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Logistics Jargon

  • A
Cargo Carry by air Related article you may be interested in What is Freight?


AMS stands for Automated Manifest System. This is a rule implemented in the USA to minimize terrorist attacks. Refer AMS filling to learn more


ATA is the abbreviation for Actual Time of Arrival.  This is the time a vessel actually reached the port. Port charges like dockage calculated by considering the ATA and the vessel’s departure time.


ATD is the abbreviation uses for Actual Time of Departure. This is the time a vessel departure from a port or a terminal.
  • B


Bill of Lading

BL Cut off

Deadline for submission of BL instructions


Bunker Adjustment Charges

Break Bulk Shipping

Break bulk shipping is the oldest cargo transporting method in shipping. There are vessels dedicated to carrying break bulk cargo. Few types of cargo in bulk form carrying in one ship refers to the break bulk shipping.


Pumping fuel to vessels
  • C


Currency Adjustment Charges


Person /Business sell the cargo


Cargo supplier




Shipping Line /Airline


Intermediary party in between shipping line and the freight forwarder

Cargo Cu off

Latest time to deliver cargo to the terminal/stuffing party


Car Equivalent Units


Customs House Agent

CSC Charges

CSC stands for Container Service Charge. This is a charge billed to the top of the sea freight charge. Also, know as THC or Terminal Handling Charge. Not every shipping line bill this charge.


CMR is a Convention on the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road. This was signed in 1956 in Geneva. Most of the EU countries have ratified this convention and the international Road Transport Union (IRU) has developed a CMR waybill for road transportation.


COO stands for the Certificate Of Origin. This is an issue to shows the origin of the product/materials.


CPT stands for carriage paid to. Please refer to INCOTERMS to learn more


CBM is the abbreviation for cubic meter. The volume of a shipment is measured in CBM in international shipping.

Cargo List

Cargo list is a report with the list of cargo carry onboard a vessel. All the onboard cargo details which will discharge in a particular port are listed here and it should be submitted to the customs of the discharging port prior to arrival/upon arrival based on the country’s customs regulations.
  • D

De Stuffing

Unpacking cargo from a container


Passengers getting down from a cruise vessel

DG Cargo

Dangerous Goods


DDU stands for Delivered Duty Unpaid. This comes under INCOTERMS and shippers deliver goods to consignees doorstep, yet paying import taxes and duties in importing country is a responsibility of the consignee.

Dwell time

The time, cargo, or ship spend at a port

Dead Freight

The payment for the received space in a ship, which did not fill with cargo


The payment charged for not returning the container within the given free time period


Deadweight Tonnage (Cargo capacity of a vessel)

De Mounting

Accurate word for “Putting a container out of the trailer”


Delivered At Frontier or DAF incoterm has expired from the 1st January 2011.  DAF has replaced by DAP and DAT. The “Frontier” should be properly agreed before shipping as the frontier could be any place. Once cargo delivered to the agreed frontier, sellers’ obligations become full filled.

Damage Protection Plan

The damage protection plan is insurance for containers by the container leasing companies. The leasing company charges the client for the insurance against the container.
  • E


Passengers getting on to a cruise vessel


ETD stands for Expected Time of Departure. This is the time a vessel expects to sail from a port after receiving the services at the port. ETD may differ from the Actual time of Departure (ATD). The difference between ATD and ETD could be the delays at port or port arrival delay.


ETA stands for Expected Time of Arrival. This is the estimated time a vessel expects to arrive a port. Port or the terminal does the berth allocation based on the ETA of a vessel.

Ex ship

Ex ship or delivered ex ship was an INCOTERM used in international trade until January 2011. In e ship, the seller is responsible and liable until the cargo arrives at the destination port. Once the cargo carrying ship arrives at the destination port, it is considered as cargo delivered and risk transfers to the consignee.

EUR.1 Document

EUR.1 or EUR.1 certificate or EUR.1 document is a certificate certifying the origin of the product/products. The EUR1 certificate is a form that is used in international commodity traffic. EUR.1 supports importers to enjoy low taxes and duties at the time of importing due to the EU trade agreements.

EX1 Document

EX1 is a document issued for the goods produced and sold from the EU. Having an ex1 document helps to trade goods without paying VAT.
  • F


Fuel Surcharge

Freight Collect

Freight collect refers to when the Freight rate for transporting goods from one port to another is paid at the destination. Normally freight collects term to use when consignee arrange the carrier in international trade. FOB, EXW, FAS are few INCOTERMS with freight collect terms.


Full Container Load

Freight forwarder

Freight forwarder is a 3PL company who arrange the transport /do clearance on behalf of the company


Flexibag is a fine alternative to ISO containers. These bags can load up to 25 tonnes and stuff in general sized containers. Though the uses of flexibags are high, they are costly and not much environmentally friendly. 16,000 to 26,000 liters ranged flexibags are available for use.


FENEX is the Netherlands Association for Forwarding and Logistics. FENEX is the sole body representing the operators in the logistics and forwarding industry of Dutch.


FIOT stands for Free In Out and Trimmed.  In the event of a FIOT, charges only include the actual transport cost from one port to another. Or simply the freight rate without loading, unloading, and trimming of goods. So the loading, unloading, and trim should be paid separately by the shipper or consignee separately.

Fumigated Pallets

The pallets which are treated with chemicals or heat for disinfection and pests control are called fumigated pallets. The IPPC stamp on the side of the pallet shows how the pallet is fumigated.
  • G
Groupage Groupage is the action of transporting a set of small shipments together. So the groupage is the same as LCL shipment.  Groupage also refers to consolidation.
  • H

HS Code

Harmonized Commodity System/ Harmonized System

High Security Seal

The high security seal is a seal used to secure the container as soon it is stuffed with cargo. Container securing initiative has taken due to the Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism program (C TPAP ) and as per the International Ship & Port Facility Security Code (ISPS code). These seals are used to prevent theft while transporting and the seal should meet the requirements of ISO / PAS 17712 certification.
  • I


International Commercial Terms (Terms/Methods use for transporting goods)


IBC or I.B.C stands for Intermediate Bulk Container. Two categories of IBC’s are flexible IBC and rigid IBC. These containers are also known as pallet tanks, IBC tanks, or IBC totes. IBCs are designed to handle liquids, solids, and semi-solids.  IBC comes with a wood or metal base and forkliftable.

In Gauge cargo

Cargo which can be stacked on open-top containers or flat rack containers is in gauge cargo. Since this cargo fits the containers no additional cargo slots of the vessel are required to carry this special cargo.


ISF stands for Importer Security Filing.  ISF also known as the 10+2 rule. When import goods to the USA, the importer must declare the details on the goods to the USA border control body. The shipping line should have done the AMS filling for the importer to submit the ISF. The latest 24 Hours of cargo loading from the origin county consignee should submit the ISF and failing to do such leads to huge penalties.
  • K

KN- Knot

Nautical Miles Per Hour (Speed measuring unit at sea)
  • L


Letter of Credit

Laden Container

Container filled with cargo


Less than Container Load


A lighter is a small boat with a flat bottom use to transport cargo. Commonly, lighters use to transfer cargo from river ports/ small depth ports to large vessels. Since the large vessels are unable to come to small ports cargo from small ports to large vessels transfer using lighters.

Loading Meter – LDM

Loading meter is the measurement used in truck transportation. One loading meter equals one meter of loading space of truck’s length. A loading meter is useful to identify the volume of goods that can be transported at once.

Letters of Indemnity

Letter of Indemnity is a document given by the shipper to the shipowner (master of the ship).  This is commonly known as LOI. LOI contains the indemnification of the shipper and shipowner demand an LOI to protect their interests. Letter of Indemnity could contain both qualitative and non qualitative clauses. The shipowner must be careful when accepting an LOI, as some LOI’s are not valid before the law.

Letter of Conformance

Letter of conformance also known as certificate of conformance or certificate of compliance. This is a document issued by an authorized authority confirming a specific product meets its technical specification.
  • M


Material Safety Data Sheet


Accurate word for “Putting a container on the trailer”


Manifest is a document with the list of goods carried from one place to another in international trade. Manifest submits to the border control body of the country where the goods are imported. Shipping lines and freight forwarders who issue BL’s for the cargo should submit the manifest prior to the vessel’s arrival to the port for cargo unloading.

Multi Stop

Multi stop is the action of adding jobs to the transporter while cargo is transporting.  When truckload or cargo deliver from origin to destination, the customer may request the trucking company to do some other jobs related to the cargo while transporting like weighing cargo or do customs formalities on behalf of the customer. These are additional tasks that cost the trucker. These tasks are called multi stop.
  • N


Non Vessel Operating Common Carrier

Net register tonnage (NRT)

Net register tonnage is the cargo carrying capacity of a vessel.  NRT can be calculated by deducting the volume of non cargo carrying space of a ship from the gross registered tonnage of the ship. Non cargo carrying space includes the cabins of the crew, engine room, bridge, etc.


nautical Miles ( distance measurement unit at sea)
  • O

OOG Cargo

Cargo which is too large to stuff in a container

One stop shopping

One stop shopping or one stop shop also calls as one stop service center. This is a place where the service for consolidated activities can be taken instead of going to few places.
  • P


Proof of Delivery


POD also stands for Port of Discharged. The port where the cargo is destined to be discharged mention as the POD. The logistics involvement at the POD described as POD logistics. POD logistics includes port to warehouse transportation, clearance arrangements, and storing arrangements.

Project Cargo

Cargo which is very large, heavy, and special


PCTC stands for Pure Car and Truck Carrier. PCTC is a vessel type designed to carry passenger vehicles and large-sized trucks. PCTC is one category under RORO carriers.

Peak Season Surcharge

Peak season surcharge levied by shipping line during peak seasons. When the demand for cargo slots on a ship is high the demand may exceed the existing capacity. This leads shipping lines to acquire additional resources to cater to the demand of transportation. The additional cost the lines bears charging on top of the freight rate is the peak season surcharge.
  • R


Roll On Roll Off

Reefer Shipping

Reefer shipping is the process of shipping refrigerated containers. These containers are given electricity to control the temperature and reefer shipping charges are generally higher than the general cargo shipping rate.


RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification. This is a small electronic chip which can be tagged to cargo. Using GPS these RFIDs can be track and tranced to identify the location of goods.

Reefer Logistics

Reefer logistics is the process of handling temperature controlled cargo throughout the supply chain. Reefer cargo carries in reefer containers and the “RE” abbreviation uses to denote reefer containers. Handling reefer cargo categorizes under the cold supply chain.
  • S


packing cargo into a container


Person /Business who ship the cargo

Sea freight

Cargo move via sea


Security Surcharge


STC stands for Said to Contain. The carrier mentions the cargo details provided by the shipper under the BL description. To safeguard their interests carrier mention S.T. C or STC at top of the description to highlight the cargo description mentioned is as given by the shipper.

Stowage Plan

The plan according to which cargo loaded onboard


Stripping is a synonym for de-stuffing.  So the stripping refers to the taking out of goods from a container.


SIGNI stands for the European Code for Signs and Signals on Inland Waterways. SIGNI provides recommendations for the installation and application of buoyage and marking on European inland waterways.
  • T


Twenty Foot Equivalent Unit

Tracking & Tracing

Tracking & tracing is the process of knowing real-time information about physical goods. Most of the shipping companies, airlines, couriers, and even trucking companies have this facility for their customers. Some companies help customers to track and trace the goods from the carrier while some provide the same service with the RFID fitted to the goods.

T1 Document

T1 document is a detailed sheet on cargo which transport from one customs deport to another customs deport without paying duties or taxes. When non-EU manufactured goods transport in the EU, T1 should be submitted to customs. This allows transporting cargo under customs supervision without doing the cargo clearance in cross-border transactions.

Transit Time

Transit time is the total time required by goods to reach its destination once it is loaded from the designated loading location. The safety stock of goods, inventory management techniques of a supply chain depend on the transit time.
  • U

UN Code

UN code is a 4 digits unique number to identify hazardous goods/ substances.
  • V


Ship / Aircraft


VGM stands for Verified Gross Mass. This container weighing regulation came into effect on 1st July 2016 with the amendments to SOLAS (Safety of Life At Sea).  This initiative has taken to improve maritime safety and vessel will be loaded by considering the weight of each container to maintain stability and avoid break it back situations.


VATOS stands for Valid At Time Of Shipment. This means whichever the rate quoted to the customer, applicable variable charges like BAF, CAF at the time of the shipment will be added to the freight rate.


VAT or the value added tax is a tax levied by a government over the products and services purchases. Most countries levy VAT on goods and services.
  • 1


1PL stands for First Party Logistics. In 1 PL manufacturer handle the transporting of goods to the consignee without outsourcing them. The manufacturer has dedicated departments to handle such functions.
  • 3


Third-party Logistics Provider
  • 4


In Fourth Party Logistics or 4PL, the company outsources its logistics activities and the management of the logistics activities to the outside party. In 4PL the involvement of the third-party company is really high as they closely monitor the supply chain for better performances.
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