Freight Glossary

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  • A
  • Air Container
    Any unit load device, primarily intended for transport by air, having an internal volume of 1 m3 or more, incorporating restraint provisions compatible with an aircraft restraint system, and an entirely flush base bottom to allow handling on roller-bed cargo handling systems.
  • Air Freight
    Where cargo is transported by aircraft. This is usually the quickest method of shipping but also the most expensive.
  • Air waybill
    An air waybill (otherwise known as air consignment note} is a receipt issued by an international airline for goods and an evidence of the contract of carriage. It is a document of title to the goods and so the air waybill is non-negotiable.
  • Arrival Notice
    A notice sent by a carrier to a nominated party advising of the arrival of a shipment or consignment.
  • Articles Dangereux de Route (ADR)
    A European agreement concerning the international carriage of dangerous goods by road.
  • Average
    In marine insurance: a loss or damage to or in respect of goods or equipment.
  • Average Adjusters
    In general average affairs average adjusters are entrusted with the task of apportioning the loss and expenditure over the parties interested in the maritime venture and to determine which expenses are to be regarded as average or general average.
  • B
  • Bunker Adjustment Factor (BAF)
    A Fuel Surcharge expressed as a percentage added or subtracted from the freight amount, reflecting the movement in the market place price for bunkers.
  • Before Breaking Bulk (BBB)
    Refers to freight payments that must be received before discharge of a vessel commences.
  • Bill of Health
    The Bill of Health is the certificate issued by local medical authorities indicating the general health conditions in the port of departure or in the ports of call. The Bill of Health must be visited before departure by the Consul of the country of destination.
  • Bill of Lading
    A Bill of Lading is a receipt for goods shipped, evidence of the contract of carriage and a document of title i.e. it represents the goods and facilities transfer from one party to another. It is signed by the carrier which acts as a Contract of Affreightment, a receipt and evidence of title to the cargo.
  • Bill of Lading Clause
    A bill of lading clause is particular stipulation found in a Bill of Lading. There are many types of clauses and can be standard and can be pre-printed on the B/L.
  • Bonded
    Bonded means the storage of certain goods under charge of customs, e.g. customs seal until the import duties are paid or until the goods are taken out of the country. In-bond shipments are freight that is not released at the border. The freight is instead moved inland by a bonded carrier to obtain release. In-bond shipments can only be carried by carriers who have a bond.
  • Bonded warehouse
    A bonded warehouse (or bond) is a secured area in which dutiable goods can be stored or undergo manufacturing operations without payment of duty. It may be managed by the state or by private enterprise. In the latter case a customs bond must be posted with the government.
  • Bordereau
    Bordereau is a document used in road freight which lists the cargo carried on a road vehicle, often referencing appended copies of the road consignment note.
  • Break-even Weight
    Break-even weight is a cargo shipping measurement at which it is cheaper to charge a lower freight rate times a volume metric than it is to charge a more expensive rate multiplied by the actual weight of the shipment.
  • Broken Stowage
    Broken stowage is unavoidably lost cargo space in the holds of a vessel due to the contour of the hull and/or the shape of the cargo. Dunnage, ladders, and stanchions are example of broken stowage. The exact amount of wasted space depends upon the kind of cargo, the packing and the used spaces.
  • C
  • Cabotage
    Cabotage is the haulage of goods for hire or reward in one member state by a vehicle registered in a different member state. In other words it is the transport of goods between two ports, or places located in the same country, by a carrier based in another country.
  • CAD
    CAD stands for Cash Against Documents and is a method of financing where an importer pays for goods before receiving them. This situation is similar to real estate transactions in which a third party holds money in escrow until the transfer of the home’s title is finalised.
  • CAF
    CAF stands for Currency Adjustment Factor which is a fee placed on the freight amount, by the ocean carrier to provide for fluctuations in exchange rate. CAF was created to account for continually changing exchange rates between the US dollar and Pacific Rim currencies.
  • Call
    "Call" or "Port of Call" is an intermediate s visit of a vessel to a port. These can can include both inland harbours and marine seaports.
  • Cargo
    Cargo was originally a shipload but now covers all types of freight, including that carried by rail, van, truck, or intermodal container. Multi-modal container units, designed to facilitate load handling of the goods contained, are also referred to as cargo, specially by shipping lines and logistics operators.
  • Carriage paid to (CPT)
    Carriage paid to means that the seller delivers the goods to the carrier nominated by him but the seller has to also pay the carriage cost required to bring the goods to the named destination. The buyer bears the risks and any costs occurring after the goods have been delivered.
  • Cargo Assembly
    Cargo Assembly is the separate receipt of parcels or packages and the holding of them for future despatch as one consignment. The assembly may include cargo containers, bulk assembly or pallet loads.
  • Cargo Disassembly
    Otherwise known as Break Bulk, Cargo Disassembly is the separation of one or more of the component parts of a consignment for any purpose other than that of presenting such part or parts to customs authorities at the specific request of such authorities.
  • Car pooling
    Car pooling is the use of individual carrier equipment through a central agency for the benefit of carriers and shippers.
  • Cargo Handling
    Cargo handling is the activity of moving goods on and off ships, planes and trucks and all procedures necessary to enable the physical handling of such goods.
  • Cargo Unit
    Cargo unit is a vehicle, container, pallet, flat, portable tank or any other part which belongs to the ship but is not permanently attached to that ship.
  • Cargo manifest
    A cargo manifest is an important document that lists only cargo, without freight and charges and enables your cargo to exist at the cargo carrier. The manifest gives the commercial details of the goods, such as transport document numbers, consignors and consignees, marks and numbers, number and kind of packages, descriptions and quantities of goods and it may be used in place of the Cargo declaration.
  • Carriage
    Carriage is simply the transportation of cargo from one place to another via land, air or sea.
  • Carrier's lien
    A Carrier’s Lien is a freight carrier‘s right to retain ownership of cargo until they have been payed for transporting the goods. Thit right originates in common law and applies to shipments covered by a bill of lading.
  • Cartage
    Cartage usually refers to intracity hauling on drays or trucks.
  • Cellular vessel
    A cellular vessel is a container ship designed for the efficient storage of freight containers one on top of other with vertical bracings at the four corners. The majority of vessels operated by ocean carriers are cellular ships.
  • Certificate of Origin (C/O or CO)
    A certificate of origin is a document widely used in international trade transactions which attests that the product listed has met criteria to be considered as originating in a particular country. A certificate of origin is usually completed by the exporter or manufacturer, and may be subject to official certification by a third party.
  • Cost and Freight (CFR)
    Cost and freight means the consignor is required to arrange for the transport of goods by sea to a port of destination and provide the consignee with the documents necessary to obtain them from the carrier.
  • Chargeable Weight
    Chargeable weight, commonly used by air freight forwarders, is what airlines use to work out the charge for the your shipment. It may be either the actual weight (Gross Weight) or the volumetric weight (Volume or Dimensional weight) of the shipment, whichever is the greater.
  • Chartered ship
    Chartering is where a ship owner hires out the use of a ship to a charterer.
  • Charter party (C/P)
    Charter party is a contract by which the owner of a ship lets it to others for use in the transportation of cargo. The ship owner continues to control the navigation & management of the ship but its carrying capacity is used by the charterer.
  • Chassis
    A wheeled flat bed or a trailer built to accommodate shipping containers for road travel.
  • Chassis Usage Charge (CUC)
    Chassis Usage Charge is a fee charged by ocean carriers at certain U.S. ports for the use of their chassis. This fee is to motivate shippers and truckers to provide their own chassis for pick-up and delivery of shipping containers or to use the common chassis pool now provided by some ports.
  • Clean Bill of Lading
    A clean bill of lading is a bill of lading that declares there was no damage to or loss of cargo during shipment. The clean bill of lading is issued by the product carrier after inspecting all packages for damage or missing goods.
  • Clearance limit
    Clearance limit is the point to which an aircraft is granted an air traffic control clearance (ICAO). Normally, an aircraft should be cleared for the entire route, but under some conditions a short-range clearance procedure is used in which clearance is issued to a fix within or outside of the terminal.
  • Clearance Terminal
    A clearance terminal is an area of an airport/port where goods are released once customs clearance has been completed.
  • Closed Ventilated Container
    A closed ventialted container is like a general dry container but also has ventilation arrangements provided by openings in bottom and top side of rails of the container.
  • Contract of Affreightment (COA)
    A contract of affreightment is a document stipulating that owners agree to accept a cost per revenue tonne for cargo carried on a specific number of voyages.
  • Cash On Delivery (COD)
    Cash on delivery or collect on delivery is the sale of goods where payment is made on delivery rather than in advance.
  • Carriage of Goods by Sea Act (COGSA)
    The Carriage of Goods by Sea Act is a U.S. statute governing the responsibilities between shippers and ship-owners regarding ocean shipments to and from the U.S.
  • D
  • Deliver At Frontier (DAF)
    This incoterm has expired since the beginning of 2011 and has been replaced by DAP or DAT.
  • Delivered at Place (DAP)
    Delivered at Place is an incoterm used relating to an agreement where a seller agrees to pay all costs and suffer any potential losses of moving goods sold to a specific location.
  • Delivered at Terminal (DAT)
    Soon to be renamed to Delivered at Place Unloaded ,Delivered at Terminal is where the seller clears goods for export and is responsible for the goods until they have arrived at a named terminal at the final destination.
  • Dangerous Goods Packing Certificate
    A dangerous goods packing certificate is a document as part of the dangerous goods declaration in which the responsible party declares that the cargo has been stowed in accordance with the rules in a clean container in compliance with the IMDG regulations and properly secured.
  • E
  • Express Bill of Lading
    An express bill of lading, or Sea Waybill, is a special facility granted by carrier under guarantees from consignor/consignee to release cargo to named consignee without the need to present the original Bill of lading.
  • Export Declaration
    An export declaration is a document submitted by an exporter at the port of export. It includes information about the type, number, and value ofgoods being shipped and is used by customs to control exports.
  • Ex Works (EXW)
    In an Ex Works shipment the consignee arranges the entire shipment. The consignor is only responsible for the Bill of Lading/Air Waybill, and making sure the goods are available for pickup at the agreed time and place. Under Ex Works terms, the buyer bears all risks involved. That means that any additional costs incurred (e.g. clearing customs) will fall to the buyer.
  • Expediting
    Expediting is the 'speeding up' of production or purchase orders and securing the quality and timely delivery of goods.
  • F
  • Freight All Kind (FAK)
    Freight All Kind. System whereby freight is charged per container, irrespective of nature of goods, and not according to a Tariff. (Please also refer to All Commodity Rate). This can be can be a great way to ship multiple items without having to ship only one specific commodity. In shipping FAK, the shipper is required to list all of the commodities on the bill of lading.
  • Full Container Load (FCL)
    A full container load is an ocean shipment in which the cargo is container within a Standard ISO shipping container. Common sizes include 40ft, 40ft High Cube, and 20ft.
  • Free Alongside Ship (FAS)
    Free alongside ship is an incoterm that indicates that the seller must arrange for the goods purchased to be delivered next to a specific vessel in a particular port in order to be ready for transfer to a waiting ship.
  • Free Carrier (FCA)
    For an Free Carrier shipment the consignor arranges most or all of the export country steps such as customs and trucking within the export country. The consignee arranges all other stages to the cargo’s final destination.
  • Free On Board (FOB)
    Free On Board is an incoterm that's only applied to ocean shipments and means that the consignor holds ownership and responsibility for the cargo until loaded onto a shipping vessel. Once on the ship, all responsibility transfers to the consignee.
  • Full Truckload (FTL)
    Full truckload means either you have enough goods to fill a full truckload or you have a partial cargo load but you would prefer a dedicated truck for varying reasons.
  • G
  • General Average (GA)
    The law of general average is a principle of maritime law whereby all stakeholders in a sea venture proportionally share any losses resulting from a voluntary sacrifice of part of the ship or cargo to save the whole in an emergency.
  • General Cargo Rate (GCR)
    The general cargo rate is the rate charged by a carrier to transport cargo when it doesn't qualify for a discounted special class fee or a commodity fee from the carrier.
  • General Rate Increase (GRI)
    A general rate increase is the average amount by which shipping carriers increase their rates applied to base rates. It can significantly increase your shipping costs especially if you’re handling large freight volumes.
  • Groupage
    Groupage is the transporting of a shipment consolidated with other goods in a container. That means that multiple Less than container (LCL) shipments with different bills of lading and different owners can be loaded in a single container.
  • H
  • Hague Rules
    An International convention dating from 1924 (formally the "International Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules of Law relating to Bills of Lading, and Protocol of Signature") that determines rules to protect cargo owners from wide spread exclusion of liability by ship owners.
  • Heavy Lift Cargo
    Heavy lift cargo is a single commodity that can't be broken down into smaller pieces exceeding the capacity of normal loading equipment and requires special equipmentfor handling such as turbines, generators, compressors and specialty vehicles.
  • Hot Hatch
    Hot Hatch is a term used for the sequenced on deck loading of containers to enable priority discharge at arrival port.
  • I
  • Inland Clearance Depot (ICD)
    A combined transport terminal and customs clearance center at a location other than a port.
  • Intermodal Transport
    Intermodal transport is when your shipments are handled by multiple modes of transport.
  • J
  • Jetsam
    Jetsam is the description of goods that have been thrown overboard from a ship and washed ashore.
  • K
  • Keelage
    Keelage is a charge for a ship entering,anchoring or mooring in a port especially in the UK.
  • Knot
    Knot is a unit of speed of vessels travelling on water and means the velocity in nautical miles per hour whether of a vessel or current.
  • L
  • Lay Time
    Lay Time is the time Charterers have available for loading/discharging.
  • Less than container load (LCL)
    Less Than Container Load means a shipment that does not fill a shipping container. A freight forwarder may create a consolidation by putting together multiple LCL shipments into a single container.
  • Line-haul
    Line-haul is the movement of freight with any mode of transport between two major cities or ports.
  • Less than truck load (LTL)
    Less than truck load means a shipment that does not fill a a standard truck.
  • M
  • Mate's Receipt
    A mate's receipt is a document issued by the Chief Officer of the vessel when the consignment is loaded on the vessel prior to the issue of a bill of lading.
  • Marks & No.s
    Marks & Numbers placed on packages for export are the symbols used to identify items of cargo to remove any issue identifying them at the port and they can be handed over to the correct parties.
  • Mixed Consignment
    A mixed consignment is a consignment containing varying commodities contained in separate packages.
  • N
  • Non-Vessel Owning Common Carrier (NVOCC)
    An NVOCC signs contracts with shipping lines to guarantee the shipment of certain number of units each year. In return the shipping line offers favorable rates to the NVOCC. Thus, NVOCC ends to be the largest trade maker for the container shipment.
  • Negotiable Bill of Lading
    A Negotiable bill of lading is an original bill of lading endorsed by the consgnor that is used for negotiating with banks.
  • Notify Party
    Notify party is the party other than the consignee to be advised of the arrival of the goods.
  • Notify Address
    Notify Address is the address of the notify party
  • O
  • Original Bill of Lading (O.B.L.)
    The Original Bill of Lading is a document which requires proper signatures for consummating carriage of contract.
  • Overland Common Point (OCP)
    Overland common point is a term stated on the bills of lading offering lower shipping rates to importers east of the Rockies provided merchandise from the Far East comes in through the West Coast ports.
  • Overwidth
    Overwidth is a container with goods protruding beyond the sides of the container/flat rack onto which they are packed.
  • P
  • Pallet
    A pallet is a platform (usually two-deck), with or without sides, on which a number of packages or pieces may be loaded to facilitate handling by a lift truck.
  • Partlow
    Manufacturer of a mechanical temperature recorder - see recorder. Developed in the 1930's by Howard Partlow for the reefer trucking business in the USA. Now the Partlow Corp.
  • Payable Elsewhere
    Special service to shipper or consignee to receive freight and charges at location and from designated party as specified by shipper or consignee i.e. freight and charges are not received at loading end (for Prepaid shipment) and discharging end (for Collect shipment).
  • Payload
    The revenue-producing part of the cargo.
  • Port Service Charge
    Also referred to as port dues, cargo dues, or cargo charges, these are the service fees imposed by the various port authorities at each destination.
  • Port of Discharge
    The port where the cargo is actually discharged (unloaded) from the sea (ocean) going vessel.
  • Q
  • Quarantine station
    A medical control center located in an isolated spot ashore where patients with contagious diseases from vessel in quarantine are taken. It is also used for passengers and crews of vessel arriving from suspected ports while fumigation or any other disinfection is carried out on board ship.
  • Quota
    The quantity of goods that may be imported without restriction or additional duties or taxes.
  • R
  • Railhead
    Rail termianl where containers are either loaded or discahrged from train. (A railhead is a CY)
  • Receipt for shipment Bill of Lading
    A term used in contradistinction to shipped bill of lading, which is the standard document. Some bankers object to to such bill of lading on the ground that the security they offer is imperfect. This kind of bill of lading is normally issued to acknowledge receipt of shipment before cargo loading or before official original bill of lading is issued. Nowadays, not many shippers ask for this kind of bill of lading.
  • Reefer
    In the industry, it is the generic name for a temperature controlled container. The containers, which are insulated, are specially designed to allow temperature controlled air circulated within the container. A refrigeration plant is built into the rear of the container. For OOCL's reefers, power for this plant needs to be provided from an external source.
  • S
  • Standard Carrier Alpha Code (SCAC)
    A charge applied by Forwarders and Consolidators in Australia to cover the costs associated with the operation of the Sea Cargo Automation System.
  • Shippers Load Stow and Count (SLAC)
    Shipping term on a Bill of Lading that indicates the shipper’s responsibility for the packing of the container. It is used to protect the carrier in the event of any missing or damaged cargo.
  • Shipping Cost Per Unit
    The total cost of shipping your cargo, divided by the number of units sent.
  • Spot Freight Rates
    The price of transporting cargo from one place to another, at the time of quotation/transaction. These fluctuate depending on the economy, supply and demand and other influencing factors. Ongoing ‘Contract Freight Rates’ are the alternative.
  • T
  • Tare
    The mass or weight of an empty shipping container. Can vary depending on the type, manufacturer and age of the container.
  • Tariff Code or Commodity Code
    A code allocated to products for the purpose of clearing through UK customs. The code determines the percentage of duty that’s payable on the product.
  • Twenty-Foot Equivalent Unit (TEU)
    The inexact method of measuring a ship’s capacity for carrying cargo and the handling capacity of container ports. Refers to the size of a standard 20ft container unit.
  • U
  • Unit Load
    Packages loaded on a pallet in a crate or any other way that enables them to be handled at one time as a unit.
  • Unitization
    The consolidation of a quantity of individual items into one large shipping unit for easier handling; Loading one or more large items of cargo onto a single piece of equipment, such as a pallet.
  • V
  • Ventilated Container
    A container designed with openings in the side and/or end walls to permit the ingress of outside air when the doors are closed.
  • Verified Gross Mass (VGM)
    Verified gross mass (VGM) is the total gross mass of a packed container which includes the cargo weight, block & bracing materials and container tare. The VGM must be provided by the shipper for the vessel and terminal operators to arrange for safe vessel/terminal stowage plans.
  • Voyage Direction
    The sector of a round trip voyage normally denoted by the direction of the sailing.
  • W
  • Wharfage
    Charge assessed by a pier or dock owner against freight handled over the pier or dock or against a steamship company using the pier or dock.
  • Waybill
    Non-negotiable document evidencing the contract for the transport of cargo.

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