AAR – Abbreviation for Against All Risks (insurance clause).
Abandon – A proceeding wherein a shipper/consignee seeks authority to abandon all or parts of their cargo.
Act of God – An act beyond human control, such as lightning, flood or earthquake.
Ad Valorem – A term from Latin meaning, “according to value.”
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.
Advising Bank – A bank operating in the seller’s country, that handles letters of credit in behalf of a foreign bank.
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.
Agent (Agt) – A person authorized to transact business for and in the name of another person or company. Types of agent are: (1) brokers, (2) commission merchants, (3) resident buyers, (4) sales agents, (5) manufacturer’s representatives.
Air Waybill – The forwarding agreement or carrying agreement between shipper and air carrier and is issued only in nonnegotiable form.
A phrase referring to the side of a ship. Goods delivered “alongside” are to be placed on the dock or barge within reach of the transport ship’s tackle so that they can be loaded.
Ambient Temperature – The temperature of a surrounding body. The ambient temperature of a container is the atmospheric temperature to which it is exposed.
The U.S. Customs’ “Automated Manifest System.”
Anti-Dumping Duty – A tariff imposed to discourage sale of foreign goods, subsidized to sell at low prices detrimental to local manufacturers.
Average – See insurance.
Arrival Notice – A notification by carrier of 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.
B/L – Abbreviation for “Bill of Lading.”
BAF – Abbreviation for “Bunker Adjustment Factor.” Used to compensate steamship lines for fluctuating fuel costs. Sometimes called “Fuel Adjustment Factor” or FAF.
Bank Guarantee -
Guarantee issued by a bank to a carrier to be used in lieu of lost or misplaced original negotiable bill of lading.
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 latter sustain injury. It may include negligence, if so gross as to evidence fraud.
Base Rate – A tariff term referring to ocean rate less accessorial charges, or simply the base tariff rate.
Beneficiary – Entity to whom money is payable; The entity for whom a letter of credit is issued; The seller and the drawer of a draft.
Bilateral – A contract term meaning both parties agree to provide something for the other.
Bill of Exchange – In the United States, commonly known as a “Draft.” However, bill of exchange is the correct term.
Bill of Lading (B/L) – 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.
- Amended B/L: B/L requiring updates that do not change financial status; this is slightly different from corrected B/L.
- B/L Terms & Conditions: the fine print on B/L; defines what the carrier can and cannot do, including the carrier’s liabilities and contractual agreements.
- B/L’s Status: represents whether the bill of lading has been input, rated, reconciled, printed, or released to the customer.
- B/L’s Type: refers to the type of B/L being issued. Some examples are: a Memo (ME), Original (OBL), Non negotiable, Corrected (CBL) or Amended (AM) B/L.
- Canceled B/L: B/L status; used to cancel a processed B/L; usually per shipper’s request; different from voided B/L.
- Clean B/L: A B/L which bears no superimposed clause or notation which declares a defective condition of the goods and/or the packaging.
- Combined B/L: B/L that covers cargo moving over various transports.
- Consolidated B/L: B/L combined or consolidated from two or more B/L’s.
- Corrected B/L: B/L requiring any update which results in money or other financially related changes.
- Domestic B/L: Non-negotiable B/L primarily containing routing details; usually used by truckers and freight forwarders.
- Duplicate B/L: Another original Bill of Lading set if first set is lost. also known as reissued B/L.
- Express B/L: Non-negotiable B/L where there are no hard copies of originals printed.
- Freight B/L: A contract of carriage between a shipper and forwarder (who is usually a NVOCC); a non-negotiable document.
- House B/L: B/L issued by a freight forwarder or consolidator covering a single shipment containing the names, addresses and specific description of the goods shipped.
- Intermodal B/L: B/L covering cargo moving via multimodal means. Also known as Combined Transport B/L, or Multimodal B/L.
- Long Form B/L: B/L form with all Terms & Conditions written on it. Most B/L’s are short form which incorporate the long form clauses by reference.
- Memo B/L: Unfreighted B/L with no charges listed.
- B/L Numbers: U.S. Customs’ standardized B/L numbering format to facilitate electronic communications and to make each B/L number unique.
- Negotiable B/L: The B/L is a title document to the goods, issued “to the order of” a party, usually the shipper, whose endorsement is required to effect is negotiation. Thus, a shipper’s order (negotiable) B/L can be bought, sold, or traded while goods are in transit and is commonly used for letter-of-credit transactions. The buyer must submit the original B/L to the carrier in order to take possession of the goods.
- Non-Negotiable B/L: See Straight B/L. Sometimes means a file copy of a B/L.
- “Onboard” B/L: B/L validated at the time of loading to transport. Onboard Air, Boxcar, Container, Rail, Truck and Vessel are the most common types.
- Optional Discharge B/L: B/L covering cargo with more than one discharge point option possibility.
- “Order” B/L: See Negotiable B/L.
- Original B/L: The part of the B/L set that has value, especially when negotiable; rest of set are only informational file copies. Abbreviated as OBL.
- Received for Shipment B/L: Validated at time cargo is received by ocean carrier to commence movement but before being validated as “Onboard”.
- Reconciled B/L: B/L set which has completed a prescribed number of edits between the shippers instructions and the actual shipment received. This produces a very accurate B/L.
- Short Term B/L: Opposite of Long Form B/L, a B/L without the Terms & Conditions written on it. Also known as a Short Form B/L. The terms are incorporated by reference to the long form B/L.
- Split B/L: One of two or more B/L’s which have been split from a single B/L.
- Stale B/L: A late B/L; in banking, a B/L which has passed the time deadline of the L/C and is void.
- Straight (Consignment) B/L: Indicates the shipper will deliver the goods to the consignee. It does not convey title (non-negotiable). Most often used when the goods have been pre-paid.
- “To Order” B/L: See Negotiable B/L.
- Unique B/L Identifier: U.S. Customs’ standardization: four-alpha code unique to each carrier placed in front of nine digit B/L number; APL’s unique B/L Identifier is “APLU”. Sea-land uses “SEAU”. These prefixes are also used as the container identification.
- Voided B/L: Related to Consolidated B/L; those B/L’s absorbed in the combining process. Different from Canceled B/L.
Bill of Lading Port of Discharge – Port where cargo is discharged from means of transport.
Bill of Sale – Confirms the transfer of ownership of certain goods to another person in return for money paid or loaned.
Blocking or Bracing – Wood or metal supports (Dunnage) to keep shipments in place to prevent cargo shifting.
Board – To gain access to a vessel.
Bonded Freight – Freight moving under a bond and to be delivered only under stated conditions.
Bonded Warehouse – A warehouse authorized by Customs authorities for storage of goods on which payment of duties is deferred until the goods are removed.
Break Bulk – To unload and distribute a portion or all of the contents of a rail car, container, or trailer.
- Loose, non-containerized cargo.
Bulk Cargo – Not in packages or containers; shipped loose in the hold of a ship without mark and count.” Grain, coal and sulfur are usually bulk freight.
Bulk-Freight Container – A container with a discharge hatch in the front wall; allows bulk commodities to be carried.
Bunker Charge – An extra charge sometimes added to steamship freight rates; justified by higher fuel costs. (Also known as Fuel Adjustment Factor or FAF.)
Bunkers – A Maritime term referring to Fuel used aboard the ship. Coal stowage areas aboard a vessel in the past were in bins or bunkers.
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 loaded on a vessel.
Cabotage – Water transportation term applicable to shipments between ports of a nation; commonly refers to coast-wise or inter-coastal navigation or trade. Many nations, including the United States, have cabotage laws which require national flag vessels to provide domestic interport service.
CAF – Abbreviation for “Currency Adjustment Factor.” A charge, expressed as a percentage of a base rate, that is applied to compensate ocean carriers of currency fluctuations.
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.
Cargo Manifest – A manifest that lists all cargo carried on a specific vessel voyage.
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 U.S. Customs to release cargo properly to the correct party.
Cartage – Usually refers to intra city hauling on drays or trucks.
Cash Against Documents (CAD) – Method of payment for goods in which documents transferring title are given the buyer upon payment of cash to an intermediary acting for the seller, usually a commission house.
Certificate of Origin – A certified document showing the origin of goods; used in international commerce.
CFS – Abbreviation for “Container Freight Station.” A shipping dock where cargo is loaded (“stuffed”) into or unloaded (“stripped”) from containers. Generally, this involves less than containerload shipments, although small shipments destined to same consignee are often consolidated. Container reloading from/to rail or motor carrier equipment is a typical activity.
Claim – A demand made upon a transportation line for payment on account of a loss sustained through its alleged negligence.
Clean Bill of Lading – A receipt for goods issued by a carrier with an indication that the goods were received in “apparent good order and condition,” without damage or other irregularities. If no notation or exception is made, the B/L is assumed to be “cleaned.”
COGSA – Carriage of Goods by Sea Act. U.S. federal codification passed in 1936 which standardizes carrier’s liability under carrier’s bill of lading. U.S. enactment of The Hague Rules.
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 about the shipment.
Commodity – Article shipped. For dangerous and hazardous cargo, the correct commodity identification is critical.
Common Carrier – A transportation company which provides service to the general public at published rates.
Common Law – Law that derives its force and authority from precedent, custom and usage rather than from statutes, particularly with reference to the laws of England and the United States.
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 – 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.
Consignee – A person or company to whom commodities are shipped.
Consignment – (1) A stock of merchandise advanced to a dealer and located at his place of business, but with title remaining in the source of supply. (2) A shipment of goods to a consignee.
Consignor – A person or company shown on the bill of lading as the shipper.
Consolidation – Cargo containing shipments of two or more shippers or suppliers. Containerload shipments may be consolidated for one or more consignees.
Consolidator – A person or firm performing a consolidation service for others. The consolidator takes advantage of lower full carload (FCL) rates, and savings are passed on to shippers.
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.
Container Freight Station – See CFS.
Container Manifest – Document showing contents and loading sequence of a container.
Contract – A legally binding agreement between two or more persons/organizations to carry out reciprocal obligations or value.
Correspondent Bank – A bank that, in its own country, handles the business of a foreign bank.
Cubic Foot – 1,728 cubic inches. A volume contained in a space measuring one foot high, one foot wide and one foot long.
Customs – Government agency charged with enforcing the rules passed to protect the country’s import and export revenues.
Customs Bonded Warehouse – A warehouse authorized by Customs to receive duty-free merchandise.
Customs 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 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.
Demurrage – A penalty charge against shippers or consignees for delaying the carrier’s equipment beyond the allowed free time. The free time and demurrage charges are set forth in the charter party or freight tariff. See also Detention and Per Diem.
Density – The weight of cargo per cubic foot or other unit.
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 Per Diem.
Devanning – The unloading of a container or cargo van.
Discrepancy Letter of Credit – When documents presented do not conform to the requirements of the letter of credit (L/C), it is referred to as a “discrepancy.” Banks will not process L/C’s which have discrepancies. They will refer the situation back to the buyer and/or seller and await further instructions.
Dock Receipt – A form used to acknowledge receipt of cargo and often serves as basis for preparation of the ocean bill of lading.
Documents Against Acceptance (D/A) – Instructions given by a shipper to a bank indicating that documents transferring title to goods should be delivered to the buyer only upon the buyer’s acceptance of the attached draft.
Documents Against Payment (D/P) – An indication on a draft that the documents attached are to be released to the drawee only on payment.
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.
Draft, Bank – An order issued by a seller against a purchaser; directs payment, usually through an intermediary bank. Typical bank drafts are negotiable instruments and are similar in many ways to checks on checking accounts in a bank.
Draft, Clean – A draft to which no documents are attached.
Draft, Date – A draft that matures on a fixed date, regardless of the time of acceptance.
Draft, Discounted – A time draft under a letter of credit that has been accepted and purchased by a bank at a discount.
Draft, Sight – A draft payable on demand upon presentation.
Draft, Time – A draft that matures at a fixed or determinable time after presentation or acceptance.
Drawback – A partial refund of an import fee. Refund usually results because goods are re-exported from the country that collected the fee.
Drawee – The individual or firm that issues a draft and thus stands to receive payment.
Drayage – Charge made for local hauling by dray or truck. Same as Cartage.
EDI – Abbreviation for “Electronic Data Interface.” Generic term for transmission of transactional data between computer systems. EDI is typically via a batched transmission, usually conforming to consistent standards.
Entry – Customs documents required to clear an import shipment for entry into the general commerce of a country.
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.
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.
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 Declaration – A government document declaring designated goods to be shipped out of the country. To be completed by the exporter and filed with the U.S. Government.
Export License – A government document which permits the “Licensee” to engage in the export of designated goods to certain destinations.
FCL – Abbreviation for “Full Container Load.”
F.D.A. – Food and Drug Administration.
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.
FEU – Abbreviation for “Forty-Foot Equivalent Units.” Refers to container size standard of forty feet. Two twenty-foot containers or TEU’s equal one FEU.
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.
Foul Bill of Lading – A receipt for goods issued by a carrier with an indication that the goods were damaged when received. Compare Clean Bill of Lading.
Free Astray – An astray shipment (a lost shipment that is found) sent to its proper destination without additional charge.
Free Time – That amount of time that a carrier’s equipment may be used without incurring additional charges. (See Storage, Demurrage or Per Diem.)
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 Forwarder – A person whose business is to act as an agent on behalf of the shipper. A freight forwarder frequently makes the booking reservation.
Gateway – Industry-related: A point at which freight moving from one territory to another is interchanged between transportation lines.
GRI – Abbreviation for “General Rate Increase.” Used to describe an across-the-board tariff rate increase implemented by conference members and applied to base rates.
Groupage – A consolidation service, putting small shipments into containers for shipment.
Harmonized System of Codes (HS) – An international goods classification system for describing cargo in international trade under a single commodity-coding scheme. Developed under the auspices of the Customs Cooperations Council (CCC), an international Customs organization in Brussels, this code is a hierarchically structured product nomenclature containing approximately 5,000 headings and subheadings. It is organized into 99 chapters arranged in 22 sections. Sections encompass an industry (e.g., Section XI, Textiles and Textile Articles); chapters encompass the various materials and products of the industry (e.g., Chapter 50, Silk; Chapter 55, Manmade Staple Fibers; Chapter 57, Carpets). The basic code contains four-digit headings and six-digit subheadings. Many countries add digits for Customs tariff and statistical purposes. In the United States, duty rates will be the eight-digit level; statistical suffixes will be at the ten-digit level. The Harmonized System (HS) is the current U.S. tariff schedule (TSUSA) for imports and is the basis for the ten-digit Schedule B export code.
House-to-House – See Door-to-Door.
House-to-Pier – Cargo loaded into a container by the shipper under shipper’s supervision. When the cargo is exported, it is unloaded at the foreign pier destination.
ICC – Abbreviation for (1) International Chamber of Commerce.
I.M.C.O. – International Maritime Consultative Organization. A forum in which most major maritime nations participate and through which recommendations for the carriage of dangerous goods, bulk commodities, and maritime regulations become internationally acceptable.
I.M.D.G. Code – International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code. The regulations published by the IMO for transporting hazardous materials internationally.
Import – To receive goods from a foreign country.
Import License – A document required and issued by some national governments authorizing the importation of goods.
In Bond – Cargo moving under Customs control where duty has not yet been paid.
Indemnity Bond – An agreement to hold a carrier harmless with regard to a liability.
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.
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.
Insurance with Average-clause – This type of clause covers merchandise if the damage amounts to three percent or more of the insured value of the package or cargo. If the vessel burns, sinks, collides, or sinks, all losses are fully covered. In marine insurance, the word average describes partial damage or partial loss.
Insurance, All-risk – This type of insurance offers the shipper the broadest coverage available, covering against all losses that may occur in transit.
Insurance, General-Average – In water transportation, the deliberate sacrifice of cargo to make the vessel safe for the remaining cargo. Those sharing in the spared cargo proportionately cover the loss.
Insurance, Particular Average – A Marine insurance term to refer to partial loss on an individual shipment from one of the perils insured against, regardless of the balance of the cargo. Particular average insurance can usually be obtained, but the loss must be in excess of a certain percentage of the insured value of the shipment, usually three to five percent, before a claim will be allowed by the company.
Intermodal – Used to denote movements of cargo containers interchangeably between transport modes, i.e., motor, water, and air carriers, and where the equipment is compatible within the multiple systems.
Irrevocable Letter of Credit – Letter of credit in which the specified payment is guaranteed by the bank if all terms and conditions are met by the drawee and which cannot be revoked without joint agreement of both the buyer and the seller.
Issuing Bank – Bank that opens a straight or negotiable letter of credit and assumes the obligation to pay the bank or beneficiary if the documents presented are in accordance with the terms of the letter of credit.
Issuing Carrier – The carrier issuing transportation documents or publishing a tariff.
Known Loss – A loss discovered before or at the time of delivery of a shipment.
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.
LCL – Abbreviation for “Less than Container Load.” The quantity of freight which is less than that required for the application of a container load rate. Loose Freight.
Less Than Truckload – Also known as LTL or LCL.
Letter of Credit (LC) – A document, issued by a bank per instructions by a buyer of goods, authorizing the seller to draw a specified sum of money under specified terms, usually the receipt by the bank of certain documents within a given time. Some of the specific descriptions are:
- Back-to-Back: A new letter of credit issued to another beneficiary on the strength of a primary credit. The second L/C uses the first L/C as collateral for the bank. Used in a three-party transaction.
- Clean: A letter of credit that requires the beneficiary to present only a draft or a receipt for specified funds before receiving payment.
- Confirmed: An L/C guaranteed by both the issuing and advising banks of payment so long as seller’s documents are in order, and the L/C terms are met. Only applied to irrevocable L/C’s. The confirming bank assumes the credit risk of the issuing bank.
- Deferred Payment: A letter of credit issued for the purchase and financing of merchandise, similar to acceptance-type letter of credit, except that it requires presentation of sight drafts payable on an installment basis.
- Irrevocable: An instrument that, once established, cannot be modified or cancelled without the agreement of all parties concerned.
- Non cumulative: A revolving letter of credit that prohibits the amount not used during the specific period from being available afterwards.
- Restricted: A condition within the letter of credit which restricts its negotiation to a named bank.
- Revocable: An instrument that can be modified or cancelled at any moment without notice to and agreement of the beneficiary, but customarily includes a clause in the credit to the effect that any draft negotiated by a bank prior to the receipt of a notice of revocation or amendment will be honored by the issuing bank. Rarely used since there is no protection for the seller.
- Revolving: An irrevocable letter issued for a specific amount; renews itself for the same amount over a given period.
- Straight: A letter of credit that contains a limited engagement clause which states that the issuing bank promises to pay the beneficiary upon presentation of the required documents at its counters or the counters of the named bank.
- Transferable: A letter of credit that allows the beneficiary to transfer in whole or in part to another beneficiary any amount which, in aggregate, of such transfers does not exceed the amount of the credit. Used by middlemen.
- Unconfirmed: A letter of credit forwarded to the beneficiary by the advising bank without engagement on the part of the advising bank.
Letter of Indemnity – 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.
Licenses – Some governments require certain commodities to be licensed prior to exportation or importation. Clauses attesting to compliance are often required on the B/L. Various types issued for export (general, validated) and import as mandated by government(s).
Lien – A legal claim upon goods for the satisfaction of some debt or duty.
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.
Mini Landbridge – An intermodal system for transporting containers by ocean and then by rail or motor to a port previously served as an all water move (e.g., Hong Kong to New York over Seattle).
Minimum Charge – The lowest charge that can be assessed to transport a shipment.
Multimodal – Synonymous for all practical purposes with “Intermodal.”
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.
Ocean Bill of Lading (Ocean B/L) – A contract for transportation between a shipper and a carrier. It also evidences receipt of the cargo by the carrier. A bill of lading shows ownership of the cargo and, if made negotiable, can be bought, sold or traded while the goods are in-transit.
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.
Open Insurance Policy – A marine insurance policy that applies to all shipments made by an exporter over a period of time rather than to one shipment only.
Open 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.
Order-Notify (O/N) – A bill of lading term to provide surrender of the original bill of lading before freight is released; usually associated with a shipment covered under a letter of credit.
Original Bill of Lading (OBL) – A document which requires proper signatures for consummating carriage of contract. Must be marked as “original” by the issuing carrier.
Overheight Cargo – Cargo more than eight feet high which thus cannot fit into a standard container.
Perils of the Sea – Those causes of loss for which the carrier is not legally liable. The elemental risks of ocean transport.
Pier-to-House – A shipment loaded into a container at the pier or terminal, thence to the consignee’s facility.
Pier-to-Pier – Containers loaded at port of loading and discharged at port of destination.
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.
POD – Abbreviation for: Port of Discharge or Port of Destination or Proof of Delivery. A document required from the carrier or driver for proper payment.
Point of Origin – The place at which a shipment is received by a carrier from the shipper.
POL – Abbreviation for: Port of Loading or Petroleum, Oil, and Lubricants.
Pomerene Act, Also known as (U.S.) Federal Bill of Lading Act of 1916 – U.S. federal law enacting conditions by which a B/L may be issued. Penalties for issuing B/L’s containing false data include monetary fines and/or imprisonment.
Port of Entry – Port where cargo is unloaded and enters a country.
Port of Exit – Place where cargo is loaded and leaves a country.
Prepaid (Ppd.) – Freight charges paid by the consignor (shipper) prior to the release of the bills of lading by the carrier.
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.”
Reconsignment – Changing the consignee or destination on a bill of lading while shipment is still in transit. Diversion has substantially the same meaning.
Reefer – Refrigerated container.
“Ro/Ro” – A shortening of the term, “Roll On/Roll Off.” A method of ocean cargo service using a vessel with ramps which allows wheeled vehicles to be loaded and discharged without cranes.
Roll – To re-book cargo to a later vessel.
Schedule B – The Statistical Classification of Domestic and Foreign Commodities Exported from the United States.
Sea Waybill – Document indicating the goods were loaded onboard when a document of title (b/L) is not needed. Typically used when a company is shipping goods to itself.
SED – U.S. Commerce Department document, “Shipper’s Export Declaration.”
Shipper – The person or company who is usually the supplier or owner of commodities shipped. Also called Consignor.
Shipper’s Export Declaration (SED,”Ex Dec”) – A joint Bureau of the Census’ International Trade Administration form used for compiling U.S. exports. It is completed by a shipper and shows the value, weight, destination, etc., of export shipments as well as Schedule B commodity code.
Shipper’s Load & Count (SL&C) – Shipments loaded and sealed by shippers and not checked or verified by the carriers.
Sight Draft – A draft payable upon presentation to the drawee.
SL/W – Shippers load and count. All three clauses are used as needed on the bill of lading to exclude the carrier from liability when the cargo is loaded by the shipper.
Statute Of Limitation – A law limiting the time in which claims or suits may be instituted.
STC – Said to contain.
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.
Terminal Charge – A charge made for a service performed in a carrier’s terminal area.
TEU – Abbreviation for “Twenty foot Equivalent Unit.”
TIR – “Transport International par la Route.” Road transport operating agreement among European governments and the United States for the international movement of cargo by road. Display of the TIR carnet allows sealed containerloads to cross national frontiers without inspection.
Transship – To transfer goods from one transportation line to another, or from one ship to another.
UCP – Abbreviation for the “Uniform Customs and Practice for Documentary Credits,” published by the International Chamber of Commerce. This is the most frequently used standard for making payments in international trade; e.g., paying on a Letter of Credit. It is most frequently referred to by its shorthand title: UCP No. 500. This revised publication reflects recent changes in the transportation and banking industries, such as electronic transfer of funds.
UN/EDIFACT – United Nations EDI for Administration, Commerce and Transport. EDI Standards are developed and supported by the UN for electronic message (data) interchange on an international level.
Uniform Customs and Practices for Documentary Credits (UCP) – Rules for letters of credit drawn up by the Commission on Banking Technique and Practices of the International Chamber of Commerce in consultation with the banking associations of many countries. See Terms of Payment.
War Risk – Insurance coverage for loss of goods resulting from any act of war.
Waybill (WB) – A document prepared by a transportation line at the point of a shipment; shows the point of the origin, destination, route, consignor, consignee, description of shipment and amount charged for the transportation service. It is forwarded with the shipment or sent by mail to the agent at the transfer point or waybill destination.
Abbreviation is WB. Unlike a bill of lading, a waybill is NOT a document of title.
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.
W.M. (W/M) – Abbreviation for “Weight or Measurement;” the basis for assessing freight charges. Also known as “worm.” The rate charged under W/M will be whichever produces the highest revenue between the weight of the shipment and the measure of the shipment.
York-Antwerp Rules of 1974 – Established the standard basis for adjusting general average and stated the rules for adjusting claims
Zulu Time – Time based on Greenwich Mean Time.
AAR – Abbreviation for Against All Risks (insurance clause).