AA
Always Afloat. A contract term requiring that the vessel not rests on the ground. In some ports, the ship is aground when approaching or at berth.

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

Abandon
A proceeding wherein a shipper/consignee seeks authority to abandon all or parts of their cargo.

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

Aboard
Referring to cargo being put, or laden, onto a means of conveyance.

Acceptance
A time draft (or bill of exchange) that the drawee (payer) has accepted and is unconditionally obligated to pay at maturity. – Broadly speaking, any agreement to purchase goods under specified terms.

Accessorial Charges
Charges that are applied to the base tariff rate or base contract rate, e.g., bunkers, container, currency, destination/delivery.

Act of God
An act beyond human control, such as lightning, flood or earthquake.

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

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

Aft
The movement toward the stern (back end) of a ship.

Agency Tariff
A tariff published by an agent on behalf of several carriers.Agent (Agt.) A person authorized to transact business for and in the name of another person or company. Types of agents 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.

Alongside
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 ambient temperature of a container is the atmospheric temperature to which it is exposed.

Appraisement
Determination of the dutiable value of merchandise by a Customs official who follows procedures outlined in their country’s tariff, as per the provision of the customs act of the country.

Arrival Notice
A notice sent by a carrier to a cargo receiver or nominated notify party specified in the bill of lading of the cargo advising them the arrival of shipment or consignment.

B/L
Abbreviation for “Bill of Lading.”

BAF
Abbreviation for “Bunker Adjustment Factor.” Used to compensate shipping lines for fluctuating fuel costs.

Bank Guarantee
Guarantee issued by a bank to a carrier to be used in lieu of lost or misplaced original negotiable bill of lading

Bank Guarantee
Guarantee issued by a bank to a carrier to be used in lieu of lost or misplaced original negotiable bill of lading.

Base Rate
A tariff term referring to ocean rate less accessorial charges, or simply the base tariff rate.

Beneficiary
The entity to whom money is payable.

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.

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

Duplicate B/L
If the first set is lost a reissued B/L.

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

Freight B/L
A contract of carriage between a shipper and forwarder, 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.

Multimodal B/L
B/L covering cargo moving via multimodal means. Also known as Combined Transport B/L.

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

Blocking or Bracing
Wood or metal supports to secure cargo which prevents cargo shifting.

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

Booking
A confirmation of carrier for the acceptance and carriage of freight; i.e., a space reservation.

Break Bulk
Loose non-containerised cargo

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

Cabotage
The term applicable to shipments between ports of a nation; commonly refers to coastwise or intercoastal navigation or trade.

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

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

CBM
Abbreviation for “Cubic Meter.”

Certificate of Inspection
A document certifying that goods (such as perishable goods) were in good condition immediately prior to its shipment.

Certificate of Origin
A certified document showing the origin of goods; used in international commerce.

CFS
Container Freight Station a dry port where cargo is loaded/stuffed into or unloaded from containers. Generally, this involves less than container load shipments, although small shipments destined to the same consignee are often consolidated.

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

Commercial Invoice
Represents a complete record of the transaction between exporter and importer with regard to the goods sold.

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

C–TPAT (Customs–Trade Partnership Against Terrorism)
A voluntary supply chain security partnership established by U.S. Customs and Border Protection in November 2001.

Customs
Government regulatory body which enforces the rules passed to protect the country’s import and export revenues and compliances.

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

Demurrage
A penalty charge against shippers or consignees for delaying the carrier’s equipment or vessel beyond the allowed free time. Demurrage applies to cargo

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

Destination
Place to which cargo is consigned for delivery to cargo receiver

Detention
A penalty charge against shippers or consignees for delaying carrier’s equipment beyond allowed free time. Detention applies to equipment.

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

Dutiable Value
The amount on which an Ad Valorem or customs duty is calculated.

Embargo
Order to restrict the hauling of freight.

Empty Repo
The movement of empty containers.

Endorsement
A legal signature usually placed on the reverse of a draft; signifies the transfer of rights from the holder to another party.
Empty Repo
The movement of empty containers.

Equipment Interchange Receipt (EIR)
A legal signature usually placed on the reverse of a draft; signifies the transfer of rights from the holder to another party.

EXIM Bank
Export–Import Bank of the Country. It facilitates exports of goods by providing loan guarantees and insurance for repayment of bank–provided export credit.

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

FCL
Full Container Load.

FEU
Forty–Foot Equivalent Units. Refers to container size standard of 40 feet.

Flat Rack/Flat Bed Container
A container with no sides. The container can be loaded from the sides and top.

FMC (F.M.C.)
Federal Maritime Commission. The U.S. Governmental regulatory body responsible for administering maritime affairs including the tariff system, freight forwarder licensing, enforcing the conditions of the Shipping Act and approving conference or other carrier agreements

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.

Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ)
A restricted area for the handling of duty–exempted goods. Also called a Free Port.

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

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

Freight Bill
A document issued by the carrier based on the bill of lading and other information.

Freight Forwarder
An entity whose business is to offer services to the merchant and value add in the process. A freight forwarder frequently makes the booking reservation facilitates an end to end service.

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

Hague Rules,
A multilateral maritime treaty adopted in 1921 (at The Hague, Netherlands). Standardizes liability of an international carrier under the Ocean B/L.

HAZ MAT
Hazardous Material.

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. Compliances published by the IMO for transporting hazardous materials internationally.

In Transit
In transit, or in the passage.

INCOTERMS
The recognized abbreviation for the International Chamber of Commerce Terms of Sale.

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

Inland Carriage
Transportation or haulage of export or import traffic/cargo/container between ports and inland points

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

Insurance, General–Average
In water transportation, the deliberate sacrifice of cargo to make the vessel safe for the remaining cargo. Those cargo beneficiaries whose cargo saved takes the proportionate cover of loss.

Insurance, Particular Average
A Marine insurance term which refers to partial loss on an individual shipment from one of the perils insured against, regardless of the balance of the cargo.

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

International Ship and Port Security Code (ISPS)
It is an amendment to the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention (1974/1988) on minimum security arrangements for ships, ports, and government agencies.

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.

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

L/C
stands for Letter of Credit.

Laden
Loaded aboard a vessel.

Landing Certificate
A certificate issued by a carrier confirming discharge of the named cargo as per BL contract.

LCL
Less than Container Load. The quantity of cargo which is less than that is required to be a container load.

Letter of Credit (LC)
A document, issued by a bank per instructions by a buyer of goods.

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.

Lien
A legal claim upon goods to recover some debt or duty under the contract of carriage.

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

Manifest Document
It lists in detail all the bills of lading issued by a carrier or its agent or master for a specific voyage. A statement of the entire cargo of a vessel. Used generally for Customs purposes.

Marine Insurance
Broadly, insurance covering loss or damage of goods at sea.

Mate’s Receipt
An acknowledgment of cargo receipt signed by a mate of the vessel.

MT
Abbreviation for “Metric Ton.”

Net Weight
A weight of the goods alone without any immediate packing.

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.

P&I
Stands for Protection and Indemnity a liner insurance agency.

Prepaid
Freight charges paid by the consignor (shipper) prior to the release of the bills of lading by the carrier.

Quotation
An offer to transport goods at an indicated price and under terms and condition.

Sea Waybill
Document indicating the goods were loaded on board when a document of title is not needed. Typically used when a company is shipping goods to itself.

Stuffing
Loading cargo into a container.

Tare Weight
The weight of the empty container.

Transshipment Port
An Enroute port where cargo is transferred to another vessel.

Warehouse
A place for storage, delivery, consolidation and distribution, of goods/cargo.