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  • Abatement
    A discount allowed for damage or overcharge in the payment of a shipping bill.
  • ABI
    Automated Brokerage Interface (ABI) is a system available to U.S. Customs Brokers with the computer capabilities and customs certification to transmit and exchange customs entries and other information, facilitating prompt release of imported cargo.
  • Above board
    If ocean cargo is on or above the deck of a ship then the cargo is above board.
  • Absorption
    Absorption is when one carrier assumes the charges of another without any increase in charges to the shipper.
  • Accessorial charges
    Charges that are applied to the base tariff rate or base contract rate, e.g., bunkers, container, currency, destination/delivery.
  • Accountee
    An accountee is the buyer, purchaser, or importer in international trades.
  • ACH
    An electronic funds-transfer system that make electronic payments to vendors with standardized remittance information in computer processable data formats.
  • ACI
    Advance Commercial Information. Shipments entering the U.S. and Canada are known to CBP and CBSA before the goods arrive at the border. The U.S. system is known as the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE), while its Canadian counterpart is called Advance Commercial Information (ACI).
  • Acquiescence
    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
    U.S. Customs' master computer system.
  • Ad hoc charter
    An entire aircraft carries a specific cargo on shipper's own terms dictating when and where to fly.
  • 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.
  • AES
    Automated Export System (AES) is the system U.S. exporters use to electronically declare their international exports, known as Electronic Export Information (EEI), to the Census Bureau to help compile U.S. export and trade statistics. It is also used by other government agencies for trade enforcement purposes.
  • Affreight
    Affreight means hiring or chartering a ship or aircraft for the transportation of goods or freight.
  • Aft
    Aft means at, near, or toward the stern (rear) of a ship or tail of an aircraft.
  • Agency tariff
    A tariff published by an agent on behalf of several carriers.
  • Agent
    Agent refers to a person authorized to transact business in the name of another person or company.
  • Aggregate tender rate
    A rate that a carrier may apply when simultaneously transporting multiple shipments that share the same freight class.
  • 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.
  • Allotment
    Allotment is a term used to describe blocked space by airlines and shipping lines on behalf of forwarders/shippers.
  • Ambient temperature
    Ambient temperature refers to the temperature of the environment surrounding the container’s location.
  • AMS
    Automated Manifest System (AMS) was created by U.S. Customs to gather shipment information, including cargo details, departure, arrival, and release information between ship carrier, air carrier, and rail carrier. The freight forwarders must use AMS to file within 24 hours before the cargo leaves the country of origin.
  • Arrival Notice
    Arrival Notice is a document sent by the ocean freight forwarder, freight carrier, or agent to the consignee or Notify Party indicating the shipment's arrival date at a specific location.
  • ATF
    An airline terminal fee is cargo handling charge for all air shipments. ATF is a component of the air freight charges which may appear under origin fees or destination fees.
  • AWB
    AWB (Air Waybill) is 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.
  • Backhaul
    The return trip of a commercial truck that is transporting freight back from the current destination to its point of origin.
  • BAF
    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. Bunker refers to the fuel used by ships.
  • BCN 
    BCN is a full container shipment from multiple suppliers for one consignee.
  • BCO
    Beneficial cargo owner (BCO) is the party that ultimately owns the product being shipped. BCO is also known as the importer of record.
  • BUC
    A bunker surcharge levied by the carrier (or the shipping company) to compensate for the risk of fuel price fluctuations.
  • BL
    BL (Bill of Lading) 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.
  • Blank sailing
    A blank sailing is when an ocean line decides to skip a particular port, or cancel the entire scheduled route.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Bonded warehouse
    Bonded warehouse is a customs-controlled warehouse for the retention of imported goods until the duty owed is 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
    Bulk means a cargo that is not packaged in any way, and is carried loose in the hold of a ship.
  • 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.
  • Cargo manifest
    The cargo manifest is an administrative document that describes the particulars of the goods, such as consignors, consignees, marks and numbers, kind of packages, descriptions and quantities of 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.
  • Carrier
    A carrier is the party that issues the Master Bill and legally entitled to physically transport the cargo by land, water, and air.
  • CBM
    Cubic meter (CBM) is the freight volume of the shipment. For example, a 40ft container is 67 CBM.
  • CBP
    CBP provides security and facilitation operations for ports of entry throughout the U.S. CBP enforces U.S. trade laws prior to merchandise arriving at U.S. ports of entry, while merchandise is at the ports, and even after merchandise is released into the U.S. marketplace.
  • CBP 7501
    CBP 7501 is the customs entry form used to provide detailed information to CBP. The form calculates duties and payments.
  • CDD
    A contract delivery date (CDD) is the date of delivery required by a contract. CDD is specified on a line item basis.
  • CFR 
    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.
  • CFS
    Container Freight Station (CFS) is a place for the packing and unpacking of LCL (Less than Container Load) consignments.
  • Chassis
    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 (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.
  • CIF
    Under the Incoterm CIF (cost, insurance, and freight), 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.
  • CLP
    Container Load Plan is a document prepared before loading cargos into a container. CLP discloses the details of the cargos, such as individual weight, total weight, measurements, markings, shipper information, the origin of goods and destination, and location of cargos within the container.
  • COC
    Carrier-owned Container (COC) is the shipping container owned by the carrier.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Consignee
    The consignee is the party that receives goods from a carrier when transportation is complete. The party that sends goods is the consignor.
  • Consignor
    The consignor is the party that sends goods. The consignee is the party that receives goods from a carrier when transportation is complete.
  • Consolidation
    Consolidation is when a carrier or a shipper combines several smaller shipments (less than container load) into one full container.
  • Credit memo
    Credit memo, also known as credit note, is a document sent by a seller to a buyer which includes information about a credited amount to the buyer's account.
  • Cross trade
    Cross trade shipments occur when cargo is shipped from one country to another without passing through the country that the shipper’s business has been registered in. Cross trade is also known as triangular operations or intermediation.
  • Customs bond
    A Customs bond is a financial guarantee filed between three parties: the principal, the insurance/surety agent, and U.S. Customs. The bond’s purpose is to make sure that all duties, taxes, and fees owed to the U.S. federal government will be taken care of.
  • 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.
  • Customs entries
    The submission of documents related to shipment for CBP (Customs and Border Protection) review and release.
  • Cut-off date
    The last date that the container can be returned to the port terminal to make the requested schedule. It’s usually two days before the departure date, but will vary depending on the carrier and the port.
  • CY
    Container yard (CY) is a designated storage area for containers in a terminal or dry port before they are loaded or offloaded from a ship. It is a physical facility which ocean carriers accept and deliver ocean containers, as well as issue and receive back empty containers.
  • CY to CY
    Container Yard to Container Yard. It means the carrier will start handling your container from the origin port and complete their handling process at the destination port.
  • DA
    DA (destination agent) is a person or company that facilitates cargo movement and arranges shipments for arrival at the destination port. Destination agent is also known as a freight forwarder.
  • DAP
    If the goods are sent on DAP (delivered-at-place) basis, the seller is responsible for the delivery of the goods including transport costs to the named destination of the buyer.
  • DC
    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
    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
    In DDP (Delivery Duty Paid): Seller takes responsibility for all risk and fees of shipping goods until they reach their destination.
  • DDU
    Delivered Duty Unpaid (DDU): Seller is responsible for ensuring goods arrive safely to a destination; the buyer is responsible for import duties.
  • Debit memo
    Debit memo, also known as debit note, is a document issued by a seller to a buyer to notify current debt obligations. Such transactions often involve an extension of credit, meaning a vendor sends a shipment before an official invoice is sent or the buyer's cost is paid.
  • Demurrage
    Also known as DEM or demurrage charge. Demurrage is a container storage charge at a port collected by a shipping company.
  • Density
    An item's weight and dimensions.
  • Density-based
    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
    DET (detention) 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).
  • DO
    A DO (delivery order) is a document issued by the shipper, carrier or freight forwarder instructing the shipping line and the port operator to turn over the cargo to the party responsible to carry out the import activities.
  • Drayage
    Transport of goods over a short distance. It is part of a longer overall move, such as from a ship to a warehouse.
  • E-AWB
    The e-AWB is the term IATA uses to describe the interchange of electronic data (EDI) messages, in lieu of a paper air waybill, to conclude the contract of carriage.
  • EGM
    EGM (Export General Manifest) is a form filed by the carrier at the time of the shipping process, along with other shipping bills filed by the exporter.
  • Express release
    An express release means that the original HBL (House Bill of Lading) was never issued or printed. In these cases, the shipper has fully released the goods from the start and is not pending any type of payment for the goods.
  • EXW
    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.
  • FAK
    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.
  • FBA
    FBA is a program run by Amazon online retail offering warehousing, packaging, and shipping services through the Amazon platform.
  • FCA
    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.
  • FCL
    Full container load (FCL) is when the shipper utilizes all the space in a container.
  • FCX
    FCX is a container for a single consignee with cargo combined from multiple suppliers.
  • FEU
    Forty-foot Equivalent Unit. FEU is the 40-foot length container which is also known as 2 TEU (twenty-foot Equivalent Unit).
  • FMC
    Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) is the U.S. Federal Authority governing sea transport.
  • FOB
    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.
  • 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.
  • FSC
    Fuel surcharge is an additional fee to recover increased fuel cost, most often imposed for airfreight.
  • GRI
    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.
    HACCP is a process control system that identifies where hazards might occur in the food throughout the entire supply chain.
  • MMG
    Minimum Market Guidelines. See Open Rate.
  • MRG
    Minimum Rate Guidelines. See Open Rate.
  • Named Account Rate
    When a freight forwarder handles the freight negotiations for a particular named account, the carrier quotes the forwarder a special rate for that named account only. The forwarder then books the freight on behalf of the named account with a Named Account Rate.
  • Open Rate
    Open rates are generally the highest rates with at least 3 months of validity. An open rate is typically quoted if you are a new customer to the shipping line. Open rate is also known as MRG (Minimum Rate Guidelines), MMG (Minimum Market Guidelines), and Tariff Rates.
  • Spot Rate
    Spot Rates are used to entice more shipments for a specific voyage within a specific short time frame. When a shipping line is low on bookings due to low demand, it may offer spot rates for a particular time frame.
  • HBL
    HBL (House Bill of Lading) is issued by a freight forwarder on receipt of goods from shipper agreeing to deliver goods at destination.
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