Dictionary of terms
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Act of God
Marine Insurance term meaning an act beyond man’s control such as lightning, flood, earthquake or hurricane. Many shipping and other contracts include the “ force majeure” clause, which excuses the party who offends the contract due to Acts of God.
All Inclusive Rates.
AMS (Automated Manifest System)
Electronic computer link with U.S. Customs that allows for faster processing and clearance of cargo.
A notice furnished to consignee and shipping broker alerting them to the projected arrival of freight and availability of freight for pickup.
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Bank Guarantee (B/G)
Document accepted in lieu of original bill of lading to release cargo. Protected in writing to carrier for performing a deviation from normal business, guaranteed by a bank.
BB (Break bulk)
Disassembling of consolidated shipments for delivery or reconsignment of a shipment.
A warehouse, section of a warehouse, or secured area designated by the Customs as a bonded warehouse. It is a temporary storage area for goods until duties are paid or otherwise properly released and the cleared from the Customs.
Not in packages or containers, shipped loose in the hold of the ship. Grain, coal and sulfur are usually bulk freight.
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CAF (Currency Adjustment Factor)
Surcharge percentage applied to freight rates to adjust currency fluctuations in order to equalize different currency values.
Carrier Certificate and Release Order (Carrier Certificate)
Used to advise Customs of the details of the shipment, its ownership, port of lading, etc. 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.
Cubic Meter (35.314 Cubic Feet = 1 CBM).
Certificate of Origin (C/O)
A document, required at destination, issued to certify the origin of cargo and relevant cargo details.
Container Freight Station.
Cargo movement delivered loose at origin point, stripped by carrier at destination, and picked up loose at destination terminal.
Loose cargo received at origin point, loaded in a container by carrier, then delivered intact at destination.
Cost Insurance and Freight.
A demand made by a shipper or insurance company upon a carrier for payment of a loss sustained through its negligence.
Collect on Delivery; Carried on Docket (pricing); Change of Destination.
A document identifying the seller and buyer of goods or services, identifying numbers such as invoice number, date, shipping date, the mode of transportation, delivery and payment terms, as well as a full listing and description of the goods or services being sold consist of prices, discounts and quantities. Governments using the commercial invoice to control imports often specify its form, content, number of copies, language to be used, etc.
Group of carriers allowed by FMC to determine a level of rates, services and rules of a given trade route bound together by a common tariff.
Receiver of shipment.
Consolidator A company who provide the consolidation service to a common point for convenience and special rate to accommodate the small shipment for the customer.
This document is used to control and identify goods shipped to them. It usually must be prepared on special forms and may require legalization by their Consul.
A single rigid, sealed, reusable metal box designed to transport cargo of many types in continuous transportation. Most ocean vessels can accommodate 20′ and 40′ length ocean containers for below deck storage and any size above deck. Containers may be ventilated, insulated, flat rack (open sided), reefer (refrigerated), vehicle rack, or open top.
Agreement between carrier and shipper for release of cargo with promise to pay ocean freight within specified time.
Last possible date cargo may be delivered to vessel or designated point.
CY (Container Yard)
Storage area where full containers are received and picked up.
Cargo loaded in a full container by a shipper at origin, delivered to pier facility at destination, and then devanned by carrier for loose pick up.
A type of steamship line service in which freight is transported from origin container yard to destination container yard.
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Destination Delivery Charge. A charge assessed by the carrier for handling positioning of a full container within the container yard.
The document provides specific information to a carrier regarding delivery to a specific port, pier, terminal, airport, or steamship line. They show the shipping carrier, delivery deadlines, name and address of consignee, and the contact name and telephone number of the shipper n case of delivery problems. This term is not to be confused with “Delivery Order” which is used for import cargo.
(a) A document from the consignee, shipper, or owner of freight ordering a terminal operator, carrier, or warehouseman to deliver freight to another party. (b) An order from a vessels company to the terminal superintendent for the release of goods to the consignee following payment of freight charges.
A penalty charge against shippers or receivers for delaying carriers equipment beyond allowed time.
The unloading cargo from a container. Also called un-stuffing, unloading, or stripping.
Receipt given for a shipment received or delivered at a pier or dock. When delivery of an overseas shipment is completed, the dock receipt is surrendered to the carrier and a bill of lading is issued.
Door to Door
Shipping service from the shipper’s door to the consignee’s door. Shipper is responsible for proper stowage and security of cargo within container.
Deadweight capacity of vessel to carry cargo.
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A statement of the kinds, qualities and values of goods imported together with duties due, if any, and declared before a customs officer or other designated officer.
A document required of the exporter by the export authority of a country identifying the particulars of a specific export shipment, including the seller, buyer, goods, shipped, quantities and description of the goods and other details.
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Freight All Kinds.
Full Container Load.
Forty Foot Equivalent Unit, A 40′ container equals 2 TEUS.
Freight Forwarder, A firm that represents shippers by arranging transport and completing documentation required for international shipping. Some freight forwarders also act as cargo consolidators.
FMC (Federal Maritime Commission)
U.S. Government Agency responsible for overseeing regulatory aspects of all maritime activities.
Free Trade Zone (FTZ)
A facility which – under license issued by the Free Trade Zone (FTZ) board – has acquired extra-territorial status. Merchandise entered into a FTZ are considered as having been “exported” and can be subjected to manipulation or manufacturing processes without Customs supervision, but will be subject to other applicable federal or state laws and terms of the storage contract.
Storage time allowed at carriers’ facility without penalties being assessed.
Free On Board (FOB)
An international term of sale. The goods are placed on board a ship by the seller at a port of shipment named in the sales contract. The risk of loss or damage to the goods is transferred from the seller to the buyer when the goods pass the ship’s rail.
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General Average (GA)
Coverage for loss resulting from voluntary sacrifice, e.g., jettison, or the act of expending cargo to prevent loss of vessel, crew, passengers, or total cargo. The value of such a loss is averaged among all interested parties.
General Order (GO)
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 the importer.
General Rate Increase.
The total weight of the goods including packaging, wrapping, and internal and external containers.
Guarantee Letter (for Release of Cargo without Bill of Lading)
Document accepted in lieu of original bill of lading to release cargo. Protected in writing to carrier for performing a deviation from normal business, guaranteed by an acting officer of the Merchant (customer).
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House to House (same as CY/CY).
House to Pier (same as CY/CFS).
House Air Waybill.
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International Air Transport Association. The trade and service organization representing international airlines and forwarders from more than 100 countries.
Inward Foreign Manifest.
The transportation of a shipment to an inland point for Customs clearance rather than filing an entry to clear the goods at the port of arrival.
Assures the consignee that insurance is provided to cover loss or damage to the cargo while in transit.
Contract between carrier and trucker that legally permits interchange of equipment.
The capability, which enables a shipment to be transferred from one form of transport to another, such as from airplane to truck, to railway freight car to ocean vessel.
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LCL (Less Than Container Load)
A shipment of cargo that does not fill a container and is merged with cargo for more than one consignee of from more than one shipper.
Letter of Credit (L/C)
Financial document issued by a bank at the request of the consignee guaranteeing payment to the shipper for cargo if certain terms and conditions are fulfilled. Normally it contains a brief description of the goods, documents required, a shipping date, and an expiration date after which payment will no longer be made. ( Formal term: Documentary credit or documentary letter of credit).
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A list of all cargo loaded on board a vessel. Entire listing of all cargo on board a vessel required by the carrier, customs, and the coast guard.
Minimum Bill of Lading
Ocean bill, the minimum amount one can charge per individual bill of lading.
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Negotiable Bill of Lading
Original Bill of Lading endorsed by shipper that is used for negotiating documents with bank.
The weight of the commodity only.
Neutral party used to police the practices of members of the conference.
NVOCC (Non Vessel Operating Common Carrier)
A firm that offers the same services as an ocean carrier, but which does not own or operate a vessel. NVOCCs usually act as consolidators, accepting small shipments (LCL) and consolidating them into full container loads. They then act as a shipper, tendering the containers to ocean common carriers. Also known under deregulation as an Ocean Transportation Intermediary (OTI).
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Original Bill of Lading (OBL)
When an original bill of lading is issued, the consignee needs to present the properly endorsed original paper document to the destination agent in order to secure release.
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Port of Discharge. Also an acronym for Proof of Delivery.
Port of Origin.
Port of Loading.
Power of authority
Exporters and Importers authorize Freight Forwarders and Customs Brokers to act as their agents, for export control and Customs purposes, with this document. Completed Power of Attorney documents, however, do not relieve importers or exporters from liability to the U.S. Government in the event of export control or entry errors.
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Seals on Containers
Attached to locking device on container to prevent pilferage and to certify no tampering; made of steel by customs or carrier.
SL&C (Shippers Load and Count)
Shipments loaded and sealed by shippers and not checked or verified by the carriers.
Special Customs Invoice
A country-of-import required document, similar to a commercial invoice that contains particular information required for entry of goods into that country. Special Customs Invoices often itemize freight and insurance charges when a country based import duties on the landed cost of a shipment.
A person having charge the operation of loading and unloading vessels and other terminal activities.
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The weight of a container and the material used for packing exclusive of cargo. When applied to a loaded truck, the weight of the truck exclusive of its contents.
A schedule of charges, rules and regulations, which must be followed. This can be for transportation charges, loading and unloading charges, and import duties, etc.
TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit)
A 20′ container is a TEU. Used to measure a vessel’s capacity.
THC (Terminal Handling Charge)
Charge assessed by terminal for loading, unloading, fork lifts, document fees, and other assessments for import and export cargo.
Third Party Billing
The designated payer of an invoice other than the shipper or the consignee.
Contains a list of the particulars of the shipment, a record of the documents being transmitted, and instructions for disposition of these documents. Any special instructions are also included.
The transfer of cargo from one carrier to another. TRC – Terminal Receiving Charge.
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Weight or Measure.