A discount allowed for damage or overcharge in the payment of a shipping bill.

Agency tariff

A tariff published by an agent on behalf of several carriers.


Allotment is a term used to describe blocked space by airlines and shipping lines on behalf of forwarders/shippers.

AWB (Air waybill)

A bill of lading for air transport that serves as a receipt for the shipper, indicates that the carrier has accepted the goods listed, obligates the carrier to carry the consignment to the airport of destination according to specified conditions.


The return trip of a commercial truck that is transporting freight back from the current destination to its point of origin.

BCN (Buyers Consoliation)

BCN is a full container shipment from multiple suppliers for one consignee.

BL (Bill of Lading)

Bill of Lading (BL) is a legal document issued by a carrier to a shipper that details the type, quantity and destination of the goods being carried. A bill of lading also serves as a shipment receipt, evidence of Contract of Carriage Receipt of Goods and Document of Title to the goods.

Cargo receipt

A consolidator or freight forwarder issues cargo receipt to a shipper. Cargo receipt is a document acknowledging receipt of goods for shipping. A consolidator or freight forwarder issues cargo receipt to a shipper.

Customs Broker

Customs Broker is a firm that represents importers/exporters in dealings with customs. Normally responsible for obtaining and submitting all documents for clearing merchandise through customs, arranging inland transport, and paying all charges related to these functions.

CDD (Contract Delivery Date)

A contract delivery date (CDD) is the date of delivery required by a contract. CDD is specified on a line item basis.

CFR (Cost and Freight)

Under the Incoterm CFR, the supplier pays the costs and freight to bring the goods to the port of destination. Once goods are on board the vessel at the point of export, responsibility for the goods then falls on the buyer.


A chassis is a special trailer or undercarriage used to transport ocean containers over the road. A chassis will be necessary for a shipment traveling by truck and will incur a chassis fee. Generally, a tri-axle chassis is required for a 20' container above 36,000 lbs.

Chassis split

A chassis split is when the container is not located in the same place as the chassis. In this case, the trucking company may assess a chassis split fee to cover the costs of bringing the chassis to the container location.

CHB (Customs House Broker)

Customs House Broker (CHB) is a business firm that oversees the movement of international shipments through Customs, and ensures that the documentation accompanying a shipment is complete and accurate.

COC (Carrier-owned Container)

Carrier-owned Container (COC) is the shipping container owned by the carrier.

DAP (Delivery at Place)

If the goods are sent on DAP basis, the seller is responsible for the delivery of the goods including transport costs to the named destination of the buyer.

DC (Dry Container)

Dry Container or Dry Cargo Container. It is used for transporting all types of goods, except liquids. The dry container comes in a variety of sizes, 20′, 40′ or slightly above 45′. In logistics DC may also stand for Distribution Center.

DDC (Desitnation Delivery Charge)

Destination Delivery Charge (DDC) is a charge based on container size applied in many tariffs to cargo. DDC is considered accessorial and is added to the base ocean freight.

DDP (Delivery Duty Paid)

In DDP (Delivery Duty Paid) shipping the seller takes responsibility for all risk and fees of shipping goods until they reach their destination.

DDU (Delivery Duty Unpaid)

Delivered Duty Unpaid (DDU): Seller is responsible for ensuring goods arrive safely to a destination; the buyer is responsible for import duties.

DEM (Demurrage Charge)

DEM (demurrage charge) is a container storage charge at a port collected by a shipping company.


An item's weight and dimensions.


When freight is density-based, the freight’s density will determine the class. The NMFC code will tell you how to class your item. Some items have a permanent class, whereas others could be classed based on density, packaging, value, or other factors.

DET (Detention Charge)

DET is the charge to store containers at the shipping lines' warehouse. Similar to DEM fees, DET fees also have a policy of free container storage for a period of time (or days).

EXW (Ex Works)

In Ex Works (EXW) the seller makes a product available for pick up at a specific location normally the seller's premises, and the buyer has to pay the transport costs.

FCA (Free Carrier)

Under the FCA Incoterm, the seller is responsible for delivering the goods to an agreed port. The seller then transfers the cleared goods to the carrier appointed by the buyer. The seller includes transportation costs in its price and assumes the risk of loss until the carrier receives the goods. At this point, the buyer assumes all responsibility.

FEU (Forty-foot Equivalent Unit)

Forty-foot Equivalent Unit. FEU is the 40-foot length container which is also known as 2 TEU (twenty-foot Equivalent Unit).

FCL (Full Container Load)

Full container load (FCL) is when the shipper utilizes all the space in a container.

FMC (Federal Maritime Commission)

Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) is the U.S. Federal Authority governing sea transport.

FSC (Fuel Surcharge)

Fuel surcharge is an additional fee to recover increased fuel cost, most often imposed for airfreight.

GRI (General Rate Increase)

General Rate Increase (GRI) is the amount by which ocean carriers increase their base rates across specific lines, generally as a result of increased demand.

FOB (Free on Board)

Free on Board (FOB) is a term used to indicate whether the seller or the buyer is liable for the goods during shipping. "FOB origin" means the buyer is at risk once the seller ships the goods. "FOB destination" means the seller retains the risk until the goods reach the buyer.

FAK (Freight All Kinds)

FAK (Freight All Kinds) refers to the FCL (full container load) of mixed shipments for different consignees. FAK combines different classes of shipments into a given classification to be transported as a single shipment at a fixed rate.

BAF (Bunker Adjustment Factor)

Bunker refers to the fuel used by ships. Bunker Adjustment Factor (BAF) is a fee calculated by the shipping lines to cover the fluctuations in fuel costs. The fee is also known as bunker surcharge or bunker contribution.

BUC (Bunker Contribution)

A bunker surcharge levied by the carrier (or the shipping company) to compensate for the risk of fuel price fluctuations.

FCX (Full Container Consolidated)

FCX is a container for a single consignee with cargo combined from multiple suppliers.

BCO (Beneficial Cargo Owner)

Beneficial cargo owner (BCO) is the party that ultimately owns the product being shipped. BCO is also known as the importer of record.

CFS (Container Freight Station)

Container Freight Station (CFS) is a place for the packing and unpacking of LCL (Less than Container Load) consignments.

CIF (Cost, Insurance and Freight)

Under the Incoterm CIF, the seller assumes the responsibility for all of the arrangement and transportation costs for shipping goods to the destination port. The buyer will then assume all further responsibilities once the ship has reached port. CIF is broadly similar to the term CFR (Cost and Freight), with the exception that the seller is required to obtain insurance for the goods while in transit.

CBP (Customs and Border Protection)

CBP is a federal law enforcement agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security. CBP provides security and facilitation operations for ports of entry throughout the U.S.

Cold chain

A cold chain is a low temperature-controlled supply chain. An unbroken cold chain is an uninterrupted series of refrigerated production, storage and distribution activities, which maintain a desired low-temperature range.

HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point)

HACCP is a process control system that identifies where hazards might occur in the food throughout the entire supply chain.

Accessorial charges

Charges that are applied to the base tariff rate or base contract rate, e.g., bunkers, container, currency, destination/delivery.

ABI (Automated Broker Interface)

ABI is by which brokers file importers' entries to the U.S. Customs electronically.

Above board

If ocean cargo is on or above the deck of a ship then the cargo is above board.

ACH (Automated Clearing House)

An electronic funds-transfer system that make electronic payments to vendors with standardized remittance information in computer processable data formats.


When a bill of lading is accepted or signed by a shipper or shipper's agent without protest, the shipper is said to acquiesce to the terms, giving a silent form of consent.

ACS (Automated Commercial Systems)

U.S. Customs' master computer system.


Agent refers to a person authorized to transact business in the name of another person or company.

FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon)

FBA is a program run by Amazon online retail offering warehousing, packaging, and shipping services through the Amazon platform.

ATF (Airline Terminal Fee)

ATF is to cover the cost of cargo handling. The ATF charge is a component of the air freight fees which may appear under origin fees or destination fees.

Aggregate tender rate

A rate that a carrier may apply when simultaneously transporting multiple shipments that share the same freight class.

Ambient temperature

Ambient temperature refers to the temperature of the environment surrounding the container’s location.


An accountee is the buyer, purchaser, or importer in international trades.

Airport of discharge

The airport at which an air carrier unloads its cargo. The cargo is then picked up for transportation to its final delivery destination.

Ad hoc charter

An entire aircraft carries a specific cargo on shipper's own terms dictating when and where to fly.


Affreight means hiring or chartering a ship or aircraft for the transportation of goods or freight.

Ad valorem duty

Ad valorem duty is the customs duty applied to the value of goods. A percentage premium is applied to the incoming goods based upon the invoice value.


Aft means at, near, or toward the stern (rear) of a ship or tail of an aircraft.

Freight Forwarder

A freight forwarder is a shipping agent specializing in freight shipping. To its customers, a freight forwarder is the carrier. To a carrier, the freight forwarder is the shipper.


Absorption is when one carrier assumes the charges of another without any increase in charges to the shipper.

Bonded goods

Bonded goods are goods that have entered the country of import but have not been released by customs authorities. They are kept in an area of a warehouse called a customs bonded warehouse until duties, taxes, and any penalties are paid.

Breakbulk cargo

Breakbulk cargo means goods that are too big to fit inside of a container. These goods get put on racks or pallets and stowed on board ship in individually counted units.

Bulk cargo

An item may be classified as bulk cargo if it is not containerized. Items such as oil, grain, or coal are all examples of bulk cargo.

Blank sailing

A blank sailing is when an ocean line decides to skip a particular port, or cancel the entire scheduled route.


Bulk means a cargo that is not packaged in any way, and is carried loose in the hold of a ship.

Bonded warehouse

Bonded warehouse is a customs-controlled warehouse for the retention of imported goods until the duty owed is paid.

Blind shipping

Blind shipping hides the identity of the shipper and the shipment’s origin. Blind shipping is often used used when a manufacturer ships goods directly to customers on behalf of a seller.


The consignee is the party that receives goods from a carrier when transportation is complete. The party that sends goods is the consignor.

CBM (Cubic Meter)

Cubic meter (CBM) is the freight volume of the shipment. For example, a 40ft container is 67 CBM.

Commercial invoice

A commerical invoice is a document prepared by the seller to indicate the value of goods and request payment from the buyer. It is also used by customs authorities to calculate duty.


The consignor is the party that sends goods. The consignee is the party that receives goods from a carrier when transportation is complete.


Consolidation is when a carrier or a shipper combines several smaller shipments (less than container load) into one full container.