This glossary is intended to help you find your way through the maze of terms and abbreviations used in international sea freight transport.
This may be (a) an act refusing delivery of a shipment, which is badly damaged in transit that it is worthless, (b) a severe damage to a vessel that is considered as a constructive loss and (c) giving up the proprietary rights in insured property to the underwriter in exchange for payment of such a constructive total loss.
Acceptance by the carrier of a portion of a joint rate or charge which is less than the amount which it would receive for the service in the absence of such joint rate or charge (air cargo).
Advanced Manifest Information (ACI)
Electronically transmitted shipment data/details to Canadian Customs prior to vessel loading.
Advanced Filing Rules (AFR)
Electronically transmitted shipment data/details to Japanese Customs prior to vessel loading.
Advanced Manifest System (AMS)
Electronically transmitted shipment data/details to U.S. Customs prior to vessel loading.
Acceptance of Goods
Receiving a consignment from a shipper, usually against the issue of a receipt. As from this moment on and at this place the carrier's responsibility for the consignment begins and the common carrier liability ends.
Actual Time Arrival (ATA)
A date that a shipment arrived at the Port of Arrival.
Actual Voyage Number
Code for identification purposes of the voyage of a vessel, especially the shipment route of transported goods.
Means literally according to value and is a freight rate set at a certain percentage of the declared value. As such freight and customs duties are based on shipment value.
Ad Valorem Duty
A tax imposed on merchandise based on its value.
Advance against Documents
Down payment in exchange for original shipping documents.
Same as Prepaid Freight.
Written shipment information about the status of the goods especially that the goods ordered are dispatched, shipped or delivered.
Advice of Fate
A statement given by the collecting bank to the remitting bank as to payment, acceptance, non-payment, or non-acceptance of a draft presented at the remitting bank's request. As such, the advice of fate informs the remitting bank whether or not the bill of lading was honored and paid as demanded.
Bank that handles Letters of Credit (L/C) for a foreign bank by notifying the seller that the buyer has opened a L/C in their favor. The advising bank fully informs the seller of the conditions of the Letter of Credit.
This may be (a) a contract - usually Bill of Lading’s and WayBill’s - which sets forth the obligations of both shipper and carrier concerning transportation and (b) the hiring or chartering of all or part of a vessel for the transport of goods.
Fee payable by shipowner or ship operator to the port agent.
A company (or person) which does business on behalf of and represents another company based on a contractual agreement
All Risk Insurance
Most extensive form of insurance cover, providing protection against all risks of physical loss or damage from any external cause, but usually subject to itemized exclusions. The all risk insurance policy usually contains the exclusion of special risks such as war, strikes and the perishing of goods and usually does not cover loss or damage due to delay, pre-shipment condition, inadequate packaging or loss of market.
This may be (a) a vessel's outfit, such as rigging, anchor and life boats and (b) a garment in case of distribution/transport of clothing for a single piece of clothing.
Approved Continuous Examination Program (ACEP)
This is an approved container safety examination scheme allowed under the International Convention for Safe Containers (1972) and its amendments and are addressed by the IMO Sub-Committee on the Carriage of Cargo and Container (CCC), under authority of the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC).
This is a vessel which the underwriters deem adequate to carry the insured cargo, at the agreed rate of premium. When the vessel is not approved, the risk is usually still covered but may be subject to a reasonable additional premium.
The simultaneous buying and selling (or even borrowing and lending) of foreign exchange, securities, or commodities in one market into another market in order to take advantage of price differentials.
Notice sent by a carrier or freight forwarder to notify party alerting the arrival of a shipment.
Transfer of the rights, duties, responsibilities and/or benefits of an agreement, contract, or financial instrument to a third party.
Assignment of Proceeds
Arrangement within a Letter of Credit in which some or all of the proceeds are assigned from the original beneficiary to one or more additional beneficiaries.
Any person or legal entity that is legally entitled to receive insurance payments after an insurance event, in particular a loss or damage, occurs.
Container for the transportation of vehicles.
In general average adjusters are assigned with the task of determination of the loss and expenditure over the parties interested in the goods on board of the vessel. They also decide which expenses are to be regarded as average or general average.
Clause in marine policy which stipulates the insurance cover provided in the event of partial loss.
This means (a) a letter drawn up in addition to a contract in order to lay down rights and/or obligations between the contracting parties, which, for various reasons, cannot be included in the original contract and (b) a letter of indemnity provided by a shipper to a carrier to provide either a clean transport document or replacing document for a lost transport document.
The cargo capacity spaces under the deck of a vessel (including hatchways but excluding void spaces behind cargo battens and beams) measured in cubic meters or cubic feet.
Materials, especially ballast water, carried to improve the trim and the stability of the vessel.
A bank draft is a payment by check on behalf of a payer that is guaranteed by the issuing bank against a security.
Unilateral contract by a bank to effect payment of a sum of money in the event of non-performance by the party on whose behalf the guarantee is issued.
A document issued by a bank to release the goods to the parties mentioned in the draft, usually to the importer of merchandise.
An arrangement for the chartering or hiring of a ship or boat, whereby no crew or provisions are included as part of the agreement; instead, the people who rent the vessel from the owner are responsible for taking care of such things.
Flat-bottomed cargo transport vessel designed for canals, rivers and shallow waters with or without its own propulsion and for the use to carry dry or liquid bulk cargoes or heavy loads, in particular on inland waterways.
Vertical separation of a container vessel from stem to stern. This separation is for the identification of stowage places for containers. The numbers run from stem to stern; odd numbers indicate a 20-foot position, even numbers indicate a 40-foot position.
Stowage plan for container ships or bay plan is the plan and method by which different types of container vessels are loaded with containers of specific standard sizes. The plans are used to maximize the economy of shipping and safety on board.
Place in a port where a vessel can be moored to a wharf, pier or quay. Often marked by a code or name.
Bill of Lading (B/L)
Transport document that establishes the terms of a contract between a shipper and a carrier under which freight is to be moved between specified points for a specified charge. It serves as a document of title, a contract of carriage and as evidence for receipt of goods.
Is a cancelled sailing at scheduled port of call.
Blue Anchor Line (BAL)
Blue Anchor Line is a Non Vessel Operating Common Carrier (NVOCC) and is a division of Transpac container systems Ltd., Hong Kong, China.
Blue Anchor America Line (BAAL)
Blue Anchor America Line is a Non Vessel Operating Common Carrier (NVOCC) doing business as of Kuehne + Nagel Inc., Jersey City, USA.
Shipments which has not been cleared by customs, but are permitted to transport to inland destinations before customs clearance.
An act of reserving an accommodation, for example a space reservation and is also part of the conclusion of contract of carriage.
Booking Reference Number
Number assigned to a certain booking by the carrier or its agent.
Physical discharge of unitized cargo.
Break Bulk Cargo
Conventional but uncontainerized cargo stowed in units or packages.
Person who acts as an agent or intermediary in negotiating contracts, especially contracts of carriage and insurance contracts
Uniform and loose cargo loaded directly into the vessel's holds, such as ores, coal, scrap iron, grain, rice, vegetable oil, tallow, fuel oil, fertilizers and similar commodities.
Single-deck vessel designed to carry homogeneous unpacked dry cargo such as grain, iron ore and coal.
An ocean or freight container designed for the carriage of dry cargo, which are loaded through hatchways in the roof of the container and discharged through hatchways at one end of the container.
Rings for lashing the cargo in containers.
Spaces on board a vessel to store fuel.
Bunker Adjustment Factor (BAF)
Adjustment applied by shipping lines or liner conferences to offset the effect of fluctuations in the cost of bunkers.
Bunker Charges (BUC)
Bunker Charges (compensation factor for changing fuel costs)
Buyers Consolidation (BC)
Container loaded at the Container Freight Station (CFS) with cargo from various suppliers for one consignee.
Carriage of Goods by Sea Act (e. g. United Kingdom or United States of America)
Shipment Volume in m³.
Container Freight Station (CFS)
Station or a warehouse where various goods, usually belonging to a number of different customers (e. g. LCL shipments), are received and stored for loading/unloading onto or from a container or truck.
Currency Charge (CCH)
Compensation factor for various currencies.
Currency Adjustment Factor (CAF)
A freight surcharge or adjustment factor imposed by carriers to offset foreign currency fluctuations. In some cases carrier also imposes a so called Emergency Currency Adjustment Factor (ECAF), when a charge or rate has been originally published in a currency that is experiencing sustained or rapid decline.
This can either mean (a) a demand of payment on a loan or (b) the announcement of a visit of a vessel to a port.
Physical handling of a shipment and goods.
Cargo Restriction Code
A code or shipment classification that designates the use of a certain or specific container to particular restricted cargo.
Customs document permitting the tax-free and duty-free temporary export and import of goods into certain foreign countries (for display, demonstration or similar purposes) without completing normal customs formalities. “ATA” is an acronym of the French and English words “Admission Temporaire/Temporary Admission”. Sometimes this document is referred to “Passport of Goods” or “Merchandising Passports”.
An individual or legal entity that carries the cargo, e.g. shipping line, airlines, truck company, railroad companies, etc.
Inland transport service performed by the sea-carrier under the terms and conditions of the relevant transport mean and document.
Right to retain the property as security for the payment of services, material, or money expended on that property.
Cash Against Documents (CAD)
A payment method which implies transfer of title at time pf payment and by handing over title documents for a shipment.
Cash on Delivery (COD)
Payment method which implies payment of goods at the time of physical transfer.
Certificate of Classification
Certificate, issued by a classification society, stating the class under which a vessel is registered.
Certificate of Insurance
A document issued by the insurance company or insured stating the type and amount of insurance coverage and as evidence that insurance is in effect.
Certificate of Manufacture
Document (often notarized) in which a producer of goods certifies that manufacture has been completed and that the goods are now at the disposal of the buyer.
Certificate of Origin
A Certificate of Origin Declaration of Origin (often abbreviated to C/O or CO or DOO) is a document widely used in international trade transactions which attests that the product listed therein has met certain criteria to be considered as originating in a particular country. This document is signed by the exporter, or its agent, and attested by a local Chamber of Commerce, indicating that the goods being shipped, or a major percentage of them, originated and were produced in the exporter's country.
CFR (... Named Port of Destination)
Cost and Freight (... Named Port of Destination) Incoterm.
Lease or rental agreement between the owner of a vessel and a charterer who rents use of the vessel or a part of it for the transport of goods.
Person who has signed a charter party with the owner of a vessel and thus hires or leases the same vessel or a part of the capacity thereof.
CIF (Named Port of Destination)
Cost, Insurance and Freight (... Named Port of Destination) Incoterm.
Convention Internationale Concernant le Transport des Marchandises par Chemin de Fer.
CIP (…Named Place of Destination)
Carriage and Insurance Paid to (... Named Place of Destination) Incoterm.
Organizations, whose function is to carry out surveys and to classify vessels during its construction and operation. Its main purpose is being to set and maintain standards of construction and upkeep for vessels, their engines and their safety equipment as well as containers.
Clean Bill of Lading
Receipt for goods issued by a shipping line that indicates that the goods were received in "apparent good order and condition", without damage or other irregularities
The bank that acts as agent for the seller and seller’s bank in collecting payment.
Documents (invoices, bills of lading, etc.) submitted to a buyer for the purpose of receiving payment for a shipment.
Document issued by the seller to the buyer, which gives details such as invoice number, goods, services, shipping date, delivery and payment terms, units being shipped.
Abbreviation for Combined Transport Document
Confirmed Letter of Credit
Letter of Credit, issued by a foreign or second bank, with validity confirmed by a bank of origin. In this case the seller or exporter get a payment guarantee from a second bank, the so called confirming bank.
Container filled with several shipments from different shippers for delivery to one or more consignees.
Item of equipment as defined by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) for transport purposes. It is a single rigid, sealed, reusable metal box in which merchandise is shipped by a vessel or rail. It must be of: a) a permanent character and accordingly strong enough to be suitable for repeated use; b) specially designed to facilitate the carriage of goods, by one or more modes of transport without intermediate reloading; c) fitted with devices permitting its ready handling, particularly from one mode of transport to another; d) so designed as to be easy to fill and empty; e) having an internal volume of 1 m³ or more. The term container includes neither vehicles nor conventional packing.
Container Freight Station (CFS)
A facility for carriers for the (a) receiving of LCL cargo to be loaded into containers (export shipments) and (b) unloading of LCL containers (import shipments) by the carrier.
Identification number of a container consisting of prefix and serial number and check digit (e.g. KNLU 123456-7).
Container Yard (CY)
Facility at which containers are received from or delivered to the merchant by or on behalf of the carrier.
The contractual carrier (called NVO, Non Vessel Operator or NVOCC, Non Vessel Operating Common Carrier) is a party which contracts carriage of goods for the account of the Merchants and fulfills its commitment by using the services of a carrier (sometimes referred to as the "actual" carrier).
Bank that, in its own country, handles the business of a foreign bank, especially for a Letter of Credit.
CFR (... Named Port of Destination)
Cost and Freight (... Named Port of Destination) Incoterm
CIF (... Named Port of Destination)
Cost, Insurance and Freight (…Named Place of Destination) Incoterm
CPT (…Named Port of Destination)
Incoterm for "Carriage Paid to (... Named Place of Destination)" Incoterm
CIP (... Named Place of Destination)
Carriage and Insurance Paid to (... Named Place of Destination) Incoterm.
Currency Adjustment Factor (CAF)
A surcharge or adjustment factor imposed by shipping lines or liner conferences on freight rates to offset foreign currency fluctuations.
Customs-Trade Partnership against Terrorism (C-TPAT)
C-TPAT is a voluntary public-private sector partnership program which recognizes that U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) can provide the highest level of cargo security only through close cooperation with the principle stakeholders of the international supply chain such as importers, carriers, consolidators, licensed customs brokers, and manufacturers.
Dangerous Goods (DG)
Dangerous good (also known as hazardous material or hazmat) is any substance or material that is capable of posing an unreasonable risk to health, safety, and property when transported in commerce.
Dangerous Goods Declaration
Document prepared by a consignor or shipper in accordance with applicable dangerous good conventions or regulations to certify that the dangerous goods being transported have been packaged, labeled, and declared in accordance with the standard international shipping regulations.
DDP (…Named Place of Destination)
Delivered Duty Paid (... named place of destination)" Incoterm.
DDU (…Named Place of Destination Unpaid)
"Delivered Duty Unpaid (... named place of destination)" Incoterm.
Declared Value for Carriage
Value of the goods declared to the carrier by the shipper for the purpose of determining charges or of establishing the limit of the carrier's liability for loss, damage or delay.
Separating a consolidated shipment, such as Less Container Load (LCL) shipments, into its original constituent shipments for delivery to their respective consignees.
Demurrage means either (a) the detention of a ship by the shipper beyond time permitted, the latter usually defined as grace period, for loading and unloading or (b) surcharges a shipper pays for detaining a ship beyond time permitted for loading and unloading. Demurrage charges apply for cargo only.
Surcharges demanded by a carrier against the shipper or consignee for holding a container or trailer beyond an agreed period. Detention apply for equipment only.
Is the unloading of cargo from a container.
See Letter of Credit.
The total and maximum carrying capacity of a vessel, including equipment, bunkers, provisions, water, stores and spare parts expressed in tons.
Delivery order means a document either (a) from the consignee, shipper or owner of a vessel ordering a terminal operator or carrier to deliver freight to another party or (b) from carrier authorizing the release of specified cargo identified thereon and manifested under a single Bill of Lading.
Document evidencing the delivery of shipment to a consignee.
The time between the receipt of an order until the delivery of the goods.
Charge made by terminal operators for delivery of a container into depot stock. The drop-off charge may be a combination of actual handling and storage charges with surcharges.
Dry Bulk Container
A dry-bulk container is a shipping container transporting raw materials (such as grain, powder or sand) in large, unpackaged parcels.
Dry Cargo Container
Shipping container which is designed for the carriage of goods other than liquids.
Duty Free Zone
Area where goods or cargo can be stored without paying import customs duties awaiting further transport or manufacturing.
Double Blind Shipment
A double blind shipment is when the shipper is unaware of where a shipment will be delivered to and the consignee is unaware of where the shipment is coming from. In this case the identity of the shipper and consignee is hidden from each other.
Drayage is the haulage of goods or containers on a short distance to, from or within a port.
Drop is the placing of an unloaded or full container at a facility for loading or unloading.
A drop - or also bobtail - fee is charged for the drop.
Abbreviation for Economic Operator Registration and Identification Number.
Abbreviation for Europe Combined Terminals (Rotterdam).
Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)
EDI is the transfer of structured data, by agreed message standards, from one computer system to another without human intervention, as such purely by electronic means.
Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce and Transport (EDIFACT)
ISO application level syntax rules for the structuring of user data and of the associated service data in the interchange of messages in an open environment.
Emergency Bunker Surcharge (EBS)
EBS is a last minute or emergency fee that occurs when the actual fuel prices are higher than originally anticipated by the carriers.
Transfer of the right to obtain delivery of the goods of the carrier by means of the consignee's signature on the reverse side of a Bill of Lading.
Entry Summery Declaration (ENS)
The entry summary declaration contains advance cargo information about consignments entering the European Union (EU). It must be lodged at the first customs office of entry to the EU by the carrier of the goods (by the carrier of the goods, although in some cases it can be done by the importer-consignee, or a representative of the carrier or importer) - even if the goods are not going to be imported in the EU. The deadline for lodging the ENS depends on the mode of transport carrying the goods:
- Container maritime cargo: at least 24 hours before loading commences in the foreign port
- Bulk maritime cargo: at least 4 hours before arrival
- Short sea shipping: at least 2 hours before arrival
The Entry Summary Declaration requires information included in documents originating with the exporter (bill of lading, commercial invoices, etc).
Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA)
Expected date and time of arrival of a vessel in a port.
Estimated Time of Departure (ETD)
Expected date and time of departure of a vessel from a port.
Export Control Classification Number (ECCN)
An Export Control Classification Number (ECCN) is a five-character alpha-numeric designations used on the Commerce Control List (CCL) to identify dual-use items for U.S. export control purposes.
An export declaration is a document submitted at the time of export at the export port.
Express Bill of Lading
An express bill of lading is not a bill of lading, rather than a variation of a Sea Waybill (SWB). The carrier is obliged to deliver the goods or shipment even if no bill of lading is issued.
An export license grants someone the right to conduct an export transaction.
EXW (... Named Place)
Ex Works (…Named Place) Incoterm
Abbreviation for Facilitation Committee of the IMO
FC & S
Free of Capture & Seizure. Clause excluding war risks from the Marine Policy. War risks can be covered by issuing a separate War Policy with an additional premium being charged.
Full Interests Admitted (FIA)
FIA means the agreement in a policy of marine insurance that the named insured's ownership or right to collect the proceeds of the insurance is agreed to at the inception of risk without further proof of an insurable interest at time of loss.
Free In and Out (FIO)
FIO means that the shipper or consignee must load (In) the cargo and put it in the ship's hold, as well as discharge it (Out) from the hold, free of risk, responsibility and cost to the carrier.
Free Out (FO)
Free Out (FO) means that the consignee is responsible for the cost of unloading cargo from the vessel at the port of destination.
Free In Out Stowed (FIOS):
It is the freight that includes the transport and the expenses that originates the stowage on board: what means that the user, in addition to embarking the load and putting it in the warehouse of the ship and withdrawing it from the warehouse and unloading it, must stow it and reject it in the warehouse of the vessel, free of risk, responsibility and cost to the carrier.
Free In Out Stowed and Trimmed (FIOST)
It is the freight equal to the FIOS but adding the expenses for the movement of merchandise in the warehouse in order to achieve the necessary balance for transportation.
Free In / Liner Out (FILO)
It is possible to assign the user only in cost of boarding or boarding / stowing or boarding / stowing / securing (F.I.L.O. or Free In / Linero out).
Abbreviation for Free of Damage Absolutely.
FAS (…Named Port)
Free Alongside Ship (…Named Port) Incoterm.
FCA (…Named Port)
Free Carrier (…Named Port) Incoterm.
Federal Maritime Commission (FMC)
Abbreviation for Federal Maritime Commission (USA).
International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA)
Representing body of the freight forwarding industry by many other governmental organizations, governmental authorities, private international organizations in the field of transport such as the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the International Union of Railways (UIC), the International Road Transport Union (IRU), the World Customs Organization (WCO), the World Trade Organization (WTO), etc.
FIATA Model Rules
Model rules created and maintained by FIATA for freight forwarding services.
FOB (…Named Port / Vessel)
Free on Board (…Named Port / Vessel).
Forty-foot Equivalent Unit (FEU)
Unit of measurement equivalent to one forty-feet shipping container.
Foul Bill of Lading
Receipt for goods issued by a carrier with an indication that the goods were damaged when received.
Free Trade Zone (FTZ)
Area (or warehouse) where goods can be stored or manipulated without payment of taxes and duties which will only become due when cargo officially enters the country of consumption.
Freight All Kinds (FAK)
Tariff structure which is applied irrespective of the commodity.
Freight which is payable to the carrier when the merchandise arrives at the port of discharge named in the Bill of Lading.
Freight and charges to be paid in advance.
Full Container Load
A FCL container is one person's shipment that takes up a full container. The opposite is Less Container Load (LCL).
General Average (G/A)
Sacrifices and expenditure reasonably made and/or incurred, in extraordinary circumstances, for the purpose of saving a vessel and its cargo from a common peril are general average.
General Average Act (York-Antwerp Rules)
There is a general average act when, and only when any extraordinary sacrifice or 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. Loss or damage sustained by the ship or cargo through delay, whether on the voyage or subsequently, such as demurrage, and any indirect loss whatsoever, such as loss of market, shall not be admitted as general average.
General Average Bond
Document required of cargo owners, after a G/A loss, obtaining their agreement to pay any contribution that may become due.
General Average Contribution
In case of a General Average, losses or expenditures are contributed to by all the interests at risk on the basis of their respective values.
General Average Security
Documents the cargo owner presents to the General Average Adjuster to replace the vessel owner's maritime lien on cargo for its share of General Average and to obtain release of the goods by the carrier. General Average Security can consists of a General Average Bond and either a cash deposit or an underwriter's guarantee.
General Average Statement
A document which shows in detail all general average costs and expenses and the contribution of each interest in the General Average in proportion to its value.
Cargo, consisting of goods, unpacked or packed, for example in cartons, crates, bags or bales, often palletized.
General Rate Increase (GRI)
A GRI is a general rate increase that carriers can apply to their sea freight rates.
International convention for the unification of certain rules, relating to Bills of Lading (1924). These Rules include the description of responsibilities of commercial carriers of goods by sea (Formally: “International Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules of Law relating to Bills of Lading, and Protocol of Signature).”
Set of international of rules, published in 1968, amending the Hague Rules.
United Nations Convention on the Carriage of Goods by Sea (The Hamburg Rules) of 1978 adopted in 1992.
High Cube Container (HC)
A HC container is a one feet (30,48 cm) taller than a standard container and can fit more cargo.
Harbor Maintenance Fee (HMF)
The Harbor Maintenance Fee (HMF) is a fee imposed by U.S. Customs and Order Protection (CBP) for U.S. imports and is calculated at 0.125% of the cargo value, as declared on the commercial invoice.
Watertight means of closing the hatchway of a vessel.
Opening in the deck of a vessel through which cargo is loaded into, or discharged from the hold and which is closed by means of a hatch cover.
Hazardous Materials (Hazmat)
Dangerous good (also known as hazardous material or hazmat) is any substance or material that is capable of posing an unreasonable risk to health, safety, and property when transported in commerce.
Vessels specially designed and equipped for the carriage of heavy cargo.
Port of registration of a vessel.
Institute Cargo Clause (ICC)
ICC are clauses issued by the International Underwriting Association of London. Theses clauses may be embedded in a marine insurance policy which covers cargo in transit. There are three basic sets of these clauses (A, B and C). The "A" clauses cover all risks, subject to itemized exclusions. The "B" and "C" clauses cover specified risks, subject to itemized exclusions.
International Convention for Safe Containers (CSC)
The International Convention for Safe Containers (CSC) determines common international safety requirements for the structural design and ongoing inspection and maintenance of cargo containers. It has two objectives:
- To maintain a high level of safety of human life in the transport and handling of containers.
- To facilitate the international transport of containers by providing uniform international safety regulations.
International Monetary Fund
International Maritime Organization (IMO)
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations that is responsible for measures to improve the safety and security of international shipping and to prevent marine pollution from ships. The IMO sets standards for the safety and security of international shipping. It oversees every aspect of worldwide shipping regulations, including legal issues and shipping efficiency.
Document required and issued by some national governments authorizing the import of goods.
Party responsible for the import of goods. For customs purposes it is the party that makes, or on whose behalf a third party makes, an import declaration.
Importer Security Filing (ISF / 10+2)
The ISF is required by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) in case of importing goods into the U.S. It requires containerized cargo information, for security purposes, to be transmitted to the agency at least 24 hours before goods are loaded onto an ocean vessel headed to the U.S. (i.e. mother vessel, not feeder vessel) for shipment into the U.S. In particular, importers to provide 10 data elements to CBP, as well as 2 more data documents (container status messages and the vessel's stow plan) from the carrier. For that reason this filing is called more commonly 10+2.
In 1936, the International Chamber of Commerce first published a set of international rules for the interpretation of trade terms. These rules became known as Incoterms. Amendments and additions have occurred in 1953, 1967, 1976, 1980, 1990, 2000, 2010 and 2020.
Inherent vice is a defect or inherent characteristic in the nature of the product. It is a liability exclusion end excluded from insurance coverage.
Inland Clearance Depot (ICD)
Inland location where cargo, particularly containerized, may be cleared by customs.
Inland Waterways Bill of Lading
Transport document for inland waterway transportation made out to a named person, to order or to bearer, signed by the carrier and handed to the sender after receipt of the goods.
Thermal container without cooling and/or heating units.
International Association of Classification Societies (IACS)
IACS is a not for profit membership organisation of classification societies that establish minimum technical standards and requirements that address maritime safety and environmental protection and ensures their consistent application. It carries out this responsibility through its panels, expert groups and project teams and provides a Quality System Certification Scheme (QSCS) that its members comply with, as an assurance of professional integrity and maintenance of high professional standards. IACS is recognized as the principal technical advisor of IMO.
International Chamber of Shipping (ICS)
The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) is the principal international trade association for the shipping industry, representing shipowners and operators in all sectors and trades. ICS membership comprises national shipowners' associations in Asia, Europe and the Americas whose member shipping companies operate over 80% of the world's merchant tonnage. Its objective is the promotion of the interests of its members, primarily in the technical and legal fields of shipping operations.
International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG Code)
Code, representing the classification of dangerous goods as defined by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in compliance with international legal requirements.
International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
International Standards Organization or International Organization for Standardization is the worldwide federation of national standards member bodies. It consists of technical committees made up of governmental and non-governmental international organizations.
International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS Code)
The International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code is an amendment to the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention (1974/1988) on Maritime security including minimum security arrangements for ships, ports and government agencies. Having come into force in 2004, it prescribes responsibilities to governments, shipping companies, shipboard personnel, and port/facility personnel to "detect security threats and take preventive measures against security incidents affecting ships or port facilities used in international trade.
Irrevocable Letter of Credit
An irrevocable letter of credit is a financial instrument used by banks to guarantee a buyer's obligations to a seller. It is irrevocable because the letter of credit cannot be modified unless all parties agree to the modifications.
Term for throwing the cargo or ship's property overboard to save other property from a common danger.
Jurisdiction is the practical authority granted to a legal body to administer justice, as defined by the kind of case, and the location of the issue (its situs). In federations like the United States, areas of jurisdiction apply to local, state, and federal levels.
This is the long piece of wood or metal along the bottom of a boat that forms part of its structure and helps to keep the boat balanced in the water.
Unit of measurement for the speed (of a vessel) equal to a nautical mile (= 1852 meters) per hour.
Last Free Day
The last free day is the last day of free storage time.
Less than Container Load (LCL)
Less-than-container load (LCL) is a shipment that is not large enough to fill a standard cargo container. As such it is also used as a general reference for identifying cargo in any quantity intended for carriage in a container, where the carrier is responsible for packing and/or unpacking the container. For operational purposes a LCL container is considered a container in which multiple consignments or parts thereof are shipped.
Letter of Credit (L/C)
A letter of credit provides an irrevocable guarantee to the exporter that, provided the goods and/or services are delivered to the importer according to contractual terms and with the compliant documents, it will be paid by the bank that issued that letter of credit (the bank of the importer). It also provides assurances to the importer that the goods and/or services ordered will be received, in line with the compliant documentation and under any contractual terms set out in the purchase agreement. The obligation of the issuing bank to pay the beneficiary of the letter of credit, most generally the exporter, therefore depends on the exporter delivering the merchandise as detailed in the letter of credit, but also in accordance with all the other requirements specified in the documented credit.
Letter of Indemnity (LOI)
A Letter of Indemnity (LOI) is a document provided by the shipper stating that the shipper will take responsibility for any harm or loss caused by a breach of contract.
Open or covered barge towed by a tugboat and used mainly in harbors and inland waterways.
Group of two or more shipping lines, which provides international liner services for the carriage of cargo on a particular trade route and which has an agreement or arrangement to operate under uniform or common freight rates and any other agreed conditions (e.g. FEFC = Far Eastern Freight Conference).
Liner in Free out (LIFO)
A freight rate qualification that indicates that the offered port-to-port rate includes charges for loading of cargo on the vessel at the port of origin but not for its offloading at the port of destination.
Connection by vessels between ports within a particular trade.
Liner Shipping Company
Company transporting cargo in a regular service by seagoing vessels.
Liner terms are the conditions for carriage of goods by sea.
Lloyd's Register of Shipping (LR)
LR is a technical and business services organization and a maritime classification society, wholly owned by the Lloyd’s Register Foundation, a UK charity dedicated to research and education in science and engineering.
Longitude is a geographic coordinate that specifies the east-west position of a point on the earth's surface, or the surface of a celestial body.
Agreed sum of money, which is paid in full settlement at one time. This term is often used in connection with charter parties.
Motor Vessel (M.V.)
Abbreviation for Motor Vessel.
A German brand name. It supplies industrial and heavy-duty trailers, cargo/roll trailers and container chassis for internal transport applications in ports, industry and distribution.
A manifest, customs manifest or cargo document is a document listing the cargo, passengers, and crew of a ship for the use of customs and other officials.
Marine Insurance Policy
Insurance policy protecting the insured against loss or damage to goods which occurred during transportation.
Declaration signed by a chief officer of a vessel in the name of a shipping document acknowledging the receipt of a certain consignment on board of that vessel. This document in not a document of title, but may contain conditions or references in regards to the goods. It is often used as an interim document until the bill of lading is issued.
Merchandise Processing Fee (MPF)
The MPF is a U.S. Customs charge, applies for formal entries and is an ad valorem fee of 0.3464 percent. The fee is based on the value of the merchandise being imported, not including duty, freight, and insurance charges. The maximum amount of the fee shall not exceed $508.70 and shall not be less than $26.22 assessed for most imports into the United States.
Merchant means any trader or persons (e.g. shipper, consignee), including anyone acting on their behalf, which own or are entitled to possess the goods.
Inland transport of cargo from or to a port arranged by the merchant.
Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)
This is a safety data sheet according to COMMISSION REGULATION (EU) 2015/830 of 28 May 2015 amending Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH). It is required for all (potential) dangerous goods and shipments.
Minimum Quantity Commitment (MQC)
MQC is a commitment between the shipper and the carrier about a certain volume of containers to be shipped during a specific time period.
Vessel designed for the carriage of different types of cargo: general, bulk, heavy and/or containerized cargo.
Negotiated Rate Arrangement (NRA)
A Negotiated Rate Arrangement (NRA) is a document regulated by the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC). NRAs are written and binding arrangements between a shipper and a licensed NVOCC to provide specific transportation service for a stated cargo quantity, from origin to destination, on and after a stated date or within a defined time frame. If an NVOCC uses NRAs and meets the required conditions, it need not publish that rate in the tariff it makes available to the public.
Means the measure of the useful capacity of a ship determined in accordance with the provisions of the International Convention on Tonnage Measurement of Ships (1969).
Weight of the goods, excluding all packing, especially without the container.
Non Vessel Operating Common Carrier (NVOCC)
Party that undertakes to carry goods and issues in its own name a Bill of Lading or Sea Waybill for such carriage, without having own means of transport.
Notice of Abandonment
Formal notice of relinquishment or unconditional surrender of all rights to a property, cargo, or ship by its insured owner to the insurer in the event of a constructive total loss. By this notice the insured party declares its intention to treat the loss as actual total loss.
Address of the party other than the consignee to be advised of the arrival of the goods as stated on a Bill of Lading or Sea Waybill.
Party to be notified of arrival of goods.
Ocean Bill of Lading
Bill of Lading (B/L) issued by the actual shipping line for the carriage of goods by sea.
Oil Bulk Ore Vessel (OBO)
Vessel, designed for the carriage of either dry or liquid bulk cargo.
On Board Bill of Lading
Bill of Lading confirming the receipt of merchandise and the fact that it was loaded on board the vessel.
On Deck Bill of Lading
Bill of Lading which states that the cargo has been stowed on deck.
Carriage of goods (containers) by any mode of transport to the place of delivery after discharge from the vessel (main means of transport) at the port (place) of discharge.
Open top containers have an open top covered by a tarpaulin instead of a solid roof. This enables oversized cargo such as timber and scrap metal to be loaded from the top. Open top containers normally have end doors to give flexibility to loading and discharging operations.
Request to deliver specified quantities of goods or to render specific services
Order Bill of Lading
Negotiable Bill of Lading made out to the order of a named party
Maximum measurements and dimensions of a vessel capable of passing the Panama Canal.
Peak Season Surcharge (PSS)
PSS is a fluctuating surcharge that carriers may apply during times of high demand.
Perils of the Sea
Causes of loss resulting from fortuitous accidents, unusual actions or casualties, peculiar to transportation on a navigable water, such as stranding, sinking, collision of the vessel, striking a submerged object or encountering heavy weather or other unusual forces of nature.
Freight or products subject to decay or deterioration (such as fruits, fish, meat, flowers).
Per Diem Charge
Latin term for “per day”. In shipping this term us used for detention of a container for each day after the free day allowance in a port.
Place of Delivery
Location or place where a consignment (shipment) is delivered to the consignee.
Place of Receipt
Location or place where a consignment (shipment) is received by the carrier from the shipper.
Port means either (a) a harbor with facilities for vessels to moor and load or discharge or (b) the left side of a vessel when facing towards the front or bow.
Port of Discharge
Port where the cargo is discharged from the sea going vessel.
Port of Loading
Port where the cargo is loaded on board the sea going vessel.
Record of a vessel's actual arrival and departure time, used tugs, draft, deadweight, quantity of discharged and loaded goods/containers and any other important particulars.
Power of Attorney (POA)
A (POA) or letter of attorney is a written authorization to represent or act on another's behalf in private affairs, business, or some other legal matters.
Carriage of goods (containers) by any mode of transport from the place of receipt to the port of loading on a vessel.
Carrier by which the goods are moved prior to the main transport.
Pre-Shipment Inspection (PSI)
PSI is undertaken as part of supply chain management and an important quality control method for checking the quality of goods bought from overseas suppliers. The PSI is usually performed by independent surveyors prior loading the container.
Freight paid by the shipper to the carrier when merchandise is accepted for shipment. Not refundable even if the merchandise does not arrive at the intended destination.
Person or entity for whom another acts as agent.
Protection and Indemnity Club (P & I Club)
A P&I club is a mutual insurance association that provides risk pooling, information and representation for its members. It provides cover for open-ended risks that traditional insurers are reluctant to insure.
That part of a wharf which is intended for the mooring of vessels.
Free offer to sell goods at a stated price and under specified conditions.
Quotation Expiration Date
Date from which a quotation price is no longer valid.
Received for Shipment Bill of Lading
Bill of Lading issued by the carrier evidencing actual receipt of merchandise for shipment. Also referred to as a Dock Receipt.
Carrier receiving a consignment or shipment on behalf of a carrier, agent or shipper for onward carriage.
Red Clause Letter of Credit
Also known as anticipatory credits. A letter of credit which contains a clause (traditionally printed in red) authorizing the nominated bank to make advances to the seller before shipment/presentation of documents. It is generally of value to middlemen and dealers in areas of commerce that require a form of pre-financing and where the buyer would be willing to make special concessions of this nature.
Cargo requiring temperature control.
Thermal container with refrigerating appliances (mechanical compressor unit, absorption unit, etc.) to control the temperature of cargo.
Also referred as gross register tonnage (GRT). This is measurement for the capacity of a vessel as its basis for volume whereby one register ton equals 100 cubic feet (2.83 cubic meters).
Bank that sends the draft to the overseas bank for collection.
Revocable Letter of Credit
Letter of Credit that can be cancelled or altered by the drawee (buyer) after it has been issued by the drawee's bank.
Said to Contain (STC)
Clauses in transport documents which exclude liability of the carrier for the consistency of the description of the goods.
Salvage means either (a) saving or rescue of a vessel and cargo from a vessel and (b) compensation paid for the rescue of a vessel, its cargo and passengers
Sea Waybill (SWB)
Transport document which is not a document of title or negotiable document. The SWB acts as a receipt for on board loading of the goods. For the receipt of the goods, the SWB is not required and can increase the speed of the delivery process at port of discharge
Distance between the various commodities of dangerous and/or bulk cargoes required by the rules of IMDG.
Person by whom, in whose name or on whose behalf transports the goods to the consignee.
Shipper's Load and Count (SLC)
Clause or notation indicating that the contents of a container were loaded and counted by the shipper and not checked or verified by the carrier.
Documents required for the carriage of goods. These documents are also referred as transport documents.
Information and instructions, from either the seller/shipper or the buyer/consignee to a freight forwarder, carrier or their agents, or other provider of a service, providing detailed instructions pertaining to the shipment (shipper, consignee, notify party, commodity, pieces etc.).
Storage space on a container vessel.
Storage space on a container vessel.
Special Drawing Rights (SDR)
SDR are account units from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), in shipping used to express the amount of the limitations of a carrier's liability per kg.
Identifiable amount of containers stowed in an orderly way in one specified place on an terminal, container freight station, container yard or depot.
To pile boxes, bags, containers, etc. on top of each other.
Total weight of the containers and cargo in a certain row.
Right side of a vessel when facing towards the front or forward end.
Foremost part of a vessel.
Aftermost part of a vessel.
Company which executes the loading, stowing and discharging of vessels.
Straight Bill of Lading
Non-negotiable Bill of Lading in which the goods are consigned directly to a named consignee.
Additional charge added to the usual or customary freight.
Is an unscheduled vessel sailing arranged by carrier(s) to reduce backlog of containers at specific port(s).
Person who records the number of cargo items together with the condition thereof at the time it is loaded into or discharged from a vessel or container.
Tank, surrounded by a framework with the overall dimensions of a container for the transport of liquids, gasses and powders as bulk cargo.
Vessel designed for the carriage of liquids, gasses and powders in bulk cargo.
Weight of a container or packing materials without the weight of the goods it contains.
Tare Weight of Container
Weight of an empty container including all fittings and appliances associated with that particular type of container in its normal operating condition.
Schedule of rates, charges and related transport conditions.
Through Bill of Lading
Single Bill of Lading that provides transshipment by using two or more of transportation
Time charter is the hiring of a vessel for a specific period of time. The owner still manages the vessel but the charterer selects the ports and directs the vessel. The charterer pays for all fuel the vessel consumes, port charges, commissions, and a daily or monthly hire to the owner of the vessel.
Often referred as a trade route, is a broad definition of a geographical are of commercial and shipping activity.
Vessel not operating under a regular schedule.
Transferable Letter of Credit
Vessel not operating under a regular schedule.Letter of Credit that allows all or a portion of the proceeds to be transferred from the original beneficiary to one or more additional beneficiaries.
The transfer from one vessel or conveyance to another for further transit.
Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit (TEU)
A TEU is a measurement of shipment volume. It is based on the volume of a 20-foot-long (6.1 m) intermodal container, a standard-sized metal box which can be easily transferred between different modes of transportation, such as ships, trains and trucks.
An ultimate consignee is the final recipient of a shipment.
Uniform Customs and Practice for Documentary Credits (UCP)
The Uniform Customs and Practice for Documentary Credits (UCP) is a set of rules on the issuance and use of letters of credit. These rules are governed by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).
Value Added Tax Number (VAT Number)
A VAT number is a tax identification number and is used in the European Union (EU) to identify a company or entity which is liable for VAT. It is mandatory required to import into the EU.
Surcharge for the carriage of cargo having a value in excess of a specified amount per kilogram.
These are services offered by a company as an extension of its core services.
Value-Added Tax (VAT)
VAT is a consumption tax placed on a product whenever value is added at each stage of the supply chain, from production to the point of sale.
Valued Bill of Lading
Bill of Lading issued by the carrier which indicates the amount which the shipper has declared as the value of the merchandise. The carrier will be liable for this amount in the event it is found responsible for loss or damage to the merchandise.
Percentage of laden containers shipped in relation to the nominal vessel carrying capacity, e.g. nominal capacity 10,000 TEU, 90% utilization = 9,000 TEU shipped.
Journey by sea from one port or country to another or, in case of a round trip, to the same port.
A voyage charter is the hiring of a vessel and crew for a voyage between a load port and a discharge port.
Reference number assigned by the carrier or its agent to the voyage of the vessel.
Place for berthing vessels to facilitate loading and discharging of cargo.
York / Antwerp Rules
International rules governing General Average.