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Glossary Of Terms/ Terminology


A8A Manifest

A form issued by a licensed Customs broker which allows CCRA to monitor in-bond shipments as they move through Canada.

Arrival Notice

An advisory that the carrier or forwarder sends to the consignee advising of goods coming forward for delivery. Pertinent information such as the bill of lading number, container number, total charges due from consignee, etc. are included and sent to the consignee prior to vessel arrival.
This is done gratuitously by the carrier or forwarder to ensure smooth delivery, but there is no obligation by the carrier or forwarder to do so. The responsibility to monitor the transit and present himself to take timely delivery still rests with the consignee.

Automated Manifest System (AMS)

An application that expedites the clearance of cargo for the subsequent release of containers when imported to the U.S. through electronic submission of cargo manifests in lieu of bulk paper manifests.

Awkward Cargo

Cargo of an irregular size that can either be containerized (packed in a container) or non-containerized (without equipment associated with) during transportation. It requires prior approval on a case-by-case basis before confirmation of booking.

Axle Load

A maximum load permitted to be carried on each axle of a motor vehicle.


Bill of Lading (B/L)

The official legal document representing ownership of the cargo. It is a negotiable document confirming the receipt of cargo and the contract for the carriage of cargo between the shipper and the carrier.

Block Train

Railcars grouped in a train by destination so that segments (blocks) can be uncoupled and routed to different destinations as the train moves through various junctions. This eliminates the need to break up a train and sort individual railcars at each junction.

Bonded Carrier

A carrier licensed by U.S. Customs to carry Customs-controlled merchandise between Customs points.

Bonded Warehouse

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

Booking Number

A reference number for bookings registered with a carrier. It should be unique without duplication for a three-year period.


A common term for an ocean-going freight container.


An individual, partnership, or corporation that arranges transportation service for client companies.

Break-bulk Cargo

Goods shipped loose in the vessel hold and not in a container.

Broken Stowage

The spare volume of a container or the cargo hold of a vessel where no cargo is stowed. It is a reflection of the bad stowage of the container or the vessel.

Bulk Carriers

Vessels carrying dry, liquid, grain, not packaged, bundled, or bottled cargo and loaded without marks, and number or count.

Bunker Adjustment Factor (BAF) / Bunker Surcharge (BSC)

Surcharges assessed by the carrier to freight rates to reflect the current cost of the bunker.


Heavy oil used as fuel for ocean vessels.


Canada Customs and Revenue Agency (CCRA)

Canadian Government Customs Authority.

Cargo Manifest

A manifest that lists only cargo, without freight and charges.


The construction system employed in container vessels that permits containers to be stowed in a vertical line, with each container supporting the one above it inside the cargo hold.

Cellular Vessel

A vessel designed with internal ribbing to permit the support of stacked containers. See “Containership”.

Certificate of Origin

A document certifying the country of origin of goods, which is normally issued or signed by the relevant government department, Chamber of Commerce, or embassy of the exporting country.


A pricing term indicating that the cost of the goods and freight charges are included in the quoted price.


A kind of cargo movement by the container. Delivered loose at origin point with vanning by the carrier, devanned by carrier at the destination, and picked up loose at the destination.


The published deadline for export cargo or containers to be accepted for the sailing of the carrier. CY closing is applicable to FCLs and CFS closing is applicable to LCLs. Normally, CFS closing is around 24 hours ahead of CY closing, depending on the complexities of export Customs clearance formalities in the country. See “Late-Come”.

Connecting Carrier Agreement (CCA)

An agreement of freight rates for connections between feeder ports and the ports of call of vessels.

Consolidated Cargo

Cargo containing shipments of two or more shippers, usually shipped by a firm called a consolidator. The consolidator takes advantage of lower FCL rates, and savings are passed on to shippers.


The combination of many small shipments into one container.


A person or firm performing a consolidation service of small lots of cargo for shippers.


A group of carriers pooling resources, normally container vessels, in a trade lane, to maximize their resources efficiently.


A van-type body that can be relatively easily interchanged between trucks, trains, and ships.

Container Freight Station (CFS or C.F.S.)

Consolidation depots where parcels of cargo are grouped and loaded into containers.

Container Load Plan (CLP)

A document prepared to show all details of cargo loaded in a container, e.g. weight (individual and total), measurement, markings, shippers, consignees, the origin and destination of goods, and location of cargo within the container. A Container Load Plan is either prepared by the cargo consolidator or the shipper that ships its cargo on FCL terms.

Container Type

Containers are classified under different types, e.g. dry cargo, reefer, open-top, flat-rack, open-side, etc.

Container Yard (CY or C.Y.)

A facility inside or outside the Container Terminal that accepts laden export containers from shippers or laden import containers for delivery to consignees.


An ocean vessel specifically designed to carry ocean cargo containers. It is fitted with vertical cells for the maximum capacity.

Controlled Atmosphere (CA)

An atmosphere in which oxygen, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen concentrations are regulated, as are temperature and humidity.

Cube the Shipment

Measure the total cubic feet of the shipment.

Cost and Freight (C&F)

A term of trading in which the buyer of the goods pays an amount that covers the cost of the goods plus the cost of transporting the goods from origin to the port of discharge or final destination.

Cost, Insurance, and Freight (CIF)

A term of trading in which the buyer of the goods pays for the cost of the goods, the cost of transporting the goods from origin to the port of discharge or final destination, and the insurance premium for a maritime insurance policy for the value of the order.

Cube the Shipment

Measure the total cubic feet of the shipment.

Currency Adjustment Factor (CAF)

An ancillary charge on ocean freight to compensate for exchange rate fluctuations.

Customs Bonded Warehouse

A publicly- or privately-owned warehouse where dutiable goods are stored pending payment of duty or removal under bond. The storage or delivery of goods is under the supervision of customs officers, and if the warehouse is privately-owned, the keeper has to enter into a bond as indemnity in respect of the goods deposited, which may not be delivered without a release from Customs.

Customs Broker

A private business that provides documentation and entry preparation services required by CCRA and U.S. Customs on behalf of an importer/exporter of record. Hired by an importer to carry out Customs-related responsibilities and covered by power of attorney to act on behalf of the importer/exporter of record.

Customs House

A government office where import duties, etc. on foreign shipments are handled.

Custom House Broker

An individual or firm licensed to enter and clear goods through Customs.

Customs Self Assessment (CSA)

A joint Canada/U.S.border initiative aimed at speeding up the Customs process on low-risk shipments.

Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT)

A joint government and trade community initiative in developing, enhancing, and maintaining effective security processes throughout the global supply chain.

Customs Valuation

The determination of the value of imported goods for the purpose of collecting ad valorem duties.

Cut-off Time

Latest possible time the cargo or container may be delivered to the vessel or designated point. See “Closing”.


Hundredweight (100 pounds in the U.S., 112 pounds in the U.K.).


Cargo loaded in a full container by a shipper at the origin, delivered to a CFS facility at the destination, and then devanned by the carrier for loose pickup.


Cargo loaded by the shipper in a full container at origin and delivered to the carrier’s terminal at the destination for pickup intact by the consignee.


Dangerous and Hazardous (D&H)

See “Dangerous Goods”.

Dangerous Goods

The term used by I.M.C.O. for hazardous materials that are capable of posing a significant risk to health, safety, or property while being transported.

Deadweight (D.W.)

The number of tons of cargo, stores, and bunker fuel a ship can carry and transport. See “Deadweight Tonnage”.

Deadweight Tonnage (D/W)

The number of total weight tons of cargo, stores, and bunker fuel that a vessel can carry and transport. It is the difference between the number of tons of water a vessel displaces “light” and the number of tons it displaces when submerged to the “load line”.

Dedicated Unit Train

A unit train operated by various railroads for exclusive usage.

Delivered Duty Paid (DDP)

In DDP, the shipper clears the goods for export and is responsible for making them available to the buyer at the named place of destination, cleared for import, paid duty, and tax.

Delivered Duty Unpaid (DDU)

In DDU, the shipper clears the goods for export and is responsible for making them available to the buyer at the named place of destination, not cleared for import.

Delivery Order

A document authorizing delivery to a nominated party of cargo in the care of a third party. The document is issued by a carrier or a forwarder on surrender of a bill of lading and then used by the merchant to transfer title by endorsement.

Destination Delivery Charge (DDC)

A charge assessed by the carrier for the handling of a full container at destinations. The term is more commonly used in U.S. trade.

Detention (Demurrage)

Charges raised by the carrier or the forwarder for detaining a container/trailer at customer premises for a period longer than that provided in the tariff of the carrier or the forwarder.


The removal of cargo from a container. Also known as unstuffing, unloading, or stripping.

Differential Rate

An amount added to or deducted from the base rate to make a rate to or from some other point or via another route.

Dock Receipt

A document used to acknowledge receipt of cargo or container at a CFS, a CY, or a Container Terminal. When delivery of an export shipment is completed, the dock receipt is surrendered to the vessel operator or the operator’s agent in exchange for the ocean or house bill of lading.


Through transportation of a container and its cargo from consignor’s premises to consignee’s premises.

Double-deck Load

The second tier of cargo placed on top of the first tier.

Double Stack Train (DST)

Rail or train capable of carrying two 40′ containers, one on top of the other.


A charge made for local hauling by dray or truck; road transportation between the nearest ocean port or railway terminal and the stuffing/de-stuffing place.

Dry Cargo

A type of cargo that does not require temperature control.

Dry-Bulk Container

A container constructed to carry grain, powder, and other free-flowing solids in bulk.


Lumber or other material used to brace materials in carrier’s equipment or containers.

Dwell Time

Expressed in terms of the number of days that a container changed from one status to another, e.g. from inbound load to empty available to outbound load. The shorter the dwell time, the more efficient the container utilization will be.


Empty Depot

A container yard used for the storage of empty containers.

Ex Works

An INCOTERMS term of sale in which the buyer is responsible for taking delivery of the goods at the premises of the factory. Also known as “F.C.A.”

Export Declaration

A government document permitting designated goods to be shipped out of the country.



Free Carrier. See “Ex-Works”.


See “CY/CY”.


See “CY/CFS”.

Federal Maritime Commission (FMC)

U.S. government agency is responsible for the regulation of all maritime activities.

Final Destination

The place at which the carrier or the forwarder actually turns over the container or cargo to the consignee or its agent. It is the end of the liability of carriers or forwarders.

Flash Point

A temperature at which certain flammable cargo will trigger spontaneously ignite. It is an IMCO standard information requirement for dangerous goods.

F.O.B. Origin

Title and risk pass to the buyer at the moment of the seller’s delivery to the carrier. The parties may agree to have title and risk pass at a different time or to allocate freight charges by a written agreement.

F.O.B. Destination

Changes the location where title and risk pass. Under this arrangement, title and risk remain with the seller until they have delivered the freight to the delivery location specified in the contract.

F.O.B. Origin

Title and risk pass to the buyer at the moment of the seller’s delivery to the carrier. The parties may agree to have title and risk pass at a different time or to allocate freight charges by a written agreement.

Force Majeure

Force of nature. Accidents or incidents caused by the forces of nature, which are beyond the power of people to control.

Foreign Exchange Controls

Government restrictions on the use of currency, bank drafts, or other payment types to regulate imports, exports, and trade balances.

Forty Foot (40’) Equivalent Unit (FEU)

Commonly describes a 40-foot container or two TEUs.

Free Along Side (FAS)

A basis of pricing meaning the price of goods alongside a transport vessel at a specified location. The buyer is responsible for loading the goods onto the transport vessel and paying all the cost of shipping beyond that location.

Free and Secure Trade (FAST)

A joint Canada/U.S. border security agreement, of which C-TPAT and PIP are the main initiatives.

Free In and Out (FIO)

A term used in ship-chartering whereby the owner of the ship is not responsible for any charges incurred in the ports of loading or unloading.

Free On Board (FOB)

The seller agrees to deliver merchandise, free of all transportation expenses, to the place specified by the contract. Once delivery is complete, the title to all the goods and the risk of damage become the buyers’.

Free Storage Period (FSP)

A carrier offers a period of time, normally three to five days, at destinations whereby imported containers or cargo are allowed to be taken for delivery by consignees free of any storage charge. After the FSP, there will be an overtime storage charge or demurrage levied by the carriers to the consignee. When bulk shipments are involved, the carriers are prepared to negotiate a longer FSP with the consignees.


(a) The price paid to the carrier for the transportation of goods or merchandise by sea or air from one place to another.
(b) Also used to denote goods that are in the process of being transported from one place to another.

Freight All Kind (FAK)

A system whereby freight is charged per container, irrespective of the nature of the cargo, and not according to a tariff.

Freight Collect

The freight and charges agreed upon by the shipper and carrier are payable at the destination.

Freight Forwarder

A freight forwarder combines less-than-truckload (LTL) or less-than-carload (LCL) shipments into carload or truckload lots. Freight forwarders are designated as common carriers. They also issue bills of lading and accept responsibility for cargo. The term may also refer to the company that fills railroad trains with trailers.

Freight Prepaid

Freight and charges are required to be paid by a shipper before an original bill of lading is released.

Full Berth Terms (FBT)

This indicates that the cost of loading and discharge is included in the steamship rate quoted. The shipowner pays for these.

Fuel Adjustment Factor (FAF)

An ancillary charge on ocean freight shipments to account for fluctuations in fuel costs.

Full Berth Terms (FBT)

This indicates that the cost of loading and discharge is included in the steamship rate quoted. The shipowner pays for these.

Full Container Load (FCL)

An arrangement whereby the shipper packs cargo into a container provided by the carrier or the forwarder before delivering to the container terminal.

Functional Currency

The currency of the primary economic environment of an entity. For ODFL, this is U.S. dollars.


General Agreement on Tariff and Trade (GATT)

An international multilateral agreement embodying a code of practice for fair trading in international commerce.

General Average

An unwritten, non-statutory, international maritime law that is universally recognized and applied. It is founded on the principle that vessel and goods are parties to the same venture and share exposure to the same perils, which may require sacrifice or the incurring of extraordinary expense on the part of one for the benefit of the whole venture. It is an arrangement that will be applied when the vessel encounters serious accidents caused by force majeure.


General Rate Increase.

Gross Tonnage

Applies to vessels, not to cargo. Determined by dividing by 100 the contents, in cubic feet, of the vessel’s closed-in spaces. A vessel ton is 100 cubic feet.

Gross Weight

The entire weight of goods, packaging, and container, ready for shipment.


Hague Rules

These rules, set by the 1924 International Convention on Carriage of Goods by Sea, govern liability for loss or damage to goods carried by sea under a bill of lading.

Hague-Visby Rules

1968 Revision of Hague Rules.

Hamburg Rules

A new set of rules that radically alters the liability that shipowners have to bear for loss or damage of goods in the courts of those nations where the rules apply, adopted in March 1978 at an international conference in Hamburg.

Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System

A multi-purpose international goods-classification for manufacturers, transporters, exporters, importers, customs officials, statisticians, and others in classifying goods moving in international trade under a single commodity code. Developed under the auspices of the Customs Cooperations Council (CCC), an international Customs organization in Brussels, this code is a hierarchically structured product nomenclature containing approximately 5,000 headings and subheadings describing the articles moving in international trade. It is organized into 99 chapters arranged in 22 sections. Sections encompass an industry (e.g. Section XI, Textiles and Textile Articles), and chapters encompass the various materials and products of the industry (e.g. Chapter 50, Silk; Chapter 55, Manmade Staple Fibres; Chapter 57, Carpets). The basic code contains four-digit headings and six-digit subheadings. (The U.S. will add digits for tariff and statistical purposes.) In the U.S., duty rates will be at the eight-digit level; statistical suffixes will be at the ten-digit level.

Heavy Lift

Articles too heavy to be lifted by a ship’s tackle.

Heavy-Lift Charge

A charge made for lifting articles too heavy to be lifted by a ship’s tackle.

High Cube (HC or HQ)

Any container that exceeds 8’ 6” (102”) in height, usually 9’ 6”.

House Bill of Lading (HB/L)

Bill of lading issued by a forwarder or an NVOCC operator.

House-to-House (H/H)

See “CY/CY”.

House-to-Pier (H/P)

See “CY/CFS”.

Hull Underwriter

The person with whom the ship hull, machinery apparel, and tackle is insured.


Import Permit

Usually required for items that might affect public health, morals, animal life, vegetation, etc. Examples include foodstuffs, feedstuffs, pharmaceuticals (human and veterinary), medical equipment, seeds, plants, and various written material (including tapes, cassettes, movies, TV tapes, or TV movies). In some countries, an import permit is the same as an import license.

In Bond

A term indicating that an imported shipment was not cleared by Customs at the border and is moving under a surety bond

In Transit Document (IT) (Form 7512)

Document issued by a licensed Customs broker, which allows U.S. Customs to monitor bond shipments moving in the U.S.


A set of uniform rules codifying the interpretation of trade terms defining the rights and obligations of both buyer and seller in an international transaction, thereby enabling an otherwise complex basis for a sale contract to be accomplished in three letters. INCOTERMS are drafted by the International Chamber of Commerce.

Inland Clearance Depot

A CFS with Customs clearance facilities.

Interior Points Intermodal (IPI)

A term used by ocean carriers to describe door-to-door delivery service.

Intermodal Transport

Moving ocean freight containers by various transportation modes. The fact that the containers are of the same size and have common handling characteristics permits them to be transferred from truck to railroad to air carrier to ocean carrier.

International Maritime Consultative Organization (IMCO)

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.

International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code

The IMCO recommendations for the carriage of dangerous goods by sea.

International Organization for Standardization (ISO)

ISO is a worldwide federation of national standards bodies from some 130 countries, one from each country. It is a nongovernmental organization established in 1947 to promote the development of standardization facilitating international trade. ISO’s work results in international agreements, which are published as International Standards.


Documentation supplying Customs with the type of goods, quantity, price of each type, and terms of sale. The type of invoice required is determined by the shipment’s value.



A unit of speed. The term “knot” means velocity in nautical miles per hour whether of a vessel or current. One nautical mile is roughly equivalent to 1.15 statute miles or 1.85 kilometers.



A term used in the liner industry when extensions are being given to the shippers against the official CY or CFS closing date and time, which carriers publish to the trade.


See “CFS/CY”.


See “CFS/CFS”.

Less than Container Load (LCL)

Cargo in quantity less than required for the application of a container load rate.

Letter of Indemnity

Guarantee from the shipper or consignee to indemnify carriers or forwarders for costs and/or loss, if any, in order to obtain favorable action by carriers or forwarders. It is customary practice for carriers and forwarders to demand letters of indemnity from consignees for taking delivery of cargo without surrendering a bill of lading that has been delayed or is lost.


A legal claim upon goods for the satisfaction of some debt or duty.

Lift-On/Lift-Off (LO-LO)

A container ship onto which containers are lifted by the crane.


An open or covered barge towed by a tugboat and used mainly in harbors and inland waterways.


Refers to the carriage of cargo by lighter and the charge assessed therefore.


Vessel plying a regular trade/defined route against a published sailing schedule.

Lloyds’ Registry

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

Liner Terms

Freight includes the cost of loading onto and discharging from the vessel.

Lloyds’ Registry

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

Load Factor

Percent of loaded containers against the total capacity of vessel or allocation.

Long Ton

2,240 pounds.


Workers employed in the terminals or quays to load and unload ships. They are also known as “stevedores”.


A trailer or semi-trailer with no sides and with the floor of the unit close to the ground.



A document that lists in detail all the bills of lading issued by a vessel or its agent or master, i.e. a detailed summary of the total cargo or containers loaded in a vessel. Used principally for customs purposes, it is also called a summary of Bills of Lading.


Duty-free (for U. S. import) manufacturing plants located in Mexico.

Marine Insurance

Broadly, insurance covering loss or damage of goods at sea. Marine insurance typically compensates the owner of merchandise for losses sustained from fire, shipwreck, piracy, and various other causes but excludes losses that can be legally recovered.

Marks and Numbers

Markings placed on packages for export for identification purposes, generally a triangle, square, circle, diamond, or cross with letters and/or numbers and port discharge. They are of important use before containerization.

Master Bill of lading (MB/L)

See “Ocean Bill of Lading”.

Master Lease Leasing Cost

Master lease leasing cost includes container rental, depot lift-on/lift-off charge, on/off hire drayage, drop-off charge, off-hire repair cost, etc. Due to off-hire quota limitation, the average on-hire period is around 73 days for 20’GP and 40’GP, and 102 days for 40’HQ.

Mate’s Receipt

A receipt signed by a mate of the vessel, acknowledging receipt of the cargo by the vessel. The individual in possession of the mate’s receipt is entitled to the bill of lading, which in due course is issued in exchange for that receipt.

Measurement Ton

One cubic meter. One of the alternative bases of Freight Tariff.


A landbridge movement in which cargo originating from/ destined to an inland point is railed or trucked to/from the water port for a shipment to/from a foreign country. The carrier is responsible for cargo and costs from origin to destination. Also known as I.P.I. or Through Service.


Cargo moving from/to an inland destination on one bill of lading from/to a foreign port through two U.S.ports.

Mini Landbridge (MLB)

An intermodal system for transporting containers from/to a foreign country by water to/from a U.S. ocean port other than the arrival port, by rail, at through rates and documents.


Negotiable Bill of Lading

Original bill of lading endorsed by the shipper that is used for negotiating with banks.

Negotiating Bank

A bank named in the credit examines the documents and certifies to the issuing bank that the terms are complied with.

Net Tonnage

A vessel’s gross tonnage minus deductions of space occupied by accommodation for crew, by machinery, for navigation, and by the engine room and fuel. A vessel’s net tonnage expresses the space available for passengers and cargo.

Net Weight

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. Also called actual net weight.

Non-negotiable Bill of Lading

Copy of the original bill of lading, which cannot be negotiated with banks.

Non-vessel Owning / Operating Common Carrier (NVOCC)

(a) A cargo consolidator of small shipments in ocean trade, generally soliciting business and arranging for or performing containerization functions at the port.
(b) A carrier issuing a bill of lading for the carriage of goods on a vessel that he neither owns nor operates.

North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)

The joint Canada, Mexico, and the United States treaty to reduce tariffs and trade barriers to promote cross-border economic activity.


Ocean Bill of Lading (Ocean B/L)

A bill of lading issued by the ocean-going carriers.

O.C.P. Rate

Overland Common Point rates are generally lower than local tariff rates. They were established by the U.S. west coast steamship companies in conjunction with railroads serving the western U.S. ports so that cargo originating from or destined to the American midwest and east would be competitive with all-water rates via the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf ports. O.C.P. rates are also applicable to eastern Canada.

On Board Bill of Lading

A Bill of Lading in which a carrier acknowledges that cargo has been placed on board a certain vessel. The on-board date of bills of lading is the date on which liabilities of the carrier start.

One-Way Lease

The lease of containers covers the outbound voyage only, after which the containers are returned to the leaseholder at or near the agreed destination.

Open-Top Container

A container fitted with a solid removable roof or with a tarpaulin roof that can be loaded or unloaded from the top.

Origin Receiving Charge (O.R.C.)

A terminal handling charge levied at ports of loading.

Overheight Cargo

Cargo that exceeds 9-1/2 ft. in height. They normally have to be stowed in an open-top container.


Packing List

A document provided by the shipper detailing the packaging of the goods, including their weight and measurement, assortment, etc.


A platform (usually two-deck), with or without sides, on which a number of packages or pieces may be loaded to facilitate handling by a lift truck.

Participating Carrier (Tariff)

A carrier that is a party, under concurrence, to a tariff issued by another transportation line or by a tariff’s publishing agent.

Partners in Protection (PIP)

A CCRA initiative designed to enlist the cooperation of private industry in efforts to enhance border security and increase awareness of customs compliance issues.

Pier-to-House (P/H)

See “CFS/CY”.

Pier-to-Pier (P/P)

See “CFS/CFS”.

Place of Acceptance

See “Place of Receipt”.

Place of Delivery

See “Final Destination”.

Place of Receipt (P.O.R.)

The location where cargo enters the care and custody of the carrier. Same as Place of Acceptance. It is the starting port of carrier’s liability upon receipt of cargo from shippers.


(a) Harbour with piers or dock.
(b) Left side of a ship when facing the bow.
(c) Opening in a ship’s side for handling freight.

Port of Arrival

The location where imported merchandise is offloaded from the importing aircraft or vessel.

Port of Call

A port where a vessel discharges or receives traffic.

Port of Entry

A port where cargo and containers destined elsewhere are actually discharged from a vessel.

Port of Discharge (POD)

The port at which cargo or containers are unloaded from a vessel. When transshipment is needed, there can be a number of PODs during the course of shipment until it reaches the final POD.

Port of Loading (P.O.L.)

The port at which cargo or containers are loaded onto vessels.

Pre-Arrival Processing System (PAPS)

An electronic system that allows U.S. Customs to review and pre-release shipments for import into the U.S.

Pre-Arrival Review System (PARS/INPARS)

Available both at the border and inland (PARS/INPARS). An electronic system that allows CCRA to review and pre-release shipments for import into Canada.



The period during which a vessel is detained in isolation until free from any contagious disease among the passengers or crew. The word is now applied to the sanitary regulations, which are the modern substitute for quarantine. During the quarantine period, the Q flag is hoisted.

Quarantine Buoy

One of the yellow buoys at the entrance of a harbor indicating the place where vessels must anchor for the exercise of quarantine regulations.

Quarantine Declaration

A document signed by the captain and the ship’s doctor before the port health officer when a ship arrives at the quarantine station. It gives the name of the ship, tonnage, number of crew, the first port of voyage and date of sailing, intermediate ports called at, number of passengers for the port at which the vessel is arriving, number of transit passengers, cases of infectious diseases during voyage, deaths, nature of the cargo and, name of agents. The port health officer then proceeds with the medical inspection of passengers and crew. Also called “Entry Declaration”.

Quarantine Dues

A charge against all vessels entering a harbor to provide for the maintenance of medical control service. Also called “Quarantine Fees”.

Quarantine Flag (Q Flag)

A yellow flag used as a sanitary signal. It is displayed by all vessels entering a harbor, and also when a contagious or infectious disease exists on board or when the vessel has been placed in quarantine.

Quarantine Harbour

A place where vessels in quarantine are stationed when arriving from contaminated ports.

Quarantine Station

A medical control center located in an isolated spot ashore where patients with contagious diseases from vessels in quarantine are taken. It is also used for passengers and crews of vessels arriving from suspected ports while fumigation or any other disinfection is carried out on-board ship.


Received-for-Shipment Bill of Lading

A term used in contrast to the shipped bill of lading or on-board bill of lading. This kind of bill of lading is normally issued to acknowledge receipt of shipment before cargo loading or before the official original bill of lading is issued. Nowadays, not many shippers ask for this kind of bill of lading.


The generic name for a temperature-controlled container. The containers, which are insulated, are specially designed to allow temperature-controlled air circulation within the container. A refrigeration plant is built into the rear of the container.


To transfer cargo from one ship to another of the same ownership.

Release Note

A receipt signed by a customer acknowledging the delivery of cargo.

Release Notification System (RNS)

The electronic notification system that provides customers, customs agencies, and customers’ broker representatives with proactive notification of shipment acceptance, review, and release.

Revenue Ton (R/T)

The greater weight or measurement of cargo where 1 ton is either 1,000 kilos or 1 cubic meter (for the metric system). Also known as “Bill of Lading Ton” or “Freight Ton.” It is used to calculate freight charges.

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

A feature designed in a specially-constructed vessel in both the loading and discharging ports.


Said to Contain (STC)

A standard clause used to protect carriers, NVOCC operators, or forwarders when cargo is stuffed into the container by shippers, their agents, or other third parties. See also “Shipper’s Load and Count”.


Property that has been recovered from a wrecked vessel, or the recovery of the ship herself.

Salvage Clause

A marine insurance policy clause that states the proportion of salvage charges for which underwriters are liable.

Salvage Lien

A maritime lien exists when a ship or goods come into the possession of one who preserves them from the perils at sea. All salvage services carry with them a maritime lien on the items saved.

Salvage Value

The value on which salvage is awarded. It generally means the value of ship and cargo when they have been brought to a place of safety by the salvors.

Seal Record

A record of the number, condition, and marks of identification on seals made at various times and places, referring to the movement of the container between origin and destination.

Service Contract

The Shipping Act of 1984 of the U.S. allows a contract between a shipper (or a shippers’ association) and an ocean common carrier, NVOCC operator, or a Shipping 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, NVOCC operator, or conference commits to a certain rate or rate schedule and 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 nonperformance on the part of either party.

Ship Chandler

An individual or company selling equipment and supplies for ships.

Ship Planning

A function in the operations of container vessels where containers have to be planned for loading onto vessels, taking into consideration the size and weight of containers, transshipment, and discharging port rotation, types of cargo, etc. The officer responsible for such a function is called a “Ship Planner”.

Shipped Bill of Lading

A bill of lading issued only after the cargo has actually been shipped on board the vessel, as distinguished from the Received-for-Shipment bill of lading. Also, see “On-board Bill of Lading”.

Shipped On-board

Endorsement on a bill of lading confirming loading of cargoes or containers on a vessel.


The person for whom the owners of a ship agree to carry goods to a specified destination and at a specified price. Also called “Consignor.” The conditions under which the transportation is effected are stipulated in the bill of lading.

Shipper Owned Container (SOC)

The container used for cargo shipment is owned by the shipper.

Shipper’s Export Declaration (SED)

A form often required prior to exporting a product. See “Overview of the Shipper’s Export Declaration (SED)” for more information.

Shipper’s Load and Count

Shipments loaded and sealed by shippers and not checked or verified by the carriers or forwarders. Neither the carriers nor the forwarders will assume any liability for shortages of cargo as long as the container seal remains intact at the time of devanning.

Shipping Order

A set of documents of carriers or forwarders that allows the shippers to book shipping space with them. There are a number of copies with the same form and contents but with different names – the 1st copy is called Shipping Order, and the remainder are called Shipping Order Copy or Dock Receipt – and for different purposes such as space control, surveyor, and sworn measurer, confirmation of receipt of cargo/containers, etc. As EDI is more popular nowadays and used by both the shipper and Customs, a hard copy Shipping Order is no longer widely used.

Shipside Delivery

A special cargo handling instruction for cargo to be delivered right away at the shipside after discharge.


Cargo or containers that are not loaded on-board the intended vessel in line with the Shipping Order confirmed with the carrier.


Space on board a vessel occupied by a container.

Stack Car

An articulated five-platform railcar that allows containers to be double-stacked. A stack car holds ten 40-foot equivalent units.

Standard International Trade Classification (SITC)

A standard numerical code used by the United Nations to classify commodities used in international trade.


The right-hand side of a ship when facing the bow.


See “Longshoreman”.

Store-Door Delivery (STOR/DOR)

Delivery of goods to the consignee’s place of business or warehouse by motor vehicle. Refers to a complete package of delivery services performed by a carrier from origin to final consumption point, whether that be retail, wholesale, or another final distribution facility.

Store-Door Pickup

Picking up an empty container from a carrier, delivering it to a merchant, and returning the laden container; the portion of store-door pickup performed by the carrier’s trucker.


A marine term referring to loading freight into the ships’ holds.

Straight Bill of Lading

A term for a non-negotiable bill of lading.


The unloading of a container.


The loading of a container.



Interior floor in a reefer, so named because of the longitudinal T-shaped rails that support the cargo and form a plenum for airflow beneath the cargo.

Tare Weight

The weight of packing material or, in carload shipments, the weight of the empty freight car or the weight of a container.


A publication setting forth the charges, rates, and rules of transportation companies.


An assigned area in which containers are prepared for loading into a vessel or are stacked immediately after discharge from the vessel.

Terminal Handling Charge (THC)

A charge of carriers for recovering the costs of handling FCLs at container terminals at origin or destination.

Terminal Receiving Charge (TRC)

A charge assessed by the terminal for cargo being delivered for export.

Through Rate

The total rate from the point of origin to the final destination.

Through Service (Thru Service)

A combination of transportation by sea and land services to/from the point of origin to the final destination.

Time Charter

A charter party hiring a vessel for a specified period of time in which the shipowner provides the vessel, bunkers, and crew while the charterer supplies the cargo.

Time Volume Agreement (TVA)

A contract between a carrier and shipper specifying the movement of a number of containers over time.


Generally refers to freight handled.


The charge made for towing a vessel.


A freighter vessel that does not run in any regular trade lane but takes cargo wherever the shippers desire.


To transfer goods from one transportation line (trade lane) to another, or from one ship to another.

Transhipment Hub

A port that is employed by a carrier for transshipping its carriers from one transportation line (trade lane) to another.

Transit Cargo

Goods onboard, which upon their arrival at a certain port are not to be discharged at that port.

Transit Port

A port where cargo received is mere en route and from which they have to be transferred and dispatched to their ultimate destination by coasters, barge, and so on. Also called “Transshipment Port.”

Twenty Foot (20’) Equivalent Unit (TEU)

Commonly describes a 20-foot container.


Unit Train

A train of a specified number of railcars, perhaps 100, wherein the cars remain in a unit for a designated destination or until a change in routing is made.

Unit Load

Packages loaded on a pallet, in a crate, or any other way that enables them to be handled at one time as a unit.

Uniform Customs and Practice of Documentary Credit (UCP)

The “bankers Bible” on Documentary Credit Interpretation issued by the International Chamber of Commerce (I.C.C.).


In marine insurance, one who subscribes his name to the policy indicating his acceptance of the liability mentioned therein, in consideration for which he receives a premium.


UNCTAD Multi Modal Transport Convention.


United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.


Revised and updated version of UCP operating from January 1, 1994.


Voyage Charter

A charter party hiring a vessel for a particular voyage in which the shipowner provides the vessel, bunkers, and crew while the charterer supplies the cargo.

Vessel’s Manifest

Statement of a vessel’s cargo or containers (revenue, consignee, marks, etc.).

VAT, Mexico

Valued-Added Tax on the portion of service provided by the Mexican carrier. The invoicing party is due to collect and remit this tax.


A term sometimes used for stowing cargo in a container.



A charge assessed by a pier or dock owner against freight handled over the pier or dock or against a steamship company using the pier or dock.

Weight Cargo

A cargo on which the transportation charge is assessed on the basis of weight.

Waybill (WB)

A document prepared by a transportation line at the point of a shipment. Shows the point of the origin, destination, route, consignor, consignee, description of shipment, and the amount charged for the transportation service. A waybill is forwarded with the shipment or sent by mail to the agent at the transfer point or waybill destination. Unlike a bill of lading, a waybill is not a document of title.

War Risk

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


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