" which denotes operation along definite routes on the basis of definite, fixed schedules; a liner thus is a vessel that engages in this kind of transportation, which generally involves the haulage of general cargo as distinct from bulk cargo.

Liquidation: The finalization of a customs entry.

Livestock: Common farm animals.

Lkg. & Bkg.: Leakage and breakage.

Lo/Lo: The acronym meaning "lift-on,lift-off," denoting the method by which argo is loaded onto and discharged from an ocean vessel, which in this case is by the use of a crane.

LOA: Length over all: Vessel length.

Load Factor: Capacity sold as against capacity available, expressed as a percentage.

Ltge.: Lighterage

LTL: Less than truckload

Lading: Refers to the freight shipped; the contents of a shipment.

Land bridge: Movement of cargo by water from one country through the port of another country, thence, using rail or truck, to an inland point in that country or to a third country. As example, a through movement of Asian cargo to Europe across North America.

Landed Cost: The total cost of a good to a buyer, including the cost of transportation.

Landing Certificate: Certificate issued by consular officials of some importing countries at the point or place of export when the subject goods are exported under bond.

Landing Gear: A support fixed on the front part of a chassis (which is retractable); used to support the front end of a chassis when the tractor has been removed.

LASH: A maritime industry abbreviation for "Lighter Aboard Ship." A specially constructed vessel equipped with an overhead crane for lifting specially designed barges and stowing them into cellular slots in an athwart ship position.

LAYCAN: Laydays/Cancelling (date): Range of dates within the hire contract must start.

LCL: Abbreviation for "Less than Container Load." The quantity of freight which is less than that required for the application of a container load rate. Loose Freight.

Less Than Truckload: Also known as LTL or LCL.

Letter of Credit (LC): A document, issued by a bank per instructions by a buyer of goods, authorizing the seller to draw a specified sum of money under specified terms, usually the receipt by the bank of certain documents within a given time. Some of the specific descriptions are:

Back-to-Back: A new letter of credit issued to another beneficiary on the strength of a primary credit. The second L/C uses the first L/C as collateral for the bank. Used in a three-party transaction.
Clean: A letter of credit that requires the beneficiary to present only a draft or a receipt for specified funds before receiving payment.
Confirmed: An L/C guaranteed by both the issuing and advising banks of payment so long as seller's documents are in order, and the L/C terms are met.  Only applied to irrevocable L/C's. The confirming bank assumes the credit risk of the issuing bank.
Deferred Payment: A letter of credit issued for the purchase and financing of merchandise, similar to acceptance-type letter of credit, except that it requires presentation of sight drafts payable on an installment basis.

Irrevocable: An instrument that, once established, cannot be modified or cancelled without the agreement of all parties concerned.
Non cumulative: A revolving letter of credit that prohibits the amount not used during the specific period from being available afterwards.
Restricted: A condition within the letter of credit which restricts its negotiation to a named bank.
Revocable: An instrument that can be modified or cancelled at any moment without notice to and agreement of the beneficiary, but customarily includes a clause in the credit to the effect that any draft negotiated by a bank prior to the receipt of a notice of revocation or amendment will be honored by the issuing bank. Rarely used since there is no protection for the seller.
Revolving: An irrevocable letter issued for a specific amount; renews itself for the same amount over a given period.
Straight: A letter of credit that contains a limited engagement clause which states that the issuing bank promises to pay the beneficiary upon presentation of the required documents at its counters or the counters of the named bank.
Transferable: A letter of credit that allows the beneficiary to transfer in whole or in part to another beneficiary any amount which, in aggregate, of such transfers does not exceed the amount of the credit.  Used by middlemen.
Unconfirmed: A letter of credit forwarded to the beneficiary by the advising bank without engagement on the part of the

Letter of Indemnity: In order to obtain the clean bill of lading, the shipper signs a letter of indemnity to the carrier on the basis of which may be obtained the clean bill of lading, although the dock or mate's receipt showed that the shipment was damaged or in bad condition.

Some governments require certain commodities to be licensed prior to exportation or importation. Clauses attesting to compliance are often required on the B/L.
 Various types issued for export (general, validated) and import as mandated by government(s).

Lien: A legal claim upon goods for the satisfaction of some debt or duty.

Lightening: A vessel discharges part of its cargo at anchor into a lighter to reduce the vessel's draft so it can then get alongside a pier.

Lighter: An open or covered barge towed by a tugboat and used mainly in harbors and inland waterways to carry cargo to/from alongside a vessel.

Lighterage: Refers to carriage of goods by lighter and the charge assessed therefrom.

Liner: A vessel sailing between specified ports on a regular basis.

Line-Haul: Transportation from one city to another as differentiated from local switching service.

List: The amount in degrees that a vessel tilts from the vertical.

Liter: 1.06 liquid U.S. quarts or 33.9 fluid ounces.

Liquidated Damages: The penalty a seller must pay if the construction project does not meet contractual standards or deadlines.

Lloyds' Registry: An organization maintained for the surveying and classing of ships so that insurance underwriters and others may know the quality and condition of the vessels offered for insurance or employment.
The ratio of loaded miles to empty miles.

Local Cargo: Cargo delivered to/from the carrier where origin/destination of the cargo is in the local area.

Long Ton: 2,240 pounds

Longshoreman: Individual employed in a port to load and unload ships.

Loose: Without packing.

Low-Boy: A trailer or semi-trailer with no sides and with the floor of the unit close to the ground.



M.M.: Mercantile marine

M/R: Mate's Receipt

M/T: Metric Ton (2204 lbs.)

M/V or M.V.: Motor vessel

Malpractice: A carrier giving a customer illegal preference to attract cargo. This can take the form of a money refund (rebate); using lower figures than actual for the assessment of freight charges (undercubing); misdeclaration of the commodity shipped to allow the assessment of a lower tariff rate; waiving published tariff charges for demurrage, CFS handling or equalization; providing specialized equipment to a shipper to the detriment of other shippers, etc.

Mandamus: A writ issued by a court; requires that specific things be done.

Mafi: A generic term for a wheeled trailer used for carrying cargo, also properly known as a roll trailer. It may remain on board throughout ocean passage or be used as a ‘slave’ trailer to transport cargo to and from the vessel once on quay.

Manifest: A list of the goods being transported by a carrier.

Marine Insurance: An insurance, which will compensate the owner of goods transported overseas in the event of loss, which cannot be legally recovered from the carrier.

Maritime Administration (MARAD): A US government agency, while not actively involved in vessel operation, administers laws for maintenance of merchant marine for the purposes of defense and commerce.

Mark: As used on containers in foreign trade, a symbol or initials shown together with the port of importation and the final destination, if different. Example: A.G. y Cia., Bogota via Barranquilla. Marks are registered at appropriate customs houses; they also appear on bills of lading and invoices. In domestic trade, it is common to mark containers with the name and address of the recipient, but this is rarely done in foreign trade.

Marking: Every article of foreign origin, or its container, imported into the United States shall be permanently marked in a conspicuous place in a manner which would indicate to the ultimate purchaser the English name of the country of origin of the article.

Mate's Receipt: Receipt of cargo by the vessel, signed by the mate (similar to dock receipt).

Measurement Ton: The measurement ton (also known as the cargo ton or freight ton) is a space measurement, usually 40 cubic feet or one cubic meter. The cargo is assessed a certain rate for every 40 cubic feet or 1 cubic meter it occupies.

Mega carrier: One of the predatory massive shipping lines that compete on the largely saturated east/west trades.

MFN (Most Favored Nation): Designation for countries, which receive preferential tariff rates. This is no longer the best tariff structure available.

Min. B/L: Minimum bill of lading

MT: Empty

MW: Minimum weight factor

Manifest: Document that lists in detail all the bills of lading issued by a carrier or its agent or master for a specific voyage. A detailed summary of the total cargo of a vessel. Used principally for Customs purposes.

Marine Insurance: Broadly, insurance covering loss or damage of goods at sea. Marine insurance typically compensates the owner of merchandise for losses sustained from fire, shipwreck, etc., but excludes losses that can be recovered from the carrier.

Maritime: Business pertaining to commerce or navigation transacted upon the sea or in seaports in such matters as the court of admiralty has jurisdiction.

Marking: Letters, numbers, and other symbols placed on cargo packages to facilitate identification. Also known as marks.

Marlinespike: A pointed metal spike, used to separate strands of rope in splicing.

Master Inbond: U.S. Customs' automated program under AMS. It allows for electronic reporting of inbound (foreign) cargoes in the U.S.

Mate's Receipt: An archaic practice. An acknowledgement of cargo receipt signed by a mate of the vessel. The possessor of the mate's receipt is entitled to the bill of lading, in exchange for that receipt.

MBM: 1,000 board feet. One MBM equals 2,265 C.M.

MCFS: Abbreviation for "Master Container Freight Station." See CFS.

Measurement Cargo: Freight on which transportation charges are calculated on the basis of volume measurement.

Measurement Ton: 40 cubic feet.

Mechanically Ventilated Container: A container fitted with a means of forced air ventilation.

Memorandum Bill of Lading: An in-house bill of lading. A duplicate copy.

Memorandum Freight Bill: See Multiple Containerload Shipment.

Meter: 39.37 inches (approximately).

Metric Ton: 2,204.6 pounds or 1,000 kilograms.

Microbridge: A cargo movement in which the water carrier provides a through service between an inland point and the port of load/discharge. The carrier is responsible for cargo and costs from origin on to destination. Also known as IPI or Through Service.

Mile: A unit equal to 5,280 feet on land.  A nautical mile is 6076.115.

Mini Land bridge: An intermodal system for transporting containers by ocean and then by rail or motor to a port previously served as an allwater move (e.g., Hong Kong to New York over Seattle).

Minimum Bill of Lading: A clause in a Bill of lading which specifies the least charge that the carrier will make for issuing a lading. The charge may be a definite sum or the current charge per ton for any specified quantity.

Minimum Charge: The lowest charge that can be assessed to transport a shipment.

Mixed Container Load: A container load of different articles in a single consignment.

MLB: Abbreviation for "Mini Landbridge."

M.M.F.B.: Middlewest Motor Freight Bureau.

Modified Atmosphere: A blend of gases tailored to replace the normal atmosphere within a container.

MT: Abbreviation for "Metric Ton."

Multimodal: Synonymous for all practical purposes with "Intermodal."

MultiTank Container: A container frame fitted to accommodate two or more separate tanks for liquids.



Nautical Mile: Distance of one minute of longitude at the equator, approximately 6,076.115. The metric equivalent is 1852.

N.C.I.T.D.: National Committee on International Trade Documentation.

NEC: Abbreviation for "Not Elsewhere Classified."

N.E.M.: Not elsewhere mentioned (English)

N.E.S.: Not elsewhere specified

N.O.E.: Not otherwise enumerated

N.O.H.P.: Not otherwise herein provided

N.O.I.: Not more specifically described

N.O.I.B.N.: Not otherwise indicated by number; not otherwise indicated by name.

N.O.S.: Not otherwise specified

N.T.: Net tons

National Carrier: A flag carrier owned or controlled by the state.

Nested Solid: Three of more different sizes of an article are placed within each other so that each article will not project above the next lower article by more than 1/4 inch.

Nested: Three or more different sizes of an article are placed within each other so that each article will not project above the next lower article by more than 33 1/3% of its height.

Net Terms: Free of charters' commission

Net Weight: (Actual Net Weight) Weight of goods alone without any immediate wrappings; e.g., the weight of the contents of a tin can without the weight of the can.

Negotiable Instruments: A document of title (such as a draft, promissory note, check, or bill of lading) transferable from one person to another in good faith for a consideration. Non-negotiable bills of lading are known as "straight consignment." Negotiable bills are known as "order b/l's."

NES: Abbreviation for "Not Elsewhere Specified."

Nested: Articles packed so that one rests partially or entirely within another, thereby reducing the cubic-foot displacement.

Net Tare Weight: The weight of an empty cargo-carrying piece of equipment plus any fixtures permanently attached.

Net Tonnage (NT): (0.2+0.02 log10(Vc)) Vc (4d/3D)2, for passenger ships the following formula is added: 1.25 (GT+10000)/10000 (N1+(N2/10)), where Vc is the volume of cargo holds, D is the distance between ship's bottom and the uppermost deck, d is the draught N1 is the number of cabin passengers, and N2 is the number of deck passengers.) "Ton" is figured as an 100 cubic foot ton.

Weight of the goods alone without any immediate wrappings, e.g., the weight of the contents of a tin can without the weight of the can.

Neutral Body: An organization established by the members of an ocean conference acts as a self-policing force with broad authority to investigate tariff violations, including authority to scrutinize all documents kept by the carriers and their personnel. Violations are reported to the membership and significant penalties are assessed.

NMB: National Maritime Board

NMFC: National Motor Freight Classification

No Objection Certificate: Document provided by scheduled or national airlines of many countries declaring no objection to a proposed charter flight operated by another airline. Often demanded by government authorities before they grant permission for a charter flight to take place.

No Objection Fee: Sum of money paid by a charter airline normally to a scheduled airline in order that it waives its right of objection to its government, thus allowing a charter to take place. Tantamount to a bribe. The amount is usually a fixed percentage of the gross cost of a charter. Common practice in the Middle East and Africa.

Non-Scheduled Flight: See scheduled flight.

Non-Tariff Barriers (NTB): Economic, political, administrative or legal impediments to trade other than duties, taxes and import quotas

Non-Vessel Operation Common Carrier (NVOCC): An F.M.C. registered cargo consolidator of small shipments in ocean trade, generally soliciting business and arranging for or performing containerization functions at the port. These carriers issue their own bill of lading referred to as a house bill of lading.

NPC: National Ports Council / Nigerian Ports Charge (Carriers surcharge given extra costs imposed by ports authority)

NRT: Net registered tonnage

NVOCC: Non vessel owning common carrier

N.M.F.C.: National Motor Freight Classification.

NOI: Abbreviation for "Not Otherwise Indexed."

NOIBN: Abbreviation for "Not Otherwise Indexed By Name."

Nomenclature of the Customs Cooperation Council: The Customs tariff used by most countries worldwide. It was formerly known as the Brussels Tariff Nomenclature and is the basis of the commodity coding system known as the Harmonized System.

Non-Dumping Certificate: Required by some countries for protection against the dumping of certain types of merchandise or products.

Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier (NVOCC): A cargo consolidator in ocean trades who will buy space from a carrier and subsell it to smaller shippers. The NVOCC issues bills of lading, publishes tariffs and otherwise conducts itself as an ocean common carrier, except that it will not provide the actual ocean or intermodal service.

NOR: Notice of Readiness. (When the ship is ready to load.)

NOS: Abbreviation for "Not Otherwise Specified."

Nose: Front of a container or trailer - opposite the tail.

No-show: Cargo which has been booked but does not arrive in time to be loaded before the vessel sails.  See also "Windy Booking."

N.P.C.F.B.: North Pacific Coast Freight Bureau. 



Ocean Bill of Lading (Ocean B/L): A contract for transportation between a shipper and a carrier. It also evidences receipt of the cargo by the carrier. A bill of lading shows ownership of the cargo and, if made negotiable, can be bought, sold or traded while the goods are in-transit.

OCP: See "Overland Common Points."

ODS: Abbreviation for "Operating Differential Subsidy."   An amount of money the U.S. government paid U.S. shipping companies that qualify for this subsidy.  The intent was to help offset the higher subsidy.  The intent was to help offset the higher cost of operating a U.S.-flag vessel.  The ODS program is administered by the U.S. Maritime Administration and is being phased out.

O. & R.: Ocean and Rail

O.D.: Outside diameter

O.R. Det.: Owner's risk of deterioration

O.r.b.: Owner's risk or breakage

O.R.F.: Owner's risk of fire or freezing

O.R.L.: Owner's risk of leakage

O.R.W.: Owner's risk of becoming wet

O.S. & D.: Over, short and damage

O/N: Order notify; own name

O/o: Order of

O/R: Owner's risk

OBO: Oil bulk ore: A vessel capable of carrying both dry and liquid bulk cargoes.

Ocean Bill of Lading: A receipt for cargo in transit, and a contract between the exporter and an ocean carrier for transportation and delivery of goods to a specified party at a specified foreign destination. Issued after the vessel has sailed and the cargo has been entered in the ship's manifest.

ODS: An acronym commonly used for the term "operating differential subsidy," which is a payment to an American-flag carrier by the federal government to offset the difference in operating costs between US and foreign vessels.

OECD: Organisation for Economic Co-operation & Development

OEEC: Organisation for European Economic Co-operation

Off-Line: Describes an airline that sells in a market to which it does not operate. An Off-Line carrier will use another operator to link with its network.

OFT: Office of Fair Trading

OOG - Out of gauge/profile: When cargo loaded is not within the dimensions of an ISO pontoon/stack master on which it is placed and protrudes from the sides or is too high.

Open Account: A high-risk trade arrangement in which goods are shipped to a foreign buyer without guarantee of payment.

Open Policy: A cargo insurance policy that is an open contract; i.e., it provides protection for all an exporter's shipments afloat or in transit within a specified geographical trade area for an unlimited period of time, until the policy is cancelled by the insured or by the insurance company. It is "open" because the goods that are shipped are also detailed at that time. This usually is shown in a document called a marine insurance certificate.

Open top container: Container with a removable fabric roof which enables heavy/bulk cargo to be loaded into the container by crane/elevator.

Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM accounts): Customers who incorporate the exporter's product into their own merchandise for resale under their own brand names.

Overlanded: Cargo discharged but not on the manifest, generally by accident

O.E.C.D.: Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, headquartered in Paris with membership consisting of the world's developed nations.

On Board: A notation on a bill of lading that cargo has been loaded on board a vessel. Used to satisfy the requirements of a letter of credit, in the absence of an express requirement to the contrary.

On Deck: A notation on a bill of lading that the cargo has been stowed on the open deck of the ship.

Open Account: A trade arrangement in which goods are shipped to a foreign buyer without guarantee of payment.

Open Insurance Policy: A marine insurance policy that applies to all shipments made by an exporter over a period of time rather than to one shipment only.

Open Top Container: A container fitted with a solid removable roof, or with a tarpaulin roof so the container can be loaded or unloaded from the top.

Operating Ratio: A comparison of a carrier's operating expense with its net sales.   The most general measure of operating efficiency.

O.P.I.C.: Overseas Private Investment Corporation.

Optimum Cube: The highest level of cube utilization that can be achieved when loading cargo into a container.

Order-Notify (O/N): A bill of lading term to provide surrender of the original bill of lading before freight is released; usually associated with a shipment covered under a letter of credit.

ORFS: Abbreviation for "Origin Rail Freight Station." Same as CFS at origin except an ORFS is operated by the rail carrier participating in the shipment.

Origin: Location where shipment begins its movement.

Original Bill of Lading (OBL): A document which requires proper signatures for consummating carriage of contract. Must be marked as "original" by the issuing carrier.

OS&D: Abbreviation for "Over, Short or Damaged" Usually discovered at cargo unloading.

Out Gate: Transaction or interchange that occurs at the time a container leaves a rail or water terminal.

Overcharge: To charge more than the proper amount according to the published rates.

Over height Cargo: Cargo more than eight feet high which thus cannot fit into a standard container.

Overland Common Point (OCP): A term stated on the bills of lading offering lower shipping rates to importers east of the Rockies, provided merchandise from the Far East comes in through the West Coast ports. OCP rates were established by U.S. West Coast steamship companies in conjunction with western railroads so that cargo originating or destined for the American Midwest and East would be competitive with all-water rates via the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf ports. Applies to eastern Canada.

Owner Code (SCAC): Standard Carrier Abbreviation Code identifying an individual common carrier. A three letter carrier code followed by a suffix identifies the carrier's equipment. A suffix of "U" is a container and "C" is a chassis.



P&I: Abbreviation for "Protection and Indemnity," an insurance term.

Packing List: Itemized list of commodities with marks/numbers but no cost values indicated.

P.A.: Particular average

P.W.: Packed weight

P/L: Partial loss

Paired: Port of Arrival Immediate Release and Enforcement Determination. A U.S. Customs program that allows entry documentation for an import shipment to be filed at one location, usually an inland city, while the merchandise is cleared by Customs at the port of entry, normally a seaport. May be ineffective with certain types of high-risk cargoes, such as quota-regulated textiles or shipments from drug-production regions. Cities where there is a natural flow of cargo are actually "paired" in the program; e.g., Atlanta, an inland city, is linked with Savannah, a seaport. Tested in '87-'88, it became generally available in mid- '88.

Pallet Extender: Fashionable metal or cardboard device to increase pallet capacity.

Pallet: Load carrying platform to which loose cargo is secured before placing aboard the aircraft.

Paperless Release: Under ABI, certain commodities from low-risk countries not designated for examination may be released through an ABI-certified broker without the actual submission of documentation.

Part Charter: Where part of an airline's scheduled flight is sold as if it were a charter in its own right (Often wrongly used as a synonym for split charter).

Part Load Charter: Where a part of an aircraft's load is discharged at one destination and a part of it at another. This is distinct from a split charter where a number of consignments are carried to the same destination. Inbound, part loads are treated as single entity charters under the regulations of most countries.

Particular Average: Partial loss or damage to goods.

Parcel Receipt: An arrangement whereby a steamship company, under rules and regulations established in the freight tariff of a given trade, accepts small packages at rates below the minimum bill of lading, and issues a parcel receipt instead of a bill of lading.

Partial Shipments: Under letters of credit, one or more shipments are allowed by the phrase "partial shipments permitted."

Particular Average: See Insurance, Particular Average.

PADAG: Abbreviation for "Please Authorize Delivery Against Guarantee." A request from the consignee to the shipper to allow the carrier or agent to release cargo against a guarantee, either bank or personal. Made when the consignee is unable to produce original bills of lading.

Paired Ports: A U.S. Customs program wherein at least two designated Customs ports will enter cargo that arrives at either port without the necessity of an in-bound document.

Pallet: A platform with or without sides, on which a number of packages or pieces may be loaded to facilitate handling by a lift truck.

Paper Ramp: A technical rail ramp, used for equalization of points not actually served.

Paper Rate: A published rate that is never assessed because no freight moves under it.

Payee: A party named in an instrument as the beneficiary of the funds. Under letters of credit, the payee is either the drawer of the draft or a bank.

Payer: A party responsible for the payment as evidenced by the given instrument. Under letters of credit, the payer is the party on whom the draft is drawn, usually the drawee bank.

PBC: Produce Buying Company Limited, Ghana. Buys cocoa beans from farmers at village level and sells direct to the government at guaranteed prices.

PD: Port dues

PE: Period entry

Perils of the Sea: Most losses covered by a marine insurance policy come within the comprehensive expression "perils of the sea," which refers to damage caused by heavy weather, strandings, strikings on rocks or on bottom, collision with other vessels, contacts with floating objects, etc.

Perishables: Any cargo that loses considerable value if it is delayed in transportation (Usually refers to fresh fruit and vegetables).

Pilferage: As used in marine insurance policies, the term denotes petty thievery, the taking of small parts of a shipment, as opposed to the theft of a whole shipment or large unit. Many ordinary marine insurance policies do not cover against pilferage, and when this coverage is desired, it must be added to the policy.

Pivot Weight: That weight of a ULD above, which a higher tariff applies; in effect, an incentive to maximize cargo density.

Place of Rest: The term "Place of Rest" as used in the Containerized Cargo Rules means that location on the floor, dock, platform or doorway at the CFS to which cargo is first delivered by shipper or agent thereof.

Place: A particular street address or other designation of a factory, store, warehouse, place of business, private residence, construction camp or the like, at a point.

Point: A particular city, town, village or other community or area, which is treated as a unit for the application of rates.

Pontoon: This is a piece of equipment equivalent to the bottom of a container without sides. Often used for stacking parcels of sawn timber and bags of cocoa. Otherwise known as a flat or bolster

Port Authority: A government body (city, county or state), which in international shipping maintains various airports and/or ocean cargo pier facilities, transit sheds, loading equipment warehouses for air cargo, etc. Has the power to levy dockage and wharfage charges, landing fees, etc.

Port Captain: The person who plans stowage and supervises loading and discharging of vessels. Also know as a Supercargo.

Port Marks: An identifying set of letters numbers and/or geometric symbols followed by the name of the port of destination, which are placed on export shipments. Foreign government requirements may be exceedingly strict in the matter of port marks.

Port of Discharge: Port where vessel is off loaded and cargo discharges.

Port of Entry: A port at which foreign goods are re-admitted into the receiving country.

Port of Loading: Port where cargo is loaded aboard the vessel lashed and stowed.

Harbour having facilities for ships to moor, load and discharge.
 The left hand side of a ship when facing forwards.

Power of Attorney: A document that authorizes a customs broker to sign all customs documents on behalf of an importer.

Pre-Advice: Preliminary advice that a letter of credit has been established in the form of a brief authenticated wire message. It is not an operative instrument and is usually followed by the actual letter of credit.

Prepaid Freight: Generally speaking, freight charges both in ocean and air transport may be either prepaid in the currency of the country of export or they may be billed collect for payment by the consignee in his local currency. However, on shipments to some countries freight charges must be prepaid because of foreign exchange regulations of the country of import and/or rules of steamship companies or airlines.

Pre-Slung Cargo: Cargo shipped already in a cargo sling or net. Usually prepared and loaded at pier ready for arrival of vessel and subsequent loading (i.e. coffee in bags, coconut shells, etc).

Price Quotation/Proforma Invoice: An invoice prepared by the seller in advance of shipment that documents the cost of goods sold, freight, insurance, and other related charges. It is often used by the buyer to secure a letter of credit, an import license or a foreign currency allocation.

Prima Facie: Latin, "on first appearance." A term frequently encountered in foreign trade. When a steamship company issues a clean bill of lading, it acknowledges that the goods were received "in apparent good order and condition" and this is said by the courts to constitute prima facie evidence of the conditions of the containers; that is, if nothing to the contrary appears, it must be inferred that the cargo was in good condition when received by the carrier.

Primage: Percentage added to freight and usually returned as a deferred rebate.

Prime Entry: Statement of goods based on details included in the bill of lading.

Pro Number: A number assigned by the carrier to a single shipment, used in all cases where the shipment must be referred. Usually assigned at once.

Proforma: When used with the title of a document, the term refers to an informal document presented in advance of the arrival, or preparation of the required document, in order to satisfy a customs requirement.

Proof of Delivery: Add-on service in express market, delivered either by phone or courier. Often offered free.

Protest: Customs form 19 allows for a refund of an overpayment of duty if filed within 90 days of liquidation.

PSD: Pre-shipment document

PSI: Pre-shipment Inspection

Per Diem: A charge, based on a fixed daily rate.

Perils of the Sea: Those causes of loss for which the carrier is not legally liable. The elemental risks of ocean transport.

Phytosanitary Inspection Certificate: A certificate issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to satisfy import regulations of foreign countries; indicates that a U.S. shipment has been inspected and found free from harmful pests and plant diseases.

Pickup: The act of calling for freight by truck at the consignor's shipping platform.

Pier: The structure perpendicular to the shoreline to which a vessel is secured for the purpose of loading and unloading cargo.

Pier-to-House: A shipment loaded into a container at the pier or terminal, thence to the consignee's facility.

Pier-to-Pier: Containers loaded at port of loading and discharged at port of destination.

Piggy Packer: A mobile container-handling crane used to load/unload containers to/from railcars.

Piggyback: A transportation arrangement in which truck trailers with their loads are moved by train to a destination. Also known as Rail Pigs.

Place of Delivery: Place where cargo leaves the care and custody of carrier.

Place of Receipt: Location where cargo enters the care and custody of carrier.

Plimsoll Mark: A series of horizontal lines, corresponding to the seasons of the year and fresh or saltwater, painted on the outside of a ship marking the level which must remain above the surface of the water for the vessel's stability.


Abbreviation for:
Port of Discharge.
Port of Destination.
Proof of Delivery. A document required from the carrier or driver for proper payment.

Point of Origin: The place at which a shipment is received by a carrier from the shipper.

Abbreviation for:
Port of Loading.
Petroleum, Oil, and Lubricants.

Pomerene Act, Also known as (U.S.) Federal Bill of Lading Act of 1916.: U.S. federal law enacting conditions by which a B/L may be issued. Penalties for issuing B/L's containing false data include monetary fines and/or imprisonment.

Harbor with piers or docks.
Left side of a ship when facing forward.
Opening in a ship's side for handling freight.

Port of Call: Port where a ship discharges or receives traffic.

Port of Entry: Port where cargo is unloaded and enters a country.

Port of Exit: Place where cargo is loaded and leaves a country.

Pratique Certificate: Lifts temporary quarantine of a vessel; granted pratique by Health Officer.

Pre-cooling: A process employed in the shipment of citrus fruits and other perishable commodities. The fruit is packed and placed in a cold room from which the heat is gradually extracted. The boxes of fruit are packed in containers that have been thoroughly cooled and transported through to destination without opening the doors.

Prepaid (Ppd.): Freight charges paid by the consignor (shipper) prior to the release of the bills of lading by the carrier.

Pro Forma: A Latin term meaning "For the sake of form."

Pro Forma Invoice: An invoice provided by a supplier prior to the shipment of merchandise, informing the buyer of the kinds and quantities of goods to be sent, their value, and specifications (weight, size, etc.).

Pro Rata: A Latin term meaning "In proportion."

Project Rate: Single tariff item, established to move multiple commodities needed for a specified project, usually construction.

A name usually given to a State body having control or regulation of public utilities.

Publishing Agent: Person authorized by transportation lines to publish tariffs or rates, rules, and regulations for their account.

Pulp Temperature: Procedure where carrier tests the temperature of the internal flesh of refrigerated commodities to assure that the temperature at time of shipment conforms to prescribed temperature ranges.

Pup: A short semi-trailer used jointly with a dolly and another semi-trailer to create a twin trailer.



Quarantine: A restraint placed on an operation to protect the public against a health hazard. A ship may be quarantined so that it cannot leave a protected point. During the quarantine period, the Q flag is hoisted.

Quoin: A wedge-shaped piece of timber used to secure barrels against movement.

Quota: The quantity of goods that may be imported without restriction during a set period of time.

Quotation: An offer to sell goods at a stated price and under stated terms.

Quay: A structure attached to land to which a vessel is moored.  See also Pier and Dock.



R. & C.: Rail and Canal

R. & c.c.: Riots and civil commotions

R.c.c. & s.: Riots, civil commotions and strikes

R/C: Reconsigned

Rag Top: A slang term for an open-top trailer or container with a tarpaulin cover.

Rail Division: The amount of money an ocean carrier pays to the railroad for overland carriage.

Rail Grounding: The time that the container was discharged (grounded) from the train.

Ramp: Railroad terminal where containers are received or delivered and trains loaded or discharged. Originally, trailers moved onto the rearmost flatcar via a ramp and driven into position in a technique known as "circus loading." Most modern rail facilities use lifting equipment to position containers onto the flatcars.

Ramp-to-Door: A movement where the load initiates at an origin rail ramp and terminates at a consignee's door.

Reach Stacker:
A special container handling truck that can stack containers and reach behind two rows of containers.

Rebate: A deduction taken from a set payment or charge. As a rebate is given after payment of the full amount has been made, it differs from a discount, which is deducted in advance of the payment. In foreign trade, a full or partial rebate may be given on import duties paid on goods, which are later re-exported.

Reciprocity: A practice by which governments extend similar concessions to one another.

Red Clause Letter of Credit: A letter of credit that allows the exporter to receive a percentage of the face value of the letter of credit in advance of shipment. This enables the exporter to purchase inventory and pay other costs associated with producing and preparing the export order.

REDS: Registered Excise Shippers and Dealers

Reefer: Refrigerated container that is fitted with a refrigerated unit for the carriage of cargoes that have to be frozen or chilled.

REFG.: Refrigerating; Refrigeration

Regs.: Registered Tonnage

Retaliation: Action taken by a country to restrain its imports from another country that has increased a tariff or imposed other measures that adversely affects the firsts country's exports.

RN: Removal Note

Roll trailer: A generic term for a wheeled trailer used for carrying cargo, also known as a mafi. It may remain on board throughout ocean passage or be used as a ‘slave’ trailer to transport cargo to and from the vessel once on quay. It has an under layer with a steel chassis and equipped with solid rubber tyres. It is attached to a tug master with a gooseneck.

RORO (ROLL ON-ROLL OFF): Direct drive on/drive off wheeled vehicles on specially designed ocean-going vessels.

Route: an established air passage, from point of departure to terminating station.

Royalty: a charge on charter flights levied by some governments before traffic rights are granted. Sometimes called a "no objection fee." Usually a fixed proportion of a total charter value.
A movement of equipment from an origin rail ramp to a destination rail ramp only.

Rate Basis: A formula of the specific factors or elements that control the making of a rate. A rate can be based on any number of factors (i.e., weight, measure, equipment type, package, box, etc.).

Reasonableness: Under ICC and common law, the requirement that a rate not be higher than is necessary to reimburse the carrier for the actual cost of transporting the traffic and allow a fair profit.

Rebate: An illegal form of discounting or refunding that has the net effect of lowering the tariff price. See also Malpractice.

Reconsignment: Changing the consignee or destination on a bill of lading while shipment is still in transit. Diversion has substantially the same meaning.

Recourse: A right claim against the guarantors of a loan or draft or bill of exchange.

Red Label: A label required on shipments of flammable articles.

Reefer: Refrigerated container.

Related Points: A group of points to which rates are made the same as or in relation to rates to other points in group.

RFQ: Request for quotation.

Relay: To transfer containers from one ship to another when both vessels are controlled by the same network (carrier) manager.

Remittance: Funds sent by one person to another as payment.

Restricted Articles: Articles handled only under certain conditions.

Revenue Ton (RT): A ton on which the shipment is freighted. If cargo is rated as weight or measure (W/M), whichever produces the highest revenue will be considered the revenue ton.  Weights are based on metric tons and measures are based on cubic meters.  RT=1 MT or 1 CBM.

Reverse IPI: An inland point provided by an allwater carrier's through bill of lading in the U.S. by first discharging the container in an East Coast port.

"Ro/Ro": A shortening of the term, "Roll On/Roll Off." A method of ocean cargo service using a vessel with ramps which allows wheeled vehicles to be loaded and discharged without cranes.

Roll: To re-book cargo to a later vessel.

Rolling: The side-to-side (athwart ship) motion of a vessel.

Route: The manner in which a shipment moves; i.e., the carriers handling it and the points at which the carriers interchange.

Running Gear: Complementary equipment for terminal and over the road handling containers.

RVNX: Abbreviation for "Released Value Not Exceeding." Usually used to limit the value of goods transported. The limitation refers to carrier liability when paying a claim for lost or damaged goods.



Sanction: An embargo imposed by a Government against another country.


Abbreviation for:
Sight draft.
Sea damage.

SCAC Code: See Owner Code.

Schedule B: The Statistical Classification of Domestic and Foreign Commodities Exported from the United States.

Sea-Bee Vessels: Ocean vessels constructed with heavy-duty submersible hydraulic lift or elevator system at the stern of the vessel. The Sea-Bee system facilitates forward transfer and positioning of barges. Sea-Bee barges are larger than LASH barges. The Sea-Bee system is no longer used.

Sea Waybill: Document indicating the goods were loaded onboard when a document of title (b/L) is not needed.  Typically used when a company is shipping goods to itself.

Seaworthiness: The fitness of a vessel for its intended use.

S. & F.A.: Shipping and forwarding agent.

S.I.T.: Stopped in Transit

S.L. & C.: Shipper's Load and Count

S.L. & T.: Shipper's Load and Tally

S.O.L.: Ship Owner's Liability

S.R. & C.C.: Strikes, riots, and civil commotions.

S.R: Shipping Receipt

S.tn.: Short ton

S.W.: Shipper's weights

S/N: Shipping Note

SAD: Single Administrative Document

Salvage: Rescue of goods from loss at sea or by fire; also, goods so saved, or payment made or due for their rescue.

Sanitary and Health Certificate: A statement signed by a health organization official certifying the degree of purity, cleanliness, or spoilage of goods, and the health of live animals.

Schedule B: Refers to "Schedule B, Statistical Classification of Domestic and Foreign Commodities Exported from the United States." Being replaced under the Harmonized System.

Scheduled Flight: Any service that operates to a set timetable.

SCR: Specified Commodity Rate. Applied to narrowly specified commodities. Usually granted on relatively large shipments. Theoretically is of limited time duration.

Sea Freight: Charges for transporting cargo by sea. This does not cover any haulage or loading / discharging costs, sea transport only.

Sector: Distance between two ground points within a route.

Self-Sustaining: Vessel has its own cranes and equipment mounted on board for loading/unloading. Used in ports where shore cranes and equipment are lacking.

Service Contract: A contract between a shipper and an ocean carrier of conference, in which the shipper makes a commitment to provide a minimum quantity of cargo over a fixed time period.

Service: The defined, regular pattern of calls made by a carrier in the pick-up and discharge of cargo.

Set Up: Articles in their assembled condition.

Shipment: Freight tendered to a carrier by one consignor at one piece at one time for delivery to one consignee at one place on one bill of lading.

Shipper: Term used to describe exporter. Mostly manufacturing companies.

Shipper's Export Declaration: A form required by the Treasury Department and completed by a shipper showing the value, weight, consignee, destination, etc., of export shipments as well as Schedule B identification number.

Ship's Manifest: An instrument in writing containing a list of the shipments comprising the cargo of the vessel.

Ship's Tackle: All rigging, etc., utilized on a ship to load or discharge cargo.

Short landed: Cargo manifested for port but not discharged, either by accident or design.

Short-Shipped: Cargo manifested but not loaded.

Sight Draft: A draft payable upon presentation to the drawee. Compare date draft and time draft.

Single Entry Charter: A non-scheduled flight carrying the cargo of one shipper.

SITC: Standard International Trade Classification

Site: A particular platform or location for loading or unloading at a place.

SO: Seller's option

SOB: Shipped on board

Split Charter: Where a number of consignments from different shippers are carried on the same non-scheduled aircraft. Under U.K. regulations a non-scheduled flight chartered by a single forwarder or agent on behalf of a number of shippers is still classified as a split charter. Under U.S. regulations, a forwarder chartered flight is classified as a single entity although it can consolidate.

SS: Steamship; steam-powered ship (Steam driven turbines)

SSN: Standard Shipping Note

Stability: It is of paramount importance that a vessel is stable in all respects at all times. When cargo is loaded/discharged the stability is monitored by the navigating officer/Port Captain usually by computer, which takes into account the weight and position of the cargo within the vessel.

Stack master: A pontoon with two collapsible ends.

Standard International Trade Classification (SITC): A standard numerical code system developed by the United Nations to classify commodities used in international trade.

Starboard: Right side of a ship when facing the front or forward end.

Steamship Agent: A duly appointed and authorized representative in a specified territory acting in behalf of a steamship line or lines and attending to all matters relating to the vessels owned by his principals.

Steamship Line: Company is usually composed of the following departments; vessel operations, container operations, tariff department, booking, outbound rates, inward rates and sales. the company can maintain its own in country U.S. offices to handle regional sales, operations and/or other matters or appoint steamship agents to represent them doing same. Some lines have liner offices in several regions and have appointed agents in others.

Stern: The aftermost part of the ship.

Stevedore: Port manual worker involved with the physical loading and discharging of vessels.

Stowage Order: Before certain classes of goods, such as valuables, fragile or dangerous, are sent to the docks for shipment, a special stowage order must be obtained from the ship owner. It is the ship owner’s authority to the ship-worker to accept the goods and stow them where indicated. It must accompany the goods to the docks.

Stowage: The lacing of cargo in a vessel in such a manner as to provide the utmost safety and efficiency for the ship and the goods it carries.

Stowaway: A person who illegally hides on a vessel to get free passage to another country (usually from a poor country to a more affluent one).

Strikes, Riots, and Civil Commotions: An insurance clause referring to loss or damage directly caused by strikers, locked-out workmen, persons participation in labor disturbances, and riots of various kinds. The ordinary marine insurance policy does not cover this risk; coverage against it can be added only by endorsement.

Subsidy: An economic benefit granted by a government to producers of goods or services, often to strengthen their competitive position.

Sue & Labor Clause: A provision in marine insurance obligating the assured to do things necessary after a loss to prevent further loss and to act in the best interests of the insurer.

Supercargo: The person who plans stowage and supervises loading and discharging of vessels. Also know as a Port Captain.

Surety Bond: A bond insuring against loss or damage or for the completion of obligations.

Surety Company: An insurance company

SWIFT: Society for Worldwide Inter-bank Financial Telecommunications

SWL: Safe Working load

SED: U.S. Commerce Department document, "Shipper's Export Declaration."

A string of vessels which makes a particular voyage and serves a particular market.

Service Contract: As provided in the Shipping Act of 1984, a contract between a shipper (or a shippers association) and an ocean common carrier (or conference) in which the shipper makes a commitment to provide a certain minimum quantity of cargo or freight revenue over a fixed time period, and the ocean common carrier or conference commits to a certain rate or rate schedule as well as a defined service level (such as assured space, transit time, port rotation or similar service features). The contract may also specify provisions in the event of nonperformance on the part of either party.

SHEX: Saturday and Holidays Excluded.

SHINC: Saturday and Holidays Included.

Ship Chandler: An individual or company selling equipment and supplies for ships.

Ship Demurrage: A charge for delaying a steamer beyond a stipulated period.

Ship's Bells: Measure time onboard ship. One bell sounds for each half hour. One bell means 12:30, two bells mean 1:00, three bells mean 1:30, and so on until 4:00 (eight bells). At 4:30 the cycle begins again with one bell.

Ship's Manifest: A statement listing the particulars of all shipments loaded for a specified voyage.

Ship's Tackle: All rigging, cranes, etc., utilized on a ship to load or unload cargo.

Shipment: The tender of one lot of cargo at one time from one shipper to one consignee on one bill of lading.

Shipper: The person or company who is usually the supplier or owner of commodities shipped. Also called Consignor.

Shippers Association: A non-profit entity that represents the interests of a number of shippers. The main focus of shippers associations is to pool the cargo volumes of members to leverage the most favorable service contract rate levels.

Shipper's Export Declaration (SED,"Ex Dec"): A joint Bureau of the Census' International Trade Administration form used for compiling U.S. exports. It is completed by a shipper and shows the value, weight, destination, etc., of export shipments as well as Schedule B commodity code.

Shipper's Instructions: Shipper's communication(s) to its agent and/or directly to the international water-carrier. Instructions may be varied, e.g., specific details/clauses to be printed on the B/L, directions for cargo pickup and delivery.

Shipper's Letter of Instructions for issuing an Air Waybill: The document required by the carrier or freight forwarders to obtain (besides the data needed) authorization to issue and sign the air waybill in the name of the shipper.

Shipper's Load & Count (SL&C): Shipments loaded and sealed by shippers and not checked or verified by the carriers.

Shipping Act of 1916: The act of the U.S. Congress (1916) that created the U.S. Shipping Board to develop water transportation, operate the merchant ships owned by the government, and regulate the water carriers engaged in commerce under the flag of the United States. As of June 18, 1984, applies only to domestic offshore ocean transport.

Shipping Act of 1984: Effective June 18, 1984, describes the law covering water transportation in the U.S. foreign trade.

Shipping Act of 1998: Amends the Act of 1984 to provide for confidential service contracts and other items.

Shipping Order: Shipper's instructions to carrier for forwarding goods; usually the triplicate copy of the bill of lading.

Bulk Carriers: All vessels designed to carry bulk cargo such as grain, fertilizers, ore, and oil.
Combination Passenger and Cargo Ships: Ships with a capacity for 13 or more passengers.
Freighters: Break bulk vessels both refrigerated and unrefrigerated, containerships, partial containerships, roll on/roll off vessels, and barge carriers.
Barge Carriers:
Ships designed to carry barges; some are fitted to act as full containerships and can carry a varying number of barges and containers at the same time. At present this class includes two types of vessels LASH and Sea-Bee.
General Cargo Carriers:
Break bulk freighters, car carriers, cattle carriers, pallet carriers and timber carriers.
Full Containerships: Ships equipped with permanent container cells, with little or no space for other types of cargo.
Partial Containerships: Multipurpose containerships where one or more but not all compartments are fitted with permanent container cells. Remaining compartments are used for other types of cargo.
Roll-on/Roll-off vessels: Ships specially designed to carry wheeled containers or trailers using interior ramps.
Tankers: Ships fitted with tanks to carry liquid cargo such as: crude petroleum and petroleum products; chemicals, Liquefied gasses(LNG and LPG), wine, molasses, and similar product tankers.

Shore: A prop or support placed against or beneath anything to prevent sinking or sagging.

Short Ton (ST): 2,000 pounds.

Shrink Wrap: Polyethylene or similar substance heat-treated and shrunk into an envelope around several units, thereby securing them as a single pack for presentation or to secure units on a pallet.

Side Loader: A lift truck fitted with lifting attachments operating to one side for handling containers.

Side-Door Container: A container fitted with a rear door and a minimum of one side door.

Sight Draft: A draft payable upon presentation to the drawee.

Skids: Battens, or a series of parallel runners, fitted beneath boxes or packages to raise them clear of the floor to permit easy access of forklift blades or other handling equipment.

SL/W: Shippers load and count.  All three clauses are used as needed on the bill of lading to exclude the carrier from liability when the cargo is loaded by the shipper.

Sleepers: Loaded containers moving within the railroad system that are not clearly identified on any internally generated reports.

Sling: A wire or rope contrivance placed around cargo and used to load or discharge it to/from a vessel.

Slip: A vessel's berth between two piers.

SPA: Abbreviation for "Subject to Particular Average." See also Particular Average.

Spine Car: An articulated five-platform railcar. Used where height and weight restrictions limit the use of stack cars. It holds five 40-foot containers or combinations of 40- and 20-foot containers.

Spotting: Placing a container where required to be loaded or unloaded.

Spreader: A piece of equipment designed to lift containers by their corner castings.

Stability: The force that holds a vessel upright or returns it to upright if keeled over. Weight in the lower hold increases stability. A vessel is stiff if it has high stability, tender if it has low stability.

Stack Car: An articulated five-platform rail car that allows containers to be double stacked. A typical stack car holds ten 40-foot equivalent units (FEU's).

Stack train: A rail service whereby rail cars carry containers stacked two high on specially operated unit trains. Each train includes up to 35 articulated multi-platform cars. Each car is comprised of 5 well-type platforms upon which containers can be stacked. No chassis accompany containers.

Standard Industrial Classification (SIC): A standard numerical code used by the U.S. Government to classify products and services.

Standard International Trade Classification (SITC): A standard numeric code developed by the United Nations to classify commodities used in international trade, based on a hierarchy.

Starboard: The right side of a ship when facing the bow.

Statute Of Limitation: A law limiting the time in which claims or suits may be instituted.

STCC: Abbreviation for "Standard Transportation Commodity Code."

Steamship Conference: A group of vessel operators joined together for the purpose of establishing freight rates.

Steamship Guarantee: An indemnity issued to the carrier by a bank; protects the carrier against any possible losses or damages arising from release of the merchandise to the receiving party. This instrument is usually issued when the bill of lading is lost or is not available.

Stern: The end of a vessel. Opposite of bow.

Stevedore: Individual or firm that employs longshoremen and who contracts to load or unload the ship.

Store-Door Pick-up Delivery: A complete package of pick up or delivery services performed by a carrier from origin to final consumption point.

Stowage: A marine term referring to loading freight into ships' holds.

STC: Said to contain.

Straddle Carrier: Mobile truck equipment with the capacity for lifting a container within its own framework.

Straight Bill of Lading: A non-negotiable bill of lading which states a specific identity to whom the goods should be delivered. See Bill of Lading.

Stripping: Removing cargo from a container (devanning).

Stuffing: Putting cargo into a container.

STW: Said to weigh.

Subrogate: To put in place of another; i.e., when an insurance company pays a claim it is placed in the same position as the payee with regard to any rights against others.

Surface Transportation Board (STB): The U.S. federal body charged with enforcing acts of the U.S. Congress that affect common carriers in interstate commerce. STB replaced the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) in 1997.

Sufferance Wharf: A wharf licensed and attended by Customs authorities.

Supply Chain: A logistical management system which integrates the sequence of activities from delivery of raw materials to the manufacturer through to delivery of the finished product to the customer into measurable components. "Just in Time" is a typical value-added example of supply chain management.

Surcharge: An extra or additional charge.

Surtax: An additional extra tax.



T.&E.: Abbreviation for "Transportation and Exportation." Customs form used to control cargo movement from port of entry to port of exit, meaning that the cargo is moving from one country, through the United States, to another country.

Tail: Rear of a container or trailer-opposite the front or nose.

Tare Weight: In railcar or container shipments, the weight of the empty railcar or empty container.

Tariff (Trf.): A publication setting forth the charges, rates and rules of transportation companies.

T.B.L.: Through bill of lading

T.I.B.: Temporary Import Entry.

Tally Sheet: List of cargo, incoming and outgoing, checked by Tally clerk on dock.

Tank container: A container suitable for carrying liquids or powder.

Tare Weight: The weight of the container and/or packing materials only - excluding the weight of the goods inside the container.

Tare: The actual weight of the container only, without the goods.

Tariff: A general term for any listing of rates, charges, etc. the tariffs most frequently encountered in foreign trade are: tariffs of the international transportation companies operating on sea, on land, and in the air; tariffs of the international cable, radio, and telephone companies; and the customs tariffs of the various countries, which list goods that are duty free and those subject to import duty, giving the rate of duty in each case. There are various classes of customs duties.

TDC: Total distribution costs

TDW: Tons deadweight

Temperature Controlled Cargo: Any cargo requiring carriage under controlled temperature.

Terminal: A receiving point ie a freight station or a container yard.

TEU: Twenty foot equivalent.

Third Freedom Right: Where cargo is carried by an airline, from the country in which it is based, to a foreign country.

Time charter: The hiring of a ship from a ship owner for a period of time.

Time Draft: A draft that matures in a certain number of days, either from acceptance or date of the draft.

Title, Passing: The passing of title to exported goods is determined in large measure by the selling terms. For example, if an exporter sells goods c.i.f he may be presumed to pass ownership and tender of documents. However, he may ship on a bill of lading drawn to his own order, to prevent the buyer from gaining possession of the goods until the draft is paid or accepted. In this case he retains a security title to the goods; that is, a title for security purposes only, until the financial arrangement is carried out. Caution: depending on the laws of the buyer's country, you may not be able to force passage of title without payment having been received or the buyer having accepted delivery of the goods or a clear understanding by the buyer being understood and accepted.

TL: Truckload

Ton: Freight rates for liner cargo generally are quoted on the basis of a certain rate per ton, depending on the nature of the commodity. This ton, however, may be weight ton or a measurement ton.

Ton-Deadweight: Indicates the carrying capacity of the ship in terms of the weight in tons of the cargo, fuel, provisions and passengers, which a vessel can carry.

Ton-Displacement: The weight of the volume of water, which the fully loaded ship displaces.

Ton-Kilometer: Measure of airline freight capacity.

Ton-Registered: Indicates the cubical contents or burden of a vessel in tons of 100 cubic feet. The space within a vessel in units of 100 cubic feet.

Toplashing: Roll trailers and cassettes are secured with webbing. One end is attached to the ceiling, the other to the underlayer

Telex: Used for sending messages to outside companies. Messages are transmitted via Western Union, ITT and RCA.  Being replaced by fax and Internet.

Temperature Recorder: A device to record temperature in a container while cargo is en route.

Tender: The offer of goods for transportation or the offer to place cars or containers for loading or unloading.

Tenor: Time and date for payment of a draft.

Terminal: An assigned area in which containers are prepared for loading into a vessel, train, truck, or airplane or are stacked immediately after discharge from the vessel, train, truck, or airplane.

Terminal Charge: A charge made for a service performed in a carrier's terminal area.

Terms of Sale: The point at which sellers have fulfilled their obligations so the goods in a legal sense could be said to have been delivered to the buyer. They are shorthand expressions that set out the rights and obligations of each party when it comes to transporting the goods. Following, are the thirteen terms of sale in international trade as Terms of Sale reflected in the recent amendment to the International chamber of Commerce Terms of Trade (INCOTERMS), effective July 1990: exw, fca, fas, fob, cfr, cif, cpt, cip, daf, des, deq, ddu and ddp.

EXW (Ex Works) (...Named Place): A Term of Sale which means that the seller fulfills the obligation to deliver when he or she has made the goods available at his/her premises (i.e., works, factory, warehouse, etc.) to the buyer. In particular, the seller is not responsible for loading the goods in the vehicle provided by the buyer or for clearing the goods for export, unless otherwise agreed. The buyer bears all costs and risks involved in taking the goods from the seller's premises to the desired destination. This term thus represents the minimum obligation for the seller.
FCA (Free Carrier) (... Named Place):
A Term of Sale which means the seller fulfills their obligation when he or she has handed over the goods, cleared for export, into the charge of the carrier named by the buyer at the named place or point. If no precise point is indicated by the buyer, the seller may choose, within the place or range stipulated, where the carrier should take the goods into their charge.
FAS (Free Alongside Ship) (...Named Port of Shipment):
A Term of Sale which means the seller fulfills his obligation to deliver when the goods have been placed alongside the vessel on the quay or in lighters at the named port of shipment. This means that the buyer has to bear all costs and risks of loss of or damage to the goods from that moment.
FOB (Free On Board) (...Named Port of Shipment):
An International Term of Sale that means the seller fulfills his or her obligation to deliver when the goods have passed over the ship's rail at the named port of shipment. This means that the buyer has to bear all costs and risks to loss of or damage to the goods from that point. The FOB term requires the seller to clear the goods for export.
CFR (Cost and Freight) (...Named Port of Destination): A Term of Sale where the seller pays the costs and freight necessary to bring the goods to the named port of destination, Terms of Sale but the risk of loss of or damage to the goods, as (continued) well as any additional costs due to events occurring after the time the goods have been delivered on board the vessel, is transferred from the seller to the buyer when the goods pass the ship's rail in the port of shipment. The CFR term requires the seller to clear the goods for export.
CIF (Cost, Insurance and Freight) (...Named Place of Destination): A Term of Sale where the seller has the same obligations as under the CFR but also has to procure marine insurance against the buyer's risk of loss or damage to the goods during the carriage. The seller contracts for insurance and pays the insurance premium. The CIF term requires the seller to clear the goods for export.
CPT (Carriage Paid To) (...Named Place of Destination): A Term of Sale which means the seller pays the freight for the carriage of the goods to the named destination. The risk of loss of or damage to the goods, as well as any additional costs due to events occurring after the time the goods have been delivered to the carrier, is transferred from the seller to the buyer when the goods have been delivered into the custody of the carrier. If subsequent carriers are used for the carriage to the agreed upon destination, the risk passes when the goods have been delivered to the first carrier. The CPT term requires the seller to clear the goods for export.
CIP (Carriage and Insurance Paid To) (...Named Place of Destination):
A Term of Sale which means the seller has the same obligations as under CPT, but with the addition that the seller has to procure cargo insurance against the buyer's risk of loss of or damage to the goods during the carriage. The seller contracts for insurance and pays the insurance premium. The buyer should note that under the CIP term the seller is required to obtain insurance only on minimum coverage. The CIP term requires the seller to clear the goods for export.
DAF (Delivered At Frontier) (...Named Place): A Term of Sale which means the sellers fulfill their obligation to deliver when the goods have been made available, cleared for export, at the named point and placed at the frontier, but before the customs Terms of Sale border of the adjoining country. (continued)
DDU (Delivered Duty Unpaid) (...Named Port of Destination): A Term of Sale where the seller fulfills his obligation to deliver when the goods have been made available at the named place in the country of importation. The seller has to bear the costs and risks involved in bringing the goods thereto (excluding duties, taxes and other official charges payable upon importation) as well as the costs and risks of carrying out customs formalities. The buyer has to pay any additional costs and to bear any risks caused by failure to clear the goods for in time.
DDP (Delivered Duty paid) (...Named Port of Destination): "Delivered Duty Paid" means that the seller fulfills his obligation to deliver when the goods have been made available at the named place in the country of importation. The seller has to bear the risks and costs, including duties, taxes and other charges of delivering the goods thereto, clear for importation. While the EXW term represents the minimum obligation for the seller, DDP represents the maximum.
DES (Delivered Ex Ship) (...Named Port of Destination): A Term of Sale where the seller fulfills his/her obligation to deliver when the goods have been made available to the buyer on board the ship, uncleared for import at the named port of destination. The seller has to bear all the costs and risks involved in bringing the goods to the named port destination.
DEQ (Delivered Ex Quay, [Duty Paid]) (...Named Port of Destination): A Term of Sale which means the DDU term has been fulfilled when the goods have been available to the buyer on the quay (wharf) at the named port of destination, cleared for importation. The seller has to bear all risks and costs including duties, taxes and other charges of delivering the goods thereto.

TBN: To Be Nominated.  (When the name of a ship is still unknown.)

TEU: Abbreviation for "Twenty foot Equivalent Unit."

Tonnage: 100 cubic feet.

Through Rate: The total rate from the point of origin to final destination.

Throughput Charge: The charge for moving a container through a container yard off or onto a ship.

Time Charter: A contract for leasing between the ship owners and the lessee. It would state, e.g., the duration of the lease in years or voyages.

Time Draft: A draft that matures either a certain number of days after acceptance or a certain number of days after the date of the draft.

Transport International par la Route." Road transport operating agreement among European governments and the United States for the international movement of cargo by road. Display of the TIR carnet allows sealed container loads to cross national frontiers without inspection.

TL: Abbreviation for "Trailer Load."

TOFC: Abbreviation for "Trailer on Flat Car." The movement of a highway trailer on a railroad flatcar. Also known as Piggyback.

A unit used in comparing freight earnings or expenses. The amount earned from the cost of hauling a ton of freight one mile.
The movement of a ton of freight one mile.

Tonnage: Generally refers to freight handled.

Top-Air Delivery: A type of air circulation in a container. In top air units, air is drawn from the bottom of the container, filtered through the evaporator for cooling and then forced through the ducted passages along the top of the container. This type of airflow requires a special loading pattern.

Towage: The charge made for towing a vessel.

Tractor: Unit of highway motive power used to pull one or more trailers/containers.

Trade Acceptance: A time or a date draft that has been accepted by the buyer (the drawee) for payment at maturity.

Traffic: Persons and property carried by transport lines.

Trailer: The truck unit into which freight is loaded as in tractor trailer combination. See Container.

Tramp Line: An ocean carrier company operating vessels not on regular runs or schedules.  They call at any port where cargo may be available.

Transport: To move cargo from one place to another.

Transportation & Exit (T&E): Allows foreign merchandise arriving at one port to be transported in bond through the U.S. to be exported from another port, without paying duty.

Transship: To transfer goods from one transportation line to another, or from one ship to another.

Transshipment Port: Place where cargo is transferred to another carrier.

Tracking: A carrier's system of recording movement intervals of shipments from origin to destination.

Trade: A term used to define a geographic area or specific route served by carriers.

Traffic Conferences: Rate-fixing machinery operated by IATA.

Tramp: A tramp is a vessel that does not operate along a definite route on a fixed schedule, but calls at any port where cargo is available.

Transferable Letter of Credit: A letter of credit that allows all or a portion of the proceeds to be transferred from the original beneficiary to one or more additional beneficiaries.

Transport Index: The number expressing the maximum radiation level in a package of ULD.

Transshipment: The transfer of a shipment from one carrier to another in international trade, most frequently from one ship to another. In as much as the unloading and reloading of delicate merchandise is likely to cause damage, transshipments are avoided whenever possible.

Truckload: Truckload rates apply where the tariff shows a truckload minimum weight. Charges will be at the truckload minimum weight unless weight is higher.

Trust Receipt: Release of merchandise by a bank to a buyer for manufacturing or sales purposes in which the bank retains title to the merchandise.

TTC: Tariff trade code

Trust Receipt: Release of merchandise by a bank to a buyer while the bank retains title to the merchandise. The goods are usually obtained for manufacturing or sales purposes. The buyer is obligated to maintain the goods (or the proceeds from their sales) distinct from the remainder of the assets and to hold them ready for repossession by the bank.

Turnaround: In water transportation, the time it takes between the arrival of a vessel and its departure.

Tug master: A tractor - often a four-wheel drive - with a hydraulic trailer connection known as a ‘fifth wheel’ used to tow cargo on and off the vessels.

TURN: Trader unique reference number

Turnbuckle: A screw threaded device for tightening rods and chains and wire lashings

Turnkey Project: Capital construction projects in which the supplier (contractor) designs and builds the physical plant, trains the local personnel on how to manage and operate the facility and presents the buyer with a self-sustaining project (all the buyer has to do is "turn the Key").

Twist lock: Device for locking a container to the deck or to another container above or below. The locking bar is fitted to the corner casting of the container and twisted with a handle.

Tynes: Another term for the forks of a forklift truck.

Twist Locks: A set of four twistable bayonet type shear keys used as part of a spreader to pick up a container or as part of a chassis to secure the containers.

Two-Way Pallet: A pallet so designed that the forks of a fork lift truck can be inserted from two sides only.



UCP: Abbreviation for the "Uniform Customs and Practice for Documentary Credits," published by the International Chamber of Commerce. This is the most frequently used standard for making payments in international trade; e.g., paying on a Letter of Credit. It is most frequently referred to by its shorthand title: UCP No. 500. This revised publication reflects recent changes in the transportation and banking industries, such as electronic transfer of funds.

UFC: Abbreviation for "Uniform Freight Classification."

Ullage: The space not filled with liquid in a drum or tank.

U/D: Under deck

UDEAC: Central African Customs and Economic Union

UDEAO: Union Douance et Economique d'Afrique Occidentale

UN: United Nations

UNCITRAL: The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law

UNCTAD: The United Nations Conference on Trade & Development

UN/EDIFACT: United Nations EDI for Administration, Commerce and Transport. EDI Standards are developed and supported by the UN for electronic message (data) interchange on an international level.

Unclaimed Freight: Freight that has not been called for or picked up by the consignee or owner.

Undercharge: To charge less than the proper amount.

Uniform Customs and Practices for Documentary Credits (UCP): Rules for letters of credit drawn up by the Commission on Banking Technique and Practices of the International Chamber of Commerce in consultation with the banking associations of many countries. See Terms of Payment.

Unit Load: Packages loaded on a pallet, in a crate or any other way that enables them to be handled at one time as a unit.

Unit Train: A train of a specified number of railcars, perhaps 100, which remain as a unit for a designated destination or until a change in routing is made.

The consolidation of a quantity of individual items into one large shipping unit for easier handling.
Loading one or more large items of cargo onto a single piece of equipment, such as a pallet.

Unloading: Removal of a shipment from a vessel.

U.S. Consular Invoice: A document required on merchandise imported into the United States.



Validated Export License: A document issued by the U.S. government; authorizes the export of commodities for which written authorization is required by law.

Validation: Authentication of B/L and when B/L becomes effective.

Valuation Charges: Transportation charges assessed shippers who declare a value of goods higher than value of carrier's' limits of liability.

Vanning: A term for stowing cargo in a container.

Variable Cost: Costs that vary directly with the level of activity within a short time. Examples include costs of moving cargo inland on trains or trucks, stevedoring in some ports, and short-term equipment leases. For business analysis, all costs are either defined as variable or fixed. For a business to break even, all fixed costs must be covered. To make a profit, all variable and fixed costs must be recovered plus some extra amount.

VAT (Value-Added Tax): A sales or consumption tax which the end user pays. Typically, this is a "hidden"; tax, added to the list price of the goods in question.

Ves.: Vessel

Visa: An invoice properly validated by the Minister of Trade in regard to quota entries.

Volume Weight: Used when calculating airfreight when the size of the carton is greater than the average weight, calculated by multiplying the length times the width times the height and dividing by 166.

Ventilated Container: A container designed with openings in the side and/or end walls to permit the ingress of outside air when the doors are closed.

Vessel Supplies for Immediate Exportation (VSIE): Allows equipment and supplies arriving at one port to be loaded on a vessel, aircraft, etc., for its exclusive use and to be exported from the same port.

Vessel Manifest: The international carrier is obligated to make declarations of the ship's crew and contents at both the port of departure and arrival. The vessel manifest lists various details about each shipment by B/L number. Obviously, the B/L serves as the core source from which the manifest is created.

Viz.: Namely. Used in tariffs to specify commodities.



War Risk: Insurance coverage for loss of goods resulting from any act of war.

Warehouse: A place for the reception, delivery, consolidation, distribution, and storage of goods/cargo.

Warehouse Entry: Document that identifies goods imported when placed in a bonded warehouse. The duty is not imposed on the products while in the warehouse but will be collected when they are withdrawn for delivery or consumption.

Warehouse Withdrawal for Transportation Immediate Exportation (WDEX): Allows merchandise that has been withdrawn from a bonded warehouse at one U.S. port to be exported from the same port exported without paying duty.

Warehouse Withdrawal for Transportation (WDT): Allows merchandise that has been withdrawn from a bonded warehouse at one port to be transported in bond to another port, where a superseding entry will be filed.

W. & I.: Weighing and Inspection

W.A.: With Average

w.g.: Weight guaranteed

W.P.A.: With Particular Average

W.R.: War Risk

W/M: Weight and/or measurement

W/R: Warehouse receipt

War Risk Insurance: Insurance issued by marine underwriters against war-like operations specifically described in the policy. In former times, war risk insurance was taken out only in times of war, but currently many exporter cover most of their shipments with war risk insurance as a protection against losses from derelict torpedoes and floating mines placed during former wars, and also as a safeguard against unforeseen warlike developments. In the United states, war risk insurance is written in a separate policy from the ordinary marine insurance; it is desirable to take out both policies with the same underwriter in order to avoid the ill effects of a possible dispute between underwriters as to the cause (marine peril or war peril) of a given loss.

War Risk: The possible aggressive actions against a ship and its cargo by a belligerent government. This risk can be insured by a marine policy with a risk clause.

Warehouse Receipt: A receipt of commodities deposited in a warehouse, identifying the commodities deposited. It is non-negotiable if permitting delivery only to a specified person or firm, but it is negotiable if made out to the order of a person or firm or to a bearer. Endorsement (without endorsement if made out to bearer) and delivery of a negotiable warehouse receipt serves to transfer the property covered by the receipt serves to transfer the property covered by the receipt. Warehouse receipts are common documents in international banking.

Warehouse-to-Warehouse: A clause in marine insurance policy whereby the underwriter agrees to cover the goods while in transit between the initial point of shipment and the point of destination, with certain limitations, and also subject to the law of insurable interest. When it was first introduced, the warehouse-to-warehouse clause was extremely important, but now its importance is diminished by the marine extension clauses, which override its provisions.

Waybill (WB): A document prepared by a transportation line at the point of a shipment; shows the point of the origin, destination, route, consignor, consignee, description of shipment and amount charged for the transportation service. It is forwarded with the shipment or sent by mail to the agent at the transfer point or waybill destination.

Abbreviation is WB. Unlike a bill of lading, a waybill is NOT a document of title.

Web Lashing: Webbing made of artificial fibre, which is tightened and locked with a winch.

Weight Load Factor: Payload achieved as against available, expressed as a percentage. Cargo is frequently limited by volume rather than weight; load factors of 100% are rarely achieved.

Weight, Legal: Net weight of goods, plus inside packing.

Gross - The weight of the goods including packing, wrappers, or containers, internal and external. The total weight as shipped.
- The weight of the goods themselves without the inclusion of any wrapper.
- The weight of the packaging or container.
Weight/Measurement Ton
- In many cases, a rate is shown per weight/measurement ton, carrier's option. This means that the rate will be assessed on either a weight ton or measurement ton basis, whichever will yield the carrier the greater revenue. As example, the rate may be quoted on the basis of 2,240 pounds or 40 cubic feet or of 1 metric ton or 1 cubic meter.
Weight Ton
- There are three types of weight ton; the short ton, weighing 2,000 pounds; the long ton, weighing 2,240 pounds; and the metric ton weight 2,204.68 pounds. The last is frequently quoted for cargo being exported from Europe.

Wharfage: A charge assessed by a pier or dock owner against the cargo or a steamship company for use of the pier or dock.

With Average: A marine insurance term meaning that shipment is protected for partial damage whenever the damage exceeds a stated percentage.

With Particular Average (W.P.A.): An insurance term meaning that partial loss or damage of goods is insured. Generally must be caused by sea water. Many have a minimum percentage of damage before payment. May be extended to cover loss by theft, pilferage, delivery, leakage, and breakage.

Without Reserve: A term indicating shipper's agent or representative is empowered to make definitive decisions and adjustments abroad without approval of the group or individual represented. See advisory capacity.

World Bank: International bank for reconstruction and development

Warehouse Withdrawal for Transportation Exportation (WDT&E): Allows merchandise that has been withdrawn from a bonded warehouse at one port to be transported in bond through the U.S. to be exported from another port, without paying duty.

Warehousing: The storing of goods/cargo.

Weight Cargo: A cargo on which the transportation charge is assessed on the basis of weight.

Well Car: Also known as stack car. A drop-frame Rail flat car.

Weights and Measures

Measurement ton

40 cubic ft or one cubic meter.

Net ton, or short ton

2,000 lbs.

Gross ton/long ton

2,240 lbs.

Metric ton/kilo ton

2,204.6 lbs.

Cubic meter

35.314 cubic ft.

Wharfage (Whfge.): Charge assessed by a pier or dock owner against freight handled over the pier or dock or against a steamship company using the pier or dock.

WIBON: Whether In Berth or Not.

Windy Booking: A freight booking made by a skipper or freight forwarder to serve space but not actually having a specific cargo at the time the booking is made.   Carriers often overbook a vessel by 10 to 20 percent in recognition that "windy booking" cargo will not actually ship.

Without Recourse: A phrase preceding the signature of a drawer or endorser of a negotiable instrument; signifies that the instrument is passed onto subsequent holders without any liability to the endorser in the event of nonpayment or non-delivery.

W.M. (W/M): Abbreviation for "Weight or Measurement;" the basis for assessing freight charges. Also known as "worm." The rate charged under W/M will be whichever produces the highest revenue between the weight of the shipment and the measure of the shipment.

WPA: Abbreviation for "With Particular Average."

W.T.L.: Western Truck Lines.

WWD: Weather Working Days.



X Heavy: Extra Heavy

X Strong: Extra strong

XX Heavy: Double extra heavy

XX Strong: Double extra strong

Y/A: York-Antwerp Rules - A code of rules adopted by an international convention in 1890, amended in 1924 and again in 1950, for the purpose of establishing a uniform basis for adjusting general average. Certain nationalities decline to observe certain of the rules adopted. United States shipping interests generally abide by general rule "F" and numbered rules 1 to 15 and 17 to 22, inclusive and specifically set this forth in a Bill Of Lading Clause.

Yield: Revenue, not necessarily profitable, per unit of traffic.

Yard: A classification, storage or switching area.

York-Antwerp Rules of 1974: Established the standard basis for adjusting general average and stated the rules for adjusting claims.

Zulu Time: Time based on Greenwich Mean Time.