International Shipping Terms Explained in a Simple Way

Manufacturing Contract in China

The International shipping and marine transport industry are full of unique shipping terms and shipping abbreviations. And these are used every day to describe everything from modes of transport, units of measure, pricing structures. Certainly, you must understand them to be successful in shipping and global trade.

A wide range of terms that relate to the process of moving goods through a supply chain can be a daunting task to understand. For the businesses, it is important to know various types of shipments and related terms to make sure their shipments get shipped on time, within compliance, and in good shape. We’ve put together this shipping glossary chart to help you navigate international shipping. Certainly, you must understand them to be successful in shipping and global trade.

 

Air waybill (AWB): An air waybill (AWB) is a document that accompanies goods shipped by an international air courier to provide detailed information about the shipment and allow it to be tracked. The AWB is non-negotiable and acts as evidence of the contract of carriage from airport to airport. There are three parties involved in an air waybill – the sender, the airline, and the recipient.

 

Bill of lading: A document issued by a carrier or their agent acknowledging receipt of cargo for shipment. Often abbreviated as BOL, BoL, B/L, or BL. If there were no issues with the cargo stated on the BOL, it is said to be a clean bill of lading.

 

CIF: Cost, Insurance, and Freight. 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.

 

C & F: Cost and Freight. It is 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.

 

Compliance Plan: A documented process that is company-specific and outlines how the business will operate within the required governmental rules and regulations. Plans usually contain standard operating procedures (SOPs), training materials and frequency schedules, key contacts, current commodity lists, and more.

 

Duties and Taxes: Fees collected on importing and exporting goods. Duty is charged to keep competition fair by bringing the cost of imported goods up to the same cost as those produced within the importing country. The person or business receiving the shipment is legally obliged to pay duties unless the sender has agreed to accept these charges in the contract of sale. Duties are also sometimes known as tariffs.

Demurrage/Detention: Demurrage is a charge to be paid by a shipper or consignee to the carrier as a penalty for delaying the carrier’s cargo beyond the allowed free time. Detention is the same as demurrage except that instead of applying to delays in cargo, detention applies to delays in equipment

Electronic data interchange (EDI): Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce, and Transportation, is an international syntax used in the interchange of electronic data. Customs uses EDI to interchange data with the importing trade community.

Forty-foot Equivalent Unit (FEU): This is a container that is the same height and width as a TEU but twice the length. As a result, it has twice the capacity.

 

Shipper: Any person or organization paying for its cargo to be shipped from one place to another.

 

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