Below are the most popular used Shipping Terms/ Abbreviations

All In
The total price to move cargo from origin to destination, inclusive of all charges.

B/L
Abbreviation for “Bill of Lading.”

Beneficiary
Entity to whom money is payable – The entity for whom a letter of credit is issued – The seller and the drawer of a draft.

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.

  • Amended B/L:B/L requiring updates that do not change financial status; this is slightly different from corrected B/L.
  • B/L Terms & Conditions: the fine print on B/L; defines what the carrier can and cannot do, including the carrier’s liabilities and contractual agreements.
  • B/L’s Status: represents whether the bill of lading has been input, rated, reconciled, printed, or released to the customer.
  • B/L’s Type: refers to the type of B/L being issued. Some examples are: a Memo (ME), Original (OBL), Non–negotiable, Corrected (CBL) or Amended (AM) B/L.
  • House B/L: B/L issued by a freight forwarder or consolidator covering a single shipment containing the names, addresses and specific description of the goods shipped.
  • Non–Negotiable B/L: See Straight B/L. Sometimes means a file copy of a B/L.

Bulk Cargo
Not in packages or containers; shipped loose in the hold of a ship without mark and count.” Grain, coal and sulfur are usually bulk freight.

C&F
Obsolete, although heavily used, term of sale meaning “cargo and freight” whereby Seller pays for cost of goods and freight charges up to destination port. In July, 1990 the International Chamber of Commerce replaced C&F with CFR.

CIF (Named Port)
Abbreviation for “Cost, Insurance, Freight.” (Named Port) Same as C&F or CFR except seller also provides insurance to named destination.

Consignee
A person or company to whom commodities are shipped.

Consignor
A person or company shown on the bill of lading as the shipper.

Dry Cargo
Cargo that is not liquid and normally does not require temperature control.

EDI
Abbreviation for “Electronic Data Interface.” Generic term for transmission of transactional data between computer systems. EDI is typically via a batched transmission, usually conforming to consistent standards.

FCL
Abbreviation for “Full Container Load.”

FEU
Abbreviation for “Forty–Foot Equivalent Units.”

Free In and Out (FIO)
Cost of loading and unloading a vessel is borne by the charterer/shipper.

Free on Board (FOB)
Shipped under a rate that includes costs of delivery to and the loading onto a carrier at a specified point.

  • FOB Allowed: The same as FOB named inland carrier, except the buyer pays the transportation charge and the seller reduces the invoice by a like amount.
  • FOB Freight Prepaid: The same as FOB named inland carrier, except the seller pays the freight charges of the inland carrier.
  • FOB Named Point of Exportation: Seller is responsible for the cost of placing the goods at a named point of exportation. Some European buyers use this form when they actually mean FOB vessel.
  • FOB Vessel: Seller is responsible for goods and preparation of export documentation until actually placed aboard the vessel.

Gross Weight
Entire weight of goods, packaging and freight car or container, ready for shipment.

Harmonized System of Codes (HS)
An international goods classification system for describing cargo in international trade under a single commodity–coding scheme.

I.M.C.O.
International Maritime Consultative Organization.

I.M.D.G. Code
International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code.

INCOTERMS
The recognized abbreviation for the International Chamber of Commerce Terms of Sale.

L/C
Abbreviation for “Letter of Credit.” A document, issued by a bank per instructions by a buyer of goods, authorizing the seller to draw a specified sum of money under specified terms, usually the receipt by the bank of certain documents within a given time.

LCL
Abbreviation for “Less than Container Load.”