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Glossary


Act of God
A legal term referring to events beyond human control, e.g. flood or earthquake.

Air Waybill
A document between two parties providing a forwarding agreement or carrying agreement.

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.

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Bill of Lading (B/L)
The official legal document representing ownership of cargo. It is a negotiable document confirming the receipt of cargoes, and the contract for the carriage of cargoes between the shipper and the carrier.

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

Booking
Arrangement with a freight forwarding or shipping company for the acceptance and cartage of freight.

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

Break-bulk Cargo
Goods shipped loose in the vessel hold and not in a container.

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

Bunker Surcharge (BAF, BSC)
Bunker Adjustment Factor (BAF), or Bunker Surcharge (BSC) are surcharges assessed by the carrier to freight rates to reflect current cost of bunker.

Bunkers
Heavy oil used as fuel for ocean vessels.

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C & F (Cost and Freight - also known as CFR)
A term of trading in which the buyer of the goods pays an amount which covers the cost of the goods plus the cost of transporting the goods from origin to the port of discharge or final destination.

CAF (Currency Adjustment Factor)
An ancillary charge on ocean freight to compensate for exchange rate fluctuations.

CBM (CM)
Cubic metre.

CFR (Cost and Freight - also known as C & F)
A pricing term indication that the cost of the goods and freight charges are included in the quoted price.

CFS (Container Freight Station)
A carrier facility where Less Than Container load (LCL) shipments are consolidated or unloaded.

CIF (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.

CIP (Carriage and Insurance Paid To)
This term is primarily used for multimodal transport. Because it relies on the carrier's insurance, the shipper/seller is only required to purchase minimum coverage. When this particular agreement is in force, Freight Forwarders often act in effect, as carriers. The buyer's insurance is effective when the goods are turned over to the Forwarder.

COD
Collect (cash) on Delivery; Carried on Docket (pricing); Change of Destination.

Cargo Manifest
A manifest that lists only cargoes, without freight and charges.

Carrier
Any individual, company or corporation engaged in transporting cargoes.

Carriers Owned Containers (COC)
The containers used for the transportation of cargoes belonging to the property of the carriers.

CFS/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.

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
The combination of many small shipments into one container.

Consolidator
A person or firm performing a consolidation service of small lots of cargoes for shippers.

Container
A van-type body that can be relatively easily interchanged between trucks, trains and ships

Container Freight Station (CFS or C.F.S.)
Consolidation depots where parcels of cargo are grouped and loaded into containers. Alternatively, inbound cargoes in a container are devanned for deliveries to consignees as LCLs.

Container Gross Weight
Refer to "Gross Weight".

Container Number
The unique identification of a container.

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).

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

Container Terminal
A facility which allows container vessels to berth alongside for the operations of loading and unloading of containers. Shippers deliver their export containers to the Container Terminal awaiting for loading onto container vessels whilst consignees at ports take delivery of containers from the Container Terminal after they are unloaded from the container vessels.

Container Type
Containers are classified under different types, e.g., dry cargo, reefer, open top, flat-rack, open-side, etc.

Container Yard (CY or C.Y. )
A facility inside or outside the Container Terminal which accepts laden export containers from shippers or laden import containers for delivery to consignees.

CPT (Carriage Paid To)
In CPT transactions the shipper/seller has the same obligations found with CIF, with the addition that the seller has to buy cargo insurance, naming the buyer as the insured while the goods are in transit.

Cube
A measure of volume expressed in cubic feet.

Currency Adjustment Factor (CAF)
A surcharge percentage applied to freight rates to reflect currency fluctuations between U.S.dollars and other currencies.

Customs Bonded Warehouse
A public or privately owned warehouse where dutiable goods are stored pending payment of duty or removal under bond. The storage or delivery of goods are under the supervision of customs officers and if the warehouse is privately owned the keeper has to enter into a bond as indemnity in respect of the goods deposited, which may not be delivered without a release from the customs.

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

Cut-off Time
Latest possible time the cargo or container may be delivered to the vessel or designated point. See "Closing".

CY/CFS
Cargo loaded in a full container by a shipper at origin, delivered to a CFS facility at destination, and then devanned by the carrier for loose pick-up.

CY/CY
Cargo loaded by the shipper in a full container at origin and delivered to the carrier's terminal at destination for pick-up intact by consignee.

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DAP (Delivered At Place)
DAP term is used for any type of shipments. The shipper/seller pays for carriage to the named place, except for costs related to import clearance, and assumes all risks prior to the point that the goods are ready for unloading by the buyer.

DAT (Delivered At Terminal)
This term is used for any type of shipments. The shipper/seller pays for carriage to the terminal, except for costs related to import clearance, and assumes all risks up to the point that the goods are unloaded at the terminal.

DDU (Delivered 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.

DDP (Delivered 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

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.

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

Deadweight (D.W.)
The number of tons of cargoes, stores and bunker fuel a ship can carry and transport. Also see "Deadweight Tonnage".

Delivery Order
A document authorizing delivery to a nominated party of cargoes in the care of a third party. The document is issued by a carrier or a forwarder on surrender of a bill of lading and then used by the merchant to transfer title by endorsement.

Demurrage
Detention of a freight vehicle or container beyond a stipulated time.

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 (Demurrage)
Charges raised by the carrier or the forwarder for detaining container/trailer at customer premises for a period longer than that provided in the Tariff of the carrier or the forwarder.

Devanning
The removal of cargo from a container. Also known as unstuffing, unloading or stripping.

Dock
(a) The water alongside a pier or wharf. (b) Loading or unloading platform at an industrial location or carrier terminal.

Domestic
Within your own country.

Door-to-Door
Through transportation of a container and its cargoes from consignor's premises to consignee's premises.

Dry Cargo
Cargo that does not require temperature control.

Dry-Bulk Container
A container constructed to carry grain, powder and other free-flowing solids in bulk.

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Empty Depot
A container yard used for the storage of empty containers.

En route
Along the route of movement.

ETA
Estimated time of arrival of carriers.

ETD
Estimated time of departure of carriers.

Ex Works (EXW - also known as F.C.A.)
An INCOTERMS term of sale in which the buyer is responsible for taking delivery of the goods at the premises of the factory.

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

Export
Shipment of goods to another country.

Export Declaration
A government document permitting designated goods to be shipped out of the country.

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FAK (Freight All Kind)
A system whereby freight is charged per container, irrespective of the nature of the cargoes, and not according to a Tariff.

FAS (Free Alongside Ship)
An INCOTERMS term of sale in which the buyer is responsible for all charges of the transportation of the cargoes after they arrive at the side of the ship. It is not a commonly-used term of sale in international trade today.

FCA
Abbreviation for "Free Carrier". See "FOB."

FCL
Full Container Load. It is an arrangement whereby the shipper packs cargoes into a container provided by the carrier or the forwarder before delivering to the container terminal.

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.

FCL/FCL
See "CY/CY".

FCL/LCL
See "CY/CFS".

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.

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.

Free On Board (FOB)
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.

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.

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

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

Freight Forwarder
A freight forwarder combines less-than-truckload (LTL) or less-than-carload (LCL) shipments into carload or truckload lots. 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.

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

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.

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G.R.I.
General Rate Increase.

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

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House Bill of Lading (HB/L)
Bill of lading issued by a forwarder or an NVOCC operator.

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Import
To bring in goods from a foreign country.

Import Licence
A document required and issued by some national governments authorizing the importation of goods into their individual countries countries an import permit is the same as an import licence.

In Bond
A term, which indicates that an imported shipment was not cleared by Customs at the border, and is moving under a surety bond.

In Transit
In passage from one place to another.

Inbound
Inward bound. Direction of vessel or cargo going to port of discharge or final destination.

Incoterms
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.

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.

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LCL (Less than Container Load)
Cargo in quantity less than required for the application of a container load rate.

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 favourable 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.

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.

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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 for customs purposes. It is also called summary of Bills of Lading.

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.

Marks and 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.

Master Bill of lading (MB/L)
See "Ocean Bill of lading".

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Negotiable Bill of Lading
Original bill of lading endorsed by shipper that is used for negotiating with banks.

Non-negotiable Bill of Lading
Copy of original bill of lading which cannot be negotiated with banks

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Ocean Bill of Lading (Ocean B/L)
A bill of lading issued by the ocean-going carriers.

On Board
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.

Outbound
Outward bound. Direction of vessel or cargo going out from port of loading or point/place of receipt.

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P.O.D.
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.

P.O.L.
Port of Loading. The port at which cargoes or containers are loaded onto vessels.

Packing List
A document provided by the shipper detailing the packaging of the goods, including their weight and measurement, and assortment, etc.

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.

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

Port
(a) Harbour with piers or dock. (b) Left side of a ship when facing the bow. (c) Opening in a ship's side for handling freight.

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

Port of Call
A port where a vessel discharges or receives traffic.

Port of Discharge
A port where cargoes and containers are unloaded from a vessel.

Port of Entry
A port where cargoes and containers destined elsewhere are actually discharged from a vessel.

Port of Loading (POL)
A port where cargoes or containers are loaded onto a vessel.

Proof of Delivery
A document provided by the carrier providing proof that goods have been delivered. This generally includes the receiver's signature.

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Reefer
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.

Roll-On/Roll-Off (Ro/Ro)
A feature designed in a specially constructed vessel in both the loading and discharging ports.

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

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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.

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

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 (also called "Consignor")
The person for whom the owners of a ship agree to carry goods to a specified destination and at a specified price. The conditions under which the transportation is effected are stipulated in the bill of lading.

Shipper Owned Container (SOC)
The container used for cargo shipment is owned by the shipper.

Shipper's Load and Count
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.

Surcharge
An extra or additional charge.

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T E U
Twenty-Foot (20�) Equivalent Unit. Commonly describes a 20-foot container.

Terminal
An assigned area in which containers are prepared for loading into a vessel or are stacked immediately after discharge from the vessel.

TEU
Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit (20") .

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

Tonnage
Generally refers to freight handled.

Towage
The charge made for towing a vessel.

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

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 (also called "Trans-shipment 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.

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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.

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.

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

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War Risk
Insurance coverage for loss of goods resulting from any act of war.

Warehouse
A place for the reception and storage of cargoes.

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. A waybill 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.

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



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Helpful Resources

  • Act of God - A legal term referring to events beyond human control, e.g. flood or earthquake.
  • Air Waybill - A document between two parties providing a forwarding agreement or carrying agreement.
  • Arrival Notice - An advice that the carrier or forwarder sends to the consignee advising of goods...