Glossary of Shipping and Navigation Terms

« Volver


Always Afloat (In some ports the ship aground when approaching, or at berth.)


Abbreviation for:

-   Against All Risks (insurance clause).

-   Association of American Railroads.


A point beyond the midpoint of a ships length, towards the rear or stern.


A proceeding wherein a shipper/consignee seeks authority to abandon all or parts of their cargo.

Abandon vessel

To evacuate a vessel from crew and passengers following a distress


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

Able Seaman (AB)

Stand watch, during which they steer the vessel, stand lookout, assist the mate on watch and make rounds of the ship to insure that all is in order. They also tie up and untie the vessel to and from the dock and maintain the equipment on deck.


Referring to cargo being put, or laden, onto a means of conveyance.


American Bureau of Shipping: A U.S.-based private classification, or standards setting society for merchant ships and other marine systems.


One carrier assumes the charges of another without any increase in charges to the shipper.


-   A time draft (or bill of exchange) that the drawee (payer) has accepted and is unconditionally obligated to pay at maturity.

-   Broadly speaking, any agreement to purchase goods under specified terms.

Accessorial Charges

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


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.


A written receipt in full, in discharge from all claims.

Act of God

An unpredictable situation which is beyond the power of man. A natural event, not preventable by any human power, such as flood, storms, or lightning. Forces of nature that a carrier has no control over and therefore cannot be held responsible.

Ad Valorem

A term from Latin meaning, "according to value."

Address Commission

Percentage of commission charged by charterers


The confirmed or official dimensions of a ship.

Administrative Law Judge

A representative of a government commission or agency vested with power to administer oaths, examine witnesses, take testimony, and conduct hearings of cases submitted to, or initiated by, that agency. Also called Hearing Examiner.

Admiralty (Adm.)

Refers to marine matters such as an Admiralty Court.


Floating, not controlled, without a clearly determinable direction


To move cargo up line to a vessel leaving sooner than the one booked. (See "Roll.")

Advanced Charge

Transportation charge advanced by one carrier to another to be collected by the later carrier from the consignor or consignee.


Shipment of goods on shipper's own account. A bill of adventure is a document signed by the master of the ship that carries goods at owner' risk.

Advice of Shipment

A notice sent to a local or foreign buyer advising that shipment has gone forward and containing details of packing, routing, etc. A copy of the invoice is often enclosed and, if desired, a copy of the bill of lading.

Advising Bank

A bank operating in the seller's country, that handles letters of credit in behalf of a foreign bank.

Affreightment, Contract of

An agreement by an ocean carrier to provide cargo space on a vessel at a specified time and for a specified price to accommodate an exporter or importer.


Movement toward the stern (back end) of a ship.

Agency Fees

Fees charged by agents who have attended to the ship's business during her stay at the port. In most maritime countries, there are fixed scales of charges (tariffs) covering agency work. The fees, usually, vary according to the size and nature of the cargo, as well as the ship's tonnage.

Agency Tariff

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

Agent (Agt.)

A person authorized to transact business for and in the name of another person or company. Types of agent are:

(1) brokers,

(2) commission merchants,

(3) resident buyers,

(4) sales agents,

(5) manufacturer's representatives.

Aggregate Shipment

Numerous shipments from different shippers to one consignee that are consolidated and treated as a single consignment.

Agreed Valuation

The value of a shipment agreed upon in order to secure a specific freight rate.

Agreed Weight

The weight prescribed by agreement between carrier and shipper for goods shipped in certain packages or in a certain number.


Agency for International Development.

Air Waybill

The forwarding agreement or carrying agreement between shipper and air carrier and is issued only in nonnegotiable form.

All Ends

Applies to all ports, which will be visited according to the chartering agreement. See also both ends.

All In

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

All Risk

A form of coverage, providing protection against all risks of physical loss or damage from any external cause

All Time Saved Both Ends

All working time saved at both ends - used in connection with dispatch. It means that dispatch will be paid for all time saved.

All Told

Some times the deadweight capacity of a vessel is expressed with the addition ''all told'', meaning that the capacity given represents the total deadweight capacity, including bunkers, water, provisions, dannage, stores, spares etc. The net (for cargo) capacity of a ship is expressed as ''cargo capacity''.


The act if striking or collision of a moving vessel against a stationary object.


A phrase referring to the side of a ship. Goods to be delivered "alongside" are to be placed on the dock or barge within the reach of the transport ship's tackle so that they can be loaded aboard the ship.

Alternative Rates

Privilege to use the rate producing the lowest charge.

Ambient Temperature

The temperature of a surrounding body. The ambient temperature of a container is the atmospheric temperature to which it is exposed.

American Bureau of Shipping

U.S. classification society which certifies seagoing vessels for compliance to standardized rules regarding construction and maintenance.


Generally speaking the word amidships means in the middle portion of a vessel.

Annual survey

Survey which a ship is obliged (according to the classification society's rules) to undertake annually.

Anti-Dumping Duty

A tariff imposed to discourage sale of foreign goods, subsidized to sell at low prices detrimental to local manufacturers.

Any Quantity (A.Q.)

Usually refers to a rating that applies to an article regardless of size or quantity.


American Petroleum Institute.

Apparent Good Order

When freight appears to be free of damage so far as a general survey can determine.


Determination of the dutiable value of imported merchandise by a Customs official who follows procedures outlined in their country's tariff, such as the U.S. Tariff Act of 1930.

Appraiser's Stores

The warehouse or public stores to which samples of imported goods are taken to be inspected, analyzed, weighed, etc. by examiners or appraisers.


A stated amount over a fixed rate to one point to make a rate to another point.

Arrival Notice

A notification by carrier of ship's arrival to the consignee, the "Notify Party," and - when applicable - the "Also Notify Party." These parties in interest are listed in blocks 3, 4 and 10, respectively, of the Bill of Lading.

Article of Agreement

The document containing all particulars relating to the terms of agreement between the Master of the vessel and the crew. Sometimes called ship's articles, shipping articles.

Assembly station

Place on deck, in mess rooms, etc., assigned to crew and passengers where they have to meet according to the muster list when the corresponding alarm is released or announcement made


A term commonly used in connection with a bill of lading. It involves the transfer of rights, title and interest in order to assign goods by endorsing the bill of lading.


A backward direction in the line of a vessel's fore and aft line; behind. If a vessel moves backwards it is said to move astern; opposite to ahead.

At Sea

In marine insurance this phrase applies to a ship which is free from its moorings and ready to sail.


Any time Day or Night Sundays & Holidays Included.


A direction across the width of a vessel.

Automatic Pilot

An instrument designed to control automatically a vessel's steering gear so that she follows a pre-determined track through the water.

Available hatch

Hatch opening which is available for loading or discharging operations.


See insurance.

Avoirdupois Pound

Same as 0.4535924277 kilograms.

B/p or BOP

Balance of payments.


The owners of a ship are entitled to payment as freight for merchandise returned through the fault of either the consignees or the consignors. Such payment, which is over and above the normal freight, is called backfreight.


A deviation to move cargo on the return leg of a voyage for the purpose of minimizing ballast mileage and thereby reducing transportation costs.

Backing (of wind)

When a wind blows round anticlockwise (opposite of veering)


Abbreviation for "Bunker Adjustment Factor." Used to compensate steamship lines for fluctuating fuel costs. Sometimes called "Fuel Adjustment Factor" or FAF.

Bagged Cargo

Various kinds of commodities usually packed in sacks or in bags, such as sugar, cement, milk powder, onion, grain, flour, etc.

Bale capacity

The volume capacity of a ship, as far as "packed" (non bulk) cargoes are concerned


Heavy substances loaded by a vessel to improve stability, trimming, sea-keeping and to increase the immersion at the propeller. Sea water ballast is commonly' loaded in most vessels in ballast tanks, positioned in compartments right at the bottom and in some cases on the sides, called wing tanks. On a tanker, ballast is seawater that is taken into the cargo tanks to submerge the vessel to a proper trim.

Ballast bonus

The compensation for the ballast trip from the port or place where the ship became open to the place of delivery. (Time charter).

Ballast Movement

A voyage or voyage leg made without any paying cargo in a vessel's tanks. To maintain proper stability, trim, or draft, sea water is usually carried during such movements.

Ballast Taank

Compartments at the bottom of a ship or on the sides which are filled with liquids for stability and to make the ship seaworthy. Any shipboard tank or compartment on a tanker normally used for carrying salt water ballast. When these compartments or tanks are not connected with the cargo system they are called segregated ballast tanks or systems.

Balloon Freight

Light, bulky articles.

Baltic Exchange

Like Lloyd's, the Baltic Exchange began its life as a coffee-house in which in the eighteenth century, shipowners and merchants might be found. The Baltic Exchange, however, specializes in the acquisition and disposal of shipping tonnage, rather than insurance.

Bank Guarantee

Guarantee issued by a bank to a carrier to be used in lieu of lost or misplaced original negotiable bill of lading.

Bare Boat Charter

A charter in which the bare ship is chartered without crew; the charterer, for a stipulated sum taking over the vessel for a stated period of time, with a minimum of restrictions; the charterer appoints the master and the crew and pays all running expenses. See Demise Charter.


Flat-bottomed boat designed to carry cargo on inland waterways, usually without engines or crew accommodations. Barges can be lashed together and either pushed or pulled by tugs, carrying cargo of 60,000 tons or more. Small barges for carrying cargo between ship and shore are known as lighters.

Barge Aboard Catamaran

A way of loading cargo into large barges and then in turn loading the barges into a ship.


An act committed by the master or mariners of a vessel, for some unlawful or fraudulent purpose, contrary to their duty to the owners, whereby the latter sustain injury. It may include negligence, if so gross as to evidence fraud.

Barrel (BBL)

A term of measure referring to 42 gallons of liquid at 60o F.

Base Rate

A tariff term referring to ocean rate less accessorial charges, or simply the base tariff rate.


Abbreviation for "Beneficial Cargo Owner." Refers to the importer of record, who physically takes possession of cargo at destination and does not act as a third party in the movement of such goods.

Beach (to)

To run a vessel upon a beach to prevent its sinking in deep water


The width of a ship. Also called breadth.

Before breaking bulk

An expression which actually means, ''before starting discharging''

Belt Line

A switching railroad operating within a commercial area.

Beneficial Ownership

Designates the owner who receives the benefits or profits from the operation.


The person in whose favor a draft is issued or a letter of credit opened.

-   Entity to whom money is payable.

-   The entity for whom a letter of credit is issued.

-   The seller and the drawer of a draft.


A sea room to be kept for safety around a vessel, rock, platform, etc., or the place assigned to a vessel when anchored or lying alongside a pier, etc.

Berth Cargo

When a liner cargo vessel accepts extra cargo to fill up the empty space remaining.

Berth Terms

Shipped under rate that includes cost from end of ship's tackle at load port to end of ship's tackle at discharge port.


Used with reference to charges assessed for cargo movement past a line-haul terminating point.


Biffex - Baltic International Freight Futures Exchange. (an exchange inaugurated in 1985 by the Baltic exchange. On this exchange there are two daily sessions for trading freight contracts, which are to be performed at some later date -up to two years- against a weighted freight index. This index, the Baltic freight index -bfi-, reflects the present market and expectations for the market's development in the future. By BIFFEX trading owners, charterers and other parties on the shipping scene, including speculators, may protect themselves against the risk of and play on the volatility of freight rates and time charter hires.


A contract term meaning both parties agree to provide something for the other.

Bill of Exchange

In the United States, commonly known as a "Draft." However, bill of exchange is the correct term.

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.

-   Canceled B/L: B/L status; used to cancel a processed B/L; usually per shipper's request; different from voided B/L.

-   Clean B/L: A B/L which bears no superimposed clause or notation which declares a defective condition of the goods and/or the packaging.

-   Combined B/L: B/L that covers cargo moving over various transports.

-   Consolidated B/L: B/L combined or consolidated from two or more B/L's.

-   Corrected B/L: B/L requiring any update which results in money or other financially related changes.

-   Domestic B/L: Non-negotiable B/L primarily containing routing details; usually used by truckers and freight forwarders.

-   Duplicate B/L: Another original Bill of Lading set if first set is lost. also known as reissued B/L.

-   Express B/L: Non-negotiable B/L where there are no hard copies of originals printed.

-   Freight B/L: A contract of carriage between a shipper and forwarder (who is usually a NVOCC); a non-negotiable document.

-   Government B/L (GBL): A bill of lading issued by the U.S. government.

-   Hitchment B/L: B/L covering parts of a shipment which are loaded at more than one location. Hitchment B/L usually consists of two parts, hitchment and hitchment memo. The hitchment portion usually covers the majority of a divided shipment and carries the entire revenue.

-   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.

-   Intermodal B/L: B/L covering cargo moving via multimodal means. Also known as Combined Transport B/L, or Multimodal B/L.

-   Long Form B/L: B/L form with all Terms & Conditions written on it. Most B/L's are short form which incorporate the long form clauses by reference.

-   Memo B/L: Unfreighted B/L with no charges listed.

-   Military B/L: B/L issued by the U.S. military; also known as GBL, or Form DD1252.

-   B/L Numbers: U.S. Customs' standardized B/L numbering format to facilitate electronic communications and to make each B/L number unique.

-   Negotiable B/L: The B/L is a title document to the goods, issued "to the order of" a party, usually the shipper, whose endorsement is required to effect is negotiation. Thus, a shipper's order (negotiable) B/L can be bought, sold, or traded while goods are in transit and is commonly used for letter-of-credit transactions. The buyer must submit the original B/L to the carrier in order to take possession of the goods.

-   Non-Negotiable B/L: See Straight B/L. Sometimes means a file copy of a B/L.

-   "Onboard" B/L: B/L validated at the time of loading to transport. Onboard Air, Boxcar, Container, Rail, Truck and Vessel are the most common types.

-   Optional Discharge B/L: B/L covering cargo with more than one discharge point option possibility.

-   "Order" B/L: See Negotiable B/L.

-   Original B/L: The part of the B/L set that has value, especially when negotiable; rest of set are only informational file copies. Abbreviated as OBL.

-   Received for Shipment B/L: Validated at time cargo is received by ocean carrier to commence movement but before being validated as "Onboard".

-   Reconciled B/L: B/L set which has completed a prescribed number of edits between the shippers instructions and the actual shipment received. This produces a very accurate B/L.

-   Short Term B/L: Opposite of Long Form B/L, a B/L without the Terms & Conditions written on it. Also known as a Short Form B/L. The terms are incorporated by reference to the long form B/L.

-   Split B/L: One of two or more B/L's which have been split from a single B/L.

-   Stale B/L: A late B/L; in banking, a B/L which has passed the time deadline of the L/C and is void.

-   Straight (Consignment) B/L: Indicates the shipper will deliver the goods to the consignee. It does not convey title (non-negotiable). Most often used when the goods have been pre-paid.

-   "To Order" B/L: See Negotiable B/L.

-   Unique B/L Identifier: U.S. Customs' standardization: four-alpha code unique to each carrier placed in front of nine digit B/L number; APL's unique B/L Identifier is "APLU". Sea-land uses "SEAU". These prefixes are also used as the container identification.

-   Voided B/L: Related to Consolidated B/L; those B/L's absorbed in the combining process. Different from Canceled B/L.

Bill of Lading Port of Discharge

Port where cargo is discharged from means of transport.

Bill of Sale

Confirms the transfer of ownership of certain goods to another person in return for money paid or loaned.

Bill to Party

Customer designated as party paying for services.

Billed Weight

The weight shown in a waybill and freight bill, i.e, the invoiced weight.

Black Cargo

Cargo banned by general cargo workers for some reason. This ban could be because the cargo is dangerous or hazardous to health.

Black Gang

A slang expression referring to the personnel in the engine department aboard ship.

Blanket Bond

A bond covering a group of persons, articles or properties.

Blanket Rate

-   A rate applicable to or from a group of points.

-   A special rate applicable to several different articles in a single shipment.

Blanket Waybill

A waybill covering two or more consignments of freight.


A sound signal made with the whistle of the vessel

Blind sectors       

Areas which cannot be scanned by the radar of the vessel because they are shielded by parts of its superstructure, masts, etc.

Blind Shipment

A B/L wherein the paying customer has contracted with the carrier that shipper or consignee information is not given.

Block Stowage

Stowing cargo destined for a specific location close together to avoid unnecessary cargo movement.

Blocked Trains

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. Eliminates the need to break up a train and sort individual railcars at each junction.

Blocking or Bracing

Wood or metal supports (Dunnage) to keep shipments in place to prevent cargo shifting.


To gain access to a vessel.

Board Feet

The basic unit of measurement for lumber. One board foot is equal to a oneinch board, 12 inches wide and one foot long. Thus, a board ten feet long, 12 inches wide, and one inch thick contains ten board feet.

Boarding arrangements

All gear, such as pilot ladder, accommodation ladder, hoist, etc., necessary for a safe transfer of the pilot

Boarding speed

The speed of a vessel adjusted to that of a pilot boat at which the pilot can safely embark

Boatswain (BOSUN)

The highest unlicensed rating in the deck department who has immediate charge of all deck hands and who in turn comes under the direct orders of the master or chief mate or mate.


Movement of a tractor, without trailer, over the highway.


A set of wheels built specifically as rear wheels under the container.


Steam generating units used aboard ship to provide steam for propulsion (and) for heating and other auxiliary purposes.


A device fitted on a chassis or railcar to hold and secure the container.

Bond Port

Port of initial Customs entry of a vessel to any country. Also known as First Port of Call.

Bonded Freight

Freight moving under a bond to U.S. Customs or to the Internal Revenue Service, and to be delivered only under stated conditions.

Bonded Warehouse

A warehouse authorized by Customs authorities for storage of goods on which payment of duties is deferred until the goods are removed.


Arrangements with a carrier for the acceptance and carriage of freight; i.e., a space reservation.

Both ends

An expression which is frequently used when negotiating the loading / discharging cost or time allowed. By the words both ends we mean the loading and discharging ports. In case that more than one loading / discharging ports are involved, we may use the expression ''all ends''

Bottom Side Rails

Structural members on the longitudinal sides of the base of the container.

Bottom-Air Delivery

A type of air circulation in a temperature control container. Air is pulled by a fan from the top of the container, passed through the evaporator coil for cooling, and then forced through the space under the load and up through the cargo. This type of airflow provides even temperatures.


The front of a vessel.

Bow thrusters

A propeller at the lower sea-covered part of the bow of the ship which turns at right angles to the fore-and-aft line and thus provides transverse thrust as a maneuvering aid.


A closed rail freight car.


See Beam

Break Bulk

-   The process of assimilating many small shipments into one large shipment at a central point so that economies of scale may be achieved; to commence discharge of cargo.

-   To unload and distribute a portion or all of the contents of a rail car, container, or trailer.

-   Loose cargo, such as cartons, stowed directly in the ship's hold as opposed to containerized or bulk cargo.

Break Bulk Vessels

A general, multipurpose, cargo ship that carriers cargoes of nonuniform sizes, often on pallets, resulting in labor-intensive loading and unloading; calls at various ports to pick up different kinds of cargoes.


Used loosely to refer to the navigating section of the vessel where the wheel house and chart room are located; erected structure amidships or aft or very rarely fore over the main deck of a ship to accommodate the wheelhouse.

Bridge Point

An inland location where cargo is received by the ocean carrier and then moved to a coastal port for loading.

Bridge Port

A port where cargo is received by the ocean carrier and stuffed into containers but then moved to another coastal port to be waded on a vessel.


A concise explanatory information to crew and passengers

Broken Stowage

-   The loss of space caused by irregularity in the shape of packages.

-   Any void or empty space in a vessel or container not occupied by cargo.


A person who arranges for transportation of loads for a percentage of the revenue from the load.


Freight forwarder/broker compensation as specified by ocean tariff or contract.


Cargo shipped in loose condition and of a homogeneous nature. Cargoes that are shipped unpackaged either dry, such as grain and ore, or liquid, such as petroleum products. Bulk service generally is not provided on a regularly scheduled basis, but rather as needed, on specialized ships, transporting a specific commodity.

Bulk Carrier

Ship specifically designed to transport vast amounts of cargoes such as sugar, grain, wine, ore, chemicals, liquefied natural gas; coal and oil. See also LNG Carrier, Tanker, OBO Ship.

Bulk-Freight Container

A container with a discharge hatch in the front wall; allows bulk commodities to be carried.


A name given to any vertical partition which separates different compartments or spaces from one another.

Bull Rings

Cargo-securing devices mounted in the floor of containers; allow lashing and securing of cargo.

Bunker Charge

An extra charge sometimes added to steamship freight rates; justified by higher fuel costs. (Also known as Fuel Adjustment Factor or FAF.)

Bunkering clause

Usually, a time charter agreement will stipulate the terms under which the bunkers on board will be delivered to the use of the charterers and the terms under which the bunkers remaining on board will be redelivered to owners. Such clause is called the bunkering clause.


Fuel consumed by the engines of a ship; compartments or tanks in a ship for fuel storage.


A floating object employed as an aid to mariners to mark the navigable limits of channels, their fairways, sunken dangers, isolated rocks, telegraph cables, and the like; floating devices fixed in place at sea, lake or river as reference points for navigation or for other purposes.


The person or company that purchases a ship or a commodity.

C&F Terms of Sale, or INCOTERMS.

Obsolete, albeit 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.

Cable Ship

A specially constructed ship for the laying and repairing of telegraph and telephone cables across channels, seas, lakes, and oceans.


Water transportation term applicable to shipments between ports of a nation; commonly refers to coast-wise or inter-coastal navigation or trade. Many nations, including the United States, have cabotage laws which require national flag vessels to provide domestic interport service.


Abbreviation for "Currency Adjustment Factor." A charge, expressed as a percentage of a base rate, that is applied to compensate ocean carriers of currency fluctuations.

Canceling date

The date by which the charterers have the exclusive right to cancel a chartering deal.

Capital Construction Fund (CCF)

A tax benefit for operators of U.S.-built, U.S.-flag ships in the U.S. foreign, Great Lakes, or noncontiguous domestic trades, by which taxes may be deferred on income deposited in a fund to be used for the replacement of vessels.


Turning of a vessel upside down while on water

Captain's Protest

A document prepared by the captain of a vessel on arriving at port; shows conditions encountered during voyage, generally for the purpose of relieving ship owner of any loss to cargo and shifting responsibility for reimbursement to the insurance company.

Car Pooling

Use of individual carrier/rail equipment through a central agency for the benefit of carriers and shippers.

Car Seal

Metal strip and lead fastener used for locking freight car or truck doors. Seals are numbered for record purposes.

Cardinal buoy

A seamark, i.e. a buoy, indicating the north, east, south or west from a fixed point, e.g. a wreck


A barge equipped with tracks on which up to about 12 railroad cars are moved in harbors or inland waterways.


Goods, merchandise or commodities of any description, which may be carried aboard a vessel, in consideration of the freight, charged; does not include provisions and stores for use on board.

Cargo capacity

See glossary , dead-weight

Cargo Handling

The act of loading and discharging a cargo ship.

Cargo Manifest

A manifest that lists all cargo carried on a specific vessel voyage.

Cargo NOS

Cargo Not Otherwise Specified. Usually the rate entry in a tariff that can apply to commodities not covered under a specific item or subitem in the applicable tariff.

Cargo Plan

A plan giving the quantities and description of the various grades carried in the ship's cargo tanks, after the loading is completed.

Cargo Preference

Cargo reserved by a Nation's laws for transportation only on vessels registered in that Nation. Typically the cargo is moving due to a direct or indirect support or activity of the Government.

Cargo Tonnage

Most ocean freight is billed on the basis of weight or measurement tons (W/M). Weight tons can be expressed in short tons of 2000 pounds, long tons of 2240 pounds or metric tons of 1000 kilos (2204.62 pounds). Measurement tons are usually expressed as cargo measurement of 40 cubic feet (1.12 meters) or cubic meters (35.3 cubic feet.)

Carload Rate

A rate applicable to a carload of goods.


A Customs document permitting the holder to temporarily carry or send merchandise into certain foreign countries (for display, demonstration or similar purposes) without paying duties or posting bonds. Any of various Customs documents required for crossing some international borders.

Carriage of Goods by Sea Act  (COGSA)

The act provides the ship owner's per shipping package, and it stipulates a one-year time limit for filing suit against the carrier. This act automatically applies to international ocean movements but not to domestic ocean transits unless the carrier agrees to be bound by it.


Owners or operators of vessels providing transportation to shippers. The term is also used to refer to the vessels.

Carrier's Certificate

A certificate required by U.S. Customs to release cargo properly to the correct party.


Usually refers to intracity hauling on drays or trucks.


Customs form permitting inbond cargo to be moved from one location to another under Customs control, within the same Customs district. Usually in motor carrier's possession while draying cargo.

Cash Against Documents (CAD)

Method of payment for goods in which documents transferring title are given the buyer upon payment of cash to an intermediary acting for the seller, usually a commission house.

Cash in Advance (CIA)

A method of payment for goods in which the buyer pays the seller in advance of the shipment of goods. Usually employed when the goods, such as specialized machinery, are built to order.

Cash With Order (CWO)

A method of payment for goods in which cash is paid at the time of order and the transaction becomes binding on both buyer and seller.


Case of death or serious injury to a person in an accident or shipping disaster, also said of a distressed vessel


A double or treble-hulled vessel constructed in wood, aluminum or reinforced glass fibre and is also composed of two or three hulls diagonally joined together by various methods. Normally no ballast is needed to counteract the center buoyancy since it enjoys good stability at sea.


Short for Catamaran Tug. A rigid catamaran tug connected to a barge. When joined together, they form and look like a single hull of sa ship; oceangoing integrated tug-barge vessels.


A raised bridge running fore and aft from the midship, and also called "walkway". It affords safe passage over the pipelines and other deck obstructions.


Commodity Credit Corporation.


The construction system employed in container vessels; permits ship containers to be stowed in a vertical line with each container supporting the one above it.

Center of Gravity

The point of equilibrium of the total weight of a containership, truck, train or a piece of cargo.


A charter-party approved by the chamber of shipping of the united kingdom. In use for shipments of grain, usually from river plate to all parts of the world.


-   A document certifying that merchandise (such as of Inspection perishable goods) was in good condition immediately prior to its shipment.

-   The document issued by the U.S. Coast Guard certifying an American flag vessel's compliance with applicable laws and regulations.

Certificate of inspection

A document often required with shipments of perishable or other goods. The certificate notes the good condition of the merchandise immediately prior to shipment.

Certificate of Origin

A certified document showing the origin of goods; used in international commerce.

Certificate of Registry

A document specifying the nation registry of the vessel.


A person who deals in the selling of provisions, dried stores, etc.

Charter Party

A written contract between the owner of a vessel and the person desiring to employ the vessel (charterer); sets forth the terms of the arrangement such as duration of agreement, freight rate and ports involved in the trip.

Charter Rates

The tariff applied for chartering tonnage in a particular trade.


The person to whom is given the use of the whole of the carrying capacity of a ship for the transportation of cargo or passengers to a stated port for a specified time.

Charterers' broker

The broker who is direct with the charterers


A frame with wheels and container locking devices in order to secure the container for movement.

Chief Engineer

Head of engineer department. Keeps records of all engine parts and repairs. Generally tends to the functioning of all mechanical equipment on ship. Calculates fuel and water consumption and requirements. Coordinates operations with shoreside port engineer.

Chief Mate

The officer in the deck department next in rank to the master; second in command of a ship. He is next to the master, most especially in the navigation and as far as the deck department is concerned. The chief mate assumes the position of the Master in his absence.

Chief Steward

Orders food. Prepares menus. Assists chief cook in food preparation.


A piece of wood or other material placed at the side of cargo to prevent rolling or moving sideways.


Price includes commission as well as CIF.


Abbreviation for "Cost, Insurance, Freight And Exchange."


Abbreviation for "Cost, Insurance, Freight, Collection And Interest."


Cost, Insurance, Freight, Interest and Exchange.


Abbreviation for "Completely Knocked Down." Parts and subassemblies being transported to an assembly plant.


Abbreviation for "Carload" and "Containerload".


A demand made upon a transportation line for payment on account of a loss sustained through its alleged negligence.


A publication, such as Uniform Freight Classification (railroad) or the National Motor Freight Classification (motor carrier), that assigns ratings to various articles and provides bill of lading descriptions and rules.

Classification Rating

The designation provided in a classification by which a class rate is determined.

Classification Society

Organizations which set design / construction / safety, standards laid down in rules. The ship owner is not compelled to classify his ship in such a society, however he usually does so for insurance and trading purposes. They publish a register of ships (usually greater than a 100 grt) , hence the name Lloyds register. They also provide advice to shipowners / builders carry out research and development into design and analysis of structures, leading to their improvement. The rules are extensive and include scantlings, materials, equipment, machinery, piping etc. Lately they are also involved in ISM / ISO certification. Classification societies require the maintenance of standards and are involved in annual surveys, periodic, special surveys etc., Of the classed vessels.

Classification Yard

A railro ad yard with many tracks used for assembling freight trains.

Clayton Act

An anti-trust act of the U.S. Congress making price discrimination unlawful.

Clean Bill of Lading

A receipt for goods issued by a carrier with an indication that the goods were received in "apparent good order and condition," without damage or other irregularities. If no notation or exception is made, the B/L is assumed to be "cleaned."

Clean on board

Meaning that the goods have been shipped on board clean (in apparently good condition).

Clean Ship

Refers to tankers which have their cargo tanks free of traces of dark persistent oils which remain after carrying crudes and heavy fuel oils.

Cleaning in Transit

The stopping of articles, such as peanuts, etc., for cleaning at a point between the point of origin and destination.


The size beyond which cars or loads cannot use Limits bridges, tunnels, etc.


A strip of wood or metal used to afford additional strength, to prevent warping, or to hold in place.


Refrigeration equipment attachable to an insulated container that does not have its own refrigeration unit.

Close coupled towing

A method of towing vessels through polar ice by means of icebreaking tugs with a special stern notch suited to receive and hold the bow of the vessel to be towed


Water transportation along the coast.


Abbreviation for:

-   Collect (cash) on Delivery.

-   Carried on Docket (pricing) .

Code of Liner Conduct (UNCTAD)

A convention drafted under the auspices of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development which provides that all shipping traffic between two foreign countries is to be regulated as far as the quantities of shipments are concerned on the following percentages -- 40% for owners of the country of origin, 40% for owners of country of destination, and 20% for owners of the country which is neither the origin nor the destination.


Abbreviation for the Railway Service "Container On Flat Car."

Collect freight

The freight is payable at destination provided the vessel delivers the goods as specified.


A bank that acts as an agent to the seller's bank (the presenting bank). The collecting bank assumes no responsibility for either the documents or the merchandise.


Vessel used for transporting coal.

Collision Avoidance System

Electronic system commonly used to prevent collisions in inland navigable waterways.


Convention on International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea.


Combination passenger/cargo vessel; a vessel specifically designed to carry both containers and conventional cargoes.

Combination Export Mgr.

A firm that acts as an export sales agent for more than one noncompeting manufacturer.

Combination Rate

A rate made up of two or more factors, separately published.

Commercial Invoice

Represents a complete record of the transaction between exporter and importer with regard to the goods sold. Also reports the content of the shipment and serves as the basis for all other documents about the shipment.


Article shipped. For dangerous and hazardous cargo, the correct commodity identification is critical.

Commodity Rate

A rate published to apply to a specific article or articles.

Common Carrier

A transportation company which provides service to the general public at published rates.

Common Carrier

Holds himself out for hire to the general public. Must post rates and cannot discriminate against customers whose cargo he is equipped to carry.

Common Law

Law that derives its force and authority from precedent, custom and usage rather than from statutes, particularly with reference to the laws of England and the United States.


Instrument containing a magnetic needle which points to the north and which is used on board the ships to sow the 'magnetic' north.

Instrument for drawing circles. Also used to count the distance on a chart.

Compatibility (of goods)

states whether different goods can be stowed together in one hold


The number of officers and crew employed upon a vessel for its safe navigation and operation.

Concealed Damage

Damage that is not evident from viewing the unopened package.


An association of ship owners operating in the same trade route who operate under collective conditions and agree on tariff rates.


An affiliation of shipowners operating over the same route(s) who agree to charge uniform rates and other terms of carriage. A conference is "closed" if one can enter only by the consent of existing members of the conference. It is "open" if anyone can enter by meeting certain technical and financial standards. Conference members are common carriers.

Confirmed Letter of Credit

A letter of credit, issued by a foreign bank, whose validity has been confirmed by a domestic bank. An exporter with a confirmed letter of credit is assured of payment even if the foreign buyer or the foreign bank defaults.

Confirming Bank

The bank that adds its confirmation to another bank's (the issuing bank's) letter of credit and promises to pay the beneficiary upon presentation of documents specified in the letter of credit.

Connecting Carrier

A carrier which has a direct physical connection with, or forms a link between two or more carriers.


A person or company to whom commodities are shipped.

Consignee Mark

A symbol placed on packages for identification purposes; generally a triangle,square, circle, etc. with letters and/or numbers and port of discharge.


(1) A stock of merchandise advanced to a dealer and located at his place of business, but with title remaining in the source of supply.

(2) A shipment of goods to a consignee.


Merchandise shipped to a foreign agent or customer when an actual purchase has not been made, but under an agreement obliging the consignee to pay the consignor for the goods when sold.


The person named in the bill of lading as the one from whom the goods have been received for shipment.


Cargo containing shipments of two or more shippers or suppliers. Containerload shipments may be consolidated for one or more consignees.


A person or firm performing a consolidation service for others. The consolidator takes advantage of lower full carload (FCL) rates, and savings are passed on to shippers.

Construction Differential Subsidy

A program whereby the U.S. government attempted to offset the higher shipbuilding cost in the U.S. by paying up to 50% of the difference between cost of U.S. and non-U.S. construction. The difference went to the U.S. shipyard. It is unfunded since 1982.

Construction Differential Subsidy (CDS)

A direct subsidy paid to U.S. shipyards building U.S.-flag ships to offset high construction costs in American shipyards. An amount of subsidy (up to 50 percent) is determined by estimates of construction cost differentials between U.S. and foreign yards.


A government official residing in a foreign country who represents the interests of her or his country and its nationals.

Consular Declaration

A formal statement describing goods to be shipped; filed with and approved by the consul of the country of destination prior to shipment.

Consular Invoice

A document, certified by a consular official, is required by some countries to describe a shipment. Used by Customs of the foreign country, to verify the value, quantity and nature of the cargo.

Consular Visa

An official signature or seal affixed to certain documents by the consul of the country of destination.

Consumption Entry (CE)

The process of declaring the importation of foreign-made goods for use in the United States.

Consumption Entry (CE)

The process of declaring the importation of foreign-made goods into the United States for use in the United States.


A truck trailer body that can be detached from the chassis for loading into a vessel, a rail car or stacked in a container depot. Containers may be ventilated, insulated, refrigerated, flat rack, vehicle rack, open top, bulk liquid or equipped with interior devices. A container may be 20 feet, 40 feet, 45 feet, 48 feet or 53 feet in length, 8'0" or 8'6" in width, and 8'6" or 9'6" in height.

Container Booking

Arrangements with a steamship line to transport containerized cargo.

Container Freight Station

See CFS.

Container Freight Station (CFS)

A shipping dock where cargo is loaded ("stuffed") into or unloaded ("stripped") from containers. Generally, this involves less than containerload shipments, although small shipments destined to same consignee are often consolidated. Container reloading from/to rail or motor carrier equipment is a typical activity.

Container Load

A load sufficient in size to fill a container either by cubic measurement or by weight.

Container Manifest

Document showing contents and loading sequence of a container.

Container Pool

An agreement between parties that allows the efficient use and supply of containers. A common supply of containers available to the shipper as required.

Container Ship

A ship constructed in such a way that she can easily stack containers near and on top of each other as well as on deck. A vessel designed to carry standard intermodal containers enabling efficient loading, unloading, and transport to and from the vessel. Oceangoing merchant ship designed to transport a unit load of standard-sized containers 8 feet square and 20 or 40 feet long. The hull is divided into cells that are easily accessible through large hatches, and more containers can be loaded on deck atop the closed hatches. Loading and unloading can proceed simultaneously using giant traveling cranes at special berths. This ship type is the result of American design innovation. Specialized types of container ships are the LASH and SeaBee which carry floating containers (or "lighters,") and RoRo ships, which may carry containers on truck trailers.

Container Terminal

An area designated for the stowage of cargoes in container; usually accessible by truck, railroad and marine transportation. Here containers are picked up, dropped off, maintained and housed.

Container Yard (CY)

A materials-handling/storage facility used for completely unitized loads in containers and/or empty containers. Commonly referred to as CY.

Containerizable Cargo

Cargo that will fit into a container and result in an economical shipment.


Stowage of general or special cargoes in a container for transport in the various modes.


During the time of war, materials carried aboard a vessel that could aid a belligerent in the process of the war, such as arms, weapons or munitions.


A legally binding agreement between two or more persons/organizations to carry out reciprocal obligations or value.

Contract Carrier

Any person not a common carrier who, under special and individual contracts or agreements, transports passengers or property for compensation.

Contract of Affreightment (COA)

A service contract under which a ship owner agrees to transport a specified quantity of fuel products or specialty products, at a specified rate per ton, between designated loading and discharge ports. This type contract differs from a spot or consecutive voyage charter in that no particular vessel is. specified.

Controlled Atmosphere

Sophisticated, computer-controlled systems that manage the mixtures of gases within a container throughout an intermodal journey reducing decay.


A group of vessels which sail together, e.g. through a canal or ice

Corner Posts

Vertical frame components fitted at the corners of the container, integral to the corner fittings and connecting the roof and floor structures. Containers are lifted and secured in a stack using the castings at the ends.

Correspondent Bank

A bank that, in its own country, handles the business of a foreign bank.

Cost and Insurance (C&I)

A price that includes the cost of the goods, the marine insurance and all transportation charges except the ocean freight to the named point of destination.

Cost, Insurance and Freight (C.I.F.)

: Export term in which the price quoted by the exporter includes the costs of ocean transportation to the port of destination and insurance coverage.

Cost, Insurance and Freight (CIF)

Cost of goods, marine insurance and all transportation (freight) charges are paid to the foreign point of delivery by the seller.

Cost, Insurance, Freight (CIF)

Same as C&F or CFR except seller also provides insurance to named destination.

Counter offer

The expected reply to a firm offer or a preceding counter offer.

Countervailing Duty

An additional duty imposed to offset export grants, bounties or subsidies paid to foreign suppliers in certain countries by the government of that country for the purpose of promoting export.


Crude oil washing: A system of cleaning the tanks by washing them with the cargo of crude oil while it is being discharged


Closest point of approach


Consumer Price Index.


The personnel engaged on board ship, excluding the master and officers and the passengers on passenger ships.

Crew List

List prepared by the master of a ship showing the full names, nationality, passport or discharge book number, rank and age of every officer and crew member engaged on board that ship. This serves as one of the essential ship's documents which is always requested to be presented and handed over to the customs and immigration authorities when they board the vessel on arrival.

Cross Member

Transverse members fitted to the bottom side rails of a container, which support the floor.


Foreign-to-foreign trade carried by ships from a nation other than the two trading nations.

Crude Oil Washing

A technique of cleaning tanks in oil tankers.


Coordinator surface search: A vessel, other than a rescue unit, designated to coordinate surface search and rescue operation within a specified area

Cube Out

When a container or vessel has reached its volumetric capacity before its permitted weight limit.

Cubic Foot

1,728 cubic inches. A volume contained in a space measuring one foot high, one foot wide and one foot long.


A government office where duties are paid, import documents filed, etc., on foreign shipments.

Customhouse Broker

A person or firm, licensed by the treasury department of their country when required, engaged in entering and clearing goods through Customs for a client (importer).


Government agency charged with enforcing the rules passed to protect the country's import and export revenues.

Customs Bonded Warehouse

A warehouse authorized by Customs to receive duty-free merchandise.

Customs broker

Licensed by Customs to clear shipments for clients.

Customs Entry

All countries require that the importer make a declaration on incoming foreign goods. The importer then normally pays a duty on the imported merchandise. The importer's statement is compared against the carrier's vessel manifest to ensure that all foreign goods are properly declared.

Customs Invoice

A form requiring all data in a commercial invoice along with a certificate of value and/or a certificate of origin. Required in a few countries (usually former British territories) and usually serves as a seller's commercial invoice.

Customs of the Port

A phrase often included in charter parties and freight contracts referring to local rules and practices which may impact upon the costs borne by the various parties.

Cut-Off Time

The latest time cargo may be delivered to a terminal for loading to a scheduled train or ship.


Hundred weight (United States, 100 pounds: U.K.,112)


-   Abbreviation for Container Yard.

-   The designation for full container receipt/delivery.


Abbreviation for "Dangerous and Hazardous" cargo.


Abbreviation for "Doing Business As." A legal term for conducting business under a registered name.

Damage control team         

A group of crew members trained for fighting flooding in the vessel

Damages for detention

Damages for breach of contract. The loss attributable to such breach must be proven to the satisfaction of the court.

Dangerous Cargo

All substances of an inflammable nature which are liable to spontaneous combustion either in themselves or when stowed adjacent to other substances and, when mixed with air, are liable to generate explosive gases or produce suffocation or poisoning or tainting of foodstuffs.

Dangerous Liquids

Liquids giving off inflammable vapors.


The most probable position of a search target at a given time


Two radial cranes on a ship which hold the lifeboats. They are constructed in such a way as to lower and lift the lifeboats the easiest way possible and are also unobstructed in case of an emergency.


Freight payable for any amount of cargo, which was not loaded due to charterers or shippers fault.

Deadfreight Factor

Percentage of a ship's carrying capacity that is not utilized.


One leg of a move without a paying cargo load. Usually refers to repositioning an empty piece of equipment.


A common measure of ship carrying capacity. The number of tons (2240 lbs.) of cargo, stores and bunkers that a vessel can 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 'deep load line'." A vessel's cargo capacity is less than its total deadweight tonnage. The difference in weight between a vessel when it is fully loaded and when it is empty (in general transportation terms, the net) measured by the water it displaces. This is the most common, and useful, measurement for shipping as it measures cargo capacity.

Deadweight Cargo

A long ton of cargo that can be stowed in less than 40 cubic feet.

Deck Gang

The officers and seamen comprising the deck department aboard ship. Also called deck crew, deck department, or just deck.

Deck House

Small superstructure on the top deck of a vessel which contains the helm and other navigational instruments.

Deck Log

Also called Captain's Log. A full nautical record of a ship's voyage, written up at the end of each watch by the deck officer on watch. The principal entries are: courses steered; distance run; compass variations, sea and weather conditions; ship's position, principal headlands passed; names of lookouts, and any unusual position, principal headlands passed; names of lookouts, and any unusual happenings such as fire, collision, and the like.

Deck Officer

As distinguished from engineer officer, refers to all officers who assist the master in navigating the vessel when at sea, and supervise the handling of cargo when in port.


Seaman who works on the deck of a ship and remains in the wheelhouse attending to the orders of the duty officers during navigation and manoeuvering. He also comes under the direct orders of the bosun.

Deconsolidation Point

Place where loose or other non-containerized cargo is ungrouped for delivery.

Deep Sea Trades

The traffic routes of both cargo and passenger vessels which are regularly engaged on the high seas or on long voyages.

Deep Stowage

Any bulk, bagged or other type of cargo stowed in single hold ships.

Deficit Weight

The weight by which a shipment is less than the minimum weight.

Delivery certificate

Whenever a ship is delivered on time charter, a certificate of deliver is drawn up and signed by the master and the owners' and charterers' representatives. The same procedure is followed during redelivery of the ship.

Delivery Instructions

Order to pick up goods at a named place and deliver them to a pier. Usually issued by exporter to trucker but may apply to a railroad, which completes delivery by land. Use is limited to a few major U.S. ports. Also known as shipping delivery order.


Demurrage/Despatch money. (Under vessel chartering terms, the amount to be paid if the ship is loading/discharging slower/faster than foreseen.)

Demise Charter

See Bareboat Charter.


Compensation payable by the shipper or receiver or charterers to the carrier due to the excess time taken for loading or unloading a vessel. Demurrage refers only to situations in which the charterer or shipper or receiver (not the vessel's operator) is at fault.


The weight of cargo per cubic foot or other unit.

Depot, Container

Container freight station or a designated area where empty containers can be picked up or dropped off.


Goods or any other commodity, specifically a vessel abandoned at sea


An incentive payment paid to a carrier to loading and unloading the cargo faster than agreed. Usually negotiated only in charter parties.


-   The place to which a shipment is consigned.

-   The place where carrier actually turns over cargo to consignee or his agent.


Port which a vessel is bound for

Destination Delivery Charge (DDC)

A charge, based on container size, that is applied in many tariffs to cargo. This charge is considered accessorial and is added to the base ocean freight. This charge covers crane lifts off the vessel, drayage of the container within the terminal and gate fees at the terminal operation.


A penalty charge against shippers or consignees for delaying carrier's equipment beyond allowed time. Demurrage applies to cargo; detention applies to equipment. See Per Diem.


The unloading of a container or cargo van.

DF Car

Damage-Free Car. Boxcars equipped with special bracing material.


An amount added or deducted from base rate to make a rate to or from some other point or via another route.


A vessel damaged or impaired in such a manner as to be incapable of proceeding its voyage

Disabled Ship

When a ship is unable to sail efficiently or in a seaworthy state as a result of engine trouble, lack of officers or crew, damage to the hull or ship's gear.


An essential document for officers and seamen as it serves an official certificate confirming sea experience in the employment for which he was engaged.

Discrepancy Letter of Credit

When documents presented do not conform to the requirements of the letter of credit (L/C), it is referred to as a "discrepancy." Banks will not process L/C's which have discrepancies. They will refer the situation back to the buyer and/or seller and await further instructions.

Disembark (to)

To go from board a vessel


The weight, in tons of 2,240 pounds, of the vessel and its contents. Calculated by dividing the volume of water displaced in cubic feet by 35, the average density of sea water.

Distance freight

In case that the cargo is discharged in a port other than the original port of destination, a so called 'distance freight' can be claimed.

Distress alert (GMDSS)

A radio signal from a distressed vessel automatically directed to a RCC giving position, identification, course and speed of the vessel as well as the nature of distress


A change made either in the route of a shipment in transit (see Reconsignment) or of the entire ship.


Carriers' practice of dividing revenue received from through rates where joint hauls are involved. This is usually according to agreed formulae.


-   For ships, a cargo handling area parallel to the shoreline where a vessel normally ties up.

-              For land transportation, a loading or unloading platform at an industrial location or carrier terminal.

Dock Receipt

A form used to acknowledge receipt of cargo and often serves as basis for preparation of the ocean bill of lading.


Present a rate proposal to a conference meeting for adoption as a conference group rate.

Documents Against Acceptance (D/A)

Instructions given by a shipper to a bank indicating that documents transferring title to goods should be delivered to the buyer only upon the buyer's acceptance of the attached draft.

Documents Against Payment (D/P)

An indication on a draft that the documents attached are to be released to the drawee only on payment.


A set of wheels that support the front of a container; used when the automotive unit is disconnected.

Domestic Offshore Trades

Domestic shipping routes serving Alaska and non-continental U.S. States and territories.


Through transportation of a container and its contents from consignor to consignee. Also known as House to House. Not necessarily a through rate.

Double Buttom

General term for all watertight spaces contained between the outside bottom plating, the tank top and the margin plate. The double bottoms are sub-divided into a number of separate tanks which may contain boiler feed water, drinking water, fuel oil, ballast, etc.


-   The number of feet that the hull of a ship is beneath the surface of the water.

-   An unconditional order in writing, addressed by one party (drawer) to another party (drawee), requiring the drawee to pay at a fixed or determinable future date a specified sum in lawful currency to the order of a specified person.

Draft, Bank

An order issued by a seller against a purchaser; directs payment, usually through an intermediary bank. Typical bank drafts are negotiable instruments and are similar in many ways to checks on checking accounts in a bank.

Draft, Clean

A draft to which no documents are attached.

Draft, Date

A draft that matures on a fixed date, regardless of the time of acceptance.

Draft, Discounted

A time draft under a letter of credit that has been accepted and purchased by a bank at a discount.

Draft, Sight

A draft payable on demand upon presentation.

Draft, Time

A draft that matures at a fixed or determinable time after presentation or acceptance.

Dragging (of anchor)

Moving of an anchor over the sea bottom involuntarily because it is no longer preventing the movement of the vessel


A partial refund of an import fee. Refund usually results because goods are re-exported from the country that collected the fee.


The individual or firm that issues a draft and thus stands to receive payment.


Charge made for local hauling by dray or truck. Same as Cartage.

Dredging (of anchor)         

Moving of an anchor over the sea bottom to control the movement of the vessel


Abbreviation for "Destination Rail Freight Station." Same as CFS at destination, except a DRFS is operated by the rail carrier participating in the shipment.


Floating, caused by winds and current with a determinable direction

Drop back (to)

To increase the distance to the vessel ahead by reducing one´s own speed

Dry Cargo

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

Dry Cargo Ship

Vessel which carriers all merchandise, excluding liquid in bulk.

Dry Dock

An enclosed basin into which a ship is taken for underwater cleaning and repairing. It is fitted with water tight 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. Used in conjunction with a tilt chassis or platform.


Delay in Startup Insurance is a policy to protect the seller of a construction project from penalties if the project is not completed on time. See "Liquidated Damages."

Dual Purpose Ship

Specially constructed ship able to carry different types of cargoes such as ore and/or oil.

Dues taxes

Expenses related to loading or discharging ports. Under voyage charter is up to the agreement to define "who" is responsible for such expenses, under time charter it is the charterers who pay same.


Attempting to import merchandise into a country at a price less than the fair market value, usually through subsidy by exporting country.


A term applied to loose wood or other material used in a ship's hold for the protection of cargo.


Deadweight tons.


Eastern Central Motor Carriers Association.


Eastern Weighing and Inspection Bureau.

Edge Protector

An angle piece fitted over the edge of boxes, crates, bundles and other packages to prevent the pressure from metal bands or other types from cutting into the package.


European Economic Community.

Electronic Data Interface (EDI)

Generic term for transmission of transactional data between computer systems. EDI is typically via a batched transmission, usually conforming to consistent standards.


-   A charge for services performed in connection with floating elevators.

-   Charges assessed for the handling of grain through grain elevators.

Elkins Act

An act of Congress (1903) prohibiting rebates, concession, misbilling, etc. and providing specific penalties for such violations.


Order to restrict the hauling of freight.

Embark (to)

To go aboard a vessel

Eminent Domain

The sovereign power to take property for a necessary public use, with reasonable compensation.

Empty Repo

Contraction for Empty Repositioning. The movement of empty containers.


A legal signature usually placed on the reverse of a draft; signifies transfer of rights from the holder to another party.


Customs documents required to clear an import shipment for entry into the general commerce of a country.


A monetary allowance to the customer for picking up or delivering at a point other than the destination shown on the bill of lading. This provision is covered by tariff publication.

Equipment (Liners)

Maintains and repairs cargo handling equipment and also cargo with special handling characteristics.

Equipment Interchange Receipt (EIR)

A document transferring a container from one carrier to another, or to/from a terminal.

Escape route

A clearly marked way in the vessel which has to be followed in case of an emergency


Attending a vessel, to be available in case of need, e.g ice-breaker, tug, etc.

Estimated time of arrival

Estimated time of arrival (eta) is the time when the vessel is expected to arrive at the port of loading or discharging. It is usually followed by the expression 'weather permitting' (wp)


-   Estimated Time of Availability. That time when a tractor/partner carrier is available for dispatch.

-   Estimated time of arrival.


Estimated time of arrival


Estimated time of departure


A gas produced by many fruits and vegetables that accelerates the ripening and aging processes.

Even Keel

When the draft of a ship fore and aft are the same.

Ex - "From"

When used in pricing terms such as "Ex Factory" or "Ex Dock," it signifies that the price quoted applies only at the point of origin indicated.

Ex Dec

Contraction for "Shipper's Export Declaration."


Notations made when the cargo is received at the carrier's terminal or loaded aboard a vessel. They show any irregularities in packaging or actual or suspected damage to the cargo. Exceptions are then noted on the bill of lading.


Abbreviation for Export-Import Bank of the United States. An independent U.S. Government Agency which facilitates exports of U.S. goods by providing loan guarantees and insurance for repayment of bank-provided export credit.

Expiry Date

Issued in connection with documents such as letters of credit, tariffs etc. to advise that stated provisions will expire at a certain time.


Shipment of goods to a foreign country.

Export Declaration

A government document declaring designated goods to be shipped out of the country. To be completed by the exporter and filed with the U.S. Government.

Export License

A government document which permits the "Licensee" to engage in the export of designated goods to certain destinations.

Export license

Government document permitting the licensee to participate in the export of designated goods to certain destinations.

Export Rate

A rate published on traffic moving from an interior point to a port for transshipment to a foreign country.


Food and Drug Administration.


Free on Board: Export term in which the price quoted by the exporter does not include the costs of ocean transportation, but does include loading on board the vessel.


See "Free of Particular Average."


A factor is an agent who will, at a discount (usually five to 8% of the gross), buy receivables.


Navigable part of a waterway

Fairway speed

Mandatory speed in a fairway


Abbreviation for "Freight All Kinds." Usually refers to full container loads of mixed shipments.

False Billing

Misrepresenting freight or weight on shipping documents.


Abbreviation for "Free Alongside Ship."


Free Along Side (of ship).


Abbreviation for "Full Container Load."


Abbreviation for "Free Discharge."

Federal Maritime Commission (FMC)

Authorized tariffs and rate-making procedures on conferences operating in the United States.


A grain container or reservoir constructed around the hatchway between two decks of a ship which when filled with grain automatically feeds or fills in the vacant areas in the lower holds.

Feeder Service

Cargo to/from regional ports are transferred to/from a central hub port for a long-haul ocean voyage.

Feeder Vessel

A short-sea vessel which transfers cargo between a central "hub" port and smaller "spoke" ports.


Abbreviation for "Forty-Foot Equivalent Units." Refers to container size standard of forty feet. Two twenty-foot containers or TEU's equal one FEU.

Fifth Wheel

The semi-circular steel coupling device mounted on a tractor which engages and locks with a chassis semi-trailer.


Free in and out.

Fire party

A group of crew members trained for fire fighting on board

Fire patrol

A round through the vessel carried out by a crew member of the watch at certain intervals so that an outbreak of fire may be promptly detected; mandatory in vessels carrying more than 36 passengers


an unlicensed member of the engine, room staff whose duties consist in standing watch in the boiler room and insuring the oil burning equipment is working properly.


A capacity measurement equal to one-fourth of a barrel.

First Assistant Engineer

In charge of four to eight watch. Usually works from eight to four handling engine maintenance. Assigns duties to unlicensed personnel and monitors and records overtime. Consults with Chief regarding work priorities.

First Mate (Chief Mate)

In charge of four to eight watch. Directly responsible for all deck operations (cargo storage and handling, deck maintenance deck supplies). Assigns and checks deck department overtime. Ship's medical officer.

First refusal

It is sometimes agreed that either the owners or the charterers will have the so-called 'first refusal' over an agreement. First refusal actually means that a deal will be initially discussed with the party having the 'first refusal' right and unless this party turns it down, the offering party will not have the right to offer such deal to a third party. Such an advantage is usually given to a 'good' client who offered good services in the past.

Fixed Costs

Costs that do not vary with the level of activity. Some fixed costs continue even if no cargo is carried. Terminal leases, rent and property taxes are fixed costs.


The act of concluding a chartering deal

Flags of Convenience

The registration of ships in a country whose tax on the profits of trading ships is low or whose requirements concerning manning or maintenance are not stringent. Sometimes referred to as flags of necessity; denotes registration of vessels in foreign nations that offer favorable tax structures and regulations; also the flag representing the nation under whose jurisdiction a ship is registered. Ships are always registered under the laws of one nation but are not always required to establish their home location in that country.

Flat Car

A rail car without a roof and walls.

Flat Rack/Flat Bed Container

A container with no sides and frame members at the front and rear. Container can be loaded from the sides and top.

Floating Oil Storage

Oil stored on floating vessels. It has been the practice for oil to be stored in large laid-up oil tankers in order to offset the loss involved while the tankers are inactive.


Major flow of seawater into the vessel

FMC (F.M.C.)

Federal Maritime Commission. The U.S. Governmental regulatory body responsible for administering maritime affairs including the tariff system, Freight Forwarder Licensing, enforcing the conditions of the Shipping Act and approving conference or other carrier agreements.

Foam monitor      

A powerful foam fire extinguisher standing by aboard tankers loading or discharging oil


Cost of a product before transportation costs are figured in.


Abbreviation for "Free on Rail."

Force Majeure

The title of a common clause in contracts, exempting the parties for non-fulfillment of their obligations as a result of conditions beyond their control, such as earthquakes, floods or war.

Fore and Aft

The direction on a vessel parallel to the center line.


The raised part of the forward end of a ship's hull. The inside space may be used for crew accommodation or quarters, though on new ships this space is being used for the storage of paints, tackle, deck and engine stores, tarpaulins, etc.

Foreign Sales Corporation

Under U.S. tax law, a corporation created to obtain tax exemption on part of the earnings of U.S. products in foreign markets. Must be set-up as a foreign corporation with an office outside the USA.

Foreign Trade Zone

A free port in a country divorced from Customs authority but under government control. Merchandise, except that which is prohibited, may be stored in the zone without being subject to import duty regulations.

Fork Lift

A machine used to pick up and move goods loaded on pallets or skids.


At or in the direction of the bow. Also the fore part of the ship.

Forwarder Compensation

See Brokerage.

Foul (of anchor)

Anchor has its own cable twisted around it or has fouled an obstruction

Foul Bill of Lading

A receipt for goods issued by a carrier with an indication that the goods were damaged when received. Compare Clean Bill of Lading.

Four-Way Pallet

A pallet designed so that the forks of a fork lift truck can be inserted from all four sides. See Fork lift.

Free Alongside (FAS)

The seller must deliver the goods to a pier and place them within reach of the ship's loading equipment. See Terms of Sale.

Free Astray

An astray shipment (a lost shipment that is found) sent to its proper destination without additional charge.

Free despatch

The owners do not have to pay despatch money in case that vessel completes loading or discharging operations before laytime is expired.

Free In and Out (FIO)

Cost of loading and unloading a vessel is borne by the charterer/shipper.

Free of Particular Average (FPA)

A marine insurance term meaning that the assurer will not allow payment for partial loss or damage to cargo shipments except in certain circumstances, such as stranding, sinking, collision or fire.

Free on Board (FOB - U.S. Domestic Use)

Shipped under a rate that includes costs of delivery to and the loading onto a carrier at a specified point.

-   FOB Freight 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.

Free Out (FO)

Cost of unloading a vessel is borne by the charterer.

Free Port

A restricted area at a seaport for the handling of duty-exempted import goods. Also called a Foreign Trade Zone.

Free pratique

Formalities which take place on vessel's arrival in a port. Actually the medical acceptance of a ship by the port authorities.

Free Sale Certificate

The U.S. government does not issue certificates of free sale. However, the Food and Drug Administration, Silver Spring, Maryland, will issue, upon request, a letter of comment to the U.S. manufacturers whose products are subject to the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act or other acts administered by the agency. The letter can take the place of the certificate.

Free Time

That amount of time that a carrier's equipment may be used without incurring additional charges. (See Storage, Demurrage or Per Diem.)

Free Trade Zone

A port designated by the government of a country for duty-free entry of any non-prohibited goods. Merchandise may be stored, displayed, used for manufacturing, etc., within the zone and re-exported without duties.


Money charged by the carrier for transporting goods. The reward payable to the carrier for the carriage and arrival of the goods in a merchantable condition, ready to be delivered to the merchant.

Freight Bill

A document issued by the carrier based on the bill of lading and other information; used to account for a shipment operationally, statistically, and financially. An Invoice.

Freight Forwarders

Freight forwarder is licensed to perform various services for the movement of cargo. He should have the expertise, technology and worldwide resources to create cost effective transportation strategies.

Freight Rate

The charge made for the transportation of freight.


See Ships.


Circumstances beyond control of parties involved in a chartering agreement, which forced such agreement to be frustrated.

Fuel oil

Type of fuel consumed by auxiliary engines or by smaller ships' (coasters) main engine.

Full and complete cargo

It is sometimes agreed that a vessel will load a 'full and complete cargo'', that is the exact quantity to be loaded is not known, however the parties agree that the ship will load up to her permissible draft or cargo capacity according to the prevailing circumstances of the port and the ship herself.

Full speed

Highest possible speed of a vessel


A narrow portable platform used as a passage, by persons entering or leaving a vessel moored alongside a pier or quay.


Industry-related: A point at which freight moving from one territory to another is interchanged between transportation lines.


General Agreements on Tariffs and Trade


Abbreviation for "General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade." A multilateral treaty to help reduce trade barriers between the signatory countries and to promote trade through tariff concessions. The World Trade Organization (WTO) superseded GATT in 1994.


Abbreviation for "Government Bill of Lading."


Gross Domestic Product: The total value of goods and services produced by a nation over a given period, usually 1 year.


Abbreviation for "General Department Store Merchandise." A classification of commodities that includes goods generally shipped by mass-merchandise companies. This commodity structure occurs only in service contracts.


Vessels equipped to load and discharge by their own means (derricks or cranes)


Vessels not equipped to load and discharge by their own means (without derricks or cranes)

General average (g.a.)

Ancient principle of equity in which all parties in a sea adventure (ship, cargo, and freight) proportionately share losses resulting from a voluntary and successful sacrifice of part of the ship or cargo to save the whole adventure from an impending peril, or extraordinary expenses necessarily incurred for the joint benefit of ship and cargo.

General Cargo

A non-bulk oil cargo composed of miscellaneous goods.

General emergency alarm

A sound signal of seven short blasts and one long blast given with the vessel´s sound system

General Order (G.O.)

When U.S. Customs orders shipments without entries to be kept in their custody in a bonded warehouse.

Generator Set (Gen Set)

A portable generator which can be attached to a refrigerated container to power the refrigeration unit during transit.


Global maritime distress and safety system


Gross National Product: GDP plus the net income accruing from foreign sources.


In the Far East, a warehouse where goods are stored and delivered.


The front rails of the chassis that raise above the plane of the chassis and engage in the tunnel of a container leading to the connection to tractor.

Government Impelled

Cargo owned by or subsidized by the Federal Government.


Global (satellite) positioning system

Grab discharging

Certain types of bulk cargoes may be discharged by means of special grabs. Such grabs are either connected to ships derricks or to shore cranes. The ship, in order to accept grab discharging, should be suitable for grab discharging.

Grain capacity

The volume capacity of a ship as far as bulk cargoes are concerned. (grains)

Grain cargoes

Wheat, maize, rye, barley, oats, rice, paddy rice, pulse, seeds, nuts, nut kernels etc. These cargoes are usually carried in bulk. Wheat, rye and maize are considered as heavy grains, while barley and oats are classified as light grains.

Great Lakes Ports

Ports in the lakes of Canada and/or USA popular for grain shipments. In Canada: Port Arthur and Fort William in Lake Superior; Hamilton, Kingston, Toronto and Prescott in Lake Ontario. In USA: Chicago, Milwaukee in Lake Michigan; Duluth and Superior in Lake Superior and Toledo in Lake Erie.

Great Lakes Ship

Cargo ship developed to carry raw materials and manufactured goods on the Great Lakes. Most carry bulk cargoes of grain, iron ore or coal.


Abbreviation for "General Rate Increase." Used to describe an across-the-board tariff rate increase implemented by conference members and applied to base rates.

Gross Freight

Freight money collected or to be collected without calculating the expenses relating to the running cost of the ship for the voyage undertaken.

Gross Registered Tons

A common measurement of the internal volume of a ship with certain spaces excluded. One ton equals 100 cubic feet; the total of all the enclosed spaces within a ship expressed in tons each of which is equivalent to 100 cubic feet.

Gross weight

The full weight of a shipment, including goods and packaging.


Deliberate contact by a ship with the bottom while she is moored or anchored as a result of the water level dropping.


A consolidation service, putting small shipments into containers for shipment.


Abbreviation for "Gross Vehicle Weight." The combined total weight of a vehicle and its container, inclusive of prime mover.

Hague Rules, The

A multilateral maritime treaty adopted in 1921 (at The Hague, Netherlands). Standardizes liability of an international carrier under the Ocean B/L. Establishes a legal "floor" for B/L. See COGSA

Hampered vessel

A vessel restricted by its ability to manoeuvre by the nature of its work or its deep draft

Harbor Master

A person usually having the experience of a certificated master mariner and having a good knowledge of the characteristics of the port and its whole area. He administers the entire shipping movements that take place in and within reach of the port he is responsible for.

Harbour Dues

Various local charges against all seagoing vessels entering a harbor, to cover maintenance of channel depths, buoys, lights, etc. all harbors do not necessarily have this charge.

Hard Aground

A vessel which has gone aground and is incapable of refloating under her own power.

Hard Currency

A currency which is sound enough to be accepted internationally and which is usually fully convertible.

Harmonized System of Codes (HS)

An international goods classification system for describing cargo in international trade under a single commodity-coding scheme. Developed under the auspices of the Customs Cooperations Council (CCC), an international Customs organization in Brussels, this code is a hierarchically structured product nomenclature containing approximately 5,000 headings and subheadings. It is organized into 99 chapters arranged in 22 sections. Sections encompass an industry (e.g., Section XI, Textiles and Textile Articles); chapters encompass the various materials and products of the industry (e.g., Chapter 50, Silk; Chapter 55, Manmade Staple Fibers; Chapter 57, Carpets). The basic code contains four-digit headings and six-digit subheadings. Many countries add digits for Customs tariff and statistical purposes. In the United States, duty rates will be the eight-digit level; statistical suffixes will be at the ten-digit level. The Harmonized System (HS) is the current U.S. tariff schedule (TSUSA) for imports and is the basis for the ten-digit Schedule B export code.


An opening, generally rectangular, in a ship's deck affording access into the compartment below.


Ropes supported by stanchions around an open hatch to prevent persons from falling into a hold


Large strong rope used for towing purposes and for securing or mooring ships. Hawsers are now mostly made of steel.


An industry abbreviation for "Hazardous Material."

Heavy Lift Vessels

Vessels equipped to "self-load" and discharge heavy pieces of cargo.

Heavy-Lift Charge

A charge made for lifting articles too heavy to be lifted by a ship's normal tackle.


A tiller or a wheel generally installed on the bridge or wheelhouse of a ship to turn the rudder during manoeuvering and navigation. It is in fact the steering wheel of the ship.

High-Density Compression

Compression of a flat or standard bale of cotton to approximately 32 pounds per cubic foot. Usually applies to cotton exported or shipped coastwise.


The marrying of two or more portions of one shipment that originate at different locations, moving under one bill of lading, from one shipper to one consignee. Authority for this service must be granted by tariff publication. See Bill of Lading.


A cable used by helicopters for lifting or lowering persons in a pick-up operation

Hoisting Rope

Special flexible wire rope for lifting purposes, generally being of six strands with 19 wires in each strand and in most cases having a hemp rope at the center.


A general name for the spaces below the main deck designated for stowage of general cargo. A hold on a tanker is usually just forward of #1 cargo tank. Some newer tankers have no hold.

Hopper Barge

A barge which loads material dumped into it by a dredger and discharges the cargo through the bottom.


See Door-to-Door.


Cargo loaded into a container by the shipper under shipper's supervision. When the cargo is exported, it is unloaded at the foreign pier destination.


A vessel used for the transportation of passengers and cargo riding on a cushion of air formed under it. It is very maneuverable and is also amphibious.


Shell or body of a ship.


The process of connecting a moving rail car with a motionless rail car within a rail classification yard in order to make up a train. The cars move by gravity from an incline or "hump" onto the appropriate track.


A craft more or less similar to the Hovercraft insofar as it flies over water and thus eliminates friction between the water and the hull. Under acceleration it rises above water but remains in contact with the surface through supporting legs.

I.M.D.G. Code

International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code. The regulations published by the IMO for transporting hazardous materials internationally.


International Standards Organization which deals in standards of all sorts, ranging from documentation to equipment packaging and labeling.


Abbreviation for (1) "Interstate Commerce Commission," (2) "International Chamber of Commerce."


International Labor Organization; Based in Geneva, it is one of the oldest components of the UN system of specialized agencies and has been involved over the years in appraising and seeking to improve and regulate conditions for seafarers. In its unusual tripartite way, involving official representatives of government, employer and employee interests, its joint Maritime Commission have had in hand moves on the employment of foreign seafarers to urge the application of minimum labor standards, on crew accommodation, accident prevention, medical examination and medical care, food and catering and officers competency.


International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code.


International Monetary Fund.

Immediate Exit (IE)

In the U.S., Customs IE Form is used when goods are brought into the U.S. and are to be immediately re-exported without being transported within the U.S.

Immediate Exportation

An entry that allows foreign merchandise arriving at one port to be exported from the same port without the payment of duty.

Immediate Transport (I.T.)

The document (prepared by the carrier) allows shipment to proceed from the port of entry in the U.S. to Customs clearing at the destination. The shipment clears Customs at its final destination. Also called an "In-Transit" Entry.

International Maritime Organization (IMO)

(Formerly the Inter-governmental Maritime Consultative Organization (IMCO).) Established in 1959 (as the UN-sponsored international agency for the promotion of maritime safety and marine pollution prevention), IMO is mainly concerned with maritime safety and coordinates work relating to atomic propulsion, aviation, health, labor, meteorology, oceanography, and telecommunications.


Group of dangerous or hazardous goods, harmful substances or marine pollutants in sea transport as classified in the International Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG Code)


To receive goods from a foreign country.

Import License

A document required and issued by some national governments authorizing the importation of goods.

In Bond

Cargo moving under Customs control where duty has not yet been paid.

In Gate

The transaction or interchange that occurs at the time a container is received by a rail terminal or water port from another carrier.

In Transit

In transit, or in passage.

Incentive Rate

A lower-than-usual tariff rate assessed because a shipper offers a greater volume than specified in the tariff. The incentive rate is assessed for that portion exceeding the normal volume.


Terms by the international chamber of commerce (ICC). This codification of terms is used in foreign trade contracts to define which parties incur the costs and at what specific point the costs are incurred.

Indemnity Bond

An agreement to hold a carrier harmless with regard to a liability.

Independent Action

Setting rate within a conference tariff that is different from the rate(s) for the same items established by other conference members.

Independent Action (I/A)

The right of a conference member to publish a rate of tariff rule that departs from the Agreement's common rate or rule.

Independent Tariff

Any body of rate tariffs that are not part of an agreement or conference system.


Placing a port on a vessel's itinerary because the volume of cargo offered at that port justifies the cost of routing the vessel.

Inert Gas System

A system of preventing any explosion in the cargo tanks of a tanker by replacing the cargo, as it is pumped out, by an inert gas, often the exhaust of the ship's engine. Gas-freeing must be carried out subsequently if worker have to enter the empty tanks.

Inflammable Liquids

Liquids liable to spontaneous combustion which give off inflammable vapors at or below 80 degrees F. For example, ether, ethyl, benzine, gasoline, paints, enamels, carbon disulfide, etc.

Inherent Vice

An insurance term referring to any defect or other characteristic of a product that could result in damage to the product without external cause (for example, instability in a chemical that could cause it to explode spontaneously). Insurance policies may exclude inherent vice losses.

Initial course

Course directed by the OSC or CSS to be steered at the beginning of a search

Inland Carrier

A transportation line that hauls export or import traffic between ports and inland points.

Inland Waters

Term referring to lakes, streams, rivers, canals, waterways, inlets, bays and the like.


International Maritime Satellite System.

Inspection Certificate

A certificate issued by an independent agent or firm attesting to the quality and/or quantity of the merchandise being shipped. Such a certificate is usually required in a letter of credit for commodity shipments.

Installment Shipments

Successive shipments are permitted under letters of credit. Usually they must take place within a given period of time.

Insulated Container

A container insulated on the walls, roof, floor, and doors, to reduce the effect of external temperatures on the cargo.

Insulated Container Tank

The frame of a container constructed to hold one or more thermally insulated tanks for liquids.

Insurance with Average-clause

This type of clause covers merchandise if the damage amounts to three percent or more of the insured value of the package or cargo. If the vessel burns, sinks, collides, or sinks, all losses are fully covered. In marine insurance, the word average describes partial damage or partial loss.

Insurance, All-risk

This type of insurance offers the shipper the broadest coverage available, covering against all losses that may occur in transit.

Insurance, General-Average

In water transportation, the deliberate sacrifice of cargo to make the vessel safe for the remaining cargo. Those sharing in the spared cargo proportionately cover the loss.

Insurance, Particular Average

A Marine insurance term to refer to partial loss on an individual shipment from one of the perils insured against, regardless of the balance of the cargo. Particularaverage insurance can usually be obtained, but the loss must be in excess of a certain percentage of the insured value of the shipment, usually three to five percent, before a claim will be allowed by the company.

Integrated Tug Barge

A large barge of about 600 feet and 22,000 tons cargo capacity, integrated from the rear on to the bow of a tug purposely constructed to push the barge.

Inter alia

Among other things.

Interchange Point

A location where one carrier delivers freight to another carrier.


Water service between two coasts; in the U.S., this usually refers to water service between the Atlantic and Pacific or Gulf Coasts.

Interline Freight

Freight moving from origin to destination over the Freight lines of two or more transportation carriers.

Intermediate Point

A point located en route between two other points.


Used to denote movements of cargo containers interchangeably between transport modes, i.e., motor, water, and air carriers, and where the equipment is compatible within the multiple systems.


The concept of transportation as a door-to-door service rather than port-to-port. Thus efficiency is enhanced by having a single carrier coordinating the movement and documentation among different modes of transportation.

International Load Line Certificate

A certificate which gives details of a ship's freeboards and states that the ship has been surveyed and the appropriate load lines marked on her sides. This certificate is issued by a classification society or the Coast Guard.

International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund

An inter-governmental agency designed to pay compensation for oil pollution damage, exceeding the shipowner's liability. It was created by an IMO Convention in 1971 and started its operations in October 1978. Contributions come mainly from the oil companies of member states.

International Tonnage Certificate

A certificate issued to a shipowner by a government department in the case of a ship whose gross and net tonnages have been determined in accordance with the International Convention of Tonnage Measurement of Ships. The certificate states the gross and net tonnages together with details of the spaces attributed to each.

International Waterways

Consist of international straits, inland and interocean canals and rivers where they separate the territories of two or more nations. Provided no treaty is enforced both merchant ships and warships have the right of free and unrestricted navigation through these waterways.


An association of independent tanker owners whose aims are to represent the views of its members internationally.

In-Transit Entry (I.T.)

Allows foreign merchandise arriving at one port to be transported in bond to another port, where a superseding entry is filed.


An itemized list of goods shipped to a buyer, stating quantities, prices, shipping charges, etc.

Inward Foreign Manifest (IFM)

A complete listing of all cargo entering the country of discharge. Required at all world ports and is the primary source of cargo control, against which duty is assessed by the receiving country.


Abbreviation for "Inland Point Intermodal." Refers to inland points (non-ports) that can be served by carriers on a through bill of lading.

Irrevocable Letter of Credit

Letter of credit in which the specified payment is guaranteed by the bank if all terms and conditions are met by the drawee and which cannot be revoked without joint agreement of both the buyer and the seller.

Issuing Bank

Bank that opens a straight or negotiable letter of credit and assumes the obligation to pay the bank or beneficiary if the documents presented are in accordance with the terms of the letter of credit.

Issuing Carrier

The carrier issuing transportation documents or publishing a tariff.


A wood or fiber cover placed around such containers as cans and bottles.

Jacob's Ladder

A rope ladder suspended from the side of a vessel and used for boarding.

Jettison (to) (of cargo)      

Throwing overboard of goods in order to lighten the vessel or improve its stability in case of an emergency


Abbreviation for "Just In Time." In this method of inventory control, warehousing is minimal or non-existent; the container is the movable warehouse and must arrive "just in time;" not too early nor too late.

Joint Rate

A rate applicable from a point on one transportation line to a point on another line, made by agreement and published in a single tariff by all transportation lines over which the rate applies.

Joint venture

A business undertaking in which more than one firm share ownership and control of production and/or marketing.


The lowest longitudinal timber of a vessel, on which framework of the whole is built up; combination of iron plates serving same purpose in iron vessel.


1,000 grams or 2.2046 pounds.

King Pin

A coupling pin centered on the front underside of a chassis; couples to the tractor.

Knocked Down (KD)

Articles which are taken apart to reduce the cubic footage displaced or to make a better shipping unit and are to be re-assembled.


One nautical mile (6,076 feet or 1852 meters) per hour. In the days of sail, speed was measured by tossing overboard a log which was secured by a line. Knots were tied into the line at intervals of approximately six feet. The number of knots measured was then compared against time required to travel the distance of 1000 knots in the line.

Known Loss

A loss discovered before or at the time of delivery of a shipment.


Kilo or metric ton. 1,000 Kilos or 2,204.6 pounds.


Abbreviation for "Letter of Credit."


Long tons (2,240 lbs.).


Loaded aboard a vessel.


Refers to the freight shipped; the contents of a shipment.

Laid-up Tonnage

Ships not in active service; a ship which is out of commission for fitting out, awaiting better markets, needing work for classification, etc.


Type of ship which trades only in the Great Lakes of North America. They usually carry grain and ore cargoes.


Movement of cargo by water from one country through the port of another country, thence, using rail or truck, to an inland point in that country or to a third country. As example, a through movement of Asian cargo to Europe across North America.

Landed Cost

The total cost of a good to a buyer, including the cost of transportation.

Landing Certificate

Certificate issued by consular officials of some importing countries at the point or place of export when the subject goods are exported under bond.

Landing Gear

A support fixed on the front part of a chassis (which is retractable); used to support the front end of a chassis when the tractor has been removed.

LASH Ships

LASH stand for Lighter Aboard Ship. It is a specialized container ship carrying very large floating containers, or "lighters." The ship carries its own massive crane, which loads and discharges the containers over the stern. The lighters each have a capacity of 400 tons and are stowed in the holds and on deck. While, the ship is at sea with one set of lighters, further sets can be made ready. Loading and discharge are rapid at about 15 minutes per lighter, no port or dock facilities are needed, and the lighters can be grouped for pushing by towboats along inland waterways.

Launch (to)

To lower, e.g. lifeboats to the water


Laydays/Cancelling (date): Range of dates within the hire contract must start.


Time allowed by the shipowner to the voyage charterer or bill of lading holder in which to load and/or discharge the cargo. It is expressed as a number of days or hours or as a number of tons per day.


Temporary cessation of trading of a ship by a shipowner during a period when there is a surplus of ships in relation to the level of available cargoes. This surplus, known as overtonnaging, has the effect of depressing freight rates to the extent that some shipowners no long find it economical to trade their ship, preferring to lay them up until there is a reversal in the trend.


Escape of liquids such as water, oil, etc., out of pipes, boilers, tanks, etc., or a minor inflow of seawater into the vessel due to a damage to the hull.


Lateral movement of the vessel to leeward of its course

Less Than Container Load (LCL)

A consignment of cargo which is inefficient to fill a shipping container. It is grouped with other consignments for the same destination in a container at a container freight station.

Less Than Truckload

Also known as LTL or LCL.

Let go (to)

To set free, let loose, or cast off (of anchors, lines, etc.)

Letter of Credit (LC)

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. Some of the specific descriptions are:

-   Back-to-Back: A new letter of credit issued to another beneficiary on the strength of a primary credit. The second L/C uses the first L/C as collateral for the bank. Used in a three-party transaction.

-   Clean: A letter of credit that requires the beneficiary to present only a draft or a receipt for specified funds before receiving payment.

-   Confirmed: An L/C guaranteed by both the issuing and advising banks of payment so long as seller's documents are in order, and the L/C terms are met. Only applied to irrevocable L/C's. The confirming bank assumes the credit risk of the issuing bank.

-   Deferred Payment: A letter of credit issued for the purchase and financing of merchandise, similar to acceptance-type letter of credit, except that it requires presentation of sight drafts payable on an installment basis.

-   Irrevocable: An instrument that, once established, cannot be modified or cancelled without the agreement of all parties concerned.

-   Non cumulative: A revolving letter of credit that prohibits the amount not used during the specific period from being available afterwards.

-   Restricted: A condition within the letter of credit which restricts its negotiation to a named bank.

-   Revocable: An instrument that can be modified or cancelled at any moment without notice to and agreement of the beneficiary, but customarily includes a clause in the credit to the effect that any draft negotiated by a bank prior to the receipt of a notice of revocation or amendment will be honored by the issuing bank. Rarely used since there is no protection for the seller.

-   Revolving: An irrevocable letter issued for a specific amount; renews itself for the same amount over a given period.

-   Straight: A letter of credit that contains a limited engagement clause which states that the issuing bank promises to pay the beneficiary upon presentation of the required documents at its counters or the counters of the named bank.

-   Transferable: A letter of credit that allows the beneficiary to transfer in whole or in part to another beneficiary any amount which, in aggregate, of such transfers does not exceed the amount of the credit. Used by middlemen.

-   Unconfirmed: A letter of credit forwarded to the beneficiary by the advising bank without engagement on the part of the advising bank.

Letter of Indemnity

In order to obtain the clean bill of lading, the shipper signs a letter of indemnity to the carrier on the basis of which may be obtained the clean bill of lading, although the dock or mate's receipt showed that the shipment was damaged or in bad condition.


-   Some governments require certain commodities to be licensed prior to exportation or importation. Clauses attesting to compliance are often required on the B/L.

-   Various types issued for export (general, validated) and import as mandated by government(s).


A legal claim upon goods for the satisfaction of some debt or duty.


A specially constructed double ended boat which can withstand heavy, rough seas.

Lifeboat Drill

The master of every vessel is bound by international law to make the officers, crew and passengers adequately acquainted with the procedures of lowering and the use of lifeboats in case of emergency.

Lifeboat station

Place assigned to crew and passengers where they have to meet before they will be ordered to enter the lifeboats

Light Displacement Tonnage

The weight of a ship's hull, machinery, equipment and spares. This is often the basis on which ships are paid for when purchased for scrapping. The difference between the loaded displacement and light displacement is the ship's deadweight.

Light ship

The weight of the ship without cargo, fuel, water, stores etc.


A vessel discharges part of its cargo at anchor into a lighter to reduce the vessel's draft so it can then get alongside a pier.


General name for a broad, flat-bottomed boat used in transporting cargo between a vessel and the shore. The distinction between a lighter and a barge is more in the manner of use than in equipment. The term "lighter" refers to a short haul, generally in connection with loading and unloading operations of vessels in harbor while the term "barge" is more often used when the cargo is being carried to its destination over a long distance.

Lighter Aboard Ship

An ocean ship which carries barges. These barges are loaded with cargo, often at a variety of locations, towed to the ocean ship, sometimes referred to as the mother ship, and lifted or, in some cases, floated on board. After the ocean crossing, the barges are off-loaded and towed to their various destinations. The ocean ship then receives a further set of barges which have been assembled in readiness. This concept was designed to eliminate the need for specialized port equipment and to avoid transshipment with its consequent extra cost.


The act of discharging part of the cargo in order to 'lighten' the ship and reach a permissible draft in order to enter a port.


Conveying cargo with another vessel known as a lighter from ship to shore, or vice versa.


Transportation from one city to another as differentiated from local switching service.


A cargo-carrying ship which is operated between scheduled, advertised ports of loading and discharge on a regular basis.

Liner Service

Vessels operating on fixed itineraries or regular schedules and established rates available to all shippers. The freight rates which are charged are based on the shipping company's tariff or if the company is a member of a liner conference, the tariff of that conference.

Liquidated Damages

The penalty a seller must pay if the construction project does not meet contractual standards or deadlines.


The amount in degrees that a vessel tilts from the vertical.


Inclination of the vessel to port side or starboard side


1.06 liquid U.S. quarts or 33.9 fluid ounces.

Lloyd's Register of Shipping

British classification society.

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.


Liquefied Natural Gas, or a carrier of LNG.

LNG Carrier

Liquefied natural gas carrier, perhaps the most sophisticated of all commercial ships. The cargo tanks are made of a special aluminum alloy and are heavily insulated to carry natural gas in its liquid state at a temperature of -2850F. The LNG ship costs about twice as much as an oil tanker of the same size.

Load Line

The line on a vessel indicating the maximum depth to which that vessel can sink when loaded with cargo. Also known as marks.

Load Ratio

The ratio of loaded miles to empty miles.

Loaded Leg

Subdivision of a ship's voyage during which the ship is carrying cargo.

Local Cargo

Cargo delivered to/from the carrier where origin/destination of the cargo is in the local area.

Log Book

Log books, an ancient practice of keeping a record of a vessel's voyage. Log books are intended to be an accurate record of the sip's activities and are chiefly important in a legal context in legal proceedings, particularly courts of inquiry into shipping casualties. There are several different logs such as deck, engine room and sounding logs which are usually kept by appropriate officers, under the general supervision and authority of the ship's master.

Long Ton

2,240 pounds


Individual employed in a port to load and unload ships.


A member of the crew stationed on the forecastle, or on the bridge, whose duty it is to watch for any dangerous objects or for any other vessels heaving into sight.


Without packing.


A trailer or semi-trailer with no sides and with the floor of the unit close to the ground.


Liquefied Petroleum Gas, or a carrier of LPG.


Liner Shipping Agreements.


The charterers pay a fixed amount of freight, regardless to the quantity of cargo loaded.


Middlewest Motor Freight Bureau.


Metric tons (2,250 lbs.).


The main continuous deck of a ship running from fore to aft; the principle deck; the deck from which the freeboard is determined.

Make water (to)

Seawater to flow into the vessel due to damage to its hull, or hatches awash and not properly closed


A carrier giving a customer illegal preference to attract cargo. This can take the form of a money refund (rebate); using lower figures than actual for the assessment of freight charges (undercubing); misdeclaration of the commodity shipped to allow the assessment of a lower tariff rate; waiving published tariff charges for demurrage, CFS handling or equalization; providing specialized equipment to a shipper to the detriment of other shippers, etc.


A writ issued by a court; requires that specific things be done.


Document that lists in detail all the bills of lading issued by a carrier or its agent or master for a specific voyage. A detailed summary of the total cargo of a vessel. Used principally for Customs purposes.

Manifest of cargo

Itemized list by bill of lading number of the kind and quantity of all cargoes loaded aboard a vessel, prepared by the vessel's master.

Manning Scale

The minimum number of officers and crew members that can be engaged on a ship to be considered as sufficient hands with practical ability to meet every possible eventuality at sea.

Manoeuvring speed

A vessel's reduced rate of speed in restricted waters such as fairways, harbours, etc.

Marine insurance

Insurance covering loss or damage of goods at sea. Typically, marine insurance will compensate the merchandise owners for losses sustained from fire, shipwreck, piracy, and various other causes. However, this excludes losses, which can be legally recovered from the carrier.


Business pertaining to commerce or navigation transacted upon the sea or in seaports in such matters as the court of admiralty has jurisdiction.

Maritime Lien

A claim which attaches to the res, i.e., the ship,. freight, or cargo.


Letters, numbers, and other symbols placed on cargo packages to facilitate identification. Also known as marks.


A pointed metal spike, used to separate strands of rope in splicing.

MARPOL 73/78

The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973, as modified by the Protocol of 1978.

Mass disease

An illness preferably of an infectious nature seizing more than two persons on board at the same time

Master (CAPTAIN)

Highest officer aboard ship. Oversees all ship operations. Keeps ships records. Handles accounting and bookkeeping. Takes command of vessel in inclement weather and in crowded or narrow waters. Handles communications. Receives and implements instructions from home office.

Master Inbond

U.S. Customs' automated program under AMS. It allows for electronic reporting of inbound (foreign) cargoes in the U.S.

Masthead Light

A white light positioned over the fore and aft centerline of the vessel.

Mate's Receipt

An archaic practice. An acknowledgement of cargo receipt signed by a mate of the vessel. The possessor of the mate's receipt is entitled to the bill of lading, in exchange for that receipt.


1,000 board feet. One MBM equals 2,265 C.M.


Abbreviation for "Master Container Freight Station." See CFS.

Measurement Cargo

Freight on which transportation charges are calculated on the basis of volume measurement.

Measurement Ton

40 cubic feet.

Mechanically Ventilated Container

A container fitted with a means of forced air ventilation.

Memorandum Bill of Lading

An in-house bill of lading. A duplicate copy.

Memorandum Freight Bill

See Multiple Containerload Shipment.


39.37 inches (approximately).

Metric Ton

2,204.6 pounds or 1,000 kilograms.


Most Favored Nation.


Marine Index Bureau.


A cargo movement in which the water carrier provides a through service between an inland point and the port of load/discharge. The carrier is responsible for cargo and costs from origin on to destination. Also known as IPI or Through Service.


A unit equal to 5,280 feet on land. A nautical mile is 6076.115.

Mini Landbridge

An intermodal system for transporting containers by ocean and then by rail or motor to a port previously served as an all-water move (e.g., Hong Kong to New York over Seattle).

Minimum Bill of Lading

A clause in a Bill of lading which specifies the least charge that the carrier will make for issuing a lading. The charge may be a definite sum or the current charge per ton for any spec ified quantity.

Minimum Charge

The lowest charge that can be assessed to transport a shipment.


The particulars shown in a charter - party are not correct.

Mixed Container Load

A containerload of different articles in a single consignment.

Mixed Shipment

A shipment consisting of more than one commodity, articles described under more than one class or commodity rate item in a tariff.


Abbreviation for "Mini Landbridge."

Modified Atmosphere

A blend of gases tailored to replace the normal atmosphere within a container.


Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit.

Moor (to)

To secure a vessel in a particular place by means of chains or ropes made fast to the shore, to anchors, or to anchored mooring buoys, or to ride with both anchors down


A cable or line to tie up a ship.


Somebody who has a maritime mortgage over a ship.


Maritime Subsidy Board.


Abbreviation for "Metric Ton."


Maritime Transport Committee, OECD


Synonymous for all practical purposes with "Intermodal."

Multipurpose Ship

Any ship capable of carrying different types of cargo which require different methods of handling. There are several types of ships falling into this category, for example, ships which can carry roll on/roll off cargo together with containers.

MultiTank Container

A container frame fitted to accommodate two or more separate tanks for liquids.

Muster (to)

To assemble crew, passengers or both in a special place for purposes of checking


National Committee on International Trade Documentation.


National Motor Freight Classification.


North Pacific Coast Freight Bureau.

National Cargo Bureau

A private organization having representatives throughout the main harbors in the U.S. It is empowered to inspect cargoes of a hazardous nature and issue certificates which are automatically approved by the Coast Guard.

National Flag

The flag carried by a ship to show her nationality.

Nautical Mile

Distance of one minute of longitude at the equator, approximately 6,076.115. The metric equivalent is 1852.


Abbreviation for "Not Elsewhere Classified."

Negotiable Instruments

A document of title (such as a draft, promissory note, check, or bill of lading) transferable from one person to another in good faith for a consideration. Non-negotiable bills of lading are known as "straight consignment." Negotiable bills are known as "order b/l's."


Shipments consisting entirely of units of a single commodity, such as cars, lumber, or scrap metal.


Abbreviation for "Not Elsewhere Specified."


Articles packed so that one rests partially or entirely within another, thereby reducing the cubic-foot displacement.

Net Capacity

The number of tons of cargo which a vessel can carry when loaded in salt water to her summer freeboard marks. Also called cargo carrying capacity, cargo deadweight, useful deadweight.

Net Tare Weight

The weight of an empty cargo-carrying piece of equipment plus any fixtures permanently attached.

Net Tonnage (NT)

Equals gross tonnage minus deductions for space occupied by crew accommodations, machinery, navigation equipment and bunkers. It represents space available for cargo (and passengers). Canal tolls are based on net (registered) tonnage.

(0.2+0.02 log10(Vc)) Vc (4d/3D)2, for passenger ships the following formula is added: 1.25 (GT+10000)/10000 (N1+(N2/10)), where Vc is the volume of cargo holds, D is the distance between ship's bottom and the uppermost deck, d is the draught N1 is the number of cabin passengers, and N2 is the number of deck passengers.) "Ton" is figured as an 100 cubic foot ton.

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.

Neutral Body

An organization established by the members of an ocean conference acts as a self-policing force with broad authority to investigate tariff violations, including authority to scrutinize all documents kept by the carriers and their personnel. Violations are reported to the membership and significant penalties are assessed.


Abbreviation for "Not Otherwise Indexed."


Abbreviation for "Not Otherwise Indexed By Name."

Nomenclature of the Customs Cooperation Council

The Customs tariff used by most countries worldwide. It was formerly known as the Brussels Tariff Nomenclature and is the basis of the commodity coding system known as the Harmonized System.

Nominee (or)

A condition that gives the right to the charterers who concluded a deal to nominate a third party, which will act on their behalf. Usually this party will be guaranteed by the original charterers.

Non-Conference Line

A shipping line which operates on a route served by a liner conference but which is not a member of that conference.


Domestic shipping routes serving Alaska and non-continental U.S. States and territories.

Non-Dumping Certificate

Required by some countries for protection against the dumping of certain types of merchandise or products.

Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier (NVOCC)

A cargo consolidator in ocean trades who will buy space from a carrier and sub-sell it to smaller shippers. The NVOCC issues bills of lading, publishes tariffs and otherwise conducts itself as an ocean common carrier, except that it will not provide the actual ocean or intermodal service.


Notice of Readiness. (When the ship is ready to load.)


Norwegian classification society.


Abbreviation for "Not Otherwise Specified."


Front of a container or trailer - opposite the tail.


Cargo which has been booked but does not arrive in time to be loaded before the vessel sails. See also "Windy Booking."

Not under command

A vessel which through exceptional circumstances is unable to manoeuvre

Notice of readiness (nor)

Notice given by the master of the ship, informing shippers or receivers (usually through the agents) that the ship is ready to commence loading or discharging operations.


Net registered tons. This tonnage is frequently shown on ship registration papers; it represents the volumetric area available for cargo at 100 cubic feet = 1 ton. It often is used by port and canal authorities as a basis for charges.


Non-vessel-operating common carrier, a ships agent, conducts business for the ship but does not operate the vessel.


Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, headquartered in Paris with membership consisting of the world's developed nations.


Overseas Private Investment Corporation.


A multipurpose ship that can carry ore, heavy dry bulk goods and oil. Although more expensive to build, they ultimately are more economical because they can make return journeys with cargo rather than empty as single-purpose ships often must.


An object such as a wreck, net, etc., which blocks a fairway, route, etc.

Ocean Bill of Lading (Ocean B/L)

A contract for transportation between a shipper and a carrier. It also evidences receipt of the cargo by the carrier. A bill of lading shows ownership of the cargo and, if made negotiable, can be bought, sold or traded while the goods are in-transit.

Ocean Waybill

A document, issued by a shipping line to a shipper which serves as a receipt for the goods and evidence of the contract carriage.


See "Overland Common Points."


Abbreviation for "Operating Differential Subsidy." An amount of money the U.S. government paid U.S. shipping companies that qualify for this subsidy. The intent was to help offset the higher subsidy. The intent was to help ofset the higher cost of operating a U.S.-flag vessel. The ODS program is administered by the U.S. Maritime Administration and is being phased out.


Operating Differential Subsidy: A direct subsidy paid to U.S.-flag operators to offset the high operating cost of U.S.-flag ships when compared to foreign-flag counterparts.


Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The Maritime Transport Committee is part of this organization.

Off air

When the transmissions of a radio station or a Decca chain, etc., have broken down, switched off or suspended

Off hire

Under a time charter and in case of breakdown of engines / winches or in case of dry-dock or any other reason which may render the vessel inefficient for a period of time, it is usually agreed that hire shall cease (the ship will be of hire) until she is efficient again

Off-Hire Clause

In a time charter, the owner is entitled to a limited time for his vessel to be off hire until such time as the vessel may be repaired or dry-docked.


Any of the licensed members of the ship's complement.


Discharge of cargo from a ship.

Oil clearance

An operation to remove oil from the water surface

Oil Record Book

A book or log kept by the master of an oil tanker wherein every discharge or escape of oil is recorded.

Oil Tanker

A ship designed for the carriage of oil in bulk, her cargo space consisting of several or many tanks. Tankers load their cargo by gravity from the shore or by shore pumps and discharge using their own pumps.


An unlicensed member of the engine room staff who oils and greases bearings and moving parts of the main engine and auxiliaries. Most of this work is now done automatically and the oiler merely insures it operates correctly.

On Board

A notation on a bill of lading that cargo has been loaded on board a vessel. Used to satisfy the requirements of a letter of credit, in the absence of an express requirement to the contrary.

On Deck

A notation on a bill of lading that the cargo has been stowed on the open deck of the ship.

Open Account

A trade arrangement in which goods are shipped to a foreign buyer without guarantee of payment.

Open Insurance Policy

A marine insurance policy that applies to all shipments made by an exporter over a period of time rather than to one shipment only.

Open Rates

Pricing systems that are flexible and not subject to conference approval. Usually applied to products in which tramps are substituted for liners.

Open Registry

A term used in place of "flag of convenience" or "flag of necessity" to denote registry in a country which offers favorable tax, regulatory, and other incentives to ship owners from other nations.

Open Top Container

A container fitted with a solid removable roof, or with a tarpaulin roof so the container can be loaded or unloaded from the top.

Operating Ratio

A comparison of a carrier's operating expense with its net sales. The most general measure of operating efficiency.

Optimum Cube

The highest level of cube utilization that can be achieved when loading cargo into a container.

Order-Notify (O/N)

A bill of lading term to provide surrender of the original bill of lading before freight is released; usually associated with a shipment covered under a letter of credit.

Ordinary Seaman (OS)

A deck crew member who is subordinate to the Able Bodied Seamen.

Ore Carrier

A large ship designed to be used for the carnage of ore. Because of the high density of ore, ore carriers have a relatively high center of gravity to prevent them being still when at sea, that is, rolling heavily with possible stress to the hull.

Ore-Bulk-Oil Carrier

A large multi-purpose ship designed to carry cargoes wither of ore or other bulk commodities or oil so as to reduce the time the ship would be in ballast if restricted to one type of commodity. This type of ship is sometimes called bulk-oil carrier.

Ore-Oil Carrier

A ship designed to carry either ore or oil in bulk.


Abbreviation for "Origin Rail Freight Station." Same as CFS at origin except an ORFS is operated by the rail carrier participating in the shipment.


Location where shipment begins its movement.

Original Bill of Lading (OBL)

A document which requires proper signatures for consummating carriage of contract. Must be marked as "original" by the issuing carrier.


Abbreviation for "Over, Short or Damaged" Usually discovered at cargo unloading.


On-scene commander: The commander of a rescue unit designated to coordinate search and rescue operations within a specified area

Out Gate

Transaction or interchange that occurs at the time a container leaves a rail or water terminal.


To charge more than the proper amount according to the published rates.


Accidental escape of oil out of a tank when it gets too full because pumping was not stopped in time

Overheight Cargo

Cargo more than eight feet high which thus cannot fit into a standard container.

Overland Common Point (OCP)

A term stated on the bills of lading offering lower shipping rates to importers east of the Rockies, provided merchandise from the Far East comes in through the West Coast ports. OCP rates were established by U.S. West Coast steamship companies in conjunction with western railroads so that cargo originating or destined for the American Midwest and East would be competitive with all-water rates via the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf ports. Applies to eastern Canada.


A situation where there are too many ships generally or in a particular trade for the level of available cargoes.

Owner Code (SCAC)

Standard Carrier Abbreviation Code identifying an individual common carrier. A three letter carrier code followed by a suffix identifies the carrier's equipment. A suffix of "U" is a container and "C" is a chassis.

Owners' broker

Brokers who are dealing directly to the owners of a ship.


Abbreviation for "Protection and Indemnity," an insurance term.

Packing list

A list which shows not only the information necessary for transport, but also the number and kinds of items being shipped.


Abbreviation for "Please Authorize Delivery Against Guarantee." A request from the consignee to the shipper to allow the carrier or agent to release cargo against a guarantee, either bank or personal. Made when the consignee is unable to produce original bills of lading.

Paired Ports

A U.S. Customs program wherein at least two designated Customs ports will enter cargo that arrives at either port without the necessity of an in-bound document.


A flat tray, generally made of wood but occasionally of steel, on which goods particularly those in boxes, cartons or bags, can be stacked. Its purpose is to facilitate the movement of such goods, mainly by the use of forklift trucks.


A vessel designed to be just small enough to transit the Panama Canal

Paper Ramp

A technical rail ramp, used for equalization of points not actually served.

Paper Rate

A published rate that is never assessed because no freight moves under it.

Parcel Receipt

An arrangement whereby a steamship company, under rules and regulations established in the freight tariff of a given trade, accepts small packages at rates below the minimum bill of lading, and issues a parcel receipt instead of a bill of lading.

Partial Shipments

Under letters of credit, one or more shipments are allowed by the phrase "partial shipments permitted."

Particular Average

See Insurance, Particular Average.

Passenger Ship

A passenger ship that its authorized to carry over twelve passengers.

Past us

The commission quoted by a broker and does not include his share. Usually, we should add .25% for his share of commission.


Public address system: Loudspeakers in the vessel´s cabins, mess rooms, etc., and on deck via which important information can be broadcast from a central point, mostly from the navigation bridge


A party named in an instrument as the beneficiary of the funds. Under letters of credit, the payee is either the drawer of the draft or a bank.


A party responsible for the payment as evidenced by the given instrument. Under letters of credit, the payer is the party on whom the draft is drawn, usually the drawee bank.

Per Container rate

Rates and/or changes on shipments transported in containers or trailers and rated on the basis of the category of the container or trailer.

Per Diem

A charge, based on a fixed daily rate.

Perils of the sea

Fortuitous accidents or casualties, peculiar to transportation on a navigable water, such as stranding, sinking, collision of the vessel, striking a submerged object, or encountering heavy weather or other unusual forces of nature.

Personal Floating Device

Approved floats meant as life preservers and carried on board American ships.

Phytosanitary Inspection Certificate

A certificate issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to satisfy import regulations of foreign countries; indicates that a U.S. shipment has been inspected and found free from harmful pests and plant diseases.


The act of calling for freight by truck at the consignor's shipping platform.


The structure perpendicular to the shoreline to which a vessel is secured for the purpose of loading and unloading cargo.


A shipment loaded into a container at the pier or terminal, thence to the consignee's facility.


Containers loaded at port of loading and discharged at port of destination.

Piggy Packer

A mobile container-handling crane used to load/unload containers to/from railcars.


A transportation arrangement in which truck trailers with their loads are moved by train to a destination. Also known as Rail Pigs.


Theft of part of the contents of a shipping package.


A person who is qualified to assist the master of a ship to navigate when entering or leaving a port.

Pilot House

The enclosed space on the navigating bridge from which a ship is controlled when under way.


The act carried out by a pilot of assisting the master of a ship in navigation when entering or leaving a port. Sometimes used to define the fee payable for the services of a pilot.

Pilotage Dues

A fee payable by the owner or operator of a ship for the services of a pilot. This fee is normally based on the ship's tonnage.

Place of Delivery

Place where cargo leaves the care and custody of carrier.

Place of Receipt

Location where cargo enters the care and custody of carrier.

Plimsoll Mark

A series of horizontal lines, corresponding to the seasons of the year and fresh or saltwater, painted on the outside of a ship marking the level which must remain above the surface of the water for the vessel's stability.


Pacific Maritime Association.


Abbreviation for:

-   Port of Discharge.

-   Port of Destination.

-   Proof of Delivery. A document required from the carrier or driver for proper payment.

Point of Origin

The place at which a shipment is received by a carrier from the shipper.


Abbreviation for:

-   Port of Loading.

-   Petroleum, Oil, and Lubricants.


A vessel emitting harmful substances into the air or spilling oil into the sea


The sharing of cargo or the profit or loss from freight by member lines of a liner conference. Pooling arrangements do not exist in all conferences.


-   Harbor with piers or docks.

-   Left side of a ship when facing forward.

-   Opening in a ship's side for handling freight.

Port of Call

Port where a ship discharges or receives traffic.

Port of Entry

Port where cargo is unloaded and enters a country.

Port of Exit

Place where cargo is loaded and leaves a country.

Pratique Certificate

Lifts temporary quarantine of a vessel; granted pratique by Health Officer.


A process employed in the shipment of citrus fruits and other perishable commodities. The fruit is packed and placed in a cold room from which the heat is gradually extracted. The boxes of fruit are packed in containers that have been thoroughly cooled and transported through to destination without opening the doors.

Prepaid (Ppd.)

Freight charges paid by the consignor (shipper) prior to the release of the bills of lading by the carrier.

Pro Forma

A Latin term meaning "For the sake of form."

Pro Forma Invoice

An invoice provided by a supplier prior to the shipment of merchandise, informing the buyer of the kinds and quantities of goods to be sent, their value, and specifications (weight, size, etc.).

Pro Rata

A Latin term meaning "In proportion."

Proceed (to)

To sail or head for a certain position or to continue the voyage

Product Carrier

A tanker which is generally below 70,000 deadweight tons and used to carry refined oil products from the refinery to the consumer. In many cases, four different grades of oil can be handled simultaneously.

Project Rate

Single tariff item, established to move multiple commodities needed for a specified project, usually construction.


Means the vessel that can be ready to load at a short notice (within a few days). Also means that a cargo is expected to be load-ready soon (in a few days).

Propane Carrier

A ship designed to carry propane in liquid form. The propane is carried in tanks within the holds; it remains in liquid form by means of pressure and refrigeration. Such ships are also suitable for the carriage of butane.

Public Service Commission

A name usually given to a State body having control or regulation of public utilities.

Publishing Agent

Person authorized by transportation lines to publish tariffs or rates, rules, and regulations for their account.

Pulp Temperature

Procedure where carrier tests the temperature of the internal flesh of refrigerated commodities to assure that the temperature at time of shipment conforms to prescribed temperature ranges.

Pumpman (Tankers)

Operates pumps and discharges petroleum products. Maintains and repairs all cargo handling equipment.


A short semi-trailer used jointly with a dolly and another semi-trailer to create a twin trailer.


A ship's officer who is in charge of accounts, especially on a passenger ship.


A restraint placed on an operation to protect the public against a health hazard. A ship may be quarantined so that it cannot leave a protected point. During the quarantine period, the Q flag is hoisted.


An able-bodied seamen entrusted with the steering of a vessel.




A structure attached to land to which a vessel is moored. See also Pier and Dock.


A wedge-shaped piece of timber used to secure barrels against movement.


The quantity of goods that may be imported without restriction during a set period of time.


An offer to sell goods at a stated price and under stated terms.

Radio operator

An officer who operates and controls the shipboard communication equipment.

Rag Top

A slang term for an open-top trailer or container with a tarpaulin cover.

Rail Division

The amount of money an ocean carrier pays to the railroad for overland carriage.

Rail Grounding

The time that the container was discharged (grounded) from the train.


Railroad terminal where containers are received or delivered and trains loaded or discharged. Originally, trailers moved onto the rearmost flatcar via a ramp and driven into position in a technique known as "circus loading." Most modern rail facilities use lifting equipment to position containers onto the flatcars.


A movement where the load initiates at an origin rail ramp and terminates at a consignee's door.


A movement of equipment from an origin rail ramp to a destination rail ramp only.

Rate Basis

A formula of the specific factors or elements that control the making of a rate. A rate can be based on any number of factors (i.e., weight, measure, equipment type, package, box, etc.).


Rescue coordination centre: Land-based authority conducting and coordinating search and rescue operations in a designated area


Under ICC and common law, the requirement that a rate not be higher than is necessary to reimburse the carrier for the actual cost of transporting the traffic and allow a fair profit.


An illegal form of discounting or refunding that has the net effect of lowering the tariff price. See also Malpractice.

Receiving point

A mark or place at which a vessel comes under obligatory entry, transit, or escort procedure


Changing the consignee or destination on a bill of lading while shipment is still in transit. Diversion has substantially the same meaning.


A right claim against the guarantors of a loan or draft or bill of exchange.

Red Label

A label required on shipments of flammable articles.


Refrigerator ship; a vessel designed to carry goods requiring refrigeration, such as meat and fruit. A reefer ship has insulated holds into which cold air is passed at the temperature appropriate to the goods being carried.

Reefer Box

An insulated shipping container designed to carry cargoes requiring temperature control. It is fitted with a refrigeration unit which is connected to the carrying ship's electrical power supply.

Reference line

A fictive line displayed on the radar screen separating the fairway for inbo und and outbound vessels so that they can safely pass each other

Refloat (to)

To pull a vessel off after grounding; to set afloat again

Related Points

A group of points to which rates are made the same as or in relation to rates to other points in group.


To transfer containers from one ship to another when both vessels are controlled by the same network (carrier) manager.


Funds sent by one person to another as payment.


An appointment between vessels normally made on radio to meet in a certain area or position

Reporting point

(see Way point)

Rescue team

A group of crew members standing by in case of an emergency in order to assist other teams in action if necessary

Restricted area

A deck, space, area, etc., not permitted to be entered for safety reasons

Restricted Articles

Articles handled only under certain conditions.

Retreat signal

Sound, visual or other signal to a team ordering it to return to its base

Return Cargo

A cargo which enables a ship to return loaded to the port or area where her previous cargo was loaded.

Revenue Ton (RT)

A ton on which the shipment is freighted. If cargo is rated as weight or measure (W/M), whichever produces the highest revenue will be considered the revenue ton. Weights are based on metric tons and measures are based on cubic meters. RT=1 MT or 1 CBM.

Reverse IPI

An inland point provided by an allwater carrier's through bill of lading in the U.S. by first discharging the container in an East Coast port.


Request for quotation.

Rig move

The movement of an oil rig, drilling platform, etc., from one position to another

RO/RO Vessel

Freight ship or ferry with facilities for vehicles to drive on and off (roll-on roll-off); a system of loading and discharging a ship whereby the cargo is driven on and off on ramps. Equipped with large openings at bow and stern and sometimes also in the side, the ship permits rapid loading and discharge with hydraulically operated ramps providing easy access. Fully loaded trucks or trailers carrying containers are accommodated on the deck.


To re-book cargo to a later vessel.

Roll call

The act of checking who of the passengers and crew members are present, e.g. at assembly stations, by reading aloud a list of their names.


The side-to-side (athwartship) motion of a vessel.

Rolling Cargo

Cargo which is on wheels, such as truck or trailers, and which can be driven or towed on to a ship.


The manner in which a shipment moves; i.e., the carriers handling it and the points at which the carriers interchange.

Running Gear

Complementary equipment for terminal and overtheroad handling containers.


Abbreviation for "Released Value Not Exceeding." Usually used to limit the value of goods transported. The limitation refers to carrier liability when paying a claim for lost or damaged goods.




Abbreviation for:

-   Sight draft.

-   Sea damage.


Short tons (2,000 lbs.).

Safe berth

A berth of a port, where a ship lies always afloat and always accessible

Safe port

A port which can be reached safely and which is not affected by bad weather.

Safe speed

That speed of a vessel allowing the maximum possible time for effective action to be taken to avoid a collision and to be stopped within an appropriate distance

Safe working pressure       

The maximum permissible pressure in cargo hoses

Safety load

The maximum permissible load of a deck, etc.

Said to weight

A term usually stipulated in bills of lading, regarding to the weight loaded


The property which has been recovered from a wrecked vessel, or the recovery of the vessel herself.


An embargo imposed by a Government against another country.


Search and rescue


The area where the event, e.g. an accident has happened

Sea Trails

A series of trials conducted by the builders during which the owner's representatives on board act in a consulting and checking capacity to determine if the vessel has met the specifications.

Sea Waybill

Document indicating the goods were loaded onboard when a document of title (B/L) is not needed. Typically used when a company is shipping goods to itself.


Sea-barge, a barge carrier design similar to "LASH" but which uses rollers to move the barges aboard the ship; the self-propelled loaded barges are themselves loaded on board as cargo and are considerably larger than those loaded on LASH ships.

Sea-Bee Vessels

Ocean vessels constructed with heavy-duty submersible hydraulic lift or elevator system at the stern of the vessel. The Sea-Bee system facilitates forward transfer and positioning of barges. Sea-Bee barges are larger than LASH barges. The Sea-Bee system is no longer used.

Search pattern

A pattern according to which vessels and / or aircraft may conduct a coordinated search (the IMOSAR offers seven search patterns)

Search speed

The speed of searching vessels directed by the OSC or CSS


The sufficiency of a vessel in materials construction, equipment, crew and outfit for the trade in which it is employed. Any sort of disrepair to the vessel by which the cargo may suffer -- overloading, untrained officers, etc., may constitute a vessel unseaworthy.

Seaworthiness Certificate

A certificate issued by a classification society surveyor to allow a vessel to proceed after she has met with a mishap that may have affected its seaworthiness. It is frequently issued to enable a vessel to proceed, after temporary repairs have been effected, to another port where permanent repairs are then carried out.

Second Assistant Engineer

In charge of twelve to four watch. On steam vessels has responsibility for the boilers, on diesels, the evaporators and the auxiliary equipment.

Second Maate

In charge of twelve to four watch. Ships navigation officer. Keeps charts (maps) up to date and monitors navigation equipment on bridge.

Segregation (of goods)

Separation of goods which for different reasons must not be stowed together

Self-Sustaining Ship

A containership which has her own crane for loading and discharging shipping containers enabling the ship to serve ports which do not have suitable lifting equipment.

Self-Trimming Ship

A ship whose holds re shaped in such a way that the cargo levels itself.


A bulk carrier which is equipped with gear for unloading cargo.


A string of vessels which makes a particular voyage and serves a particular market.

Service Contract

As provided in the Shipping Act of 1984, a contract between a shipper (or a shippers association) and an ocean common carrier (or conference) in which the shipper makes a commitment to provide a certain minimum quantity of cargo or freight revenue over a fixed time period, and the ocean common carrier or conference commits to a certain rate or rate schedule as well as a defined service level (such as assured space, transit time, port rotation or similar service features). The contract may also specify provisions in the event of nonperformance on the part of either party.


Saturday and Holidays Excluded.


This refers to movements or changing positions of cargo from one place to another. This can easily endanger the seaworthiness or cargoworthiness of the ship.

Shifting cargo

Transverse movement of cargo, especially bulk, caused by rolling or a heavy list


Saturday and Holidays Included.

Ship Chandler

An individual or company selling equipment and supplies for ships.

Ship Demurrage

A charge for delaying a steamer beyond a stipulated period.

Ship's Ageent

A person or firm who transacts all business in a port on behalf of shipowners or charterers. Also called shipping agent; agent.

Ship's Articles

A written agreement between the master of a ship and the crew concerning their employment. It includes rates of pay and capacity of each crewman, the date of commencement of the voyage and its duration.

Ship's Stability

The seaworthiness of a ship regarding the centrifugal force which enables her to remain upright.


The tender of one lot of cargo at one time from one shipper to one consignee on one bill of lading.


The person or company who is usually the supplier or owner of commodities shipped. Also called Consignor.

Shipper's Council

An organization of shippers formed to collectively and services with the conferences of ship operators.


Individuals or businesses who purchase transportation services or commodities.

Shippers Association

A non-profit entity that represents the interests of a number of shippers. The main focus of shippers associations is to pool the cargo volumes of members to leverage the most favorable service contract rate levels.

Shipper's Export Declaration (SED,"Ex Dec")

A joint Bureau of the Census' International Trade Administration form used for compiling U.S. exports. It is completed by a shipper and shows the value, weight, destination, etc., of export shipments as well as Schedule B commodity code.

Shipper's Instructions

Shipper's communication(s) to its agent and/or directly to the international water-carrier. Instructions may be varied, e.g., specific details/clauses to be printed on the B/L, directions for cargo pickup and delivery.

Shipper's Letter of Instructions for issuing an Air Waybill

The document required by the carrier or freight forwarders to obtain (besides the data needed) authorization to issue and sign the air waybill in the name of the shipper.

Shipper's Load & Count (SL&C)

Shipments loaded and sealed by shippers and not checked or verified by the carriers.

Shipping Order

Shipper's instructions to carrier for forwarding goods; usually the triplicate copy of the bill of lading.


-   Bulk Carriers: All vessels designed to carry bulk cargo such as grain, fertilizers, ore, and oil.

-   Combination Passenger and Cargo Ships: Ships with a capacity for 13 or more passengers.

-   Freighters: Breakbulk vessels both refrigerated and unrefrigerated, containerships, partial containerships, rollon/rolloff vessels, and barge carriers.

-   Barge Carriers: Ships designed to carry barges; some are fitted to act as full containerships and can carry a varying number of barges and containers at the same time. At present this class includes two types of vessels LASH and Sea-Bee.

-   General Cargo Carriers: Breakbulk freighters, car carriers, cattle carriers, pallet carriers and timber carriers.

-   Full Containerships: Ships equipped with permanent container cells, with little or no space for other types of cargo.

-   Partial Containerships: Multipurpose containerships where one or more but not all compartments are fitted with permanent container cells. Remaining compartments are used for other types of cargo.

-   Roll-on/Roll-off vessels: Ships specially designed to carry wheeled containers or trailers using interior ramps.

-   Tankers: Ships fitted with tanks to carry liquid cargo such as: crude petroleum and petroleum products; chemicals, Liquefied gasses(LNG and LPG), wine, molasses, and similar product tankers.

Ship's Bells

Measure time onboard ship. One bell sounds for each half hour. One bell means 12:30, two bells mean 1:00, three bells mean 1:30, and so on until 4:00 (eight bells). At 4:30 the cycle begins again with one bell.

Ship's Manifest

A statement listing the particulars of all shipments loaded for a specified voyage.

Ship's Tackle

All rigging, cranes, etc., utilized on a ship to load or unload cargo.


A prop or support placed against or beneath anything to prevent sinking or sagging.

Short Ton (ST)

2,000 pounds.

Shrink Wrap

Polyethylene or similar substance heat-treated and shrunk into an envelope around several units, thereby securing them as a single pack for presentation or to secure units on a pallet.

Side Loader

A lift truck fitted with lifting attachments operating to one side for handling containers.

Side-Door Container

A container fitted with a rear door and a minimum of one side door.

Sight Draft

A draft payable upon presentation to the drawee.

Sister Ships

Ships built on the same design.


Seafarers International Union.


Battens, or a series of parallel runners, fitted beneath boxes or packages to raise them clear of the floor to permit easy access of forklift blades or other handling equipment.


Shippers load and count. All three clauses are used as needed on the bill of lading to exclude the carrier from liability when the cargo is loaded by the shipper.


Loaded containers moving within the railroad system that are not clearly identified on any internally generated reports.


A wire or rope contrivance placed around cargo and used to load or discharge it to/from a vessel.


A vessel's berth between two piers.

Slop Tank

A tank in a tanker into which slops are pumped. These represent a residue of the ship's cargo of oil together with the water used to clean the cargo tanks. They are left to separate out in the slop tank.

Soft Currency

Currency which is not fully convertible to all currencies but only to some other soft currencies.


Safety of Life at Sea Convention


Abbreviation for "Subject to Particular Average." See also Particular Average.

Speed of advance

The speed at which a storm centre moves

Spill (to)

To accidentally escape, e.g. oil, etc., from a vessel, container, etc., into the sea

Spill control gear

Special equipment for fighting accidental oil spills at early stages

Spine Car

An articulated five-platform railcar. Used where height and weight restrictions limit the use of stack cars. It holds five 40-foot containers or combinations of 40- and 20-foot containers.

Spot (Voyage)

A charter for a particular vessel to move a single cargo between specified loading port(s) and discharge port(s) in the immediate future. Contract rate ("spot" rate) covers total operating expenses, i.e., bunkers, port charges, canal tolls, crew's wages and food, insurance and repairs. Cargo owner absorbs, in addition, any expenses specifically levied against the cargo.


Placing a container where required to be loaded or unloaded.


A piece of equipment designed to lift containers by their corner castings.


Step of a pilot ladder which prevents the ladder from twisting


The force that holds a vessel upright or returns it to upright if keeled over. Weight in the lower hold increases stability. A vessel is stiff if it has high stability, tender if it has low stability.

Stack Car

An articulated five-platform rail car that allows containers to be double stacked. A typical stack car holds ten 40-foot equivalent units (FEU's).


A rail service whereby rail cars carry containers stacked two high on specially operated unit trains. Each train includes up to 35 articulated multi-platform cars. Each car is comprised of 5 well-type platforms upon which containers can be stacked. No chassis accompany containers.

Stand by (to)

To be in readiness or prepared to execute an order

Stand clear (to)

To keep a boat away from the vessel

Stand on (to)

To maintain course and speed

Standard Industrial Classification (SIC)

A standard numerical code used by the U.S. Government to classify products and services.

Standard International Trade Classification (SITC)

A standard numeric code developed by the United Nations to classify commodities used in international trade, based on a hierarchy.

Standing orders

Orders of the Master to the officers of the watch which he / she must comply with


The right side of a ship when facing the bow.


The allotted place or the duties of each person on board

Station Bill

A list which shows the vessel's complement and details their various duties in connection with fire and boat drills.

Statute Of Limitation

A law limiting the time in which claims or suits may be instituted.


Said to contain.

Steamship Conference

A group of vessel operators joined together for the purpose of establishing freight rates.

Steamship Guarantee

An indemnity issued to the carrier by a bank; protects the carrier against any possible losses or damages arising from release of the merchandise to the receiving party. This instrument is usually issued when the bill of lading is lost or is not available.


The end of a vessel. Opposite of bow.


(Noun) The upright post or bar of the bow of a vessel.


The reverse movement of a vessel.


Individual or firm that employs longshoremen and who contracts to load or unload the ship.

Steward Assistant

Clean galley and mess halls, set tables, prepare salads, clean living quarters.


A general term for provisions, materials and supplies used aboard ship for the maintenance of the crew, and for the navigation, propulsion and upkeep of the vessel and its equipment.

Store-Door Pick-up Delivery

A complete package of pick up or delivery services performed by a carrier from origin to final consumption point.


A marine term referring to loading freight into ships' holds.


The placing of goods in a ship in such a way as to ensure the safety and stability of the ship not only on a sea or ocean passage but also in between ports when parts of the cargo have been loaded or discharged.

Straddle Carrier

Mobile truck equipment with the capacity for lifting a container within its own framework.

Straight Bill of Lading

A non-negotiable bill of lading which states a specific identity to whom the goods should be delivered. See Bill of Lading.


The running of a ship on shore on a beach.


Removing cargo from a container (devanning).


Putting cargo into a container.


Said to weigh.


To put in place of another; i.e., when an insurance company pays a claim it is placed in the same position as the payee with regard to any rights against others.


Operation by which the insurance company (on payment of a claim) assumes all of the assured's rights to recovery from any third parties; substitution of one creditor for another.

Substitute (or)

A condition which give the right to the owner to substitute the originally fixed vessel with another one which will meet the requirements of the chartering agreement.

Sufferance Wharf

A wharf licensed and attended by Customs authorities.


Under time charter it is not unusual that the charterers reserve the right to keep on board a supercargo at their own expense.

Supply Chain

A logistical management system which integrates the sequence of activities from delivery of raw materials to the manufacturer through to delivery of the finished product to the customer into measurable components. "Just in Time" is a typical value-added example of supply chain management.


An extra or additional charge.

Surface Transportation Board (STB)

The U.S. federal body charged with enforcing acts of the U.S. Congress that affect common carriers in interstate commerce. STB replaced the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) in 1997.


An additional extra tax.


Marine specialist who examines damaged property and determines the cause, nature, and extent of damage and methods of repair and/or replacement. He is not an adjuster, and all his actions are without prejudice to policy terms and conditions.


Abbreviation for "Transportation and Exportation." Customs form used to control cargo movement from port of entry to port of exit, meaning that the cargo is moving from one country, through the United States, to another country.


Twenty Foot Equivalent Unit (containers): A measurement of cargo-carrying capacity on a containership, referring to a common container size of 20 ft in length.


Rear of a container or trailer-opposite the front or nose.

Tail Shaft

The extreme section at the aft end of a ship's propeller shaft.

Take off (to)

To start with the helicopter from a vessel´s deck

Tank Cleaning

Removal of all traces of a cargo from the tanks of a tanker normally by means of high pressure water jets.


A river barge designed for the carriage of liquid bulk cargoes.


A tanker is a bulk carrier designed to transport liquid cargo, most often petroleum products. Oil tankers vary in size from small coastal vessels of 1,500 tons deadweight, through medium-sized ship of 60,000 tons, to the giant VLCCs (very large crude carriers).

Tare Weight

In railcar or container shipments, the weight of the empty railcar or empty container.


The echo generated e.g. by a vessel on a radar screen

Tariff (Trf.)

A publication setting forth the charges, rates and rules of transportation companies.


To Be Nominated. (When the name of a ship is still unknown.)


Used for sending messages to outside companies. Messages are transmitted via Western Union, ITT and RCA. Being replaced by fax and internet.

Temperature Recorder

A device to record temperature in a container while cargo is en route.


The offer of goods for transportation or the offer to place cars or containers for loading or unloading.


Time and date for payment of a draft.


An assigned area in which containers are prepared for loading into a vessel, train, truck, or airplane or are stacked immediately after discharge from the vessel, train, truck, or airplane.

Terminal Charge

A charge made for a service performed in a carrier's terminal area.

Terms of Sale

The point at which sellers have fulfilled their obligations so the goods in a legal sense could be said to have been delivered to the buyer. They are shorthand expressions that set out the rights and obligations of each party when it comes to transporting the goods. Following, are the thirteen terms of sale in international trade as Terms of Sale reflected in the recent amendment to the International chamber of Commerce Terms of Trade (INCOTERMS), effective July 1990: exw, fca, fas, fob, cfr, cif, cpt, cip, daf, des, deq, ddu and ddp.