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Glossary of International Shipping Terms



The following shipping terms are words that might be unfamiliar to you. Browse the entire list or click a letter below to quickly go to all terms beginning with that letter.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


[A]


  • Absorption: Absorption is investment and consumption purchases by households,businesses, and governments, both domestic and imported. When absorption exceeds production, the excess is the country's current account deficit.
  • Ad Valorem Equivalent: AVE is the rate of duty which would have been required on dutiable imports under that item, if the United States customs value of such imports were based on the United States port of entry value.
  • AD Valorem Tariff: A tariff assessed as a percentage of the value of the goods cleared through customs. For example, 10 percent Ad Valorem means the tariff is 10 percent of the value of the goods.
  • Advanced Technology Products: About 500 of some 22,000 commodity classification codes used in reporting U.S. merchandise trade are identified as ""advanced technology"" codes and they meet the following criteria: The code contains products whose technology is from a recognized high tec.
  • Advisory Committee on Trade Negotiations (ACTN): A group appointed by the U.S. President to advise him on matters of trade policy and related issues, including trade agreements.
  • Air Cargo Agent: A type of freight forwarder who specializes in air cargo and acts for airlines that pay him a fee (usually 5%). The Air Cargo Agent is registered with the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
  • Air Waybill: An AWB is a bill of lading which covers both domestic and international flights transporting goods to a specified destination. Technically, it is a non-negotiable instrument of air transport which serves as a receipt for the shipper.
  • Alongside: A phrase referring to the side of a ship. Goods to be delivered ""alongside"" are to be placed on the dock or lighter within reach of the transport ship's tackle so that they can be loaded aboard the ship. Goods are delivered to the port of embarkation.
  • Advanced Charge: the amount of shipment or other charge on a shipment advanced by one transportation line to another, or to the shipper to be collected from the consignee.
  • Agent: a person authorized to transact business for and in the name of another.
  • Aggregate Shipments: numerous shipments from different shippers to one consignee that are consolidated and treated as a single consignment.
  • Agreed Weight: the weight prescribed by agreement between carrier and shipper for goods shipped in certain packages or in a certain number.
  • Allowance: a sum granted as reimbursement or repayment, or a deduction form the gross weight or value of goods.
  • Alternative Rates: two or more rates, of which the one that produces the lowest charge is applicable.
  • Any-Quantity Rate: a rate applicable to an article in any quantity.
  • Application of Rates: the points from, to, or between which the rates and routes shown in the publication, pricing agreement or customer contract applies.
  • Arrival Notice: a notice, furnished to the consignee, of the arrival of a shipment.
  • Assign: to transfer to another party.
  • Axle Load: maximum load permitted to be carrier on each axle of a motor vehicle.
  • Axle Weight: Amount of weight carried by one axle of a tractor or trailer.
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[B]

  • Berth: The place beside a pier, quay or wharf where a vessel can be loaded or unloaded.
  • Bill of Lading (B/L): The official legal document representing ownership of cargo. It is a negotiable document confirming the receipt of cargoes, and the contract for the carriage of cargoes 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.
  • Bona Fide: In good faith.
  • Bonded Carrier: A carrier licensed by U.S. Customs to carry Customs-controlled merchandise between Customs points. Old Dominion is a bonded carrier.
  • Bonded Warehouse: A warehouse authorized by Customs for storage of goods on which payment of duties is deferred until the goods are removed.
  • Booking: Arrangement with a steamship company for the acceptance and cartage of freight.
  • Booking Number: A reference number for bookings registered with a carrier. It should be unique without duplication for a three-year period.
  • Bow: The front of a vessel.
  • Box: Common term for an ocean-going freight container.
  • Broker: An individual, partnership or corporation which arranges transportation service for client companies.
  • Broker: An individual, partnership or corporation which 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 cargoes are stowed. It is a reflection of the bad stowage of the container or the vessel.
  • Bulk Carriers: A vessel carrying dry, liquid, grain, not packaged, bundled or bottled cargo, and is loaded without marks and number or count.
  • Bull Rings: Cargo-securing devices mounted in the floor of containers which allow lashing and securing of cargoes.
  • Bunker Surcharge (BAF, BSC): Bunker Adjustment Factor (BAF), or Bunker Surcharge (BSC) are surcharges assessed by the carrier to freight rates to reflect current cost of bunker.
  • Bunkers: Heavy oil used as fuel for ocean vessels.

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[C]

  • C-TPAT: A joint government and trade community initiative in developing, enhancing and maintaining effective security processes throughout the global supply chain.
  • Cargo Manifest: A manifest that lists only cargoes, without freight and charges.
  • Carrier: Any individual, company or corporation engaged in transporting cargoes.
  • Carriers Owned Containers: The containers used for the transportation of cargoes belonging to the property of the carriers.Cells: The construction system employed in container vessels which 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.
  • Certificate of Origin: Document certifying the country of origin of goods which is normally issued or signed by a the relevant Government Department of the exporting country, or Chamber of Commerce or Embassy.
  • Closing: The published deadline for export cargoes or containers to be accepted for a 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 of the complexities of export customs clearance formalities at the country.
  • Connecting Carrier Agreement: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.
  • Consolidation: The combination of many small shipments into one container.
  • Consolidator: A person or firm performing a consolidation service of small lots of cargoes for shippers.
  • Consortium: A group of carriers pooling resources, normally container vessels, in a trade lane to maximize their resources efficiently.
  • Container Load Plan: A document prepared to show all details of cargoes 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 which ships its cargoes on FCL terms.
  • Container Number: The unique identification of a container.
  • Container Seal Number: A number embossed on high-security seals for closing up containers which will serve identification purposes.
  • Container Size: The length of a container i.e. 20', 40' and 45' (feet).
  • Containership: An ocean vessel specifically designed to carry ocean cargo containers. It is fitted with vertical cells for maximum capacity.
  • Container Terminal: A facility which allows container vessels to berth alongside for the operations of loading and unloading of containers. Shippers deliver their export containers to the Container Terminal awaiting for loading onto container vessels whilst consignees at ports take delivery of containers from the Container Terminal after they are unloaded from the container vessels.
  • Container Yard: A facility inside or outside the Container Terminal which accepts laden export containers from shippers or laden import containers for delivery to consignees.
  • Controlled Atmosphere: An atmosphere in which oxygen, carbon dioxide and nitrogen concentrations are regulated, as well as temperature and humidity.
  • Cost and Freight: It is a term of trading in which the buyer of the goods pays an amount which covers the cost of the goods plus the cost of transporting the goods from origin to the port of discharge or final destination.
  • Cube the Shipment: Measure the total cubic feet of the shipment.
  • Currency Adjustment Factor: A surcharge percentage applied to freight rates to reflect currency fluctuations between U.S. dollars and other currencies.
  • Customs Bonded Warehouse: A public or privately owned warehouse where dutiable goods are stored pending payment of duty or removal under bond. The storage or delivery of goods are 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 the 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 is 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 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.
  • CY/CFS: Cargo loaded in a full container by a shipper at origin, delivered to a CFS facility at destination, and then devanned by the carrier for loose pick-up.
  • CY/CY: Cargo loaded by the shipper in a full container at origin and delivered to the carrier's terminal at destination for pick-up intact by consignee.
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[D]

  • Dangerous Goods: The term used by I.M.C.O. for hazardous materials which are capable of posing a significant risk to health, safety or property while being transported.
  • Dead Space: Space in a car, truck, vessel, etc., that is not utilized.
  • Deadweight: The number of tons of cargoes, stores and bunker fuel a ship can carry and transport.
  • Deadweight Tonnage (D/W): The number of total weight tons of cargoes, 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: An unit train operated by various railroads for exclusive usage.
  • Delivered Duty Paid (DDP): In DDP, 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, 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 cargoes 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.
  • Demurrage: Detention of a freight vehicle or container beyond a stipulated time.
  • 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 the U.S.A. trade.
  • Devanning: The removal of cargo from a container. Also known as unstuffing, unloading or stripping.
  • Differential Rate: An amount added or deducted from base rate to make a rate to or from some other point or via another route.
  • Diversion: A change made in the route of a shipment in transit.
  • Divert: The route of a shipment changed in transit from that shown on the original billing. Used interchangeably with reconsign.
  • Door-to-Door: Through transportation of a container and its cargoes from consignor's premises to consignee's premises.
  • Double-deck Load: A 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.
  • Dray: A truck or other equipment designed to haul heavy loads.
  • Drayage: Charge made for local hauling by dray or truck; road transportation between the nearest Ocean Port or Railway terminal and the stuffing/destuffing place.
  • Dry Cargo: Cargo that does not require temperature control.
  • Dry Dock: An enclosed basin into which a ship is taken for underwater cleaning and repairing. It is fitted with watertight entrance gates which when closed permit the dock to be pumped dry.
  • Dry-Bulk Container: A container constructed to carry grain, powder and other free-flowing solids in bulk.
  • Dunnage: Lumber or other material used to brace materials in carrier's equipment or containers.
  • Dwell Time: It is expressed in terms of 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.
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[E]

  • Empty Depot: A container yard used for the storage of empty containers.
  • En route: Along the route of movement.
  • ETA: Estimated time of arrival of carriers.
  • ETD: Estimated time of departure of carriers.
  • 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.”
  • Exchange Rate: The ratio of prices at which the currencies of nations are exchanged at a particular time.
  • Export: Shipment of goods to another country.
  • Export Declaration: A government document permitting designated goods to be shipped out of the country.
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[F]

  • Federal Maritime Commission (FMC): US Government Agency responsible for the regulation of all maritime activities.
  • Federal Maritime Commission (FMC): US Government Agency responsible for the regulation of all maritime activities.
  • Feeder Vessel: A vessel employed in normally short-sea routes to fetch or carry cargoes and containers to and from ocean-going vessels from the principle port hubs in a region to the minor ports.
  • Final Destination: The place where the carrier or the forwarder actually turns over the container or cargo to the consignee of its agent. It is the end of liability of carriers or forwarders.
  • Flash Point:A temperature that when certain inflammable cargo reaches will trigger spontaneous ignition. It is an IMCO standard information requirement for dangerous goods.
  • Force Majeure: Accidents or incidents caused by the force 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.
  • 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. ree and Secure Trade (FAST): A joint Canada/US border security agreement, of which C-TPAT and PIP are the main initiatives.
  • Free In and Out (FIO): It is 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): It is an incoterms term of sale where the seller of the cargoes are responsible for all charges of the transportation of the cargoes all the way up to their arrival on board the ship. It includes all charges of carriers or forwarders levied at the port of loading.
  • Free Storage Period (FSP): A carrier offers a period of time, normally three to five days, at destinations whereby imported containers or cargoes are allowed to be taken 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.
  • Fresh Air Exchange (FAE): The fresh air exchange system in a reefer container which removes harmful gases from reefers carrying sensitive perishable commodities. The fresh air vent is located on the reefer machinery at the end of the container. The fresh air vent is adjustable to accommodate a variety of cargo and chilled load operating conditions. The fresh air vent should be tightly closed when carrying frozen cargo.
  • Fuel Adjustment Factor (FAF): An ancillary charge on ocean freight shipments to account for fluctuations in fuel costs.
  • Full Berth Terms (FBT): Indicates that the cost of loading and discharge is included in the steamship rate quoted. Ship owner pays these.
  • Full Cellular Ship: A ship fitted for container carriage in all available space. The ship is fitted with vertical cells for container placement both below and above deck. No provisions are available for cargo other than containers.
  • Full Container Load (FCL):It is an arrangement whereby the shipper packs cargoes into a container provided by the carrier or the forwarder before delivering to the container terminal.
  • Fumigation: Treatment of cargoes with a pesticide-active ingredient that is a gas under treatment conditions. It is a process required by many importing countries for the importation of wood and related products.
  • Functional Currency: The currency of the primary economic environment of and entity.
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[G]

  • General Average: General average is an unwritten, non-statutory, international maritime law which 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 which will be applied when the vessel is encountering serious accidents caused by force majeure.
  • General Imports:Measure the total physical arrivals of merchandise from foreign countries, whether such merchandise enters consumption channels immediately or is entered into bonded warehouses or Foreign Trade Zones under Customs custody.
  • Genset: A portable power generator, which converts fuel into electrical power by mechanical means, and from which a reefer draws power. A clip-on generator set is mounted to the front of the refrigeration unit. An underslung generator set is mounted to the chassis upon which the reefer is mounted for handling and transport. The underslung generator set can be either side-mounted or center-mounted on the chassis.
  • Gooseneck: The front rails of the chassis that raise above the plane of the chassis and engage in the tunnel of a container.
  • 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: Entire weight of goods, packaging and container, ready for shipment.
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[H]

  • Hague Rules: 1924 International Convention on Carriage of Goods by Sea. These rules 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: In March 1978 an international conference in Hamburg adopted a new set of rules (The Hamburg Rules), which radically alter the liability which ship owners have to bear for loss or damage to goods in the courts of those nations where the rules apply.
  • Hard Currency: The currency of a nation which may be exchanged for that of another nation without restriction. Sometimes referred to as convertible currency. Hard currency countries typically have sizeable exchange reserves and surpluses in their balance of payments.
  • 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.
  • Hatch: The opening in the deck of a vessel which gives access to the cargo hold.
  • Haulier: The participating carrier responsible for drayage of containers.
  • 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.
  • Hold: It is the part of the ship below decks where the cargo is stored.
  • House Bill of Lading (HB/L): Bill of lading issued by a forwarder or an NVOCC operator.
  • Hull: The body of a vessel exclusive of masts, yards, sails, rigging, machinery and equipment.
  • Hull Underwriter: The person with whom the ship hull, machinery apparel, and tackle is insured.
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[I]

  • Import: To bring in goods from a foreign country.
  • Import Licence: A document required and issued by some national governments authorizing the importation of goods into their individual countries.
  • Import Permit: Usually required for items that might affect the 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 licence.
  • In Transit: In passage from one place to another.
  • In Transit Document: (Form 7512) issued by a licensed Customs Broker which allows U.S. Customs to monitor in bond shipments moving in the U.S.
  • Inbound: Inward bound. Direction of vessel or cargo going to port of discharge or final destination.
  • Incoterms: Incoterms are a set of uniform rules codifying the interpretation of trade terms defining the rights and obligation 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.
  • Insulated Container: A container insulated on the walls, roof, floor and doors, to reduce the effect of external temperatures on the cargo.
  • Insulated Tank Container: The frame of a container constructed to hold one or more thermally insulated tanks for liquids.
  • Interchange: Transfer of a container from one party to another.
  • Intermodal: Pertaining to transportation involving more than one form of carrier: truck, ship and rail.
  • 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.
  • Interior Points Intermodal: A term used by ocean carriers to describe door-to-door delivery service.
  • 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 Code (IMDG): 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 non-governmental 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.
  • Invoice: 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.
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[J]

  • Jetsam: Cargo thrown overboard in order to lighten a ship, and washed ashore.
  • Jettison: The throwing overboard of cargo to lighten a ship in order to save the ship and its contents.
  • Jetty: A structure projecting out to sea, designed to protect a port from waves but also used to berth ships.
  • JEXIM: The Export-Import Bank of Japan.
  • Joint Committee for Investment and Trade: The JCIT, was established in October 1990 to demonstrate U.S. and Mexican commitment to greater economic cooperation. The Committee identifies trade and investment opportunities and coordinates trade promotion events.
  • Joint Venture: A business undertaking in which more than one firm share ownership and control of production and/or marketing.
  • Jumboising: Conversion of a ship to increase its cargo area capacity by dividing the ship and adding a new section.
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[K]

  • Keel: The main center-line structural member, running fore and aft along the bottom of a ship, sometimes referred to as the backbone.
  • Knot: 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.
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[L]

  • Less than Container Load: Cargo in quantity less than required for the application of a container load rate.
  • Lashing: Support for cargoes inside a container or a cargo hold to ensure that they are secured and will not be subject to rolling during the voyage from origin to destination.
  • Late-Come: It is 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.
  • 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 carries and forwarders to demand letters of indemnity from consignees for taking delivery of cargoes without surrendering bill of lading which has been delayed or is lost.
  • Lien: 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 crane.
  • Lighter: An open or covered barge towed by a tugboat and used mainly in harbours and inland waterways.
  • Lighterage: Refers to the carriage of cargoes by lighter and the charge assessed therefore.
  • Liner: Vessel plying a regular trade/defined route against a published sailing schedule.
  • 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 total capacity of vessel or allocation.
  • Locking Bar: Device that secures container doors at top and bottom.
  • Longshoreman: Workers employed in the terminals or quays to load and unload ships. They are also known as “Stevedores”. Loop A particular service of any Consortium or Carrier among various ports of calls, with the objective of creating a niche in the market for the first port of discharge.
  • Loose: Without packing.
  • Low-Bed: A trailer or semi-trailer with no sides and with the floor of the unit close to the ground.
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[M]

  • Manifest: 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 cargoes or containers loaded in a vessel. Used principally for customs purposes. It is also called summary of Bills of Lading.
  • Maquiladoras: 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.
  • Maritime: Business pertaining to commerce or navigation transacted upon the sea or in seaports in such matters as the court of admiralty has jurisdiction over.
  • Marks and Numbers: Marks and Numbers placed on packages for export for identification purposes; generally a triangle, square, circle, diamond, or cross with letters and/or numbers and port discharge.
  • Master Bill of lading (MB/L): Ocean Bill of lading.
  • Master Lease: Master lease is one form of a short-term lease, which refers to the leasing of the containers by carriers from those leasing companies.
  • Master Lease Leasing Cost: Master lease leasing cost includes container rental, depot lift-on/lift-off charge, on/off hire drayage, drop-off charge and offhire repair cost, etc. Due to off-hire quota limitation, the average on-hire period is around 73 days for 20'GP, 40'GP and 102 days for 40'HQ.
  • Mate's Receipt: A receipt signed by a mate of the vessel, acknowledging receipt of 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.
  • Maximum Payload: Maximum cargo that can be loaded into a container either by weight or volume.
  • Maximum Rate: The highest freight rate permitted by a regulatory body to apply between points.
  • Measurement Ton: 1 cubic metre. One of the alternative bases of Freight Tariff.
  • Microbridge: A landbridge movement in which cargo originating/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.
  • 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.
  • Mini-Bridge: Cargo moving from/to an inland destination on one bill of lading from/to a foreign port through two U.S. ports.
  • Minimum Charge: The lowest charge that can be assessed to transport a shipment.
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[N]

  • NAFTA -North American Free Trade Agreement: The joint Canada, Mexico and United States treaty to reduce tariffs and trade barriers to promote cross-border economic activity.
  • NVOCC: Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier. Cargo consolidator of small shipments in ocean trade into containers at the port.
  • Negotiable Bill of Lading: Original bill of lading endorsed by 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, by the engine room and fuel. A vessel's net tonnage expresses the space available for passengers and cargoes.
  • 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 original bill of lading which cannot be negotiated with banks.
  • Non-vessel Owning/Operating Common Carrier (N.V.O.C.C.): (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 bill of lading for carriage of goods on vessel which he neither owns nor operates.
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[O]

  • Ocean Bill of Lading (Ocean B/L): A bill of lading issued by the ocean-going carriers.
  • Ocean Route: The all-water transportation portion of a route.
  • On Board: Cargoes or containers landed onto the cargo hold or the cells of carriers.
  • On Board Bill of Lading: A Bill of Lading in which a carrier acknowledges that cargoes have 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.
  • On Deck: A special stowage instruction to confine that the cargo stowage must be on deck rather than under deck.
  • One-Way lease: The lease of containers that covers the outbound voyage only, after which the container is returned to the lease holder at or near destination agreed.
  • 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 (ORC): A Terminal Handling Charge levied at ports of loading.
  • Outbound: Outward bound. Direction of vessel or cargo going out from port of loading or point/place of receipt.
  • Overheight Cargo: Cargoes which exceed 9-1/2 ft. in height. They have to be stowed normally in an open-top container.
  • Overland Common Point rates (OCP): Which 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 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.
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[P]

  • Packing List: A document provided by the shipper detailing the packaging of the goods, including their weight and measurement, and assortment, etc.
  • Pallet: 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: 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.
  • Per Diem: Per day.
  • Perishable Cargo: Cargo subject to decay or deterioration, normally fresh food and vegetables, etc.
  • Pilot: A person whose office or occupation is to steer ships, particularly along a coast or into and out of a harbour.
  • Place of Receipt (POR): 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 cargoes from shippers.
  • Port: (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: Location where imported merchandise is off loaded from the importing aircraft or vessel.
  • Port of Discharge (POD):The port at which cargoes or containers are discharged from 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 Entry: A port where cargoes and containers destined elsewhere are actually discharged from a vessel.
  • Port of Loading (POL): A port where cargoes or containers are loaded onto a vessel.
  • 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 (INPARS). An electronic system that allows CCRA to review and pre-release shipments for import into Canada.
  • Packing List: A document provided by the shipper detailing the packaging of the goods, including their weight and measurement, and assortment, etc.
  • Pallet: 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: 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.
  • Per Diem: Per day.
  • Perishable Cargo: Cargo subject to decay or deterioration, normally fresh food and vegetables, etc.
  • Pilot: A person whose office or occupation is to steer ships, particularly along a coast or into and out of a harbour.
  • Place of Receipt (POR): 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 cargoes from shippers.
  • Port: (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: Location where imported merchandise is off loaded from the importing aircraft or vessel.
  • Port of Discharge (POD):The port at which cargoes or containers are discharged from vessel. When transshipment is needed, there can be a nu

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