• Accomplished bill of lading: An original copy of a bill of landing for an order that must be shipped.
  • Act of God: An event that directly and exclusively results from the occurrence of natural causes that could not have been prevented by the exercise of foresight or caution; an inevitable accident.
  • Adjustments: Any discrepancy between the actual shipment and what is stated on the bill of lading. These can result in additional charges from freight carriers. 
  • Affreightment: Chartering or hiring vessel as freight carrier.
  • Agent: A person who transacts business on behalf of another person or company with full or limited decision. 
  • Anchor: A heavy object attached to a vessel by a cable or rope and cast overboard to keep the vessel in place either by its weight or by its flukes, which grip the bottom.
  • Arbitrate: To settle or decide a dispute.
  • Arbitration: A mini-trial, which may be for a lawsuit ready to go to trial, held in an attempt to avoid a court trial and conducted by a person or a panel of people who are not judges.
  • Arrest (of a ship): To seize a ship under lawful authority.
  • Average: The loss of a ship or cargo caused by damage at sea.


  • Back freight: A payment that is owed to a maritime shipping company when the transportation of goods extends beyond the contracted destination port due to circumstances beyond the shipper's control.
  • Back Haul: The second half of a carrier's round trip in which the freight shipping cost is less than the first half. The second half can be referred to as the back haul rate. 

  • Bail Security: A sum of money by which a person is bound to take responsibility for the appearance in court of another person or himself or herself.
  • Bareboat charterer (Dry lease): Type of demise charter in which the lessee (charterer) leases a vessel without a master and crew and appoints own personnel for those positions for the duration of the lease (charter). 
  • Bearer bill of lading: Bearer bill of lading states that delivery will be made to whosoever holds the bill. Such bill may be created explicitly or it is an order bill that fails to nominate the consignee whether in its original form or through an endorsement in blank. A bearer bill can be negotiated by physical delivery.
  • Beneficial Owner: This is a rail term that refers to the actual owner of the lading being shipped. 

  • Berth: Sufficient space for a ship to maneuvers.
  • Bill of Lading (BIL): The bill of lading or BOL is the contract between shipper and carrier, broker or agent that binds the parties together and defines all aspects of the freight shipping arrangement including what is being shipped, to whom and more. 

  • Blocking: Also known as bracing, refers to wood or other supports used to keep shipments in place on trailers or in containers. 

  • Blind Shipment: When the shipper and receiver are not aware of one another, the freight shipment is called a blind shipment. In such cases, the bill of lading lists the party that paid for the shipment as the shipper or receiver of the freight shipment. 

  • Bogie: This is a rail term that refers to a frame with wheels on which a container is mounted for over-the-road transport. 
  • Broker: A person who makes freight shipping arrangements on behalf of a person or company. The broker has experience in the industry and negotiates the best possible shipping rates on behalf of the carrier.
  • Brokerage License: A broker gains this in order to have the ability to make land, sea and airfreight shipping arrangements. 
  • Bulk Freight: Freight that is not contained within packages or containers is referred to as bulk freight. 

  • Bunker: A bin or tank especially for fuel storage, as on a ship.


  • Cancelation clause: Stipulation in an agreement that grants (to one or both parties) the right to terminate it before its expiration, under specified terms and conditions.
  • Cargo: The freight carried by a ship.
  • Carrier: A person or company who transports freight for a fee. 
  • Cartage: A trucking term that refers to shipping freight within the same city or area.
  • Cash against documents: (CAD) A payment arrangement in which an exporter instructs a bank to hand over shipping and title documents (see document of title) to the importer when the importer fully pays the accompanying bill of exchange or draft. 
  • Cesser clause: In shipping, when the charterers are not the owners of the goods but are acting only as agents for the loading of another party’s goods, a cesser clause may be used to ensure that liability for the cargo ceases once it is loaded. This is usually expressed in a cesser clause stating that “...charterers’ liability will cease on shipment of cargo and payment of freight, dead freight and demurrage”, i.e. sums incurred at the loading port.
  • Charter: A contract for the commercial leasing of a vessel or space on a vessel.
  • Charter by demise: Ship leasing arrangement in which the use of the entire vessel and all associated expenses pass on from the ship owner to the lessee (charterer). If the lessee also has the right to appoint own master and the crew, it is called a bareboat charter.
  • Charter party: Maritime law an agreement for the hire of all or part of a ship for a specified voyage or period of time.
  • Classification: A freight classification assigned to an article for the purpose of applying transportation charges. This is used for less that truckload (LTL) shipments. 

  • Clause paramount: Clause Paramount is a provision in Maritime law. Clause paramount is a provision in a charter party that specifies what law of the jurisdiction will govern the agreement.
  • Claused bill of lading: A bill of lading that shows a shortfall or damage in the delivered goods. Typically, if the shipped products deviate from the delivery specifications or expected quality, the receiver may declare a claused bill of lading. 
  • Clean bill of lading: B/L that is free from any adverse remarks or notations made by the shipping company about the condition, packaging, or quantity of the goods being shipped. Importers and their banks usually insist on a clean B/L for payment under a letter of credit.
  • Combined transport bill of lading: B/L issued for containerized door-to-door shipments that have to use different ships and/or different means of transportation (aircraft, railcars, ships, trucks, etc.) from origin to destination. Unlike in case of a through bill of lading, the principal carrier or the freight forwarder (who issued the multimodal B/L) takes on full liability under a contract of carriage for the entire journey and over all modes of transportation. 
  • Common Carrier: A carrier that can be hired by anyone to transport goods. 
  • Concealed Loss: When the recipient of a package is not able to see damage to the item(s) until the package is opened. The damage was not visible at the time of delivery 
  • Consignee: The receiver of a freight shipment. 

  • Consolidation: When two or more shipments are combined to save money on freight shipping costs. 

  • Container: A container looks like a truck trailer with no wheels and is now among the most common freight shipping methods in the United States and abroad. Containers are used for intermodal shipping and come in standard sizes to ensure they fit on standard trucks, rail cars and container ships. 

  • Cruel oil: Mixture of naturally occurring hydrocarbons that is refined into diesel, gasoline, heating oil, jet fuel, kerosene, and literally thousands of other products called petrochemicals. Crude oils are named according to their contents and origins, and classified according to their per unit weight (specific gravity). Heavier crudes yield more heat upon burning, but have lower API gravity and market price in comparison to light (or sweet) crudes.


  • Dangerous goods: Definition of 'dangerous goods' covers articles or materials capable of posing significant risk to people, health, property, or environment when transported in quantity. It includes items of common use, such as aerosol cans, perfumes, and paints.
  • Dead freight: Charge payable on space booked on a ship but not utilised by the charterer or the shipper. It is imposed at full freight rates, less loading and handling charges.
  • Deck cargo: Items such as cattle or lumber carried on the main deck (top floor) of a ship, unlike the belly cargo that is stowed under (in the holds). Some types of cargo (such as explosives) are required by law to be carried as deck cargo.
  • Deliver (to cargo): to bring or transport to the proper place or recipient;
  • Demurrage: Detention of a ship, freight car, or other cargo conveyance during loading or unloading beyond the scheduled time of departure.
  • Detention: custody or confinement, esp. of a suspect awaiting trial
  • Deviation: departure from an accepted or established standard or norm.
  • Disbursements: amounts paid for goods and services that may be currently tax deductible (as opposed to capital expenditures)
  • Discharge: To acquit completely.
  • Document of compliance: A document certified by a competent authority that the supplied good or service meets the required specifications. 
  • Dredger: A barge or boat equipped with a dredge.
  • Dry cargo: Containers utilised for transporting cargo overseas constructed in standardised sizes designed to accommodate general cargo.


  • Embargo: An embargo is any event that prevents the freight from being accepted or handled. Embargo events include floods, tornadoes or congested highways. 
  • Ex ship sales: Term of sale signifying that the price invoiced or quoted by the seller includes all charges up to the port of destination but the buyer pays the charges for unloading the goods off the ship and all subsequent charges such as customs duty and taxes
  • Exceptions: When a problem such as shortage or damage is noted at the time of delivery, an exception is noted on the delivery sheet before it is signed to designate there was a problem with the shipment.


  • Fixture: property law an article attached to land and regarded as part of it.
  • Flag: A ship carrying the flag of an admiral; a flagship.
  • Free along side (FAS): at a named port of export. Under FAS, the seller quotes a price for the goods that includes charges for delivery of the goods alongside a vessel at the port of departure. The seller handles the cost of unloading and wharf age; loading, ocean transportation, and insurance are left to the buyer. FAS is also a method of export and import valuation.
  • Free in and out: A pricing term indicating that the charterer of a vessel is responsible for the cost of loading and unloading goods from the vessel.
  • Free on board (FOB): at a named port of export. The seller quotes the buyer a price that covers all costs up to and including delivery of goods aboard a vessel at a port. FOB is also a method of export valuation.
  • Freight: The amount of money due for the carriage of goods and payable either in advance or upon delivery.


  • General average clause: Intentional act or sacrifice which is carried out to safeguard vessel and cargo. When a vessel is in danger, the master has the right to sacrifice property and/or to incur reasonable expenditure. Measures taken for the sole benefit of any particular interest are not considered general average.
  • Gross Vehicle Weight: The total weight of the transport and its cargo is called the gross vehicle weight or GVW.


  • Hague Rules: International convention for the unification of certain rules, relating to Bills of Lading (1924). These Rules include the description of responsibilities of Shipping Lines.
  • Hague- Visby Rules: Set of rules, published in 1968, amending the Hague Rules. 

  • Hamburg Rules: United Nations Convention on the carriage of goods by sea of 1978 adopted in 1992.
  • Harbour: Place of shelter for vessels. Most of the time used as an indication for the geographical location.
  • Hire: To engage the services of (a person) for a fee.


  • ICC/ CMI: International Chamber of Commerce.
  • IMO: International Maritime Organisation.
  • Inbound Freight: Shipments coming from vendors to a storage facility. 

  • Incoterms: Trade terms in coded form as established by the International Chamber of Commerce in 1953, where after they have been regularly updated. (Last update 2000). 
The terms represent a set of international rules for the interpretation of the principal terms of delivery used in trade contracts.
  • Insurance: 
A system of protection against loss under which a party agrees to pay a certain sum (premiums) for a guarantee that they will be compensated under certain conditions for loss or damage.
  • Interchange of Interline: The transfer of freight from one carrier to another.
  • Intermodal Transportation: When freight is shipped using two or more modes of transportation. This typically refers to truck-rail-truck shipments.
  • ISM Clause: This international standard for the safe management and operation of ships prescribes rules for the organisation of a shipping company management in the context of safety and pollution prevention and requires the development and implementation of a safety management system.


  • Jettison: Act of throwing cargo or equipment (jetsam) overboard when a ship is in danger.
  • Jurisdiction clause: a term used in equity cases that are part of a complaint that gives power to courts to hear a dispute.


  • Keel clearance: The distance between the deepest point of the vessel’s hull and the seabed.
  • Knot: One nautical mile (6076 feet or 1852 meters) per hour. In the days of sail speed was measured by tossing overboard a log which was secured bay 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.


  • Laden: Loaded aboard a vessel.
  • 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.
  • Lash: A maritime industry abbreviation for “Lighter Aboard Ship.” A specially constructed vessel equipped with an overhead crane for lifting specially designed barges and stowing them into cellular slots in an athwart ship position.
  • Laycan: Range of dates within the hire contract must start.
  • Letter of credit: A document, issued by a bank per instructions by a buyer of goods, authorising 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.
  • Lien: A legal claim upon goods for the satisfaction of some debt or duty.
  • Limitation of liability: Clause that specifically states that the liability of each shareholder for the firm's debts and obligations is limited to the par value of his or her fully paid-up shares.
  • LNG: Natural gas will liquefy at a temperature of approximately 259 For 160 C at atmospheric pressure. One cubic foot of liquefied gas will expand to approximately 600 cubic feet of gas at atmospheric pressure.
  • Load Line: The waterline corresponding to the maximum draft to which a vessel is permitted to load either by freeboard regulations the conditions of classification or the conditions of service.
  • LO-LO: Load-on, Load- Off.
  • Lump sum charter: A one-time payment to lease a portion of or an entire vessel for transportation purposes. The charge is paid prior to obtaining control, and may include insurance, docking fees and other costs.


  • Main deck: the uppermost sheltered deck that runs the entire length of a vessel
  • Master bill of lading: A schedule of costs for services rendered issued by a ship's master or another carrier official, and which documents that certain products were received on board as cargo for shipment to a particular place and to be delivered to the stated receiver. A master bill of lading might be used by a business that produces items overseas.
  • Mate’s receipt: An archaic practice. An acknowledgement of cargo receipt signed by a mate of the vessel. The possessor of the mates receipt is entitled to the bill of lading in exchange for that receipt.
  • Memorandum bill of lading: An in house bill of lading. A duplicate copy.
  • 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 specified quantity.
  • Misdelivery: deliver to the wrong address  
  • Mixed container load: A container load of different articles in a single consignment.
  • Mobile offshore: A vessel capable of engaging in drilling or well work over operations for the exploration or exploitation of subsea resources.
  • Moor: To secure a vessel or an aircraft with lines or anchors
  • Multimodal: Synonymous for all practical purposes with Intermodal.


  • Nautical Mile: Distance of one minute of longitude at the equator, approximately 6,076.115. The metric equivalent is 1852.
  • Negligence clause: the state or quality of being negligent
  • 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.
  • No cure no pay: No cure no pay is a form of salvage contract in which the salvor receives no payment if s/he fails to save any property. The payment will be made under this scheme only if the party makes a successful claim.
  • Nominate a ship: Voyage charter parties sometimes do not specify a vessel name, but state instead that vessel is to be nominated; subsequent designation of the vessel name by vessel owners to charterers is called a nomination.
  • Non delivery: Failure to convey or transfer a legal instrument or goods as required by law or custom.
  • Non-negotiable bill of lading: B/L that cannot be transferred by endorsement. See negotiable bill of lading for details.
  • Notice of readiness: A paper or telex document urgently issued by a shipmaster that advises a person awaiting a shipment that his ship has arrived and is prepared for the cargo to be unloaded or loaded. When a business receives a notice of readiness (NOR), it means that the company needs to make appropriate preparations for their cargo immediately.
  • Notify party: Usually the buyer or the importer (who is not the consignee of the shipment because it is consigned to a bank) named in the shipping documents as the party to whom a notice of arrival must also be sent.


  • Ocean bill of lading: A document required for the transportation of goods overseas. An ocean bill of lading serves as both the carrier's receipt to the shipper and as a collection document. The document specifies the details of the goods being transported, such as quantity, type and destination.
  • Off hire: In the context of time charter, an off-hire clause provides breathing time to the owner to repair his/her vessel. In other words, an off-hire clause means the owner of the vessel may be allotted a limited time for his/her vessel to be off hire until such time as the vessel may be repaired or dry-docked.
  • On board: A notation on a bill of lading that cargo has been loaded onboard 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.
  • Order notify: 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.
  • Original Bill of lading: A document which requires proper signatures for consummating carriage of contract. Must be marked as original by the issuing carrier.
  • Overload: An excessive load.


  • P&I: Abbreviation for Protection and Indemnity, an insurance term.
  • Paramount clause: Clause Paramount is a provision in Maritime law. Clause paramount is a provision in a charter-party that specifies what law of the jurisdiction will govern the agreement.
  • 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.
  • Peak season: Time of the year during which demand is highest. Opposite of off-season.
  • Perishable good: Likely to decay or go bad quickly.
  • Pier: The structure perpendicular to the shoreline to which vessels secured for the purpose of loading and unloading cargo.
  • Place of Delivery: Place where cargo leaves the care and custody of carrier.
  • Prepaid: Freight charges paid by the consignor (shipper) prior to there lease of the bills of lading by the carrier.
  • Pro Rata: A Latin term meaning in proportion.


  • Quay: A structure attached to land to which a vessel is moored


  • Received for shipment bill of lading: B/L which serves only as a receipt for goods accepted for shipment on a named ship (vessel), and does not certify their placement aboard the vessel. Used where the goods arrive at the port of departure before the vessel does, this type of B/L is not considered a complete B/L and is replaced by a shipped on board bill of lading when the goods do go onboard.
  • Recourse: A right claim against the guarantors of a loan or draft or bill of exchange.
  • Re-charter: To charter again or anew.
  • Respondentia: A loan of money on maritime interest, on goods laden on board of a ship, which, in the course of the voyage must, from their nature, be sold or exchanged, upon this condition, that if the goods should be lost in the course of the voyage, by any of the perils enumerated in the contract, the lender shall lose his money; if not, that the borrower shall pay him the sum borrowed, with the interest agreed upon.
  • RO-RO  (Roll-on, Roll- Off): A shortening of the term Roll On/Roll Off. A method of ocean cargo service using a vessel with ramps which allows wheeled vehicles to be loaded and discharged without cranes. 
  • Rotterdam Rules: The Rotterdam Rules will apply to contracts for the transport of goods over sea as well as their prior or subsequent transport over land and also establish the legal infrastructure for the development of e-commerce in maritime transport.
  • Run aground: If a ship or boat runs aground/ashore, it hits the coast, sometimes becoming stuck there.


  • STC: Said to contain.
  • Salvage: the act of saving something (such as a building, a ship, or cargo) that is in danger of being completely destroyed.
  • 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 worthiness: The fitness of a vessel for its intended use.
  • Ship: A vessel of considerable size for deep-water navigation. 
  • Shipment: The tender of one lot of cargo at one time from one shipper to one consignee on one bill of lading.
  • Shipped bill of lading: A B/L certifying that the goods have been received in good order and in a good condition from the shipper and have been put aboard the right vessel on the right date.
  • Slot charterer: The term slot charter means a charter party whereby the shipper leases one or more “slots,” aboard a container ship. Each slot will be capable of holding a 20-foot container.
  • Starboard: the right-hand side of or direction from a vessel or aircraft, facing forward.
  • Stevedore: Individual or firm that employs longshoremen and who contracts to load or unload the ship.
  • Stowage: A marine term referring to loading freight into ships holds.
  • Straight bill of lading: A non-negotiable bill of lading which states a specific identity to whom the goods should be delivered.
  • Subrogate: 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.
  • 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.


  • Tariff: A publication setting forth the charges rates and rules of transportation companies.
  • Through bill of lading: B/L issued for containerised door-to-door shipments that have to use different ships and/or different means of transportation (aircraft, railcars, ships, trucks, etc.) from origin to destination. Unlike in case of a multimodal Bill Of Lading, the principal carrier or the freight- forwarder (who issued the through B/L) is liable under a contract of carriage only for its own phase of the journey, and acts as an agent for the carriers executing the other phases.
  • Time bar: Stoppage placed on the exercise of a claim, judgment, or right after passage of a certain period as established by law (such as statute of limitations) or custom.
  • Time charterer: A contract for leasing between the ship owners and the lessee. It would state e.g. the duration of the lease in years or voyages.
  • Towage: The charge made for towing a vessel.
  • Transship: To transfer goods from one transportation line to another, or from one ship to another.
  • Trim: To balance (a ship) by shifting its cargo or contents.
  • Trust Receipt: Release of merchandise by a bank to a buyer while the bank retains title to the merchandise. The goods are usually obtained for manufacturing or sales purposes. The buyer is obligated to maintain the goods (or the proceeds from their sales) distinct from the remainder of the assets and to hold them ready for repossession by the bank.


  • UCP: Abbreviation for the “Uniform Customs and Practice for Documentary Credits,” published by the International Chamber of Commerce. This is the most frequently used standard for making payments in international trade; e.g., paying on a Letter of Credit. It is most frequently referred to by its shorthand title: UCP No. 500. This revised publication reflects recent changes in the transportation and banking industries, such as electronic transfer of funds.
  • Unload: Removal of a shipment from a vessel.


  • Validation: Authentication of B/L and when B/L becomes effective.
  • Vessel: A craft for traveling on water, now usually one larger than an ordinary rowboat; a ship or boat.
  • VLFO: The loading and discharge terms for the cargo to be shipped, as agreed to in the charter party. The vessel (carrier) pays for the loading of the cargo on board the ship and the receiver pays for the discharge of the cargo from the ship to the pier.
  • Voyage charter party: Transport vessel or vehicle charter for one or a specified number of trips (voyages). Time charter generally includes loading and unloading costs in the charter rate. 


  • War clause: Insurance coverage for loss of goods resulting from any act of war.
  • Warehouse: A place for the reception, delivery, consolidation, distribution, and storage of goods/cargo.
  • Waybill (WB): A document prepared by a transportation line at the point of a shipment; shows the point of the origin, destination, route, consignor, consignee, description of shipment and amount charged for the transportation service. It is forwarded with the shipment or sent by mail to the agent at the transfer point or waybill destination. Abbreviation is WB. Unlike a bill of lading, a waybill is NOT a document of title.
  • Weight cargo: A cargo on which the transportation charge is assessed on the basis of weight.
  • Weight or Measurement (W/M): Abbreviation for “Weight or Measurement;” the basis for assessing freight charges. Rate charged under W/M will be whichever produces the highest revenue between the weight of the shipment and the measure of the shipment. The comparison is based on the number of metric tons the cargo weights compared to the number of cubic meters of space the cargo measures. The prior English method was one long ton compared to forty cubic feet.
  • WIBON: Whether in berth or not.
  • WIPON: Whether in port or not.
  • Without Recourse: A phrase preceding the signature of a drawer or endorser of a negotiable instrument; signifies that the instrument is passed onto subsequent holders without any liability to the endorser in the event of non-payment or non-delivery.
  • Working day: Any day other than Sunday or gazette or statutory holiday.
  • World scale: World scale is a unified system of establishing payment of freight rate for a given oil tanker`s cargo.


  • Yard: A classification, storage or switching area.
  • York Antwerp Rules: Established the standard basis for adjusting general average and stated the rules for adjusting claims.


  • Zulu time: Time based on Greenwich Mean Time.



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