Glossary of terms

 The A-Z Glossary of Freight


Act of God: Accidents of a nature beyond human control such as floods, hurricanes or even lightning.

Added Value: The value attributed to your product as a result of using our Freight and Logistcs services.

Air Waybill: The forwarding agreement or carrying agreement between shipper and air carrier and is issued only in nonnegotiable form.

AMS: The U.S. Customs' "Automated Manifest System."

BAF: Bunker Adjustment Factor:, is an adjustment to shipping companies freight rates to take into account fluctuation in the cost of fuel oil (bunkers) for their ships.

Bill of Lading (B/L): A document that establishes the terms of a contract between a shipper and a transportation company. It serves as a document of title, a contract of carriage and a receipt for goods.

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

Break-Bulk: To discharge or strip cargo. Break Bulk Cargo is conventionally stowed as opposed to unitised, containerised and Roll on-Roll off cargo.

Bulk Carrier: A single deck vessel (ship) designed to carry homogeneous unpacked dry cargoes such as grain. iron ore and coal

CAF: Currency Adjustment Factor, is an adjustment to shipping companies freight rates to take into accounts the effect over time of fluctuations in currency exchange rates.

Carnet: A Customs document permitting the holder to temporarily carry or send merchandise into certain foreign countries (for display, demonstration or similar purposes) without paying duties or posting bonds. Any of various Customs documents required for crossing some international borders.

CBM is the abbreviation for Cubic Meter.

Certificate of Origin: A certificate stating the country of origin of goods. Depending on the importing country’s requirements, this can be as simple as being issued by the seller of the manufacturer. In most cases, however it is required to be issued by a Chamber of Commerce in the country of origin.

Container: A truck trailer body that can be detached from the chassis for loading into a vessel, a rail car or stacked in a container depot. Containers may be ventilated, insulated, refrigerated, flat rack, vehicle rack, open top, bulk liquid or equipped with interior devices. A container may be 20 feet, 40 feet, 45 feet, 48 feet or 53 feet in length, 8'0" or 8'6" in width, and 8'6" or 9'6" in height.

Container Terminal: Place where loaded and  or empty containers are loaded or discharged into or from a means of transport.

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

Country of Origin: Country in which the goods have been produced or manufactured, according to criteria laid down for the purpose of application of the customs tarrif, of quantitative restrictions or of any other measure related ot trade.

Customs Entry: All countries require that the importer make a declaration on incoming foreign goods. The importer then normally pays a duty on the imported merchandise. The importer's statement is compared against the carrier's vessel manifest to ensure that all foreign goods are properly declared.

Demurrage: A penalty charge against shippers or consignees for delaying the carrier's equipment beyond the allowed free time. The  free time and demurrage charges are set forth in the charter party or freight tariff. 

Duty: Is tariff levied at the time of import upon goods being entering a country. Usually based on the value of the goods on the physical nature of the goods.

Duty Drawback: If goods which have been imported and upon which customs duty has been paid, are exported or have been used in the manufacture of goods which have been exported, then the exporter may be entitled to a refund of th original import duty paid.

ETA: Estimated Time of Arrival

ETD: Estimate Time of Departure

FAK: Freight All Kinds

FCL: Full container load

FEU: Abbreviation for "40ft Equivalent Units." Two twenty-foot containers or TEU's equal one FEU

Freight Forwarder: A person whose business is to act as an agent on behalf of the shipper. A freight forwarder frequently makes the booking reservation.

General Purpose Container: Commonly abbreviated as GP. It is a container used of the carriage of general cargo without any special requirements for the transport and or the conditioning of the goods.

Gross Weight: Entire weight of goods, packaging and freight car or container, ready for shipment. Generally, 80,000 pounds maximum container, cargo and tractor for highway transport.

Heavy-Lift Charge: A charge made for lifting articles too heavy to be lifted by a ship's normal equipment.

In Bond: Cargo moving under Customs control where duty has not yet been paid.

Inco terms: Trade terms in coded form as established by the International Chamber of Commerce in 1953. Since then they have been regularly updated.

L/C is the abbreviation for "Letter of Credit."

LCL: less than container load

Lift-On Lift-Off: The abbreviation of LOLO, which is the loading and discharging of containers carried out by cranes, straddle carriers and derricks.

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, etc., but excludes losses that can be recovered from the carrier.

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.

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

Packing List: Itemized list of commodities with marks/numbers but no cost values indicated.

Phytosanitary Inspection Certificate: A certificate issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to satisfy import regulations of foreign countries; indicates that a U.S. shipment has been inspected and found free from harmful pests and plant diseases.

POL: Port of Loading                   POD: Port of Destination             

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

Quarantine: A restraint placed on an operation to protect the public against a health hazard. A ship may be quarantined so that it cannot leave a protected point. During the quarantine period, the Q flag is hoisted.

Rail Consignment Note: A document evidencing a contract/agreement for the transport of goods by rail.

Ramp: Railroad terminal where containers are received or delivered and trains loaded or discharged. Originally, trailers moved onto the rearmost flatcar via a ramp and driven into position in a technique known as "circus loading." Most modern rail facilities use lifting equipment to position containers onto the flatcars.

Reefer (Refrigerated Cargo): There are awide variety of cargoes transported in refrigerated containers, all requiring unique temperature settings. These cargoes commonly require temperature settings from approx. -25'C, with temperature control setttings up to +30'C with many cargoes ranging in between.

Side-loader: A transport where using a lifting mechanism to pick up containers off the ground and put it on the back of the transport and vice versa. Please refer to the image in the useful information.

Shrink Wrap: Polyethylene or similar substance heat-treated and shrunk into an envelope around several units, thereby securing them as a single pack for presentation or to secure units on a pallet.

Skeleton Trailer: Road Trailer consisting of a frame and wheels specially designed to carry containers.

Skids: Different Product Line that exist

Telex: Used for sending messages to outside companies. Messages are transmitted via Western Union, ITT and RCA.  Being replaced by fax and internet.

Temperature Recorder: A device to record temperature in a container while cargo is en route.

TEU: Abbreviation for “20ft equivalent units”

Trans-ship: To transfer goods from one transportation line to another, or from one ship to another. Normally done at a trans-shipment port.

 War Risk: Perils of war or warlike operations, such as capture, seizure, arrest, hostilities, civil war, restraints of kings and so on. War Risks are not covered under a policy for marine perils and must therefore be covered under a separate policy for war risks.