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Industry Terms

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Accessorials – Additional charges applied to a shipment for services outside of a normal pickup/delivery; ex: Dual Drivers, Sunday Pickup, inside delivery, etc.

Air WayBill (AWB) – An AWB is a bill of lading for both domestic and international flights for the transportation of goods to a specified destination. Technically, it is non-negotiable and evidences the acceptance of the goods by the carrier and obligates the carrier to transport those goods to the destination airport. AWB are typically issued by the carrying airline and is also known as a Master Air Waybill (MAWB). See also House Air Waybill (HAWB) which are issued by air freight forwarders to their customers on each shipment.

Aircraft Container – A unit load device (ULD) which links directly with the airplane cargo handling and restraint system.

All Risk – All Risks Coverage, a type of marine insurance, is the broadest form of standard insurance coverage, but excludes damage caused by war, strikes, riots, or inadequate packing.

Allotment – A term used to describe blocked space by airlines on behalf of forwarders.

American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) – The world’s largest source of standards for materials, goods, services and systems. ASTM also publishes information on the sampling and testing methods for health, safety and performance aspects of materials, on the effects of physical and biological agents and chemicals and publishes safety guidelines.

Automated Brokerage Interface (ABI) – A system available to U.S. Customs Brokers with customs certification to transmit and exchange customs entries and other information via computer to facilitate the prompt release of imported cargo.

Automated Commercial System (ACS/A.C.S./ACE) – The US Customs’ Service master computer system that permits on-line access to information in selected areas. The system is being replaced by the Automated Commercial Environment system.

Automated Manifest System (AMS) – The electronic system allowing a manifest inventory to be transmitted to the US Customs Service data center by carrier, port authority or service center computers.

Bill of Lading (B/L) – Document issued by a common carrier to a shipper for the receipt for the goods delivered to the carrier. The B/L defines the terms of the contract of carriage and acts as a title to the goods contained therein.

Bonded Warehouse – A warehouse authorized by customs for storage of goods on which payment of duties is deferred until the goods are removed. If the goods are re-shipped to a foreign destination the duties are deferred until they enter the customs territory.

Break-bulk – The type of cargo which is shipped as a unit such as bags, drums, boxes, vehicles, etc.

Break-bulk Vessel – A cargo vessel which handles large and oversized un-containerized cargo. Generally such vessels have their own loading and unloading machinery.

Bulk Cargo – Loose cargo loaded directly into a ship’s hold.

Bulk Carrier – Bulk carriers fit into one of two categories, a dry-bulk carrier and a liquid-bulk carrier, also known as tanker. Bulk cargo is a shipment such as oil and grain or other non-packaged, non-bundled cargo that is loaded without counting or marking.

Bunker Adjustment Factor (BAF) / Bunker Surcharge (B/S) – An adjustment in shipping charges to offset price fluctuations in the cost of fuel. The Bunker is the fuel storage container on the vessel.

Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) – An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce which is responsible for the control of exports for the protection of national security, foreign policy and other government purposes.

Cargo Insurance – Financial insurance to protect the owner of the cargo in the event of a loss during transportation.

Carnet – A customs document permitting the holder to carry or send merchandise temporarily into certain foreign countries for display, demonstration or other purposes without paying import duties or requiring the posting of bonds. All of the goods must be returned to the origin country to avoid penalties.

Carrier – Any person or entity who through a contract of carriage undertakes to perform or to procure the performance of carriage by air, sea/inland waterway, road, rail or by a combination of modes.

Cash Against Documents (CAD) – A method of payment for goods in which consignor/seller delivers title for the shipped goods upon payment of cash by consignee/buyer.

Cash in Advance (CIA) – A method of payment for goods whereby the consignee/buyer pays the consignor/seller prior to shipment of the goods.

Certificate of Manufacture – A document in which a producer certifies the manufacturing of the goods is completed and that the goods are being held for the account and risk of the buyer.

Central Contractor Registration (CCR) – The Department of Defense’s (DoD) database in which registration is required in order to be awarded a contract from the DoD.  The CCR holds information relevant to procurement and financial transactions and allows for fast electronic payment of invoices.

Certificate of Origin – A document used by customs which attests to the country of origin of the goods. It is typically obtained through a consular’s office or local chamber of commerce in the country of origin. Some Customs departments require this document even though the commercial invoice contains the same information.

Chargeable Weight – The weight of a shipment in air and ocean shipments used to determine freight charges. When the dimensional weight factor exceeds the actual weight of the cargo the chargeable rate is typically used to calculate costs.

Charter/Charter Service – The hiring of an aircraft to move cargo and/or passengers. More commonly it means any non-scheduled commercial service. Civil Reserve Air Fleet (CRAF) – Controlled by the Department of Defense (DoD) and directly managed by USTRANSCOM. CRAF is a program that allows the DoD to use participating airline’s aircrafts/resources for emergencies (Domestic & International).

Classification – The categorization of goods for the purpose of applying the correct class tariff rates and other governing rules and regulations.

Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) – A set off administrative rules (known also as administrative law) which are adopted and followed by the U.S. federal government and published in the Federal Register. The CFR is divided into 50 titles. Title 46 (46 CFR) contains all US regulations dealing with shipping into, out of, and within the United States. The Title is organized into nine volumes, and the regulations it contains are authored by the US Coast Guard, the Maritime Administration, and the Federal Maritime Commission. A new edition is finalized on October 1st of every year.

Combination Aircraft – Aircrafts configured to carry both passengers and cargo on the main deck.

Combination Vessel – A ship that carries both container and break-bulk cargo which is also known as a Container/Break-bulk Vessel.

Commerce Control List (CCL) – A list of all items which are subject to U.S. Bureau of Industry and Security export controls.  Items are controlled for purposes of foreign policy and other government security reasons.

Commercial Invoice – A bill/receipt for the goods from the seller/sender to the buyer/receiver. These invoices are often used by governments to determine the true value of goods for the assessment of customs duties. They should contain an itemized list of the goods with complete description and unit values. Governments often specify the requirements for the invoice including its form, content and number of copies, etc.

Conference – A group of vessel operators who voluntarily join together for the purpose of establishing freight rates.

Confirmed Letter of Credit – A letter of credit containing a guarantee of payment to the consignor/seller from the issuing and advising bank upon presentment and compliance with the documentation by consignor/seller.

Consignee – The person or company who is to receive the shipped goods and who upon presentation of proper documentation is recognized as the owner of the goods for purpose of declaring and paying customs duties.

Consolidation – A method by freight forwarders to combine individual shipments from various shippers into one shipment for preferred rates. At the destination agent, the consolidation is separated into its original parts and made available to consignees.

Consolidator – An agent who groups together various shipments for one destination to qualify for preferred rates.

Container Freight Station (CFS) – The location designated by carriers for the receiving of LCL (“less than container load”) cargo to be consolidated into containers or at the destination port where the LCL cargo is unloaded and delivered to consignees/buyers.

Continental US (CONUS) – A term used to convey the origin/destination of shipments and typically used in conjunction with itself or OCONUS when referring to rates (typically excludes AK and HI); ex: BWI to LAX are included in CONUS to CONUS rates and BWI to BRU can be found in CONUS to OCONUS rates.

Cost and Freight (…named port of destination) (C&F/CFR) – Is an international trade term (Incoterms 2000) in which the seller/shipper clears the goods for export and is responsible for delivering them past the ship’s rail at the port of shipment while paying for the costs to have the goods shipped to the “named port of destination.” Once the goods pass the ships rail the risk of loss shifts to the buyer/consignee. This term is used only for waterway transport.

Cost, Insurance and Freight (…named port of destination) (CIF) – Is an international trade term (Incoterms 2000) in which the seller/shipper clears the goods for export and is responsible for delivering them past the ship’s rail at the port of shipment while paying for the costs to have the goods shipped to the “named port of destination.” Once the goods pass the ships rail the risk of loss shifts to the buyer/consignee, however seller/shipper is responsible for obtaining and paying for marine insurance in the buyer’s name. This term is used only for waterway transport.

Currency Adjustment Factor (CAF) – A surcharge imposed on freight charges by international carriers to offset foreign currency fluctuations; calculations for CAF are based upon a percentage of the freight.

Customs – The government authority to regulate the flow of goods to and from a country and to collect duties levied by a country on imports and exports.

Customs Bonded Warehouse (US Customs Bonded Warehouse) – A warehouse where imported goods are stored until the duty has been collected from the importer; goods under bond may also be stored in such facilities.

Customs Bonded Carrier (US Customs Bonded Carrier) – A transporter who is duly licensed, against a guaranty or surety, by customs to carry duty-unpaid goods.

Customs Broker – An individual or entity licensed by the government to enter and clear goods through Customs. In the United States brokers are licensed by the U.S. Customs & Border Protection. A broker assists with the classification, valuation, admissibility and payment of duties/taxes/other charges along with any types refunds.

Customs Clearance – The process of getting cargo released from Customs by presenting import license/permits, the payment of import duties and other required documentation specific to the nature of the cargo.

Customs Invoice – A document required by a few foreign countries’ customs officials that verifies the value, quantity, and nature of the shipment along with the details of the parties involved (i.e. consignor/seller and consignee/buyer).

Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) – Is a voluntary program led by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) which is focused on improving the security of private supply chain companies with respect to terrorism.

Dangerous Goods (DG) – Articles or substances which pose safety risks when transported by air. Items are classified by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

Deck Cargo – Cargo carried on deck of the vessel instead of in the holds below the deck. Deck storage is subject to more environmental conditions such as heat, rain and seawater, etc. Shipments containing dangerous goods are required to be stored on the deck.

Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) – One of the DCMA’s functions is to coordinates shipments from contractors to military clients.

Delivered Duty Paid (DDP) – Is an international trade term (Incoterms 2000) in which the seller/consignor clears the goods for export and is responsible for making them available at consignee’s/buyer’s named destination not cleared for import. Seller is also responsible for import clearance, duties, and administrative costs. This term is used for any mode of transportation and is used when the destination is other than a port. Also known as “free domicile” or “free house.”

Delivered Duty Unpaid (DDU) – Is an international trade term (Incoterms 2000) in which the seller/consignor clears the goods for export and is responsible for transporting them to consignee’s/buyer’s named destination. Seller is responsible for delivering to destination, but consignee/buyer is responsible for import clearance, duties, and administrative costs. This term is used for any mode of transportation however, Delivered Ex Ship (DES) is preferred for sea vessel mode. Also know as “door to door.”

Demurrage – The excess time, above the grace period, taken by a shipper for loading or unloading cargo on a vessel or freight car; extra charges are charged to the shipper for these delays.

Denied Parties – Individuals and organizations who are on the denied party lists maintained by the U.S. Bureau of Industry and Security. Such parties are denied export privileges for strategic and controlled materials, components and products.

Denied Party Screening – By order of the United States government and its export regulations, U.S. individuals and companies are restricted or prohibited from exporting or providing services of any kind to any party contained in U.S. government export denial, debarment, and blocked persons lists.  Screening, typically performed through electronic database searches, is the process an exporter must perform to ensure exports are not distributed to a party on the denied party list.  Violations of such may result in criminal and/or civil prosecution and jeopardize export privileges.

Department of Commerce (DOC) – A U.S. agency established to oversee U.S. and international commerce by promoting, developing and fostering economic community, and workforce development including expanding U.S. exports.. There is a federal Department of Commerce and a state-level Department of Commerce. Both governmental agencies have similar goals but have different rules and regulations.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – The federal department which administers all matters relating to US homeland security.

Department of State (DOS) – A U.S. agency whose principal responsibility is foreign affairs and foreign trade. It advises the president on the formulation and execution of foreign policy. As chief executive, the president has overall responsibility for the foreign policy of the United States.

Department of Transportation (DOT) – the United States federal department that institutes and coordinates national transportation programs.

Dimensional Weight (DIM Weight) – Is a shipment’s weight characteristic based upon its dimensions/cubic feet. The DIM Weight is used to calculate transportation charges instead of using the shipment’s actual weight when the cargo contains low density items (i.e. pillows).

Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) – U.S. agency that in accordance with the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) is charged with controlling the export and temporary import of defense articles and defense services covered by the United States Munitions List (USML).

Duty – A government tax levied on imports, exports or on the consumption of goods. Duties are generally based on the value of the goods (ad valorem), on other factors such as weight or quantity (specific duties), or based on a combination of value and other factors (compound duties).

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) – The set of standards used in electronic data interchange. The electronic transmission and exchange of documents between computers is structured to minimize human intervention.

Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA) – The estimated date and time of the arrival of a mode of transportation or the shipment.

Estimated Time of Departure (ETD) – The estimated date and time of a departure of a mode of transportation or the shipment.

Ex Works (…named place) (EXW) – Is an international trade term (Incoterms 2000) in which the seller/consignor merely makes the goods available at the seller’s/consignor’s “named place” of business. This places the greatest responsibility on the buyer and minimum obligations on the seller/consignor. The seller/consignor does not load the shipment at the named place of departure and does not clear the goods for export.

Export Administration Regulations (EAR) – A set of regulations which provides instructions on the use and types of export licenses required.  The regulations also provide details on the types of commodities and technical data under export control.

Export License – A document from a government which authorizes a shipper/consignee to export a specific quantity of a particular commodity to a particular country.

Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) – An agency in the Department of Transportation responsible for the safety of civilian aviation.

Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) – The U.S. Federal agency responsible for overseeing rates and practices of ocean carriers who handle cargo to and from U.S. ports.

Feeder Vessel – A vessel that connects with a line vessel to service a port not directly served by that line vessel.

FEU – An ocean-freight term meaning containerized cargo equal to one forty-foot (40’ x 8’ x 8’) or two twenty-foot (20’ x 8’ x 8’) containers. One FEU equals about 25 metric tons or 72 cubic meters.

Flat Rack – A container/platform used on vessels which is designed to accommodate oversized cargo. Loading can be performed from the sides or on the top.

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – An agency within the U.S. Public Health Service, which is a part of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Force Majeure – A contract clause which excuses the performance of the obligated party due to the occurrence of events not in their reasonable control such as natural disasters, labor strikes, and war.

Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) – A U.S. law which makes it unlawful for any U.S. citizen or organization to pay, offer, or promise to transfer money or anything of value to a foreign governmental official, foreign political party or foreign candidate for a corrupt purpose and for the purpose of acquiring or retaining business.  It is also unlawful if such an offer or transfer is made to a person or entity knowing it would be given to the foreign official for this prohibited purpose.

Foreign Military Sales (FMS) – A government-to-government method for selling U.S. defense equipment, services, and training.  Responsible arms sales further national security and foreign policy objectives by strengthening bilateral defense relations and supporting coalition building.

Foreign Trade Zones (FTZ) – Special areas in or near ports of entry where foreign and domestic goods may be brought in without having to pay customs duties.

Free Alongside Ship (…named port of shipment) (FAS) – Is an international trade term (Incoterms 2000) in which the seller/consignor clears the goods for export and places them along side the vessel at the “named port of shipment. This term is used only for ocean and inland waterway transports. The seller/consignor pays the cost of wharfage and the buyer/consignee pays the cost of ocean transportation, loading and unloading and insurance.

Free Carrier (…named place) (FCA) – Is an international trade term (Incoterms 2000) in which the seller/consignor clears the goods for export and delivers them to “named place.” If the named place is seller/consignors business, then loading is the responsibility of seller/consignor otherwise buyer/consignee is responsible for loading.

Free On Board (…named port of shipment) (FOB) – Is an international trade term (Incoterms 2000) in which the seller/consignor clears the goods for export and is responsible for costs and risks of delivery until the goods past the ships rail at the “named port of shipment.” This term is used only for ocean and inland waterway transports.

Free Out (FO) – This term assigns the obligation to pay the unloading charges with the receiver.

Freight Cost Code (FCC) – A harmonization of the description of freight costs and other charges.

Freight Forwarder/Forwarder – A person or entity engaged in the business of dispatching and consolidating shipments with less than truckload freight. Forwarders also act as an agent for international import and export shipments and assist with the clearing of freight through customs (customs clearance), the preparation of associated documents and any necessary warehousing or other transportation needs. The forwarder may also handle insurance services and banking on behalf of their client.

Full Container Load (FCL) – A shipment that fills a truck either by volume or by weight.

Freight All Kinds (FAK) – A rate classification where different class shipments are consolidated into a single container, but charged at a single rate. Such classification cannot be used for purposes of customs who require details on the specific contents of the shipment.

Gateway – A major airport or seaport or a location where freight is interchanged between transportation lines. Internationally it is the port where customs clearance takes place.

General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT ) – A multilateral trade agreement aimed at expanding world trade. GATT sets the rules for international trade and the organization has the main responsibility for negotiating the reduction of trade barriers and promoting international trade relations.

General Services Administration (GSA) – The GSA controls non-military shipments of freight and household goods for the US Government.</Transportation options are accessed through GSA’s Internet based TMSS system.

Global Freight Management (GFM) – Found through the SDDC website where a TSP submits tenders, finds/responds to spot bids, and performs research on customers or other TSP’s.

Gross Weight (GR Wt./GW ) – The full weight of a shipment which includes the goods and packaging.

Harmonized System/Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS) – A provision of the international trade bill which established a uniform system of classifying goods and generating statistics on goods which move in international trade.

Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) – An organized listing of goods and their duty rates which is used as the basis for classifying imported products and identifying the rates of duty to be charged on them.

House Air Waybill (HAWB) – A bill of lading issued by a freight forwarder and used for consolidated air freight shipments.

Igloo – An air-freight cargo container shaped to fit the particular contoured dimensions of an aircraft’s upper/main deck.

Import License/Permit – A document issued by some national governments authorizing the importation of goods.

Import Restrictions – A range of tariff and non-tariff barriers imposed by an importing nation to control the amount of goods coming in from other countries.

Importer of Record – A customs term for the entity responsible for ensuring imported goods comply with local laws and regulations, for filing a completed duty entry and associated documents and paying the assessed import duties and other taxes on those goods.

Importer Security Filing (ISF/10+2) – A United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) rule which requires cargo information, for security purposes, to be transmitted to the agency at least 24 hours before goods are loaded onto an ocean vessel for shipment into the U.S. Also known as 10+2, this requires importers to provide 10 data elements and the carrier to provide 2 additional data elements.

In-Bond – A procedure where goods are transported or warehoused under customs supervision. The cargo moves from the gateway sea port or airport and remains in bond until cleared by customs or until it is re-exported.

Incoterms – A set of international standards for the uniform interpretation of common contract clauses used in international trade. The latest version, INCOTERMS, were developed by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). The terms set out to define which party shall incur the costs and who has the risk of loss.

Inducement – When a steamship/vessel contacts a port and agrees to stop at such port after it determines there will be sufficient amounts of profitable cargo available and booked.

Inland Carrier – A transportation line which hauls cargo between ports and inland points.

Inspection Certificate – A document which confirms the goods have been inspected and meet any required specifications of a carrier, customer, government or other industry requirement.

Insurance Certificate – A document indicates the amount and type of insurance coverage in force for a particular shipment. It is used to assure the consignee/buyer that there is coverage for loss during transit.

Integrated Carriers – Carriers that have multiple mode fleets such as air and ground or sea, air and truck. These carriers typically handle large volumes and can offer lower rates.

Interline – The movement of a single shipment with more than one carrier. For air travel it means the use of the same ticket on a journey in which travel is on multiple airlines.

Intermediate Consignee – A forwarding agent, intermediary or bank which acts in a foreign country as the agent for an exporter, purchaser or consignee to effect the delivery of the export to the consignee.

Intermodal Transport – The use of a combination of transportation modes to complete a shipment. Intermodal transports are typically used in long haul transports such as move requiring the combination of air-freight, ocean freight and ground transportation.

International Air Transport Association (IATA) – A trade association headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland which serves airlines, passengers, shippers, travel agents, and governments. They promote safety, standardization in forms and aid in establishing international airfares.

International Civil Aviation organization (ICAO) – A specialized agency of the United Nations, headquartered in Canada, whose objective is to encourage the orderly growth of international civil aviation, establishing uniform standards for aircraft markings, airworthiness, and licensing of pilots. Its strategic objectives are to provide safe, secure, sustainable, and efficient global civil aviation, to minimize aviation’s adverse effects on the environment, and to strengthen the laws governing international civil aviation.

International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG/IMDG Code) – A uniform international code for the transportation of dangerous goods by sea which covers packing, labeling, container traffic, stowage and the segregation of incompatible substances along with emergency response action.

International Maritime Organization (IMO) – Is the United Nations specialized agency responsible for improving maritime safety, preventing pollution from ships and decreasing incidents of maritime fraud. An IMO ship identification number is the permanent identifying character string assigned to a specific ship. (Example IMO 555555).

International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) – An international plant health agreement that aims to protect cultivated and wild plants by preventing the introduction and spread of pests.

International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM) – Guidelines for the regulation of wood packaging materials used in international trade so as to reduce the risk of the introduction and/or spread of quarantine pests associated with wood packaging material.

International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) – The U.S. State Department regulations which governs the export of restricted technology to foreign states other than Canada.

Irrevocable Letter of Credit – A guarantee, which cannot be modified without the consent of all parties, by a bank for the payment to a seller once all the terms and conditions of the credit have been satisfied.

Just in Time (JIT) – A principle of production and inventory control in which goods arrive when needed for production or use so as to avoid expensive inventory and warehousing costs.

Knot, Nautical – A measurement of speed of a vessel or airplane equal to one nautical mile per hour (6,080.20 feet per hour or 1.85 kilometers per hour).

Less than Container Load (LCL) – Cargo which does not fill a container which is merged with other cargo from other shippers or consignees/buyers.

Less than Truckload (LTL) – Rates applicable when the quantity of freight is less than the volume or truckload minimum weight.

Letter of Credit (L/C) – A guarantee issued by a bank for the payment to a seller

Letter of Credit, Confirmed – A letter of credit containing a guarantee on the part of both the issuing and advising banks of payment to the seller, provided the seller’s documentation is in order and the terms of the letter of credit are met.

Lighter – An open or covered barge equipped with a crane and towed by a tugboat. Used mostly in harbors and inland waterways where water levels are shallow.

Liner – A vessel that transports passengers and cargo on a route with a fixed schedule.

Lift-On/Lift-Off (Lo/Lo ) – The method used to load and unload cargo from a vessel using the ship’s crane.

Metric Ton (M/T) – A unit measurement equal to 2,204.6 pounds or 1000 Kilograms and also referred to as a kiloton.

Manifest – A document containing description of a ships cargo or the contents of a truck.

Marine Cargo Insurance – Insurance covering loss of cargo as sea.

Master Air WayBill (MAWB) – An air waybill of lading for a consolidated shipment which lists the shipper as the consolidator.

Measurement Ton (Cargo Ton/Freight Ton) – A space measurement typically 40 cubic feet or one cubic meter which is used as a rate to charge for cargo based upon the space it occupies.

Military Specification Packaging (MIL-SPEC Packaging) – A United States Defense Standard, often called a military standard, “MIL-STD”, or “MIL-SPEC”, is used to help achieve standardization objectives by the U.S. Department of Defense.

Moisture Vapor Packaging (MVP) – A barrier sealed around a crate to prevent the intrusion of contaminants and water vapor; this seal helps to prevent electrostatic discharge.

North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) – A free trade agreement comprising the U.S.A., Canada, and Mexico.

Net Weight (Actual Net Weight) – The weight of the goods without its packaging or the shipper’s container.

Next Flight Out (NFO) – When a shipment needs to be transported urgently, cargo will be expedited by being booked on the next available aircraft.  This is know as the NFO and is also referred to as the best flight out.

Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier (NVOCC) – Is a carrier who issues bills of lading for shipments on vessels for which it does not own or operate. Typically an NVOCC will consolidate shipments under a single bill of lading.

Net Tons (N.T.) – A measurement equal to 2000 pounds.

Ocean Transportation Intermediary (OTI) – To operate as a NVOCC in the U.S. handling international ocean shipments, an entity must first obtain an OTI license from the Federal Maritime Commission. This regulation applies to U.S. exports and imports. All applicants for this license are subject to rigorous investigation by the FMC’s Bureau of Certification and Licensing to determine if they have the necessary experience and character to render OTI services in compliance with the Shipping Act and FMC regulations.

Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) – An office of the U.S. Department of the Treasury which administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions based on US foreign policy and national security goals against targeted foreign countries, terrorists, international narcotics traffickers, and those engaged in activities related to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.  OFAC acts under Presidential wartime and national emergency powers, as well as the authority granted by specific legislation to impose controls on transactions and freeze foreign assets under U.S. jurisdiction. Many of the sanctions are based on United Nations and other international mandates.

One Time Only (OTO) – Industry slang term used for spot quotes and usually only used when the standard mode of pricing is through tenders/tariffs open account.

Online Representations and Certifications Application (ORCA) – An e-Government initiative that was designed by the Integrated Acquisition Environment (IAE) to replace the paper based Representations and Certifications (Reps and Certs) in Section K of solicitations and utilizes an Internet application.  It is a complimentary system to CCR and reuses data pulled from CCR and pre-populates many of the required Representations and Certifications.

Open Policy – A cargo insurance policy which remains in force until canceled and allows for coverage of multiple shipments over a period of time.

Other Government Agency (OGA) – OGA’s with respect to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. OGAs include the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Department of Transportation (DOT).

Outside Continental US (OCONUS) – A term used to convey the origin/destination of shipments and typically used in conjunction with itself or OCONUS when referring to rates (typically excludes AK and HI); ex: BWI to LAX are included in our CONUS to CONUS rates and BWI to BRU can be found in our CONUS to OCONUS rates

Packing List – A shipping document issued by a shipper to a carrier and soften sent ahead to the consignee which identifies the type of amounts of items within a shipment. Often this list is attached directly to the container itself.

Port of Discharge – A port where a vessel is off-loaded and cargo is discharged.

Port of Entry – A port at which foreign goods are admitted into the receiving country.

Port of Loading – A port where cargo is loaded onto a vessel and secured.

Powertrack – An internet-based freight payment system that allows Department of Defense customers to process invoices electronically.  This was developed for online freight payment and transaction tracking. The Department of Defense adopted it as its standard method to pay contracted carriers for the armed forces, National Guard, DLA, and TRANSCOM.

Prepaid Freight – Freight which has been paid by the shipper at the time of the shipment and are generally non-refundable.

Proof of Delivery (POD) – The delivery receipt provided to the consignee/buyer evidencing the signature of the person who received the freight along with its delivery date and time.

Radio frequency (RF) – In warehousing, this refers to the portable data collection devices that use radio frequency to transmit data wirelessly to host system.

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) – A device that is attached to an object that transmits data to an RFID receiver. These devices range in size from book size to small enough to fit on a label on a package. RFID has advantages over barcodes as it can hold more data, it withstands harsh weather conditions and it has the ability to change the stored data as processing occurs.

Reefer – A refrigerated container, trailer or railcar for transporting perishables.

Ro/Ro (Roll-on/Roll-Off) Vessel – A ship designed to accommodate cargo that is rolled on and rolled off with wheels or tracks. Most Ro/Ro vessels accommodate containers and break-bulk cargo.

Shipper – The company who ships to a consignee/buyer.

Shipping Weight – The total weight of a shipment including wrapping, crates and/or container.

Ship’s Manifest – A document signed by the captain of the vessel which lists the ship’s cargo.

Standard Carrier Alpha Code (SCAC) – Standard four letter code to identify transportation companies.

Standard Point Location Codes (SPLC) – Location codes similar to zip codes which are geographic reference codes which encompass an area such as a town or military base, but can also be as specific as a particular building.

Stowage – The organizing and packaging of cargo on a vessel.

Strikes, Riots and Civil Commotion’s – An optional insurance clause (endorsement) which covers loss directly caused by strikers, labor disturbances, riots or civil commotions.

Sue & Labor Cause – An insurance policy provision which obligates the assured or his agents to take necessary actions after a loss to prevent further loss from occurring.

Supplement – A code usually included at the end of a tender number which indicates an edition or revision.

Surface Deployment and Distribution Command (SDDC) – An Army major command and Army component command of USTRANSCOM which is responsible for the global, joint movement of combat units, sustainment cargo, service member household goods and privately owned vehicles.  Formerly known as Military Traffic Management Command its overall mission is to provide global surface deployment and distribution services to meet the nation’s objectives.

Tare Weight – The weight of packing and containers without the weight of the goods to be shipped.

Tariff – With regards to shipping, tariff’s are a schedule of shipping rates charge together with rules and regulations. With regards to customs, tariff’s are a schedule of duties and taxes assessed by a government on goods as they enter or leave a country.

Tender – The offer of goods for transportation or the offer to place cars or containers for loading or unloading. Also used when a small vessel serves a larger vessel to resupply it.

Terminal Handling Charge (THC) – A charge for handling services performed at terminals.

TEU – An ocean-freight term describing a standard twenty-foot (20 ‘x 8’ x 8’) container.  A forty-foot standard container is equal to two twenty-foot standard containers.  TEU is also a standard unit for describing a ship’s cargo carrying capacity, or a shipping terminal’s cargo handling capacity.

Through Bill of Lading – A single bill of lading which covers receipt of cargo from the point of origin for delivery to the ultimate consignee and which uses multiple modes of transportation.

Ton – A unit of mass/weight equal to 1.1016 metric tons or 2240 pounds.

Tracking – A system of recording movement intervals of shipments from origin to destination.

Transportation Officer (TO) – TO’s are responsible for coordinating shipments for the government (Military or Non-Military). Most TO’s work with their “client’s” (contractors, military officials, embassies, etc.) who will sometimes make the ultimate decision on which carrier to utilize, but the solicitation and submission of bids typically is performed by the TO.

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) – An agency established in 2001 to safeguard United States transportation systems and to insure safe air travel.

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) – The federal department which administers programs that provide services to farmers including providing efforts to stabilize the farming economy.

Ultimate Consignee – The person located abroad who is the true party in interest receiving the export for the designated end-use.

United States Flag (US Flag) – A shipment that utilizes a US Flag aircraft and Air Waybill; the preferred mode of a US Flag shipment is US Flag Complete; US regulations require all military shipments to move via US Flag.

United Stated Flag Partial (US Flag Partial) – A shipment which meets the minimum requirements of a US Flag shipment; part of the travel will take place on a foreign flag.

Valuation Charges – Additional transportation charges assessed to shippers who declare a value of goods higher than the value of carriers’ limits of liability.

War Risk Insurance – Insurance issued by marine underwriters against war-like operations which generally covers losses due to seizure and destruction from warlike actions..

Warehouse Management System (WMS) – This is a key part of the supply chain which primarily controls the movement and storage of materials within a warehouse as well as the transactions associated such as shipping, receiving, putaway and picking. Warehouse management systems often utilize Auto ID Data Capture (AIDC) technology, such as barcode scanners, mobile computers, wireless LANs and potentially Radio-frequency identification (RFID) to efficiently monitor the flow of products.

Warehouse Receipt – A receipt for commodities deposited in a warehouse which specifically identifies all the items deposited.

Warehouse-to-Warehouse – A clause in marine insurance policy which covers for losses while the goods are in transit from the initial warehouse to the final warehouse at destination.

Wharfage – A charge assessed by a pier or dock owner for handling incoming or outgoing cargo; also a charge docking a vessel at a wharf.

Without Reserve – A term indicating that a shipper’s agent is empowered to make definitive decisions/adjustments abroad without the approval by the party being represented.