Your Ultimate Glossary
For Industry Terms

Easily grasp and understand complex industry language using the "ASF Logistics Glossary" - Your Ultimate Glossary for Industry Terms.

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Ad Valorem Freight

Freight calculated according to the value of the cargo.

Ad Valorem Mention

According to value of the goods declared by the Shipper prior the commencement of the carriage as stated in writing on the Bill of Lading.


A person authorised to do business for and in the name of another person or company.

All Inclusive

Freight rate including all charges.


A group of companies cooperating. Supply chain alliances consist of trading partners that have complimentary goals and objectives and cooperate in areas of planning, forecasting and replenishment.


All-inclusive rates

AMS (Automated Manifest System)

Electronic computer link with U.S. Customs that allows for faster processing and clearance of cargo.

Archimedes of Syracuse

"Any object, wholly or partially immersed in a fluid, is buoyed by a force equal to the weight of the fluid displaced by the object". That's how shipping became an exact science!

Arrival Notice

A notice given by the delivering carrier to the consignee and the notify party (and the consignee if it is the same) indicating the shipment's arrival date at a specific location (normally the destination).


1) The transfer to another party of a right, interest or title to the goods. 2) The document evidencing such a transfer.

Arbitrary Charge

Feeder vessel charge that pays for moves from smaller ports to a main port before sending to the US.

Arrival Notice

Notice provided by the carrier to the consignee and important parties to inform them of the arrival of cargo.

Authorised Economic Operator (AEO)

As per security amendments (art. 5A) of the European Community Customs Code, Member States can grant the AEO status to any economic operator meeting the following common criteria: customs compliance, appropriate record-keeping, financial solvency and, where relevant, appropriate security and safety standards. The status of authorised economic operator granted by one Member State is recognised by the other Member States. All CMA CGM offices/agencies in the EU are either AEO certified (85%) or in the course of being certified (15%).

Automated Manifest System (AMS)

US: An integral part of the efforts of the United States to clamp down on potential security threats. This freight tracking system is also applicable in the areas of air, rail and road cargo transport.

Bank Guarantee

Document accepted in lieu of original bill of lading to release cargo. Protected in writing to carrier for performing a deviation from normal business, guaranteed by a bank.


The cargo-carrying vehicle used by Inland water carriers or for discharging of Vessels. Basic barges have open tops, but there are covered barges for both dry and liquid cargoes.


Section of the ship in which containers are stowed.

Beneficial Cargo Owner (BCO)

The importer of cargo, who physically takes possession of cargo at the final destination. It does not act as third party in the movement of such goods.

Bill of Lading (B/L)

Document which must be issued by the carrier to the shipper. It is a receipt of the Goods (it describes the cargo, with its weight and the number of packages). It is also a proof of the contract of carriage (the Terms and Conditions are in the recto), and it is a document of title on the goods.


Baltic and International Maritime Council -An independent Shipping Association composed of Ship Owners, Managers, Brokers, Agents and others with vested interest in the Shipping Industry, which promotes higher standards and greater harmony on regulatory matters.


Written document used for a legal transfer of ownership which binds its debtor to make payment to its creditor.


Act of recording arrangements for the transportation of goods by Vessel and other conveyance if any.

Bottom-Air delivery

A type of air circulation in a reefer container. This type of airflow provides the most even temperatures for both chilled and frozen cargo.

Break Bulk

Usually, loose cargo transported not in a container. On a container ship, break bulk will be carried on one or more flat bed(s) or a platform container(s).


An intermediary person who buys and arranges for other some services, as transportation of loads, usually large operations, for a percentage of the revenue from the load

Bunker Adjustment Factor (BAF)

Surcharge assessed by carrier which is applied to freight rates to compensate unexpected fuel oil price variations


Surcharge assessed by carrier which is applied to freight rates to compensate unexpected fuel oil price variations.

Cargo Declaration Amendment Fee

A required fee by customs that covers re-submission of necessary information due to an amendment request that is made by the customer after the carrier has submitted the documentation to local customs authorities.

Cargo Manifest

A manifest which lists all cargoes carried on a specific Vessel voyage.

Carriage and Insurance Paid (CIP)

The seller delivers the goods to the carrier or another person nominated by the seller at an agreed place and that the seller must contract for and pay the costs of carriage necessary to bring the goods to the named place of destination, and for insurance cover against the buyer’s risk of loss or damage.

Carriage Paid To (CPT)

The seller delivers the goods to the carrier or another person nominated by the seller at an agreed place and that the seller must contract for and pay the costs of carriage necessary to bring the goods to the named place of destination.


Any person or entity who in a contract of carriage undertakes to perform or to procure the performance of carriage. The Bill of Lading is delivered in its name.

Carrier Haulage

The Carrier organizes pre and post-transportation prior to and/or after the sea period.

Carrying Temperature

A narrow, prescribed range of temperature in a container during transit that maintains the ideal temperature in the product and protects the product from damages.

Charter Party

Charter contract between charterer and owner of a Vessel, with standard terms and additional clauses which specify special conditions. Three types of Charter Parties should be distinguished : Voyage, Time and Bareboat Charter Party.


A wheeled flat bed or a trailer constructed to accommodate containers moved over the road.

Classification Society

Private non-governmental organization to established and maintain technical standards for construction and operation of marine Vessels and offshore structures. They classify Vessels and validate that their design and calculations are in accordance with the published standards. They also carry out periodical survey of ships to ensure that they continue to meet the parameters of set standards.

Clean on Board

A clause inserted in the Bill of Lading stating that they have not noted or are not familiar with any irregularities or discrepancies in the packing or in the general condition of any part of the goods or its description.

Clip-on Generator

"A portable generator that is mounted on the front of a reefer container, can be used on stack trains and on trucks".


Carriage of Goods by Sea: American legislation passed in 1936, as an enforcement of the international Hague Rules, which standardizes and sets limitations on Carrier’s liability under their Bill of Lading for ocean shipments to and from the United States of America.


Article shipped, which can be bought and sold.


A collection of shipping lines who operate along the same trade routes, agreeing on freight rates to charge for the transportation of cargo. Since 2008 these no longer exist for trade lanes covering Europe.


Person whose goods should be delivered and whose name is appearing on the Bill of Lading.


Person who delivers a consignment to a carrier for transport to a consignee named in the transportation documents. Consignor has the ownership of the goods unless title is transferred through endorsement, or until the consignee pays for them in full.


A company that groups together shipments from different companies into a single shipment.


Group of maritime carriers which share their ships to furnish a combined service for a particular service. Members keep their financial independence.


Large box-shaped unit of standard design for the transport of goods, which facilitates the transfer of goods from one form of transport to another. Containers may be dry, ventilated, insulated, refrigerated, flat rack, vehicle rack, open top, bulk liquid or equipped with interior devices

Container Cleaning Fee

Additional costs for extra or special cleaning of containers which are applicable when the container does not meet the standard cleanliness criteria (inside and outside) upon empty return from the customer. This charge is not applicable to shipper-owned containers.

Controlled Atmosphere

Sophisticated, computer-controlled system that controls the mixture of gases within a container throughout an intermodal journey.

Container Depot

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

Certificate of Origin (C/O)

A document, required at the destination, issued to certify the origin of cargo and relevant cargo details.

Container Freight Station (CFS)

A consolidation depot where cargo is grouped and loaded into containers. At discharging, containers are discharged in this place prior to delivery of the goods.

Cost Insurance and Freight (CIF)

The seller delivers the goods on board the Vessel or procures the goods already so delivered. The risk of loss of or damage to the goods passes when the goods are on board the Vessel. The seller must contract for and pay the costs and Freight necessary to bring the goods to the named port of destination. The seller also must contract for insurance cover against the buyer’s risk of loss or damage.


Customs- Trade Partnership Against Terrorism: Partnership to develop and adopt measures that add security to safeguard the world's vibrant trade industry from terrorists, maintaining the economic health of the U.S. and its neighbors.

Cubic Capacity

Volume of goods in a container expressed in cubic meters.

Cubic Feet per Minute (CFM)

Unit of measurement for the movement of a volume of gas per unit of time. CMH refers to "Cubic metres per hour".

Currency Adjustment Factor (CAF)

"A compensatory cost-sharing charge as a percentage of a base rate to compensate the carrier’s risks associated with currency fluctuations. The charge will apply to all bookings that are taken on these trade lanes".


Official department which is administrating imported and exported goods.


A demand made by a shipper or insurance company upon a carrier for payment of a loss sustained through its negligence.


Collect on Delivery; Carried on Docket (pricing); Change of Destination

Commercial Invoice

A document identifying the seller and buyer of goods or services, identifying numbers such as invoice number, date, shipping date, the mode of transportation, delivery and payment terms, as well as a full listing and description of the goods or services being sold consist of prices, discounts, and quantities.


Receiver of a shipment


A single rigid, sealed, reusable metal box designed to transport cargo of many types in continuous transportation. Most ocean vessels can accommodate 20′ and 40′ length ocean containers for below deck storage and any size above deck.

Credit Agreement

Agreement between carrier and shipper for release of cargo with promise to pay ocean freight within the specified time.


Last possible date cargo may be delivered to vessel or designated point.

CY (Container Yard)

Storage area where full containers are received and picked up.

Deadweight (DWT)

The maximum carrying capacity of a ship expressed in tons, including provisions and fuel. The Vessel’s capacity for cargo is less than its total deadweight tonnage.

Decidee / Deciding Party

The party that decides to transport cargo with the shipping carrier.

Deck Cargo

Cargo carried on the deck of the ship.

Delivered at Place (DAP)

The seller delivers when the goods are placed at the disposal of the buyer on the arriving means of transport ready for unloading at the named place of destination. The seller bears all risks involved in bringing the goods to the named place.

Delivered at Terminal (DAT)

The seller delivers when the goods, once unloaded from the arriving means of transport, are placed at the disposal of the buyer at a named terminal at the named port or place of destination. The seller bears all risks involved in bringing the goods to and unloading them at the terminal at the named port or place of destination.

Delivered Duty Paid (DDP)

The seller delivers the goods when the goods are placed at the disposal of the buyer, cleared for import on the arriving means of transport ready for unloading at the named place of destination. The seller bears all the costs and risks involved in bringing the goods to the place of destination and has an obligation to clear the goods not only for export but also for import, to pay any duty for both export and import and to carry out all customs formalities.

Delivery of Cargo

The physical and legal transfer of a cargo from Carrier or his agent to receiver/consignee/notify party.

Delivery order (DO)

Document issued by agent of the carrier authorizing the named party to take delivery of the cargo at arrival of the ship. The Delivery Order is given against the original Bill of Lading.


A separate charge, in addition to ordinary shipping costs, which is imposed according to the terms of a contract of carriage for a period in which Shipper or consignee's laden container is stored at carrier's terminal facilities before Vessel's departure or after Vessel's arrival.


The Vessel must perform the agreed voyage or successive voyages within a reasonable time. It is an obligation of the Shipowner.

Destination Delivery Charge

A charge, based on container size, 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.

Detention Fee - Export

A separate freight charge, in addition to ordinary shipping costs, which is imposed according to the terms of a contract of carriage for the period in which carrier's container is on hold by the shipper or the consignee. It is counted from the day of empty container pick-up to the day of laden container return (both days inclusive).

Detention Fee - Import

A separate freight charge, in addition to ordinary shipping costs, which is imposed according to the terms of a contract of carriage for the period in which carrier's container is on hold by the shipper or the consignee. It is counted from the day of laden pick-up to the day of empty return (both days inclusive).

Diversion Charge

Fee for diverting cargo from original intended destination port to a new location.

Dock Receipt

US: A form used to acknowledge receipt of cargo and often serves as basis for preparation of the ocean Bill of Lading.


Shipment placed in a container at origin residence and delivered in the same container to a destinations residence. Also known as House to House.

Double Stack Car

Rail car capable of carrying two containers stacked on top of each other in United States of America.

Draft (US)/ Draught (UK)

The depth to which a vessel’s deepest point is under water.


The service offered by a carrier for pick-up and delivery of ocean containers or rail containers. Drayage agents usually handle full-load containers for ocean and rail carriers.

Dry Container

A freight container, totally enclosed and weatherproof, with a rigid roof, rigid side walls, and floor, having at least one of its end walls equipped with doors and intended to be suitable for the transport of cargo. This is by far the most common type of container. It is suitable for the carriage of most types of “Dry” goods.

Dry Dock

A dock used to lay up Vessels for inspection, reparation and maintenance.

Dry Port

An inland intermodal terminal, which can be "in bond", directly connected by road or rail to a seaport and operating as a centre for the transhipment of sea cargo to inland destinations.


Material used in stowing or bracing cargo (often in wood) to prevent movement of goods inside the container.


A tool of communication between the carrier and the customer, to propose a range of services online for the customer, ranging from the processing of bookings to the printing of BL’s.

Effective TEU Capacity

It is the real carrying capacity of the Vessel in laden boxes and it takes into account a top deck layer of empty boxes and it does not take into account other criteria specific to a trade, such as an high average weight of containers, a high proportion of high cube boxes, draft limitations, or inadequacies between the design of a ship and the mix of boxes of different dimensions on a given trade. The effective TEU capacity must not be confused with the nominal TEU capacity.


An internet-based solution for secure exchange of electronic invoices between the carrier and the customers.

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)

Generic term for transmission of transactional data between computer systems. EDI is typically via a batched transmission, usually conforming to consistent standards.

Equipment Interchange Receipt (EIR)

Document required when transferring a cargo container from one Vessel to another, or to a shipping terminal. The receipt includes the apparent exterior status of the Container.


Abbreviation for "Estimate Time of Arrival" of the Vessel.


Abbreviation for "Estimate Time of Departure" of the Vessel.

European Committee Shipowners Association (ECSA)

Association which comprises the National Shipowners'Association of the EU and Norway, to promote the interests of European Shipping.

European Convention on International Commercial Arbitration

International Convention, signed in Geneva in 1961, regulating rules about arbitration.

Ex-Works (EXW)

The seller delivers when it places the Goods at the disposal of the buyer at the seller’s premises or at another named place. The seller does not need to load the goods on any collecting vehicle, nor does it need to clear the goods for export, where such clearance is applicable.


Freight All Kinds


Full Container Load

FDA hold:

When products in your shipment violate or appear to violate FDA laws and regulations, the FDA will hold the shipment.

Feeder Vessel

Vessel used to relay cargo from the mother Vessel to its ultimate destination or from first port of loading to mother Vessel.


Forty Foot Equivalent Unit, A 40′ container equals 2 TEUS.

Final Place of Delivery (FDP)

Delivery of the cargo by the carrier at another than the terminal, as stated on the Bill of Lading. It means the end of carrier’s liability.

Flat Rack Container (or Flat Bed Container)

Compared to fixed-end type, collapsible flat racks have end walls that fold. The flush folding collapsible flat rack, the most sophisticated of its types has end walls which fold flush with the base. Flat racks are dedicated for the carriage of heavy, bulky as well as over height and/ or over width items. They also permit the stacking of several empty containers into one 'bundle' for empty repositioning. Their base is often designed to transport heavy material. Some flats are 45T tested. The flat racks with collapsible ends also permit the transportation of over length cargo


A flexitank is a bulk liquid storage tank that can fit inside a container to ship non-hazardous liquids.

FMC (Federal Maritime Commission):

U.S. Government Agency responsible for overseeing regulatory aspects of all maritime activities.

Free Alongside Ship (FAS)

The seller delivers when the goods are placed alongside the Vessel nominated by the buyer at the named port of shipment. The risk of loss of or damage to the goods passes when the goods are alongside the ship, and the buyer bears all costs from that moment onwards.

Free on Board (FOB)

The seller delivers the goods on board the Vessel nominated by the buyer at the named port of shipment or procures the goods already so delivered. The risk of loss of or damage to the goods passes when the goods are on board the Vessel, and the buyer bears all costs from that moment onwards.

Free Time:

Storage time allowed at carriers’ facility without penalties being assessed.


All charges payable to the carrier in accordance with Applicable Tariff of the Bill of Lading of the carrier, including without limitation, storage, demurrage, detention and reefer services.

Freight Bill

Carrier's invoice for payment of transport services rendered.

Freight Collect

The freight and charges to be paid by the consignee.

Freight Forwarder (or Forwarding Agent)

An individual or organisation that specialises in organizing shipments, necessary volumes and customs facilities for other individuals or organization.

Freight Prepaid

The freight and charges to be paid before loading of the goods onboard the Vessel by the shipper against remittance of the original Bill of Lading.

Fresh Air Exchange

"Introduction of fresh air into a reefer container through vents".

Full Container Load (FCL)

A container with a single shipper. A container that is loaded and unloaded entirely under the risk and account of the merchant.

FTZ (Free Trade Zone):

A facility which – under license issued by the Free Trade Zone (FTZ) board – has acquired extra-territorial status. Merchandise entered into a FTZ are considered as having been “exported” and can be subjected to manipulation or manufacturing processes without Customs supervision but will be subject to other applicable federal or state laws and terms of the storage contract.


1 US gallon = 3, 79 liters

Gantry Crane

Port crane which can be positioned by moving along rail tracks and used to load and discharge containers from Vessels and.

Garment On Hanger (GOH)

Method of storing apparel in containers for garments that should not be folded.

Gearless Ship

A Vessel with no lifting (crane) equipment.

General Average

An average consecutive to a sacrifice for which each part of a shipment or cargo contributes to prevent total loss of the whole and for the benefit of all persons concerned.

General Rate Increase

Used to describe an across–the–board tariff rate increase applied to base rates.


Generator used to supply power to a reefer container.

Gross Tonnage

Designate the overall internal volume of a Vessel, calculated based on "the moulded volume of all enclosed spaces of the ship".

Groupage Bill of Lading

Bill of Lading covering many goods, loaded in the same container by different shippers.


House Air Waybill.

Hague Rules

Rules published in 1924, concerning "Certain Rules relating to Bill of Lading", to establish liabilities and rights of carrier and owner of the goods.

Hague-Visby Rules

Rules published in 1968 amending Hague Rules.

Hamburg Rules

Rules published in 1978 and definishing rights and obligations of the carrier and the owner of the goods.


Operations of loading and discharging of the containers and the goods onboard the Vessel.

Handling Costs

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

Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System

An international classification system designated to promote a high degree of international uniformity in the presentation of customs tariffs and foreign trade statistics.

Hazardous Goods

Articles or substances which can pose a significant risk to health, safety, or property, and that ordinarily require special attention when transported. Also called Dangerous Goods.

High Cube (HC)

A container that exceeds 8 feet 6 inches in height.


Compartment located under the deck, delimitated by two transverse bulkheads.


The ratio of the air total water vapour to its total capacity at a given temperature.

HMF (Harbor Maintenance Fee)

Intended to require those who benefit from maintenance of U.S. ports and harbors to share the cost of the maintenance.

HTS (Harmonized Tariff Schedule)

Controls/sets out the tariff rates and statistical categories for all merchandise imported into the United States.


Abbreviation "Inland Container Depot".

Inbound cargo

Imported cargo.


International terms written by the International Chamber of Commerce for the sale of goods worldwide and provide rules and guidance to importers, exporters, lawyers, transporters, insurers. This essential part of the daily language of trade. The latest applied version is the Incoterms 2020.

Inland Point Intermodal (IPI)

Cargo moving via land from/to an inland point (US)

Insurance Certificate

Document issued to the consignee to certify that insurance is provided to cover loss of or damage to the cargo while in transit.

Intermodal Transport

Transport of goods by using two or more transportation means, such as truck, rail, barge, feeder, and oceangoing ship.

International Freight Forwarders (IFF)

See Freight Forwarder.

International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code

A uniform international code, adopted by IMO, for the transport of dangerous Goods by sea covering such matters as packing, container traffic and stowage, with particular reference to the segregation of incompatible substances.

International Maritime Organization (IMO)

A specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for measures to improve the safety and security of international shipping and to prevent marine pollution from ships. It is also involved in legal matters, including liability and compensation issues and the facilitation of international maritime traffic.

International Ship and Port Security Code (ISPS)

An amendment to the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention (1974/1988) on minimum security arrangements for ships, ports and government agencies. It prescribes responsibilities to governments, shipping companies, shipboard personnel, and port/facility personnel to “detect security threats and take preventative measures against security incidents affecting ships or port facilities used in international trade.”

International Standard Organization (ISO)

The world’s largest developer of voluntary International Standards, given for the art specifications for products, services and good practice, helping to make industry more efficient and effective.

ISF (Importer Security Filing)

The capability, which enables a shipment to be transferred from one form of transport to another, such as from airplane to truck, to railway freight car to ocean vessel.

IT (Inland Transit Number)

A number issued by U.S. Customs to track any imported goods moving inland from a discharge port.

Jones Act

In the sense of maritime law, it is the act which controls coastwise trade within the United States and determines which ships may lawfully engage in that trade and the rules under which they must operate. It prohibits any foreign built or foreign flagged Vessel from engaging in coastwise trade within the United States.


The knot is a unit of speed equal to one nautical mile (1.852 km) per hour, approximately 1.151 mph. The speeds of vessels relative to the fluids in which they travel (boat speeds and air speeds) are measured in knots

Label cargo

Cargo requiring a label according to the provisions of the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code.

Land Bridge (US)

Containers being shipped from a foreign country by ship and subsequently carried to its final destination inland USA by rail or by truck.


Holding cargo into position by the use of securing device such as wire, ropes, lines, chains and straps.

Less than Container Load (LCL)

A container consolidated with cargo from numerous shippers with the same destination, When many shipper's goods occupy a single container, each shipper's shipment is considered to be LCL.

Letter of Credit (LC)

Document issued by a bank per instructions of a buyer of goods, authorising the seller to draw a specified sum of money under specified terms, usually the receipt by the bank of certain documents within a given time.

Letter of Indemnity (LOI)

a) Delivered by a Shipper : Document delivered to Carrier in which the former undertakes to the ladder not to make a claim if the goods are damaged. b) Delivered by a Receiver or the entitled Person : Document delivered to the carrier to obtain delivery of the goods without remittance of Bill of Lading.

Limitation of liability

Maximal indemnity per package or per kilo payable by the carrier to the holder of the Bill of Lading, in compensation of damages to goods. This limitation depends on the applicable Cargo Convention.

Line Haul

Maritime portion of a route of a Vessel which covers the greatest distance of a voyage, usually across an ocean.

Liner Terms

Terms indicating if handling at port of loading and/or port of discharge is included in the freight.


Abbreviation for "Liquefied Natural Gas".


Abbreviation for "Length Overall of the Vessel".


The process of planning, implementing, and controlling procedures for the efficient and effective storage of goods, services, and related information from the point of origin to the point of delivery for the purpose of conforming to customer requirements.

Long Ton (LT)

1 Long Ton = 2,240 pounds.


US term to designate a terminal operator.

LCL (Less Than Container Load)

A shipment of cargo that does not completely fill a container and is merged with cargo for more than one consignee or more than one shipper.


A list of all cargo loaded on board a vessel. An entire listing of all cargo on board a vessel required by the carrier, customs, and the coast guard.


The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) is the main international convention covering prevention of pollution of the marine environment by ships from operational or accidental causes.

Merchant Haulage

Movement of container organised directly by merchant for per and post-inland transportation.

Metric Ton (MT)

1 Metric Ton = 2,204.62 lbs or 35.314 cft.

Modified Atmosphere

"The ability to adjust the CO2 ratio tailored to a specific load of cargo within a reefer container that replaces the normal atmosphere".

Mother Vessel

Main ocean Vessel used in a maritime service during a specified voyage.

MPF (Merchandise Processing Fee):

Is a fee imposed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to offset the cost of salaries and other expenses incurred in the processing of imports and release of merchandise into the United States.

Nautical Mile

The nautical mile (symbol M, NM or nmi) is a unit of length that is approximately one minute of arc measured along any meridian. By international agreement it has been set at 1,852 metres exactly (about 6,076 feet).

Net Tare weight

Weight of an empty container.

Net Ton (NT)

1 Net Ton = 907.185 kgs.

Net Tonnage

A Vessel's gross tonnage minus deductions of space occupied by accommodations for crew, by machinery, for navigation, by the engine room and fuel. A Vessel's net tonnage expresses the space available for carrying capacity.

Net Weight

Weight of the product unpacked, exclusive of any containers.

Nominal TEU Capacity

The maximal geometric capacity, expressed in 20 Feet Equivalent Units (TEU). It is the contractual capacity agreed upon in charter contracts, or the TEU capacity shown by owner-operators

Non-Negotiable Bill of Lading

"Bill of Lading cannot be endorsed for the transfer of title on the goods. This is not a document of title".

Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier (NVOCC)

A cargo consolidator in ocean trades that will buy space from a carrier and re-sell it to shippers. The NVOCC issues Bills of Lading, publishes tariffs and otherwise conducts itself as an ocean common carrier, except that it will not provide the actual ocean or intermodal service.

Note protest

1. A legal means of proving presentation and default of a negotiable instrument, as well as providing notice to interested parties that the instrument was not paid. 2. A declaration made by the master of a ship before a Notary Public in the United States and Great Britain or a Tribunal of Commerce on the European Continent, or before the Consul of the country from which the ship hails if in a foreign port, on arrival in port, when, through stress of weather, it has not been practicable to adopt ordinary precaution in the matter of ventilation for perishable cargoes; when the condition of the cargo or any part thereof at the time of shipment is such as to lead to the belief that damage or some further damage has occurred during the voyage; when any serious breach of a charter party by the charterer in a foreign port happens; when a ship experiences bad weather while at sea and when the master has reason to believe that the cargo is damaged or part of the deck load lost overboard. Copies of the protest are frequently demanded underwriter in the event of a claim. Protest are received as evidence in tribunal on the Continent but they cannot be made use of as evidence in Courts of Law in the United Kingdom in favour of the party making the protest except by the consent of both parties concerned.

Notice of Arrival

A notice from the delivering carrier to the notify party indicating the shipment's arrival date at the destination.

Notify Party

The name of a company or individual that should be notified when a shipment reaches its destination.


Acronym for "Off Dock Container Yard".


Entity the US Department of the Treasury which administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions based on US foreign policy and national security goals against targeted foreign countries and regimes, terrorists, international narcotics traffickers, those engaged in activities related to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and other threats to the national security, foreign policy or economy of the United States.

On Deck Stowage

Cargo stowed on the deck of the ship.

One-Way Lease

Lease that covers the outbound voyage only, after which the container is returned to the lessor at or near destination.

On-Time Performance

The proportion of time that a transit system adheres to its published schedule times within stated tolerances.

Open Top Container

"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. Such containers may have movable or removable top end transverse members above their end doors. These containers are primarily used to carry heavy and/or bulky finished products, which handling and loading can only be performed with a crane or a rolling bridge. Tiltable half-height open top containers are specially designed to carry bulk minerals. The CMA CGM 8’6’’ high open top containers are equipped with: - Removable roof bows and tarpaulin - Hinged doors (on both sides) and/or removable header above doors".

Order Cycle

The time and the process involved from the placement of the order to the receipt of the shipment.

Original Bill of Lading (OBL)

Bill of Lading which requires proper signatures for conclusion of contract of carriage.

Out of Gauge (OOG)

"Cargo which exceeds the internal dimensions of the container / flat rack in which it is packed.

Outbound cargo

Exported Cargo.


Destination port, other than a base port, to which rates apply but which may be subject to additional outport arbitraries.


An excess of quantity billed.

Overheight cargo

Cargo which exceeds the height of an open-top container.

Overland Common Point (OCP)

US: A term stated on the Bills of Lading offering a special rate concession made by shipping lines, rail carriers and truckers serving the U.S. West Coast for export and import traffic, intended to benefit midwest shippers and importers by equalising rates to and from other coastal areas, and offering these midwest companies a comparable alternative. It is applied to eastern Canada.


Cargo discharged mistakenly in another port than the previous port of discharge.

P and I Club

Mutual association which provides insurance for third party liability to Shipowners and operators.

Packing List

List of packages for each shipment, showing individual breakdown in weights/measure and quantity.


A standard size wooden platform with or without sides, on which packages or pieces can be loaded to facilitate handling. In Europe, the standard size is 1,200 mm / 1,000 mm.

Paramount Clause

Clause of the Bill of Lading which stipulates that contract of carriage is governed by Hague-Visby Rules even if the Rules do not apply at Port of Loading or Port of Discharge.

Partial loss

Loss affecting only a part of the cargo.

Partial Shipment

Under letters of credit one or more shipments are allowed by the phrase "partial shipments permitted".

Partlow Chart

A chart that indicates the temperature reading in a reefer container.

Payable Elsewhere

Special service to shipper or consignee to receive freight and charges at a location and from a designated party as specified by shipper and/or consignee, i.e. freight and charges are neither received at loading end (prepaid) nor discharging end (collect).


The revenue-producing part of the cargo.

PSS (Peak Season Surcharge)

The additional charge imposed on the base freight rate or regular shipping fees when there is high demand in the supply chain network.

Perils of the Sea

Causes of loss for which the carrier is not legally liable. The elemental risks of ocean transport.

Perishable goods

Goods subjected to decay or deterioration.


A structure built away from land and extending some distance over water, used for landing, loading and unloading ships. Also known as a pier or a wharf.


The transportation of motorway trailers or demountable trailer bodies on especially equipped railcars.


Cargo stolen from its place of storage, be it container, warehouse or Terminal.


Person whose job is to steer ships, particularly along a coast or into and out of a Harbour.

Place of Receipt (POR)

Starting point of carrier’s liability where cargo is received from shipper and under carrier’s custody for transportation to final destination.

Plimsoll Mark

Depth to which a vessel may safely load. Identified by a circle on the vessel’s side with a vertical line through and a number of small horizontal lines showing the max depth for summer and winter.


Natural or artificial shelter, receiving ships and allowing them to stay, to load and discharge Goods securely.

Port of Arrival

Place where imported merchandise is off loaded from the importing ship.

Port of Call

Stop in a port where a ship discharges or receives Goods.

Port of Discharge (POD)

Port where cargo is unloaded from ship.

Port of Entry

Port where customs formalities are accomplished.

Port of Loading (POL)

Port where cargo is loaded to ship.


Freight charges for delivery of the goods arising after the principal international carriage.

Power Pack

"An electricity power source for multiple reefer boxes."


Freight charges for port delivery of the goods arising before the principal international carriage.


"A separate operation, prior to storage or transportation that requires special equipment or cooling facilities."


All of the processes involved in requesting, ordering, auditing, and paying for goods and services.

Pro-forma Invoice

A specimen invoice, requested by the buyer for the purpose of applying for such things as an import license, or foreign exchange allocation prior to the sale.

Purchase Order

Common grouping of orders for goods/services to facilitate distribution at the other end.

Quality Control

The systematic planning, measuring and control of a combination of people, materials, metrology and machines, with the objective of producing a product that satisfies the quality and profitability of the enterprise.


A structure built away from land and extending some distance over water, used for landing, loading and unloading Vessels. Also known as a pier or a wharf.


Rail terminal / container yard where containers are either loaded or discharged from train.


On RoRo ships ramps permit to load and discharge cargo.

Rate Agreement

Group of carriers who discuss rates and common problems with options to publish independent tariffs.

Received for Shipment Bill of Lading

Bill of Lading without the mention "Shipped". This kind of Bill of Lading is normally issued to acknowledge receipt of shipment before cargo loading or before official original bill of lading is issued

Reconsignment (R/C)

Change of the consignee or destination on a Bill of Lading while the goods are still in transit.

Reefer Container

"Aka" "refrigerated container" Thermal container equipped with an electrical appliance (mechanical compressor) for the purposes of cooling or heating the air within the container. CMA CGM owns one of the largest and youngest fleets of Reefer containers designed for the transport of perishable goods in a temperature-controlled environment (from -35°C to +35°C). The CMA CGM Reefer fleet consists of 20’, 40’High Cube and 45’32/33 Pallet Wide containers.

Refrigerated Cargo

Cargo requiring temperature control.


The removal of heat from one medium to another one by the use of inert gas.

Register Ton

A unit of interior capacity of ships. 1 Register Ton = 100 cubic feet or 2,832 cubic metres. Also known as vessel ton.

Registrar Accreditation Board

A board, governed by a board of directors from industry, academia, and quality management consulting firms, that evaluates the competency and reliability of registrars.

Relative Humidity

"The ratio of the actual amount of water vapour in the air to the maximum it can hold at a given temperature.


To transfer goods from one ship to another within the same ownership/control.

Release note

Receipt signed by customer acknowledging delivery of goods.

Return Cargo

Cargo to be returned to original place of receipt.

Revenue Ton

The greater weight or measurement of goods where 1 ton is either 1,000 kilos or 1 cubic metre . Also known as Bill of Lading ton or freight ton. It is used to calculate freight charge.

Roll-On/Roll-Off (Ro/Ro)

A specialised vessel designed with a ramp to facilitate driving on and off cargo, as opposed to being loaded with cranes or other lifting equipment.


The manner in which a shipment moves.


External assistance to a ship in danger.

Salvage loss

When referring to goods, a salvage loss is one resulting from shipwreck or from a situation where, by the peril of the sea, the ship is prevented from proceeding on her voyage and the cargo, or the part that is saved is obliged to be sold at a place short of the port of destination. The term is used in marine insurance when at a point short of destination, it can be shown that it would cost more to forward damaged goods to their destination than the goods would realize on the spot. The underwriters usually pay the difference between the total insured value and the net proceeds of the goods, such a settlement being known as a "salvage loss".

Scantling Draft

The maximum draught to which a vessel can be loaded. When classed, this is the draught for which the vessels compliance is evaluated to and is subject to the regulations of the classification society.


Metal strip and lead/plastic fastener used for locking containers doors. Seals are numbered for record purposes.


Non-negotiable transport document allowing a quick release to the receiver named on.

Service Agreement

A contract between a shipper (or a shippers' association) and an ocean common carrier (or conference) in which the shipper makes a commitment to provide a certain minimum quantity of cargo or freight revenue over a fixed time period, and the ocean common carrier or conference commits to a certain rate or rate schedule as well as a defined service level (such as assured space, transit time, port rotation or similar service features). The contract may also specify provisions in the event of non performance on the part of either party.

Set Point

Specific temperature that a refrigerated container has been set to keep. Ideally, the set point and the actual temperature should be identical throughout the voyage.


A notation on the Bill of Lading stating the temperature at which the cargo must be maintained.

Shanghai Containerized Freight Index (SCFI)

Index showing the fluctuation of spot freight rates of export container transport market in Shanghai. The freight rates of individual routes of SCFI show the spot ocean freights and related maritime surcharges.

Shanghai Shipping Exchange

The Shanghai based organisation which publishes the Shanghai Containerized Freight Index (SCFI).

Shipment Date

The date inserted on the Bill of Lading evidencing goods received on board is regarded for documentary credit purposes as being the date of shipment.

Shipped on board Bill of Lading

A Bill of Lading issued only after the goods have actually been shipped on board the ship, as distinguished from the received for shipment Bill of Lading.


Person or legal entity for whom the carrier agrees to carry the goods at a specific destination and at a specific price (contract of carriage).

Shipper Load and Count

Shipments loaded and sealed by shippers and not checked or verified by the carriers.

Shipper Owned Container (SOC)

Container used for cargo shipment is owned by shipper.

Shipper Packed

Contents of containers as loaded (stuffed), stowed (packed and braced), weighed and/or tallied by and for the shipper.

Shipping Instruction (SI)

Orders or instructions of the shipper to its agent and/or directly to the international water–carrier, about loading, discharging and conditions of the goods.

Shipping Order

Equivalent of booking and contract of carriage evidencing the agreement to transport goods.

Short Landed

Cargo volume count (at delivery destination) less than originally shipped.

Short Sea Voyage

US term to designate short international voyages.

Short Shipped

Cargo missing a vessel that it was originally intended for.

Short Ton (ST)

1 Short Ton = 2, 000 lbs


Space on board a Vessel occupied by a container.

Slot Charter Agreement (SCA)

Contract between partners who buy and sell a defined allocation (space, weight) in general on a "used or unused" basis at an agreed price and for a minimum defined period of time.

Slow Steaming

The practice of operating transoceanic ships, especially container ships, at significantly less than their maximum speed.


International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), its main objective is to specify minimum standards for the construction, equipment and operation of ships, compatible with their safety,

Special Customs Invoice (US)

Document usually prepared by the foreign exporter or its forwarder and used and required by US customs in determining the value of the shipment.


A piece of equipment designed to lift containers by their corner castings.


Abbreviation for "Safety, Security and Environment".


To stow containers more than one high and in an orderly way in one place in a container yard, CFS, depot, or on a Vessel.

Standard Export Declaration (US)

Legal document that shippers or freight forwarder have to complete prior to export from USA.

Standard International Trade Classification (SITC)

A classification of goods of the United Nations used to classify the exports and imports of a country to enable the comparison of different countries and years.

Standard Shipping Note

A shipping document which accompanies the container on its journey to the port of exit and gives details about the contents of a consignment to carriers, receiving authorities and forwarders.


Terminal operator who is designated to facilitate the operation of loading and discharging ships and various terminal activities (US term = Longshoreman).

Storage Charge

Charge for goods held in storage facilities under a fixed agreement for periods of time, and which is not included in other arrangements.


Loading freight into ships' holds.

Stowage Plan

Distribution of goods onboard the ship regarding their nature and destination.


The unloading of cargo into a container.


The loading of cargo into a container.

Supply Air

Cooled or warmed air leaving the evaporator delivered to the interior of the reefer.

Supply Chain

A logistical management system which integrates the sequence of activities from delivery of raw materials to the manufacturer through to delivery of the finished product to the customer into measurable components.

Supply Chain Management

The delivery of enhanced customer and economic value through synchronized management of the flow of physical goods, services and associated information from sourcing through consumption. The management of the process and activities to provide the flow of products, services and information to customers.


An extra or additional charge applicable.


Inspection of goods to establish the extent and cause of damage.


Exchange with another service operator, a defined amount of space from each other's allocation for a pre-defined period of time at a pre defined ratio of exchange.


SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) provides a network that enables financial institutions worldwide to send and receive information about financial transactions in a secure, standardized and reliable environment

Tank Container

A freight container which includes two basic elements, the tank and the framework. This type of container is used to carry hazardous or non- hazardous liquids (foodstuff). It is equipped with accessories to facilitate filling and emptying and has safety devices.


A publication setting forth the charges, rates and rules of transportation companies. NVOCCs and VOCCs must publish and maintain tariffs.

Temperature recorder

An electronic device to permanently record the inside temperature of operating reefer containers.


Part of a port with special equipment to berth ships for loading and discharging of goods from them.

Terminal Handling Charge (THC)

A charge made for a service performed in a carrier’s terminal area.

Third Party Logistics (3PL)

A company which provides logistics services to other companies for some or all of their logistics needs. It typically includes warehousing and transportation services. Most 3PL’s also have freight forwarding licenses.

Through Rates

Rate(s) applicable from point of origin to final destination which can be either a joint rate or a combination of two or more rates.

To Order of Shipper

Bill of Lading to be endorsed either in blank by the shipper (bearer document) or in favor of a specific party.


Maximal volume of a ship.

Tonnage Pool

Sharing of the capacity and costs of one or more ships by companies in a service as per pre-defined shares for a minimum pre-defined period.


Transfer of containers between two ships (coupled ships or via the quay).

Twenty-Foot Equivalent Unit (TEU)

The size of a standard container. One TEU generally represents a single container measuring 20 feet long, 8 feet wide and 8.5 feet high.


A twistlock and corner casting together form a standardized rotating connector for securing shipping containers. The primary uses are for locking a container into place on container ship, semi-trailer truck or railway container train; and for lifting of the containers by container cranes and side lifters.

UCP 600

A comprehensive and practical set of rules for bankers, lawyers, importers, exporters, transport executives and persons involved in letter of credit transactions worldwide.

Unit of Measure (UOM)

The unit in which the quantity of an item is managed, e.g., pounds, each, box of 12, package of 20, or case of 144. Various UOMs may exist for a single item. For example, a product may be purchased in cases, stocked in boxes, and issued in single units.

United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT)

The worldwide facilitation of international transactions through the simplification and harmonisation of procedures and information flows.

United Nations Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce and Transport (UN/EDIFACT)

The worldwide facilitation of international transactions through the simplification and harmonisation of procedures and information flows.


The unloading of cargo into a container.


US West Coast


US East Coast


US Gulf Coast


Abbreviation for "Value Added Tax".


Voluntarily created circulation of air.

Vessel Sharing Agreement (VSA)

Contract between two or more ship operators to put up a fleet of ships together to operate a joint service. The number of container positions (slots) equal in space are reserved on particular ships for each of the participants.

Vessel-Operating Common Carrier (VOCC)

A common carrier that operates, for all or part of its common carrier service, a ship in a service between a port in the United States and a port in a foreign country.

War Risk Surcharge (WRS)

Charge in case of risks of war in a zone where the ship crosses or calls.


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


A type of Bill of Lading used for port-to-port or combined transport carriage. A "Waybill" is identical to a negotiable Bill of Lading except that it is not a document of title. In the US, a"waybill" is deemed the equivalent of a straight consigned B/L.


A structure built away from land and extending some distance over water, used for landing, loading and unloading ships. Also known as a pier or a quay


A port charge to a ship for use of a quay.

World Shipping Council

The World Shipping Council's goal is to provide a coordinated voice for the liner shipping industry in its work with policy makers and other industry groups with an interest in international transportation.