Common Shipping Terms


Agency for International Development.


American Trucking Association.


Actual time of arrival.


Actual time of departure.


Always Afloat (In some ports the ship aground when approaching, or at berth)


Abbreviation for:- Against All Risks (insurance clause). – Association of American Railroads.


A point beyond the midpoint of a ships length, towards the rear or stern.


The right a marine assured has to abandon property in order to establish a constructive total loss. An underwriter is not obliged to accept abandonment, but if he does he accepts responsibility for the property and liabilities attaching thereto, in addition to being liable for the full sum insured.

ABI – (Automated Broker Interface)

A computer system that allows a Customs Broker to interface directly with U.S. Customs’ computer system.

Acceptance of Goods

The process of receiving a consignment from a consignor, usually against the issue of a receipt. As from this moment and on this place the carrier’s responsibility for the consignment begins.

Account Party

The buyer under a letter of credit. The party ultimately responsible for reimbursing the issuing bank for all payments extended on its behalf.

Act of God

Accidents of a nature beyond human control such as flood, lightning or hurricane usually quoted as ‘force majeure’.

Ad Valorem

In proportion to the value: A phrase applied to certain freight or customs duties levied on goods, property, etc. set as a percentage of their value.

Advice Note

A written piece of information e.g. about the status of the goods.


A contract to carry goods by ship. Charter-parties and Bills of Lading are contracts of affreightment

After Sight

When a draft bears this phrase, the time begins to run from its acceptance date.

Agency Fee

Fee payable by a shipowner or ship operator to a port agent.


A person or organization authorized to act for or on behalf of another person or organization. An Agent is a corporate body with, which there is an agreement to perform particular functions on behalf of them at an agreed payment. An Agent is either a part of the organisation or an independent body.

AGR Imports

American goods returned.

Air Waybill

Abbreviation: AWB

A document made out by or on behalf of the carrier(s) confirming receipt of the goods by the carrier and evidencing the contract between the shipper and the carrier(s) for the carriage of goods as described therein.


A share of the capacity of a means of transport assigned to a certain party, e.g. a carrier or an agent, for the purpose of the booking of cargo for a specific voyage.


A freight quotation including all charges, often in one lump sum rather than broken down.


The broadest form of coverage available, providing protection against all risk of physical loss or damage from any external cause. Does not cover loss or damage due to delay, inherent vice, inadequate packaging, or loss of market.

American Bureau of Shipping

Abbreviation: ABS

American classification society which has established rules and regulations for the classification of seagoing vessels or equipment.

Antidumping Duty

A duty assessed on imported merchandise that is subject to an antidumping duty order. The antidumping duty is assessed on an entry-by-entry basis in an amount equal to the difference between the United States price of that entry and the foreign market value of such or similar merchandise at the time the merchandise was sold to the United States.


The process of referring to an agreed person for judgment on issues of dispute, without requiring the use of courts.

Arrival Date

The date on which goods or a means of transport is due to arrive at the delivery site of the transport.

Arrival Notice

A notice sent by a carrier to a nominated notify party advising of the arrival of a certain shipment or consignment.


The transfer of certain rights from one party to another.

Authorised Consignee / Consignor

A trader authorized by the European Commission (regulation 2454/93) to receive or dispatch consignments under transit procedures without having to present goods and documents directly at the customs office.


The commission to a certain person or body to act on behalf of another person or body. The person or body can be authorized e.g. to issue Bills of Lading or to collect freight


In marine insurance: a loss or damage to or in respect of goods or equipment. The numerical result obtained by dividing the sum of two or more quantities by the number of quantities.


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

Average Bond

An agreement signed by all interested parties acknowledging their liability to pay a share of the loss under General Average


The decision given by an arbitrator, to whom a matter in dispute has been referred. An arbitrator states only the effect of his decision, without reasons thus differing from a judge, who usually states the grounds of his judgment.

B / L

A particular article, stipulation or single proviso in a Bill of Lading. A clause can be standard and can be pre-printed on the B/L.

Back Haul

The return movement of a means of transport that has provided a transport service in one direction.

Back Order

Product ordered but out of stock and promised to ship when the product becomes available.

The process a company uses when a customer orders an item that is not in inventory; the company fills the order when the item becomes available.


Method for issuing (reducing on-hand quantities) materials to a manufacturing order. With backflushing, the material is issued automatically when production is posted against an operation. The backflushing program will use the quantity completed to calculate through the bill of material the quantities of the components used, and reduce on-hand balances by this amount. There are usually options during the backflush process to report scrap. In operations using backflushing it is advisable to set up specific machine locations and have materials transferred from storage locations to machine locations when they are physically picked for production. The backflush operation will then issue the material from the machine locations. Read my article on Backflushing.


Transportation term that describes the activity of picking up, transporting, and delivering a new load on a return trip from delivering another load (known as the fronthaul, though the term fronthaul is not used very frequently).

The return movement of a vehicle from its original destination to its original point of origin, especially when carrying goods back over all or part of the same route. To haul a shipment back over part of a route it has traveled.

Backstage areas

Behind-the-scenes areas of malls and shops where stock is held and logistics support and pre-retailing services are undertaken.

BSI Container Specification

Accidents of a nature beyond human control such as flood, lightning or hurricane usually quoted as ‘force majeure’

Bank Guarantee

An undertaking by a bank to be answerable for payment of a sum of money in the event of non performance by the party on whose behalf the guarantee is issued.

Bar Coding

A method of encoding data for fast and accurate electronic readability. Bar codes are a series of alternating bars and spaces printed or stamped on products, labels, or other media, representing encoded information which can be read by electronic readers, used to facilitate timely and accurate input of data to a computer system. Bar codes represent letters and/or numbers and special characters like +, /, -, etc.


A vertical division of a vessel from stem to stern, used as a part of the indication of a stowage place for containers. The numbers run from stem to stern; odd numbers indicate a 20 foot position, even numbers indicate a 40 foot position.

Bay Plan

A stowage plan which shows the locations of all the containers on the vessel.


A location in a port where a vessel can be moored often indicated by a code or name.

Bilateral Transport Agreement

Agreement between two nations concerning their transport relations.

Bill of Exchange

An unconditional order in writing to pay a certain sum of money to a named person.

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 have been visaed before departure by the Consul of the country of destination.

When a vessel has free pratique, this means that the vessel has a clean Bill of Health certifying that there is no question of contagious disease and that all quarantine regulations have been complied with, so that people may embark and disembark.

Bill of Lading

Abbreviation: B/L, plural Bs/L

A document which evidences a contract of carriage by sea.

The document has the following functions:

A receipt for goods, signed by a duly authorised person on behalf of the carriers

A document of title to the goods described therein

Evidence of the terms and conditions of carriage agreed upon between the two parties

At the moment 3 different models are used:

A document for either Combined Transport or Port to Port shipments depending whether the relevant spaces for place of receipt and/or place of delivery are indicated on the face of the document.

A classic marine Bill of Lading in which the carrier is also responsible for the part of the transport actually performed by himself

Sea Waybill: A non-negotiable document, which can only be made out to a named consignee. No surrender of the document by the consignee is required

Bill of Lading Clause

A particular article, stipulation or single proviso in a Bill of Lading. A clause can be standard and can be pre-printed on the B/L.

Bill of Material

A list of all parts, sub-assemblies and raw materials that constitute a particular assembly, showing the quantity of each required item.

Block Train

A number of railway wagons (loaded with containers), departing from a certain place and running straight to a place of destination, without marshalling, transhipping or any coupling or de-coupling of wagons.

Bona Fide

In good faith; without dishonesty, fraud or deceit.


The storage of certain goods under charge of customs viz. customs seal until the import duties are paid or until the goods are taken out of the country.

Bonded warehouse (place where goods can be placed under bond)

Bonded store (place on a vessel where goods are placed behind seal until the time that the vessel leaves the port or country again)

Bonded goods (dutiable goods upon which duties have not been paid i.e. goods in transit or warehoused pending customs clearance)


The offering by a shipper of cargo for transport and the acceptance of the offering by the carrier or his agent.

Booking Reference Number

The number assigned to a certain booking by the carrier or his agent.

Break Bulk

To commence discharge

To strip unitised cargo

Break Bulk Cargo

General cargo conventionally stowed as opposed to unitised, containerised and Roll On-Roll Off cargo.


Person who acts as an agent or intermediary in negotiating contracts.

Brussels Tariff Nomenclature

The old Customs Co-operation Council Nomenclature for the classification of goods. Now replaced by the Harmonised System.

Buffer Stock

A quantity of goods or articles kept in store to safeguard against unforeseen shortages or demands.

Bulk Cargo

Unpacked homogeneous cargo poured loose in a certain space of a vessel or container e.g. oil and grain.

Bulk Carrier

Single deck vessel designed to carry homogeneous unpacked dry cargoes such as grain, iron ore and coal.

Bulk Container

A container designed for the carriage of free-flowing dry cargoes, which are loaded through hatchways in the roof of the container and discharged through hatchways at one end of the container.

Bunker Adjustment Factor

Abbreviation: BAF

Adjustment applied by liner or liner conferences to offset the effect of fluctuations in the cost of bunkers.


Quantity of fuel on board a vessel.

Bureau Veritas

French classification society.

Business Process

A business process is the action taken to respond to particular events, convert inputs into outputs, and produce particular results. Business processes are what the enterprise must do to conduct its business successfully.

Business Process Model

The business process model provides a breakdown (process decomposition) of all levels of business processes within the scope of a business area. It also shows process dynamics, lower-level process interrelationships. In Summary it includes all diagrams related to a process definition that allows for understanding what the business process is doing (and not how).


Party to which merchandise is sold.

The process of receiving a consignment from a consignor, usually against the issue of a receipt. As from this moment and on this place the carrier’s responsibility for the consignment begins.


Terms of payment: if the buyer of goods pays for the goods against transfer of the documents, entitling him to obtain delivery of the goods from the carrier.


Adjustment applied by P&O Nedlloyd lines or liner conferences on freight rates to offset losses or gains for carriers resulting from fluctuations in exchange rates of tariff currencies.

C & F

See Cost and Freight

C&F Terms of Sale, or INCOTERMS

Obsolete, albeit heavily used, term of sale meaning “cargo and freight” whereby Seller pays for cost of goods and freight charges up to destination port. In July, 1990 the International Chamber of Commerce replaced C&F with CFR.


(1) A secure enclosed area for storing highly valuable items, (2) a pallet-sized platform with sides that can be secured to the tines of a forklift and in which a person may ride to inventory items stored well above the warehouse floor.


A site where multiple distribution centres share resources, such as employees and transport, to maximise time and cost efficiencies. See also shared-user.

Cantilever Rack

Racking system in which the shelving supports are connected to vertical supports at the rear of the rack. There are no vertical supports on the face of the rack allowing for storage of very long pieces of material such as piping and lumber. Also see Racking Pics Page.


The resources, or money, available for investing in assets that produce output.


Council of European and Japanese National Shipowner’s Associations.


Transport of goods between two ports or places located in the same country

Transport of cargo in a country other than the country where the vehicle is registered road-cargo)

The carriage of a container from a surplus area to an area specified by the Owner of that container, in exchange of which and during which the operator can use this container


The visit of a vessel to a port.

Call Sign

A code published by the International Telecommunication Union in its annual List of Ships’ Stations to be used for the information interchange between vessels, port authorities and other relevant participants in international trade.

Note: The code structure is based on a three digit designation series assigned by the ITU and a one digit assigned by the country of registration.


The ability, in a given time, of a resource measured in quality and quantity

The quantity of goods which can be stored in or loaded into a warehouse, store and/or loaded into a means of transport at a particular time


Goods transported or to be transported, all goods carried on a ship covered by a B/L.

Any goods, wares, merchandise, and articles of every kind whatsoever carried on a ship, other than mail, ship’s stores,ship’s spare parts, ship’s equipment, stowage material, crew’s effects and passengers’ accompanied baggage (IMO)

Any property carried on an aircraft, other than mail, stores and accompanied or mishandled baggage Also referred to as ‘goods’ (ICAO)

Cargo Handling

All procedures necessary to enable the physical handling of goods.

Cargo Tracer

A document sent by the agent to all relevant parties, stating that certain cargo is either missing or over-landed.

Cargo Unit

A vehicle, container, pallet, flat, portable tank or any other entity or any part thereof which belongs to the ship but is not permanently attached to that ship.


The process of transporting (conveying) cargo, from one point to another.

Carriage Paid To (…named place of destination)

Abbreviation: CPT

Carriage and Insurance Paid To (…named place of destination)

Abbreviation: CIP


The party undertaking transport of goods from one point to another.

Carrier Haulage

The inland transport service, which is performed by the sea-carrier under the terms and conditions of the tariff and of the relevant transport document.

Carriers Bill of Lading Ports

Terminal, Pre-terminal port or Post-terminal Port as per tariff, indicated on the Bill of Lading and which is not the port physically called at by Carriers’ ocean vessels.

Note: Under normal circumstances in the B/L only ports should be mentioned which are actually called at.

Carriers Lien

When the shipper ships goods ‘collect’, the carrier has a possessory claim on these goods, which means that the carrier can retain possession of the goods as security for the charges due


Abbreviation: CAD

Terms of payment: if the buyer of goods pays for the goods against transfer of the documents, entitling him to obtain delivery of the goods from the carrier.

Cash On Delivery

Abbreviation: COD

Terms of payment: if the carrier collects a payment from the consignee and remits the amount to the shipper (air cargo).

Caveat Emptor

Let the buyer beware, purchaser must ascertain the condition of the goods to be purchased prior to the purchase.

Cellular Vessel

A vessel, specially designed and equipped for the carriage of containers.

Certificate of Classification

A certificate, issued by the classification society and stating the class under which a vessel is registered.

Certificate of Origin

A certificate, showing the country of original production of goods. Frequently used by customs in ascertaining duties under preferential tariff programmes or in connection with regulating imports from specific sources.


An amount to be paid for carriage of goods based on the applicable rate of such carriage, or an amount to be paid for a special or incidental service in connection with the carriage of goods.

Charge Type

A separate, identifiable element of charges to be used in the pricing/rating of common services rendered to customers.

Charter Party

A contract in which the ship owner agrees to place his vessel or a part of it at the disposal of a third party, the charterer, for the carriage of goods for which he receives a freight per ton cargo, or to let his vessel for a definite period or trip for which a hire is paid synonym: Charter Contract


The legal person who has signed a charter party with the owner of a vessel or an aircraft and thus hires or leases a vessel or an aircraft or a part of the capacity thereof.


A wheeled carriage onto which an ocean container is mounted for inland conveyance

The part of a motor vehicle that includes the engine, the frame, suspension system, wheels, steering mechanism etc., but not the body


A charge made against a carrier for loss, damage or delay.


Arrangement according to a systematic division of a number of objects into groups, based on some likeness or some common traits.

Classification Society

An Organisation, whose main function is to carry out surveys of vessels, its purpose being to set and maintain standards of construction and upkeep for vessels, their engines and their safety equipment. A classification society also inspects and approves the construction of containers.

Clean Bill of Lading

A Bill of Lading which does not contain any qualification about the apparent order and condition of the goods to be transported (it bears no stamped clauses on the front of the B/L). It bears no superimposed clauses expressly declaring a defective condition of the goods or packaging (resolution of the ICS 1951).

Clean on Board

When goods are loaded on board and the document issued in respect to these goods is clean.

Note: Through the usage of the UCP 500 rules the term has now become superfluous.


A party with which a company has a commercial relationship concerning the transport of e.g. cargo or concerning certain services of the company concerned, either directly or through an agent.


The loading, on the way, of cargo from another shipper, having the same final destination as the cargo loaded earlier.

Combined Transport

Intermodal transport where the major part of the journey is by one mode such as rail, inland waterway or sea and any initial and/or final leg carried out by another mode such as road.

Combined Transport Document

Abbreviation: CTD

Negotiable or non-negotiable document evidencing a contract for the performance and/or procurement of performance of combined transport of goods.

Thus a combined transport document is a document issued by a Carrier who contracts as a principal with the Merchant to effect a combined transport often on a door-to-door basis.

Combined Transport Operator

Abbreviation: CTO

A party who undertakes to carry goods with different modes of transport.

Commercial Invoice

A document showing commercial values of the transaction between the buyer and seller.


Indication of the type of goods. Commodities are coded according to the harmonised system.


Anything called for as requirements before the performance or completion of something else

Contractual stipulations which are printed on a document or provided separately

Conditions of Carriage

The general terms and conditions established by a carrier in respect of the carriage (air cargo).

Conditions of Contract

Terms and conditions shown on the Air Waybill (air cargo).


Accumulation of vessels at a port to the extent that vessels arriving to load or discharge are obliged to wait for a vacant berth.


The party such as mentioned in the transport document by whom the goods, cargo or containers are to be received.


A separate identifiable number of goods (available to be) transported from one consignor to one consignee via one or more than one modes of transport and specified in one single transport document.

Consignment Instructions

Instructions from either the seller/consignor or the buyer/consignee to a freight forwarder, carrier or his agent, or other provider of a service, enabling the movement of goods and associated activities. The following functions can be covered:


Abbreviation for “Dangerous and Hazardous” cargo.


Abbreviation for “Doing Business As.” A legal term for conducting business under a registered name.


Department of Transportation.

Data Collection

See Automated Data Collection (ADC)


Distribution Center


Abbreviation for “Destination Delivery Charge” A charge, based on container size, that is applied in many tariffs to cargo. This charge is considered accessorial and is added to the base ocean freight. This charge covers crane lifts off the vessel, drayage of the container within the terminal and gate fees at the terminal operation.


One leg of a move without a paying cargo load. Usually refers to repositioning an empty piece of equipment.

Damaged Cargo Report

Written statement concerning established damages to cargo and/or equipment.

Dangerous Goods

Goods are to be considered dangerous if the transport of such goods might cause harm, risk, peril, or other evil to people, environment, equipment or any property whatsoever.

Dangerous Goods Declaration

Document issued by a consignor in accordance with applicable conventions or regulations, describing hazardous goods or materials for transport purposes, and stating that the latter have been packed and labelled in accordance with the provisions of the relevant conventions or regulations.

Dangerous Goods Packing Certificate

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.

Date Draft

A draft that matures in a specified number of days after issuance without regard to date of acceptance.

DAF (Delivered at Frontier)

Delivered At Frontier (DAF) The seller (exporter) is responsible for all costs involved in delivering the goods to the named point and place at the frontier. Risk of loss transfers at the frontier. The buyer must pay the costs and bear the risk of unloading the goods, clearing Customs, and transporting the goods to the final destination. If FOB is the Customs valuation basis, the international insurance and freight costs must be deducted from the DAF price.

DDU (Delivered Duty Unpaid)

The seller (exporter) is responsible for all costs involved in delivering the goods to a named place of destination where the goods are placed at the disposal of the buyer. The buyer (importer) assumes risk of loss at that point and must clear Customs and pay duties and provide inland transportation & insurance to the final destination.

DDP (Delivered Duty Paid)

The seller (exporter) is responsible for all costs involved in delivering the goods to a named place of destination and for clearing Customs in the country of import. Under a DDP INCO term, the seller provides literally door-to-door delivery, including Customs clearance in the port of export and the port of destination. Thus the seller bears the entire risk of loss until goods are delivered to the buyer’s premises. A DDP transaction will read “named place of destination”. For example, assuming goods imported through Baltimore are delivered to Silver Spring , the Inco term would read “ Silver Spring “. If CIF is the Customs valuation basis, the costs of unloading the vessel, clearing Customs, and delivery to the buyer’s premises in the country of destination including inland insurance, must be deducted to arrive at the CIF value.


Slots paid for but not used.


Abbreviation: DWT

The total weight of cargo, cargo equipment, bunkers, provisions, water, stores and spare parts which a vessel can lift when loaded to her maximum draught as applicable under the circumstances. The dead-weight is expressed in tons.


The ability, in a given time, of a resource measured in quality and quantity

The quantity of goods which can be stored in or loaded into a warehouse, store and/or loaded into a means of transport at a particular time

Delivered Duty Paid (…named place of destination)

Abbreviation: DDP

Delivered Duty Unpaid (…named place of destination)

Abbreviation: DDU

Delivered Ex Quay (…named port of destination)

Abbreviation: DEQ

Delivered Ex Ship(…named port of destination)

Abbreviation: DES

Delivery Instruction

Document issued by a buyer giving instructions regarding the details of the delivery of goods ordered.

Delivery Note

A document recording the delivery of products to a consignee (customer).

Delivery Order

A carrier’s delivery order (negotiable document) is used for splitting a B/L (after surrender) in different parcels and have the same function as a B/L.

The authorisation of the entitled party for the shipment to a party other than the consignee showed on the Air Waybill (air cargo)


A variable fee charged to carriers and/or customers for the use of Unit Load Devices (ULD’s) owned by a carrier beyond the free time of shipment

Additional charge imposed for exceeding the free time, which is included in the rate and allowed for the use of certain equipment at the terminal

DEQ Delivered Ex-Quay)

The seller (exporter) is responsible for all costs involved in transporting the goods to the wharf (quay) at the port of destination. The buyer must pay duties, clear Customs, and pay the cost/bear the risk of loss from that point forward. If FOB is the Customs valuation basis, the international insurance and freight costs, in addition to unloading costs, must be deducted from the DEQ price.

DES (Delivered Ex-Ship)

The seller (exporter) is responsible for all costs involved in delivering the goods to a named port of destination. Upon arrival, the goods are made available to the buyer (importer) on-board the vessel. Therefore, the seller is responsible for all costs/risk of loss prior to unloading at the port of destination. The buyer (importer) must have the goods unloaded, pay duties, clear Customs and provide inland transportation & insurance to the final destination.

Despatch Advice

Information send by shippers to the recipient of goods informing that specified goods are sent or ready to be sent advising the detailed contents of the consignment.


Place for which goods or a vehicle is bound

The ultimate stopping place according to the contract of carriage (air cargo)


Keeping equipment beyond the time allowed.

Detention Charge

Charges levied on usage of equipment exceeding free time period as stipulated in the pertinent inland rules and conditions.


See Stripping, Unpacking Deviation from a Route

A divergence from the agreed or customary route.


Measurements in length, width and height, regarding cargo.

Direct Delivery

The conveyance of goods directly from the vendor to the buyer. Frequently used if a third party acts as intermediary agent between vendor and buyer

Direct discharge from vessel onto railroad car, road vehicle or barge with the purpose of immediate transport from the port area (usually occurs when ports lack adequate storage space or when ports are not equipped to handle a specific cargo)

Direct Interchange

Transfer of leased equipment from one lessee to another (container).

Direct Route

The shortest operated route between two points.


The unloading of a vehicle, a vessel or an aircraft

The landing of cargo


Difference between the particulars given and the particulars found.

Distribution Centre

A warehouse for the receipt, the storage and the dispersal of goods among customers.

Distribution Channel

The route by which a company distributes goods.

Door to Door Transport

The transport of cargo from the premises of the consignor to the premises of the consignee.

Note: In the United States the term ‘Point to Point Transport’ is used instead of the term ‘Door to Door Transport ’because the term ‘house’ may mean ‘customs house’ or ‘brokers house’ which are usually located in the port.

Double Stack Train

A number of railway wagons, usually a block train, on which containers can be stacked two- high.


The draft of a vessel is the vertical distance between the waterline and the underside of the keel of the vessel. During the construction of a vessel the marks showing the draft are welded on each side of the vessel near the stem, the stern and atext1ships.


Repayment of any part of customs or excise duties previously collected on imported goods, when those goods are exported again.


The hauling of a load by a cart with detachable sides (dray)

Road transportation between the nearest railway terminal and the stuffing place

Drop off Charge

Charge made by container owner and/or terminal operators for delivery of a leased, or pool container into depot stock. The drop-off charge may be a combination of actual handling and storage charges with surcharges.


Stowage material, mainly timber or board, used to prevent damage to cargo during carriage.

Duty Free Zone

An area where goods or cargo can be stored without paying import customs duties awaiting further transport or manufacturing.


Eastern Central Motor Carriers Association.


The Estimated Time of Arrival.


The Estimated Time of Departure.


Eastern Weighing and Inspection Bureau.

Economic Order Quantity (EOQ)

An inventory model that determines how much to order by determining the amount that will meet customer service levels while minimizing total ordering and holding costs.

Result of a calculation that determines the most cost effective quantity to order (purchased items) or produce (manufactured items). The formula basically finds the point at which the combination of order cost and carrying cost is the least. The standard formula is EOQ = Square Root [2 * (Annual Usage) * (Order Cost) / (Annual Carrying Cost/unit)]. The difficult part of implementing the formula is getting accurate values for order cost and carrying cost. See my article Optimizing EOQ for more info.

Economic Value Added (EVA)

A measurement of shareholder value as a company’s operating profits after tax, less an appropriate charge for the capital used in creating the profits.

Economy of Scale

The lowering of costs with added output due to allocation of fixed costs over more units.

EDI For Administration, Commerce and Transport

Abbreviation: UN/EDIFACT

The ISO application level syntax rules for the structuring of user data and of the associated service data in the interchange of messages in an open environment.

Electronic Data Interchange

Abbreviation: EDI

The transfer of structured data, by agreed standards from applications on the computer of one party to the applications on the computer of another party by electronic means.

Electronic Data Processing

Abbreviation: EDP

The computerised handling of information (e.g. business data).


A government order prohibiting the entry or departure of commercial vessels or goods at its ports

The refusal by a carrier, for a limited period, to accept for transport over any route or segment thereof, and to or from any area or point, of a connecting carrier, any commodity, type of class of cargo duly tendered (air cargo)

Emergency Medical Service

Abbreviation: EMS

Medical procedures in case of emergencies on board of vessels.


The transfer of the right to obtain delivery of the goods of the carrier by means of the consignee’s signature on the reverse side of a bill of lading. If the name of the new consignee (transferee) is not stated, the endorsement is an open one which means that every holder of the document is entitled to obtain delivery of the goods.

Equipment Interchange Receipt

Abbreviation: EIR

Physical inspection and transfer receipt.

Estimated Time of Arrival

Abbreviation: ETA

The expected date and time of arrival in a certain (air)port.

Estimated Time of Departure

Abbreviation: ETD

The expected date and time when a certain (air)port is left.

Ex Works (…named place)

Abbreviation: EXW


The process of carrying or sending goods to another country or countries, especially for purposes of use or sale in the country of destination. The sale of products to clients abroad.

Export Licence

Document granting permission to export as detailed within a specified time.


The party responsible for the export of goods.


The seller (exporter) makes the goods available to the buyer (importer) at the seller’s premises. The buyer is responsible for all transportation costs, duties, and insurance, and accepts risk of loss of goods immediately after the goods are purchased and placed outside the factory door. The Ex Works price does not include the price of loading goods onto a truck or vessel, and no allowance is made for clearing customs. If FOB is the Customs valuation basis of the goods in the country of destination, the transportation and insurance costs from the seller’s premises to the port of export must be added to the Ex Works price.


Food and Drug Administration.


A term of sale defining who is to incur transportation charges for the shipment, who is to control the shipment movement, or where title to the goods passes to the buyer; originally meant “free on board ship”


“F.O.T” mean “FREE ON TRUCK” it refer to goods being carried by truck and should only be used when the goods are carried by truck. The risk of loss or damage is transferred when the goods are loaded onto the truck.


See “Free of Particular Average”


A factor is an agent who will, at a discount (usually five to 8% of the gross), buy receivables.

Fair Return

A profit level that enables a carrier to realize a rate of return on investment or property value that the regulatory agencies deem acceptable for that level of risk.

Fair Value

The value of the carrier’s property; the calculation basis has included original cost minus depreciation, replacement cost, and market value.

FAS (Free Alongside Ship)

The seller transports the goods from his place of business, clears the goods for export and places them alongside the vessel at the port of export, where the risk of loss shifts to the buyer. The buyer is responsible for loading the goods onto the vessel (unless specified otherwise) and for paying all costs involved in shipping the goods to the final destination.

FCA (Free Carrier)

The seller (exporter) clears the goods for export and delivers them to the carrier and place specified by the buyer. If the place chosen is the seller’s place of business, the seller must load the goods onto the transport vehicle; otherwise, the buyer is responsible for loading the goods. Buyer assumes risk of loss from that point forward and must pay for all costs associated with transporting the goods to the final destination.


Full Container Load, Full Car Load.

Federal Maritime Commission (FMC)

The U.S. Federal agency responsible for overseeing Ocean Carriers, Conferences, NVOCC’s and Ocean Freight Forwarders (now called OTI’s – Ocean Transportation Intermediaries) at ocean ports and inland waterways.

Feeder Vessel

A vessel that connects with a line vessel to service a port not directly served by that line vessel.


(Forty foot equivalent) Term normally used in ocean freight rate negotiations referring to the equivalent of two twenty foot ocean containers.


International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations.

Flag Carrier

An airline or vessel of one national registry whose government gives it partial or total monopoly over international routes.

Flat Bed Chassis

A semi-trailer with a level bed and no sides or tops. The floor is a standard height from the ground.

Flat Rack

A platform designed with the flexibility to carry oversized cargo on board container vessels. It can be loaded from the sides and top, usually having adjustable or removable bulkheads at the front and back.


Federal Maritime Commission (Control of Shipping acts USA)

FOB (Free on Board)

The seller (exporter) is responsible for delivering the goods from his place of business and loading them onto the vessel of at the port of export as well as clearing customs in the country of export. As soon as the goods cross the “ships-rails”  (the ship’s threshold) the risk of loss transfers to the buyer (importer). The buyer must pay for all transportation and insurance costs from that point, and must clear customs in the country of import. An FOB transaction will read “FOB, port of export” For example, assuming the port of export is Boston , an FOB transaction would read “FOB Boston “. If CIF is the Customs valuation basis, international freight and insurance must be added to the FOB value.

Foreign Trade Zone ( FTZ )

A port designated by the government for duty-free entry of any non-prohibited goods. Merchandise may be stored, displayed, and used for manufacturing within the zone and re-exported without duties being paid. Duties are imposed only when the original goods or items manufactured from those goods pass from the zone into an area of the country subject to customs authority. Also called a Free Trade Zone.

Foreign Trade Zone Entry

A form declaring goods which are brought duty free into a Foreign Trade Zone for further processing or storage and subsequent exportation from the zone into the commerce of another country.


An independent business that dispatches shipments for exporters for a fee. The firm may ship by land, air, or sea, or it may specialize. Usually it handles all the services connected with an export shipment, including preparation of documents, booking cargo space, warehousing, pier delivery, and export clearance. The firm may also handle banking and insurance services on behalf of a client.

Free of Particular Average (FPA )

A marine insurance clause relating to the recoverability of partial and total losses from perils of the sea. The American and English coverage’s vary as follows:

American Conditions (FPAAC) – The underwriter does not assume responsibility for partial losses unless caused by sinking, stranding, burning, or colliding with another vessel.

English Conditions (FPAEC) – The underwriter assumes responsibility for partial losses if the vessel is sunk, stranded, burned, on fire, or in collision, even though such an event did not actually cause the damage suffered by the goods.


Full Truck Load, an indication for a truck transporting cargo directly from supplier to receiver.

Factory Delivery

The delivery of goods by a factory whereby the goods are put at the disposal of another (internal) party such as a commercial department.


A vessel normally used for local or coastal transport (for carriage of cargo and/or containers) to and from ports not scheduled to be called by the main (ocean) vessel, directly connecting these ports to the main (ocean) vessel.


An indication of the country in which a means of transport is registered through a reference to the ensign of this country.


Capable to be set on fire under given circumstances. (Amendment 25 IMO DGS).

Flash Point

The lowest temperature at which a good produces enough vapour to form a flammable mixture with air.

Flat Rack Container

A container with two end walls and open sides.


Any group of means of transport acting together or under one control.

Force Majeure

Circumstance which is beyond the control of one of the parties to a contract and which may, according to the terms and conditions, relieve that party of liability for failing to execute the contract.

Fork Lift Truck

A three or four wheeled mechanical truck with forks at the front designed for lifting, carrying and stowing cargo.

Forty Foot Equivalent Unit

Abbreviation: FEU

Unit of measurement equivalent to one forty foot container.


The party arranging the carriage of goods including connected services and/or associated formalities on behalf of a shipper or consignee.

Forwarding Charge

Charges paid or to be paid for preliminary surface or air transport to the airport of departure by a forwarder, but not by a carrier under an Air Waybill (air cargo).

Forwarding Instruction

Document issued to a freight forwarder, giving instructions to the forwarder for the forwarding of goods described therein.


A number of workmen acting together especially for loading and/or discharging operations of a vessel in combination with the necessary gear. (On a vessel for instance 6 gangs can be ordered to discharge or load.)

Garments On Hangers

Clothes in containers on hangers and hung from rails during transit, reducing the handling required for the garments.


A point at which cargo is interchanged between carriers or modes of transport

A means of access, an entry


(General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) – A multilateral treaty intended to help reduce trade barriers and promote tariff concessions.

General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade

Abbreviation: GATT

Major international agreement on trade and tariffs between many nations all over the world. The discussions are now held by the WTO.

General Average

Abbreviation: G/A

Intentional act or sacrifice which is carried out to safeguard vessel and cargo. When a vessel is in danger, the master has the right to sacrifice property and/or to incur reasonable expenditure. Measures taken for the sole benefit of any particular interest are not considered general average.

General Average Act (York-Antwerp Rules)

There is a general average act when, and only when any extraordinary sacrifice or expenditure is intentionally and reasonably made or incurred for the common safety for the purpose of preserving from peril the property involved in a common maritime adventure.

General Cargo

Cargo, consisting of goods, unpacked or packed, for example in cartons, crates, bags or bales, often palletized. General cargo can be shipped either in break-bulk or containerized

Any consignment other than a consignment containing valuable cargo and charged for transport at general cargo rates (air cargo)

General Purpose Container

A Container with two end walls and open sides. A container used for the carriage of general cargo without any special requirements for the transport and or the conditioning of the goods.


Common term indicating movable property, merchandise or wares All materials which can be used to satisfy demands Whole or part of the cargo received from the shipper, including any equipment supplied by the shipper

Goods Receipt

Document issued by a port, warehouse, shed, or terminal operator acknowledging receipt of goods specified therein on conditions stated or referred to in the document.

Goods in Transit

The goods which have departed from the initial loading point and not yet arrived at the final unloading point.


The collection of several small consignments and the formation of one large shipment thereof (road cargo).

Gross Weight (GR WT./GW)

The full weight of a shipment, including containers and packaging materials.


A large corrugated container usually sized to match the length and width dimensions of a pallet. Gaylord is actually a trade name that has become synonymous with this specific type of container. Alright Beavis, you can stop snickering now.


See Government Bill of Lading.


Abbreviation for “Government Bill of Lading”


Abbreviation for “General Department Store Merchandise” A classification of commodities that includes goods generally shipped by mass-merchandise companies. This commodity structure occurs only in service contracts.

Hague Rules

International convention for the unification of certain rules, relating to Bills of Lading (1924). These Rules include the description of responsibilities of Shipping Lines.

Hague-Visby Rules

Set of rules, published in 1968, amending the Hague Rules.

Hamburg Rules

United Nations Convention on the carriage of goods by sea of 1978 adopted in 1992.

Harmonized System

Abbreviation: HS

It is a numeric multi purpose system, the international convention on the HS was established under auspices of the World Customs Organization in 1983, for the classification of goods with its six digits covering about 5000 descriptions of the products or groups of products most commonly produced and traded. It is designed for customs services, but can also be used for statistics, transport purposes, export, import and manufacturing.


The inland carriage of cargo or containers between named locations/points.

Merchant inspired Carrier Haulage or customer nominated Carrier Haulage or shipper preferred Carrier Haulage service performed by a sub-contractor of the merchant

Carrier inspired Merchant Haulage means Haulage service performed by a sub- contractor of the Carrier


Road carrier.

HI (OR High) Cube

Any container exceeding 102 inches in height.

House Air Waybill

An air waybill issued by an airfreight consolidator.

House to House Transport

The transport of cargo from the premises of the consignor to the premises of the consignee.

Note: In the United States the term ‘Point to Point Transport’ is used instead of the term ‘Door to Door Transport’, because the term ‘house’ may mean ‘customs house’ or ‘brokers house’, which are usually located in the port.

Handling Costs

The cost involved in moving, transferring, preparing, and otherwise handling inventory.

Harbor Master

An officer who attends to the berthing, etc., of ships in a harbor.

Hard Copy

Computer output printed on paper.


The opening in the deck of a vessel; gives access to the cargo hold.


See House Air Waybill.


An industry abbreviation for “Hazardous Material.”


The central transhipment point in a transport structure, serving a number of consignees and/or consignors by means of spokes. The stretches between hubs mutually are referred to as trunks.


International Air Transport Association.


(International Civil Aviation Organization) – A specialized agency of the United Nations headquartered in Montreal . It promotes general development of civil aviation such as aircraft design and operation, safety procedures, and contractual agreements.

ICC (International Chamber of Commerce)

A non-governmental organization serving as a policy advocate on world business.

Idle Time

The amount of ineffective time whereby the available resources are not used e.g. a container in a yard.


A contoured structural container designed for use in main-deck carriage on narrow body aircraft.


International Maritime Consultative Organization. A forum in which most major maritime nations participate and through which recommendations for the carriage of dangerous goods, bulk commodities, and maritime regulations become internationally acceptable.

I.M.D.G. Code

International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code. The regulations published by the IMO for transporting hazardous materials internationally.


Abbreviation for “Immediate Transport.” The document (prepared by the carrier) allows shipment to proceed from the port of entry in the U.S. to Customs clearing at the destination. The shipment clears Customs at its final destination. Also called an “In-Transit” Entry.


Abbreviation for “Independent Action.” The right of a conference member to publish a rate of tariff rule that departs from the Agreement’s common rate or rule.


Abbreviation for (1) “Interstate Commerce Commission,” (2) “International Chamber of Commerce.”

Import License

A certificate issued by countries exercising import controls that permits importation of the articles stated in the license and often authorizes and/or releases the funds in payment of the importation.


When steamship lines publish in their schedules the name of a port and the words “by inducement” in parentheses, this means the vessel will call at the port if there is a sufficient amount of profitable cargo available and booked.

Inland Carrier

A transportation line which hauls export or import cargo between ports and inland points.

Inspection Certificate

A document certifying that merchandise was in good condition, or in accordance with certain specifications immediately prior to shipment.

Integrated Carrier

A forwarder that uses its own aircraft, whether owned or leased, rather than scheduled airlines.


A mutual agreement between airlines to link their route network.


This refers to the capacity to go from ship to train to truck or the like. The term generally refers to containerized shipping or the capacity to handle containers across different modes of transport.

In Transit

The status of goods or persons between the outwards customs clearance and inwards customs clearance.

Inco Terms

Trade terms in coded form as established by the International Chamber of Commerce in 1953, whereafter they have been regularly updated. (Last update 2000). The terms represent a set of international rules for the interpretation of the principal terms of delivery used in trade contracts.

Inland Waterways Bill of Lading

Transport document made out to a named person, to order or to bearer, signed by the carrier and handed to the sender after receipt of the goods.


A system of protection against loss under which a party agrees to pay a certain sum (premiums) for a guarantee that they will be compensated under certain conditions for loss or damage.

Insurance Certificate

Proof of an insurance contract.

Insurance Company

The party covering the risks of the issued goods and/or services that are insured.

Intermodal Transport

The movement of goods (containers) in one and the same loading unit or vehicle which uses successively several modes of transport without handling of the goods themselves in changing modes.

International Air Transport Association

Abbreviation: IATA

An international organisation of airlines, founded in 1945, with the aim of promoting the commercial air traffic. Parties should achieve this by co-operation between the parties concerned and by performance of certain rules, procedures and tariffs, regarding both cargo and passengers.

International Association of Classification Societies

Abbreviation: IACS

An organisation in which the major classification societies, among others American Bureau of Shipping, Lloyd’s Register of Shipping and Germanischer Lloyd, are joined, whose principal aim is the improvement of standards concerning safety at sea.

International Chamber of Shipping

Abbreviation: ICS

A voluntary organisation of national shipowner’ associations with the objective to promote interests of its members, primarily in the technical and legal fields of shipping operations.

International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code

Abbreviation: IMDG Code

A code, representing the classification of dangerous goods as defined by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in compliance with international legal requirements.

International Maritime Organisation

Abbreviation: IMO

An United Nations agency concerned with safety at sea. Its work includes codes and rules relating to tonnage measurement of vessels, load lines, pollution and the carriage of dangerous goods.

Its previous name was the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organisation (IMCO).


An account from the supplier, for goods and/or services supplied by him.


Goods thrown or lost.


The act of intentionally throwing cargo overboard e.g. with the objective of lightening a vessel, which has run aground, such for the common good of all interests: vessel, crew and remaining cargo.


A mole or breakwater, running out into the sea to protect harbours or coasts. It is sometimes used as a landing-pier.


Projecting arm of a crane

Attachment connected to the top of a crane boom


That work which is undertaken to meet a customer or production order and, for production control purposes, has a unique identification.


A wood or fiber cover placed around such containers as cans and bottles.

Jackpot Line

This is one of those funky terms that has somehow achieved widespread acceptance in the material handling industry. Usually used with automated systems such as automated conveyor systems, a Jackpot Line refers to an area where exceptions are routed. Exceptions may include orders that could not be completed (shortages or WMS error), orders requiring special processing, or weight or size exceptions. The terms Jackpot Lane, or Jackpot Area are also used to describe similar exception areas.

Jacob’s Ladder

A rope ladder suspended from the side of a vessel and used for boarding.


Just-in-time. Term usually thought of as describing inventory arriving or being produced just in time for the shipment or next process. Actually, JIT is a process for optimizing manufacturing processes by eliminating all process waste including wasted steps, wasted material, excess inventory, etc.

Abbreviation for “Just In Time.” In this method of inventory control, warehousing is minimal or non_existent; the container is the movable warehouse and must arrive “just in time;” not too early nor too late.

Joint cost

A common cost in cases where a company produces products in fixed proportions and the cost the company incurs to produce one product entails producing another; the backhaul is an example.

Joint Rate

A rate applicable from a point on one transportation line to a point on another line, made by agreement and published in a single tariff by all transportation lines over which the rate applies.

A rate over a route that requires two or more carriers to transport the shipment.

Joint Venture

A joint activity of two or more companies usually performed under a common name.


A voyage from one place, port or country to another one, in case of a round trip, to the same one.


Juridical decisions used for explanation and meaning of law.

Just In Time

Abbreviation: JIT

The movement of material/goods at the necessary place at the necessary time.

The implication is that each operation is closely synchronized with the subsequent ones to make that possible.

A method of inventory control that brings stock into the production process, warehouse or to the customer just in time to be used, thus reducing stock piling.


The unit of speed equivalent to one nautical mile: 6,080.20 feet per hour or 1.85 kilometers per hour.

Kyoto Convention

The convention for the International Customs Co-operation Council held in Kyoto in 1974 for the simplification and harmonisation of national customs procedures.

On 25th of June 1999 the updated and restructured International Convention on the simplification and harmonisation of Customs Procedures (Kyoto Convention) was unanimously adopted by 114 customs administrations.

This convention was restructured to deal with computerised controls and to ensure better co- operation between customs authorities mutually and with trade in general.


Used as part of a Just-In-Time production operation where components and sub-assemblies are produced based upon notification of demand from a subsequent operation. Historically, Kanban has been a physical notification such as a card (kanban cards) or even an empty hopper or tote sent up the line to the previous operation. Kanban is actually a simplistic means of both signaling the need for inventory as well as controlling the inventory levels (by limiting kanban cards or containers).

Kanban System

A just-in-time inventory system used by Japanese manufacturers.


Delivery to and/or collection from the roadside.


1,000 grams or 2.2046 pounds.

King Pin

A coupling pin centered on the front underside of a chassis; couples to the tractor.


The process where components are assembled and supplied to the production floor on a job by job basis.

Light assembly of components or parts into defined units.

Knocked Down (KD)

Articles which are taken apart to reduce the cubic footage displaced or to make a better shipping unit and are to be re-assembled.


A slip of e.g. paper or metal attached to an object to indicate the nature, ownership, destination, contents and/or other particulars of the object.


To hold goods in position by the use of, e.g., wires, ropes, chains and straps.

Leasing Company

The company from which property or equipment is taken on lease.

Legal Weight

The weight of the goods plus any immediate wrappings or packagings that are sold along with the goods, e.g., the weight of a tin can as well as its contents.

Less than Container Load

Abbreviation: LCL

A general reference for identifying cargo in any quantity intended for carriage in a container, where the Carrier is responsible for packing and/or unpacking the container

For operational purposes a LCL (Less than full container load) container is considered a container in which multiple consignments or parts thereof are shipped

Abbreviation: LTL

A term used if the quantity or volume of one or more consignment(s) does not fill a standard truck.


Abbreviation for “Letter of Credit.”


Loaded aboard a vessel.


Refers to the freight shipped; the contents of a shipment.

The cargo carried in a transportation vehicle.

Land bridge

The movement of containers by ship-rail-ship on Japan-to-Europe moves; ships move containers to the U.S. Pacific Coast, rails move containers to an East Coast port, and ships deliver containers to Europe.

Movement of cargo by water from one country through the port of another country, thence, using rail or truck, to an inland point in that country or to a third country. As example, a through movement of Asian cargo to Europe across North America.

Land grants

Grants of land given to railroads to build tracks during their development stage.


The party to whom the possession of specified property has been conveyed for a period of time in return for rental payments.


The party who conveys specified property to another for a period of time in return for the receipt of rent.

Letter of Credit

Abbreviation: L/C

A written undertaking by a bank (issuing bank) given to the seller (beneficiary) at the request, and on the instructions of the buyer (applicant) to pay at sight or at a determinable future date up to a stated sum of money, within a prescribed time limit and against stipulated documents.

Letter of Credit, Confirmed

A letter of credit containing a guarantee on the part of both the issuing and advising banks of payment to the seller, provided the seller’s documentation is in order and the terms of the letter of credit are met.

Letter of Indemnity

Written statement in which one party undertakes to compensate another for the costs and consequences of carrying out a certain act. The issue of a letter of indemnity is sometimes used for cases when a shipper likes receiving a clean Bill of Lading while a carrier is not allowed to do so.


Legal responsibility for the consequences of certain acts or omissions.


A legal claim upon real or personal property to pay a debt or duty.


An open or covered barge equipped with a crane and towed by a tugboat. Used mostly in harbors and inland waterways.


The word “liner” is derived from the term “line traffic,” which denotes operation along definite routes on the basis of definite, fixed schedules. A liner thus is a vessel that engages in this kind of transportation, which usually involves the haulage of general cargo as distinct from bulk cargo.

Liner Conference

A group of two or more vessel-operating carriers, which provides international liner services for the carriage of cargo on a particular trade route and which has an agreement or arrangement to operate under uniform or common freight rates and any other agreed conditions (e.g. FEFC = Far Eastern Freight Conference).

Liner In Free Out

Abbreviation: LIFO

Transport condition denoting that the freight rate is inclusive of the sea carriage and the cost of loading, the latter as per the custom of the port. It excludes the cost of discharging.

Liner Terms

Condition of carriage denoting that costs for loading and unloading are borne by the carrier subject the custom of the port concerned.

Lloyd’s Register of Shipping

British classification society.


Denotes the method by which cargo is loaded onto and discharged from an ocean vessel, which in this case is by the use of a crane.

Load Factor

Capacity used as against capacity available and expressed as a percentage.

Logistics Management

The efficient and cost-effective management of the physical movement of goods from supply points to final sale and the associated transfer and holding of such goods at various intermediate storage points.

Main-line Operator

Abbreviation: MLO

A carrier employing vessel(s) in the main or principal routes in a trade but not participating within a consortium.


Document, which lists the specifications of goods, loaded in a means of transport or equipment for transportation purposes.

As a rule cargo the agents in the place of loading draw up manifests

Note: For P&O Nedlloyd a manifest represents a accumulation of Bills of Lading for official and administrative purposes

Marine Insurance Policy

An insurance policy protecting the insured against loss or damage to his goods occurred during ocean transport.


Middlewest Motor Freight Bureau.


An organization’s central computer system.

Maintenance, repair, and operating inventory

(MRO). Inventory used to maintain equipment as well as miscellaneous supplies such as office cleaning supplies.

Major Carrier

A for-hire certificated air carrier that has annual operating revenues of $1 billion or more; the carrier usually operates between major population centers.

Management of All Logistics

The effective management of all costs associated with logistics functions and activities so as to minimize their sum across the product supply chain.


A writ issued by a court; requires that specific things be done.

Mate’s Receipt

A document signed by the chief officer of a vessel acknowledging the receipt of a certain consignment on board of that vessel. On this document, remarks can be made as to the order and condition of the consignment.

Measurement Ton

The measurement ton (also known as the cargo ton or freight ton) is a space measurement, usually 40 cubic feet or one cubic meter. Cargo is assessed a certain rate for every 40 cubic feet or one cubic meter it occupies.


A trade alliance between Argentina, Brazil , Paraguay and Uruguay , with Chile and Bolivia as associate members.

Medical First Aid Guide

Abbreviation: MFAG

Instructions to be consulted in case of accidents involving dangerous goods.

Merchant Haulage

Inland transport of cargo in containers arranged by the Merchant.

It includes empty container-moves to and from hand-over points in respect of containers released by the Carrier to Merchants.

Note: Carrier’s responsibility under the Bill of Lading does not include the inland transport stretch under Merchant Haulage.

Multimodal Transport

The carriage of goods (containers) by at least two different modes of transport.

Multimodal Transport Document

Negotiable or non-negotiable document evidencing a contract for the performance and/or procurement of performance of combined transport of goods.

Thus a combined transport document is a document issued by a Carrier who contracts as a principal with the Merchant to effect a combined transport often on a door-to-door basis.

Multimodal Transport Operator/Carrier

Abbreviation: MTO/Carrier

The person on whose behalf the transport document or any document evidencing a contract of multimodal carriage of goods is issued and who is responsible for the carriage of goods pursuant to the contract of carriage.


North American Free Trade Agreement) – A free trade agreement comprising the U.S.A. , Canada , and Mexico .

National Carrier

A flag carrier owned or controlled by the state.

Net Terms

Free of charters’ commission.

Net Weight (Actual Net Weight)

The weight of the goods alone without any immediate wrappings; e.g., the weight of the contents of a tin can without the weight of the can.

Non Vessel Operating Common Carrier

Abbreviation: NVOCC

A party who undertakes to carry goods and issues in his own name a Bill of Lading for such carriage, without having the availability of any own means of transport.

Notify Address

Address of the party other than the consignee to be advised of the arrival of the goods.

Notify Party

The party to be notified of arrival of goods.


National Committee on International Trade Documentation.


National Motor Freight Classification.

N.M.F.C.(National Motor Freight Classification)

A tariff which contains descriptions and classifications of commodities and rules for domestic movement by motor carriers in the U.S.


North Pacific Coast Freight Bureau.

Narrow Aisle

Describes lift trucks that operate in aisles of 8′ to 10′. Narrow-aisle trucks are generally stand-up vehicles such as reach trucks. Also see Vary Narrow Aisle (VNA) and read article The Aisle Width Decision.


Outside Diameter.

Open Account

A trade arrangement in which goods are shipped to a foreign buyer without guarantee of payment such as a note, L/C, or other formal written evidence of indebtedness.

Open Policy

A cargo insurance policy that is an open contract; e.g., it provides protection for all shipments in transit within a specified geographic trade area for a limited period of time. It is referred to as “open” because it does not require reporting of individual shipments. Summary or grouped reporting requirements vary with different policies.


The carriage of goods (containers) by any mode of transport to the place of delivery after discharge from the ocean vessel (main means of transport) at the port (place) of discharge.

One Stop Shop

An organisation, which provides all needed requirements in one location.

Open Top Container

A freight container similar in all respects to a general purpose container except that it has no rigid roof but may have a flexible and movable or removable cover, for example one made of canvas or plastic or reinforced plastic material normally supported on movable or removable roof bows.


Owner’s Risk.


Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, headquartered in Paris with membership consisting of the world’s developed nations.


Overseas Private Investment Corporation.

Ocean Bill of Lading (Ocean B/L)

A contract for transportation between a shipper and a carrier. It also evidences receipt of the cargo by the carrier. A bill of lading shows ownership of the cargo and, if made negotiable, can be bought, sold or traded while the goods are in-transit.

Ocean Bill of Lading

The bill of lading issued by the ocean carrier to its customer.

Ocean Carrier

An enterprise that offers service via ocean (water) transport.

Ocean Freight

The transport of goods by sea.


See “Overland Common Points.”

Out of Gauge Cargo

Cargo which dimensions are exceeding the normal dimensions of a 20 or 40 feet container, e.g. overlength, overwidth, overheight, or combinations thereof.

Outturn Report

Written statement by a stevedoring company in which the condition of cargo discharged from a vessel is noted along with any discrepancies in the quantity compared with the vessel’s manifest.

Overheight Cargo

Cargo, exceeding the standard height.

Overlength Cargo

Cargo, exceeding the standard length.

Overwidth Cargo

Cargo, exceeding the standard width.


The legal owner of cargo, equipment or means of transport.

Part Charter

Where part of an airline’s scheduled flight is sold as if it were a charter in its own right. Often incorrectly used as a synonym for split charter.

Part Load Charter

Where a part of an aircraft’s load is discharged at one destination and a part of it at another. This is distinct from a split charter where a number of consignments are carried to the same destination. Inbound, part loads are treated as single entity charters under the regulations in most countries.

Particular Average (PA)

Partial loss or damage to goods.

Perils of the Sea

Fortuitous accidents or casualties peculiar to transportation on navigable water, such as sinking, collision of vessel, striking a submerged object, or encountering heavy weather or other unusual forces of nature.


Any cargo that loses considerable value if it is delayed in transportation. This usually refers to fresh fruit and vegetables.

Phytosanitary Inspection Certificate

A certificate issued by an exporting countries’ Department of Agriculture indicating that a shipment has been inspected and is free of harmful pests and plant diseases.


As used in marine insurance policies, the term denotes petty thievery-the taking of small parts of a shipment-as opposed to the theft of a whole shipment or large unit. Many ordinary marine insurance policies do not cover against pilferage, and when this coverage is desired it must be added to the policy.

Port Marks

An identifying set of letters, numbers, or geometric symbols followed by the name of the port of destination that are placed on export shipments. Foreign government requirements may be exceedingly strict in the matter of port marks.

Port of Discharge

A port where a vessel is off-loaded and cargo discharged.

Port of Entry

A port at which foreign goods are admitted into the receiving country.

Port of Loading

A port where cargo is loaded aboard the vessel, lashed, and stowed.

Prepaid Freight

Generally speaking, freight charges both in ocean and air transport may be either prepaid in the currency of the country of export or they may be billed collect for payment by the consignee in his local currency. On shipments to some countries, however, freight charges must be prepaid because of foreign exchange regulations of the country of import or rules of steamship companies or airlines.

Prima Facie

A Latin term frequently encountered in foreign trade that means “on first appearance.” When a steamship company issues a clean bill of lading, it acknowledges that the goods were received “in apparent good order and condition” and this is said by the courts to constitute prima facie evidence of the conditions of the containers; that is, if nothing to the contrary appears, it must be inferred that the cargo was in good condition when received by the carrier.

P & I Club

A mutual association of shipowners who provide protection against liabilities by means of contributions.

Any physical piece of cargo in relation to transport consisting of the contents and its packing for the purpose of ease of handling by manual or mechanical means

The final product of the packing operation consisting of the packing and its contents to facilitate manual or mechanical handling


Materials used for the containment, protection, handling, delivery and presentation of goods and the activities of placing and securing goods in those materials.

Packing Instruction

Document issued within an enterprise giving instructions on how goods are to be packed.

Packing List

Document specifying the contents of each individual package.


A platform on which goods can be stacked in order to facilitate the movement by a fork lift or sling.

Panamax Size

The maximum measurements and dimensions of a vessel capable to pass the Panama Canal.


The revenue-producing load carried by a means of transport.

Payment Against Documents

Instructions given by a seller to a bank to the effect that the buyer may collect the documents necessary to obtain delivery of the goods only upon actual payment of the invoice.

Physical Distribution

Those activities related to the flow of goods from the end of conversion to the customer.


That part of a wharf which is intended for the mooring of vessels.


Petty stealing of goods from a ship’s hold, cargo shed or warehouse.

Place of Acceptance

The location where a consignment (shipment) is received by the carrier from the shipper viz. the place where the carrier’s liability for transport venture commences.

Place of Delivery

The location where a consignment (shipment) is delivered to the consignee viz. the place where the carrier’s liability ends for the transport venture.

Place of Despatch

Name and address specifying where goods are collected or taken over by the carrier (i.e. if other than consignor).

Place of Receipt

The location where a consignment (shipment) is received by the carrier from the shipper viz. the place where the carrier’s liability for transport venture commences.

Port of Call

Place where a vessel actually drops anchor or moors during a certain voyage.

Port of Discharge

The port where the cargo is actually loaded on board the sea (ocean) going vessel.


The carriage of goods (containers) by any mode of transport from the place of receipt to the port (place) of loading into the ocean vessel (main means of transport).


The carrier by which the goods are moved prior to the main transport.

Preshipment Inspection

Abbreviation: PSI

The checking of goods before shipment for the purpose of determining the quantity and/or quality of said goods by an independent surveyor (inspection company) for phytosanitary, sanitary and veterinary controls.

Presently there is a tendency by developing countries to use the inspection also for the purpose of determining whether the price charged for certain goods is correct.


Person for whom another acts as agent.

Pro Forma Invoice

Draft invoice sent to an importer by the exporter prior to order confirmation and shipment to assist in matters relating to obtaining import licences or foreign exchange allocations, or simply to advise the value of a consignment so that letters of credit can be opened.

Project Cargo

Quantity of goods connected to the same project and often carried on different moments and from various places.

Proof of Delivery

The receipt signed by the consignee upon delivery.

Proper Shipping Name

A name to be used to describe particular goods on all documents and notifications and, if appropriate, on the goods. basis (air cargo).

Protection and Indemnity Club

Abbreviation: P & I club

A mutual association of shipowners who provide protection against liabilities by means of contributions


The period during which an arriving vessel, including its equipment, cargo, crew or passengers, suspected to carry or carrying a contagious disease is detained in strict isolation to prevent the spread of such a disease.


That part of a wharf which is intended for the mooring of vessels.

Quality Control

The management function that attempts to ensure that the goods or services in a firm manufacturers or purchases meet the product or service specifications.


There are various quantity elements in perpetual inventory systems. Below are definitions of the most common. Be aware that these definitions are fairly generic and that specific inventory systems may use completely different definitions or terminology.

Quantity Allocated

Also known as committed quantity, commitments, or allocations. Quantity allocated is the quantity that is on current open sales orders or production orders (as components), and may be relative to a specific time period. Also see Allocations.

Quantity available

Is the result of a calculation that takes quantity on hand and reduces it by allocations (for sales orders, manufacturing orders, etc). Quantity available may or may not be date specific and therefore take into account future receipts. Quantity available calculations are sometimes very complicated and vary from one software product to another.


The price of a transport service

Quantity, amount or degree measured or applied


That part of a transport charge which the carrier agrees to return.


A written acknowledgement, that something has been received.

Reefer Cargo

Cargo requiring temperature control.

Reefer Container

A thermal container with refrigerating appliances (mechanical compressor unit, absorption unit etc.) to control the temperature of cargo.


The process of splitting up shipments into various consignments (degroupage) and combining these small consignments into other shipments (groupage).

Release Order

A document issued by or on behalf of the carrier authorising the release of import cargo identified thereon and manifested under a single Bill of Lading.

Roll-on Roll-off

Abbreviation: RoRo

System of loading and discharging a vessel whereby the cargo is driven on and off by means of a ramp.

Rack-supported building

Warehouse design that uses structural pallet rack to support the roof of a building, eliminating the need for posts. Rack-supported buildings are usually designed for AS/RS systems or turret truck systems where racking is 40 to 100 ft in height.

Radio frequency

In warehousing, refers to the portable data collection devices that use radio frequency (RF) to transmit data to host system.

Radio frequency identification


Rag Top

A slang term for an open-top trailer or container with a tarpaulin cover.

Rail Carrier

An enterprise that offers service via rail carriage.

Rail Division

The amount of money an ocean carrier pays to the railroad for overland carriage.

Rail freight

The transportation of goods by rail.

Rail Grounding

The time that the container was discharged (grounded) from the train.

Rail Waybill

The bill of lading issued by rail carriers to their customers.


The track along which goods are (to be) transported.


The determination of the most efficient route(s) that people, goods, materials and or means of transport have to follow

The process of determining how a shipment will be moved between consignor and consignee or between place of acceptance by the carrier and place of delivery to the consignee

The process of aiding a vessel’s navigation by supplying long range weather forecasts and indicating the most economic and save sailing route.

Said to Contain

Abbreviation: STC

Term in a Bill of Lading signifying that the master and the carrier are unaware of the nature or quantity of the contents of e.g. a carton, crate, container or bundle and are relying on the description furnished by the shipper.


The saving or rescue of a vessel and/or the cargo from loss and/or damage at sea.


A timetable including arrival/departure times of ocean- and feeder vessels and also inland transportation. It refers to named ports in a specific voyage (journey) within a certain trade indicating the voyage number(s). In general: The plan of times for starting and/or finishing activities.


A device used for containers, lockers, trucks or lorries to proof relevant parties that they have remained closed during transport.


Fitness of a vessel to travel in open sea mostly related to a particular voyage with a particular cargo.


Party selling merchandise to a buyer.


A service Bill (of Lading) is a contract of carriage issued by one carrier to another for documentary and internal control purposes

For internal documentary and control purposes a so-called participating agent in a consortium uses some kind of document which, depending on the trade, is referred to as ‘Memo Bill’ which will among others state:

Name of Carrier on whose behalf the original document (Way Bill, Bill of Lading, etc.) was issued

The original document number. The agent who issued the original document and his opponent at the discharging side

The number of packages, weight and measurement, marks and numbers and goods description

Further mandatory details in case of special cargo

No freight details will be mentioned and the Memo Bill is not a contract of carriage.

Acts as intermediary between shipowners or carriers by sea on the one hand and cargo interests on the other. The functions are to act as forwarding agent or custom broker, fixing of charters, and acting as chartering agent.

Ship Operator

A ship operator is either the shipowner or the (legal) person responsible for the actual management of the vessel and its crew.

Ship’s Protest

Statement of the master of a vessel before (in the presence of) competent authorities, concerning exceptional events which occurred during a voyage.


A separately identifiable collection of goods to be carried.

Note: In the United States of America the word shipment is used instead of the word consignment.

The (legal) person officially registered as such in the certificate of registry where the following particulars are contained:

Name of vessel and port of registry

Details contained in surveyors certificate

The particulars respecting the origin stated in the declaration of ownership

The name and description of the registered owner, if more than one owner the proportionate share of each


The merchant (person) by whom, in whose name or on whose behalf a contract of carriage of goods has been concluded with a carrier or any party by whom, in whose name or on whose behalf the goods are actually delivered to the carrier in relation to the contract of carriage.

Shipper’s Export Declaration

Abbreviation: SED

A United States customs form to be completed for all exports to assist the government in compiling export statistics.

Shipper’s Letter of Instruction

Abbreviation: SLI

A document containing instructions given by the shipper or the shipper’s agent for preparing documents and forwarding (air cargo).

Shipping Note

Document provided by the shipper or his agent to the carrier, multimodal transport operator, terminal or other receiving authority, giving information about export consignments offered for transport, and providing for the necessary receipts and declarations of liability.

Shipping Documents

Documents required for the carriage of goods.

Shipping Instruction

Document advising details of cargo and exporter’s requirements of its physical movement.

Shipping Label

A label attached to a unit, containing certain data.

Shipping Marks

The identification shown on individual packages in order to help in moving it without delay or confusion to its final destination and to enable the checking of cargo against documents.


The negative difference between actual available or delivered quantity and the required quantity.

Shrink Wrapping

Heat treatment that shrinks an envelope of polyethylene or similar substance around several units, thus forming one unit. It is used e.g. to secure packages on a pallet.

Go to top Slot The space on board a vessel, required by one TEU, mainly used for administrative purposes.

Slot Charter

A voyage charter whereby the shipowner agrees to place a certain number of container slots (TEU and/or FEU) at the charterer’s disposal.

Special Drawing Rights

Abbreviation: SDR

Unit of account from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), i.a. used to express the amount of the limitations of a carrier’s liability.

Special Rate

A rate other than a normal rate.


The capacity of a vessel to return to its original position after having been displaced by external forces. The stability of a vessel depends on the meta-centric height.


An identifiable amount of containers stowed in a orderly way in one specified place on an (ocean) terminal, container freight station, container yard or depot.

Steamship Agent

A duly appointed and authorized representative in a specified territory acting on behalf of a steamship line or lines and attending to all matters relating to the vessels owned by his principals.

Strikes, Riots and Civil Commotion’s

An insurance clause referring to loss or damage directly caused by strikers, locked-out workmen, persons’ participation in labor disturbances, and riots of various kinds. The ordinary marine insurance policy does not cover this risk. Coverage against it can be added only by endorsement.


The activity of placing goods into a store or the state of being in store (e.g. a warehouse).

Storage Charge

The fee for keeping goods in a warehouse.


The placing and securing of cargo or containers on board a vessel or an aircraft or of cargo in a container.

Stowage Factor

Ratio of a cargo’s cubic measurement to its weight, expressed in cubic feet to the ton or cubic metres to the tonne, used in order to determine the total quantity of cargo which can be loaded in a certain space.

Stowage Instructions

Imperative details about the way certain cargo is to be stowed, given by the shipper or his agent.

Go to top Stowage Plan A plan indicating the locations on the vessel of all the consignments for the benefit of stevedores and vessel’s officers.


The unloading of cargo out of a container.

SUE & Labor Cause

A provision in marine insurance obligating the assured to do things necessary after a loss to prevent further loss and to act in the best interests of the insurer.


The loading of cargo into a container.

Supply Chain

A sequence of events in a goods flow which adds to the value of a specific good. These events may include:

– Conversion

– Assembling and/or disassembling

– Movements and placements

Supply Vessel

Vessel which carries stock and stores to offshore drilling rigs, platforms.


An additional charge added to the usual or customary freight.


An inspection of a certain item or object by a recognised specialist.


A specialist who carries out surveys.

Note: A surveyor is often representing a classification bureau or a governmental body.

Tallyman / Clerk

person who records the number of cargo items together with the condition thereof at the time it is loaded into or discharged from a vessel.

Tank Container

A tank, surrounded by a framework with the overall dimensions of a container for the transport of liquids or gasses in bulk.


A vessel designed for the carriage of liquid cargo in bulk.

Tare Weight of Container

Mass of an empty container including all fittings and appliances associated with that particular type of container on its normal operating condition.


The schedule of rates, charges and related transport conditions.

Temperature Controlled Cargo

Any cargo requiring carriage under controlled temperature.


A location on either end of a transportation line including servicing and handling facilities.

Terms of Delivery

All the conditions agreed upon between trading partners regarding the delivery of goods and the related services.

Note: Under normal circumstances the INCO terms are used to prevent any misunderstandings.

Terms of Freight

All the conditions agreed upon between a carrier and a merchant about the type of freight and charges due to the carrier and whether these are prepaid or are to be collected.

Note: The so-called Combi terms based on the INCO terms do make a distinction what of the freight and related costs is to be paid by the seller and what by the buyer. In the UN recommendation 23 a coding system is recommended to recognise the various items.

THC (Terminal Handling Charge)

A charge for handling services performed at terminals.

Time Draft

A draft that matures in a certain number of days, either from acceptance or the date of the draft.


Freight rates for liner cargo generally are quoted on the basis of a certain rate per ton, depending on the nature of the commodity. This ton, however, may be a weight ton or a measurement ton.


The carrying capacity of the ship in terms of the weight in tons of the cargo, fuel, provisions, and passengers which a vessel can carry.


Cubic capacity of a merchant vessel

Total weight or amount of cargo expressed in tons


A system of recording movement intervals of shipments from origin to destination.


The action of retrieving information concerning the whereabouts of cargo, cargo items, consignments or equipment.

Track & Trace

The pro-active tracking of the product along the supply chain, and the paper information flow relating to the order.


The function of maintaining status information, including current location, of cargo, cargo items, consignments or containers either full or empty.


A vehicle without motive power, designed for the carriage of cargo and to be towed by a motor vehicle.

Trailer on Flat Car

Abbreviation: TOFC

Carriage of piggyback highway trailers on specially equipped railway wagons.

Tramp Vessel

A vessel not operating under a regular schedule.


A shipment under one Bill of Lading, whereby sea (ocean) transport is ‘broken’ into two or more parts. The port where the sea (ocean) transport is ‘broken’ is the transhipment port

Transfer of cargo from one means of transport to another for on-carriage during the course of one transport operation

Customs: Customs procedure under which goods are transferred under customs control from the importing means of transport to the exporting means of transport within the area of one customs office which is the office of both importation and exportation

Transit Cargo

Cargo between outwards customs clearance and inwards customs clearance

Cargo arriving at a point and departing there-from by the same through flight (air cargo)


The assisted movement of people and or goods.

Note: Transport is often used as a generic term for various means of transport, and is distinguished from ‘movement’ in that it requires such means.

Transport Document

Document evidencing a contract of carriage between a shipowner and a consignor, such as bill of lading, seawaybill or a multimodal transport document. (IMO)

See Shipping DocumentTwenty Foot Equivalent Unit

Abbreviation: TEU

Unit of measurement equivalent to one twenty foot container.


A twenty-foot equivalent unit (6.1m). A standard unit for counting containers of various lengths and for describing container ship or terminal capacity. A standard 40′ container (FEU) equals 2 TEUs.

Type of Cargo

An indication of the sort of cargo to be transported, (e.g. Break Bulk, Containerised, RoRo).

Type of Movement

Description of the service for movement of containers.

Note: The following type of movement can be indicated on B/L and Manifest all combinations of FCL and LCL and break bulk and RoRo. Whilst only on the manifest combinations of House, Yard and CFS can be mentioned.

Type of Packing

Description of the packaging material used to wrap, contain and protect goods to be transported.

Ultimate Consignee

Party who has been designated on the invoice or packing list as the final recipient of the stated merchandise.

Unaccompanied Baggage

Luggage not accompanied by a passenger.

Unit Load

A number of individual packages bonded, palletised or strapped together to form a single unit for more efficient handling by mechanical equipment.

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development

Abbreviation: UNCTAD

A United Nations agency whose work in Shipping includes the liner code involving the sharing of cargoes between the Shipping lines of the importing and exporting countries and third countries in the ratio 40:40:20.

United Nations Dangerous Goods Number

Abbreviation: UNDG Number

The four-digit number assigned by the United Nations Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods to classify a substance or a particular groups of substances.

Note: The prefix ‘UN’ must always be used in conjunction with these numbers.

U.S. Consular Invoice

A document required on merchandise imported into the United States.


A raw material that is found at all locations.


Abbreviation for “Uniform Freight Classification.”


See Unit Load Device.


The space not filled with liquid in a drum or tank.

Umbrella rate

An ICC rate making practice that held rates to a particular level to protect another mode’s traffic.


United Nations EDI for Administration, Commerce and Transport. EDI Standards are developed and supported by the UN for electronic message (data) interchange on an international level.

Valuable Cargo

A consignment which contains one or more valuable articles.

Value Added Tax

Abbreviation: VAT

A form of indirect sales tax paid on products and services at each stage of production or distribution, based on the value added at that stage and included in the cost to the ultimate customer





Very Large Crude Carrier

Abbreviation: VLCC

A vessel designed for the carriage of liquid cargo in bulk with a loading capacity from 50.000 till 250.000 DWT.


A floating structure designed for the transport of cargo and/or passengers

Boiler, drum

Validated Export License

A document issued by the U.S. government; authorizes the export of commodities for which written authorization is required by law.


Authentication of B/L and when B/L becomes effective.

Valuation Charges

Transportation charges to shippers who declare a value of goods higher than the value of the carriers’ limits of liability.

Value Added

Increased or improved value, worth, functionality or usefulness.

Value-added services

See added-value services.


Size or measure of anything in three dimensions.

Volume Charge

A charge for carriage of goods based on their volume (air cargo).


A journey by sea from one port or country to another one or, in case of a round trip, to the same port.

Voyage Charter

A contract under which the shipowner agrees to carry an agreed quantity of cargo from a specified port or ports to another port or ports for a remunerSation called freight, which is calculated according to the quantity of cargo loaded, or sometimes at a lumpsum freight.

Voyage Number

Reference number assigned by the carrier or his agent to the voyage of the vessel.

War Risk Insurance

Insurance issued by marine underwriters against war-like operations specifically described in the policy. In former times, war risk insurance was taken out only in times of war, but currently many exporters cover most of their shipments with war risk insurance as a protection against losses from derelict torpedoes and floating mines placed during former wars, and also as a safeguard against unforeseen warlike developments. In the U.S.A. , war risk insurance is written in a separate policy from the ordinary marine insurance; it is desirable to take out both policies with the same underwriter in order to avoid the ill effects of a possible dispute between underwriters as to the cause (marine peril or war peril) of a given loss.


Those activities of holding and handling goods in a warehouse (store).


A clause in marine insurance policy whereby the underwriter agrees to cover the goods while in transit between the initial point of shipment and the point of destination with certain limitations, and also subject to the law of insurable interest. The warehouse-to-warehouse clause was once extremely important, but marine extension clauses now often override its provisions.

Warsaw Convention

The Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules Relating to International Carriage by Air, signed at Warsaw, 12 October 1929, or that Convention as amended by the Hague Protocol, 1955, stipulating obligations or parties and limitations and/or exonerations of carriers (air cargo).


Non-negotiable document evidencing the contract for the transport of cargo.

Weight Charge

The charge for carriage of goods based on their weight (air cargo).

Weight Load Factor

Payload achieved as against available capacity, expressed as a percentage. Cargo is frequently limited by volume rather than weight; load factors of 100 percent are rarely achieved.


A place for berthing vessels to facilitate loading and discharging of cargo.


The fee charged for the use of a wharf for mooring, loading or discharging a vessel or for storing goods.

Walkie or Walkie-rider

See Motorized Pallet Truck.

War Risk

Insurance coverage for loss of goods resulting from any act of war.

Warehouse Control System

software used to control automated systems such as sortation systems, AS/RS, AGV’s, and carousells in the warehouse. A WCS may also have functionality similar to a WMS just as some WMS’s have WCS functionality.

Warehouse Entry

Document that identifies goods imported when placed in a bonded warehouse. The duty is not imposed on the products while in the warehouse but will be collected when they are withdrawn for delivery or consumption.

With Average (WA)

A marine insurance term meaning that shipment is protected for partial damage whenever the damage exceeds a stated percentage.

With Particular Average (WPA)

An insurance term meaning that partial loss or damage of goods is insured. The damage generally must be caused by sea water, and many terms specify a minimum percentage of damage before payment. It may be extended to cover loss by theft, pilferage, leakage and breakage, or other perils depending on the nature of the cargo.


High frequency electromagnetic ray of short wave-length, capable of penetrating most solid substances.


International standard of the CCITT for packet switching.


A CCITT recommendation designed to facilitate international message and information exchange between subscribers of computer based store-and-forward services and office information systems in association with public and private data networks.


The CCITT now ITU recommendations (ISO9594) for the structure of directories for the maintenance of addresses used in electronic mail.


Extensible mark-up language is an official recommendation by the World Wide Web Consortium as a successor of HTML (Hyper Text Mark-up language) it can be used to convey documents layout and contents from one computer application to another. XML is a subset of SGML.


The exchange of structured information over the Internet using XML as the syntax.


Fenced off, outdoor storage and repair area.


Variation of the course of a ship to port or starboard caused by the action of waves or wind.


A vessel’s small boat moved by one oar

A small sailboat rigged fore-and-aft, with a short mizzenmast astern of the cockpit – distinguished from ketch

Yield Bucket

The remaining slot capacity for a trade/voyage in a certain port of loading after deduction of the allowance for specific contracts.

Yield Management

The process of maximising the contribution of every slot, vessel, trade and network. Basically it should be seen as the process of allocating the right type of capacity to the right kind of customer at the right price as to maximise revenue or yield. The concept should be used in combination with load factor management.

York – Antwerp Rules

There is a general average act when, and only when any extraordinary sacrifice or expenditure is intentionally and reasonably made or incurred for the common safety for the purpose of preserving from peril the property involved in a common maritime adventure.


A rubber dinghy. An inflatable craft for the transport of people.

Zone Area, belt or district extending about a certain point defined for transport and/or charge purpose.

Zone Haulage Rate

The rate for which the carrier will undertake the haulage of goods or containers between either the place of delivery and the carrier’s appropriate terminal. Such haulage will be undertaken only subject to the terms and conditions of the tariff and of the carrier’s Combined Transport Bill of Lading.

Zone Improvement Plan

Abbreviation: ZIP

System to simplify sorting and delivery of mail, consisting of a number of five digits (the so-called ZIP-code) for identification of the state, city or district, and the postal zone in the U.S.A. delivery areas.

Zone of Rate Flexibility

Railroads may raise rates by a percentage increase in the railroad cost index that the ICC determines; the railroads could raise rates by 6 percent per year through 1984 and 4 percent thereafter.

Zone of Rate Freedom

Motor carriers may raise or lower rates by 10 percent in one year without ICC interference; if the rate change is within the zone of freedom, the rate is presumed to be reasonable.

Zone of Reasonableness

A zone or limit within which air carriers may change rates without regulatory scrutiny; if the rate change is within the zone, the new rate is presumed to be reasonable.The constant price of a product at all geographic locations within a zone.

Zone Picking

Order picking method where a warehouse is divided into several pick zones, order pickers are assigned to a specific zone and only pick the items in that zone, orders are moved from one zone to the next (usually on conveyor systems) as they are picked (also known as “pick-and-pass”). See also batch picking, wave picking See article on Order Picking.

Zulu Time

Time based on Greenwich Mean Time.