Glossary and Acronyms

Look through our glossary of terms and acronyms to find definitions to shipping words and other shipping related phrases. Click on one of the letters to jump to a specific point on the page or scroll down to read the terms.

0-9   |   A   |   B   |   C   |   D   |   E   |   F   |   G   |   H   |   I   |   J   |   K  |   L   |   M   |   N  |   O   |   P   |   Q   |   R   |   S   |   T   |   U   |   V   |   W   |   X   |   Y   |   Z

| 0-9 |

20′ DV: 20 Foot Dry Van Container.

20′ GP: 20 Foot General Purpose Container.

3PL: See Third Party Logistics.

40′ DV: 40 Foot Dry Van Container.

Back to Top

| A |

AA: See Always Afloat.

AAR: Against All Risks (insurance clause); or Association of American Railroads.

Abaft: A point beyond the midpoint of a ship’s length, towards the rear or stern.

Abandon: A procedure where a shipper/consignee seeks authority to abandon all or parts of their cargo.

Abatement: A discount allowed for damage or overcharge in the payment of a bill.

ABI: Automated Broker Interface. By which brokers file importers’ entries electronically. (US Customs)

Aboard: Refers to cargo being put, or loaded, onto a vessel.

About: A term used in Letters of Credit meaning plus or minus 10%.

ABP: Asia Base Ports.

ABS: See American Bureau of Shipping.

Absorption: One carrier assumes the charges of another without any increase in charges to the shipper.

ACC: Alameda Corridor Charge.

Acceptance: A time draft (or Bill of Exchange) that the payer has accepted and is unconditionally obligated to pay at maturity. In general, any agreement to purchase goods under specified terms.

Acceptance Date: The signing date on a draft.

Accepting Bank: The bank that transacts a banker’s acceptance.

Accessorial Charges: Charges that are applied to the base tariff rate or base contract rate. For instance, bunkers, container, currency, destination or delivery.

Accomplished Bill of Lading: A Bill of Lading surrendered to the carrier for goods shipped.

Account Party: The party applying to a bank for the creation (issuance) of a letter of credit.

ACE: Automated Commercial Environment System. A master computer system. (US Customs)

Acknowledgement: Recognition by a bank of receipt of payment collected.

Acquiescence: The shipper is said to acquiesce to the terms, giving a silent consent, when a Bill of Lading is accepted or signed by a shipper or shipper’s agent without protest.

Acquittance: A written receipt, in full, discharging all claims.

ACS: Automated Commercial Systems. Replaced by the “Automated Commercial Environment System.”; or Alameda Corridor Surcharge.

Act of God: An act such as lightening, flooding, earthquake, etc, that is beyond human control.

Actual Total Loss: A marine insurance term indicating that nothing salvageable remains of the insured cargo.

Ad Valorem: Import duty applied as a percentage of the cargo’s dutiable value. A Latin term meaning “according to value.”

Administrative Law Judge: Also called a “Hearing Examiner.” A representative of a government commission or agency vested with power to administer oaths, examine witnesses, take testimony, and conduct hearings of cases submitted to, or initiated by, that agency.

Admiralty (Adm.): Refers to marine matters such as an Admiralty Court.

ADR: See Alternative Dispute Resolution.

Advance: To move cargo up line to a different vessel which will leave sooner than the one originally booked. See also Roll.

Advanced Charge: Transportation charge advanced by one carrier to another to be collected by the later carrier from the consignor or consignee.

Advanced Notice of Arrival (ANOA): Any vessel entering US waters from a foreign port is required to give a 96–hour ANOA. Any vessel of 300 gross registered tonnage and greater is required to give the ANOA to the US Coast Guard’s National Vessel Movement Center. Any vessel under 300 gross registered tons is required to give the ANOA to the appropriate Captain of the Port.

Adventure: Shipment of goods on shipper’s own account. A document signed by the master of the ship that carries goods at owner’s risk. A term used in some insurance policies to mean a voyage or a shipment.

Advice of Shipment: A notice sent to a local or foreign buyer advising that shipment has gone forward and containing details of packing, routing, etc. A copy of the invoice is often enclosed and, if desired, a copy of the Bill of Lading.

Advised Letter of Credit: A letter of credit without a confirmation.

Advising Bank: A bank operating in the seller’s country that handles letters of credit on behalf of a foreign bank.

AECA: See Arms Export Control Act.

AECA Debarred List: Entities and individuals prohibited from participating directly or indirectly in the export of defense articles, including technical data and defense services. Pursuant to the AECA Arms Export Control Act and the ITAR International Traffic in Arms Regulations , the AECA Debarred List includes persons convicted in court of violating or conspiring to violate the AECA and subject to “statutory debarment” or persons established to have violated the AECA in an administrative proceeding and subject to “administrative debarment.” (Administered by the United States DDTC part of the DOS)

AFRA: Average Freight Rate Assessment.

Aframax Tanker: A vessel of 70,000 to 119,000 DWT Deadweight Tonnage . The largest tanker size in the AFRA Average Freight Rate Assessment tanker rate system.

Affreightment, Contract of: An agreement by an ocean carrier to provide cargo space on a vessel at a specified time and for a specified price to accommodate an exporter or importer.

Aft: In nautical use, toward the stern (back end) of a ship.

AGC: Aden Gulf Crossing War Risk.

Agency Tariff: A tariff published by an agent on behalf of several carriers.

Agent (Agt.): A person authorized to transact business for and in the name of another person or a company. Types of agents are: (1) brokers (2) commission merchants (3) resident buyers (4) sales agents (5) manufacturer’s representatives.

Aggregate Shipment: Multiple shipments from different shippers to one consignee that are consolidated and considered a single consignment.

Agreed Valuation: The value of a shipment agreed upon in order to secure a specific freight rate.

Agreed Weight: The weight for goods shipped in certain pack¬ages or in a certain number prescribed by agreement between carrier and shipper.

AGS: Aden Gulf Surcharge.

AI: All Inclusive Rates.

AID: Agency for International Development.

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

Airport-To-Airport: The carriage of cargo from the departure airport to the arrival airport.

AIS: See Automated Identification System.

Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB): The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau collects taxes and enforces regulations on alcohol, tobacco, firearms, and ammunition (US Treasury).

ALHC: Alcoholic Beverage Handling Charge.

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

Allision: The striking by a moving vessel against a stationary object.

All Risks: A marine cargo insurance policy that contains an all risk clause. Note that this term has different meaning in different part of the world and does not actually cover all risks associated with the transaction. For example all risks does not cover strike, riot and civil commotion nor war risk.

Alongside: Refers to the side of a ship. Goods delivered “alongside” are located on the dock or barge within reach of the transport ship’s tackle so that they can be loaded.

Alternative Dispute Resolution: Alternative methods of resolving disputes by avoiding litigation.
Alternative Rates: Privilege to use the rate producing the lowest charge.

Always Afloat: A contract term. It requires that the vessel not rest on the ground. In some ports the ship is considered aground when at berth or approaching the port.

Ambient Temperature: The ambient temperature of a container is the atmospheric temperature to which it is exposed. In general, the temperature of the surrounding body.

Amended B/L: Bill of Lading requiring updates that do not change financial status; this is slightly different from corrected B/L.

Amendment: The process whereby terms and conditions of a letter of credit are altered and this is conveyed by the advice of the issuing bank.

American Bureau of Shipping (ABS): US classification society which certifies seagoing vessels for compliance with standardized rules regarding construction and maintenance.

American Standards Committee X12 (ASC X12): Responsible for developing EDI Electronic Data Interface standards for the US.

American Terms: An insurance term that differentiates the terms and conditions of a US policy from policies of other countries.

AMS: Automated Manifest System (US Customs).

AN: See Arrival Notice.

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS): Part of the USDA United States Department of Agriculture . The APHIS is a multifaceted Agency with a broad mission area that includes protecting and promoting US agricultural health, regulating genetically engineered organisms, administering the Animal Welfare Act and carrying out wildlife damage management activities. These efforts support the overall mission of USDA, which is to protect and promote food, agriculture, natural resources and related issues.

Anti-Dumping Duty: A tariff imposed to discourage sale of foreign goods which have been subsidized to sell at low prices detrimental to local manufacturers.

ANOA: See Advanced Notice of Arrival.

Any Quantity: Usually refers to a rating that applies to an article regardless of size or quantity.

AOA: Angola Operations Additional.

APHIS: See Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

Apparent Damage: Damage to cargo which can readily be seen by handling and or inspecting cargo.

Apparent Good Order: When freight appears to be free of damage so far as a general survey can determine.

Applicant: See Account Party.

Application: Instructions from the Account Party to the issuing bank regarding the details of opening a letter of credit.

Appraisement: Determination of the dutiable value of imported merchandise by a Customs official who follows procedures outlined in their country’s tariff, such as the US Tariff Act of 1930.

Appraiser’s Stores: Samples of imported goods are taken to be inspected, analyzed, weighed, etc., by examiners or appraisers to a warehouse or public store.

Approximately: See About (regarding letters of credit).

Apron: The area immediately in front of or behind a wharf shed on which cargo is lifted. On the “front apron,” cargo is unloaded from or loaded onto a ship. Behind the shed, cargo moves over the “rear apron” into and out of railroad cars.

AQ: See Any Quantity.

AR: See All Risks.

ARB: See Arbitrary below.

Arbitrary: A stated amount over a fixed rate from one point to establish a rate to another point. Also, additional transportation charge, often for inland, added to charge from a base port to derive the total freight cost of a voyage

Arbitration: The submission of a dispute to an unbiased third person designated by the parties to the controversy, who agree in advance to comply with the award—a decision to be issued after a hearing at which both parties have an opportunity to be heard.

ARC: See All Risks.

Arms Export Control Act (AECA): 22 U.S.C. 2778 of the AECA provides the authority to control the export of defense articles and services, and charges the President to exercise this authority. Executive Order 11958, as amended, delegated this statutory authority to the Secretary of State.

Arrest: Government detention of a vessel pending resolution of a legal dispute.

Arrival Notice: A notification by the carrier of a ship’s arrival to the consignee, the “Notify Party,” and – when applicable – the “Also Notify Party.” These parties in interest are listed in blocks 3, 4 and 10, respectively, of the Bill of Lading.

As Freighted: An explanatory note to a freight surcharge meaning that other applicable shipping charges for a particular shipment will be calculated in the same unit of measurement as for the basic transportation.

ASC X12: See American Standards Committee X12.

Assignee: In a letter of credit transaction, the party to whom the bank has pledged some or all of the proceeds of the transaction.

Assignment: Used in connection with a Bill of Lading. It involves the transfer of rights, title and interest in order to assign goods by endorsing the Bill of Lading.

Assignment of L/C Proceeds: Instructions to an advising bank from a letter of credit beneficiary whereby assigned proceeds will be paid directly to one or more third parties.

Assignor: One that makes an assignment. In the context of a letter of credit, it is the beneficiary of a Letter of Credit that assigns the proceeds to one or more third parties normally through an assignment of proceeds form.

Assured: The party that is insured under an insurance policy.

Astern: Behind a vessel; move in a reverse direction.

At Sight: A term describing a draft that is due for payment upon presentation.

At X Days Date Or At X Days Sight: A term used in a draft indicating that payment is due a certain number of days after presentation.

ATA: American Trucking Association.

ATDNSHINC: Any Time Day or Night, Sundays & Holidays Included. A chartering term referring to when a vessel will work.

Athwartships: A direction across the width of a vessel.

Automated Identification System (AIS): A system used by ships and VTS Vessel Traffic Service for the locating and identification of vessels. AIS provides a means for ships to electronically exchange ship data including: identification, position, course, and speed, with other nearby ships and VTS stations.

Average: A marine insurance term meaning “loss” and more specifically a verified loss. As used in marine insurance policies, an “average” refers to a partial loss of vessel or cargo and not a total loss of vessel and all cargo thereon). An “average” can result from any type of peril, but the term refers only to less than a total loss of the ship and cargo in a sinking or other extreme casualty.

Avoirdupois Pound: Same as 0.4535924277 kilograms.

Awkward Cargo: Cargo of irregular size. It may be containerized or not. It may require prior approval before confirmation of booking.

AWWL: Always Within Institute Warranties Limits (Insurance purpose).

Back to Top

| B |

BAC: Bunker Charge.

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

Back-To-Back L/C: Back–to–Back Letter of Credit. A letter of credit issued after the first one has been collateralized. A new letter of credit issued to another beneficiary on the strength of a primary credit. The second L/C uses the first L/C as collateral for the bank. Used in a three–party transaction.

BAF: See Bunker Adjustment Factor.

Balloon Freight: Light, bulky articles.

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

Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO): The BIMCO is the world’s largest private shipping organization.

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

Bank Guarantee: Issued by a bank to a carrier to be used to replace lost or misplaced original negotiable Bill of Lading.

Banker’s Acceptance: A draft. The maturity is in the future.

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

Barge: A large, flat-bottomed vessel (container) used to carry cargo, often from deep-water ports, via shallow-draft waterways.

Barge Carriers: Ships designed to carry barges; some are fitted to act as full container ships and can carry a varying number of barges and containers at the same time. At present, this class includes two types of vessels LASH and Sea–Bee.

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

BAS: Basic Ocean Freight; or Basis.

Base Port: A major port serviced by a carrier’s primary vessels, which act as hubs and transfer cargo to feeder vessels, which act as “spokes”.

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

Base Rates: Often port-to-port rates onto which arbitraries are added.

BATF: See Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

BB: See Ballast Bonus. Can also mean Bareboat.

BBL: Barrel. || 42 gallons of liquid at 600 degrees.

BCC: British Columbia Carbon Tax.

BCO: See Beneficial Cargo Owner.

BEA: See Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Beam: The width of a ship.

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

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

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

Berth: (verb) To bring a ship to a berth. (noun) The space at a wharf at which a ship docks.

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

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

BF: See Bunker Adjustment Factor.

BFF: Bunker Fuel Factor.

BIC: See International Container Bureau.

Bilateral: In a contract, each party agrees to provide something for the other.

Bill of Exchange: In the US, commonly known as a Draft. However, Bill of Exchange is the correct term.

Bill of Lading: A document that establishes the terms of a contract between a shipper and a transportation company. It serves as a document of title, a contract of carriage and a receipt for goods.

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

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

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

BIMCO: See Baltic and International Maritime Council.

BIS: See Bureau of Industry and Security.

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

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

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

BLF: Bill of Lading Fee.

Blind Shipment: A Bill of Lading wherein the paying customer has contracted with the carrier that shipper or consignee information is not given.

BL: See Bill of Lading.

B/L: See Bill of Lading.

B/L Numbers: US Customs’ standardized Bill of Lading numbering format to facilitate electronic communications and to make each Bill of Lading number unique.

B/L’s Status: Represents whether the Bill of Lading has been input, rated, reconciled, printed, or released to the customer.

B/L Terms and Conditions: The fine print on a Bill of Lading; defines what the carrier can and can¬not do, including the carrier’s liabilities and contractual agreements.

B/L’s Type: Refers to the type of Bill of Lading being issued. Some examples are

  • Memo (ME)
  • Original (OBL)
  • Non–negotiable
  • Corrected (CBL)
  • Amended (AM) B/L

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

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

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

BLPC: Bill of Lading Processing Charge.

BLS: Bales.

BNKR: Bunker.

Board: To gain access to a vessel.

Board Feet: The basic unit of measurement for lumber. One board foot is equal to a one–inch board, 12 inches wide and 1 foot long. Thus, a board 10 feet long, 12 inches wide, and 1 inch thick contains 10 board feet.

Boat: A relatively small, usually open craft/vessel a small, often open vessel for traveling on water. An inland vessel of any size.

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

BOF: Basic Ocean Freight.

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

BOL: See Bill of Lading.

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

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

Bonded Freight: Freight moving under a bond to US Customs’ or to the IRS Internal Revenue Service , to be delivered only under stated conditions.

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

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

Booking Number: Reservation number used to secure equipment and act as a control number prior to completion of a Bill of Lading.

Booking Rollover: The act by a carrier consisting of the simultaneous cancellation of a booking on one vessel and the creation of a new booking on a subsequent vessel.

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

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

Bow: The front of a vessel.

Box: Nickname for a cargo ocean container.

Boxcar: A closed rail freight car.

Break Bulk: To unload and distribute a portion or all of the contents of a rail car, container, trailer, or ship. Loose, non–containerized mark and count. See Bulk Cargo.

Breakbulk Cargo: Cargo that is too big to place into or onto a container. Non-containerized cargo that is loose or stored in steel boxes, bales, pallets, drums or other units to be loaded onto or discharged from ships or other transport.

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

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

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

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

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

BS: Bunker Surcharge.

BSC: Bunker Surcharge.

BUC: Bunker Contribution; or Bunker Charge .

Bulk Cargo: Not in packages or containers; shipped loose in the hold of a ship without mark and count.” Grain, coal, ore, oil, fuel, fertilizer and sulfur are usually bulk freight. Can be a solid or a liquid.

Bulk Carriers: All vessels designed to carry bulk homogeneous cargo without mark and count such as grain, fertilizers, ore, and oil.

Bulk Freight: It is shipped loose in the hold of the ship instead of in packages or containers. Examples would be grain or coal.

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

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

Bulk Terminal: A facility at which bulk goods are stored and handled.

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

Bunker Adjustment Factor: Used to compensate steamship lines for fluctuating fuel costs. Sometimes called Fuel Adjustment Factor (FAF).

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

Bunkering: Ships receive fuel from bunkering operations either at a fuel dock or from a bunker barge tied alongside the ship at its berth.

Bunkers: A maritime term referring to fuel used aboard the ship. In the past, fuel coal stowage areas aboard a vessel were in bins or bunkers.

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF): The BATF is a unique law enforcement agency in the DOJ US Department of Justice that protects our communities from violent criminals, criminal organizations, the illegal use and trafficking of firearms, the illegal use and storage of explosives, acts of arson and bombings, acts of terrorism, and the illegal diversion of alcohol and tobacco products. We partner with communities, industries, law enforcement, and public safety agencies to safeguard the public we serve through information sharing, training, research and use of technology.

Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA): An agency of the DOC US Department of Commerce . Along with the Census Bureau, BEA is part of the Department’s Economics and Statistics Administration. BEA produces economic accounts statistics that enable government and business decision-makers, researchers, and the American public to follow and understand the performance of the Nation’s economy. To do this, BEA collects source data, conducts research and analysis, develops and implements estimation methodologies, and disseminates statistics to the public.

Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs (EB): As part of the DOS US Department of State , the Bureau’s mission is to promote economic security and prosperity at home and abroad. The Bureau’s work lies at the critical nexus of economic prosperity and national security. As the single point where international economic policy tools and threads converge, we help promote a coherent economic policy across the US Government. The Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs is divided into seven areas:

  • Commercial & Business Affairs (EB/CBA)
  • Economic Policy Analysis & Public Diplomacy (EB/EPPD)
  • Counter Threat Finance and Sanctions (EB/TFS)
  • International Communications and Information Policy (EB/CIP)
  • International Finance and Development (EB/IFD)
  • Trade Policy and Programs (EB/TPP)
  • Transportation Affairs (EB/TRA)

Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS): As part of the DOC US Department of Commerce , The Bureau advances US national security, foreign policy, and economic objectives by ensuring an effective export control and treaty compliance system and promoting continued US strategic technology leadership. The Bureau’s mission is to protect the security of the US, which includes its national security, economic security, cyber security, and homeland security. The Bureau seeks to promote a strong and vibrant defense industrial base that can develop and provide technologies that will enable the US to maintain its military superiority.
Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation (ISN): The United States ISN, is responsible for managing a broad range of US nonproliferation polices, programs, agreements, and initiatives. The proliferation of WMD Weapons of Mass Destruction and related materials, technologies, and expertise — and the fact that terrorists are trying to acquire them — is a preeminent challenge to American national security. Combating this threat through bilateral and multilateral diplomacy is one of the highest priorities of the Department of State. The ISN Bureau leads the Department’s efforts to prevent the spread of WMD — whether nuclear, biological, chemical, or radiological — and their delivery systems.

Bureau Veritas: A French classification society which certifies seagoing vessels for compliance to standardized rules regarding construction and maintenance.

Back to Top

| C |

C&I: See Cost and Insurance.

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

CAC: See Currency Adjustment Charge.

CAD: See Cash Against Documents.

CAF: See Currency Adjustment Factor.

Cancled B/L: B/L status; used to cancel a processed B/L; usually per shipper’s request; different from voided B/L.

Capesize Vessel: A dry bulk vessel above 80,000 DWT Deadweight Tonnage or whose beam precludes passage via the Panama Canal and thus forces them to pass around Cape Horn or the Cape of Good Hope.

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

Captive Cargo Port: When most of a port’s inbound cargoes are being shipped short distances and most of its export products come from nearby areas, the port is called a captive cargo port. Houston, for example, has a huge population and manufacturing base to draw from between Dallas, San Antonio and its own metropolitan area. (Contrast with a transit port)

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

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

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

Cargo: The freight (goods, products) carried by a ship, barge, train, truck or plane.

Cargo Insurance: Insurance on the cargo while the goods are in transit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Carriage: Means of transport.

Carriage of Goods by Sea Act (COGSA): Dating back to 1936 and which covers all shipments to and from US ports. It incorporated most of the Hague Rules and established a uniform standard of ocean carrier liability for loss or damage to cargo resulting from carrier negligence in the loading, stowage and discharge of cargo. COGSA limits carrier liability to $500 per package or shipping unit as tendered to the carrier.

Carriage and Insurance Paid To (CIP): INCOTERMS. “Carriage and Insurance Paid to” means that the seller delivers the goods to the carrier or another person nominated by the seller at an agreed place (if any such place is agreed between parties) and that the seller must contract for an pay the costs of carriage necessary to bring the goods to the named place of destination. The seller also contracts for insurance cover against the buyer’s risk of loss of or damage to the goods during the carriage. The buyer should note that under CIP, the seller is required to obtain insurance only on minimum cover. Should the buyer wish to have more insurance protection, it will need either to agree as much expressly with the seller or to make its own extra insurance arrangements.

Carriage Paid To (CPT): INCOTERMS. “Carriage Paid To” means that the seller delivers the goods to the carrier or another person nominated by the seller at an agreed place (if any such place is agreed between parties) and that the seller must contract for and pay the costs of carriage necessary to bring the goods to the named place of destination.

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

Carrier’s Certificate: A certificate required by US Customs to release cargo properly to the correct party.

Cartage: Originally the process of transporting by cart. Today, the term is used for trucking or trucking fees. Usually refers to intra–city hauling on drays or trucks. Same as Drayage.

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

CAS: Carrier Security Charge.

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

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

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

CBM: Cubic Meter.

CBP: See US Customs and Border Protection.

CCD: Destination container cleaning.

CCL: Container Cleaning Fee.

CDC: See Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Also means Cargo Data Declaration Charge.

CDD: Cargo Data Declaration; Cargo Data Declaration Fee; or Submission of Cargo Declaration – Import.

CDN: Cargo Declaration Fee For House Bill of Lading.

CE: See Consumption Entry.

CE Mark: A mark or label indicating the cargo conforms to standards required by the European Union for certain products.

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

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

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Collaborates to create the expertise, information, and tools that people and communities need to protect their health through health promotion, prevention of disease, injury and disability, and preparedness for new health threats. Under the HHS US Department of Health and Human Services .

Certificate of Inspection: A document certifying that merchandise (such as perishable goods) was in good condition immediately prior to its shipment.– The document issued by the US Coast Guard certifying an American– Flag vessel’s compliance with applicable laws and regulations.

CF: See Currency Adjustment Factor.

CFC: Cargo Facility Charge.

CFF: Cargo Facility Fee.

CFR: See Cost and Freight.

CFS: See Container Freight Station.

CFS/CFS: Cargo movement delivered loose at origin point, unloaded by carrier at the destination, and picked up loose at the terminal.

CFS/CY: Loose cargo received at origin point, loaded in a container by carrier, then delivered intact at destination.

CG: Congestion Surcharge.

CGS: Congestion Surcharge.

Chandlers: Like a hotel at sea, a ship needs many supplies to operate and serve their crews – groceries, paper products, engine parts, electronics, hardware, etc. A chandler sells these supplies to the ship’s agent.

Channels of Distribution: The routes by which products are transported from origin to destination. This includes the physical routes, as well as the different companies involved in ultimately delivering the goods to buyers.

Charter: Hire a means of transport by ocean vessel or aircraft.

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

Charterer: The persons doing the hiring or leasing.

Chartering: Hiring or leasing transport.

CHAS: See Chassis below; Also meaning a Wheeled Usage Charge.

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

CHB: See Customs House Broker.

Checkers: See Clerks.

CHO: Chassis Charge at Origin.

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

CHS: Chassis Usage Charge.

CI: See Cost and Insurance.

CIA: See Cash in Advance.

CIF: See Cost, Insurance and Freight.

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

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

CIFCI: Cost, Insurance, Freight, Collection and Interest.

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

CIP: See Carriage And Insurance Paid To.

CIS: Carrier ISPS Security Charge.

CISG: United Nations’ Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods.

Civil Service: Some US, state, city and parish government jobs are protected under civil service systems which are designed to provide a degree of security to employees and to deter nepotism, political patronage and arbitrary treatment of workers.

CKD: See Completely Knocked Down.

CL: See Container Load. Also means Carload.

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

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

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

Classification Society: An organization maintained for the surveying and classing of ships so that insurance underwriters and others may know the quality and condition of the vessels offered for insurance or employment.

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

Clayton Act: An anti–trust act of the US Congress making price discrimination unlawful.

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

Clean Collection: Same as clean draft; no documentation attached concerning ownership of cargo.

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

Clean Letter of Credit: A letter of credit that requires the beneficiary to present only a draft or a receipt for specified funds before receiving payment.

Clean Receipt: Document that has no notice of damage or shortage of the cargo.

Clean Report of Findings: Document issued by the importer’s country showing that the goods have been inspected before shipping. This is to certify that the cargo conforms to the correct quantity, etc.

Clean Transport Document: Document that does not show any damage or shortage is assumed clean.

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

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

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

Clerks: A person who checks the actual count of the goods as they are being unloaded from a ship. The goods can be steel boxes, drums, bundles, etc.

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

CLP: See Container Load Plan.

CM: Cubic Meter || 35.314 cubic ft.

cm: Centimeter.

CNL: Canal.

CNO: Congestion Surcharge At Origin.

Coastwise: Water transportation along the coast.

COD: Collect Cash on Delivery; also Carried on Docket.

COFC: Container on Flat Car (railway service). Containers moving on articulated flat cars without chassis.

COGSA: See Carriage of Goods by Sea Act.

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

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

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

Combination Passenger and Cargo Vessels: Ships with a capacity for 13 or more passengers.

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

Combined B/L: Bill of Lading that covers cargo moving over various transports.

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

Commercial Transport Vessel: Any ship which is used primarily in commerce (1) For transporting persons or goods to or from any harbor(s) or port(s) or between places within a harbor area; (2) In connection with the construction, change in construction, servicing, maintenance, repair, loading, unloading, movement, piloting, or salvaging of any other ship or vessel.

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

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

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

Common Carrier: Trucking, railroad or barge lines that are licensed to transport goods nationwide.

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

Company Security Officer: Is the person designated by the company for ensuring that a ship security assessment is carried out and that a ship security plan is developed, submitted for approval and thereafter implemented and maintained for liaison with port facility security officers and the ship security officer.

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

Compulsory Ship: Any ship which is required to be equipped with radio-telecommunication equipment in order to comply with the radio or radio-navigation provisions of a treaty or statute to which the vessel is subject.

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

Condensation: Moisture that forms on cargo. It is caused by temperature changes on a vessel or aircraft.

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

Confirmed Letter of Credit: An Letter of Credit guaranteed by both the issuing and advising banks of payment so long as seller’s documents are in order, and the Letter of Credit terms are met. Only applied to irrevocable Letter of Credit’s. The confirming bank assumes the credit risk of the issuing bank. A letter of credit, issued by a foreign bank, whose validity has been confirmed by a domestic bank. An exporter with a confirmed letter of credit is assured of payment even if the foreign buyer or the foreign bank defaults.

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

Congestion Surcharge: An accessorial charge from a carrier to cover increased costs associated with a congested port.

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

Connecting Carrier Agreement: A connecting carrier agreement is a contract between the originating carrier and a second party, where the second party agrees to carry goods to a final destination on a through Bill of Lading.

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

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

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

Consignment: A shipment of goods. The buyer of this shipment is called the consignee; the seller of the goods is called the consignor.

Consignment Bill of Lading: See Straight B/L.

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

Consolidated B/L: Bill of Lading combined or consolidated from two or more B/L’s.

Consolidated Screening List: The Consolidated Screening List, under the ITA International Trade Administration as part of the DOC US Department of Commerce , is a downloadable file that consolidates export screening lists of the Departments of Commerce, State and the Treasury into one spreadsheet to assist in screening potential parties to regulated transactions. If the potential match is from the consolidated list, please follow the detailed instructions on the Consolidated List homepage to determine what list the potential match is from and under what government agency’s jurisdiction.

Consolidation: Cargo containing shipments of two or more shippers or suppliers. Containerload shipments may be consolidated for one or more consignees, often in containerload quantities.

Consolidator: A person or firm performing a consolidation service for others. The person or firm consolidates (combines) cargo from a number of shippers into a container that will deliver the goods to several buyers. The consolidator takes advantage of lower FCL Full Carload rates, and passes on the savings to shippers.

Consortium: A group of carriers pooling resources in a trade lane to maximize efficiency.

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

Constructive Total Loss: If it would cost more to repair damaged goods than they are worth, it is declared a constructive total loss by the insurance company.

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

Consular Corps: The group of foreign consul generals or honorary consuls who represent the interests of their government (its citizens and businesses) within a region of the US. They issue visas and diplomatic documents and answer to their embassies in Washington, D.C.

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

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

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

Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC): Charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with the use of the thousands of types of consumer products under the agency’s jurisdiction. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $1 trillion annually. The CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical, or mechanical hazard. CPSC’s work to ensure the safety of consumer products – such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters, and household chemicals – contributed to a decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 40 years.

Consumption Entry: The process of declaring the importation of foreign–made goods into the US for use in the US.

Container: A truck trailer body that can be detached from the chassis for loading into a vessel, a rail car or stacked in a container depot. Containers may be ventilated, insulated, refrigerated, flat rack, vehicle rack, open top, bulk liquid or equipped with interior devices. A container may be 20 feet, 40 feet, 45 feet, 48 feet or 53 feet in length, 8’0” or 8’6” in width, and 8’6” or 9’6” in height. A box made of steel used to transport cargo by ship, rail, truck or barge. Also, referred to as steel boxes.

Container Freight Station: A shipping dock where cargo is loaded (“stuffed”) into or unloaded (“stripped”) from containers. Generally, this involves less than container-load shipments, although small shipments destined to same consignee are often consolidated. Container reloading from/to rail or motor carrier equipment is a typical activity. These facilities can be located in container yards, or off dock.

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

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

Container Load Plan: A document prepared to show all details of cargo loaded in a container, for example weight (individual and total), measurement, markings, shipper, the origin of goods and destination, as well as location of the cargo within the container.

Container Manifest: Document showing contents and loading sequence, point of origin, and point of destination for a container. Vessels are required by law to carry such a document for each container carried.

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

Container Seal: A uniquely numbered physical seal placed on the door-locking device of a container, usually by the loader, such that it must be broken to open the door. It presence acts to show whether or not the container has been opened.

Container Security Initiative (CSI): A US cargo security program whereby containerized cargoes destined for the US may be inspected on a selective basis at many foreign ports before loading on a vessel. As of October 2007, there were 51 approved ports. A multinational program, aligned with the President’s “Strategy for Homeland Security”, that extends the United States’ zone of security by pre–screening containers that pose a potential security risk before they leave foreign ports for US seaports.

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

Container Yard: The designation for full container receipt/delivery. A materials–handling/storage facility used for completely unitized loads in containers and/or empty containers.

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

Containerization: Stowage of general or special cargoes in a container for transport in the various modes. Although most general cargo ships carry containers along with other cargoes, full containerships have permanent container cells and rarely carry non-containerized goods.

Containership: An ocean vessel specifically designed to carry ocean cargo containers. It’s fitted with vertical cells for maximum loading/discharge efficiency.

Contraband: Products prohibited in trade such as weapons going to the Middle East or drugs from South America smuggled to the US.

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

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

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

COP: See Customs of the Port.

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

Corps of Engineers: This department of the US Army is responsible for flood protection and providing safe navigation channels. The Corps built and maintains the levees, flood walls and spillways that keep the Mississippi River out of low lying communities. The Corps is vital to keeping the Mississippi River open by dredging silt that accumulates in the passes to the Gulf of Mexico.

Corrected B/L: Bill of Lading requiring any update which results in money or other financially related changes.

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

Cost and Freight (CFR): INCOTERMS. “Cost and Freight” means that the seller delivers the goods on board the vessel or procures the goods already so delivered. The risk of loss of or damage to the goods passes when the goods are on board the vessel. the seller must contract for and pay the costs and freight necessary to bring the goods to the named port of destination.

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

Cost, Insurance and Freight (CIF): INCOTERMS. “Cost, Insurance and Freight” means that the seller delivers the goods on board the vessel or procures the goods already so delivered. The risk of loss of or damage to the goods passes when the goods are on board the vessel. The seller must contract for and pay the costs and freight necessary to bring the goods to the named port of destination. The seller also contracts for insurance cover against the buyer’s risk of loss of or damage to the goods during the carriage. The buyer should note that under CIF the seller is required to obtain insurance only on minimum cover. Should the buyer wish to have more insurance protection, it will need either to agree as much expressly with the seller or to make its own extra insurance arrangements.

Counter-Proliferation Investigations Program (CPI): Part of the ICE Immigration Customs Enforcement under the DHS US Department of Homeland Security . The global threats facing the US have never been greater than they are today. Foreign adversaries are attempting to acquire US technology by various means, both legal and illegal. Illicit transactions involving our strategic technology not only jeopardize our economic and national security but also endanger the safety of our citizens and soldiers. In today’s globalized society, enhanced communications technology and transportation means that rogue states, criminal organizations and terrorist groups have greater potential to acquire and trade nuclear, chemical and biological weapons than ever before. One of ICE’s highest priorities is to prevent illicit procurement networks, terrorist groups and hostile nations from illegally obtaining US military products, sensitive dual-use technology, WMD Weapons of Mass Destruction , or chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear materials. The ICE’s CPI Program oversees a broad range of investigative activities related to such violations. The CPI Program enforces US laws involving the export of military items, controlled dual-use goods, firearms and ammunition as well as exports to sanctioned or embargoed countries.

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

Country of Origin: The country of manufacture, growth or production of cargo.

CPC: Chassis Provision Charge.

CPI: See Counter-Proliferation Investigations Program.

CPSC: See Consumer Products Safety Commission.

CPT: See Carriage Paid To.

Craft: A boat, ship or airplane.

Crane: A gigantic machine for lifting, shifting and lowering heavy weights by means of a projecting swinging arm or with the hoisting apparatus supported on an overhead or ground track.

Credit Agreement: Agreement between carrier and shipper. There is a promise to pay ocean freight within a specified time.

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

CS: Congestion Surcharge.

CSC: Container Service Charge.

CSD: Congestion Surcharge At Port of Departure; Also Terminal Handling Charge.

CSF: Carrier Security Fee.

CSI: See Container Security Initiative.

CST: Commodity Specialist Team.

CSV: Container Service Charge.

CTD: Combined Transport Document.

CTF: Clean Truck Fee.

C–TPAT: See Customs–Trade Partnership Against Terrorism.

CTS: Carbon Tax Surcharge.

CTT: Clean Truck Tariff.

Cu: Cubic. A unit of volume measurement.

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

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

CUC: Chassis Usage Charge.

CUC/L: Chassis Usage Charge at Origin/Loading.

Currency Adjustment Charge: An accessorial charge consisting of an additional percentage rate added to the base rate by an ocean carrier to compensate for changes in exchange rates.

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

CUS: Customs Duty; or Custom Clearance Fee.

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

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

Customs: Government agency charged with enforcing the rules passed to protect the country’s import and export revenues; also A duty or tax on imported goods.

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

Customs Broker: A person who prepares the needed documentation for importing goods (just as a freight forwarder does for exports). The broker is licensed by the DOT US Department of Treasury to clear goods through US Customs.

Customs Clearance: The act of complying with the regulations of an importing country so that cargo can be released from custody.

Customs Duty: A government charges a tax on goods imported from another country.

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

Customs House Broker: See Customs Broker.

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

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

Customs–Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT): It is a voluntary supply chain security program, launched in November 2001 and led by CBP US Customs and Border Protection which focuses on improving the security of private companies’ supply chains with respect to terrorism. In exchange for companies participation CBP will provide reduced inspections at the port of arrival, expedited processing at the border and penalty mitigation.

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

CWO: See Cash With Order.

Cwt: Hundred weight (United States, 100 pounds; UK,112).

CX: Tri-Axle Chassis Charge.

CY: See Container Yard.

CY/CFS: Cargo loaded in a full container by a shipper at origin, delivered to pier facility at its destination, and then unloaded by carrier for loose pick up.

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

CYR: Container Yard Receiving Charge.

CZ: Chassis Usage Charge.

Back to Top

| D |

D45HD: Cargo; Dry, Container; 45′ Highcube.

D&H: Dangerous and Hazardous cargo.

D/A: Documents Against Acceptance.

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

Damage In Transit: Harm to the cargo during transit.

Dangerous Goods: See Hazardous Materials.

Dangerous Goods Declaration: Document showing that the cargo is dangerous.

Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR): Under the IATA International Aviation Transport Association the DGR is the trusted source to help you prepare and document dangerous shipments. Recognized by the world’s airlines for over 50 years, the DGR is the most complete, up-to-date, and user-friendly reference in the industry.

DAP: See Delivered At Place.

DAT: See Delivered At Terminal.

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

DBA: See Doing Business As.

DCF: Dangerous Cargo Documentation Fee.

DCI: Destination Documentation Fee.

D/D: Means rate applies from shipper’s door or business place to consignee’s door or business place.

DDC: See Destination Delivery Charge.

DDF: Documentation Fee At Destination.

DDP: See Delivered Duty Paid.

DDTC: See Directorate of Defense Trade Controls.

DEA: See Drug Enforcement Administration.

Dead Freight: Compensation by the shipper to the carrier for cargo committed to be shipped bu then not shipped. May also apply to the shortfall in a service contract.

Deadhead: One leg of a move without a paying cargo load. Usually refers to repositioning an empty piece of equipment. When a truck returning from a delivery has no return freight on the back haul.

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

Deadweight Tonnage: The number of tons of 2,240 pounds that a vessel can transport of cargo, stores and bunker fuel. It is the difference between the number of tons of water a vessel displaces “light” and the number of tons it displaces when submerged to the “load line.” An approximate conversion ratio is 1NT = 1.7GT and 1GT = 1.5 DWT Deadweight Tonnage .

DEC: Cargo Declaration Data Charge.

Deck Barge: Transports heavy or oversize cargoes mounted on its top deck instead of inside a hold. Machinery, appliances, project cargoes and even recreational vehicles move on deck barges.

Deck Cargo: Cargo shipped on the deck of a vessel versus below deck in a hold.

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

Defense Technology Security Administration (DTSA): Administers the development and implementation of the DOD US Department of Defense technology security policies on international transfers of defense-related goods, services and technologies. It ensures that critical US military technological advantages are preserved; transfers that could prove detrimental to US security interests are controlled and limited; proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery is prevented; diversion of defense-related goods to terrorists is prevented; military interoperability with foreign allies and friends is supported; and the health of the US defense industrial base is assured.

Deferred Payment Letter of Credit: A Letter of Credit issued for the purchase and financing of merchandise, similar to acceptance–type letter of credit, except that it requires presentation of sight drafts payable on an installment basis.

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

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

Delivered At Place (DAP): INCOTERMS. “Delivered at Place” means that the seller delivers when the goods are placed at the disposal of the buyer on the arriving means of transport ready for unloading at the named place of destination. The seller bears all risks involved in bringing the goods to the named place.

Delivered At Terminal (DAT): INCOTERMS. “Delivered at Terminal” means that the seller delivers when the goods, once unloaded from the arriving means of transport, are placed at the disposal of the buyer at a named terminal at the named port or place of destination. “Terminal” includes a place, whether covered or not, such as a quay, warehouse, container yard or road, rail or air cargo terminal. The seller bears all risks involved in bringing the goods to and unloading them at the terminal at the named port or place of destination.

Delivered Duty Paid (DDP): INCOTERMS. “Delivered Duty Paid” means that the seller delivers the goods when the goods are placed at the disposal of the buyer, cleared for import on the arriving means of transport ready for unloading at the named place of destination. The seller bears all the costs and risks involved in bringing the goods to the place of destination and has an obligation to clear the goods not only for export but also for import, to pay any duty for both export and import and to carry out all customs formalities.

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

Delivery Order (Pier Release): Issued by the consignee or his customs broker to the ocean carrier as authority to release the cargo to the inland carrier. Includes all data necessary for the pier delivery clerk to determine that the cargo can be released to the domestic carrier.

DEM: Demurrage Fees/Charges.

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

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

Denied Persons List: A list of individuals maintained by the BIS Bureau of Industry and Security and entities that have been denied export privileges. Any dealings with a party on this list that would violate the terms of its denial order are prohibited.

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

Department of Agriculture (DOA) (US): The Department of Agriculture provides leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, and related issues.

Department of Commerce (DOC) (US): The Department of Commerce promotes job creation, economic growth, sustainable development and improved standards of living for all Americans by working in partnership with businesses, universities, communities and our nation’s workers. The department touches the daily lives of the American people in many ways, with a wide range of responsibilities in the areas of trade, economic development, technology, entrepreneurship and business development, environmental stewardship, and statistical research and analysis. To drive US competitiveness in the global marketplace, the Commerce Department works to strengthen the international economic position of the US and facilitates global trade by opening up new markets for US goods and services. Here at home, the Commerce Department promotes progressive business policies that help America’s businesses and entrepreneurs and their communities grow and succeed. Cutting-edge science and technology at the department fosters innovation, and a focus on research and development that moves quickly from the lab to the marketplace generates progress and new 21st century opportunities. No matter where businesses are in their life cycle, whether just getting off the ground or looking to expand into overseas markets, the Commerce Department is singularly focused on making US companies more innovative at home and more competitive abroad, so they can create jobs.

Department of Defense (DOD) (US): The Department of Defense provides the military forces needed to deter war, and to protect the security of the US.

Department of Energy (DOE) (US): The Department of Energy manages the US’ nuclear infrastructure and administers the country’s energy policy. The Department of Energy also funds scientific research in the field.

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) (US): The Department of Health and Human Services protects the health of all Americans and provides essential human services.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) (US): Formed in 2002 from the combination of 22 departments and agencies, the Department of Homeland Security works to improve the security of the US. The Department’s work includes customs, border, and immigration enforcement; emergency response to natural and man-made disasters; anti-terrorism work; and cyber-security.

Department of Justice (DOJ) (US): The Department of Justice works to enforce federal law, to seek just punishment for the guilty, and to ensure the fair and impartial administration of justice.

Department of Labor (DOL) (US): The Department of Labor administers a variety of federal labor laws to guarantee workers’ rights to fair, safe, and healthy working conditions, including minimum hourly wage and overtime pay, protection against employment discrimination, and unemployment insurance.

Department of State (DOS) (US): The Department of State advises the President and leads the nation in foreign policy issues. The State Department negotiates treaties and agreements with foreign entities, and represents the US at the United Nations.

Department of the Interior (DOI) (US): The Department of the Interior manages public lands and minerals, national parks, and wildlife refuges and upholds Federal trust responsibilities to Indian tribes and Native Alaskans. Additionally, the Department of the Interior is responsible for endangered species conservation and other environmental conservation efforts.

Department of Transportation (DOT) (US): The Department of Transportation is responsible for planning and coordinating federal transportation projects. It also sets safety regulations for all major modes of transportation.

Department of Treasury (US): The Department of the Treasury manages Federal finances by collecting taxes and paying bills and by managing currency, government accounts and public debt. The Department of the Treasury also enforces finance and tax laws.

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

Despatch: An incentive payment paid by the vessel to the charterer for loading and unloading the cargo faster than agreed. Usually negotiated only in charter parties. Also Dispatch.

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

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

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

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

DET: Detention Fees/Charges.

Det Norske Veritas: A Norwegian classification society which certifies seagoing vessels for compliance to standardized rules regarding construction and maintenance.

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

Devanning: The unloading of a container or cargo van.

D/F: Documentation Fee.

DF Car: See Damage–Free Car.

D/F.D: Documentation Fee at Destination.

D/F.L: Documentation Fee At Port Of Loading.

DG.ADD: Hazardous Cargo Surcharge.

DGC: Dangerous Goods Premium.

DGI: Dangerous Goods Premium for Inbound Intermodal Sector.

DGR: See Dangerous Goods Regulations.

DGRAIL: Hazardous Cargo Rail Charge.

DH: Destination Haulage Charge.

DHC: Destination Terminal Handling Charge.

DTHC: Destination Terminal Handling Charge.

DHS: See Department of Homeland Security.

DIF: Depot Infrastructure Fee.

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

DIHC: Destination Haulage Charge.

DIMWT: See Dimensional Weight below.

Dimensional Weight: The cubic measurement of all the packages within a shipment, divided by some factor to determine whether the chargeable weight will be based on the actual weight or else the cubic size (i.e., dimensional weight) of a shipment. The larger of the actual weight and the dimensional weight is used.

Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC): Under the DOS US Department of State the US Government views the sale, export, and re-transfer of defense articles and defense services as an integral part of safeguarding US national security and furthering US foreign policy objectives. The DDTC, in accordance with 22 U.S.C. 2778-2780 of the AECA Arms Export Control Act and the ITAR International Traffic in Arms Regulations (22 CFR Parts 120-130), is charged with controlling the export and temporary import of defense articles and defense services covered by the USML United States Munitions List .

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

Discrepancy: Failure to comply with the terms of a letter of credit.

Discrepancy Letter of Credit: When documents presented do not conform to the requirements of the Letter of Credit, it is referred to as a “discrepancy.” Banks will not process Letters of Credit’s which have discrepancies. They will refer the situation back to the buyer and/or seller and await further instructions.

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

Diversion: A change made either in the route of a shipment in transit or of the entire ship. See also Reconsignment.

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

DOA: See Department of Agriculture.

DOC: Documentation Fee; Also known as Department of Commerce (DOC).

Dock: For ships, a cargo handling area parallel to the shoreline where a vessel normally ties up. For land transportation, a loading or unloading platform at an industrial location or carrier terminal. (verb) – To bring in a vessel to tie up at a wharf berth. (You park a car, but dock a ship).

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

Dockage: Refers to the charge assessed against the vessel for berthing at the facility or for mooring to a vessel so berthed.

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

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

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

DOD: Destination Documentation Fee.

DOD: See Department of Defense.

DOE: See Department of Energy.

DOF: Delivery Order Fee.

DOI: See Department of the Interior.

Doing Business As: A legal term for conducting business under a registered name.

DOJ: See Department of Justice.

DOL: Origin Documentation Fee.

DOL: See Department of Labor.

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

Domestic B/L: Non–negotiable B/L primarily containing routing details; usually used by truckers and freight forwarders.

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

D/O: Means rate applies from shipper’s door or business place to carrier’s destination port terminal. Carrier will spot the empty container at shipper’s door/business place at carrier’s expense stuffing charges incurred shall be paid by and at the expense of shipper.

DOS: See Department of State.

DOT: See Department of Transportation.

Double Stack Train: Rail car train capable of carrying containers, one on top of each other. Also know as a Double Stack.

D/P: See Documents Against Payment.

DP: Destination Port.

D/R: Means rate applies from shipper’s door or business place to destination carrier’s designated inland rail terminal or depot.

Draft: An unconditional order in writing, addressed by one party (drawer) to another party (drawee), requiring the drawee to pay at a fixed or determinable future date a specified sum in lawful currency to the order of a specified person.

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

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

Drawer: The party who will receive payment.

Dray: Local Drayage.

Drayage: Charge made for local hauling by dray or truck. Example: from wharf to warehouse. Same as Cartage.

Dredge: (noun) – A vessel with hydraulic equipment that removes unwanted silt accumulations from the bottom of a waterway. (verb) – The process of churning up the silt and pumping it into deeper water to allow deep draft vessels to sail or berth smoothly.

DRFS: See Destination Rail Freight Station.

DRO: Drop Off Charges.

Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA): Part of DOJ US Department of Justice Their mission is to enforce the controlled substances laws and regulations of the US and bring to the criminal and civil justice system of the US, or any other competent jurisdiction, those organizations and principal members of organizations, involved in the growing, manufacture, or distribution of controlled substances appearing in or destined for illicit traffic in the US; and to recommend and support non-enforcement programs aimed at reducing the availability of illicit controlled substances on the domestic and international markets.

Drumming: The packaging of liquid cargoes into drums, usually with a 55-gallon capacity.

DRY: Dry van container.

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

DSM: Department Store Merchandise.

DST: See Double Stack Train.

DSU: See Delay in Start-up.

DT: Destination Terminal Handling Charge.

DTSA: See Defense Technology Security Administration.

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

Dunnage: Any material or objects utilized to protect cargo and prevent movement during its voyage. Examples of dunnage are blocks, boards, burlap and paper.

Duplicate B/L: Another original Bill of Lading set if first set is lost. Also known as “Reissued B/L.”

Dutiable Value: The amount on which an Ad Valorem or Customs Duty is calculated.

Duty: A government tax on imported merchandise.

Duty Rates: Tax imposed by US Customs on imported merchandise. There are three basic types: (1) ad valorem – based on the entered value, (2) specific – an amount per unit of quantity, (3) compound – combination of ad valorem and specific rates.

DWT: See Deadweight Tonnage.

Back to Top

| E |

EB: East Bound; also see Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs.

EBS: Equipment Imbalance Surcharge; also Emergency Bunker Surcharge.

ECMC: See The US Exporters Competitive Maritime Council.

ECMCA: Eastern Central Motor Carriers Association.

ECU: Export Chassis Usage.

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

EDI: See Electronic Data Interface.

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

EFA: Emergency Fuel Additional.

EFAF: Emergency Fuel Adjustment Factor.

EFS: Emergency Fuel Surcharge.

EIF: European Inland Fuel Surcharge.

EIO: Equipment Imbalance Surcharge At Origin.

EIR: See Equipment Interchange Receipt.

EIS: Equipment Imbalance Surcharge.

EISC: Equipment Imbalance Surcharge.

EISE: Equipment Imbalance Surcharge.

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

Elevating: A charge for services performed in connection with floating elevators; also charges assessed for the handling of grain through grain elevators.

Elevator: A complex including storage facilities, computerized loading; inspection rooms and docks to load and unload dry bulk cargo such as grain or green coffee.

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

Embargo: Order to restrict the hauling of freight.

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

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

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

ENF: A ENS Filing Charge.

ENS: Entry Summary Declaration Filings.

Entity List: The Entity List identifies foreign parties that are prohibited from receiving some or all items subject to the EAR Exports Administration Regulations unless the exporter secures a license. Those persons present a greater risk of diversion to WMD Weapons of Mass Destruction programs, terrorism, or other activities contrary to US national security or foreign policy interests. By publicly listing such persons, the Entity List is an important tool to prevent unauthorized trade in items subject to the EAR. BIS US Bureau of Industry and Security can add to the Entity List a foreign party, such as an individual, business, research institution, or government organization, for engaging in activities contrary to US national security and/or foreign policy interests. In most instances, license exceptions are unavailable for the export, reexport, or transfer (in-country) to a party on the Entity List of items subject to the EAR. Rather, a prior license is required, usually subject to a policy of denial. For guidance concerning the prohibitions and license application review policy applicable to a particular party, please review that party’s entry on the list. Procedures for removal from the Entity List appear in section 744.16 of the EAR. General Orders also may restrict exports to named individuals or entities. (Administered under the United States BIS).

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

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): With a mission to protect people and the environment from significant health risks, sponsors and conducts research and develops and enforces environmental regulations.

EPA: See Environmental Protection Agency above.

EPA International Programs: EPA’s work to improve air quality, expand access to clean water, and protect vulnerable communities from toxic pollution extends from across North America to nearly 180 nations worldwide. Through collaborative efforts with partners from around the world, EPA is working to facilitate commerce, promote sustainable development, protect vulnerable populations and engage diplomatically around the world.

EQP.S: Special Equipment Surcharge.

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

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

Estimated Time of Arrival: The time and/or date that the carrier will arrive at its destination; also Estimated Time of Availability. That time when a tractor/partner carrier is available for dispatch.

Estimated Time of Departure: The time and/or date that the carrier will depart.

ETA: See Estimated Time of Arrival.

ETC: Estimated Time of Completion.

ETD: See Estimated Time of Departure.

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

ETR: Estimated Time of Readiness.

ETSC: Europe Terminal Security Charge.

ETS: Estimated Time of Sailing.

ETT: Estimated Transit Time.

EWIB: Eastern Weighing and Inspection Bureau.

EWR: War Risk Surcharge.

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

Ex Dec: Contraction forShipper’s Export Declaration.

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

EXIM: See Export–Import Bank of the United States.

EXP: Export Service.

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

Export: Shipment of goods to a foreign country.

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

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

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

Export Marks: Words and symbols on the outside of packaged goods to indicate a number of things such as quantity, destination, buyer, etc.

Export Packers: Firms that securely pack export products into a container or crate to protect the cargo from damage during an ocean voyage.

Export Packing: The preparation of cargo for transit, including containerizing, moisture-proofing, crating, etc.

Export Program of the FDA: Firms exporting products from the US are often asked by foreign customers or foreign governments to supply an “export certificate” for products regulated by the FDA Food and Drug Administration . Please note that: FDA does not require that you obtain an export certificate, FDA is not required by law to issue export certificates (although the agency intends to continue to provide this service as resources permit).

Export Quota: The exporting country places a limit on the quantity and/or value of goods to protect domestic suppliers.

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

Express B/L: Non–negotiable B/L where there are no paper copies printed of originals.

EXW: See Ex Works below.

Ex Works (EXW): INCOTERMS. “Ex Works” means that the seller delivers when it places the goods at the disposal of the buyer at the seller’s premises or at another named place (i.e., works, factory, warehouse, etc.). The seller does not need to load the goods on any collecting vehicle, nor does it need to clear the goods for export, where such clearance is applicable.

Back to Top

| F |

F&W: See Fish and Wildlife Service.

FAA: See Federal Aviation Administration.

FAC: Fast as the Vessel Can; also Forwarding Agent Commission.

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

FAF: Fuel Adjustment Factor; also Fuel Adjustment Fee.

FAK: See Freight of All Kinds.

False Billing: Misrepresenting freight or weight on shipping documents.

FAS: See Foreign Agricultural Service; Fuel Additional Surcharge; Also see Free Alongside Ship.

FBL: FIATA French acronynm for International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations Bill of Lading.

FCA: See Free Carrier.

FCC: See Federal Communication Commission.

FCL: See Full Container Load.

FCL/DC: Full container load delivery Charge at Destination Port.

FCL/RC: Full container load container yard Terminal Receiving Charge.

FCPA: See Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

FD: Free Discharge.

FDA: See Food and Drug Administration.

FDA Office of International Programs: Laws, regulations and policies applicable to imports and exports, domestic and overseas inspections for compliance, fraud deterrence.

FDS: Forty-Foot Dry Van Surcharge.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA): Under the US Department of Transportation, the FAA works to ensure that all air travel is safe. Our mission is to provide the safest, most efficient aerospace system in the world. Learn more about how our mission is accomplished, the history of the FAA, and opportunities for the public to do business with the FAA.

Federal Communication Commission (FCC): The FCC regulates interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable in all 50 states, the District of Columbia (D.C.) and US territories. An independent US government agency overseen by Congress, the commission is the US’ primary authority for communications law, regulation and technological innovation. In its work facing economic opportunities and challenges associated with rapidly evolving advances in global communications, the agency capitalizes on its competencies in: Promoting competition, innovation and investment in broadband services and facilities; Supporting the nation’s economy by ensuring an appropriate competitive framework for the unfolding of the communications revolution; Encouraging the highest and best use of spectrum domestically and internationally; Revising media regulations so that new technologies flourish alongside diversity and localism; Providing leadership in strengthening the defense of the nation’s communications infrastructure.

Federal Maritime Commission (FMC): The US Governmental regulatory body responsible for administering maritime affairs including the tariff system, freight forwarder licensing, enforcing the conditions of the Shipping Act and approving conference or other carrier agreements. The FMC is the independent federal agency responsible for regulating the US international ocean transportation system for the benefit of US exporters, importers, and the US consumer.

Federal Trade Commission (FTC): Works to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices. They also provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid scams and fraud.

FEE: Feeder Freight.

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

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

Fender Piles: The wooden or plastic pilings on the outer edge of the wharf that function like the fenders on a car. They absorb the shock of a ship as it docks at the wharf and to protect the structural pilings that actually support the wharf.

FES: Fuel Escalation Surcharge.

FEU: See Forty Foot Equivalent Unit.

FF: Freight Forwarder.

FFC: Forwarder Commission – Origin.

FGC: Food Grade Containers.

FICY: Free in/Container Yard. Loading is at cosigner’s cost, delivering is provided to container yard.

FIF: Foreign Inland Fuel Charge.

FIFO: Free in/Free out. See also FIOS.

FIFS: Foreign Fuel Surcharge.

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

FILO: Free In, Liner Out. Loading is at consigner’s cost, discharging is at liner cost.

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

FIOS: Free in/out Stowed. Loading/discharging is at consigner’s cost.

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

Fish and Wildlife Service (F&W): Import and Export of wildlife and endangered and threatened species. The International Affairs section is responsible for administering CITES Convention on International Trade and Endangered Species for the US. We primarily issue permits to import and export species that are protected by CITES and by various other wildlife conservation laws. Some examples of other activities we permit are: take of certain marine mammals; take and interstate and foreign commerce of non-native species protected by the Endangered Species Act, including a captive-bred wildlife registration; cooperative breeding programs for live exotic birds covered by the Wild Bird Conservation Act; and import and transport of injurious wildlife. (United States DOI).

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

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

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

Fleeting: The area at which barges, towboats and tugs are berth until needed. The operation of building or dismantling barge tows.

FLXI: Flexibag/Flexitank Surcharge.

FMC: See Federal Maritime Commission.

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

FOB: See Free On Board.

FOB Freight Allowed: The same as FOB Free on Board named inland carrier, except the buyer pays the transportation charge and the seller reduces the invoice by a like amount.

FOB Freight Prepaid: The same as FOB Free on Board named inland carrier, except the seller pays the freight charges of the inland carrier.

FOB Named Point of Exportation: Seller is responsible for the cost of placing the goods at a named point of exportation. Some European buyers use this form when they actually mean FOB Free on Board vessel.

FOB Vessel: Seller is responsible for goods and preparation of export documentation until actually placed aboard the vessel.

Food and Drug Administration (FDA): The FDA is responsible for protecting the public health by assuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, our nations food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation. The FDA also provides accurate, science-based health information to the public.

FOR: Free on Rail.

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

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

Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS): The FAS links US agriculture to the world to enhance export opportunities and global food security. In addition to its Washington, D.C. staff, FAS has a global network of 96 offices covering 169 countries. These offices are staffed by agricultural attachés and locally hired staff who are the eyes, ears, and voice for US agriculture around the world. FAS staff identify problems, provide practical solutions, and work to advance opportunities for US agriculture and support US foreign policy around the globe.

Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA): Act of 1977, as amended, 15 U.S.C. §§ 78dd-1, et seq. The FCPA was enacted for the purpose of making it unlawful for certain classes of persons and entities to make payments to foreign government officials to assist in obtaining or retaining business. Specifically, the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA prohibit the willful use of the mails or any means of instrumentality of interstate commerce corruptly in furtherance of any offer, payment, promise to pay, or authorization of the payment of money or anything of value to any person, while knowing that all or a portion of such money or thing of value will be offered, given or promised, directly or indirectly, to a foreign official to influence the foreign official in his or her official capacity, induce the foreign official to do or omit to do an act in violation of his or her lawful duty, or to secure any improper advantage in order to assist in obtaining or retaining business for or with, or directing business to, any person.

Foreign Principal Party of Interest (FPPI): The party to whom final delivery or end use of the exported goods will be made, usually the buyer.

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

Foreign Trade Program (FTP): Administered by US Census -part of DOC US Department of Commerce . To provide detailed statistics on goods and estimates of services shipped from the US to foreign countries. The US Code, Title 13, requires this program. Participation is mandatory. CBP US Customs and Border Protection and the BEA Bureau of Economic Analysis assist in the conduct of this program. Data are compiled in terms of commodity classification, quantities, values, shipping weights, method of transportation (air or vessel), state of (movement) origin, customs district, customs port, country of destination, and whether contents are domestic goods or reexports. Since January 1989, commodities have been compiled under Schedule B harmonized classifications of domestic and foreign commodity exports. These transactions are classified under approximately 9,000 different products leaving the US. Statistics are also complied under the SITC Standard International Trade Classification , the NAICS North American Industry Classification System , End-Use Commodity Classification, and Advanced Technology Products. These statistics include data about all 240 US trading partners, over 400 US ports, and 45 districts.

Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ): A free port in a country divorced from Customs authority but under government control. Known in some countries as a Free Trade Zone, a FTZ is a site within the US (in or near a US Customs port of entry) where foreign and domestic goods are held until they are ready to be released into international commerce. Merchandise, except that which is prohibited, may be stored in the zone without being subject to import duty regulations.

Forty Foot Equivalent Unit (FEU): Refers to container size standard of 40 feet. Two 20–foot containers or TEU’s equal one FEU.

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

Forty Foot Equivalent: Space equivalent to a 40′ ISO container. Refers to container size standard of 40 feet. Two 20–foot containers or TEU’s equal one FEU.

Forwarder Compensation: See Brokerage.

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

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

FPA: See Free of Particular Average.

FPPI: See Foreign Principal Party of Interest.

FR: Flat Rack.

Free Alongside: The seller must deliver the goods to a pier and place them within reach of the ship’s loading equipment.

Free Alongside Ship (FAS): INCOTERMS. “Free Alongside Ship” means that the seller delivers when the goods are placed alongside the vessel (e.g., on a quay or a barge) nominated by the buyer at the named port of shipment. The risk of loss of or damage to the goods passes when the goods are alongside the ship, and the buyer bears all costs from that moment onwards.

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

Free Carrier (FCA): INCOTERMS. “Free Carrier” means that the seller delivers the goods to the carrier or another person nominated by the buyer at the seller’s premises or another named place. The parties are well advised to specify as clearly as possible the point within the named place of delivery, as the risk passes to the buyer at that point.

Free On Board (FOB): INCOTERMS. “Free On Board” means that the seller delivers the goods on board the vessel nominated by the buyer at the named port of shipment or procures the goods already so delivered. The risk of loss of or damage to the goods passes when the goods are on board the vessel, and the buyer bears all costs from that moment onwards.

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

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

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

Free Time: That amount of time that a carrier’s equipment may be used without incurring additional charges; refers both to a cargo usage and an equipment usage.

  • For Cargo Usage: This is the time allowed for cargo to remain in the custody of the transportation carrier and/or port/airport cargo terminal following arrival and/or availability for pick up, delivery or on-carriage before additional charges, known as demurrage are charged by the carrier or terminal operator.
  • For Equipment Usage: This is the time permitted for loading or unloading a means of transport such as a truck, rail car, vessel or aircraft, or the combined period of time an intermodal container, chassis or trailer may be in the custody of a shipper/consignee or local drayage carrier, beyond which a daily detention fee (a per diem charge) is charged for use of the equipment.

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

Freight B/L: A contract of carriage between a shipper and forwarder (who is usually a NVOCC); a non–negotiable document.

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

Freight Brokerage: A commission paid to a licensed Freight Forwarder or Custom House Broker. It is paid by the steamship line concerning export transactions. Commission can be paid either as a percentage of the freight charges or as a lump sum amount per container, depending on the carrier and/or trade lane.

Freight Consolidator: A company which receives a shipper’s cargo from different locations and consolidates those shipments into containers. The firm may also combine goods from several shippers into a container to lower individual freight costs.

Freight Forwarder: A person whose business is to act as an agent on behalf of the shipper. A freight forwarder frequently makes the booking reservation. In the US, freight forwarders are now licensed by the FMC Federal Maritime Comission as “Ocean Transport Intermediaries.”

Freighters: Breakbulk vessels both refrigerated and unrefrigerated, containerships, partial containerships, roll–on/roll–off vessels, and barge carriers. A general cargo vessel designed to carry heterogeneous mark and count cargoes.

Freight of All Kinds: A basic transportation rate quoted to transport intermediaries by air and ocean carriers to describe most general cargo.

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

FSEC: Foreign Port Security Charge.

FSO: Fuel Surcharge Inland Origin.

FTC: See Federal Trade Commission.

FTHC: Foreign Terminal Handling Charge.

FTX: Freight Tax Surcharge.

FTZ: See Foreign Trade Zone.

Full and Down: An expression to describe a loaded vessel carrying cargoes of such a volume and weight that it fills all the vessel’s spaces and also brings her down to her tonnage loadline. A rare but optimum revenue condition for a vessel operator.

Full Container Load: A container loaded by the shipper and unloaded by the receiver.

Full Containerships: Ships equipped with permanent container cells, with little or no space for other types of cargo.

Full Shipload Lot: The amount of cargo a vessel carries or is able to carry. Practically, it is the amount of cargo which induces the specific voyage. While the cargo lot may take up the majority of the vessel’s space or tonnage capacity, it does not require a vessel’s volume and weight capacity to be fully utilized.

Back to Top

| G |

GA: See General Average.

GAS: Gulf of Aden Surcharge; also Gulf of Aden Security Surcharge.

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

GATT: See General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.

GBL: Government B/L. A bill of lading issued by the US government.

GDSM: See General Department Store Merchandise.

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

General Average: Coverage for loss resulting from voluntary sacrifice for instance jettison, or expending cargo to prevent loss of vessel, crew, passengers, or total cargo. The value of such a loss is averaged among all parties concerned. Per the U.S. Supreme court, “General Average is a contribution by all the parties in a sea adventure to make good a loss sustained by one of their number on account of sacrifices voluntarily made of part of the ship or cargo to save the residue and lives of those on board from an impending peril, or for extraordinary expense necessarily incurred by one or more of the parties, for the general benefit of all the interest embarked in the enterprise.” Average equates to loss.

General Average Contribution: The monetary contribution of each party involved in a general average.

General Average Security: As settling a general avearge may take months or years, to release the cargo the adjuster requires as general average securtity a bond or underwriter’s security or a deposit.

General Cargo: Consists of both containerized and breakbulk goods, in contrast to bulk cargo. See breakbulk, container, bulk cargo. General cargo operations produces more jobs than bulk handling.

General Cargo Carriers: Breakbulk freighters, car carriers, cattle carriers, pallet carriers and timber carriers. A vessel designed to carry heterogeneous mark and count cargoes.

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

General Order: When US Customs orders shipments without entries to be kept in their custody in a bonded warehouse.

General Rate Increase: Used to describe an across–the–board tariff rate increase implemented by conference members and applied to base rates.

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

GHD: Foreign Terminal Handling Charge.

GI: General Rates Increase/Restoration.

GIO: Gate Charge.

GIWW: See Gulf Intracoastal Waterway.

GLCH: Landing Charge.

GLF: Landing Charge.

Global Maritime Intelligence Integration (GMII): An office within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, with the mission to ensure government–wide access to maritime information and data critical to intelligence production and to serve as the focal point and oversight agent for maritime specific information issues.

GMII: See Global Maritime Intelligence Integration above.

GO: See General Order.

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

GOH: Garments on Hanger Additional.

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

GPHC: Foreign Terminal Handling Charge.

Grain Elevator: The facility at which bulk grain is unloaded, weighed, cleaned, blended and exported. There are 10 grain elevators between Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and the Gulf of Mexico. Annually, they handle about 60 percent of all US grain exports.

GRI: See General Rate Increase.

Gross ton/long ton: 2,240 lb.

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

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

Gross Tonnage: Applies to vessels, not to cargo, (0.2+0.02 log10V) where V is the volume in cubic meters of all enclosed spaces on the vessel. Since 1994, it replaces “Gross Registered Tonnage.” An approximate conversion ratio is 1NT = 1.7 GT and 1 GT = 1.5 DWT Deadweight Tonnage .

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

GT: See Gross Tonnage.

Gulf Intracoastal Waterway: Is a barge channel extending from Brownsville, Texas, to St. Marks, Florida. This inland channel protects barges and small craft from high seas.

GVW: See Gross Vehicle Weight.

Back to Top

| H |

HAB: House Air Waybill.

HAC: Hazardous Additional Surcharge.

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

Handymax Vessel: A dry bulk vessel of 35,000 to 49,000 DWT Deadweight Tonnage . (Note that a “Handy” drybulk carrier is from 10,000 to 34,000 DWT Deadweight Tonnage . A “Handymax Tanker” is a liquid bulk carrier of 10,000 to 60,000 DWT Deadweight Tonnage .

Harbor: Any place to which ships may resort for shelter, or to load or unload passengers or goods, or to obtain fuel, water, or supplies. This term applies to such places whether proclaimed public or not and whether natural or artificial.

Harbor Master: An official responsible for construction, maintenance, operation, regulation, enforcement, administration and management pertaining to marinas, ports and harbors.

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

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

HAWB: House Air Waybill.

Hazardous Materials: This is the U.S. equivalent of the internationally used Dangerous Goods. The term includes hazardous substances, hazardous wastes, marine pollutants, and elevated temperature materials which in transport can cause injury, illness, death or disease in humans or animals, or pollution of the marine and surface environment, and/or destruction of property. These include any solid, liquid, or gaseous material that is toxic, explosive, flammable, radioactive, corrosive, chemically reactive or unstable.

HAZ: Hazardous.

HAZMAT: See Hazardous Materials.

HC: High Cube Container.

HCC: Hazardous Cargo Surcharge.

HDG: Inland haulage charge for dangerous goods.

Heavy Hauler: A truck specially-equipped to transport unusually heavy cargoes (steel slabs, bulldozers, transformers, boats, heavy machinery, etc.)

Heavy Lift: Very large and heavy cargoes that require specialized equipment to move the products to and from ship, truck, rail, barge and terminals; Also called project cargo.

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

H/H: House to House. See CY/CY.

HH/Goods: Household goods.

HHG: Household Goods.

HI: Hazardous Surcharge on US Inlands.

High Cube: A 40′ ocean container with an internal height of 9′ 6″ versus a regular container height of 8′ 6″.

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

Hitchment B/L: B/L covering parts of a shipment which are loaded at more than one location. Hitchment B/L usually consists of two parts, hitchment and hitchment memo. The hitchment portion usually covers the majority of a divided shipment and carries the entire revenue.

HM: See Hazardous Materials.

Homeland Security Investigations (HSI): US ICE Immigration and Customs Enforcement's and HSI plays a central role in export enforcement. Its Counter-Proliferation Investigations Program, housed under HSI’s National Security Investigations Division, has been deeply involved in export enforcement during the past three decades. Executive Order 13558 created the Export Enforcement Coordination Center. The Center strengthens the enforcement of US export laws through the facilitation of partner agency communication and collaboration to keep our nation safe. HSI, as part of the DHS Department of Homeland Security , manages and operates the Export Enforcement Coordination Center.

Homeport: A port from which a cruiseship loads passengers and beings its itinerary and to which it returns to disembark passengers at the end of the voyage; Also called an “embarkation port” or a “turnaround port.”

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

House B/L: B/L issued by a freight forwarder or consolidator covering a single shipment containing the names, addresses and specific description of the goods shipped.

House to House: See CY/CY.

House to Pier: See CY/CFS.

House–to–House: See Door–to–Door and CY/CY.

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

H/P: House to Pier. See CY/CFS.

HRC: Hazardous Cargo Rail Surcharge.

HRD: Port Harbor Charge.

HS: See Harmonized System of Codes.

HT: Heavy Tested Container Surcharge.

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

Back to Top

| I |

IA: See Independent Action

IAPH: See International Association of Ports and Harbors.

IATA: International Air Transport Association.

ICC: Interstate Commerce Commission; also see International Chamber of Commerce.

ICE: See US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

ICOA: International Civil Aviation Organization.

ICTF: Immediate Container Transfer Facility.

IE: See Immediate Exit.

IF: Interim Fuel Participation/Assessment.

IFC: Inland Fuel Charge.

IFD: Inland Fuel Charge at Destination.

IFL: Inland Fuel Charge at Origin.

IFM: See Inward Foreign Manifest.

IFO: Inland Fuel Surcharge At Origin.

IFP: Interim Fuel Participation Factor.

IFP: Interim Fuel Surcharge; also Interim Fuel Participation/Assessment.

IFS: Intermodal Fuel Surcharge.

IHC: Indian Statutory Service Tax.

IHI: Inland Haulage Import.

IHL: Inland Haulage Charge for Loading Port.

ILA: International Longshoremen’s Association. See Labor Unions and Longshoremen.

IMA: Hazardous Surcharge.

IMCO: See International Maritime Consultative Organization.

IMDG (Code): See International Maritime Dangerous Goods (Code).

Immediate Delivery Entry: See Customs Entries.

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

Immediate Export Entry: This is a type of U.S. customs entry and procedure using the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Form 7512, also referred to unofficially as a direct export entry (D.E.), covering in-bond cargo which is to be exported via direct transfer under bond to an export carrier departing directly from the customs port, airport of other point of cargo arrival, or from a customs bonded warehouse or FTZ located within the boundaries of the customs port.

Immediate Exit: In the US, Customs IE Form is used when goods are brought into the US and are to be immediately re–exported without being transported within the US.

Immediate Transportation Entry: This is a type of U.S. customs entry and procedure using the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Form 7512 covering in-bond cargo which is to be transported under bond from the jurisdiction of one customs port (i.e., the port or airport of arrival or the location of the FTZ or customs bonded warehouse where the cargo is being drawn from) to another customs port or airport for customs clearance or another disposition other than export. This procedure is also commonly referred to as an in-transit entry. See also Customs Entries.

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

IMO: See International Maritime Organization. Also, Dangerous Cargo Service; also Dangerous Goods Surcharge.

Import: To receive goods from a foreign country.

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

Import Program: With the exception of most meat and poultry, all food, drugs, biologics, cosmetics, medical devices, and electronic products that emit radiation, as defined in the FD&C Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and related Acts, are subject to examination by FDA when they are being imported or offered for import into the US (United States FDA).

Importation Program: CDC regulations govern the importation of animals and animal products capable of causing human disease. Pets taken out of the US are subject upon return to the same regulations as those entering for the first time. The CDC does not require general certificates of health for pets for entry into the US. However, health certificates may be required for entry into some states, or may be required by airlines for pets. You should check with officials in your state of destination and with your airline prior to your travel date. (United States CDC).

IMX: See Intermodal Exchange.

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

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

In Transit: In transit, or in passage.

In Transit Entry:This is a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol term and refers to a type of customs entry used to cover cargo which is to move from one customs port to another under bond. Depending on the situation, this term general term can mean an immediate transportation entry (I.T.), an immediate export entry (I.E.) and/or transportation and exportation entry (T & E.).

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

INCOTERMS: International Commercial Terms. The Incoterms® rules are an internationally recognized standard and are used worldwide in international and domestic contracts for the sale of goods. First published in 1936, Incoterms® rules provide internationally accepted definitions and rules of interpretation for most common commercial terms. They are published by the International Chamber of Commerce with the most recent version being INCOTERMS® 2010.

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

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

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

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

Industrial Canal: The common name for the 5.5-mile long, Inner Harbor Navigation Canal, which links the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain. It also provides the link to the MRGO Mississippi River Gulf Outlet which was closed permanently in Spring 2009, and the eastbound connection to the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway.

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

Inland B/L: See B/L.

Inland Bill of Lading: See B/L.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Intellectual Property Enforcement (IPE): The Office IPE promotes US innovation by advocating for the effective protection and enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights around the world. IPE’s advocacy seeks to strengthen economic rules and norms, increase US business and private sector growth and investment, and create market access for US goods and services. The IPE team works closely with economic, commercial, and public diplomacy officers at the State Department’s embassies, consulates, and missions to ensure that the interests of American rights holders are represented overseas, and to highlight the integral role of IPR protection in supporting global economic stability. IPE actively participates in multilateral and bilateral negotiations and discussions on IPR-related issues, and distributes training and technical assistance funds to help build IPR law enforcement capacity in developing countries. The office also directs an international public diplomacy initiative to broaden awareness of IPR’s important role in addressing international concerns, such as counterfeit medicines and internet piracy. IPE is also active in interagency efforts to combat trade in counterfeit and pirated goods worldwide. (United States DOS).

Interchange: Transfer of a container from one party to another.

Interchange Agreement: Contract between carrier and trucker that legally permits interchange of equipment.

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

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

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

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

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

Intermodal B/L: Bill of Lading covering cargo moving via multi-modal means. It is a form that allows for the separate designation of origin and/or destination for land or air carriers in addition to water carriers. This new format is now used almost universally by, ocean carriers, multi-modal ocean carriers and freight forwarders.

Intermodal Exchange: This is transportation shorthand for intermodal exchange. In an Intermodal Exchange yard, containers can be lifted from truck chassis to rail intermodal cars or vice versa.

Intermodal Shipment: When more than one mode of transportation is used to ship cargo from origin to destination.

International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH): Recognized as the only international organization representing the voice of the world port industry, IAPH is granted Consultative Status as a NGO Non-Governmental Organization from five United Nations specialized agencies and one intergovernmental body. Promoting the interest of ports worldwide through strong member relationships, collaboration and information-sharing that help resolve common issues, advance sustainable practices and continually improve how ports serve the maritime industries.

International Chamber of Commerce (ICC): Provides a forum for businesses and other organizations to examine and better comprehend the nature and significance of the major shifts taking place in the world economy. We also offer an influential and respected channel for supplying business leadership to help governments manage those shifts in a collaborative manner for the benefit of the world economy as a whole.

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

International Maritime Dangerous Goods (Code): The International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code was developed as a uniform international code for the transport of dangerous goods (hazardous materials) by sea covering such matters as packing, container traffic and stowage, with particular reference to the segregation of incompatible substances.

International Maritime Organization (IMO): The United Nations specialized agency with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships.

International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC): An international agreement on plant health to which 181 signatories currently adhere. It aims to protect cultivated and wild plants by preventing the introduction and spread of pests. The Secretariat of the IPPC is provided by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations.

International Ship and Port Security Code (ISPS): It is an amendment to the SOLAS Safety of Life at Sea Convention (1974/1988) on 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 preventative measures against security incidents affecting ships or port facilities used in international trade.”

International Standards Organization (ISO): Deals in standards of all sorts, ranging from documentation to equipment packaging and labeling.

International Trade Administration (ITA): Strengthens the competitiveness of US industry, promotes trade and investment, and ensures fair trade through the rigorous enforcement of our trade laws and agreements. ITA works to improve the global business environment and helps US organizations compete at home and abroad. (United States DOC).

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

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

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

IPE: See Intellectual Property Enforcement.

IPI: Inland Point Intermodal.

IPPC: See International Plant Protection Convention.

IPS: International Ships & Port Security.

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

ISD: Discharge Port ISPS Security Charge.

ISM: Import Service Mode.

ISN: See Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation.

ISO: See International Standards Organization.

ISP: International Standby Practices.

ISPS: See International Ship and Port Security Code; Can also mean International Ship and Port Facility Security.

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

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

IT: See Immediate Transport. See also In–Transit Entry (IT).

ITA: See International Trade Administration.

ITAR: International Traffic in Arms Regulation.

ITM: Import Transport Mode.

IUF: Empty Return Inspection Fee.

Back to Top

| J |

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

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

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

JIT: See Just-in-Time.

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

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

Back to Top

| K |

KD: See Knocked Down.

Kilogram: 1,000 grams or 2.2046 pounds.

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

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

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

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

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

Back to Top

| L |

L/C: See Letter of Credit.

Labor Union: An organization of workers formed to serve members’ collective interests with regard to wages and working conditions.

Laden: Loaded aboard a vessel.

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

LAND: Landing Charge.

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

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

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

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

Landlord Port: A port authority that builds wharves, which it then rents or leases to a terminal operator, usually a stevedoring company. The Port of New Orleans is a landlord port.

Lanemeter: Primarily used to indicate the cargo capacity of a roll–on/roll–off car carrier. It is one meter of deck with a width of 2.5 to 3.0 meters.

LASH: See Lighter Aboard Ship.

Lash Barge: These small barges measure 61’5” by 31’2” wide and have a 13 foot draft. Each can hold 430 short (390 metric) tons. They may be used to transport forest products, grain, steel or other cargoes.

Launch Service: Companies that offer “water-taxi” service to ships at anchorage.

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

Laydays: Refers to the time when a ship must present itself to the charterer. If the ship arrives before the Laydays specified, the charterer does not have to take control or start loading (depending on the type of charter). If the ship arrives after the Laydays, then the contract can be cancelled – hence Laydays are often presented as the term Laydays and Cancelling and can be shortened to LAYCAN.

Laytime: In commercial shipping, Laytime is the amount of time allowed (in hours or days) in a voyage charter for the loading and unloading of cargo. If the Laytime is exceeded, demurrage is incurred. If the whole period of Laytime is not needed, despatch may be payable by the shipowner to the charterer, depending on the terms of the charter party.

LCL: Less Than Container Load.

LDO: Late Document Fee.

Less Than Container Load (LCL): It refers to a partial container load that is usually consolidated with other goods to fill a container.

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

  • Letter of Credit (LC) – Back–to–Back: A Letter of Credit issued after the first one has been collateralized.
  • Letter of Credit (LC) – Clean: A Letter of Credit that requires the beneficiary to present only a draft or a receipt for specified funds before receiving payment.
  • Letter of Credit (LC) – Confirmed: An Letter of Credit guaranteed by both the issuing and advising banks of payment so long as seller’s documents are in order, and the L/C terms are met. Only applied to irrevocable L/C’s. The confirming bank assumes the credit risk of the issuing bank. A letter of credit, issued by a foreign bank, whose validity has been confirmed by a domestic bank. An exporter with a confirmed letter of credit is assured of payment even if the foreign buyer or the foreign bank defaults.
  • Letter of Credit (LC) – Deferred Payment: A Letter of Credit issued for the purchase and financing of merchandise, similar to acceptance–type letter of credit, except that it requires presentation of sight drafts payable on an installment basis.
  • Letter of Credit (LC) – Irrevocable: A Letter of Credit in which the specified payment is guaranteed by the bank if all terms and conditions are met by the drawee and which cannot be revoked without joint agreement of both the buyer and the seller.
  • Letter of Credit (LC) – Non cumulative: A revolving Letter of Credit that prohibits the amount not used during the specific period from being available afterwards.
  • Letter of Credit (LC) – Restricted: A condition within the Letter of Credit which restricts its negotiation to a named bank.
  • Letter of Credit (LC) – Revocable: An instrument that can be modified or cancelled at any moment without notice to and agreement of the beneficiary, but customarily includes a clause in the credit to the effect that any draft negotiated by a bank prior to the receipt of a notice of revocation or amendment will be honored by the issuing bank. Rarely used since there is no protection for the seller.
  • Letter of Credit (LC) – Revolving: An irrevocable letter issued for a specific amount; renews itself for the same amount over a given period.
  • Letter of Credit (LC) – Straight: A letter of credit that contains a limited engagement clause which states that the issuing bank promises to pay the beneficiary upon presentation of the required documents at its counters or the counters of the named bank.
  • Letter of Credit (LC) – Transferable: A Letter of Credit that allows the beneficiary to transfer in whole or in part to another beneficiary any amount which, in aggregate, of such transfers does not exceed the amount of the credit. Used by middlemen.
  • Letter of Credit (LC) – Unconfirmed: A Letter of Credit forwarded to the beneficiary by the advising bank without engagement on the part of the advising bank.

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

LFO: Origin Lift On/Off Charge.

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

Licensing and Review Office (L&R): The role of L&R is to administer the Patent Secrecy Act as defined by 35 U.S.C. 181-186 and 37 CFR part 5. The primary function of this Act is to prevent publication of an application as a patent or a patent application publication where such disclosure would be detrimental to US national security. Additionally, the Act provides for the licensing of applications for export for the purposes of filing for patents abroad. USPTO DOC US Patent and Trade Office and the US Department of Commerce

LI-DOOR: Liner in / Door (loading is at liner cost, delivering is provided to client’s door).

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

LIFO: Liner In, Free Out. (loading is at liner cost, discharging is at consigner’s cost).

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

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

Lighter Aboard Ship (LASH): A specially constructed vessel equipped with an overhead crane for lifting specially designed barges and stowing them into cellular slots in an athwartship position. These 900-foot long ships carry small barges inside the vessel. Just as cargo is transported by barge from the shallower parts of the Mississippi River to the Port of New Orleans for export aboard ocean-going ships, LASH barges are lifted into these specialized ships. Overseas, the ship can discharge clusters of barges in the open waters. Then several towboats will assemble the barges into tows bound for various ports and inland waterways, without the ship having to spend time traveling to each port.

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

LILO: Liner in/liner out (loading and discharging is at liner cost).

LINE: Vessel line.

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

Liner: A vessel advertising sailings on a specified trade route on a regular basis. It is not necessary that every named port be called on every voyage.

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

Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG): Natural gas will liquefy at a temperature of approximately -259 F or -160 C at atmospheric pressure. One cubic foot of liquefied gas will expand to approximately 600 cubic feet of gas at atmospheric pressure.

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

Liter: 1.06 liquid US quarts or 33.9 fluid ounces.

Lloyds’ Registry: An organization maintained for the surveying and classing of ships so that insurance underwriters and others may know the quality and condition of the vessels offered for insurance or employment.

LNG: See Liquefied Natural Gas.

LNG Carrier (LNGC): An ocean-going ship specially constructed to carry LNG in tanks at 160 C. Current average carrying capacity of LNGs is 125,000 cubic meters. Many LNGCs presently under construction or on order are in the 210,000 – 215,000 cubic meter range.

LNGC: See LNG Carrier above.

Load Line: The waterline corresponding to the maximum draft to which a vessel is permitted to load, either by freeboard regulations, the conditions of classification, or the conditions of service. See also Plimsoll Mark.

Load plan: See Container Load Plan.

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

LOI: Letter of Indemnity.

Long Form B/L: Bill of Lading form with all Terms & Conditions written on it. Most B/L’s are short form which incorporate the long form clauses by reference.

Long Ton: 2,240 pounds.

Longshoremen: Dock workers who load and unload ships; also called Stevedores.

Loose: Without packing.

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

LP: Loading Port.

LR: Low Sulfur Charge.

LSC: Low Sulfur Fuel Contribution.

LSF: Low Sulfur Fuel Charge.

LSFC: Low Sulfur Diesel Charge.

LSFS: Low Sulfur Surcharge.

LSP: Logistics Service Provider.

LT: Long Ton (2,240 pounds).

LTL: Less Than Truckload. Usually LTL cargoes from different sources are consolidated to save costs.

LWS: Low Water Surcharge.

Back to Top

| M |

M & R: Maintenance and Repair.

M/T: Metric Ton || 2,204.6 pounds or 1,000 kilograms.

MAF: Import Container Management Fee.

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

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

Manifest: The ship captain’s list of individual goods that make up the ship’s cargo. Document that lists in detail all the bills of lading issued by a carrier or its agent or master for a specific voyage. A detailed summary of the total cargo of a vessel. Used principally for Customs purposes.

MAR: Marpol Surcharge.

MARAD: See Maritime Administration.

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

Marine Surveyor: A person who inspects a ship hull or its cargo for damage or quality.

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

Maritime Administration (MARAD): The Maritime Administration is the agency within the DOT US Department of Transportation dealing with waterborne transportation. Its programs promote the use of waterborne transportation and its seamless integration with other segments of the transportation system, and the viability of the US merchant marine. The Maritime Administration works in many areas involving ships and shipping, shipbuilding, port operations, vessel operations, national security, environment, and safety. The Maritime Administration is also charged with maintaining the health of the merchant marine, since commercial mariners, vessels, and intermodal facilities are vital for supporting national security, and so the agency provides support and information for current mariners, extensive support for educating future mariners, and programs to educate America’s young people about the vital role the maritime industry plays in the lives of all Americans. The Maritime Administration also maintains a fleet of cargo ships in reserve to provide surge sealift during war and national emergencies, and is responsible for disposing of ships in that fleet, as well as other non-combatant Government ships, as they become obsolete.

Maritime Domain: It is all areas and things of, on, under, relating to, adjacent to, or bordering on a sea, ocean, or other navigable waterway, including all maritime related activities, infrastructure, people, cargo, and vessels and other conveyances.

Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA): It is the effective understanding of anything associated with the global maritime domain that could impact the security, safety, economy, or environment of the United States.

Maritime Security and Safety Information System (MSSIS): It shares and displays vessel AIS Automated Identification System data real–time with multiple international users through a web–based, password–protected system.

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

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

Marshaling Yard: A container “parking lot,” where containers are stored in a precise order according to the ship loading plan.

MarView: It is an integrated, data–driven environment providing essential information to support the strategic requirements of the US Marine Transportation System and its contribution to economic viability of the nation.

Master: The officer in charge of the ship. “Captain” is a courtesy title often given to a master.

Master Inbound: US Customs’ automated program under AMS Automated Manifest System . It allows for electronic reporting of inbound (foreign) cargoes in the US.

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

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

MCFS: Master Container Freight Station. See CFS.

MDA: See Maritime Domain Awareness.

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

Measurement Ton: 40 cubic feet.

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

Megaports Initiative: It is a NNSA National Nuclear Security Administration initiative, started in 2003. It teams up with other countries to enhance their ability to screen cargo at major international seaports. The Initiative provides radiation detection equipment and trains their personnel to specifically check for nuclear or other radioactive materials. In return, NNSA requires that data be shared on detections and seizures of nuclear or radiological material that resulted from the use of the equipment provided.

Memo B/L: Unfreighted B/L with no charges listed.

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

Memorandum Freight Bill: This is a specific type of abridged B/L serving only as a receipt for cargo that does not show the freight amount

Meter: 39.37 inches (approximately).

Metric ton/kilo ton: 2,204.6 lb.

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

Midstream Operator: A company that transfers bulk cargo from one vessel anchored in midstream to another, rather than along shore. Grain and coal are sometimes handled this way.

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

Military B/L: Bill of Lading issued by the US Military. Also known as GBL or Form DD1252.

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

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

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

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

MLB: See Mini Landbridge.

MMFB: Middlewest Motor Freight Bureau.

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

Mooring Dolphin: A cluster of pilings to which a boat or barge ties up.

MQC: Minimum Quantity Commitment.

MRS: Low Sulfur fuel charge (Marpol reg.)

MSA: Maritime Security Act.

MSL: Maritime Security Levy.

MSP: A DOT US Department of Transportation program that helps to assure sufficient sealift to support the US Armed Forces and US emergency sealift needs, using commercial ships.

MSSIS: See Maritime Security and Safety Information System.

MT: Metric Ton.

MTO: Multimodal Transport Operator.

MTSA: See The Maritime Transportation Security Act.

Multimodal: Synonymous for all practical purposes with “Intermodal.”

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

MVC: Minimum Volume Commitment.

Back to Top

| N |

NAPS: USA Port Security.

National Cargo Bureau (NCB): Established in 1952 as a non-profit marine surveying organization that inspects and surveys ships and cargoes incidental to loading and discharging. It issues certificates as evidence of compliance with the provisions of the Dangerous Cargo Act and the Rules and Regulations for Bulk Grain Cargo.

National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA): Determines eligibility to import vehicles into the US Transport Canada may require evidence that a US motor vehicle manufacturer has complied with US regulations before permission is granted to import the vehicle into Canada. To assist these manufacturer’s, NHTSA will verify receipt of the manufacturer’s submission of information, as required by 49 CFR Cost and Freight Parts 565 and 566. We will also review a manufacturer’s certification label to verify compliance with the requirements of 49 CFR Parts 567 and 568.

National Select Agent Registry:  The Federal Select Agent Program is jointly comprised of the CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Division of Select Agents and Toxins and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services/Agricultural Select Agent Program. The Federal Select Agent Program oversees the possession, use and transfer of biological select agents and toxins, which have the potential to pose a severe threat to public, animal or plant health or to animal or plant products. The Program greatly enhances the nation’s oversight of the safety and security of select agents by: Developing, implementing, and enforcing the Select Agent Regulations; Maintaining a national database; Inspecting entities that possess, use, or transfer select agents; Ensuring that all individuals who work with these agents undergo a security risk assessment performed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation/Criminal Justice Information Service; Providing guidance to regulated entities on achieving compliance to the regulations through the development of guidance documents, conducting workshops and webinars; Investigation of any incidents in which non-compliance may have occurred. (United States CDC).

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

Naval Cooperation and Guidance for Shipping (NCAGS): It is a naval organization with members who are trained to establish and provide advice for safe passage of merchant ships worldwide, during times of peace, tension, crisis and war. NCAGS personnel act as a liaison between military commanders and the civil authorities. During war, the NCAGS organization may be responsible for establishing a convoy.

NCAGS: See Naval Cooperation and Guidance for Shipping above.

NCB: See National Cargo Bureau.

NCITD: National Committee on International Trade Documentation.

NE: See Office of Nuclear Energy.

NEC: Not Elsewhere Classified.

Negotiable B/L: The Bill of Lading is a title document to the goods, issued “to the order of” a party, usually the shipper, whose endorsement is required to effect a negotiation. Thus, a shipper’s order (negotiable) B/L can be bought, sold, or traded while goods are in transit and is commonly used for letter–of–credit transactions. The buyer must submit the origi¬nal B/L to the carrier in order to take possession of the goods.

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

Net Register Tons (NRT): Theoretically the cargo capacity of the ship. Sometimes used to charge fees or taxes on a vessel. See Net Tonnage.

NES: Not Elsewhere Specified.

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

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

Net ton/short ton: 2,000 lb.

Net Tonnage (NT): The replacement, since 1994, for “Net Register Tonnage.” Theoretically the cargo capacity of the ship. Sometimes used to charge fees or taxes on a vessel. The formula is(0.2+0.02 log10(Vc)) Vc (4d/3D)2, for passenger ships the following formula is added: 1.25 (GT+10000)/10000 (N1+(N2/10)), where Vc is the volume of cargo holds, D is the distance between ship’s bottom and the uppermost deck, d is the draught, N1 is the number of cabin passengers, and N2 is the number of deck passengers.) “Ton” is figured as a 100 cubic foot ton. An approximate conversion ratio is 1NT = 1.7GT and 1GT = 1.5 DWT Deadweight Tonnage .

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

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

NGO: Non-Government Organization.

NHTSA: See National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration.

Nippon Kaiji Kyokai: A Japanese classification society which certifies seagoing vessels for compliance to standardized rules regarding construction and maintenance.

NIS: See Office of Nonproliferation and International Security.

NK: See Nippon Kaiji Kyokai.

NMFC: National Motor Freight Classification.

NOI: Not Otherwise Indexed.

NOIBN: Not Otherwise Indexed By Name.

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

Non Conference Carrier: An independent ocean carrier who does not belong to any group or conference of ocean carriers. This type of carrier sets its own policies and prices.

Non Cumulative Letter of Credit: A revolving letter of credit that prohibits the amount not used during the specific period from being available afterwards.

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

Non–Negotiable B/L: Sometimes means a file copy of a B/L. See Straight B/L.

Non-Proliferation Sanctions: Parties that have been sanctioned under various statutes. The linked webpage is updated as appropriate, but the Federal Register is the only official and complete listing of nonproliferation sanctions determinations. (United States ISN under the DOS).

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

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

NOS: Not Otherwise Specified.

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

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

NP: Norway Pollution Emission Surcharge.

NPCFB: North Pacific Coast Freight Bureau.

NRC: See Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

NRT: See Net Register Tons.

NSR: Customs Advanced Information Charge.

NT: See Net Tonnage.

NVOCC: See Non–Vessel Operating Common Carrier.

Numbers, B/L: US Customs’ standardized B/L numbering format to facilitate elec¬tronic communications and to make each B/L number unique.

Back to Top

| O |

OA: Arbitrary.

OAC: See Office of Anti-Boycott Compliance.

OBL: Ocean Bill of Lading.

OC: See Office of Compliance.

OCC: Operations Cost Contribution.

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

Ocean Carrier: Diesel-fueled vessels that has long replaced steamships of the past. The person who represents the ship in port is often called a steamship agent.

Ocean Carrier Agent: See Steamship Agent.

Ocean Rate: Ocean rates are classified in several ways. For example:

    • Class – Grouping of articles.
    • Commodity – Specific articles.
    • Arbitrary – Fixed rate according to port to port.
    • Minimum – Lowest charge.

  • Heavy Lift Charge – Extra Charge for cargo which needs extra or heavy equipment to load or unload, charge assessed for cargo over a certain length.
  • Charter – Use of an entire vessel.
  • Ad Valorem – Based on value of cargo.
  • Refrigerated – Cargo which requires refrigeration equipment.
  • Dangerous Cargo – Needs special handling or stowage.
  • On Deck Cargo – Cargo which must be shipped on the deck of the vessel.

Ocean Transportation Intermediary (OTI): Are either Ocean Freight Forwarders or Non-Vessel-Operating Common Carriers and are regulated by the FMC Federal Maritime Commission pursuant to the Shipping Act of 1984.

OCP: See Overland Common Point.

O/D: Means rate applies from carrier’s designated port terminal to the destination consignee’s door or business.

ODF: Documentation Fee At Origin.

ODS: See Operating Differential Subsidy.

OECD: See Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

O/F: Ocean Freight.

OFAC: See Office of Foreign Asset Control.

Office of Anti-Boycott Compliance (OAC): The Bureau is charged with administering and enforcing the Antiboycott Laws under the Export Administration Act. Those laws discourage, and in some circumstances, prohibit US companies from furthering or supporting the boycott of Israel sponsored by the Arab League, and certain other countries, including complying with certain requests for information designed to verify compliance with the boycott. Compliance with such requests may be prohibited by the EAR Export Administration Regulations and may be reportable to the Bureau. (United States BIS under the DOC).

Office of Compliance (OC): For the Export of Unapproved Medical Devices. The OC’s mission is to protect and promote public health by evaluating, enhancing, and ensuring compliance with medical device laws, resulting in the availability of high-quality medical devices. OC’s vision is to take actions that enable maximum device safety and effectiveness. (United States FDA).

Office of Diversion Control: Oversees the export of controlled substances and the import and export of listed chemicals used in the production of control substances under the Controlled Substances Act. The mission of DEA’s Office of Diversion Control is to prevent, detect, and investigate the diversion of controlled pharmaceuticals and listed chemicals from legitimate sources while ensuring an adequate and uninterrupted supply for legitimate medical, commercial, and scientific needs. (United States DEA under the DOJ).

Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC): The OFAC of the US Department of the Treasury, administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions based on US foreign policy and national security goals against targeted foreign countries and regimes, terrorists, international narcotics traffickers, those engaged in activities related to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and other threats to the national security, foreign policy or economy of the US. (United States DOT).

Office of Fossil Energy: Licenses natural gas and electric power. (United States DOE).

Office of Global Maritime Situational Awareness (OGSMA): It is the US initiative to establish a world–wide maritime information exchange that encompasses both public and private sector entities with maritime interests. The OGMSA supports maritime domain awareness by making maritime related information available and searchable.

Office of International Affairs: Treasury’s Office of International Affairs protects and supports US economic prosperity by strengthening the external environment for US growth, preventing and mitigating global financial instability, and managing key global challenges. (United States DOT).

Office of International Programs: The FDA’s US Food and Drug Adminstration Office of International Programs serves as the agency focal point for interpretation and implementation of the provisions of the FD&C Act Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act that govern exports of unapproved, adulterated, or misbranded products and the FD&C Act provisions relating to the issuance of export certificates. (United States FDA).

Office of International Programs: The NRC US Nuclear Regulatory Commission was created as an independent agency by Congress in 1974 to ensure the safe use of radioactive materials for beneficial civilian purposes while protecting people and the environment. The NRC regulates commercial nuclear power plants and other uses of nuclear materials, such as in nuclear medicine, through licensing, inspection and enforcement of its requirements. (United States NRC).

**Office of International Trade: The Office of International Trade’s mission is to enhance the ability of small businesses to compete in the global marketplace. As SBA’s Small Business Adminsitration office for the support of small business international trade development, the Office of International Trade works in cooperation with other federal agencies and public- and private-sector groups to encourage small business exports and to assist small businesses seeking to export. Through 19 US Export Assistance Centers, SBA district offices and a variety of service-provider partners, we direct and coordinate SBA’s ongoing export initiatives in an effort to encourage small businesses going global. (United States SBA).

Office of Nonproliferation and International Security (NIS): The mission of the NIS is to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons, materials, technology, and expertise. NIS applies technical and policy expertise to execute programs that develop crosscutting policy and technical solutions and programs and strategies to reduce nuclear dangers. (United States DOE).

Office of Nuclear Energy (NE): The NE’s primary mission is to advance nuclear power as a resource capable of making major contributions in meeting our Nation’s energy supply, environmental, and energy security needs. We seek to resolve technical, cost, safety, security and regulatory issues through research, development and demonstration. NE’s program is guided by the four research objectives detailed in its Nuclear Energy Research and Development Roadmap: Develop technologies and other solutions that can improve the reliability, sustain the safety, and extend the life of current reactors; Develop improvements in the affordability of new reactors to enable nuclear energy to help meet the Administration’s energy security and climate change goals, Develop sustainable fuel cycles, Understand and minimize the risks of nuclear proliferation and terrorism. (United States DOE).

Office of Oil and Gas Global Security and Supply, Division of Natural Gas Regulatory Activities: The Natural Gas Act of 1938, as amended, requires anyone who wants to import or export natural gas, including LNG liquefied natural gas from or to a foreign country must first obtain an authorization from the US Department of Energy. The Office of Oil and Gas Global Security and Supply, Division of Natural Gas Regulatory Activities is the one-stop-shopping place to obtain these authorizations in the Department. The import/export authorizations are necessary for anyone who wants to import or export natural gas, including LNG. (United States DOE).

Office of Policy and International Affairs: The Office of Policy and International Affairs’ role is to deliver unbiased advice to the Department of Energy’s leadership on existing and prospective energy-related policies, based on integrated and well-founded data and analysis. The Office of Policy and International Affairs has primary responsibility for the Department of Energy’s international energy activities including international emergency management, national security, and international cooperation in science and technology. (United States DOE).

Office of Solid Waste, International and Transportation Branch: Hazardous wastes are sometimes shipped to or from other countries for treatment, disposal, or recycling. The vast majority of this waste trade occurs with Canada and Mexico, but the US also engages in hazardous waste trade with other countries. Importers and exporters of hazardous wastes must comply with applicable domestic laws and regulations, which include regulations under the RCRA Resource Conservation and Recovery Act . (United States EPA).

Office of Trade and Economic Analysis: The Office of Trade Policy Analysis, and The Office of Industry & Analysis within the International Trade Administration, provides data, analysis, and recommendations on policy, and trade promotion issues affecting US industry competitiveness in a global setting. (United States DOC).

OFR: Basic Ocean Freight.

OGMSA: See Office of Global Maritime Situational Awareness.

OH: Origin Haulage Charge.

OHC: Terminal Handling Service- Origin.

OIHC: Origin Haulage Charge.

O/N: See Order–Notify.

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

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

Onboard B/L: Bill of Lading validated at the time of loading to transport. Onboard Air, Box¬car, Container, Rail, Truck and Vessel are the most common types.

O/O: Means rate applies from and/or to carrier’s port terminals. Customer to be responsible for movement of empty container, loading and transport the container to carrier’s loading port terminal. Carrier will move the loaded container to the destination port terminal. Consignee picks up the loaded container at destination port terminal at his own expense.

OOG: Out Of Gauge Premium.

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

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

Open Sea: The water area of the open coast seaward of the ordinary low-water mark, or seaward of inland waters.

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

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

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

OPIC: See Overseas Private Investment Corporation.

OPS: Origin Port/Terminal Security.

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

Optional Discharge B/L: Bill of Lading covering cargo with more than one discharge point option possibility.

O/R: Means rate applies from carrier’s designated port terminal to the destination carrier’s designated rail ramp or depot.

ORC: Origin Receiving Charge.

Order B/L: See Negotiable B/L.

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

ORFS: See Origin Rail Freight Station.

Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD): The mission of the OECD is to promote policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world. The OECD provides a forum in which governments can work together to share experiences and seek solutions to common problems. We work with governments to understand what drives economic, social and environmental change. We measure productivity and global flows of trade and investment. We analyze and compare data to predict future trends. We set international standards on a wide range of things, from agriculture and tax to the safety of chemicals. OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions: The OECD Anti-Bribery Convention establishes legally binding standards to criminalize bribery of foreign public officials in international business transactions and provides for a host of related measures that make this effective. It is the first and only international anti-corruption instrument focused on the ‘supply side’ of the bribery transaction. The 34 OECD member countries and six non-member countries – Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Colombia, Russia, and South Africa – have adopted this Convention.

Origin: Location where shipment begins its movement.

Original B/L: Original Bill of Lading. A document which requires proper signatures for consummating carriage of contract. Must be marked as “original” by the issuing carrier. The part of the B/L set that has value, especially when negotiable; rest of set are only informational file copies. Abbreviated as OBL.

Origin Rail Freight Station (ORFS): Same as CFS Container Freight System at origin except an ORFS is operated by the rail carrier participating in the shipment.

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

OT: Open Top.

OTHC: Origin Terminal Handling Charges.

OTI: See Ocean Transportation Intermediary.

OTS: Open Top Surcharge.

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

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

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

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

Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC): US Government’s development finance institution. It mobilizes private capital to help solve critical development challenges and in doing so, advances US foreign policy. Because OPIC works with the US private sector, it helps US businesses gain footholds in emerging markets, catalyzing revenues, jobs and growth opportunities both at home and abroad. OPIC achieves its mission by providing investors with financing, guarantees, political risk insurance, and support for private equity investment funds. Established as an agency of the US Government in 1971, OPIC operates on a self-sustaining basis at no net cost to American taxpayers. OPIC services are available for new and expanding business enterprises in more than 150 countries worldwide. To date, OPIC has supported more than $200 billion of investment in over 4,000 projects, generated an estimated $75 billion in US exports and supported more than 277,000 American jobs.

Owner Code (SCAC Code): See Standard Carrier Abbreviation Code.

Back to Top

| P |

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

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

PAD: Port Surcharge.

PADAG: See Please Authorize Delivery Against Guarantee.

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

Pallet: A short wooden platform on which packaged cargo is place, then handled by a forklift truck.

Panama: Panama Canal Surcharge.

Panamax Tanker: A liquid cargo vessel of 50,000 to 70,000 DWT Deadweight Tonnage .

Panamax Vessel: The largest size vessel that can traverse the Panama Canal. Current maximum dimensions are: Length 294.1 meters (965 feet); width 32.3 meters (106 feet); draft 12.0 meters (39.5 feet) in tropical fresh water; height 57.91 meters (190 feet) above the water.

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

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

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

Partial Containerships: Multipurpose containerships where one or more but not all compartments are fitted with permanent container cells. Remaining compartments are used for other types of cargo.

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

Particular Average: See Insurance, Particular Average.

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

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

PCC: Panama Canal Surcharge.

PCS: Panama Canal Surcharge; or Port Congestion Surcharge.

PCTF: Panama Canal Transit Fee.

Per Diem: A charge, based on a fixed daily rate.

Perils of the Sea: Those causes of loss for which the carrier is not legally liable. The elemental risks of ocean transport.

PF: Europe Terminal Security Charge.

P/H: See Pier to House.

PHMSA: See The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

Phytosanitary Inspection Certificate: A certificate issued by the DOA US Department of Agriculture to satisfy import regulations of foreign countries; indicates that a US shipment has been inspected and found free from harmful pests and plant diseases.

Pickup: The act of calling for freight by truck at the consignor’s shipping platform.

Pier: A structure, which juts out into a waterway from the shore, for mooring vessels and cargo handling. See also quay.

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

Pier to Pier: Containers loaded at port of loading and discharged at port of destination. See CFS/CFS.

Piggy Packer: A mobile container–handling crane used to load/unload containers to/from railcars.

Piggyback: A transportation arrangement in which truck trailers with their loads are moved by train (on a rail flatcar) to a destination. Also known as Rail Pigs.

Pilferage: Stealing cargo.

Pilot: A licensed navigation guide with thorough knowledge of a particular section of a waterway. For example, when any ship enters the Mississippi river it must take local pilots aboard to advise the captain and navigator of local conditions (difficult currents; hidden wrecks, etc.) along certain stretches of the river. Usually a pilot advises the navigator, but he may sometimes take the wheel himself.

Place of Delivery: Place where cargo leaves the care and custody of carrier.

Place of Receipt: Location where cargo enters the care and custody of carrier.

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

PLF: Port License Fee.

Plimsoll Mark: A series of horizontal lines, corresponding to the seasons of the year and fresh or saltwater, painted on the outside of a ship marking the level which must remain above the surface of the water for the vessel’s stability.

PNC: Panama Canal Charge.

POD: Port of Destination; or Proof of Delivery. See also Port of Discharge. A document required from the carrier or driver for proper payment.

Point of Origin: The place at which a shipment is received by a carrier from the shipper.

POL: Port of Loading; or Petroleum, Oil, and Lubricants.

Pomerene Act: Also known as (US) Federal Bill of Lading Act of 1916. US federal law enacting conditions by which a B/L may be issued. Penalties for issuing B/L’s containing false data include monetary fines and/or imprisonment.

POR: Port of Origin.

Port: Left side of a ship when facing forward; Opening in a ship’s side for handling freight; also A harbor area where ships are docked and for the agency (port authority) which administers use of public wharves and port properties.

Port Facility Security Officer: Is the person designated as responsible for the development, implementation, revision and maintenance of the port facility security plan and for liaison with the ship security officers and company security officers.

Port Facility Security Plan: Is a plan developed to ensure the application of measures designed to protect persons on board, cargo, cargo transport units and ship’s stores within the port facility from the risks of a security incident.

Port of Arrival: Location where imported merchandise is unloaded from the importing ocean vessel or aircraft.

Port of Call: Port where a ship discharges or receives traffic.Port at which a cargo ship or cruise ship calls (makes a stop) on its itinerary. A cruise ship’s visit at a port-of-call may last from five hours to 24 hours. See also homeport.

Port of Departure: In export, the final ocean port of aircraft where the shipment in the vessel or aircraft departs from the US.

Port of Discharge: Port where goods are unloaded from vessel.

Port of Entry: Port where cargo is unloaded and enters a country.

Port of Exit: Place where cargo is loaded and leaves a country.

Port Security: It is the defense, law and treaty enforcement, and counter-terrorism activities that fall within the port and maritime domain. It includes the protection of the seaports themselves, the protection and inspection of the cargo moving through the ports, and maritime security.

Port Security Grant Program (PSGP): As a result of the US Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act of 2005, fiscal year grant funding is provided annually to the Nation’s most at–risk seaports for physical security enhancements to be used in the protection of critical port infrastructure from terrorism. PSGP funds help ports enhance their risk management capabilities, domain awareness, training and exercises, and capabilities to prevent, detect, respond to, and recover from attacks involving improvised explosive devices and other non–conventional weapons.

P/P: See Pier to Pier.

PPCC: Congestion surcharge.

PPD: See Prepaid.

PPI: Principal Party of Interest. See USPPI and FPPI.

PR: Primage.

Pratique Certificate: Lifts temporary quarantine of a vessel; granted pratique by Health Officer.

PRC: Inland Pre-carriage Charge.

Pre–cooling: A process employed in the shipment of citrus fruits and other perishable commodities. The fruit is packed and placed in a cold room from which the heat is gradually extracted. The boxes of fruit are packed in containers that have been thoroughly cooled and transported through to destination without opening the doors.

Prepaid: Freight charges paid by the consignor (shipper) prior to the release of the bills of lading by the carrier.

Prepaid B/L: Freight paid prior to movement; money to be paid prior to issuance of bill of lading.

PRI: Port Risk.

Pro Forma: A Latin term meaning “For the sake of form.”

Pro Forma Invoice: An invoice provided by a supplier prior to the shipment of merchandise, informing the buyer of the kinds and quantities of goods to be sent, their value, and specifications (weight, size, etc.).

Pro Rata: A Latin term meaning “In proportion.”

Product Tanker: A liquid cargo vessel of 10,000 to 60,000 DWT Dimensional Weight . Also referred to as a Handymax Tanker. Often built with many segregated cargo tanks and thus sometimes called a “drugstore tanker.”

Project Cargo: Oversized or overwight materials and equipment that cannot easily fit in a container, and requires assembly for a special project. For example, a company exported from the Port of New Orleans all the construction machinery and supplies to build a highway in Turkey. Project cargo is also called heavy lift.

Project Rate: Single tariff item, established to move multiple commodities needed for a specified project, usually construction.

PRS: Piracy Risk Surcharge.

PSC: Port Service Charge.

PSE: Port Security Service – Export.

PSGP: See Port Security Grant Program.

PSI: Port Security Service – Import; or Pre-Shipment Inspection.

PSL: Port Security Charge at Load.

PSN: Port Scanning Charge.

PSS: Peak Season Surcharge.

PST: Port Sanitary Charge.

PTA: Port Tax.

PTSC: Port & Terminal Service Charge.

Public Service Commission: A name usually given to a State body having control or regulation of public utilities.

Publishing Agent: Person authorized by transportation lines to publish tariffs or rates, rules, and regulations for their account.

Pulp Temperature: Procedure where carrier tests the temperature of the internal flesh of refrigerated commodities to assure that the temperature at time of shipment conforms to prescribed temperature ranges.

Pup: A short semi–trailer used jointly with a dolly and another semi–trailer to create a twin trailer.

PUP: Pick Up Charge.

Back to Top

| Q |

Quarantine: A restraint placed on an operation to protect the public against a health hazard. A ship may be quarantined so that it cannot leave a protected point. During the quarantine period, the Q flag is hoisted.

Quay: A structure attached to land to which a vessel is moored. See also Pier and Dock.

Quoin: A wedge–shaped piece of timber used to secure barrels against movement.

Quota: The quantity of goods that may be imported without restriction during a set period of time.

Quotation: An offer to sell goods at a stated price and under stated terms.

Back to Top

| R |

Rag Top: A slang term for an open–top trailer or container with a tarpaulin cover.

Rail Division: The amount of money an ocean carrier pays to the railroad for overland carriage.

Rail Grounding: The time that the container was discharged (grounded) from the train.

Ramp: Railroad terminal where containers are received or delivered and trains loaded or discharged. Originally, trailers moved onto the rearmost flatcar via a ramp and driven into position in a technique known as “circus loading.” Most modern rail facilities use lifting equipment to position containers onto the flatcars.

Ramp–to–Door: A movement where the load initiates at an origin rail ramp and terminates at a consignee’s door.

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

Range Top: Slang for an open-top container covered with a tarpaulin.

Rate Basis: A formula of the specific factors or elements that control the making of a rate. A rate can be based on any number of factors (i.e., weight, measure, equipment type, package, box, etc.).

RC: Receiving Charges.

RCS: Reefer Consumption Surcharge.

Reasonableness: Under ICC and common law, the requirement that a rate not be higher than is necessary to reimburse the carrier for the actual cost of transporting the traffic and allow a fair profit.

Rebate: An illegal form of discounting or refunding that has the net effect of lowering the tariff price. See also Malpractice.

Recieved for Shipment B/L: Validated at time cargo is received by ocean carrier to com¬mence movement but before being validated as “Onboard.”

Reconciled B/L: B/L set which has completed a prescribed number of edits between the shipper’s instructions and the actual shipment received. This produces a very accurate B/L.

Reconsignment: Changing the consignee or destination on a Bill of Lading while shipment is still in transit. Diversion has substantially the same meaning.

Recourse: A right claim against the guarantors of a loan or draft or bill of exchange.

Red Label: A label required on shipments of flammable articles.

Reefer: A refrigerated container for transporting frozen foods (meat, ice cream, fruit, etc.)

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

Relay: To transfer containers from one ship to another when both vessels are controlled by the same network (carrier) manager.

Released Value Not Exceeding: Usually used to limit the value of goods transported. The limitation refers to carrier liability when paying a claim for lost or damaged goods.

Remittance: Funds sent by one person to another as payment.

REP: Repositioning Fee.

Restricted Articles: Articles handled only under certain conditions.

Revenue Ton: A ton on which the shipment is freighted. If cargo is rated as W/M Weight or Measure , whichever produces the highest revenue will be considered the revenue ton. Weights are based on metric tons and measures are based on cubic meters. RT=1 MT or 1 CBM.

Reverse IPI: An inland point provided by an all–water carrier’s through Bill of Lading in the US by first discharging the container in an East Coast port.

Revocable Letter of Credit: An instrument that can be modified or cancelled at any moment without notice to and agreement of the beneficiary, but customarily includes a clause in the credit to the effect that any draft negotiated by a bank prior to the receipt of a notice of revocation or amendment will be honored by the issuing bank. Rarely used since there is no protection for the seller.

Revolving Letter of Credit: An irrevocable letter issued for a specific amount; renews itself for the same amount over a given period.

RFP: Request for Proposal.

RFQ: Request for Quotation.

RITA: See The Research and Innovative Technology Administration.

RLI: Rate Line Item.

Roll: To re-book cargo to a later vessel.

Rolling: The side-to-side (athwartship A direction across the width of a vessel ) motion of a vessel.

Roll On/Roll-Off: A method of ocean cargo service using a vessel with ramps which allows wheeled vehicles to be loaded and discharged without cranes. Also refers to any specialized vessel designed to carry Ro/Ro cargo.

RO-RO: See Roll On/Roll-Off above. A shortening of the term, “Roll On/Roll Off.”

ROT: Retention of Title.

Route: The manner in which a shipment moves; i.e., the carriers handling it and the points at which the carriers interchange.

RPL: River Plate Toll Surcharge.

RPT: River Plate Fee.

RRI: Rate Restoration Initiative.

RRI2: Rate Restoration Initiative 2.

RSC: Seal/Re-Sealing Charge.

RSH: Rail Surcharge for HHG/Autos.

R/T: See Revenue Ton.

RT: See Revenue Ton.

Running Gear: Complementary equipment for terminal and over–the–road handling containers.

RVNX: See Released Value Not Exceeding.

Back to Top

| S |

SAFE Port Act: Security and Accountability For Every Port Act of 2006 which is an Act of Congress in the US that covers port security.

Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC): Under the DOC US Department of Commerce , Working in concert with its Canadian counterpart, the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation works to operate and maintain a safe, reliable, efficient waterway between the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean.

Sanction: An embargo imposed by a Government against another country.

Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays Excepted (SSHEX): Refers to loading and discharging of cargo as agreed to in the charter party. This indicates when time does not count in the calculation of demurrage and despatch.

SBA: See Small Business Administration.

SBF: Standard Bunker Adjustment Factor.

SC/D: Terminal Security Charge at Discharge Port.

SC/L: Security Charge at Loading Port.

SCAC: See Standard Carrier Abbreviation Code.

SCAC Code: See Owner Code.

SCADM: Security Compliance Administration Fee.

SCC: Service Container Charge.

SCH: Suez Canal Transit Charge.

Schedule B: The Statistical Classification of Domestic and Foreign Commodities Exported from the US.

SCMC: Security Compliance Management Charge.

S/D: See Sight draft.

SD: Store Door; also Short Delivery.

SDN: See Specially Designated Nationals List.

SDT: Port Terminal Security Charge (Destination).

SE: Special Equipment Surcharge.

Sea Waybill: Document indicating the goods were loaded onboard when a document of title (bal) is not needed. Typically used when a company is shipping goods to itself.

Sea–Bee Vessels: Ocean vessels constructed with heavy–duty submersible hydraulic lift or elevator system at the stern of the vessel. The Sea–Bee system facilitates forward transfer and positioning of barges. Sea–Bee barges are larger than LASH Lighter Aboard Ship barges. The Sea–Bee system is no longer used.

Seal Fee: Fee Paid for a seal.

Seals on Containers: Steel seals that are attached to locking devices on a container to prevent pilferage and to certify that no tampering has occurred.

Seawaymax Vessel: The largest vessel that can transit the locks of the St. Lawrence Seaway. Length is 226 meters (740 feet); Beam is 24 meters (78 feet); Draft is 7.92 meters (26 feet).

Seaworthiness: The fitness of a vessel for its intended use.

SEC: Security Surcharge; also USA Port Security.

SECR: USA port security.

Secure Freight Initiative (SFI): It is a key provision of the SAFE Port Act of 2006 and is part of the International Container Security scanning project. It builds on its current partnership between the Container Security Initiative and the Megaports Initiative. It expands the use of scanning and imaging equipment to examine more US bound containers, not just those determined to be high risk.

Security Level 1: Is the level for which minimum appropriate protective security measures shall be maintained at all times.

Security Level 2: Is the level for which appropriate additional protective security measures shall be maintained for a period of time as a result of heightened risk of a security incident.

Security Level 3: Is the level for which further specific protective security measures shall be maintained for a limited period of time when a security incident is probable or imminent, although it may not be possible to identify the specific target.

SED: US Commerce Department document, “Shipper’s Export Declaration.”

SEO: Security Surcharge at Origin.

SEP: Special Equipment Surcharge.

SER: Carrier Security Service.

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

Service Contract: As provided in the Shipping Act of 1984, a contract between a shipper (or a shippers association) and an ocean common carrier (or conference) in which the shipper makes a commitment to provide a certain minimum quantity of cargo or freight revenue over a fixed time period, and the ocean common carrier or conference commits to a certain rate or rate schedule as well as a defined service level (such as assured space, transit time, port rotation or similar service features). The contract may also specify provisions in the event of nonperformance on the part of either party.

SES: Special Equipment Surcharges.

SFD: South Florida Local Drayage.

SFI: See Secure Freight Initiative.

SHD: Foreign Terminal Handling Charge.

Sheddage: Regardless of the length of stay, a vessek is charged a one-time fee for use of shed space and/or mariginal (waterside) rail track space. The charge is based on the length of a vessel.

SHEX: Saturday and Holidays Excluded.

SHINC: Saturday and Holidays Included.

Ship: A vessel of considerable size for deep-water navigation.

Ship Chandler: An individual or company selling equipment and supplies for ships.

Ship Demurrage: A charge for delaying a steamer beyond a stipulated period.

Ship Load: The amount of cargo a ship carries or is able to carry. See also Full Shipload Lot and Full and Down.

Ship Security Officer: Is the person on board the vessel, accountable to the master, designated by the Company as responsible for the security of the ship, including implementation and maintenance of the ship security plan and for the liaison with the company security officer and the port facility security officers.

Ship Security Plan: Is a plan developed to ensure the application of measures on board the ship and designed to protect persons on board, cargo, cargo transport units, ship’s stores or the ship from the risks of a security incident.

Ship Types: Barge Carriers; Ships designed to carry barges; some are fitted to act as full containerships and can carry a varying number of barges and containers at the same time. At present this class includes two types of vessels LASH and Sea-Bee.

Ship’s Bells: Measure time onboard ship. One bell sounds for each half hour. One bell means 12:30, two bells mean 1:00, three bells mean 1:30, and so on until 4:00 (eight bells). At 4:30 the cycle begins again with one bell.

Ship’s Manifest: A statement listing the particulars of all shipments loaded for a specified voyage.

Ship’s Tackle: All rigging, cranes, etc., utilized on a ship to load or unload cargo.

Shipment: The tender of one lot of cargo at one time from one shipper to one consignee on one bill of lading.

Shipper: The person or company who is usually the supplier or owner of commodities shipped. Also called Consignor.

Shippers Association: A non–profit entity that represents the interests of a number of shippers. The main focus of shippers associations is to pool the cargo volumes of members to leverage the most favorable service contract rate levels.

Shipper’s Instructions: Shipper’s communication(s) to its agent and/or directly to the international water–carrier. Instructions may be varied, e.g., specific details/clauses to be printed on the B/L, directions for cargo pickup and delivery.

Shipper’s Letter of Instructions for issuing an Air Waybill: The document required by the carrier or freight forwarders to obtain (besides the data needed) authorization to issue and sign the air waybill in the name of the shipper.

Shipper’s Load & Count (SL&C): Shipments loaded and sealed by shippers and not checked or verified by the carriers. A qualifying clause, which a transportation carrier may place on a B/L or other contract of carriage to designate that a ULD Unit Load Device or conveyance (e.g., shipper-packed container, truck trailer or rail car) was loaded by the shipper, or perhaps another party on behalf of the shipper such as an export packer, freight forwarder, etc., but not by the carrier. In such cases, the carrier accepts responsibility only for the transportation of the container or ULD of conveyance as a whole (i.e., as the shipping unit), and does not check or verify contents.

Shipping Act of 1916: The act of the US Congress (1916) that created the US Shipping Board to develop water transportation, operate the merchant ships owned by the government, and regulate the water carriers engaged in commerce under the flag of the US. As of June 18, 1984, applies only to domestic offshore ocean transport.

Shipping Act of 1984: Effective June 18, 1984, describes the law covering water transportation in the US foreign trade.

Shipping Act of 1998: Amends the Act of 1984 to provide for confidential service contracts and other items.

Shipping Order: Shipper’s instructions to carrier for forwarding goods; usually the triplicate copy of the bill of lading.

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

Short Sea Shipping (SSS): Short Sea Shipping means the movement of cargo by sea between ports situated in geographical Europe or between those ports situated in non-European countries having a coastline on the enclosed seas bordering Europe (Baltic, Mediterranean and Black). It is a successful mode of transport in Europe. (European-EU).

Short Term B/L: Opposite of Long Form B/L; a B/L without the Terms & Conditions written on it. Also known as a Short Form B/L. The terms are incorporated by reference to the long form B/L.

Shrink Wrap: Polyethylene or similar substance heat–treated and shrunk into an envelope around several units, thereby securing them as a single pack for presentation or to secure units on a pallet.

SIC: See Standard Industrial Classification.

Side Loader: A lift truck fitted with lifting attachments operating to one side for handling containers.

Side–Door Container: A container fitted with a rear door and a minimum of one side door.

Sight draft (S/D): A draft payable on demand upon presentation. A draft payable upon presentation to the drawee. Also Sea damage.

SIGTTO: See Society of International Gas Transport and Terminal Operators.

SITC: See Standard International Trade Classification.

Skids: Battens, or a series of parallel runners, fitted beneath boxes or packages to raise them clear of the floor to permit easy access of forklift blades or other handling equipment.

SL&C: See Shipper’s Load & Count.

SLAC: See Shipper’s Load & Count.

SLC: Seal Check Surcharge.

SLCH: Landing Charge.

Sleepers: Loaded containers moving within the railroad system that are not clearly identified on any internally generated reports.

SLI: Shipper’s Letter of Instructions.

Sling: A wire or rope contrivance placed around cargo and used to load or discharge it to/from a vessel.

Slip: A vessel’s berth between two piers.

SLSDC: See Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation.

Small Business Administration (SBA): The SBA helps Americans start, build and grow businesses. Through an extensive network of field offices and partnerships the SBA aids, counsels, assists and protects the interests of small business concerns.

SMD: Security Manifest Doc Charge.

SMDC: Security Manifest Documentation Charge.

SOC: Shipper Owned Container.

Society of International Gas Transport and Terminal Operators (SIGTTO): An industry organization promoting the exchange of safety information concerning the processing, transporting and handling of liquefied gases.

SOR: Port Terminal Security Charge-(Origin).

SPA: Subject to Particular Average. See also Particular Average.

Special Customs Invoice: If the rate of duty is based upon the value and the value of the shipment exceeds $500, a Special Customs Invoice is required. This document is usually prepared by the foreign exporter or his forwarder and is used by Customs in determining the value of the shipment. The exporter or his agent must attest to the authenticity of the data furnished.

Specially Designated Nationals List (SDN): As part of its enforcement efforts, OFAC The Office of Foreign Asset Control publishes a list of individuals and companies owned or controlled by, or acting for or on behalf of, targeted countries. It also lists individuals, groups, and entities, such as terrorists and narcotics traffickers designated under programs that are not country-specific. Collectively, such individuals and companies are called “Specially Designated Nationals” or “SDNs.” Their assets are blocked and US persons are generally prohibited from dealing with them.

Spine Car: An articulated five–platform railcar. Used where height and weight restrictions limit the use of stack cars. It holds five 40–foot containers or combinations of 40– and 20–foot containers.

Split B/L: One of two or more B/L’s which have been split from a single B/L.

Spotting: Placing a container where required to be loaded or unloaded.

Spreader: A device for lifting containers by their corner posts. The spreader bar on a container crane is telescopic to allow lifting various length containers.

SPS: Shanghai Port Surcharge.

SR: Standard Route.

SRC: Special Equipment Repositioning.

SRCC: Strike, Riot and Civil Commotion.

SSHEX: See Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays Excepted.

ST: Short Ton. A weight unit of measure equal to 2,000 pounds.

Stability: The force that holds a vessel upright or returns it to upright position if keeled over. Weight in the lower hold increases stability. A vessel is stiff if it has high stability, tender if it has low stability. In a ship, stability is indicated by several characteristics. Initial stability is measured by the metacentric height; also known as The metacentric height GM . If GM is low, the vessel makes long slow rolls, and is considered tender. When GM is too high, the vessel is considered stiff, and may return violently to the upright position when rolling, with possible damage to cargo and injury to passengers and crew. Other stability considerations include the vessel’s range of stability, maximum righting arm, and the angle of heel at which the maximum righting arm occurs.

Stack Car: An articulated five–platform rail car that allows containers to be double stacked. A typical stack car holds ten 40–foot equivalent units.

Stacktrain: A rail service whereby rail cars carry containers stacked two high on specially operated unit trains. Each train includes up to 35 articulated multi–platform cars. Each car is comprised of 5 well–type platforms upon which containers can be stacked. No chassis accompany containers.

Stale B/L: A late Bill of Lading; in banking, a B/L which has passed the time deadline of the Letter of Credit and is void.

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

Standard Industrial Classification (SIC): A standard numerical code used by the US Government to classify products and services. Can also mean Intermodal Insurance Charge.

Standard International Trade Classification (SITC): A standard numeric code developed by the United Nations to classify commodities used in international trade, based on a hierarchy.

Starboard: The right side of a ship when facing the bow.

Statute of Limitation: A law limiting the time in which claims or suits may be instituted.

STB: See Surface Transportation Board.

STC: Said To Contain.

STCC: Standard Transportation Commodity Code.

Steamship: Ships that transport cargo overseas are powered by diesel fuel instead of steam.

Steamship Agent: The local representative who acts as liaison among ship owners, local port authorities, terminals and supply/service companies. An agent handles all details for getting the ship into port; having it unloaded, loaded; inspected and out to sea quickly.

Steamship Company: A business that owns ships (ocean carriers) which operate in international trade.

Steamship Conference: A group of vessel operators joined together for the purpose of establishing freight rates.

Steamship Guarantee: An indemnity issued to the carrier by a bank; protects the carrier against any possible losses or damages arising from release of the merchandise to the receiving party. This instrument is usually issued when the bill of lading is lost or is not available.

Steamship Line: A steamship (ocean carrier) service running on a particular international route. For example, a shipping company that has a line operating between the Middle East/Indian subcontinent/Far East and the US Gulf.

Stern: The end of a vessel. Opposite of bow.

Stevedore: Individual or firm that employs longshoremen and who contracts to load or unload the ship.

Stevedores: Labor management companies that provide equipment and hire workers to transfer cargo between ships and docks. Also known as terminal operators.

STF: Suez Transit Fee.

Store–Door Pick–up Delivery: A complete package of pick up or delivery services performed by a carrier from origin to final consumption point.

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

Straddle Carrier: Mobile truck equipment with the capacity for lifting a container within its own framework.

Straight B/L: Straight Bill of Lading. A non–negotiable bill of lading which states a specific identity to whom the goods should be delivered. Indicates the shipper will deliver the goods to the con¬signee. It does not convey title (non–negotiable). Most often used when the goods have been pre–paid. See also Bill of Lading.

Straight Letter of Credit: A letter of credit that contains a limited engagement clause which states that the issuing bank promises to pay the beneficiary upon presentation of the required documents at its counters or the counters of the named bank.

Stripping: Removing cargo from a container (unloading, devanning).

Stuffing: Loading cargo into a container.

STW: Said To Weigh.

Subrogate: To put in place of another; i.e., when an insurance company pays a claim it is placed in the same position as the payee with regard to any rights against others.

Suez: Suez Canal Surcharge.

Suezmax Tanker: A tanker of 120,000 to 199,000 DWT Deadweight Tonnage .

Sufferance Wharf: A wharf licensed and attended by US Customs authorities.

Supply Chain: A logistical management system which integrates the sequence of activities from delivery of raw materials to the manufacturer through to delivery of the finished product to the customer into measurable components. Just-in-Time is a typical value–added example of supply chain management.

Surcharge: An extra or additional charge.

Surface Transportation Board (STB): Under the DOT US Department of Transportation , The US federal body charged with enforcing acts of the US Congress that affect common carriers in interstate commerce. STB replaced the ICC Interstate Commerce Commission in 1997. The STB regulates and decides disputes involving railroad rates, railroad mergers or line sales, and certain other transportation matters.

Surtax: An additional extra tax.

SUZ: Suez Canal Transit Charge.

Sweating: See Condensation

SWIFT: Society of Worldwide Interbank Funds Telecommunications.

Back to Top

| T |

T&E: See Transportation and Exportation. Also, see Transportation & Exit.

TAA: See Trade Adjustment Assistance.

Tail: Rear of a container or trailer–opposite the front or nose.

Tank Barges: Used for transporting bulk liquids such as petroleum, chemicals, molasses, vegetable oils and liquefied gases.

Tankers: Ships fitted with tanks to carry liquid bulk cargo such as: crude petroleum and petroleum products, chemicals, Liquefied gasses (LNG and LPG), wine, molasses, and similar product tankers.

Tare Weight: In railcar or container shipments, the weight of the empty railcar or empty container.

Tariff (Trf): A publication setting forth the charges, rates and rules of transportation companies. Fees imposed by a government on the import/export of goods; also, the rates and rules of transportation company as listed in published industry tables.

TAS: Tri-Axle Surcharge.

TBN: To Be Nominated. When the name of a ship is still unknow.

TCF: Tanzania Central Freight Bureau Fee.

Telex: Used for sending messages to outside companies. Messages are transmitted via Western Union, ITT and RCA. Being replaced by fax and internet.

Temperature Recorder: A device to record temperature in a container while cargo is en route.

Tender: The offer of goods for transportation or the offer to place cars or containers for loading or unloading.

Tenor: Time and date for payment of a draft.

Terminal: An assigned area in which containers are prepared for loading into a vessel, train, truck, or airplane or are stacked immediately after discharge from the vessel, train, truck, or airplane. The place where cargo is handled. Also known as wharf.

Terminal Charge: A charge made for a service performed in a carrier’s terminal area.

Terminal Operator: The company that operates cargo handling activities on a wharf.

TEU: Twenty Foot Equivalent Unit.

TFB: Tanzanian Central Freight Bureau Fees.

TH: Port & Terminal Service Charge.

THC: Terminal Handling Charge. Also Foreign Terminal Handling Charge. Charge assessed by terminal for loading, unloading, fork lifts, document fees, and other assessments for import and export cargo.

THC/D: Terminal Handling Charge at Port of Discharge.

THD: Terminal Handling Charge at Destination.

The Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA): The Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002, is designed to protect ports and waterways from terrorists attacks. The law is the US equivalent of the ISPS International Ship and Port Facility Security Code , and was fully implemented on July 1, 2004. It requires vessels and port facilities to conduct vulnerability assessments and develop security plans that may include passenger, vehicle, and baggage screening procedures; security patrols; establishing restricted areas; personnel identification procedures; access control measures; and/or installation of surveillance equipment.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA): Regulates the transport of hazardous materials through the DOT US Department of Transportation .

The Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA): The Research and Innovative Technology Administration coordinates the DOT’s US Department of Transportation research initiatives and works to more quickly deploy new technologies.

The US Exporters Competitive Maritime Council (ECMC): An association primarily of US engineering, procurement and construction companies and their freight forwarders that was formed jointly by the Maritime Administration in 1997 to seek solutions to transportation problems and enhance the export of US project cargoes.

Third Party Logistics (3PL): A company that provides logistics services to other companies for some or all of their logistics needs. It typically includes warehousing and transportation services. Most 3PL’s also have freight forwarding licenses.

THO: Terminal Handling Charge At Origin.

Through Bill of Lading: One Bill of Lading that includes more than one mode of transport.

Through Rate: The total rate from the point of origin to final destination.

Through Transport: Transport that includes pre-carriage and/or on-carriage.

Throughput Charge: The charge for moving a container through a container yard off or onto a ship.

THU: Terminal Handling Charge-South Africa.

TIC: Costa Rica Surcharge.

Time Charter: A contract for leasing between the ship owners and the lessee. It would state, e.g., the duration of the lease in years or voyages. An agreement between parties for a particular period of time or consecutive voyages.

Time Draft: A draft that matures at a fixed or determinable time after presentation or acceptance. A draft that matures either a certain number of days after acceptance or a certain number of days after the date of the draft.

TIR: See Transport International par la Route.

Title: Ownership of property.

TL: Toll Fee; also Trailer Load.

“To Order” B/L: See Negotiable B/L.

TOFC: Trailer on Flat Car; or Trailer or Flat Car. The movement of a highway trailer on a railroad flatcar. Also known as Piggyback.

Ton–Mile: A unit used in comparing freight earnings or expenses. The amount earned from the cost of hauling a ton of freight one mile. The movement of a ton of freight one mile.

Tonnage: 100 cubic feet || Generally refers to freight handled.

Top–Air Delivery: A type of air circulation in a container. In top air units, air is drawn from the bottom of the container, filtered through the evaporator for cooling and then forced through the ducted passages along the top of the container. This type of airflow requires a special loading pattern.
Towage: The charge made for towing a vessel.

Towboat: A snub-nosed boat with push knees used for pushing barges.

Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA): The Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 provides EPA with authority to require reporting, record-keeping and testing requirements, and restrictions relating to chemical substances and/or mixtures. Certain substances are generally excluded from TSCA, including, among others, food, drugs, cosmetics and pesticides. TSCA addresses the production, importation, use, and disposal of specific chemicals.

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

Tractor-Trailer: A large truck with 18 wheels that carry cargo on the highway. Also called an 18-wheeler.

Trade Acceptance: A time or a date draft that has been accepted by the buyer (the drawee) for payment at maturity.

Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA): The program is a federal entitlement program that assists US workers who have lost or may lose their jobs as a result of foreign trade. This program seeks to provide adversely affected workers with opportunities to obtain the skills, credentials, resources, and support necessary to become reemployed. (United States DOL Department of Labor ).

Traffic: Persons and property carried by transport lines.

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

Tramp: A ship operating with no fixed route or published schedule.

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

Transfer of Ownership: The transferring of title.

Transferable Letter of Credit: A letter of credit that allows the beneficiary to transfer in whole or in part to another beneficiary any amount which, in aggregate, of such transfers does not exceed the amount of the credit. Used by middlemen.

Transit Port: A port whose cargo moves through its port to destinations outside its local market to be consumed.

Transit Shed: An overhead storage building/structure designed to protect cargoes from weather damage and is used only for short-term storage.

Transmittal Letter: Contains a list of the particulars of the shipment, a record of the documents being transmitted, and instructions for disposition of these documents. Any special instructions are also included.

Transport: To move cargo from one place to another.

Transport International par la Route (TIR): Road transport operating agreement among European governments and the US for the international movement of cargo by road. Display of the TIR carnet allows sealed containerloads to cross national frontiers without inspection.

Transportation and Exit (T&E): Allows foreign merchandise arriving at one port to be transported in bond through the US to be exported from another port, without paying duty.

Transportation and Exportation (T&E): Customs form used to control cargo movement from port of entry to port of exit, meaning that the cargo is moving from one country, through the US, to another country.

Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC): Established by Congress through the MTSA Maritime Transportation Security Act and is administered by the TSA Transportation Security Administration and US Coast Guard. TWICs are tamper–resistant biometric credentials that will be issued to all credentialed merchant mariners and to workers who require unescorted access to secure areas of ports, vessels or outer continental shelf facilities.

Transship: To transfer goods from one transportation line to another, or from one ship to another.

Transshipment: The unloading of cargo at a port or point where it is then reloaded, sometimes into another mode of transportation for transfer to a final destination.

Transshipment Port: Place where cargo is transferred to another carrier.

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

TRI: Tri-axle.

TRNSHP: Transshipment.

TRS: Tri-axle surcharge.

Trucks: Heavy automotive vehicles used to transport cargo.

Trust Receipt: Release of merchandise by a bank to a buyer while the bank retains title to the merchandise. The goods are usually obtained for manufacturing or sales purposes. The buyer is obligated to maintain the goods (or the proceeds from their sales) distinct from the remainder of the assets and to hold them ready for repossession by the bank.

TSC: ISPS Surcharge.

TSCA: See Toxic Substances Control Act.

TSD: US Security Terminal Charge.

TSF: Terminal security fee.

TTB: See Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. (US Treasury).

Tugboat: Strong v-hull shaped boat used for maneuvering ships into and out of port and to carry supplies. A ship is too powerful to pull up to the wharf on its own. It cuts power and lets the tug nudge it in. Tugboats may be used to deliver supplies and sometimes help to corral a runaway ship. Generally, barges are pushed by towboats, not tugs.

Turnaround: In water transportation, the time it takes between the arrival of a vessel and its departure. The amount of time it takes between a vessel’s arriver and departure.

TWIC: See Transportation Worker Identification Credential.

Twist Locks: A set of four twistable bayonet type shear keys used as part of a spreader to pick up a container or as part of a chassis to secure the containers. The four pointed locking devices on the corners of a spreader or a chassis to lift or secure a box.

Two–Way Pallet: A pallet so designed that the forks of a fork lift truck can be inserted from two sides only.

TXC: Tri-Axle Chassis.

Back to Top

| U |

UCP: See Uniform Customs and Practices for Documentary Credits.

UFC: Uniform Freight Classification.

ULCC: Ultra Large Crude Carrier. A tanker in excess of 320,000 DWT Deadweight Tonnage .

ULD: See Unit Load Device.

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

UNCITRAL: See United Nations Commission on International Trade Law.

UN/EDIFACT: See United Nations EDI for Administration, Commerce and Transport.

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

Unconfirmed Letter of Credit: A letter of credit forwarded to the beneficiary by the advising bank without engagement on the part of the advising bank.

Under Deck: Cargo in the hold, as opposed to on the deck.

Undercharge: To charge less than the proper amount.

Underway: A vessel is underway when it is not at anchor, made fast to the shore, or aground.

Uniform Customs and Practices for Documentary Credits (UCP): Rules for letters of credit drawn up by the Commission on Banking Technique and Practices of the International Chamber of Commerce in consultation with the banking associations of many countries. This is the most frequently used standard for making payments in international trade; e.g., paying on a Letter of Credit. It is most frequently referred to by its shorthand title: UCP No. 500. This revised publication reflects recent changes in the transportation and banking industries, such as electronic transfer of funds.

Unique B/L Identifier: US Customs’ standardization; A four–alpha code unique to each carrier placed in front of nine digit B/L number; APL’s Unique B/L Identifier is abbreviated as APLU. Sea–land uses the abbreviation SEAU. These prefixes are also used as the container identification.

Unit Load: Packages loaded on a pallet, in a crate or any other way that enables them to be handled at one time as a unit.

Unit Load Device: Any device or container used to create a unit load. ULDs include pallets, skids, container inserts; “flats” and bins; shrink-wrap, banding and/or bundling to create “lift loads”; or combinations of the above.

United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL): The core legal body of the United Nations system in the field of international trade law. A legal body with universal membership specializing in commercial law reform worldwide for over 40 years. UNCITRAL’s business is the modernization and harmonization of rules on international business. Trade means faster growth, higher living standards, and new opportunities through commerce. In order to increase these opportunities worldwide, UNCITRAL is formulating modern, fair, and harmonized rules on commercial transactions.

United Nations EDI for Administration, Commerce and Transport (UN/EDIFACT): EDI Standards are developed and supported by the UN for electronic message (data) interchange on an international level.

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC): UNODC is a global leader in the fight against illicit drugs and international crime. Established in 1997 through a merger between the United Nations Drug Control Program and the Center for International Crime Prevention, UNODC operates in all regions of the world through an extensive network of field offices.

United States Agency for International Development (USAID): US foreign assistance has always had the twofold purpose of furthering America’s interests while improving lives in the developing world. USAID carries out US foreign policy by promoting broad-scale human progress at the same time it expands stable, free societies, creates markets and trade partners for the US, and fosters good will abroad.

United States Army Corps Of Engineers: See Corps of Engineers.

United States Census Bureau: As part of the US Department of Commerce (DOC), The US Census Bureau provides data about the nation’s people and economy.

United States Coast Guard: The US Coast Guard is one of the five armed forces of the US and the only military organization within the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Since 1790 the Coast Guard has safeguarded our Nation’s maritime interests and environment around the world. The Coast Guard is an adaptable, responsive military force of maritime professionals whose broad legal authorities, capable assets, geographic diversity and expansive partnerships provide a persistent presence along our rivers, in the ports, littoral regions and on the high seas. Coast Guard presence and impact is local, regional, national and international. These attributes make the Coast Guard a unique instrument of maritime safety, security and environmental stewardship.

United States Commercial Service; The US Commercial Service is the trade promotion arm of the US Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration. US Commercial Service trade professionals in over 100 US cities and in more than 75 countries help US companies get started in exporting or increase sales to new global markets.

United States Consular Invoice: A document required on merchandise imported into the US.

United States Court of International Trade: International trade, always important to our nation and the world, is more important today than ever before. As the impact of international trade on the economy has grown, there has been a corresponding increase in disputes within the international trade community — among nations, individuals, foreign and domestic manufacturers, consumer groups, trade associations, labor unions, and concerned citizens and a growing need to assure consistent, fair and impartial adjudication of these disputes. Congress, with the Customs Courts Act of 1980, equipped the federal judicial system to deal effectively and efficiently with the complex problems arising from international trade litigation. The Act clarified and expanded the status, jurisdiction, and powers of the former US Customs Court. The 1980 Act “creates a comprehensive system for judicial review of civil actions arising out of import transactions and federal statutes affecting international trade.” This system, rooted in the mandate of Article I, Sec. 8 of the Constitution — that “all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the US” — ensures expeditious procedures, avoids jurisdictional conflicts among federal courts, and provides uniformity in the judicial decision-making for import transactions. The 1980 Act also changed the name of the Court to the US Court of International Trade. The new name more accurately describes the Court’s jurisdiction and its judicial functions relating to international trade disputes.

United States Customs: See United States Customs Department.

United States Customs and Border Protection (CPB): CPB) is one of the US Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) largest and most complex components, with a priority mission of keeping terrorists and their weapons out of the US. It also has a responsibility for securing the border and facilitating lawful international trade and travel while enforcing hundreds of US laws and regulations, including immigration and drug laws.

United States Customs Department: A federal agency whose mission is to prevent the importation of illegal drugs and contraband to the US.

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA): A government agency which regulates imported agricultural merchandise, for example plants and plant products, domestic animals, serums and by-products, etc.

United States Export-Import Bank: The Ex-Im Bank is the official export credit agency of the US. Ex-Im Bank’s mission is to assist in financing the export of US goods and services to international markets. Ex-Im Bank enables US companies — large and small — to turn export opportunities into real sales that help to maintain and create US jobs and contribute to a stronger national economy. Ex-Im Bank does not compete with private sector lenders but provides export-financing products that fill gaps in trade financing. We assume credit and country risks that the private sector is unable or unwilling to accept. We also help to level the playing field for US exporters by matching the financing that other governments provide to their exporters. Ex-Im Bank provides working capital guarantees (pre-export financing); export credit insurance; and loan guarantees and direct loans (buyer financing). No transaction is too large or too small. On average, more than 85% of our transactions directly benefit US small businesses.

United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE): The United States ICE is the principal investigative arm of the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Created in 2003 through a merger of the investigative and interior enforcement elements of the U.S. Customs Service and the Immigration and Naturalization Service, ICE now has more than 20,000 employees in offices in all 50 states and 47 foreign countries.

United States International Trade Commission (USITC): The US International Trade Commission is an independent, quasi-judicial Federal agency with broad investigative responsibilities on matters of trade. The agency investigates the effects of dumped and subsidized imports on domestic industries and conducts global safeguard investigations. The Commission also adjudicates cases involving imports that allegedly infringe intellectual property rights. Through such proceedings, the agency facilitates a rules-based international trading system. The Commission also serves as a Federal resource where trade data and other trade policy-related information are gathered and analyzed. The information and analysis are provided to the President, the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR), and Congress to facilitate the development of sound and informed US trade policy. The Commission makes most of its information and analysis available to the public to promote understanding of international trade issues. The mission of the Commission is to (1) administer US trade remedy laws within its mandate in a fair and objective manner; (2) provide the President, USTR, and Congress with independent analysis, information, and support on matters of tariffs, international trade, and US competitiveness; and (3) maintain the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the US-(HTS).

United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC): An independent agency, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission regulates commercial nuclear power plants and other uses of nuclear materials. The NRC supports US interests abroad in the safe and secure use of nuclear materials and in guarding against the spread of nuclear weapons. NRC actively participates in international working groups and provides advice and assistance to international organizations and foreign countries to develop effective regulatory organizations and enforce rigorous safety standards. NRC is the US licensing authority for exports and imports of nuclear materials and equipment.

United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO): The USPTO is the federal agency for granting US patents and registering trademarks. In doing this, the USPTO fulfills the mandate of Article I, Section 8, Clause 8, of the Constitution that the legislative branch “promote the progress of science and the useful arts by securing for limited times to inventors the exclusive right to their respective discoveries.” The USPTO registers trademarks based on the commerce clause of the Constitution (Article I, Section 8, Clause 3). Under this system of protection, American industry has flourished. New products have been invented, new uses for old ones discovered, and employment opportunities created for millions of Americans. The strength and vitality of the US economy depends directly on effective mechanisms that protect new ideas and investments in innovation and creativity. The continued demand for patents and trademarks underscores the ingenuity of American inventors and entrepreneurs. The USPTO is at the cutting edge of the nation’s technological progress and achievement. The USPTO advises the president of the US, the secretary of commerce, and US government agencies on intellectual property (IP) policy, protection, and enforcement; and promotes the stronger and more effective IP protection around the world. The USPTO furthers effective IP protection for US innovators and entrepreneurs worldwide by working with other agencies to secure strong IP provisions in free trade and other international agreements. It also provides training, education, and capacity building programs designed to foster respect for IP and encourage the development of strong IP enforcement regimes by US trading partners. (United States DOC).

United States Principal Party of Interest (USPPI): The party that receives the primary benefit from an export transaction, usually the seller of the goods.

United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA): USTDA is an independent US Government foreign assistance agency that is funded by the US Congress. Our mission is to help companies create US jobs through the export of US goods and services for priority development projects in emerging economies. USTDA links US businesses to export opportunities by funding project planning activities, pilot projects, and reverse trade missions while creating sustainable infrastructure and economic growth in partner countries. USTDA provides grant funding to overseas project sponsors for the planning of projects that support the development of modern infrastructure and an open trading system. The hallmark of USTDA development assistance has always involved building partnerships between US companies and overseas project sponsors to bring proven private sector solutions to developmental challenges.

United States Trade Representative (USTR): Responsible for developing and coordinating US international trade, commodity, and direct investment policy, and overseeing negotiations with other countries. The head of USTR is the US Trade Representative, a Cabinet member who serves as the president’s principal trade advisor, negotiator, and spokesperson on trade issues. The US is party to numerous trade agreements with other countries, and is participating in negotiations for new trade agreements with a number of countries and regions of the world.

Unit Train: A train of a specified number of railcars, perhaps 100, which remain as a unit for a designated destination or until a change in routing is made.

Unitization: The consolidation of a quantity of individual items into one large shipping unit for easier handling. Loading one or more large items of cargo onto a single piece of equipment, such as a pallet.

Unloading: Removal of a shipment from a vessel.

UNODC: See United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

Unverified List: Part of the BIS Bureau of Industry and Security . A list of parties where BIS has been unable to verify the end-user in prior transactions. The presence of a party on this list in a transaction is a “Red Flag” that should be resolved before proceeding with the transaction.

URC: Uniform Rules For Collections.

URDG: Uniform Rules for Demand Guarantees.

USAID: See United States Agency for International Development.

USCG: See United States Coast Guard.

USCS: See United States Commercial Service.

USD: US Dollar.

USDA: See United States Department of Agriculture.

USEC: US East Coast.

USFS: Intermodal Fuel Surcharge.

USIFS: US Intermodal Fuel Surcharge.

USITC: See United States International Trade Commission.

USPPI: See United States Principal Party of Interest.

USPS: USA Port Security.

USPTO: See United States Patent and Trademark Office.

USSC: USA Port Security.

USTDA: See United States Trade and Development Agency.

USTR: See United States Trade Representative.

USWC: US West Coast.

UTSC: US Terminal Security Charge.

Back to Top

| V |

VAC: Vessel Adjustment Charge.

Validated Export License: A document issued by the US government; authorizes the export of commodities for which written authorization is required by law.

Validation: Authentication of B/L and when B/L becomes effective.

Vanning: A term for stowing cargo in a container.

Variable Cost: Costs that vary directly with the level of activity within a short time. Examples include costs of moving cargo inland on trains or trucks, stevedoring in some ports, and short–term equipment leases. For business analysis, all costs are either defined as variable or fixed. For a business to break even, all fixed costs must be covered. To make a profit, all variable and fixed costs must be recovered plus some extra amount.

VAS: Value Added Surcharge.

VATOS: Value at Time of Shipment.

Ventilated Container: A container designed with openings in the side and/or end walls to permit the ingress of outside air when the doors are closed.

Vessel: A ship or large boat.

Vessel Load Free Out (VLFO): The loading and discharge terms for the cargo to be shipped, as agreed to in the charter party. The vessel (carrier) pays for the loading of the cargo on board the ship and the receiver pays for the discharge of the cargo from the ship to the pier.

Vessel Manifest: The international carrier is obligated to make declarations of the ship’s crew and contents at both the port of departure and arrival. The vessel manifest lists various details about each shipment by B/L number. Obviously, the B/L serves as the core source from which the manifest is created.

Vessel Operating Common Carrier (VOCC): A shipping company that operates its own vessels.

Vessel Supplies for Immediate Exportation (VSIE): Allows equipment and supplies arriving at one port to be loaded on a vessel, aircraft, etc., for its exclusive use and to be exported from the same port.

Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC): A tanker of 200,000 to 319,000 DWT Deadweight Tonnage . It can carry about 2 million barrels of crude oil.

VFS: Vessel Fuel Surcharge.

VISA: See Voluntary Intermodal Sealift Agreement.

Viz: Namely. Used in tariffs to specify commodities.

VLCC: See Very Large Crude Carrier.

VLFO: See Vessel Load Free Out.

VOCC: See Vessel Operating Common Carrier.

Voided B/L: Related to Consolidated B/L; those B/L’s absorbed in the combining process. Different from Canceled B/L.

Voluntary Intermodal Sealift Agreement (VISA): Provides the US defense community with “assured access” to commercial intermodal capacity to move sustainment cargoes during time of war or national emergency. In return, during peacetime, the carriers receive preference in the carriage of DOD Department of Defense cargoes.

Voluntary Ship: Any ship which is not required by treaty or statute to be equipped with radio-telecommunication equipment.

VSIE: See Vessel Supplies for Immediate Exportation.

Back to Top

| W |

W/M: See Weight or Measurement.

WA: With Particular Average.

WAR: War Risk Premium.

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

Warehouse: A place for the reception, delivery, consolidation, distribution, and storage of goods/cargo. A place in which goods or merchandise is stored.

Warehouse Entry: Document that identifies goods imported when placed in a bonded warehouse. The duty is not imposed on the products while in the warehouse but will be collected when they are withdrawn for delivery or consumption.

Warehouse Withdrawal for Transportation Exportation: Allows merchandise that has been withdrawn from a bonded warehouse at one port to be transported in bond through the US to be exported from another port, without paying duty.

Warehouse Withdrawal for Transportation: Allows merchandise that has been withdrawn from a bonded warehouse at one port to be transported in bond to another port, where a superseding entry will be filed.

Warehouse Withdrawal for Transportation Immediate Exportation: Allows merchandise that has been withdrawn from a bonded warehouse at one US port to be exported from the same port exported without paying duty.

Warehousing: The storing of goods and/or cargo.

WB: See Waybill below. Can also mean West Bound.

Waybill: A document prepared by a transportation line at the point of a shipment; shows the point of the origin, destination, route, consignor, consignee, description of shipment and amount charged for the transportation service. It is forwarded with the shipment or sent by mail to the agent at the transfer point or waybill destination. Unlike a bill of lading, a waybill is NOT a document of title.

WCO: See World Customs Organization.

WDEX: See Warehouse Withdrawal for Transportation Immediate Exportation.

WDT: See Warehouse Withdrawal for Transportation.

WDT&E: See Warehouse Withdrawal for Transportation Exportation.

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

Weight or Measurement The basis for assessing freight charges. Also known as “worm.” The rate charged under W/M will be whichever produces the highest revenue between the weight of the shipment and the measure of the shipment. The comparison is based on the number of metric tons the cargo weights compared to the number of cubic meters of space the cargo measures. The prior English method was one long ton compared to forty cubic feet.

Weights and Measures/Measurement ton: 40 cubic ft or one cubic meter.

Well Car: Also known as stack car or a drop–frame rail flat car.

WF: See Wharfage.

WFG: See Wharfage.

WFS: Winter Feeder Surcharges.

WHA: See Wharfage.

Wharf: The place at which ships tie up to unload and load cargo. The wharf typically has front and rear loading docks (aprons), a transit shed, open (unshedded) storage areas, truck bays, and rail tracks.

Wharfage: Charge assessed by a pier or dock owner against freight handled over the pier or dock or against a steamship company using the pier or dock.

Whfge: See Wharfage.

WHRF: See Wharfage.

WIBON: Whether In Berth or Not.

Windy Booking: A freight booking made by a shipper or freight forwarder to reserve space but not actually having a specific cargo at the time the booking is made. Carriers often overbook a vessel by 10 to 20 percent in recognition that “windy booking” cargo will not actually ship.

Without Recourse: A phrase preceding the signature of a drawer or endorser of a negotiable instrument; signifies that the instrument is passed onto subsequent holders without any liability to the endorser in the event of nonpayment or nondelivery.

WM: See Weight or Measurement.

World Bank: We provide low-interest loans, interest-free credits, and grants to developing countries. These support a wide array of investments in such areas as education, health, public administration, infrastructure, financial and private sector development, agriculture, and environmental and natural resource management. Some of our projects are cofinanced with governments, other multilateral institutions, commercial banks, export credit agencies, and private sector investors.

World Customs Organization (WCO): The WCO provides leadership, guidance and support to Customs administrations to secure and facilitate legitimate trade, realize revenues, protect society and build capacity.

World Trade Organization (WTO): The WTO is the only global international organization dealing with the rules of trade between nations. At its heart are the WTO agreements, negotiated and signed by the bulk of the world’s trading nations and ratified in their parliaments. The goal is to help producers of goods and services, exporters, and importers conduct their business.

WPA: With Particular Average.

WR: War Risk Surcharge.

WRC: War Risk Charge.

WRS: War Risk Surcharge.

WTO: See World Trade Organization.

WWD: Weather Working Days.

Back to Top

| Y |

Y/A: York-Antwerp Rules.

YAR1994: York-Antwerp Rules.

Yard: A classification, storage or switching area.

York–Antwerp Rules of 1974: Established the standard basis for adjusting general average and stated the rules for adjusting claims.

Back to Top

| Z |

Zulu Time: Time based on Greenwich Mean Time.

Back to Top