DGX Glossary of International Shipping Terms

Over the years we found that if we help customers learn Shipping Industry terminology, the shipping process from Pickup to Delivery goes faster and smoother, saving time and money.

Here for everyone’s easy reference, is our extensive glossary of industry-specific shipping terms and acronyms. If you have suggestions for additional glossary terms, please email us.

Bookmark this page and come back when needed!


Freight that has not been accepted or claimed by the consignee or is undeliverable due to error or omission on the part of the shipper, consignee or owner.

Receipt by the consignee of a shipment. This terminates the common carrier contract for transportation.

A service rendered by a carrier in addition to a standard transportation service, such as stopping in transit to complete loading or to partially unload, heating, storage, sorting, segregating, inside delivery, etc.

U.S. Customs programs to automate the flow of customs-related information among customs brokers, importers and carriers.

Means “according to the value.” A fixed percentage of the value of goods that is used to calculate customs duties and taxes.

Load made on the security of the documents covering the shipment.

Third party, shipper or consignor will request that at time of billing, we advance their charges on our bill, to be collected from the payor. Usually this involves either an interline carrier, a freight broker or a packing company who requests we protect and advance their charges for services on our bill. Advance charges do not apply to payments for merchandise.

A bank that receives a letter of credit from an issuing bank, verifies its authenticity and forwards the original letter of credit to the exporter without obligation to pay.

A term indicating that a shipper’s agent or representative is not empowered to make definite decisions or adjustments without the approval of the group or individual represented.

Several shipments from different shippers to one consignee that are consolidated and treated as a single consignment.

Freight value mutually agreed upon by shipper and carrier as a basis for transportation charges. It also may represent an agreed maximum amount that can be recovered in case of loss or damage.

The weight set and agreed upon by carrier and shipper as a basis for charges.

A bill of lading that covers both international and domestic flights transporting goods to a specified destination. This is a non-negotiable document of air transport that serves as a receipt for the shipper, indicating that the carrier has accepted the goods listed and obligates itself to carry the consignment to the airport of destination according to specified conditions.

An agent appointed by an airline to solicit and process international air freight shipments.

A phrase referring to the side of a ship. Goods to be 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 aboard the ship.

The privilege to use the rate producing the lowest charge.

A tariff containing two or more rates from and to the same points, on the same goods, with authority to use the one which produces the lowest charge.

The rate applicable to an article regardless of how much is to be transported.

A stated amount over a fixed rate to one point to make a rate to another point.

A notice from the carrier to the notify party, indicating the vessel’s estimated arrival date and identifying shipment details such as number of packages, weight, container number and indicating when free time expires. Often includes a freight invoice.

A term commonly 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.

A stipulation within a letter of credit in which some or all of the proceeds are assigned from the original beneficiary to one or more additional beneficiaries.

This is the name given to the option or right of one of the contracting parties to render a contract void. This is to say that the contract will not be cancelled but rather it will have the status of never having existed.

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Example: Company “A” sells goods to company “B”. Company “B” in turn sells the goods to company “C”. All three are in different countries. Company “B” will profit by having bought the goods for (X) amount, on-selling them to Company “C” for (X) amount. We can also extend the example to say that it is strategically important for “B” that “A” and “C” remain unaware of each other.

The difference between a country’s total imports and exports. If exports exceed imports, favorable balance of trade exists, if not, a trade deficit is said to exist.

Trade in which merchandise is exchanged directly for other merchandise without use of money. Barter is an important means of trade with countries using currency that is not readily convertible.

A firm or person on whom a letter of credit has been drawn. The beneficiary is usually the seller or exporter.

A document that establishes the terms of a contract between a shipper and a transportation company under which freight is to be moved between specified points for a specified charge. Usually prepared by the shipper on forms issued by the carrier, it serves as a document of title, contract of carriage and a receipt for goods. Also see Air Waybill and Ocean Bill of Lading.

You may come across this expression in the context of bills of lading or insurance contracts. The last party to the process (several parties, at various times during transit, acquire interests in the cargo) has to stamp and sign the back of the bill to prove their identity but will not endorse entitlement over to a further party. They wish to take control. This is called “endorsed in blank” or “blank endorsed.”

The wood or metal supports (dunnage) to keep shipments in place to prevent cargo shifting.

A warehouse storage area or manufacturing facility in which imported goods may be stored or processed without payment of customs duties.

The maximum value of cargo on any one adventure, with this being a ship, aircraft, truck or train etc. It is important because it limits the insurance company’s risk, which impacts favorably on the premiums paid. But this is only true if it’s observed.

A truck with a cube-shaped cargo area, also known as a cube truck, cube van, rolling toaster, box van or straight truck.

Movement by ocean of packaged goods that are not containerized.

The customs tariff number used by most European nations. The United States does not use the BTN, but a similar system known as the Harmonized Tariff Schedule.

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Acronymns that refer to Computer Aided Design/Computer Aided Manufacturing.

Goods carried on a ship, aircraft or motor vehicle.

A customs document permitting the holder to carry or send merchandise temporarily into certain foreign countries (for display, demonstration or similar purpose) without paying duties or posting bonds.

An individual, partnership or corporation engaged in the business of transporting goods or persons.

A document used to advise customs of the shipment’s details. By means of this document, the carrier certifies that the firm or individual named in the certificate is the owner or consignee of the cargo.

A carrier’s claim on property it has transported as security for charges.

The payment for goods in which the price is paid in full before shipment is made. Also referred to as CIA. This method is usually used only for small purchases or when the goods are built to order.

The payment for goods in which a commission house, or other intermediary, transfers title documents to the buyer upon payment in cash.

A document certifying that the goods were in apparent good condition immediately prior to shipping.

A statement in which a producer specifies where his goods were manufactured, certifies that manufacturing has been completed and confirms that the goods are at the buyer’s disposal.

A statement signed by the exporter, or his agent, and attested to by a local Chamber of Commerce, indicating that the goods being shipped, or a major percentage of them, originated and were produced in the exporter’s country.

A type of service in which cargo is transported between container freight stations (receiving terminals staffed by agents or ocean carrier Less-Than-Truckload or LTL receiving depots) where containers may be stuffed, stripped or consolidated. Usually used for LTL shipments.

Ordinarily, unless specific arrangements have been made, no carrier is permitted to deliver or relinquish possession at destination of any freight transported by it until all tariff rates and charges thereon have been paid. Carriers upon taking precautions deemed to be sufficient to assure payment of tariff charges may relinquish possession of freight in advance of payment of tariff charges and may extend credit in the amount of such charges.

The shipment weight used in determining air freight charges. The chargeable weight may be the dimensional weight for container shipments or the gross weight of the shipment less the tare weight of the container.

A charge to a subhauler, agent or interline carrier responsible for a claim. If request for payment has been already made, the deduction of claimed monies being “charged back” from monies we owe the subhauler, agent or trucker (in the event of non-payment of claim by them).

A term that means the shipper is responsible for inland freight, ocean/air freight and marine/air insurance to the port of final entry in the buyer’s country. The buyer is responsible for inland transportation to his or her location.

The demand made upon a transportation line for payment on account of loss or damage alleged to have occurred while shipment was in possession of carrier. Also the demand upon a transportation company for refund of an overcharge.

The form letter used to acknowledge receipt of a claim and request certain additional information from the claimant.

The file containing all applicable claim documents.

The form used to summarize claims information and act as a control sheet determining if the claim file is complete/ready to be analyzed for payment.

The form used which contains all pertinent claim information used in requesting further backup documents from the original container file and outturn/agent OS&D files. This form also serves as a worksheet for claim processing.

The “injured party” or the party making the claim for damages and/or shortages and who will ultimately receive payment (if any) for the claim.

The freight class to which an article is assigned for the purpose of applying transportation charges. The rating expresses the mathematical relationship of the freight rate for the group to a base rate, called the first class rate. Class ratings are expressed as percentages of first class if they are less than the first class rate. If higher than the first class rate, they are called multiples. For example, a class 70 rate would be 70% of first class. A rate of 150 would be 1.5 times the first class rate.

A transportation charge set for a group of commodities. Unless an article is given a special freight rate, it is grouped with others of a similar nature into a class. A transportation charge is set for the class. This charge or rate applies to each type of article in the class. See classification rating for further explanation.

A bill of lading signed by the carrier for receipt of merchandise in good condition (no damage, loss, etc. apparent), and which does not bear such notation as “Shipper’s Load and Count”.

The document issued by the inspection service to their principal (either the buyer or the buyer’s government depending on which of the two is paying the inspection company) indicating inspection results as “clean”. It is quite an important document in that it is normally one half of the mechanism needed to trigger payment.

Freight payable to the carrier at the port of discharge or ultimate destination. The consignee need not pay if the cargo does not arrive at destination.

The rate made by combining two or more rates published in different tariffs.

Issued by the seller of goods, the invoice against which payment is made. Required for clearing goods through Customs at destination. Other situations in which commercial invoices play a role include letters of credit, consular certification, certificates of origin, drafts for payment and import quotas.

The risk carried by the exporter (unless insurance is secured) that the foreign buyer may not be able to pay for goods delivered on an open account basis.

The special rate on a specific type of goods. Commodity rate replaces a class rate for the goods, except when the tariff specifies the alternative use of class and commodity rates.

A transportation business that offers service to the general public. Interstate common carriers must hold a franchise issued by the Surface Transportation Board. This franchise limits service to a specific geographical area. Rates however, are not regulated.

A tariff which gives the charges of two or more transportation lines.

Damage to the contents of a package which is apparently in good condition externally.

Loss or damage that cannot be determined until the package is opened.

A document filed with the Surface Transportation Board by which a transportation line agrees to be a party to a joint tariff.

A letter of credit, issued by a foreign bank, with validity confirmed by a U.S. bank. An exporter who requires a confirmed letter of credit from the buyer is assured of payment by the U.S. bank even if the foreign buyer or the foreign bank defaults.

A carrier that has a direct physical connection with another for interchange of cargo.

To send or address goods to another.

A person or firm to whom goods are shipped under a bill of lading.

A shipment of goods to a consignee.

The means by which the seller will supply goods to the buyer under the condition that the goods remain the property of the seller and that payment for the goods is only made to the supplier at the moment when they are sold (or used) by the buyer.

The person by whom articles are shipped.

A formal statement, made to the consul of a foreign country, describing goods to be shipped.

A document, required by some foreign countries, describing a shipment of goods and showing information such as the consignor, consignee and value of the shipment. Certified by consular official of the foreign country, it is used by the country’s customs official to verify the value, quantity and nature of the shipment.

A large metal box, similar to a truck trailer, into which freight is loaded. The container is then sealed, loaded into a ship’s hold and unloaded at its point of destination.

Shipping system based upon large cargo-carrying containers that easily can be interchanged between trucks, trains and ships without rehandling the contents.

A common misuse of language to refer to the transport document (Bill of Lading, Air Waybill, Consignment Note, etc.) as being the ‘contract of carriage’. The tangible document is ‘evidence’ of the contract of carriage, with the actual contract having been formed at a common law level of the ‘offer and acceptance’.

An informal group of 15 western countries established to prevent the export of certain strategic products to potentially hostile nations.

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

To pack goods in a crate for transportation.

Insurance designed to cover risks of nonpayment for delivered goods.

A measurement that is 1,728 cubic inches. A volume contained in a space measuring one foot high, one foot wide and one foot long.

The carrying capacity of a container.

A firm that represents importers or exporters in dealings with Customs. Normally responsible for obtaining and submitting all documents for clearing merchandise through Customs, arranging inland transport and paying all charges related to these functions.

The type of ocean carrier service in which freight is transported from origin container yard to destination container yard.

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DAP is an arrangement between seller and buyer. The seller assumes all costs for delivering the goods to a place specified by the buyer, usually a port (DAT) or place of business.

DAT specifies that the seller is responsible for all transportation, shipping, and insurance costs into the destination port.

A draft that matures in a specified number of days after the date it is issued, without regard to the date of Acceptance. See Draft

Destruction or partial destruction of an item being shipped.

The value of the goods declared by the shipper on a bill of lading for the purpose of determining a freight rate or the limit of the carrier’s liability.

A type of letter of credit providing for payment some time after presentation of shipping documents by exporter.

DAP is an arrangement between seller and buyer. The seller assumes all costs for delivering the goods to a place specified by the buyer, usually a port (DAT) or place of business.

DAT specifies that the seller is responsible for all transportation, shipping, and insurance costs into the destination port.

The transportation line that delivers a shipment.

A document from the consignee, shipper or owner of freight, ordering a terminal operator, carrier or warehouseman to deliver freight to another party.

Also known as P.O.D., the receipt obtained when the shipment is delivered to another party (usually the consignee).

A charge for storage of incoming merchandise beyond the free time allotted by the shipping company. Also applies to carrier-owned or leased equipment, such as containers and chassis.

The weight of an article per cubic foot. The ratio of mass to bulk or volume.

Any of various statements that the U.S. government requires to be displayed on export shipments and that specify the destination for which export of the shipment has been authorized.

The amount added to or subtracted from a through (basing) rate to make a rate. For example, the rate Chicago to Philadelphia is made up of the basis rate (Chicago to New York) less the differential basis (or rate) to Philadelphia.

Scheduling and control of intercity traffic and intracity pickup and delivery.

A situation where the agent at the destination does not rehandle or offload the shipment at their warehouse and the shipment is delivered to the consignee straight out of the original container it was loaded in.

A platform where trucks load and unload freight.

There is no standard format but it must include shipment description, physical details and shipping information. Used by both shipper and carrier to verify shipment particulars, condition and delivery to carrier. Signed by receiving clerk on behalf of the carrier. A receipt given for a shipment received or delivered at a pier or dock.

The instructions given by a shipper to a bank indicating that documents transferring title goods should be delivered to the buyer (or drawee) only upon the buyer’s acceptance of the attached draft.

An attempt to express one of two possible concepts, either the physical movement of cargo from the point of manufacture to the point of end usage, or both the physical and administrative control of the cargo during movement between those two points.

An unconditional order in writing from one person (the drawer) to another (the drawee), directing the Drawee to pay a specified amount to a named Drawer at a fixed or determinable future date.

A U.S. customs law that permits an American exporter to recover duties paid on imported foreign raw materials or components included in products that are subsequently exported out of the United States.

The transporting of a container by a tractor from one place to another, e.g., from DGX to Matson.

The charge made for hauling freight on carts, drays or trucks.

Same as Collect Freight except the consignee has not established credit. As a result, the driver must collect the freight charges when the delivery occurs.

A phrase that refers to a situation when a pickup is scheduled based on shipper’s confirmation of cargo readiness, but at time of driver’s arrival to loading site the cargo is not made available for collection, resulting in driver’s departure without the freight and thereby necessitating another attempt at picking up the goods.

Material used to protect or support freight in trucks. The weight of dunnage is shown separately on the bill of lading since it is material used around a cargo to prevent damage. Often it is transported without charge.

A tax imposed by a government on merchandise imported form another country. There are several types of duty, including: (a) Ad Valorem Duty (“According to the value”) which is an assessment based on the actual value of an article. (b) Specific Duty - which is an assessment based on the weight or quantity of an article without reference to its monetary value or market price.

Refund of duty paid on imported merchandise when it later is exported.

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Commonly referred to as EDI, a process which allows one company to send information to another company electronically rather than with paper.

In shipping, an embargo is any event that prevents the freight from being accepted or handled. Embargo events include floods, tornadoes or congested highways or ports.

Documentation issued by customs broker on behalf of importer. Customs Form 7501 specifies all shipment particulars that allow U.S. Customs to asses and collect import duties. Highly standardized to allow computer processing, it includes Harmonized Code number, broker identification number and auxiliary fees. Broker figures all assessments, and then submits form with supporting documents and payment. Customs later either accepts or modifies entry and payment.

U.S. dollars on deposit outside of the United States to include dollars on deposit at foreign branches of U.S. banks, and dollars on deposit with foreign banks.

A bill of lading issued in exchange for another bill of lading.

A term meaning to accelerate a process. Expedited freight service is usually superior to normal service. Dispatching less than truckload quantities on a single truck for quick delivery is an example of expedited service. Such service frequently necessitates payment of “exclusive use of vehicle” freight charges.

A private firm that serves as the export department for several manufacturers, soliciting and transacting export business on behalf of its clients in return for a commission, salary or retainer plus commission.

A firm that buys domestic products for sale overseas. A trading company takes title to the goods; an export-management company usually does not.

EXW means the seller is responsible for making the goods available at their factory or warehouse. Doing this will fulfill the seller’s obligation.

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The seller is responsible for inland freight costs until goods are located alongside the vessel/aircraft for loading. The buyer is responsible for loading costs, ocean/air freight and marine/air insurance.

Many buyers use the shorthand “FAV” to impress the urgent nature of a shipment on the seller. However, it is not guaranteed that the first vessel to sail is also the first vessel to arrive, and the urgent buyer is normally more interested in the timing or arrival rather than departure.

FCA means the seller is responsible for delivering the goods—either to the buyer’s carrier or to another party the buyer nominates.

The acronym meaning Full Container Load.

The regulatory agency responsible for rates and practices of ocean carriers shipping to and from the United States.

The movement of goods from a transport hub such as air, ocean, rail or truck, to a final destination in the area.

An expression which may be used when dealing with pre-shipment inspections. These inspections are sometimes required by the import government, to regulate the quality of imported goods and the consequential outflow of foreign exchange to pay for the imports.

This term means foreign money. In addition to actual paper currency and coins a country’s holdings of, ‘foreign exchange’ also includes other bank assets and liabilities payable in foreign currencies - drafts and exchange documents, etc. The expression is also used to describe the actual trading in (exchanging of) a foreign currency in relation to another currency.

A site sanctioned by the U.S. Customs Service in which imported goods are exempted from duties until withdrawn for domestic sale or use. Such zones are used for commercial warehouses or assembly plants.

A receipt for goods issued by a carrier with an indication that the goods were damaged when received.

A phrase used to refer to a shipment miscarried or unloaded at the wrong terminal is billed and forwarded to the correct terminal free of charge because it is astray.

FCA means the seller is responsible for delivering the goods—either to the buyer’s carrier or to another party the buyer nominates.

The seller is responsible for inland freight and all other costs until the cargo has been loaded on the vessel/aircraft. The buyer is responsible for ocean/air freight and marine/air insurance.

The period freight will be held before storage charges are applied.

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, within the zone and re-exported without duties being paid. Duties are imposed on the merchandise (or items manufactured from the merchandise) only when the goods pass from the zone into an area of the country subject to the customs authority.

A document for a common carrier shipment that gives a description of the freight, its weight, amount of charges, rate for charges, taxes and the disposition of the charges. If the charges are paid in advance or are to be collected at the origin, it is called a prepaid freight bill. If charges are to be collected at destination, it is called a destination or Collect Freight bill.

A firm that represents shippers by arranging transport and completing documents required for international shipping. Some freight forwarders also act as cargo consolidators. A freight forwarder also assembles small shipments from various shippers into large shipments, usually full truck or carload. Forwarders send these consolidated shipments to a station where they are disassembled and routed to the proper destinations. These stations are called break bulk stations. Forwarders try to make up a full truck or carload shipment to take advantage of the better rate for a full load.

This log lists, by agent and received date/assigned, the “control tag” number, all freight rejected or on hand in each warehouse. It also contains the disposition of each item.

This is a qualification to a seafreight rate and should not be confused with, or used as, a term of sale. A seafreight rate that includes both the cost of loading the cargo into the ship as well as the costs for discharging the cargo from the ship. The reference to “liner” in this expression is to convey that the loading and discharge arrangements are similar to those found under a liner seafreight rate.

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Unacceptable actions by one country are often referred to as being “anti-GATT” or anti-WTO” (World Trade Organization), meaning that they are intended to stifle trade and so on. Representatives of countries formally meet in a series of ‘rounds’ to discuss and finalize reductions to barriers.

Any of various export licenses covering export commodities for which validated export licenses are not required. No formal application or written authorization is needed to ship exports under a general export license.

A customs term referring to a warehouse where merchandise not entered within five working days after the carrier’s arrival is stored at the risk and expense of this importer.

2,240 pounds. More commonly called a long ton.

(a) The weight of an article together with the weight of its container and the material used in packing. (b) As applied to a truck, the weight of a truck together with the weight of its entire contents.

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An international classification system that assigns identification numbers to specific products. The coding system ensures that all parties in international trade use a consistent classification for the purposes of documentation, statistical control and duty assessment.

The expression is commonly used in air freight to describe a particular type of cargo operation, although the actual process is just as common in sea freight, but without a name.

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The trade and service organization representing international airlines from more than 100 countries.

The United Nations agency organized to ensure orderly worldwide technical development of civil aviation.

Often known as “Inland Container Base (ICB) or Container Base”, these are the same as IFS, but are less commonly used.

Sometimes known as FS (Freight Station). It’s a more general term than CY or CFS in that it indicates that the cargo was handed over to the Carrier at a depot or place of receipt other than a port.

A document required and issued by some national governments authorizing the importation of goods into their respective countries.

The United Nations-affiliated organization representing all maritime countries in matters affecting maritime transportation, including the movement of dangerous goods. The organization also is involved in deliberations on marine environmental pollution.

A phrase applied to the status of merchandise admitted provisionally to a country without payment of duties, either for storage in a bonded warehouse or for transshipment to another point, where duties eventually will be paid.

A codification of terms used in foreign trade contracts that is maintained by the International Chamber of Commerce.

The additional costs incurred while manufacturing and preparing a product for export (e.g., product modifications, special export packaging and export administration costs.) This does not include the costs to manufacture a standard domestic product, export crating and transportation to the foreign market.

The transportation line that picks up a shipment from the shipper.

The point at which a shipment originates.

The transportation line which hauls export or import traffic between ports and inland points.

An instance in which a driver has to take freight more than 25 feet from the end of his truck to the loading dock or an inside area. An inside delivery charge is normally computed based on weight and charges vary between the islands and between various inland carriers.

A document that assures the customer that insurance is provided to cover loss or damage to the cargo while in transit.

An air freight company that offers a blend of transportation services such as air carriage, freight forwarding and ground handling.

A term that refers to transport between two or more transportation lines.

Freight that is moving from point of origin to destination over the lines of two or more transportation companies.

A term that refers to movement of goods between two or more states.

The Interstate Commerce Act defines interstate commerce as transportation from one state or territory of the United States or the District of Columbia to any other, or from any place in the United States through a Foreign Country to any other place in the United States, or from or to any place in the United States to or from a foreign country, but only insofar as such transportation takes place with the United States.

A term that refers to movement of goods within a state.

Traffic having origin, destination and entire transportation within the same state.

A letter of credit with a fixed expiration date that carries the irrevocable obligation of the issuing bank to pay the exporter when all of the terms and conditions of the letter of credit have been met.

A transportation line that publishes a tariff or issues a bill of lading or other document.

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A rate for hauling a single shipment over two or more independent transportation lines, which cooperate to offer a through service. The shipment travels on one bill of lading.

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Any damage discovered before or at the time of delivery of a shipment.

Any loss discovered before or at the time of delivery of a shipment.

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A term meaning that which constitutes a load. The freight in a vehicle.

Usually LCL cargo is consolidated with other small lots for shipment by container.

This term refers to a quantity of freight less than what is required for the application of a truckload rate.

A letter written and submitted by us to a carrier, surrendering our right to file a claim to a third party not listed on the original bill of lading. The letter is normally sent to ocean carriers, whereby we usually are listed as the shipper or consignee.

An instrument of payment, issued by the buyer’s bank, that assures payment to the seller.

The exporter receives guaranteed payment from the confirming bank in the U.S. upon presentation of the sight draft and documents required by the letter of credit.

This term describes vessels with on-board cranes to load and unload cargo.

A rate applying between stations located on the same transportation line.

A tariff containing rates applicable only between terminals located on the same transportation line.

A unit of measurement equal to 2,240 pounds.

The name given to trailers that are most commonly associated with the carriage of abnormal or oversized cargo.

A semi-trailer with two drops in deck height: one right after the gooseneck and one right before the wheels. This allows the deck to be extremely low compared with other trailers. It offers the ability to carry legal loads up to 12 ft (3.66 m) tall, which other trailers cannot. Lowboys are used to haul heavy equipment such as bulldozers, industrial equipment etc.

This term refers to shipments that are loaded in the container at the shipper’s place of business and not rehandled.

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A German brand name low rolling trailer used for Roll On / Roll Off purposes.

A document describing a shipment or the contents of a vehicle or ship.

The miles traveled in dispatched revenue service between terminals.

The cargo insurance (also known as marine, shipping or freight insurance; or Shippers Interest) that covers the loss, damage or theft of commodities while in transit. It is important to note that cargo insurance covers physical loss or damage and is not intended to cover financial loss due to delay, loss of market, or other subsequent or liability-related losses.

The letters, numbers and characters put on a package for identification.

Every International Movement requires a Master Transport Document. This is the document issued by the Actual Carrier. The actual Carrier in this context will be the specific vessel/aircraft/truck/train owner(s) appointed agent or representative. This document will servea variety of functions including its role as a record of the terms and conditions of carriage, or a reference to a set of such terms that will be applied to the relationship between the merchant and the carrier.

The highest lawful rate that may be charged.

A designation for countries which receive preferential tariff rates. This is no longer the best tariff structure available.

A container load of different articles in a single shipment.

A truckload of different articles in a single shipment.

Frequently used to refer to the basic divisions of the transportation industry. The principal modes of transportation are truck, rail, air and water.

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Allows the holder to pass on possession, rights and responsibilities to any 3rd party (including the right to pass all this on again) by passing of the document that embodies these rights and responsibilities.

Net is the weight of​ goods​ excluding any additional items that are being weighed simultaneously (e.g. a​ pallet​). In other words: Gross - Tare = Net. If the good is not weighed with any additional items, Net and Gross weights are identical. Tare: If a good is placed in a container when it is weighed (e.g.​ FIBC or bulk bags), the term Tare (pronounced tear as in ‘tear in half’) describes the weight of the container. The term Gross describes the weight of​ goods including any additional items that are being weighed simultaneously (e.g. a truck and trailer loaded with gravel). If the good is not weighed with any additional items, Gross and Net weights are identical. ​

A unit of measurement equal to 2,000 pounds.

(a) The weight of an article clear of packing and container. (b) As applied to a truckload, the weight of the entire contents of the truck.

When there is no competition between transportation lines for a type of freight between certain points, it is said to be non-competitive traffic.

The economic, political, administrative or legal impediments to trade other than duties, taxes and import quotas.

This term often appears in ocean or air freight tariffs respectively. If no rate of the specific commodity shipped appears in the tariff, then a general class rate (for example, “printed matter NES”) will apply. Such rates usually are higher than rates for specific commodities.

The freight loaded into the front portion of the container (the side farthest from the opening) which will be accessed last when offloading.

A firm that offers the same services as an ocean carrier, but which does not own or operate a vessel. NVOCC’s usually act as consolidators, accepting small shipments (LCL) and consolidating them into full container loads that can also handle large shipments (FCL). They then act as a shipper, tendering the containers to ocean common carriers. They are subject to the same laws and statutes that apply to primary common carriers.

This term was replaced in the 1990’s with the term Ocean Transportation Intermediary (OTI).

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A receipt for cargo in transit, and a contract between the shipper and an ocean carrier for transportation and delivery of goods to a specified party at a specified destination. Issued after the vessel has sailed and the cargo has been entered in the ship’s manifest.

This is an ocean freight forwarder or a non-vessel-operating common carrier, or both.

The cost of handling traffic.

The management control report covering various phases of business functions.

This is a copy of the billing manifest indicating the condition of merchandise when removed from a loaded container. The outturn is then returned to us in Los Angeles (or a copy to Hawaii in the case of eastbound freight) and may be a source document when determining whether or not to pay a claim. The outturn serves as a receiving document for our Agents, on which exceptions for damages or shortages must be taken to relieve the agent of responsibility.

A form letter sent to a shipper requesting the disposition (by discarding or shipping to another location) of a shipment which has been rejected or is over without billing.

Customers who incorporate the exporter’s product into their own merchandise for resale under their own brand names.

Occurs when items are unloaded from a container and are not listed on the manifest and is determined that freight is without billing.

An excess over the quantity supposed to have been shipped or more than the quantity shown on a shipping document.

Freight that is separated from its waybill and bearing no identifying marks.

Freight in excess of that specified by the freight bill or the bill of lading.

Discrepancies between freight on hand and freight shown on the bill. Freight not covered by billing is “over”. If some is missing it is “short”. Freight received in bad condition is “damaged”. Freight agents file an OS&D report showing these discrepancies.

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The document that provides detailed information about the contents of each individual package in the shipment. Customs authorities at destination use information during clearance and inspection procedures. Also invaluable when filing claims for damage or shortage.

Freight paid by the shipper to the carrier when merchandise is tendered for shipment.

A portable platform for holding material for storage or transportation.

Material stacked on pallets.

A tool used to lift and move pallets.

A situation where a portion of a container is offloaded by the destination agent and the noseload is not rehandled but left in the original container for spotting. The container is then re-sealed and drayed to the consignee, for the consignee to offload.

A transportation line that uses a tariff issued by another transportation line or by a tariff-publishing agent.

Means that production and manufacturing outputs are higher at certain times than in others, but the nature of modern seafreight is to run regular services.

A phrase that means “by the hundred”.

An inspection conducted to verify the health, hygiene, freedom from disease or insect pests or animal, plant or fish products. The Authority conducting the inspection, upon finding the goods in order,issues a Certificate that will provide basic details about the means of movement of that product. The Authority could be the Health or Veterinary Authority of a country depending on the product and the country in question, although they are most likely to be government agencies.

An allowance made by a carrier to a consignee (or owner of the goods) for bringing freight to carrier’s terminal. The allowance is made in lieu of carrier pickup of the freight. Delivery allowance is for consignee (or owner) pickup of goods in lieu of carrier delivery.

A condition that the cargo is discharged from the vessel. There is no claim if the vessel calls at the port but the cargo does not discharge. However, should it discharge, the indemnity from the underwriter extends to loss and/or damage to the goods arising from the discharge and the period while the cargo is detained in that port, as well as the discharge expenses.

A port where foreign goods are admitted into a country. Ports of entry are officially designated by the government. Also refers to border stations maintained by some states to check truck compliance with their laws.

Preliminary advice that a letter of credit has been established in the form of a brief authenticated wire message. It is not an operative instrument and is usually followed by the actual letter of credit.

Freight paid by the shipper.

An invoice prepared by the seller in advance of shipment that documents the cost of goods sold, freight, insurance and other related charges. It is often used by the buyer to secure a letter of credit, an import license or a foreign currency allocation.

Project or Oversize Cargo is a specialized field of transportation that requires extensive expertise and knowledge handling nonstandard cargo — freight that does not fit standard containers, is oversized/oversize, overheight/too tall, overlength, overwidth/wide, unusually shaped, heavyweight, jumbo, large or requires other unusual cargo transportation. See Project Cargo

A phrase that means ‘In Proportion’ and has many applications in freight matters. Often charges arising directly from transit or from taxable events are leveled on a ‘pro rata’ basis.

The carrier established proof of delivery from delivery receipt copy of freight bill signed by consignee at time of delivery. This is legal proof of delivery. See Delivery Receipt.

A rate specifically published for usage only as a factor in making a combination through rate. A rate from New York to Chicago published to apply only on traffic destined to points beyond Chicago would be a proportional rate.

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A letter of credit that allows the exporter to receive a percentage of the face value of the letter of credit in advance of shipment. This enables the exporter to purchase inventory and pay other costs associated with producing and preparing the export order.

When the consignee refuses a shipment. Reasons to reject a shipment are numerous: Damage, duplicate shipment, “didn’t order it”, etc.

Goods sent to another destination under conditions which do not make the act subject to reconsignment rules and charges of the carrier.

An airline term meaning a hazardous material as defined by Title 49, Code of Federal Regulations (U.S.) and Air Transport Restricted Articles Circular 6-D. Restricted articles may be transported domestically and may be classified as dangerous goods when transported internationally by air.

This is a credit issued in the normal manner for a specific amount. However, as the seller sends cargo and draws a payment against the credit, the credit also get ‘topped up’ by the buyer at the other end each time they receive cargo or each time a period is passed e.g. per month.

A type of vessel that transports wheeled vehicles. Also used to refer to the cargo itself.

This term refers to a type of vessel that transports wheeled vehicles. Also used to refer to the cargo itself.

(a) The course or direction that a shipment moves. (b) To designate the course or direction a shipment shall move. (c) The carrier or carriers over which a shipment moves.

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A statement signed by a health organization official certifying the degree of purity, cleanliness or spoilage of goods and the health of live animals.

An export identification number that must appear on the Shippers Letter of Instructions (SLI).

A device to assure that trailer or container doors are not opened in transit.

A tariff made in several parts. Each section contains different rates between many of the same points, with provisions for alternative application.

A publication filed with the Federal Highway Administration containing minimum charges, rules and regulations of operations of motor carriers.

The company or individual initially shipping the freight to the consignee. Additionally, the shipping company, DGX, is a shipper. However, for claims processing purposes the shipper is the company or individual originating the shipment.

A situation where the shipper originally loads the container or portion thereof and is responsible for the freight count and load quality. If we do not handle the shipment at their originating terminals or any other point, we are relieved of any responsibility for loss and damage. Any claim will then be predicated on the condition of the freight at the time of outturning and the delivery.

The form conveys specific routing instructions from exporter to an agent who is usually an international freight forwarder.

Document authorizing release of a shipment traveling on an order bill of lading.

Instructions to carrier for transportation of a shipment. Usually it is a copy of the bill of lading. Used also as a record by the freight agent at origin.

Papers used in connection with the movement of freight.

Bank expressions that describe a process where the buyer and seller have agreed payment by way of a draft or a Bill of Exchange (note that these terms are often used interchangeably).

The request for payment from a foreign buyer. Instructs buyers bank to collect payment; when collected it releases shipping documents to the buyer. Buyers bank then remits to sellers bank. Sight drafts are payable on receipt at buyer’s bank. Time drafts extend credit; foreign bank released documents immediately but collects payment later. For example, 30 days after receipt of draft.

These are expressions used in containerized sea freight, to describe the compartment in a container vessel where an individual container is placed. “Cell” is used mostly when talking about specific containers or specific compartments. “Slot” is normally used when dealing with large groups of cells, hence the understandable but incorrect expression “slot charter”.

A tariff containing charges and rules governing extra services such as switching, storage, demurrage, reconsignment and diversion.

An accessorial service of picking up or delivering portions of volume shipments at more than one place within origin or destination point boundaries.

A shipment in which the entire contents of a container, or a large portion of the container, is for a single consignee and which our agent does not re-handle/offload any portion of the container. Instead our agent drays the container to the consignee to be offloaded on site by the consignee. Also applies to dropping off a container at point of pickup for shipper to load.

A worker in terminal yard who parks vehicles brought in by regular drivers. Also, a supervisor who checks the activities of drivers on the road.

Example: When loading a containership, containers to be loaded are brought into the port before the ship arrives, placed in a specific port area and loaded in stacks on top of each other, up to 4 high. The pre-assembly of containers is key to the whole concept of containerization. A ship’s load is pre-assembled and 2-3 days to the scheduled ship arrival, no more containers are added to the stack. This moment is referred to as the closing- or cut-off date. Containers received after the cut-off date are stacked in the area allocated for the next vessel. Days prior to this when containers are accepted are called “stack dates”. The 1st day is when the stack opens. The last day is when it closes.

Credit that serves to function like an underlying insurance against default in payment. The seller has to be cautious that the amount outstanding to them does not exceed the limit of the credit. The buyer has to be cautious that the seller does not get paid twice.

A rate established for direct routes from one point to another. Rates via other routes between the same points are set in relation to the standard rate.

A voluntary collective ratemaking body representing member steamship lines (an ocean carrier).

A company that owns and/or operates vessels in maritime trade.

An accessorial service of halting volume shipments to finish loading or do partial unloading at points between origin and final destination.

Safekeeping of goods in a warehouse.

Temporary safekeeping of a shipment at a point between origin and destination.

Movement of goods to a consignee’s place of business.

Individuals working as independent contractors hauling freight for us on either a continuing piecemeal basis (by Dispatch) or on a continuing regular basis.

To substitute for another with regards to legal right or claim.

A charge above the usual or customary charge.

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Cargo moving overland often does so in vehicles the trailer of which is referred to as being a “drop-side,” meaning it has sides that are adjustable and work like flaps that can be fixed into place or dropped. The rear “flap” is known as the tailboard or tailgate. The advantage of such a vehicle comes in loading and securing cargo.

(a) The weight of a container and the material used for packing. (b) As applied to a loaded truck, the weight of the truck exclusive of its contents.

A document issued by a carrier setting forth-applicable rules, rates and charges for the movement of goods. It sets up a contract of carriage between the shipper, consignee and carrier. In international trade applications, the term also refers to a tax on imports.

A building for the handling and temporary storage of freight as it is transferred between trucks (Example - From a city pickup to an intercity truck). A freight handling facility.

A charge made for services performed at terminals.

Refers to the elements of a sale: CIF or Cost, Insurance and Freight, C&F, C&I, FAS, FOB)

CIF (Cost, Insurance and Freight): Term used in connection with a price quotation under which the seller defrays all expenses involved in the delivery of merchandise on board the carrying vessel, and in addition prepays the freight and insures the goods to an agreed destination. The seller’s risk terminates upon issuance of bills of lading or air waybills by the Transportation Company indicating that freight charges have been paid.

C&F (Cost and Freight): Same as CIF, except the insurance is covered by the buyer.

C&I (Cost and Insurance): Same as CIF, except the freight is paid by the buyer.

  • Ex Dock - Under this term, a seller quotes a price including the cost of the goods and all additional costs necessary to place the goods on the dock at the named port of importation, duty paid, if any.
  • Ex Point of Origin - Term used in connection with a price quotation under which the buyer assumes responsibility for the merchandise as soon as it leaves the plant, warehouse, mill, etc. The buyer and seller agree on a place and time that the merchandise becomes the risk of the buyer.

FAS (Free Along Side) (Vessel): Term used in connection with a price quotation under which the seller delivers merchandise free of charge to the ship’s side and pays lighterage expenses up that point, if necessary.

FOB (Free on board) (Destination): Term used in connection with a price quotation under which the seller pays all expenses and assumes all risks until actual delivery of the merchandise at the destination point agreed upon with the buyer.

FOB (Free on board) (Named Point): Term used in connection with a price quotation under which the seller is responsible, at its risk and expense, for loading the goods on a carrier at a specific point. Expenses subsequent thereto are the responsibility of the buyer.

FOB (Free on board) (Vessel): Term used in connection with a price quotation under which the seller delivers the goods at its expense on board the vessel at the point named. Subsequent risks and expenses are the responsibility of the buyer.

A unit of measure to quantify a vessel’s capacity.

Rate applicable for transportation all the way from point of origin to destination. A through rate may be either a joint rate or a combination of two or more rates.

In America, TIR stands for Trailer Interchange Receipt. It’s the paper given to the exporter on delivery of a trailer-borne container into the export terminal and serves as a “received for shipment” acknowledgement from the Carrier. In European road freight, TIR stands for Transport International Routier. It’s a carnet type system, which allows road vehicles to cross international borders.

A unit of measure of transportation. Refers to the movement of a ton of freight one mile.

A letter of credit that allows all or a portion of the proceeds to be transferred from the original beneficiary to one or more additional beneficiaries.

A letter from the shipper to its agent that lists the particulars of a shipment, the documents being transmitted and instructions for the disposition of those documents.

The shipment of merchandise to the point of destination on more than one vessel or vehicle. The liability may pass from one carrier to the next, or it may be covered by “through bills of lading” issued by the first carrier.

A tractor that pulls a detachable trailer. A traction unit. The reference to &truck distinguishes it from an agricultural tractor. Example: Modern road transport involves the use of trailer and tractor combinations that allow the two to be separated or attached to each other by way of a coupling device [5th wheel]. Opposite of this arrangement would be a fixed vehicle [rigid vehicle] where the trailer and motor are one. North America, called either truck or tractor. Malaysia and many other general Far East countries, called prime-mover. Australia, called prime-mover and/or traction unit. South Africa, called a horse.

(a) Quantity of freight that will fill a truck. (b) Quantity of freight weighing the maximum legal amount for a particular type of truck. (c) When used in connection with freight rates, the quantity of freight necessary to qualify a shipment for a truckload rate.

A capital construction project in which the supplier (contractor) designs and builds the physical plant, trains the local personnel on how to manage and operate the facility and presents the buyer with a self-sustaining project, all the buyer has to do is “turn the key”.

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Refers to air freight containers and pallets.

refers to items usually loaded into the wrong container and will normally result in there being a shortage in another shipment. It is imperative that unmanifested freight is followed up on a timely basis, since quick action may result in avoiding a shortage claim.

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A document required for commodities deemed important to national security, foreign-policy objectives, or protecting domestic supplies of strategic materials. Constitutes permission to export a specific product to a specific party. Exporter applies for a license, which must be returned to the Bureau of Export Administration after completing specified shipments.

The value of goods set by shipper as the limit of carrier’s liability in consideration of rate to be charged.

A sales or consumption tax which the end user pays. Typically, this is a “hidden” tax, added to the list price of the goods in question.

The low rate offered to shippers who agree to ship a large quantity of freight.

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Receipt for goods placed in a warehouse (may be issued as a negotiable or non-negotiable document).

The document that refers to the description of goods sent with a common carrier freight shipment.

Service that includes unpacking, set up and connection of bulky or temperamental items like HDTVs, refrigerators, etc., removal/disposal of packing materials, transporting your order up or down a maximum of two flights of stairs, etc.

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