Transport Requirements

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  • “Ex Dec”

    Contraction for “Shipper’s Export Declaration.”

  • “Ro/Ro”

    – A feature designed in a specially constructed vessel in both the loading and discharging ports.
    – 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.

    o Vessel used for carrying cars and light trucks. Vehicles are driven on and driven off, as opposed to being loaded with cranes or other external equipment.

  • A.T.A.

    American Trucking Association.

  • AAR

    Abbreviation for:

    • Against All Risks (insurance clause).
    • Association of American Railroads.
  • Abandon

    A proceeding wherein a shipper/consignee seeks authority to abandon all or parts of their cargo.

  • ABC (Activity Based Costing)

    An accounting system that measures the cost and performance of specific activities performed within an organization. For example, an ABC approach might measure the cost incurred by the accounts receivable department in handling calls for billing errors, whereas the traditional accounting approach ignores the activity and measures the cost of the accounts receivable department as a percentage of revenue.

  • Aboard

    Referring to cargo being put, or laden, onto a means of conveyance.

  • Absorption

    The assumption that the carrier will cover extraordinary or other special charges without increasing the price to the shipper.

  • Accessorial
    • Accessorial Charges – Charges made for additional, special or supplemental services, normally over and above the line haul services.
    • Accessorial Service – Service rendered by a carrier in addition to transportation services. (e.g. sorting, packing, pre-cooling, heating and storage.)
  • ACS (A.C.S.)

    U.S. Customs’ master computer system, “Automated Commercial Systems.” The electronic system of the US Customs Service, encompassing a variety of industry sectors,that permits on-line access to information in selected areas.

  • Act of God

    An extraordinary force of nature (such as a severe flood or earthquake) that experience, prescience or care cannot reasonably foresee or prevent.

  • Ad Valorem

    A term from Latin meaning, “according to value.” For example, if a bill of lading shows a value for the cargo being carried, an Ad Valorem charge will be levied. This charge is required because the insurance liability of the carrier increases. This charge may be a levied as a percentage of the value that has been shown.

  • Add-Ons

    Additional charges above ocean freight.

  • Advising Bank

    Bank where a shipper negotiates documents or where documents are first presented, usually at country of origin. Also, often referred to as the negotiating bank.

  • Agent
    • Abbreviation for ‘Freight Agent’.
    • A person, association or corporation authorized to publish and file rates and provisions for a carrier’s account in tariffs published in the agent’s name.
    • One that acts for, or in the place of, another by authority from him, e.g. a (business) representative, emissary, or official of a government.
  • Aggregated Shipments

    Numerous shipments from different shippers delivered to one consignee, that are consolidated and treated as a single consignment.

  • Air Freight Forwarder

    A non-asset based firm that negotiates low shipping rates with airlines, then takes orders at a higher rate in order to make a profit using the airline’s assets to move the product.

  • Air Waybill

    The forwarding agreement or carrying agreement between shipper and air carrier and is issued only in nonnegotiable form.

  • All In

    The total price to move cargo from origin to destination, inclusive of all charges.

  • 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 Water

    When a shipment is transported from its origin to its destination solely by water transportation.

  • 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 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.

  • Alternative Rates

    Privilege to use the rate producing the lowest charge.

  • Ambient Temperature

    The temperature of a surrounding body. The ambient temperature of a container is the atmospheric temperature to which it is exposed.

  • American Bureau of Shipping

    U.S. classification society which certifies seagoing vessels for compliance to standardized rules regarding construction and maintenance.

  • AMS

    The U.S. Customs’ “Automated Manifest System.” 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.

  • Anti-Dumping Duty

    A tariff imposed to discourage sale of foreign goods, subsidized to sell at low prices detrimental to local manufacturers.

  • AQI

    Agriculture Quarantine Inspection.

  • Arbitrary

    A stated amount over a fixed rate to one point to make a rate to another point.

  • Arrival Notice

    An advice that the carrier or forwarder sends to the consignee advising of goods coming forward for delivery. Pertinent information such as bill of lading number, container number and total charges due from consignee etc., are included and sent to consignee prior to vessel arrival. This is done gratuitously by the carrier or forwarder to ensure smooth delivery but there is no obligation by the carrier or the forwarder to do so. The responsibility to monitor the transit and present himself to take timely delivery still rests with the consignee.

  • ASC X12

    American Standards Committee X12 responsible for developing EDI standards for the United States.

  • Assignment

    A term commonly used in connection with a bill of lading. It involves the transfer of rights, title and interest in order to assign goods by endorsing the bill of lading.

  • Awkward Cargo

    Cargo of irregular size that can either be containerized (packed in container) or non-containerized (without equipment associated with) during transportation. It requires prior approval on a case-by-case basis before confirmation of booking.

  • Axle Load

    Maximum load permitted to be carried on each axle of a motor vehicle.

  • B/B

    Break-Bulk Cargo

  • B/L

    Abbreviation for “Bill of Lading.”

  • Backhaul

    To obtain transport on the home run from B to A after having performed a full transport from A to B.

  • BAF

    Abbreviation for “Bunker Adjustment Factor.” Used to compensate steamship lines for fluctuating fuel costs. Sometimes called “Fuel Adjustment Factor” or FAF.

  • Bank Guarantee

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

  • Bank’s Letter Guarantee
    • A statement issued by an importer’s bank guaranteeing the payment of (L/C) drafts to the exporter or to the carrier.
    • Other forms of guarantees by banks in favor of a beneficiary.
  • Barcode

    A series of bars and spaces read by a scanning device for translation into a numeric or alphanumeric identification code that represents data in machine-readable or computerized form.

  • Barge

    Conveyance used to carry loose cargo or containers in small volumes.

  • Barrel (BBL)

    A term of measure referring to 42 gallons of liquid at 60°F.

  • Base Port

    Ports from which standard tariff rates apply to those normally serviced directly by members.

  • Base Rate

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

  • Basing Points

    A point (location) used in construction of through rates between other points.

  • Bay

    Section of vessel in which containers are held.

  • 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.

  • Benchmarking

    The process of comparing a firm’s performance against the practices of other leading companies

    • in or outside of an industry
    • for the purpose of improving performance. Companies also benchmark internally by tracking and comparing past performance.
  • Beneficiary
    • Entity to whom money is payable.
    • The entity for whom a letter of credit is issued.
    • A firm or person on whom a letter of credit has been drawn. The beneficiary is usually the seller or exporter.
  • Berth

    Vessel docking area, the place beside a pier, quay or wharf where a vessel can be loaded or unloaded.

  • 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.

  • Bilateral

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

  • Bill of Lading (B/L)

    The official legal document signed by or for the captain/master, agents, owners of a vessel or the (common) carrier It is a negotiable document confirming the receipt of cargoes, and the contract for the carriage of cargoes between the shipper and the carrier. It is:

    1. 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.
    2. A receipt of the goods (in the owner’s/carrier’s or his/their agent’s custody) and
    3. An undertaking to carry and deliver the goods safely to the place directed/agreed, dangers of the sea excepted, against
    4. Surrender of the document where/when provisions in the document stipulate delivery to order of a named person, to order (blank) or to bearer
    5. It evidences the terms of the contract of carriage. -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.
    • 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.
    • Memo B/L: Un-freighted B/L with no charges listed.
    • 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.
  • Billed Weight

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Bonded Warehouse – Export

    A secure building or area, approved by customs, where cargo, for which export clearance has been performed, is stored. Goods are considered foreign and must go out for export. In some countries, a bonded warehouse is defined as a warehouse with customs official’s onsite. In others, it is a warehouse in which customs inspect cargo prior to authorizing export clearance. Ensure the local definition is established. In some countries, some manufacturers are also granted a license to operate a bonded warehouse in which they can store manufactured products in anticipation of export and hence suspend payment of local taxes (e.g. on cigarettes).

  • Bonded Warehouse – Import

    A secure building or area, approved by customs, where cargo, for which export clearance has been performed, is stored.

  • Booking

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

  • Booking Number

    A reference number for bookings registered with a carrier. It should be unique without duplication for a three-year period.

  • 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.

  • Box

    Common term for an ocean-going freight container.

  • 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.
    • Cargo which is not containerized due to its weight and/or size e.g. steel pipes, boats etc. – Loose, non-containerized cargo
  • 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.

  • 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 or firm, other than a motor carrier or agent of a motor carrier that as a principal or agent sells, offers for sale, or holds itself out by solicitation, advertisement or otherwise as selling, providing or arranging for transportation by motor carrier for competition.
    • A broker is a middleman that brings together the shipper and carrier; a broker does not take responsibility for the transportation.
    • An agent/middleman who for a fee or commission negotiates contract e.g. purchase and sale (such as real estate, commodities or securities) between buyers and sellers without himself taking title to that which is the subject of negotiation and usually without having physical possession of it.
  • 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 Carriers

    A vessel carrying dry, liquid, grain, not packaged, bundled or bottled cargo, and is loaded without marks and number or count.

  • Bulk-Freight Container

    A container with a discharge hatch in the front wall; allows bulk commodities to be carried.

  • Bunker Adjustment Factor (BAF)

    Surcharge assessed by carrier which is applied to freight rates to supplement an unexpected rise in fuel costs.

  • Bunker Surcharge

    Surcharge assessed by carrier which is applied to freight rates to supplement an unexpected rise in 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.

  • C-TPAT
    • Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism.
    • A joint government and trade community initiative in developing, enhancing andmaintaining effective security processes throughout the global supply chain.
  • C&F Terms of Sale, or INCOTERMS.

    Cost and Freight. -Is a quoted price includes cost of goods and freight.Seller quotes price including the cost of goods and all transportation charges to the named pointof destination.In July, 1990 the International Chamber of Commerce replaced C&F with CFR.

  • C&I

    Is a quoted price includes cost of goods and insurance.

  • CA (Controlled Atmosphere)

    An atmosphere in which oxygen, carbon dioxide and nitrogen concentrations are regulated, as well as temperature and humidity.

  • 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 inter-port 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.
    • Cost, Assurance and Freight.
  • 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.

  • Car float

    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 Bays

    Doors in a warehouse where vehicles back up to load/unload cargo.

  • Cargo Manifest
    • A manifest that lists only cargoes, without freight and charges.
    • Listing of all cargo on board a vessel is required by the relevant local authorities.
    • Same as manifest.
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 release order used to advise customs of the details of the shipment, its ownership, port of lading, etc. By means of this document the carrier certifies that the firm or individual named in the certificate is the owner or consignee of the cargo. Some Customs form used in lieu of a bill of lading.

  • Carriers Owned Containers (COC)

    The containers used for the transportation of cargoes belonging to the property of the carriers.

  • Cartage

    Usually refers to intra_city hauling on drays or trucks.

  • 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.

  • 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)

    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.” 1 cubic metre = 35,314 cubic feet

  • CCA

    Connecting Carrier Agreement. An Agreement of freight rates for connections between feeder ports and the ports of call of vessels.

  • CCRA (Canada Customs and Revenue Agency)

    Canadian Government Customs Authority.

  • CE

    Abbreviation for “Consumption Entry.” The process of declaring the importation of foreign made goods for use in the United States.

  • Cells

    Container slot where container fits into place on vessel. 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.

  • Certificate
    • 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. Document certifying the country of origin of goods which is normally issued or signed by the relevant Government Department of the exporting country, or Chamber of Commerce or Embassy.

  • CES

    Is a Customs Examination Station

  • CFR
    • Cost and Freight.
    • A pricing term indication that the cost of the goods and freight charges are included in the quoted price. For more information see:
  • 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.

  • 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.
    • A kind of cargo movement by container. Delivered loose at origin point with vanning by carrier, devanned by carrier at destination, and picked up loose at destination.
  • 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.

  • 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 wheeled flat-bed constructed to accommodate containers moved over the road. Also termed as “Trailers”.

  • 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.
    • Cost, Insurance and Freight. A term of trading in which the buyer of the goods pay for the cost of the goods, the cost of transporting the goods from origin to the port of discharge or final destination and the insurance premium for a maritime insurance policy for the value of the order.
    • Is a quoted price includes cost of goods, insurance and freight.
  • CIF&C

    Price includes commission as well as CIF.

  • CIF&E

    Abbreviation for “Cost, Insurance, Freight and Exchange.”


    Abbreviation for “Cost, Insurance, Freight, Collection and Interest.”

  • CIFI&E

    Cost, Insurance, Freight, Interest and Exchange.

  • CKD

    Abbreviation for “Completely Knocked Down.” Parts and subassemblies being transported to an assembly plant.

  • CL

    Abbreviation for “Carload” and “Container-load”.

  • 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.

  • Claused Bill of Lading

    Is a bill of lading which has exemptions to the receipt of merchandise in “apparent good order” noted.

  • 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.”

  • Clean On Board

    A clause inserted in the bill of lading by some shipping/transportation companies, stating that they have not noted or are not familiar with any irregularities or discrepancies in the packing or in the general condition of any part of the goods or its description.

  • 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.

  • CLP (Container Load Plan)

    A document prepared to show all details of cargoes loaded in a container, e.g. weight (individual and total), measurement, markings, shippers, consignees, the origin and destination of goods, and location of cargo within the container. A Container Load Plan is either prepared by the cargo consolidator or the shipper which ships its cargoes on FCL terms.

  • CM

    Abbreviation for “Cubic Meter” (capital letters).

  • cm

    Abbreviation for “centimeter.”

  • Coastwise

    Water transportation along the coast.

  • COD

    Abbreviation for:

    • Collect (cash) on Delivery.
    • Carried on Docket (pricing).
    • Change of Destination
  • COFC

    Abbreviation for the Railway Service “Container On Flat Car.”


    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 noncompeting manufacturer.

  • Combination Rate

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

  • Combined Transport Bill of Lading

    Provides a combined transport by at least two different modes of transportation from a place from which the goods are taken to a place designated for delivery.

  • Commercial Invoice

    A document produced by the shipper/seller of goods which contains an accurate description of the merchandise and the country of origin. All items are itemised and with actual price.

  • Commodity

    A specification of goods/product types, e.g. toys, electronics or welding machinery.

  • 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.

  • Common Tariff

    Tariff published by or for the account of two or more transportation lines as issuing carriers.

  • Company Guarantee

    A letter of guarantee from a company indemnifying the carrier of responsibility associated with the release of goods in lieu of a bill of lading.

  • 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.
    • Defined in the 1984 Shipping Act as: … an association of ocean common carriers permitted, pursuant to an approved or effective agreement, to engage in concerted activity and to utilize a common tariff; but the term does not include a joint service, consortium, pooling, sailing or transshipment arrangement.
    • It is basically a group of steamship companies offering equitable freight rates, standardized shipping practices and regularly scheduled services between designated ports. These arrangements are given anti-trust immunity as authorized by the 1984 Shipping Act.
  • 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.

  • Consignment
    • 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, or a seller.

  • Consolidated Cargo

    Cargo containing shipments of two or more shippers, usually shipped by a firm called a consolidator. The consolidator takes advantage of lower FCL rates, and savings are passed on to shippers.

  • Consolidation

    Cargo containing shipments of two or more shippers or suppliers. Container load 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.

  • Consortium

    A group of carriers pooling resources, normally container vessels, in a trade lane to maximize their resources efficiently.

  • 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 unfunded 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
    • Weatherproof box designed for the shipment of freight, generally used for overseas shipments. The container is separable from the chassis when loaded onto vessels or rail cars.
    • 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 Depot

    Location, other than a container yard, maintained by or on behalf of an ocean carrier at which shippers or consignees may pick up or drop off empty equipment. No loaded containers may be received at CDs and such locations may not be owned or controlled by a shipper or his agent.

  • Container Freight Station

    See CFS.

  • Container Load

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

  • Container Manifest

    Document showing contents and loading sequence of a container.

  • Container Number

    The unique identification 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 Seal Number

    A number embossed on high-security seals for closing up containers which will serve identification purposes.

  • Container Size

    The length of a container i.e. 20′, 40′ and 45′ (feet).

  • 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)

    Area adjacent to the vessel berth where containers are delivered to and received from the vessel or inland carrier. 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.

  • Containership

    An ocean vessel specifically designed to carry ocean cargo containers. It is fitted with vertical cells for maximum capacity.

  • 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.

  • Custom House 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).
    • Independent broker certified by the U.S. Bureau of Customs to act for importers and businessmen in the handling of customs formalities and other details of importing and exporting goods.
  • 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 Clearance

    The process of declaring and clearing cargoes through customs.

  • 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.
    • Immediate Delivery Entry is used to expedite clearance of cargo. It allows up to ten days for the payment of estimated duty and processing of the consumption entry. In addition, it permits the delivery of the cargo prior to payment of the estimated duty and then allows for the subsequent filing of the consumption entry and duty. Also known as an ID entry.
  • 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

    Last possible time when containers/cargoes may be delivered to a terminal for loading to a scheduled ship or designated point.

  • CY

    Abbreviation for Container Yard.

    • The designation for full container receipt/delivery.
    • 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 at Carrier’s CY and unpacked by consignee off Carrier’s premises, all at the risk and expense of cargo.

  • D.B.A.

    Abbreviation for “Doing Business As.” A legal term for conducting business under a registered name.

  • D.O.T.

    Department of Transportation.

  • D&H

    Abbreviation for “Dangerous and Hazardous” cargo.

  • Dangerous Goods

    The term used by I.M.C.O. for hazardous materials which are capable of posing a significant risk to health, safety or property while being transported.

  • 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. The term is more commonly used in the U.S.A. trade.

  • DDP

    Delivery Duty Paid. In DDP, shipper clears the goods for export and is responsible for making them available to the buyer at the named place of destination, cleared for import, paid duty and tax For more information, see:

  • DDU

    Delivery Duty Unpaid. In DDU, shipper clears the goods for export and is responsible for making them available to the buyer at the named place of destination, not cleared for import.For more information, see:

  • Dead Freight

    Is freight charges paid by the charterer of vessel for the contracted space, which is left partially unoccupied.

  • Dead Space

    Space in a car, truck, vessel, etc., that is not utilized.

  • Deadhead

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

  • 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.”

  • Deadweight Cargo

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

  • Deconsolidation Point

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

  • Dedicated Unit Train

    An unit train operated by various railroads for exclusive usage.

  • Deficit Weight

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

  • Delivery
    • The physical and legal transfer of a shipment from consignor to carrier and from carrier/ transport agent to consignee.
    • The act of putting property into the legal possession of another, whether involving the actual transfer of the physical control of the object from one to the other or being constructively effected in various other ways.
  • Delivery Order
    • An order from the consignee, shipper or owner of freight to a terminal operator, carrier or warehouse to deliver freight to another party. On imports, it may also be known as a pier release.
    • A document which is neither a bill of lading or a waybill but contains an undertaking which:
      • is given under or for the purposes of a contract for the carriage by sea of goods to which the document relates, or of goods which include those goods; and
      • is an undertaking by the carrier to a person identified in the document to deliver those goods to that person which the document relates.
    • Delivery orders are capable of transferring contractual rights by way of endorsements, but they are not necessarily documents of title in the sense of being able to pass constructive possession.
  • Demand Chain

    Another name for supply chain, with emphasis on the customer or party controlling demand.

  • Demurrage

    A penalty charge against shippers or consignees for delay in removing carrier’s equipment from terminal facilities 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.

  • Destination

    The place where the carrier or the forwarder actually turns over the cargo or container to consignee or his agent. It may also be termed “Final Destination”.

  • Detention

    Costs incurred when a shipper/consignee or his/her agent removes a container from the carrier’s origin/destination CY to the shipper/consignee’s place of business, and does not return the loaded/empty container to the CY or to another location designated by the carrier within the permitted free-time as stipulated in the applicable tariff.

  • Devanning

    The removal of cargo from a container. Also known as un-stuffing, unloading or stripping.

  • Differential Rate

    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.

  • DIT
    • Destination Interchange Terminal.
    • Facility operated by the ocean carrier or his agent at which containers are interchanged with the delivering motor carrier.
    • Delay in Transit
  • Diversion

    A change made in the route of a shipment in transit. (see Reconsignment)

  • Diversion Charge

    Fee for diverting cargo from original intended destination port to a new location.

  • Divert

    The route of a shipment changed in transit from that shown on the original billing. Used interchangeably with recon sign.

  • Division

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

  • Dock
    • 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.

  • Domestic

    Within your own country.

  • Door-to-Door

    Through transportation of a container and its cargoes from consignor’s premises to consignee’s premises. Also known as House to House. Not necessarily a through rate.

  • Double Stack Train (DST)

    Rail or train capable of carrying two 40′ containers, one on top of the other.

  • Double-deck Load

    A second tier of cargo placed on top of the first tier.

  • Draft
    • Marine: The depth to which a vessel’s deepest point is under water.
    • Rail: A cut of coupled cars.
    • Financial: A signed, written order by one party that instructs another party to pay a third party a specific amount. It can also be called a bill of exchange.
  • 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, 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.

  • Dray

    A truck or other equipment designed to haul heavy loads.

  • Drayage

    Inland transportation from vendors to the port of shipment, and from discharge port to the point of stripping the ocean container. Drayage is hence undertaken for CY and CFS cargo. 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.

  • Dry Cargo

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

  • Dry Dock

    Used to lay up vessels for repair.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.”

  • Dumping

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

  • Dunnage

    Lumber or other material used to brace materials in carrier’s equipment or containers. Material used around cargo to prevent breakage or shifting, normally provided by shipper. Its weight is included in the rating.

  • Duty Drawback
    • Payment returned for cargo re-exported or trade show material.
    • A customs refund on re-exported cargo.
  • Dwell Time

    It is expressed in terms of number of days that a container changed from one status to another, e.g., from inbound load to empty available to outbound load. The shorter the dwell time, the more efficient the container utilization will be.

  • E.W.I.B.

    Eastern Weighing and Inspection Bureau.

  • Earnings

    Income after a company’s taxes and all other expenses have been paid. Also called profit or net income.

  • 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.

  • EDI
    • Electronic Data Interchange.
    • The automated exchange of any predefined and structured data for business among information systems of two or more organizations.
  • EDI message

    An approved, published and maintained formal description of how to structure the data required to perform a specific business function in such a way as to allow for the transfer and handling of this data by electronic means.


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

  • Efficient Consumer Response (ECR)

    A consumer-driven system of replenishment in which high-quality products and accurate information flow through a paperless (EDI) system between all distribution points from the manufacturing line to the retail checkout counter.

  • EIR

    Equipment Interchange Receipt.A document used to receive or deliver a full or empty container/chassis at any terminal or inland container pool/depot.

  • Elevating
    • 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 Depot

    A container yard used for the storage of empty containers.

  • Empty Repo

    Contraction for Empty Repositioning. The movement of empty containers.

  • En route

    Along the route of movement.

  • 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.

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

    Estimated Time of Departure.

  • Ethylene

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

  • 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.

  • Ex. B.L.

    Exchange bill of lading.

  • 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.

  • Exchange Rate

    The ratio of prices at which the currencies of nations are exchanged at a particular time.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Extra Loader

    Additional vessel brought into schedule to cope with exceptionally strong market conditions.

  • EXW

    Ex works. An INCOTERMS term of sale in which the buyer receives the cargo directly from the factory and thereafter arranges shipment, insurance and other related services themselves. Also known as “F.C.A.” For more information, see:

  • F.D.A.

    Food and Drug Administration.

  • F.O.B Origin

    “F.O.B. Origin” means that title and risk pass to the buyer at the moment of the seller’s delivery to the carrier. The parties may agree to have title and risk pass at a different time or to allocate freight charges by a written agreement.

  • F.O.B. Destination

    “F.O.B. Destination” changes the location where title and risk pass. Under this arrangement, title and risk remain with the seller until they have delivered the freight to the delivery location specified in the contract.

  • F.P.A.

    See “Free of Particular Average.”

  • Factor

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

  • FAF

    Fuel Adjustment Factor. An ancillary charge on ocean freight shipments to account for fluctuations in fuel costs.

  • FAK

    Abbreviation for “Freight All Kinds.” Usually refers to full container loads of mixed shipments. Usually refers to consolidated cargo.

  • False Billing

    Misrepresenting freight or weight on shipping documents.

  • FAS

    Abbreviation for “Free Alongside Ship.” A basis of pricing meaning the price of goods alongside a transport vessel at a specified location. The buyer is responsible for loading the goods onto the transport vessel and paying all the cost of shipping beyond that location. For more information, see:

  • FAST (Free and Secure Trade)

    A joint Canada/US border security agreement, of which C-TPAT and PIP are the main initiatives.

  • FBT

    Full Berth Terms. Indicates that the cost of loading and discharge is included in the steamship rate quoted. Ship owner pays these.

  • FCA

    Free Carrier For more information, see:

  • FCL

    Abbreviation for “Full Container Load.”It is an arrangement whereby the shipper packs cargoes into a container provided by the carrieror the forwarder before delivering to the container terminal.


    See “CY/CY”.


    See “CY/CFS”.

  • FCR (Forwarder’s Cargo Receipt)

    A non-negotiable document issued by a forwarder which will satisfy the legal requirements of a letter of credit. Since a forwarder is not an NVOCC it cannot issue actual bills of lading. The FCR is legally binding upon the forwarder and is an industry standard.

  • FD

    Abbreviation for “Free Discharge.”

  • Feeder

    Transportation conveyance utilized to relay cargo from the mother vessel to ultimate destination or from first receipt port to mother vessel.

  • Feeder Service

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

  • Feeder Vessel

    A vessel employed in normally short-sea routes to fetch or carry cargoes and containers to and from ocean-going vessels from the principle port hubs in a region to the minor ports.

  • FEU or FFE

    Abbreviation for “Forty-Foot Equivalent Units.” The standard measurement unit of containerized cargo. Refers to container size standard of forty feet. Two twenty-foot containers or TEU’s equal one FEU.


    International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations.

  • FIFO

    Free In Free Out.

  • Fifth Wheel

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

  • Final Destination

    The place where the carrier or the forwarder actually turns over the container or cargo to the consignee of its agent. It is the end of liability of carriers or forwarders.

  • FIO (Free In and Out )

    Cost of loading and unloading a vessel is borne by the charterer/shipper.Free In and Out. It is a term used in ship-chartering whereby the owner of the ship is notresponsible for any charges incurred in the ports of loading or unloading.

  • 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.

  • Flash Point

    A temperature that when certain inflammable cargo reaches will trigger spontaneous ignition. It is an IMCO standard information requirement for dangerous goods.

  • Flat Bed

    Truck designed to haul heavy or oversized non-containerisable cargo.

  • 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.

  • Floating Cranes

    Heavy duty cranes that are able to handle exceptionally heavy cargo if unable to use conventional gantry cranes.

  • 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.

    • Free On Board. It is an INCOTERMS term of sale where the seller of the cargoes are responsible for all charges of the transportation of the cargoes all the way up to their arrival on board the ship. It includes all charges of carriers or forwarders levied at the port of loading.
    • An acronym for “free on board” when used in a sales contract. The seller agrees to deliver merchandise, free of all transportation expense, to the place specified by the contract. Once delivery is complete, the title to all the goods and the risk of damage become the buyer’s.
  • FOR

    Abbreviation for “Free on Rail.”

  • For-Hire Carriers

    Persons or firms engaged in the transportation of goods or passengers for compensation. Classified into two general categories, specialised and general freight motor carriers.

  • Force Majeure

    A state of emergency or condition that permits a company to depart from the strict terms of contract because of an event or effect that cannot be reasonably anticipated or controlled, i.e: beyond human control (French superior or irresistible force) such as earthquakes, floods or war. Compare: ACT OF GOD, INEVITABLE ACCIDENT, VIS MAJOR.

  • Fore and Aft

    The direction on a vessel parallel to the center line.

  • Foreign Exchange Controls

    Government restrictions on the use of currency, bank drafts or other payment types to regulate imports, exports and trade balances.

  • 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.

  • Forwarder Compensation

    See Brokerage.

  • 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.

  • 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 (F.I.)

    Cost of loading a vessel is borne by the charterer.

  • 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.
    • The price paid to the carrier for the transportation of goods or merchandise by sea or air from one place to another.
    • Freight is also used to denote goods which are in the process of being transported from one place to another.
  • 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 Cashier

    Responsible for collections of freight/charges/release of cargo/release of bills of ladings.

  • Freight Collect

    The freight and charges agreed by the shipper and carrier is payable at destination.

  • Freight Forwarder
    • Person engaged in assembling, collecting, consolidating shipping and distributing less than trailer load freight.
    • Also, a person acting as an agent in the transshipping of freight to or from foreign countries and clearing freight through federal customs.
    • Freight forwarders are designated as common carriers. They also issue bills of lading and accept responsibility for cargo. The term may also refer to the company that fills railroad trains with trailers.
    • 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.
  • Freight Prepaid

    Freight and charges are required to be paid by a shipper before an original bill of lading is released.

  • Freight Release

    Evidence that the freight charges for the cargo have been paid. If in writing, it may be presented at the pier to obtain release of the cargo. Normally, once the freight is paid, freight releases are arranged without additional documentation. Also known as freight bill receipt.

  • Freighters

    See Ships.

  • Fresh Air Exchange (FAE)

    The fresh air exchange system in a reefer container which removes harmful gases from reefers carrying sensitive perishable commodities. The fresh air vent is located on the reefer machinery at the end of the container. The fresh air vent is adjustable to accommodate a variety of cargo and chilled load operating conditions. The fresh air vent should be tightly closed when carrying frozen cargo.

  • Full Cellular Ship

    A ship fitted for container carriage in all available space. The ship is fitted with vertical cells for container placement both below and above deck. No provisions are available for cargo other than containers.

  • Full Visible Capacity

    The trailer is loaded as full as the nature of the freight and other conditions permit, so that no more of the same type of freight can be loaded, consistent with safety and damage precautions.

  • Fumigation

    Treatment of cargoes with a pesticide-active ingredient that is a gas under treatment conditions. It is a process required by many importing countries for the importation of wood and related products.

  • Functional Currency

    The currency of the primary economic environment of and entity. For ODFL, this is US Dollars.

  • Gantry Crane

    Port crane used to load and discharge containers from vessels, can be positioned by moving along rail tracks.

  • Garment-on-Hanger (GOH)

    Method of storing apparel in containers for garments that should not be folded.

  • Gateway

    Industry-related: A point at which freight moving from one territory to another is interchanged between transportation lines.Computers: Computers, like bridges and routers, are a method of connecting two local areanetworks. Gateways translate between two LAN protocols. Gateways: are protocol-specific and can only translate between two types of networks, notdirectly to PCs.

  • 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 tariffconcessions. The World Trade Organization (WTO) superseded GATT in 1994.An international multilateral agreement embodying a code of practice for fair trading ininternational commerce.

  • 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 Average
    • General average is an unwritten, non-statutory, international maritime law which is universally recognized and applied. It is founded on the principle that vessel and goods are parties to the same venture and share exposure to the same perils, which may require sacrifice or the incurring of extraordinary expense on the part of one for the benefit of the whole venture. It is an arrangement which will be applied when the vessel is encountering serious accidents caused by force majeure.
    • General Average is defined in the York-Antwerp rules as: There is a General Average act when, and only when, any extraordinary sacrifice expenditure is intentionally and reasonably made or incurred for the common safety for the purpose of preserving from peril the property involved in a common maritime adventure. When a cargo ship encounter a serious accident at sea, e.g. grounding, the vessel owners may ha to incur additional costs to salvage the ship and its cargo, and may resort to declaring General Average.
    • General Average requires that all parties with an interest in saving ship, the cargo, etc. share proportionately the cost of saving the common adventure . This means that cargo owners would be responsible a proportion of the costs equal to the proportion of the value of the cargo to the common adventure. General Average is applied according to an internationally acknowledged set of rules, the York-Antwerp rules.
  • 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.
    • Generator sets which supply power to refrigerated containers when no external source is available. It is used to regulate the temperature in a reefer container. It can use its own power or plugs provided on the pier/vessel.
  • 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. Determined by dividing by 100 the contents, in cubic feet, of the vessel’s closed-in spaces. A vessel ton is 100 cubic feet.

  • 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, The
    • 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
    • 1924 International Convention on Carriage of Goods by Sea. These rules govern liability for loss or damage to goods carried by sea under a bill of lading.
  • Hague-Visby Rules

    1968 Revision of Hague Rules.

  • Hamburg Rules

    In March 1978 an international conference in Hamburg adopted a new set of rules (The Hamburg Rules), which radically alter the liability which shipowners have to bear for loss or damage to goods in the courts of those nations where the rules apply.

  • Handling Costs

    The cost involved in transferring, preparing and otherwise contracting inventory.

  • Hangertainer

    Specialized container equipped with hanger beams for the purpose of stowing garments on hangers.

  • Harbor Master

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

  • Harmless Chemicals

    A cargo description, which is a contradiction of terms. A chemical is a substance and whether it isharmless or not, depends on the context in which the substance appears or is used.Maersk Line does not accept harmless chemicals as a valid cargo description on the shipping documents.

  • Harmonized Code

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

  • 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 opening in the deck of a vessel which gives access to the cargo hold.

  • Haulier

    The participating carrier responsible for drayage of containers.


    House Airwaybill /Master Airwaybill Documents required for air transportation of cargo.


    An industry abbreviation for “Hazardous Material.”

  • Heavy Lift

    Articles too heavy to be lifted by a ship’s tackle.

  • Heavy-Lift Charge

    A charge made for lifting articles too heavy to be lifted by a ship’s tackle.

  • High Cube (HC or HQ)

    Any container which exceeds 8 feet 6 inches (102 inches) in height, usually 9 feet 6 inches.

  • 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

    Marrying 2 or more portions of one shipment that originate at different geographical locations, moving under one bill of lading, from one shipper to one consignee. Authority for this service must be granted by tariff publication.

  • Holds

    Section of vessel in which containers are stored. See also Bays.

  • Hopper Barge

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

  • House Bill of Lading (HB/L)

    Bill of lading issued by a forwarder or an NVOCC operator.

  • House-to-House (H/H)

    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.

  • House-to-Pier (H/P)

    See “CY/CFS”.

  • Hub

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

  • Hull

    The body of a vessel exclusive of masts, yards, sails, rigging, machinery and equipment.

  • Hull Underwriter

    The person with whom the ship hull, machinery apparel, and tackle is insured.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Hustler

    Tractor that pulls containers around the pier for positioning. Also known as a yard hustler.

  • 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. See IMO.

  • I.M.D.G. Code

    International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code. The regulations published by the IMO for transporting hazardous materials internationally.

  • I.S.O. (International Organization for Standardization)
    • International Standards Organization which deals in standards of all sorts, ranging from documentation to equipment packaging and labeling.
    • ISO is a worldwide federation of national standards bodies from some 130 countries, one from each country. It is a non-governmental organization established in 1947 to promote the development of standardization facilitating international trade. ISO’s work results in international agreements which are published as International Standards.
  • 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.
    • In Transit Document (Form 7512) issued by a licensed Customs Broker which allows U.S. Customs to monitor in bond shipments moving in the U.S. -Information Technology: A generic term for people or systems working toward business improvement.
  • 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.
    • A carrier can take an independent action in a conference, resulting in a unique rate for that carrier within a conference; ability to file a rate independently of other carriers’ actions.
    • A separate action taken by an individual member of a conference agreement to change rates or terms of carriage as laid out in the conference agreements.
  • ICC

    Abbreviation for:

    • “Interstate Commerce Commission,”
    • “International Chamber of Commerce.”
  • 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.

  • IFF

    Institute of Freight Forwarders.

  • IMCO Classification

    International Maritime Control Organization classification for hazardous cargo.

  • Immediate Exportation

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

  • IMO

    International Maritime Organization. Formally IMCO.

  • Import

    To receive goods from a foreign country.

  • Import License

    A document required and issued by some national governments authorizing the importation of goods into their individual countries.

  • Import Permit

    Usually required for items that might affect the public health, morals, animal life, vegetation, etc. Examples include foodstuffs, feedstuffs, pharmaceuticals (human and veterinary), medical equipment, seeds, plants and various written material (including tapes, cassettes, movies, TV tapes or TV movies). In some countries an import permit is the same as an import license.

  • 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. In passage from one place to another.

  • 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.

  • Inbound

    Import Shipment.

  • 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 2000 is the latest version of International Chamber of Commerce’s (ICC) standard trade definitions, commonly known as the INCO terms. The terms consist of 13 rules which are fundamental to international trade, defining the most important responsibilities of buyers and sellers in international sales contracts. Incoterms are a basic reference for sales contracts, recognized as the international standard by customs authorities and courts everywhere. Since they were first published in 1936, Incoterms a trademarked ICC product – have been updated six times.
    • Incoterms are a set of uniform rules codifying the interpretation of trade terms defining the rights and obligation of both buyer and seller in an international transaction, thereby enabling an otherwise complex basis for a sale contract to be accomplished in three letters. Incoterms are drafted by the International Chamber of Commerce.
  • 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. See also I/A.

  • Independent Carrier

    Carrier that is not a member of a shipping conference.

  • 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.

  • Inland Clearance Depot

    A CFS with Customs Clearance Facilities.

  • 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 Certificate

    Document which assures the consignee that insurance is provided to cover loss or damage to the cargo while in transit. -A certificate issued by an insurer to a shipper (or other party) as evidence that a shipment of merchandise is covered under a marine policy.

  • 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.

  • Integrated Carriers

    Carriers that have both air and ground fleets or other combinations, such as sea, rail and truck. They usually handle thousands of small parcels an hour.

  • Interchange

    Transfer of a container from one party to another.

  • 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.

  • Intermodal Transport

    Moving ocean freight containers by various transportation modes. The fact that the containers are of the same size and have common handling characteristics permits them to be transferred from truck to railroad to air carrier to ocean carrier.

  • International Freight Forwarders

    Freight forwarders that handle booking, paperwork and consolidation of exports.

  • Inventory Carrying Costs

    Generally, carrying costs or holding costs are financial measurements that calculate all the costs associated with holding goods in storage. It includes inventory-in-storage, warehousing, obsolescence, deterioration, spoilage and labour costs, as well as insurance and taxes.

  • Inventory Turnover

    The cost of goods sold, divided by the average level of inventory on hand. The ratio measures how many times a company’s inventory has been sold during the year.

  • Inventory Velocity

    The speed with which products move from receiving dock to shipping dock.

  • Invoice

    Documentation supplying Customs with the type of goods, quantity, price of each type and terms of sale. The type of invoice required is determined by the shipment’s value.

  • 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. -Cargo moving via land from/to an inland point. -See also Micro Bridge.

  • 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.

  • 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.

    • International Transport Implementation Guidelines Group.-ITIGG is an international group of experts engaged in the development and implementation of UN/EDIFACT-standard messages for electronic trading in the transport industry.
    • ITIGG is a subgroup of D4, the UN/EDIFACT Message Development Group for Transport.
    • ITIGG develops recommendations which provide software developers with a series of simple, straightforward tools to assist in designing applications which can be used for trading electronically throughout the world, and to clarify the intentions of the designers of key UN/EDIFACT messages.
  • 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.

  • Jettison

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

  • 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.

  • JOC

    Journal of CommerceA trade publication. Trade transportation journal.

  • Joint Rate

    A rate from a point located on one transportation line to a point on another transportation line which is published in a single tariff.

  • 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.

  • Joint Venture

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

  • Jones Act

    Section 27 of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, requiring that all shipments by water between ports in the United States (including Puerto Rico) be carried by U.S.-flag, be U.S.-built, and U.S.-crewed vessels.

  • Just-In-Time (JIT)

    See JIT.

  • Keel

    The main center-line structural member, running fore and aft along the bottom of a ship, sometimes referred to as the backbone.

  • 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.

  • 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

    A unit of speed. The term “knot” means velocity in nautical miles per hour whether of a vessel or current. 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.

  • KT

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

  • L.O.I.

    Letter of Intent : A letter of intent or LOI is a document outlining an agreement between two or more parties before the agreement is finalized. See also in “Letter of Indemnity”.

  • L/C

    Abbreviation for “Letter of Credit.”

  • Label Cargo

    Cargo, including all commodities, requiring a label according to the provisions of the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code.

  • Laden

    Loaded aboard a vessel.

  • Lading

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

  • Land Bridge

    Containers moving from a foreign country by vessel, and then sent to an inland point in the U.S. or elsewhere by land transportation (rail or truck). See also MLB.

  • 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 athwartship position.

  • Lashing

    Support for cargoes inside a container or a cargo hold to ensure that they are secured and will not be subject to rolling during the voyage from origin to destination.

  • Late-Come

    It is a term used in the liner industry when extensions are being given to the shippers against the official CY or CFS Closing date and time which carriers publish to the trade.


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

  • LCL

    Abbreviation for “Less than Container Load.” Common term for an amount of goods to be shipped and which do not fill an entire container.Ocean rates for LCL are commonly higher on a per-unit basis than for a full container load. Thus,consolidation of several LCL loads from different places or shippers into a full container can save on costs.


    See “CFS/CY”.


    See “CFS/CFS”.

  • Less Than Truckload

    Also known as LTL or LCL.Rates applicable when the quantity of freight is less than the volume or truckload minimumweight.

  • 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 ofmerchandise, similar to acceptance-type letter of credit, except that it requirespresentation 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 advising bank.


  • Letter of Indemnity

    Guarantee from the shipper or consignee to indemnify carriers or forwarders for costs and/or loss, if any, in order to obtain favorable action by carriers or forwarders. It is customary practice for carries and forwarders to demand letters of indemnity from consignees for taking delivery of cargoes without surrendering bill of lading which has been delayed or is lost.

  • Licenses
    • 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.

  • Lift-On/Lift-Off (LO-LO)

    A container ship onto which containers are lifted by crane.

  • 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 the carriage of cargoes by lighter and the charge assessed therefore.

  • Line-Haul

    Marine portion of a vessel’s route covering the greatest distance, usually across an ocean (e.g. Singapore-Los Angeles).

  • Liner

    A vessel sailing between specified ports on a regular basis.

  • Liner Terms

    Freight includes the cost of loading onto and discharging from the vessel.

  • Liquidated Damages

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

  • List

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

  • Liter

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

  • 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.

  • LNG Carrier

    Liquified Natural Gas Carrier.

  • Load Factor

    Percent of loaded containers against total capacity of vessel or allocation.

  • Load Ratio

    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.

  • Locking Bar

    Device that secures container doors at top and bottom.

  • Long Ton (LT)

    1 Long Ton = 2,240 lbs.

  • Longshoreman

    Workers employed in the terminals or quays to load and unload ships. They are also known as “Stevedores”. Loop A particular service of any Consortium or Carrier among various ports of calls, with the objective of creating a niche in the market for the first port of discharge.

  • Loose

    Without packing.

  • Low-Bed or Low-Boy

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

  • LTL

    See Less than truckload.

  • M.M.F.B.

    Middlewest Motor Freight Bureau.

  • 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 (under cubing); mis-declaration 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.

  • Manifest

    Same as cargo manifest. A document that lists in detail all the bills of lading issued by a vessel or its agent or master, i.e.,a detailed summary of the total cargoes or containers loaded in a vessel. Used principally forcustoms purposes. It is also called summary of Bills of Lading.

  • Maquiladoras (ma·kil·a·dor·as)

    Duty-free (for U. S. import) manufacturing plants located in Mexico.

  • 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, piracy and various other causes but excludes losses that can be legally recovered.

  • Maritime

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

  • Marking
    • Letters, numbers, and other symbols placed on cargo packages to facilitate identification. Also known as marks or marks & numbers.
    • Marks and Numbers placed on packages for export for identification purposes; generally a triangle, square, circle, diamond, or cross with letters and/or numbers and port discharge. They are of important use before containerization.
  • Marlinespike

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

  • Master Bill of lading (MB/L)

    See “Ocean Bill of lading”.

  • Master Inbound

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

  • Master Lease

    Master lease is one form of a short-term lease, which refers to the leasing of the containers by carriers from those leasing companies.

  • Master Lease Leasing Cost

    Master lease leasing cost includes container rental, depot lift-on/lift-off charge, on/off hire drayage, drop-off charge and offhire repair cost, etc. Due to off-hire quota limitation, the average on-hire period is around 73 days for 20’GP, 40’GP and 102 days for 40’HQ.

  • Mate’s Receipt

    An archaic practice..A receipt signed by a mate of the vessel, acknowledging receipt of cargo by the vessel. Theindividual in possession of the mate’s receipt is entitled to the bill of lading, which in due courseis issued in exchange for that receipt.

  • Materials Management

    The procurement, movement and management of materials and products from acquisition through to production.

  • Maximum Payload

    Maximum cargo that can be loaded into a container either by weight or volume.

  • Maximum Rate

    The highest freight rate permitted by a regulatory body to apply between points.

  • 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

    1 cubic metre. One of the alternative bases of Freight Tariff.

  • 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 Container load Shipment.

  • Merchant Haulage

    Inland transportation performed by an inland carrier contracted by and for the account of the shipper or consignee.

  • Meter

    39.37 inches (approximately).

  • Metric Ton

    2,204.6 pounds or 1,000 kilograms.

  • Microbridge

    A landbridge movement in which cargo originating/destined to an inland point is railed or trucked to/from the water port for a shipment to/from a foreign country. The carrier is responsible for cargo and costs from origin to destination. Also known as I.P.I. or Through Service.

  • Mile

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

  • Mini Landbridge

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

  • Mini-Bridge

    Cargo moving from/to an inland destination on one bill of lading from/to a foreign port through two U.S. ports.

  • 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.

  • Mixed Shipment

    Shipment consisting of items described in and rated under two or more rate items within a tariff.

  • MLB

    Abbreviation for “Mini Landbridge.”Containers moving from a foreign country by vessel, and then sent to an inland point in the U.S.or elsewhere by land transportation (rail or truck). See also Land Bridge.

  • Modified Atmosphere

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

  • Mother Vessel (M/V or M.V.)

    Main ocean vessel in a liner service designated to move containers from set origin points to set destination ports/points on a regular basis.

  • MT (M/T)
    • Metric Ton or Cubic meter. 1 MT = 2,204.62lbs or 35.314 cft.
    • Empty container.
    • Multimodal Transport.
  • Multi Tank Container

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

  • Multimodal

    Synonymous for all practical purposes with “Intermodal.”

  • N.C.I.T.D.

    National Committee on International Trade Documentation.

  • N.M.F.C.

    National Motor Freight Classification.

  • N.P.C.F.B.

    North Pacific Coast Freight Bureau.

  • N.T.

    See Net tons.

  • Nautical Mile

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

  • NEC

    Abbreviation for “Not Elsewhere Classified.”

  • Negotiable Bill of Lading

    Something that can be negotiated, transferred or assigned from one person to another in return for equivalent value by being delivered either with endorsement (as of an instrument to order) or without endorsement (as of an instrument to bearer) so that the title passes to the transferee who is not prejudiced in his rights by any defect or flaw in the title of prior parties nor by personal defenses available to prior parties among themselves provided in both cases that the transferee is a bona fide holder without notice e.g. bills of lading, bills of exchange, promissory notes, and cheques that are payable to bearer or order are negotiable instruments, as are also, in some jurisdictions, some other instruments (as bonds, some forms of stock) i.e. negotiable paper/negotiable securities. “Negotiable” used analogously for “transferable” – see also negotiability/transferability.

  • 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.”

  • Negotiating Bank

    Bank where a shipper negotiates documents or where documents are first presented, usually atcountry of origin.Also, often referred to as the advising bank.

  • NES

    Abbreviation for “Not Elsewhere Specified.”

  • Nested
    • Three or more different sizes of the same item or commodity which must be enclosed, each smaller piece within the next larger piece, or three or more of the items must be placed one within the other so that the top item does not project above the lower item by more than 1/3 of its height.
    • Nested Solid: Three or more of items must be placed on or inside the other, so that the external side surfaces of the top item is in contact with the internal side surfaces of the item below, and the top item does not project above the next lower item by more than 1/2 inch.
    • 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.

  • Net Weight

    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.
    • Investigating body designated by conference carriers to ensure that all regulations and rules are adhered to.
  • No-show

    Cargo which has been booked but does not arrive in time to be loaded before the vessel sails. See also “Windy Booking.”

  • NOE

    Not Otherwise Enumerated.

  • NOI

    Abbreviation for “Not Otherwise Indexed.”


    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-Asset-Based Third Party Providers

    Third party providers who generally do not own assets, such as transportation and/or warehouse equipment.

  • Non-Dumping Certificate

    Required by some countries for protection against the dumping of certain types of merchandise or products.

  • Non-Negotiable Bill of Lading

    A document not made out “to order”, but being a receipt and evidence of the contract of carriage, but which is not a document of title, e.g. a waybill and, in some jurisdictions (such as the USA), a (straight) consigned bill of lading.

  • Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier (NVOCC)
    • A cargo consolidator in ocean trades who will buy space from a carrier and sub/sell 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.
    • Carrier offering an international cargo transport service through the use of underlying carriers and under their own rate structure in accordance with tariffs filed with the Federal Maritime Commission in Washington D.C.
    • An F.M.C. registered cargo consolidator of small shipments in ocean trade, generallysoliciting 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.
  • NOR

    Notice of Readiness, or Not Otherwise Rated. It is a notice by owner to charterer, shipper, receiver or other person as required by charter party that the ship has arrived at the port or berth as the case may be and is ready to load/discharge.

  • NOS

    Abbreviation for “Not Otherwise Specified.” or “Not Otherwise Stated.”

  • Nose

    Front of a container or trailer – opposite the tail.

  • Notify Party

    Company/person who appears on the bill of lading or waybill to be notified when the cargo arrives at destination. Could be different from the consignee, but is often the actual receiver of the goods. A notify party has no particular rights (beyond the notification) under the bill of lading or waybill.


    See “Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier”.

  • O.E.C.D.

    Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, headquartered in Paris with membership consisting of the world’s developed nations.

  • O.P.I.C.

    Overseas Private Investment Corporation.

  • O.R.C.

    Origin Receiving Charge. A Terminal Handling Charge levied at ports of loading.

  • 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, canbe bought, sold or traded while the goods are in-transit. -See also Negotiable Bill of Lading.

  • Ocean Route

    The all-water transportation portion of a route.

  • 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 ofset 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.

  • 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.
    • Cargoes or containers landed onto the cargo hold or the cells of carriers.
  • On Board Bill of Lading

    A Bill of Lading in which a carrier acknowledges that cargoes have been placed on board a certain vessel. The on-board date of bills of lading is the date on which liabilities of the carrier start.

  • On Deck
    • A notation on a bill of lading that the cargo has been stowed on the open deck of the ship.
    • A special stowage instruction to confine that the cargo stowage must be on deck rather than under deck.
  • On Deck Stowage

    Cargo stowed on the deck of the vessel.

  • On-Carriage

    The carriage of goods (containers) by any mode of transport to the place of delivery after discharge from the ocean vessel (main means of transport) at the port (place) of discharge.

  • On-Time Performance

    The proportion of time that a transit system adheres to its published schedule times within stated tolerances.

  • One-Way lease

    The lease of containers that covers the outbound voyage only, after which the container is returned to the lease holder at or near destination agreed.

  • 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 Rates

    Rates established for each individual carrier. These rates are listed in a tariff list but may differ according to carrier.

  • 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.

  • Optimum Cube

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

  • Order Cycle

    This includes the time and the process involved from the placement of the order to the receipt of the shipment. It includes the following processes: Communicating the order, order processing, transporting the shipment.

  • 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. See also Bill of Lading.

  • Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM accounts)

    Customers who incorporate the exporter’s product into their own merchandise for resale under their own brand names.

  • 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.

  • Out of Gauge

    Cargo which exceeds the internal dimensions of the container in width, length or height.

  • Outbound

    Outward bound. Direction of vessel or cargo going out from port of loading or point/place of receipt. (Export shipments).

  • Outport

    Destination port, other than a base port, to which rates apply but which may be subject to additional out-port arbitraries.

  • Outsource

    To hire a third-party provider to assume tasks previously performed in-house.

  • Over Landed
    • Cargo volume count more than originally shipped.
    • Cargo taken beyond original port of discharge.
  • Overcharge

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

  • Overheight Cargo
    • Cargo more than eight feet high which thus cannot fit into a standard container.
    • Cargoes which exceed 9-1/2 ft. in height. They have to be stowed normally in an open-top 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.

  • Overland Common Port (OCP)

    A special rate concession made by shipping lines, rail carriers and truckers serving the U.S. West Coast for export and import traffic, intended to benefit midwest shippers and importers by equalising rates to and from other coastal areas, and offering these midwest companies a comparable alternative. The steamship companies lower their rates and the inland carriers pick up the terminal charges, which consist of handling charges, wharfage charges and car loading or unloading charges. OCP rates apply to cargo shipped from or consigned to the states of: North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Colorado, New Mexico and all states east thereof. OCP rates in Canada apply to the provinces of: Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec.

    Overland Common Point rates which are generally lower than local tariff rates. They were established by the U.S. West Coast steamship companies in conjunction with railroads serving the western U.S. ports so that cargo originating or destined to the American Midwest and East would be competitive with all-water rates via the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf ports. O.C.P. rates are also applicable 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.
    • List of packages for each shipment, showing individual breakdown in weights/measure and quantity.
    • A document provided by the shipper detailing the packaging of the goods, including their weight and measurement, and assortment, etc.

    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 (usually two-deck), with or without sides, on which a number of packages or pieces may be loaded to facilitate handling by a lift truck.
    • Wooden structure used to support cargo and ease movement by forklifts.
  • 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.

  • PAPS (Pre-Arrival Processing System)

    An electronic system that allows U.S. Customs to review and pre-release shipments for import into the U.S.

  • 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.

  • PARS/INPARS (Pre-Arrival Review System)

    Available both at the border and inland (INPARS). An electronic system that allows CCRA to review and pre-release shipments for import into Canada.

  • Partial Shipments

    Under letters of credit, one or more shipments are allowed by the phrase “partial shipments permitted.”

  • Participating Carrier (Tariff)

    A carrier that is a party, under concurrence, to a tariff issued by another transportation line or by a tariff’s publishing agent.

  • Particular Average
    • Partial loss or damage to goods.
    • See Insurance, Particular Average.
  • Partlow Chart

    A chart that indicates the temperature reading in a reefer container.

  • Partnerships and Alliances

    Shippers and providers who enter into agreements designed to benefit both parties.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Perishable Cargo

    Cargo subject to decay or deterioration, normally fresh food and vegetables, etc.

  • Physical Distribution

    All logistics activities from the production line to the final user, including traffic, packaging, materials handling, warehousing, order entry, customer service, inventory control etc.

  • 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.
    • A structure built away from land and extending some distance over water, often used for docking boats.
    • Also known as a wharf.
  • Pier-to-House (P/H)

    A shipment loaded into a container at the pier or terminal, thence to the consignee’s facility. See “CFS/CY”.

  • Pier-to-Pier

    Containers loaded at port of loading and discharged at port of destination. See “CFS/CFS”.

  • Piggy Packer

    A mobile container-handling crane used to load/unload containers to/from railcars.

  • Piggyback
    • The transportation of highway trailers or demountable trailer bodies on specially equipped rail flat cars.
    • A transportation arrangement in which truck trailers with their loads are moved by train to a destination. Also known as Rail Pigs.
  • Pilferage

    Cargo stolen from the container, warehouse or terminal.

  • Pilot

    A person whose office or occupation is to steer ships, particularly along a coast or into and out of a harbor.

  • PIP (Partners in Protection)

    A CCRA initiative designed to enlist the cooperation of private industry in efforts to enhance border security and increase awareness of customs compliance issues.

  • Place of Acceptance

    See “Place of Receipt”.

  • Place of Delivery

    Place where cargo leaves the care and custody of carrier. See “Final Destination”.

  • Place of Receipt (P.O.R.)

    Location where cargo enters the care and custody of the carrier. Same as Place of Acceptance. It is the starting port of carrier’s liability upon receipt of cargoes from shippers.

  • 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.
    • Depth to which a vessel may safely load. Identified by a circle on the vessel’s side with a vertical line through and a number of small horizontal lines showing the max depth for summer and winter.
  • POD

    Abbreviation for:

    • Port of Discharge : The port at which cargoes or containers are discharged from vessel. When transshipment is needed, there can be a number of PODs during the course of shipment until it reaches the final POD.
    • 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.

  • POL

    Abbreviation for:-Port of Loading : The port at which cargoes or containers are loaded onto vessels.-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.

  • Port
    • Harbor with piers or docks.
    • Left side of a ship when facing forward.-Opening in a ship’s side for handling freight.
  • Port & Terminal Service Charge [PTSC]

    South Europe Conference [SEAC] charge incurred when the shipper is not able to deliver cargo directly alongside the vessel. The carrier may assess its expenses in moving cargo from the shipper’s point of delivery to the vessel.

  • Port of Arrival

    Location where imported merchandise is off loaded from the importing aircraft or vessel.

  • Port of Call

    Port where a ship discharges or receives traffic.

  • Port of Discharge

    (see P.O.D) A port where cargoes and containers destined elsewhere are actually discharged from a vessel.

  • Port of Entry

    Port where cargo is unloaded and enters a country.

  • Port of Exit

    Place where cargo is loaded and leaves a country.

  • Port of Loading

    (see P.O.L.) A port where cargoes or containers are loaded onto a vessel.

  • Positioning

    The moving of empty equipment from surplus areas to deficit areas.

  • 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.

  • Primage

    A charge paid by shippers to ship agents for services provided by the agent in Turkish and Greek ports, generally for loading activities conducted by port stevedores. It is not an actual contractual term so the obligation to pay does not depend on its inclusion in the bill of lading.
    Turkey: 3% on Total Ocean Freight including all surcharges and intermodal charges.
    Greece: 3% Piraeus, 5% Salonika (except on cargo originating in Bulgaria).

  • Pro Forma

    A Latin term meaning “For the sake of form.” When used with the title of a document, the term refers to an informal document presented inadvance of the arrival, or preparation of the required document, in order to satisfy a customs requirement.

  • 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.

  • PTI

    Pre-Trip Inspection. (Typically the shipping line’s inspection of reefer containers prior to release to the shipper for stuffing/loading).

  • Public Service Commission

    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.

  • Purchase Order

    Common grouping of orders for goods/services. Several SKU categories may be listed on one purchase order. Most customers group their orders in a particular way to facilitate distribution at the other end. For example, one purchase order for an apparel importer might encompass 2 dozen green sweaters and 2 dozen red sweaters. If those P.O.s originated from the same store, it is simple for the store to put all items under that P.O. onto the right truck.

  • Quality Control

    The systematic planning, measuring and control of a combination of people, materials, metrology and machines, with the objective of producing a product that satisfies the quality and profitability of the enterprise.

  • 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.
    • The period during which a vessel is detained in isolation until free from any contagious disease among the passengers or crew. The word is now applied to the sanitary regulations which are the modern substitute for quarantine. During the quarantine period, the Q flag is hoisted.
  • Quarantine Buoy

    One of the yellow buoys at the entrance of a harbour indicating the place where vessels must anchor for the exercise of quarantine regulations.

  • Quarantine Declaration

    A document signed by the captain and the ship’s doctor before the port health officer when a ship arrives at the quarantine station. It gives the name of the ship, tonnage, number of crew, first port of voyage and date of sailing, intermediate ports called at, number of passengers for the port at which the vessel is arriving, number of transit passengers, cases of infectious diseases during voyage, deaths, nature of cargo, name of agents. The port health officer then proceeds with the medical inspection of passengers and crew. Also called “Entry Declaration”.

  • Quarantine Dues

    A charge against all vessels entering a harbour to provide for the maintenance of medical control service. Also called “Quarantine Fees”.

  • Quarantine Flag

    A yellow flag used as a sanitary signal. It is displayed by all vessels entering a harbour; also when a contagious or infectious disease exists on board or when the vessel has been placed in quarantine.

  • Quarantine Harbour

    A place where vessels in quarantine are stationed when arriving from contaminated ports.

  • Quarantine Station

    A medical control centre located in an isolated spot ashore where patients with contagious diseases from vessel in quarantine are taken. It is also used for passengers and crews of vessel arriving from suspected ports while fumigation or any other disinfection is carried out on board ship.

  • Quay

    A pier, wharf or other structure built along a shore for landing, loading and unloading boats or ships.

  • Quick Response (QR)

    A consumer-driven system of replenishment in which high-quality products and accurate information flow through a paperless (EDI) system between all distribution points from the manufacturing line to the retail checkout counter. Distributors, carriers and suppliers act as trading partners and focus on improving the total supply system.

  • Quitclaim

    A legal instrument used to release one person’s right, title or interest to another without providing a guarantee or warranty of title.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Railhead

    Location for loading and unloading containers at railroad terminal.

  • 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.

  • Ramp-to-Ramp

    A movement of equipment from an origin rail ramp to a destination rail ramp only.

  • Rate Agreement

    Group of carriers who discuss rates and common problems with options to file independent tariffs.

  • 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.).

  • Re-engineering

    An approach to improving business operations through reinventing, reevaluating, redesigning and redoing.

  • 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.

  • Received for Shipment Bill of Lading
    • Can be issued on the carrier’s actual receipt or taking custody of goods, if requested goods are not yet necessarily loaded on board a vessel or other conveyance. This form of bill of lading would usually be switched to an on board bill of lading or added as an on board notation upon the actual loading of goods on board a vessel or other conveyance.
    • A term used in contrast to shipped bill of lading or on-board bill of lading. This kind of bill of lading is normally issued to acknowledge receipt of shipment before cargo loading or before official original bill of lading is issued. Nowadays, not many shippers ask for this kind of bill of lading.
  • 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.
    • In the industry, it is the generic name for a temperature-controlled container. The containers, which are insulated, are specially designed to allow temperature controlled air circulation within the container. A refrigeration plant is built into the rear of the container.
  • Register Ton

    A unit of interior capacity of ships.1 Register Ton = 100 cubic feet or 2,832 cubic metres.Also known as vessel ton.

  • Related Points

    A group of points to which rates are made the same as or in relation to rates to other points in group.

  • Relative Humidity %

    The ratio of the actual amount of water vapour in the air to the maximum it can hold at a given temperature, multiplied by 100.

  • Relay
    • Marine shipment that is transferred to its ultimate destination port after having been shipped to an intermediate point.
    • To transfer containers from one ship to another when both vessels are controlled by the same network (carrier) manager.
  • Release Note

    A receipt signed by a customer acknowledging the delivery of cargoes.

  • Remittance

    Funds sent by one person to another as payment.

  • Replenishment

    The process of moving the inventory of an item from a reserve storage location to the primary picking location or to another mode of storage in which picking is performed.

  • Restricted Articles

    Articles handled only under certain conditions.

  • Return Cargo

    Cargo to be returned to original place of receipt.

  • Revenue Ton (RT)
    • The greater weight or measurement of cargoes where 1 ton is either 1000 kilos or 1 cubic metre (for metric system). Also known as “Bill of Lading Ton” or “Freight Ton”. It is used to calculate freight charge
    • Number of tonnes which freight is paid for per ton.
    • 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 all water carrier’s through bill of lading in the U.S. by first discharging the container in an East Coast port.

  • Reverse Logistics

    Reverse Logistics is a rather general term. In its broadest sense, reverse logistics stands for all operations related to the reuse of products and materials. The management of these operations can be referred to as Product Recovery Management (PRM). PRM is concerned with the care of products and materials after they have been used. Some of these activities are, to some extent, similar to those occurring in the case of internal returns of defective items due to unreliable production processes. Reverse logistics refers however to all logistics activities the collection, disassembly and processing of used products, product parts and/or materials in order to ensure a sustainable (environmentally-friendly) recovery.

  • RFQ

    Request for quotation.

  • RNS (Release Notification System)

    The electronic notification system that provides customers, customs agencies and customer’s broker representatives with proactive notification of shipment acceptance, review and release.

  • 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.
    • The plan of movements of a vessel from the first port of call to her final destination.
  • 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.

  • S/D

    Abbreviation for:

    • Sight draft.
    • Sea damage.
  • SABS

    South African Bureau of Standards.

  • Salvage

    The property which has been recovered from a wrecked vessel, or the recovery of the ship herself.

  • Salvage Clause

    A marine insurance policy clause which states the proportion of salvage charges for which underwriters are liable.

  • Salvage Lien

    A maritime lien which exists when a ship or goods come into the possession of one who preserves them from the perils at sea. All salvage services carry with them a maritime lien on the items saved.

  • Salvage Value

    The value on which salvage is awarded. It generally means the value of ship and cargoes when they have been brought to a place of safety by the salvors.

  • Sanction

    An embargo imposed by a Government against another country.

  • SCAC Code

    See Owner Code.

  • Schedule B

    The Statistical Classification of Domestic and Foreign Commodities Exported from the United States.

  • 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.
    • A type of bill of lading used for port-to-port or combined transport carriage. A waybill is identical to a negotiable bill of lading except that it is not a document of title. There are no originals issued for this type of document. In some jurisdictions, such as the USA, a waybill is deemed the equivalent of a (straight) consigned bill of lading.
    • See also Waybill.
  • 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.

  • Seal

    A metal strip and lead fastener used for locking containers, freight cars or truck doors. Seals are numbered for record and security purposes.

  • Seal Record

    A record of the number, condition and marks of identification on seals made at various times and places, referring to the movement of the container between origin and destination.

  • Seaworthiness

    The fitness of a vessel for its intended use.

  • Sector

    Distance between two ground points within a route.

  • SED

    Shipper’s Export Declaration. A form, which is often, required prior to exporting a product.

  • Service

    A string of vessels which makes a particular voyage and serves a particular market.

  • Service Agreement
    • Private contracts between one or more carriers and one or more shippers to transport cargo between specified points under terms and conditions of carriage agreed and listed in the contract. It often allows for particular rates based on volume over a specified period of time.
    • Also commonly known as a service contract.
  • Service Contract

    The Shipping Act of 1984 of U.S.A. allows a contract between a shipper (or a shippers’ association) and an ocean common carrier, NVOCC operator or a Shipping 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, NVOCC operator 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.

  • Set Point

    Specific temperature that a refrigerated container has been set to keep. Ideally, the set point and the actual temperature should be identical throughout the voyage.

  • SHEX

    Saturday and Holidays Excluded.


    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 Owner

    One of the persons in whom the title of property of a ship or ships is vested.

  • Ship Planning

    A function in the operations of container vessels where containers have to be planned for loading onto vessels, taking into consideration the size and weight of containers, transshipment and discharging port rotation, types of cargoes, etc. The officer responsible for such a function is called a “Ship Planner”.

  • 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.

  • Shipped Bill of Lading

    A bill of lading issued only after the cargoes have actually been shipped on board the vessel, as distinguished from the Received-for-Shipment bill of lading. Also see “On- board Bill of Lading”.

  • Shipped on-board

    Endorsement on a bill of lading confirming loading of cargoes or containers on a vessel.

  • Shipper
    • The person or company who is usually the supplier or owner of commodities shipped.
    • Person who consigns something (e.g. the goods of an individual shipment).
    • Legal entity or person named on the bill of lading or waybill as shipper and/or who (or in whose name or on whose behalf) a contract of carriage has been concluded with a carrier.
    • The person for whom the owners of a ship agree to carry goods to a specified destination and at a specified price. Also called “Consignor”. The conditions under which the transportation is effected are stipulated in the bill of lading.
    • Also known as consignor.
  • Shipper Owned Container (SOC)

    The container used for cargo shipment is owned by the shipper.

  • Shipper Packed

    Contents of containers as loaded (stuffed), stowed (packed/braced), weighed and/or counted by or for the shipper, usually a CY load.

  • 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.
    • Shipments loaded and sealed by shippers and not checked or verified by the carriers or forwarders. Neither the carriers nor the forwarders will assume any liability for shortages of cargoes as long as the container seal remains intact at the time of devanning.
  • 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.

  • 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.
    • Equivalent of booking and contract of carriage evidencing the agreement to transport goods.
    • A set of documents of carriers or forwarders which allows the shippers to book shipping space with them. There are a number of copies with the same form and contents but with different names such as the 1st copy is called Shipping Order and the remainders are called Shipping Order Copy or Dock Receipt for different purposes such as space control, surveyor and sworn measurer, confirmation of receipt of cargoes/containers, etc. As EDI is more popular nowadays and used by both the shipper and Customs, hardcopy Shipping Order is no longer widely used.
  • Ships
    • 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: Breakbulk 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: Breakbulk 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.
  • Shipside Delivery

    A special cargo handling instruction for cargoes to be delivered rightaway at shipside after discharge.

  • Shore

    A prop or support placed against or beneath anything to prevent sinking or sagging.

  • Short Landed

    Cargo volume count (at delivery destination) less than originally shipped.

  • Short Shipped

    Cargo missing a vessel that it was originally intended for.

  • 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.

  • Shut-out

    Cargoes or containers which are not loaded on-board the intended vessel in line with the Shipping Order confirmed with the carrier.

  • 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.

  • Site

    A particular platform or location for loading or unloading at a place.

  • 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.

  • Slot

    Space on board a vessel occupied by a container.

  • Slot Charter

    A carrier’s chartering of slots/spaces on other carrier’s vessels.

  • SMDG

    User Group for Shipping Lines and Container Terminals.SMDG develops and promotes UN/EDIFACT EDI messages for the maritime industry and is anofficial Pan European User Group recognized by the UN/EDIFACT Board.

  • SPA

    Abbreviation for “Subject to Particular Average.” See also Particular Average.

  • Special Customs Invoice

    An official form usually required by U.S. Customs if the rate of duty is based upon the value, and the value of the shipment exceeds USD 500. This document is usually prepared by the foreign exporter or his forwarder and is used by customs in determining the value of the shipment. The exporter or his agent must attest to the authenticity of the data furnished.

  • Special Rate

    Rate established for a specified commodity for a specific period of time.

  • 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.

  • SS


  • ST

    1 Short Ton = 2 000 lbs.

  • 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).

  • Stacktrain

    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.

  • STC

    Abbreviation for Said To Contain.

  • STC (Said to Contain)

    A standard clause used to protect carrier, NVOCC operators or forwarders when cargoes are stuffed into the container by shippers, their agents or other third parties. See also Shipper’s Load and Count.

  • 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.

  • 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.
    • Terminal operator who is designated to facilitate the operation of loading and discharging vessels and various terminal activities.
    • Also known as longshoreman.
  • Stock Keeping Unit (SKU)

    Smallest unit grouping for goods, normally indicating a single retail item. Usually, several SKUs will be under one purchase order.

  • Storage Charge

    Charge for goods held in storage facilities (warehouses) under a fixed agreement for periods of time, and which is not included in other arrangement.

  • Store-Door Delivery (STOR/DOR)

    Delivery of goods to consignee’s place of business or warehouse by motor vehicle. Refers to a complete package of delivery services performed by a carrier from origin to final consumption point, whether that be a retail, wholesale or other final distribution facility.

  • Store-Door Pick-up Delivery
    • A complete package of pick up or delivery services performed by a carrier from origin to final consumption point.
    • Picking up an empty container from a carrier, delivering it to a merchant and returning the laden container; the portion of store-door pick up performed by the carrier’s trucker.
  • Stowage

    A marine term referring to loading freight into ships’ holds.

  • 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.
    • A term for a non negotiable bill of lading.
    • See also “Bill of Lading”
  • 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.

  • Stripping
    • Also known as un-stuffing.
    • Physical removal of goods from the (carrier’s) container(s). (devanning).
    • The unloading of a container.
  • Stuffing

    Physical loading of goods into the (carrier’s) 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.

  • Sufferance Wharf

    A wharf licensed and attended by Customs authorities.

  • Supply Air

    Cooled or warmed air leaving the evaporator delivered to the interior of the container. Supply air is sometimes called delivery-air.

  • 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.
    • The movement of materials and information through the logistics process from acquisition of raw materials to delivery to end-user. The supply chain includes all vendors, service providers and customers.
  • Supply Chain Management

    The management and control of all materials and information in the logistics process from acquisition of raw materials to delivery to end-user.

  • Surcharge

    An extra or additional charge above ocean freight. See also Add-Ons.

  • 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.

  • Surtax

    An additional extra tax.

    • Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication
    • A cooperative organized under Belgian law providing the following services to participating financial institutions: Letters of credit (opening and transmission), money transfers, payment security settlements.
    • Other businesses participating in SWIFT are: Security brokers and delaters, clearing and depository institutions, security exchanges and travelers cheques issuers.
  • Switch Bill of Lading

    Often called “the trader’s second set” and intended to replace the first set of bills of lading issued. Usually used where a seller/trader wishes to keep the name of his supplier, named as the shipper, secret from the ultimate buyer of goods. Due care and consideration must be exercised when issuing such bills of lading because of inherent exposure to fraud/conversion of factual data.

  • T V A

    Time Volume Agreement. A contract between a carrier and shipper specifying the movement of a number of containers over time.

  • T-floor

    Interior floor in a reefer, so named because of the longitudinal T-shaped rails which support the cargo and form a plenum for air flow beneath the cargo.

  • 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.

  • Tally Sheet

    List of cargo, incoming and outgoing, checked by Tally clerk on dock.

  • Tank Container

    A specially constructed container for transporting liquids and gases in bulk.

  • Tare Weight
    • In railcar or container shipments, the weight of the empty railcar or empty container.
    • Weight of an empty container. Gross weight = net weight + tare weight.
    • The weight of packing material or, in carload shipments, the weight of the empty freight car, or the weight of a container.
  • Tariff (Trf.)
    • A publication setting forth the charges, rates and rules of transportation companies.
    • List of published rates, rules and regulations applicable to the transportation of goods in specified trade lanes or between two areas.
  • TBN

    To Be Nominated. (When the name of a ship is still unknown.)

  • 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.

  • Terminal Handling Charge

    (THC) A charge of carriers for recovering the costs of handling FCLs at container terminals at origin or destination.

  • Terminal Receiving Charge (TRC)

    A charge assessed by the terminal for cargoes being delivered for export.

  • 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.
  • TEU

    Abbreviation for:

    • “Twenty foot Equivalent Unit.”
    • A measure of container capacity still used by some institutions-1 FFE = 2 TEU-Twenty-Foot (20′) Equivalent Unit. Commonly describes a 20-foot container.
  • THC (Terminal Handling Charge)

    The charge assessed by the terminal for the positioning of containers within the terminal/yard.

  • Third Party Providers

    Companies that can be employed (hired) to assume tasks that were previously performed in¬house by the client.

  • Through Rate
    • The total rate from the point of origin to final destination.
    • A rate applicable from point of origin to destination. A through rate may be either a joint rate or a combination of two or more rates.
  • Through Service (Thru Service)

    A combination of transportation by sea and land (Thru Service) services to/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.
    • A charter party hiring a vessel for a specified period of time in which the ship owner provides the vessel, bunkers and crew while the charterer supplies the cargo.
  • 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.

  • TIR

    “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.

  • TIR Carnet

    A document which can be issued to ease border crossings in Europe. Customs at a European location places a seal on a container and issues the TIR Carnet. The document and seal allow the container to cross borders without inspection to the consignee’s door, where destination customs will then inspect the cargo.

  • TL

    Abbreviation for “Trailer Load.”

  • To order of Shipper

    The shipper, by way of endorsement and passing of the document, allows a transfer of the rights to take delivery of the goods in the document e.g. a bill of lading.

  • TOFC
    • Abbreviation for “Trailer on Flat Car.” The movement of a highway trailer on a railroad flatcar. Also known as Piggyback.
    • Trailer on Flat Car Rail
    • Service in which a container is loaded on a rail car with chassis, bogies or wheels.
  • Ton-Mile
    • 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.
    • 100 cubic feet.
  • 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.

  • TOS

    Terms of Sale (i.e. FOB/CIF/FAS).

  • Total Average Inventory
    • The sum of average order quantity (one half of order quantity) plus safety stock. Safety stock is the amount on hand after the arrival of the order.
    • Also, the average normal use stock plus the average lead stock plus safety stock.
  • Total Cost of Distribution

    The sum of purchasing, transportation and storage costs in the movement of finished products through the post production channel.

  • Total Quality Management

    An approach to business management that focuses on quality and typically has: a strong customer orientation, total involvement, measurement systems, systematic support and continuous improvement.

  • Towage

    The charge made for towing a vessel.

  • Tracer

    A request on a transportation line to trace a shipment for the purpose of expediting its movement or establishing delivery. Common usage of this term has been simplified to mean any request for status of a shipment.

  • Tracking

    A carrier’s system of recording movement intervals of shipments from origin to destination.

  • Tractor

    Unit of highway motive power used to pull one or more trailers/containers.

  • Trade

    A term used to define a geographic area or specific route served by carriers.

  • 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.

  • Traffic Conferences

    Rate-fixing machinery operated by IATA.

  • Trailer

    The truck unit into which freight is loaded as in tractor trailer combination. See Container.

  • Tramp

    A freighter vessel that does not run in any regular trade lane but takes cargo wherever the shippers desire.

  • Tramp Line

    An ocean carrier company operating vessels not on regular runs or schedules. They call at any port where cargo may be available.

  • Tranship

    To transfer goods from one transportation line (trade lane) to another, or from one ship to another.

  • Transhipment Hub

    A port which is employed by a carrier for transshipping its carriers from one transportation line ( trade lane ) to another.

  • Transit Cargo

    Goods onboard which upon their arrival at a certain port are not to be discharged at that port.

  • Transit Port

    A port where cargoes received are merely en route and from which they have to be transferred and dispatched to their ultimate destination by coasters, barge and so on. Also called “Transshipment Port”.

  • Transloading

    Transfer of containers from one vessel to another vessel. Synonymous with Transshipments.

  • Transmittal Letter

    List of the particulars of the shipment and a record of the documents being transmitted, together with instructions for the disposition of documents.

  • 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

    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.

  • Transshipment Port

    Place where cargo is transferred to another carrier.

  • TRC

    Terminal Receiving Charge Charge assessed by the terminal for cargo being delivered for export.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • U.S. Consular Invoice

    A document required on merchandise imported into the United States.

  • 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.
    • Uniform Customs and Practice of Documentary Credit. The “bankers Bible” onDocumentary Credit Interpretation issued by the the International Chamber ofCommerce (I.C.C.)
  • UCP500

    Revised and updated version of UCP operating from January 1, 1994.

  • UFC

    Abbreviation for “Uniform Freight Classification.”

  • Ullage

    The space not filled with liquid in a drum or tank.

  • UN

    United Nations.

    • 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.
    • United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business. The worldwide facilitation of international transactions through the simplification and harmonization of procedures and information flows.
  • Unclaimed Freight

    Freight that has not been called for or picked up by the consignee or owner.


    United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.


    UNCTAD Multi Modal Transport Convention.

  • Undercharge

    To charge less than the proper amount.

  • Underwriter

    In marine insurance, one who subscribes his name to the policy indicating his acceptance of the liability mentioned therein, in consideration for which he receives by way of a premium.

  • 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 Cost

    The cost associated with a single unit of product; it is calculated as the total cost of producing a product or service divided by the number of units in the run or lot.

  • 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.

  • Unitization
    • The consolidation of a quantity of individual items into one large shipping unit for easierhandling
    • 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.

  • USDA

    United States Department of Agriculture.

  • Usufruct

    The legal right of using and enjoying the profits of something belonging to another party.

  • UU

    Unless Used.

  • V A T, Mexico

    Valued-Added Tax on the portion of service provided by the Mexican carrier. The invoicing party is due to collect and remit this tax.

  • 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.

  • Vanning

    A term sometimes used 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.

  • Vendor

    External supplier of merchandise.

  • 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 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.

  • Vessel Sharing Agreement (VSA)

    A term agreement between two or more carriers in which a number of container positions (“slots”) equal in space are reserved on particular vessels for each of the participants. The number of slots (space) on different vessels on the same route can vary by vessel type and direction but may also be expressed as each party’s capacity use of the vessels employed jointly.

  • 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 Ton

    A unit of interior capacity of ships equal to 100 cubic feet or 2,832 cubic metres; register ton.

  • Vessel’s Manifest

    Statement of a vessel’s cargoes or containers (revenue, consignee, marks, etc.).

  • Viz.

    Namely. Used in tariffs to specify commodities.

  • Volume Rate

    Rate applicable in connection with a specified volume (weight) of freight.

  • Voyage Charter

    A charter party hiring a vessel for a particular voyage in which the shipowner provides the vessel, bunkers and crew whilst the charterer supplies the cargoes.

  • Voyage Direction

    The sector of a round trip voyage normally denoted by the direction of the sailing.

  • Voyage Number

    The numeric identification of a trip undertaken by a vessel on a fixed trade lane.

  • 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.

  • W.T.L.

    Western Truck Lines.

  • Waiver

    Document used to allow cargo carriage by different flag vessels other than original destination country vessels. Also for government cargo where vessels under certain flags cannot carry the shipments.

  • War Risk
    • Insurance coverage for loss of goods resulting from any act of war.
    • Surcharge for covering additional insurance premium incurred by a vessel entering a war zone.
  • 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 (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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Warehousing

    The storing of goods/cargo.

  • 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. Unlike a bill of lading, a waybill is not a document of title.
    • Abbreviation is WB. Unlike a bill of lading, a waybill is NOT a document of title.
    • See also Seawaybill.

    Whether Cleared Customs or Not.

  • Weight Cargo

    A cargo on which the transportation charge is assessed on the basis of weight.

  • Weights and Measures

    Measurement ton 40 cubic ft or one cubic meter.Net ton, or short ton 2,000 lbs. ( 907.19 kg )Gross ton/long ton 2,240 lbs. ( 1016 kg )Metric ton/kilo ton 2,204.6 lbs. ( 1,000 kg )Cubic meter 35.314 cubic ft.

  • Well Car

    Also known as stack car. A drop-frame Rail flat car.

  • Wharf
    • A structure built along a shore, and often into the water, at which boats can be docked and loaded or unloaded;
    • Also known as pier or quay.
  • 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.


    Whether In Berth or Not.


    Whether in Free Pratique 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.


    Whether in Port or Not.

  • With Average

    A marine insurance term meaning that shipment is protected for partial damage whenever the damage exceeds a stated percentage.

  • 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.

  • WPA

    Abbreviation for “With Particular Average.”

  • WWD

    Weather Working Days.

  • X12 ANSI

    Standard for inter-industry electronic interchange of business transactions.

  • Xeric

    Requiring a miniscule amount of moisture.

  • Yard

    A classification, storage or switching area.

  • Yield

    Revenue, not necessarily profitable, per unit of traffic.

  • York-Antwerp Rules of 1974

    Established the standard basis for adjusting general average and stated the rules for adjusting claims.

  • YTD

    Year To Date.

  • Zn

    Abbreviation for: Azimuth, Zinc.

  • Zonate

    Marked with or arranged in zones.

  • Zulu Time

    Time based on Greenwich Mean Time.