Shipping Terms

A.T
It stands for American Terms (Marine Insurance). A term used to differentiate between the conditions of American Policies with other nations, primarily England..

ABI
It stands for Automated Brokerage Interface. A system available to the US Customs Brokers with the capabilities of computer and customs certification to transmit and exchange the customs entries and other related information, facilitating prompt release of imported cargo.

Admiralty Court
It is a court having jurisdiction over maritime questions related to ocean transport, which includes contracts, charters, collisions, and also cargo damages.

Advance Against Documents
It is the loan made on the security of documents covering the shipment.

Advisory Capacity
It is a term, which indicates that the shipper’s agent, or representative is not empowered to make any definite decisions or adjustments without the approval of the group or the individual being represented.

Air Cargo Agent
It is a type of freight forwarder specialized in air cargo and acts for airlines that pays a fee. This person is registered with the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Air Freight Forwarder
They provide pickup and delivery service under their own tariff, consolidates air shipments into larger units, prepares shipping documentation, and also tenders shipments to the airlines. Since they do not usually operate their own aircraft, they are also called “indirect air carriers.” The airlines consider these forwarder as shipper because they tender the shipment.

Air Waybill
It is a shipping document used for the transportation of airfreight that includes conditions, limitations of liability, shipping instructions, description of commodity, and the applicable transportation charges. It is usually similar to a non-negotiable bill of lading and is used for similar purposes.

All Risk Insurance
It is a clause in marine insurance policies which covers loss and damage from external causes, like fire, collision, pilferage, etc. excluding innate flaws in the goods, like decay, germination and faulty packaging, improper packing/ loading or loss of market, war, strikes, riots and civil commotions.[also check Marine Insurance]

All-Risk Clause
It is an insurance provision providing additional coverage to an Open Cargo Policy. It covers theft, pilferage, non-delivery, fresh water damage, breakage, and leakage. It does not cover inherent vice, loss of market, and losses caused by delay.

All Water
It means that the container is put directly on board in Port of Origin . eg Vancouver BC to Europe: The vessel goes through a canal ( Panama ) so the cargo goes port to port without any kind of transshipping.

Alongside
It is a term used for the side of a ship. The goods to be delivered “alongside” are placed on the dock or barge within the reach of the transport ship’s tackle so that they can be loaded aboard the ship.

B/B[check Break Bulk Cargo]
Belly Cargo
It is a term for freight accommodation below the main deck.

Berth
It is a term for the place beside a pier, quay or wharf where a vessel is loaded or discharged.

Berth Liner Service
It is a regular scheduled steamship line having regular published schedules to and fro the defined trade areas.

Berth or LinerTerms
It is the condition of carriage followed by a shipping company. It also states that the costs for loading and unloading are borne by the carrier subject to the custom of the port concerned.

Bill of Lading
A contract document agreement between the shipper and the customer that acts as a receipt for the goods delivered to the carrier for shipment; a definition or description of the goods; and evidence of title to the relative goods.

Break Bulk Cargo
It is a term for cargo being carried in the hold of a vessel rather than in a container.

Cabotage
It is the transportation of goods or persons between ports within the same country.

Cargo
It is a term for merchandise/ commodities/ freight carried by means of transportation.

Cargo Receipt
It is a receipt of cargo issued by a consolidator for shipment. It is used in ocean freight.

Carnet
It is a customs document, which permits the holder to carry or send merchandise into a certain foreign countries temporarily for display, demonstration, or any other related purpose without paying the duties or posting bonds.

Carrier,Common
It is public or privately owned firm or corporation which transports goods of others over land, sea or air for a predefined freight rate.

CFS [check Container Freight Station]

Chargeable Kilo
A term used for rate of goods where the volume exceeds six cubic metres to the tonne.

Charter
It is a contract to hire or lease transportation.

Charter Party
It is a contract between the owner of a vessel and a “charterer” who rents use of the vessel or a part of its freight space. It usually includes the freight rates and the ports that is involved in the transportation.

Combi
It is an aircraft having main deck divided into two sections, one fitted to seats and the other used for cargo.
Consignee
A term for an individual or firm to whom the goods are shipped under a bill of lading.
Container Freight
Station (CFS)
It is the facility in ocean carrier where the goods are received by carrier for loading into containers or unloading from it and the carrier may also assemble, hold, or store its containers or trailers in the place.
D.F.
[check Dead Freight]
DWT
[check Deadweight]
DDP
[check Delivered Duty Paid]
DDU
[check Delivered Duty Unpaid]
Dead Freight
It is a freight charge, which is paid by the charterer of a vessel for the contracted space only and not for the partial unoccupied space.
Deadweight (DWT)
It is the total weight of cargo, stores and bunkers that a vessel can lift when loaded to maximum draught as applicable under the circumstances. It is expressed in tons.
Deck Cargo
It is a cargo carried on deck rather than within the enclosed cargo spaces of a vessel.
Deferred Payment
Credit
It is similar to the letter of credit, providing for payment after presentation of shipping documents by exporter.
Delivered Duty
Paid (DDP)
It is an Incoterm that means that the seller pays for all transportation costs and bears all the risks until the goods are delivered and pays the duty. It is also known as “free domicile.”
Delivered Duty
Unpaid (DDU)
It is an Incoterm that means that the sellers pays for all transportation costs and bears all the risks until the goods are delivered, but does not pay for the duty.
Demurrage
It is a penalty for exceeding the given free time for loading and unloading at a pier or freight terminal.
DEQ
It stands for ‘delivered ex quay’/ duty paid. It is an incoterm where the title and risk passes to the buyer if the goods are delivered on board the ship at the destination point by the seller who on his part delivers the goods on dock at the destination point cleared for import. It is used for sea or inland waterway transportation.
Dock Receipt
It is a receipt issued by an ocean carrier for a shipment received or delivered at a pier or dock.
FAS
(free alongside ship)
It is an Incoterm, which means that the seller pays for the transportation of the goods to the port of shipment. The loading costs, freight, insurance, unloading-costs and transportation from the port of destination to the factory is paid by the buyer. The passing of the risk occurs when the goods have been delivered to the quay at the port of shipment.
FEU
Forty-foot equivalent unit. It is a term used to specify container vessel or terminal capacity. Two 20-foot containers is equal to one FEU.
FOB (free on board)
It means that the seller is responsible for inland freight and all other costs until the cargo is loaded on the vessel/ aircraft. The buyer is responsible for ocean/ airfreight and marine/ air insurance.
Free Alongside
A term for the quoted price which includes the cost of delivering the goods alongside a designated vessel.
Free In (F.I.)
It is a pricing term in which the charterer of a vessel is responsible for the cost of loading goods onto the vessel.
Free In and
Out (F.I.O.)
It is a pricing term in which the charterer of a vessel is responsible for the cost of loading and unloading of goods from the vessel.
Free Out (F.O.)
It is a pricing term in which the quoted price is inclusive of the cost of unloading goods from the vessel.
Free Port
It is a port in any foreign trade zone where the merchandise is duty-free. It is open to all traders on equal terms.
G.R.Wt./G.W.
Gross Weight. It is the total weight of merchandise (both goods and packaging) and the shipping container.
Gang
It is a term for group of stevedores, generally 4 to 5, with a supervisor assigned to a hold or portion of the vessel being loaded or unloaded.
Gateway
(a) It is a port of entry into a country of origin. (b) It is a point through which the freight moves from one territory to another.
GCR
It stands for General Cargo Rate. It is the rate of the carriage of cargo other than a class rate or specified commodity rate.
Gross Weight
It is the entire weight of goods, packing, and container, which is ready for shipment.
GSA
General Sales Agent who acts on behalf of an airline. They are generally Broker or Forwarder.
Hatch
It is an opening in a deck that gives access to the internal compartments.
Heavy-Lift Vessel
It is a specially designed and equipped vessel for the carriage of heavy cargo.
Heavy Lift
It is a term used for freight too heavy to be handled by regular ship’s tackle.
I.C.T.F.
It stands for Intermodal Container Transfer Facility. It is an on-dock facility, which moves containers from ship to rail or truck.
Igloo
It is a container, which has been designed to occupy full main deck width for carrying aircraft.
In-Bond
It is a term under which goods are transported, stored, or handled, prior to clearance and release by customs.
Inland Carrier
It is a transportation line which hauls the export or import traffic between ports and inland points.
Interline Agreement
It is an agreement between two or more airlines cooperating for the carriage over particular routes.
Interline Carriage
It is a term for the carriage over the routes of more than one parties of interlines agreement.
Interline Shipping
It is a term used for the movement of a single shipment on more than one carriers.
Jettison
It is the throwing of the cargo or ship’s property overboard in a hope of saving the ship from sinking.
Knot (Nautical)
It is the unit of speed used in navigation. It is equivalent to one nautical mile, or 6,080.20 feet per hour or 1.85 kilometers per hour.
Lagan
It is a term for goods tied to a buoy and cast into the sea so that it can be recovered.
Lash
It stands for ‘Lighter Aboard Ship.’ It is a barge carrier that is designed to act as a shuttle between ports, taking on and discharging barges.
Lay Days
It is the number of days permitted in a charter party for loading and discharging of cargo. It can be in consecutive days, working days, weather working days, etc.
Legal Weight
It is the weight of the merchandise along with its own packaging, excluding the exterior containers or packing materials.[also check Gross Weight]
Less than
Truck Load (LTL)
It is a shipment that does not completely fill the truck or it weighs less than the weight required for the application of the truck load freight rate.
Lighter
It is a flat-bottomed boat used in transporting cargo between a vessel and the shore.
Lighterage
It is a term used for the cost of loading or unloading a vessel by means of barges alongside.
Liner
It is a vessel carrying cargo that operates with a fixed schedule on a particular route.
Lo/Lo
It stands for “lift-on, lift-off.” It is a method by which the cargo is loaded onto and discharged from an ocean vessel with the use of a crane.
Load Factor
It is the ratio of the average load to the maximum load during a given period of time.
LTL
[check Less than truckload]
Manifest
It is a document, which lists the specifications of the cargo of a carrier, container or warehouse.
Marine Insurance
An insurance, which compensates the owner of goods transported overseas in the event of loss that cannot be recovered from the carrier.
Marking (for marks)
It is the marking on the cargo to indicate the country of origin where the article was produced.
Mate’s Receipt
It is a declaration signed by the chief officer of a vessel stating that a certain consignment has been received on board of the vessel.
Measurement Ton
It is also known as the cargo ton or freight ton. It is a space measurement, generally 40 cubic feet or one cubic meter.
Mercantile marine
It is the shipping, which is employed in commerce and not in war.
Metric Ton
It is a unit of weight, which is equal to 1,000 kilograms or 2,204.6 pounds.
MLB
Mini Land Bridge. It means eg. if the goods are going to Europe from Vancouver BC the containers are shipped across Canada to say Montreal and then shipped out. The shipping across Canada is referred to as MLB.
National Carrier
It is a flag carrier owned or controlled by the state.
National Motor
Freight Classification
It is the listing of items that contain the class descriptions of a particular item being shipped.
Nested
Packed one within another like paper cups for saving space.
Net Weight
It stands for Actual Net Weight. It is weight of goods alone excluding the packaging.
NMFC
[check National Motor Freight Classification]
No Objection
Certificate
It is a document provided by the scheduled or national airlines of many countries, which declares no objection to a proposed charter flight operated by another airline.
No Objection Fee
Money paid by a charter airline to a scheduled airline so that it waives its right of objection to its government, allowing a charter to take place.
Open Account
Credit extended to a foreign buyer without guarantee of payment.
Open Policy
It is a marine insurance policy that covers all shipments made by an exporter over a period of time rather than to one shipment only.
Pallet
It is a term used for a load-carrying platform to which the loose cargo is stored before placing aboard the aircraft.
Part Load
Charter
It is the chartering of a ship or an aircraft where it agrees that part of the cargo will be discharged at one destination and a part of it at another.
Perils of the Sea
It refers to the damage caused by heavy weather, stranding, striking on rocks or on bottom, contacts with floating agent, collision with other vessels, etc.
Perishables
It is a term when fresh produce is spoiled due to delay in transportation.
Pilferage
It is a petty theft, especially theft of articles in smaller quantities and not in package lots.
Pivot Weight
It is the minimum chargeable weight of a Unit Load Device (air cargo).
Port Authority
It is a government body, which maintains various airports and/or ocean cargo pier facilities, transit, sheds, loading equipment warehouses for air cargo, etc. in international shipping. It enjoys the power of levying dockage and wharfage charges, landing fees, etc.
Port Marks
It is an identifying set of letters, numbers and/or geometric symbols being followed by the name of the port of destination. These are placed on export shipments.
Port of Discharge
A port where the vessel is off-loaded and the cargo are discharged.
Port of Entry
A port where foreign goods are admitted into the receiving country.
Prepaid Freight
The freight charges collected in the local currency of the country of export.
Route
It is a path from one network point to another.
Scheduled Flight
Flight operating through a set timetable.
Service Contract
According to the Shipping Act of 1984, it is a contract between a shipper or a shippers’ association and an ocean common carrier or conference. In this contract, the shipper commits to provide a certain minimum quantity of cargo or freight revenue over a fixed time period, and the ocean common carrier makes a commitment to a certain rate or rate schedule as well as a defined service level.
Shipment
Property made available by a shipper to a carrier for transportation.
Ships Manifest
It is a written instrument, which contains the shipments list comprising the cargo of the vessel.
Short-Shipped
It is a term used for cargo manifested but not loaded onto the aircraft.
Steamship Agent
It is a term for a representative, duly appointed and authorized, in a specified territory to act on behalf of a steamship line or lines and to attend to all matters relating to the vessels owned by his principals.
Stowage
It is the lacing of cargo in a vessel in a manner to provide the utmost safety and efficiency for the ship and the goods it carries.
Sue & Labor Clause
It is a provision in marine insurance, which obligates the assured to do things necessary after a loss in order to prevent any further loss and to act in the best interests of the insurer.
Surety Bond
It is a written document promising to pay damages or to indemnify against losses that are caused by the party or parties mentioned in the document, through non-performance or through defalcation.
Surety Company
It is a term for an insurance company from where a bondholder can obtain a surety bond.
Tare Weight
It is the weight of the container and/or packed materials without considering the weight of the goods inside the container.
Tariff
It is the duty levied on goods transported from one customs area to another, or on imported products.
Temperature
Controlled Cargo
It is a term used for any cargo, which requires carriage under controlled temperature.
Third Freedom
Right
It is a term where the cargo is carried by an airline, from the base country to a foreign country.
Ton-Deadweight
The term indicates to the carrying capacity of the ship in terms of weight in tons of the cargo, fuel, provisions and passengers, which the vessel can carry.
Tracking
It is a carrier’s system of recording movement intervals of shipments from the origin to the destination.
Trade
It is a term for the commercial exchange of goods and services.
Tramp
It is a vessel not operating along a definite route on a fixed schedule. It takes cargo wherever the shippers desire.
Transshipment
It is the transfer of a shipment from a carrier to another, mostly from one ship to another.
ULD
It stands for Unit Load Device, which means pallet or container for freight.
Unitisation
It is a term for the packing of single or multiple consignments into the ULDs or pallets.
Volume Weight
It is a term, which is used while calculating airfreight when the size of the carton is more than the average weight. It is calculated by multiplying the length times, the width times, the height and dividing it by 166.
Warehouse receipt
It is a receipt issued by a warehouse which lists goods received for storage.
Weight Load Factor
It is the payload achieved as against available and is expressed as a percentage.
Weight, Legal
It is net weight of goods along with inside packing. It does not include the weight of the exterior containers or packing materials.
Wet Lease
It is an arrangement for renting of an aircraft under which the owner provides crews, ground support equipment, fuel, etc.
Wharfage
It is a fee charged for the use of a wharf or quay.
With Average
It is a term for marine insurance, which mean that the shipment is protected for partial damage whenever it exceeds a stated percentage.
With Particular
Average (W.P.A.)
It is an insurance term, which means that a part of loss or damage of goods is insured. Usually it must be caused by seawater. It can also be extended to cover loss by theft, pilferage, delivery, leakage, and breakage.
Without Reserve
It is a term under which the agent or representative of a shipper is empowered to make any decision and adjustments abroad without the approval of the group or individual represented. [also check Advisory Capacity]

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