Marine Audit



A point beyond the mid-point of a ship’s length, toward the stern relative to an object or point of reference (‘abaft the fore hatch’).

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

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

Referring to cargo being put, or laden, onto a means of transport. (On or in a vessel).

Above-water hull
The hull section of a vessel above waterline, the visible part of a ship.

Absentee pennant
To indicate the absence of a commanding officer, admiral, his chief of staff, or officer whose flag is flying (division, squadron, or flotilla commander),   a special pennant is flown, called an absentee pennant.

Acceptance of Goods
The process of receiving a consignment from a consignor, usually against the issue of a receipt. As from this moment the carrier bears responsibility for the consignment.

Accessorial Charges
A carrier’s charge for accessorial services such as loading, unloading, pick-up, and delivery, or any other charge deemed appropriate.

Certification by a recognized body of the facilities, capability, objectivity, competence, and integrity of an agency, service, operational group, or individual to provide the specific service or operation needed.
For example, the Registrar Accreditation Board accredits those organizations that register companies to the ISO 9000 Series Standards.

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.

Act of God
Also known as ‘force majeure’. Accidents of a nature beyond human control such as flood, lightning or hurricane.

Act of Man
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.

Active Stock
Goods in active pick locations and ready for order filling.

Ad Valorem
Latin for “according to the value.”(1) An ad valorem duty is an import duty based on the value of an article as defined in the customs law of a particular country, rather than on value of an article as defined in the customs law of a particular country, rather than on weight or volume.
A percentage of that value is charged, for example, 5% ad valorem. (2) A freight rate set at a certain percentage of the value of an article is known as an ad valorem rate.

Any discrepancy between the actual shipment and what is stated on the bill of lading. These can result in additional charges from freight carriers.

The confirmed or official dimensions of a ship.

This is a senior naval officer of Flag rank. In ascending order of seniority: Rear Admiral, Vice Admiral, Admiral and Admiral of the Fleet
(Royal Navy). The term derives from the Arabic, Amir al-Bahr (ruler of the sea).

Admiralty Court
A court having jurisdiction over maritime questions pertaining to ocean transport, including contracts, charters, collisions, and cargo damages.

A high naval authority in charge of a state’s Navy or a major territorial component. In the Royal Navy (UK) the Board of Admiralty, executing the office of the Lord High Admiral, promulgates Naval law in the form of Queen’s (or King’s) Regulations and Admiralty Instructions.

Admiralty Court
A court which has jurisdiction over maritime questions pertaining to ocean transport, including contracts, charters, collisions, and cargo damages.

Admiralty Law
Also referred to as maritime law. Admiralty law is a distinct body of law which governs maritime questions and offences. It is a body of both domestic law governing maritime activities, and private international law governing the relationships between private entities which operate vessels on the oceans. It deals with matters including marine commerce, marine navigation, shipping, sailors, and the transportation of passengers and goods by sea. Admiralty law also covers many commercial activities, although land-based or occurring wholly on land, that are maritime in character.

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 the owner’s risk.

Aerodynamic Drag
Wind resistance.

The condition of a vessel which is floating freely (not aground or sunk). This is a term more generally used to describe vessels in service e.g. ‘the company has 10 ships afloat’.

A person who transacts business on behalf of another person or company with full or limited decision-making authority.

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

a Vessel resting on or touching the ground or bottom of a waterway.

When the boat is lying broadside to the sea. Also to ride out a storm with no sails and helm held to leeward.

Aid to Navigation (ATON)
Any device external to a vessel or aircraft specifically intended to assist navigators in determining their position or safe course, or to warn them of dangers or obstructions to navigation.

All Water
A term used when the transportation is completely by water.

All-Risk Clause
An insurance provision that all loss or damage to goods is insured except any that is self-caused.

All-Risk Insurance
A clause included in marine insurance policies to cover loss and damage from external causes, such as fire, collision, pilferage, etc. but not against innate flaws in the goods, such as decay, germination, nor against faulty packaging, improper packing/ loading or loss of market, nor against war, strikes, riots and civil commotions. For more information see Marine Cargo Insurance.

A collision between a moving vessel and a stationary object.

A share of the capacity of a means of transport assigned to a certain party, e.g. a carrier or an agent, for the purpose of the booking of cargo for a specific voyage.

The point above the ship’s uppermost solid structure; overhead or high above.

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

Always Within Institute Warranties Limits (A.W.W.L.)
Insurance term.

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

In the middle portion of a ship, along the line of the keel.

An object designed to prevent or slow the drift of a ship, attached to the ship by a line or chain; typically, a metal, hook-like or plough-like object designed to grip the bottom under the body of water.

Anchor ball
A round black shape hoisted in the forepart of a vessel to show that it is anchored.

Anchor buoy
A small buoy secured by a light line to the anchor, designed to indicate the position of the anchor on the sea bed.

Anchor Chain or Anchor Cable
The chain connecting the ship to the anchor.

Anchor Detail
A team of men who handle ground tackle when the ship is anchoring or getting underway.

Anchor Light
White light displayed by a ship at anchor. Two such lights are displayed by a ship over 150 feet (46 m) in length.

Anchor Rode
The anchor line, rope or cable connecting the anchor chain to the vessel.

Anchor Watch
A consignment of crew tasked with ensuring that the anchor is holding and the vessel is not drifting. It is very important during rough weather and at night. Most marine GPS units boast Anchor Watch alarm capabilities.

A suitable place for a ship to anchor; usually an area of a port or harbor.

Any Time, Day or Night, Sundays & Holidays Included (A.T.D.N.S.H.I.N.C.) 
A chartering term referring to when a vessel will work.

Any-Quantity (A.Q.)
Usually refers to a rating that applies to an article regardless of weight.

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

Apparent Wind
The combination of the true wind and the headwind caused by the boat’s forward motion. For example, it causes a light side wind to appear to come from well ahead of the beam.

The process of referring to an agreed person for judgment on issues of a dispute; without requiring the use of courts.

Arc of Visibility
The portion of the horizon over which a lighted aid to navigation is visible from seaward.

A ship’s weapons.

The procedure whereby, in common law jurisdictions, a ship (and sometimes cargo and/or freight) may be seized by an admiralty court at the institution of or during an action ‘in rem’ – against a thing rather than a person – (infra) to provide pre-judgment security for the plaintiff’s maritime claim.

Arrival Date
The date on which goods or a means of transport is due to arrive at the delivery site of the transport.

A vessel that is on the beach, shore or land.

Asylum Harbor
A harbor used to provide shelter from a storm.

Actual time of arrival.

Actual time of departure.

A common marine insurance term. An early meaning (c.1500) of the word average is ‘damage sustained at sea’. The root is found in Arabic as aware, in Italian as avaria and in French as avarie. Hence an average adjuster is a person who assesses an insurable loss. Marine damage is either particular average, which is borne only by the owner of the damaged property, or general average, where the owner can claim a proportional contribution from all the parties to the marine venture. The type of calculations used in adjusting general average gave rise to the use of ‘average’ to mean ‘arithmetic mean’.

Avoirdupois Pound
A measure of weight or mass equal to 0.4535924277 kilograms.

A vessel that is so low in the water that the water is constantly washing across the surface.

The position of an anchor just clear of the bottom.

Axle Load
Each freight shipping transport has a weight limit. The axle load refers to the weight limit permitted for each axle over the nation’s highways.

Azimuth Circle
An instrument used to take bearings of celestial objects.

Azimuth Compass
An instrument employed for ascertaining the position of the sun with respect to magnetic north. The azimuth of an object is its bearing from the observer measured as an angle clockwise from true north.

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.

Long lines or cables, reaching from the rear of the vessel to the mast heads, used to support the mast.

A soft covering for cables (or any other obstructions) that prevents sail chafing from occurring.

Balance of Trade
Also known as Ballast. Materials solely carried to improve the trim and the stability of the vessel. In vessels usually sea water is carried as ballast in tanks, specially conceived for that purpose.

A large area of elevated sea floor.

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

Large mass of sand or earth, formed by the surge of the sea. They are mostly found at the entrances of great rivers or havens, and often render navigation extremely dangerous, but confer tranquility once inside.

Bar Code
A symbol consisting of a series of printed bars representing values. A system of optical character reading, scanning, tracking of units by reading a series of printed bars for translation into a numeric or alphanumeric identification code. A popular example is the UPC code used on retail packaging.

Bar pilot
A bar pilot guides ships over the dangerous sandbars at the mouth of rivers and bays.

A flat-bottomed inland cargo vessel, with or without own propulsion, ideal for transporting goods on canals and rivers.

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.

Base Rate
A tariff term referring to ocean rate less accessorial charges or base tariff rate.

A vertical division of a vessel from stem to stern, used as a part of the indication of a stowage place for containers. The numbers run from stem to stern; odd numbers indicate a 20-foot position, even numbers indicate a 40-foot position.

Bay Plan
A stowage plan which shows the locations of all the containers on the vessel.

Deliberately running a vessel aground, to load and unload (as with landing craft), or sometimes to prevent a damaged vessel sinking.

A lighted or unlighted fixed aid to navigation attached directly to the Earth’s surface (lights and day beacons both constitute beacons.)

The width of a ship. Also called breadth.

Beam ends
The sides of a ship. ‘On her beam ends’ may mean the vessel is literally on her side and possibly about to capsize; more often, the phrase means the vessel is listing 45 degrees or more.

The horizontal direction of a line of sight between two objects on the surface of the earth.

Sailing closer to the wind than about 60°.

Before the mast
Literally, the area of a ship before the foremast (the forecastle). The term is most often used to describe men whose living quarters are located here, officers being quartered in the stern-most areas of the ship (near the quarterdeck). Officer-trainees lived between the two ends of the ship and become known as ‘midshipmen’. Crew members who started out as seamen, then became midshipmen, and later, officers, were said to have gone from ‘one end of the ship to the other’.

Belly Cargo
Freight accommodation located below the main deck.

Beneficial Owner
This is a rail term that refers to the actual owner of the lading being shipped.

The place beside a pier, quay, or wharf where a vessel can be loaded or discharged.

Berth (moorings)
A location in a port or harbor used specifically for mooring vessels while not at sea.

Berth (sleeping)
A bed or sleeping accommodation on a boat or ship.

Berth Terms
Shipped under a rate that does not include the cost of loading or unloading.

The bilge is the compartment at the bottom of the hull of a ship or boat where water collects so that it may be pumped out of the vessel at a later time.

Bill of Lading (B/L)
A document that establishes the terms of a contract between a shipper and transportation company that moves freight between specified ports for a specified charge. This is usually prepared by the shipper on forms issued by the carrier, serving as a document of title, a contract of carriage and a receipt for goods. as a document of title, a contract of carriage and a receipt for goods.

There are many different types of B/Ls:

Amended B/L: Requires updates that do not change financial status (slightly different from corrected B/L).

Cancelled B/L: Used to cancel a processed B/L usually per shipper’s request. (different from a voided B/L).

Clean B/L: No recorded irregularities in packing or general condition of all or any part of the shipment.

Combined B/L: Covers cargo moving over various modes of transport.

Consolidated B/L: Combined or consolidated from two or more B/Ls.

Corrected B/L: One that requires an update which results in money or other financially related changes.

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

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

Freight B/L: A contract of carriage between a shipper and forwarder (usually an NVOCC – Non-vessel owning common carrier); a non-negotiable document.

Hitchment B/L: Covering parts of a shipment which are loaded at more than one location. 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: Issued by a freight forwarder or consolidation covering a single shipment, containing the names, addresses and specific description of the goods shipped.

Intermodal/Multimodal/Combined Transport B/L: Covering cargo moving by various modes of transportation.

Long Form B/L: One with the complete Terms & Conditions on the back of the document.

Memo B/L: Unfreighted with no charges listed.

Negotiable B/L (To Order B/L): B/L names are legal and by endorsement, the shipper can transfer the title of the goods to the bank representing the buyer or directly to the buyer of the goods.

Non-Negotiable/Straight Consignment B/L: File copy. Used when goods are consigned directly to a named consignee and not negotiable.

On-Board B/L: Validated at the time of loading to transport. Common types: on-board air, boxcar, container, rail, truck or vessel. air, boxcar, container, rail, truck or vessel.

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

Order B/L: Issued to the order of a party, usually the shipper, whose endorsement is required to effect its negotiation.

Order Notify B/L: Issued usually to the order of the shipper with the additional clause that the consignee is to be notified upon arrival of the merchandise. Such mention of the consignee does not give the consignee title to the merchandise.

Original B/L (OBL): Part of the B/L that has value, especially when negotiable; remaining parts are informational file copies.

Received-for-Shipment B/L: Validated at the time cargo is received by ocean carrier to commence movement but before being

validated as ‘on-board’.

Reconciled B/L: Set which has completed a prescribed number of edits between the shipper’s instructions and the actual shipment received. This produces a very accurate B/L.

Short Term/Short Form B/L: One that does not have written terms & conditions on the back of the document.

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

Stale B/L: A late B/L. In banking, one that has passed the time deadline of the L/C and is void.

Through B/L: Blanket documentation when multiple carriers of various transport modes are involved.

Voided B/L: Those absorbed in the combined process. Different from Cancelled B/L.

Bill of Sale
A document that 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.

A Freight Bill, BL or BoL. A document providing a binding contract between a shipper and a carrier for the transportation of freight, specifying the obligations of both parties. Serves as a receipt of freight by the carrier for the shipper. Usually designates the consignee, and the FOB point. 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.

A carrier terminal activity that determines the proper rate and total charges for a shipment and issues a freight bill.

Bin Center
A drop off facility that is smaller than a public warehouse

A strip of cardboard, thin wood, burlap, or similar material placed between layers of containers to hold a stack together.

A post mounted on the ship’s bow, for fastening ropes or cables.

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

Blanket Rates
A rate applicable to or from a group of points. A special rate applicable to several different articles in a single shipment.

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

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

This is a rail term that refers to a frame with wheels on which a container is mounted for over-the-road transport.

Bond Port
Port of initial Customs entry of a vessel to any country (first port of call).

Bonded Goods
Dutiable goods upon which excise duty has not been paid – i.e. goods in transit or warehoused pending use. The bond is the agreement entered into by the owner of the dutiable goods with the Customs and Excise Authority in which he promises to pay the duty when the goods are released for final distribution or use or in the event of them being lost or stolen.

Bonded Warehouse
Warehouse approved by the Treasury Department and under bond/guarantee for the observance of revenue laws. Used for storing goods until duty is paid or goods are released in some other proper manner.

Booby Hatch
A sliding hatch or cover.

The act of requesting space and equipment aboard a vessel for cargo which is to be transported.

Booking Number
The number assigned to a certain space reservation by the carrier or the carrier’s agent.

Bottom Side Rails
Structural members on the longitudinal sides of the base of a container.

The front of a ship.

Bow Thrusters
A small propeller or water-jet at the bow, used for maneuvering larger vessels at slow speed. This may be mounted externally, or in a tunnel running through the bow from side to side.

A type of knot, producing a strong loop of a fixed size, topologically similar to a sheet bend. It is also a rope attached to the side of a sail to pull it towards the bow (for keeping the windward edge of the sail steady)

To pull or hoist.

A colloquial shipping phrase. A common term for an ocean-going freight container

To secure a shipment inside a carrier’s vehicle to prevent damage.

Break-bulk Cargo
Cargo in-between bulk and containerised, that must be handled piece-by-piece by terminal workers (stevedores). Often stored in bags or boxes and stacked onto pallets. Smaller lift equipment (forklifts, small cranes) used than for containerised cargo, but more labor intensive.

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 client.

Brokerage License
A broker gains this in order to have the ability to make land, sea and air freight shipping arrangements.

Bulk Cargo
Cargo that is stowed loose on transportation vehicles, in a tank or hold without specific packaging, and handled by pump, scoop, conveyor, or shovel. Examples: grain, coal, petroleum, chemicals.

A group of products that are shipped together as an unassembled unit.

(Tank) spaces on board a vessel to store fuel.

Bunker Adjustment Factor
Adjustment applied by shipping lines to offset the effect of fluctuations in the cost of bunkers.

A maritime term referring to fuel used aboard the ship. Bunker fuel is technically any type of fuel oil used aboard ships. It gets its name from the containers on ships and in ports that it is stored in; in the days of steam they were coal bunkers but now they are bunker-fuel tanks.

A floating object of defined shape and colour, which is anchored at a given position and serves as an aid to navigation.

The upward force extended by the vertical component of integrated pressure acting on the hull below the waterline; usually calculated as being equal to the weight of the water displaced by the hull.

By the board
Any items to have gone overboard.

C.F.S. Receiving Service
The term ‘CFS Receiving Services’ means the service performed at loading port in receiving and packing cargo into containers from CFS to CY or shipside. ‘CFS

Receiving Services’ referred herein are restricted to the following:

Moving empty containers from CY to CFS

Drayage of loaded containers from CFS to CY and/or ship’s tackle


Issuing dock receipt/shipping order

Physical movement of cargo into, out of and within CFS

Stuffing, sealing and marking containers


Ordinary sorting and stacking

Preparing carrier’s internal container load plan

C.I.F. & C.

A price which includes commission as well as CIF.

C.Y./C.F.S. (House to Pier)

The term CY/CFS means containers packed by the shipper off a carrier’s premises and delivered by the shipper to the carrier’s CY, all at shipper’s risk and expense and unpacked by carrier at the destination port CFS.

An enclosed room or compartment on a vessel.

The transportation of goods by truck to or from a vessel, aircraft, or bonded warehouse, all under customs custody.

Referring to the practice of placing high-value or sensitive products in a fenced off area within a warehouse.

The visit of a vessel to a port.

Call Sign
One of the earliest applications of radiotelegraph operation, long predating broadcast radio, were marine radio stations installed aboard ships at sea. Merchant vessels are assigned call signs by their national licensing authorities. In the case of states such as Liberia or Panama, which are flags of convenience for ship registration, call signs for larger vessels consist of the national prefix plus three letters (for example, 3LXY, and sometimes followed by a number, i.e. 3Lxy2).

A type of anti-personnel cannon load in which lead balls or other loose metallic items were enclosed in a tin or iron shell.
On firing, the shell would disintegrate releasing the smaller metal objects.

Canoe Stern
A design for the stern of a yacht which is pointed, like a bow, rather than squared off as a transom.

The total internal container volume (LxWxD) or weight limitation.

Cape Horn Fever
The name of the fake illness from which a malingerer is pretending to suffer.

A vessel whose large size prevents it from entering the locks of the Panama Canal and thus forces it to pass around Cape Horn or the Cape of Good Hope.

A large winch with a vertical axis. A full-sized human-powered capstan is a waist-high cylindrical machine, operated by a number of hands who each insert a horizontal capstan bar in holes in the capstan and walk in a circle. Used to wind in anchors or other heavy objects; and sometimes to administer flogging over.

A Customs document permitting the holder to carry or send special categories of goods temporarily into certain foreign countries without paying duties or posting bonds.

Carrier Certificate and Release Order:
Used to advise customs of the shipment’s details. By means of this document, the carrier certifies that the firm or individual named in the certificate is the owner or consignee of the cargo.

Carrier Liability
A common carrier is liable for all shipment loss, damage, and delay with the exception of that caused by an act of God, an act of a public enemy, an act of a public authority, an act of the shipper, and the goods’ inherent nature.

Pickup and delivery of local hauling of freight. Often the trucking service used for transferring freight from the shipper to a terminal, or from a terminal to a consignee.

A group of companies that agree to cooperate rather than compete, in producing a product or service. Thus limiting or regulating competition.

Certificate of Origin
A document containing an affidavit to prove the origin of imported goods. Used for customs and foreign exchange purposes.

A specialized framework that carries a rail or marine container.

A wedge, usually made of hard rubber or steel, that is firmly placed under the wheel of a trailer, truck, or boxcar to stop it from rolling.

An alphabetical listing of commodities, the class or rating into which the commodity is placed, and the minimum weight necessary for the rate discount; used in the class rate structure.

A document stating that a shipment is free to be imported into the country after all legal requirements have been met.

Carbon monoxide.

Carbon dioxide

Container-On-Flatcar. A term used in intermodal transportation in which containers are stacked onto rail flatcars for rail transportation. No truck chassis is used, and double stack cars are possible, thus more containers can be carried by a shorter, lighter train.

Any article exchanged in trade, most commonly used to refer to raw materials and agricultural products.

Commodity Code
A code describing a commodity or a group of commodities pertaining to goods classification. This code can be carrier tariff or be regulating in nature.

Complete Manufacture to Ship Time
Average time from when a unit is declared shippable by manufacturing until the unit actually ships to a customer.

Meaning that products, services, processes, and/or documents comply with requirements.

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.

A group of vessel operators joined for the purpose of establishing freight rates.

The receiver of a freight shipment.

(1) A shipment that is handled by a common carrier.
(2) The process of a supplier placing goods at a customer location without receiving payment until after the goods are used or sold.

Consignment Inventory
(1) Goods or products that are paid for when they are sold by the reseller, not at the time they are shipped to the reseller.
(2) Goods or products which are owned by the vendor until they are sold to the consumer.

The party who originates a shipment of goods. The sender of a freight shipment, usually the seller but not always.

Bringing together many small shipments, often from different shippers, into large shipment quantities, in order to take advantage of economies of scale in transportation costs. In-vehicle consolidation is when a vehicle makes pickups from many customers and consolidates freight inside the vehicle. Out-of-vehicle consolidation occurs at a terminal facility; shipments to a single customer/region are consolidated before shipment.

Consolidation Point
The location where consolidation takes place.

Consolidator’s Bill of Lading
A bill of lading issued by a consolidator as a receipt for merchandise that will be grouped with cargo obtained from other shippers.
Also referred to as the House Waybill.

A box which is primarily used for ocean freight shipments. Usually 10 to 40 feet long, for travel to and from ports, containers are loaded onto truck chassis or on railroad flatcars.

Container Depot
The storage area for empty containers.

Container I.D
An identifier assigned to a container by a carrier.

Container Leasing
Some companies specialise in the business of owning transportation equipment (containers or railcars), and renting them out to shippers or carriers.

Container Terminal
An area designated to be used for the stowage of cargo in containers that may be accessed by truck, rail, or ocean transportation.

Container Vessel
A vessel specifically designed for the carriage of containers.

A shipment method in which commodities are placed in containers, and after initial loading, the commodities, per se, are not rehandled in shipment until they are unloaded at the destination.

Contract Carrier
A for-hire carrier that does not serve the general public but serves shippers with whom the carrier has a continuing contract. The contract carrier must secure a permit to operate.

Contract of Carriage
A contract in which a shipping company, against the payment of freight, undertakes to carry goods from one place to another. The contract may take the form of, or be evidenced by a document such as sea waybill, a bill of lading, or multi-modal transport document.

(COTD) Complete and On-Time Delivery. A measure of customer service. All items on any given order must be delivered on time for the order to be considered as complete and on time.

Transportation terminal in which received items transferred directly from inbound to the outbound shipping dock, with storage only occurring temporarily during unloading and loading. No long-term storage is provided. Usually used only for vehicle transfers. Often owned and operated by large shippers.

CSC (International Convention for Safe Containers)
To maintain a high level of safety of human life in the transport and handling of containers by providing generally acceptable test procedures and related strength requirements and to facilitate the international transport of containers by providing uniform international safety regulations, equally applicable to all modes of surface transport.

Container Transport Unit

CTU Code (Code of Practice for Packing of Cargo Transport Units)
The CTU Code, a joint publication of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), addresses these concerns through a non-mandatory global code of practice for the handling and packing of shipping containers for transportation by sea and land.

Dangerous Goods
Articles or substances capable of posing a significant risk to health, safety, or property, and that ordinarily require special attention when transported.

A portion of a transportation trip in which no freight is conveyed; an empty move. Transportation equipment is often dead-headed because of imbalances in supply and demand. For example, many more containers are shipped from Asia to North America than in reverse; empty containers are therefore dead-headed back to Asia.

The return of an empty transportation container to its point of origin.

The number of long tons that a vessel can transport of cargo, supplies and fuel. It is the difference between the number of tons of water a vessel displaces “light” (empty) and the number of tons it displaces when submerged to the “load line”.

The carrier charges and fees applied when rail freight cars and ships are retained beyond a specified loading or unloading time.

Density rate
A rate based upon the density and shipment weight.

Also known as demurrage. Penalty charges assessed by a carrier to a shipper or consignee for holding transportation equipment, i.e. trailers, containers, railcars, longer than a stipulated time for loading or unloading.

Duty-Free Zone (DFZ): An area where goods or cargo can be stored without paying import customs duties while awaiting manufacturing or future transport.

Dangerous goods declaration

Dead on Arrival (DOA): A term used to describe products which are not functional when delivered.

Transportation service arrangement in which freight is moved from origin (shipper) through to ultimate destination (consignee) for a given rate. Trucking companies typically offer door-to-door service. Railroads do not, unless the shipper and consignee both have rail sidings. Brokers, forwarders, NVOCCs etc. often package together door to door service through contracts with multiple carriers.

Local trucking, typically describing truck movement of containers and trailers to and from rail intermodal yards and to and from port facilities.

Dual rate system
An international water carrier pricing system in which a shipper signing an exclusive use agreement with the conference pays a rate 10 to 15 percent lower than non-signing shippers do for an identical shipment.

The packing material used to protect a product from damage during transport.

A tax imposed by a government on merchandise imported from another country.

Duty Drawback
A refund of duty paid on imported merchandise when it is exported later, whether in the same or a different form.

Deadweight Tons (DWT): The cargo carrying capacity of a vessel, including fuel oil, stores and provisions.

An embargo is any event that prevents the freight from being accepted or handled.
Embargo events include floods, tornadoes or congested highway

Emergency response guide

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.

The spar that holds the upper edge of a four-sided fore-and-aft mounted sail. A hook on a long pole to haul fish in.

Gaff rigged
A boat rigged with a four-sided fore-and-aft sail with its upper edge supported by a spar or gaff which extends aft from the mast.

The kitchen of the ship.

A meeting of two (or more) whaling ships at sea. The ships each send out a boat to the other, and the two captains meet on one ship, while the two chief mates meet on the other.

Gammon Iron
The bow fitting which clamps the bowsprit to the stem.

A group of stevedores usually four to five members acting together with a supervisor assigned to a hold or portion of the vessel being loaded or unloaded.

A movable bridge used in boarding or leaving a ship at a pier; also known as a “brow”.

An opening in the bulwark of the ship allowing passengers to board or leave the ship.

The (illegal) practice of mixing cargo with garbage.

IMO Guidelines Regarding the Verified Gross Mass of a Container Carrying Cargo (MSC.1/Circ.1475) dated 9 June 2014.

Gross mass
The combined mass of a container’s tare mass and the masses of all packages and cargo items, including pallets, dunnage and other packing material and securing materials packed into the container (see also “Verified gross mass”).

Gross Vehicle Weight
The total weight of the transport and its cargo is called the gross vehicle weight or GVW.

Gross vehicle mass

Container yard jargon for a forklift truck used for heavy lifting of containers.

A transportation system design in which large hub terminals are used for freight consolidation. Medium-volume services serve the spoke-to-hub collection and hub-to spoke distribution tasks. Large-volume services are operated in the hub-top-hub markets.
In most systems, all outbound/inbound freight for a spoke uses the same hub, and thus larger shipment sizes are realised. Many transportation systems oriented in this way.

Also known as a CWT. 100 pounds. A common shipping weight unit.

Intermediate bulk container

Impact Study
A study done to show the cost and or time saving when changes are made to the packing of the container to ensure efficiency.

Also known as Interline -the transfer of freight from one carrier to another.

Intermodal freight transport
Intermodal freight transport involves the transportation of freight in an intermodal container or vehicle, using multiple modes of transportation (rail, ship, and truck).

Intermodal Transportation
When freight is shipped using two or more modes of transportation. This typically refers to truck-rail-truck shipments.

IMO (International Maritime Organisation)
International Maritime Organization. a Universal governing body that laid down rules and standards to regulate the shipping process and the industry worldwide.

Liner Shipping
Liners are vessels sailing between specified ports on a regular schedule. The schedules are published and available to the public. Most large container shipping schedules are published and available to the public. Most large container shipping companies operate liner services.

“Lift-on, lift-off” Conventional container or cargo ships, in which quay cranes are used to load and unload containers or generalised cargo.

Sometimes, linehaul. Terminal-to-terminal freight movements in transportation. Such long distance moves are distinguished from local freight movements.

A term used in less than truckload (LTL freight) shipping in which materials are stacked so that one item goes inside another. Nested freight reduces the amount of space taken up by the combined freight and makes LTL shipping more efficient as a result.

National Road Traffic Act

Non Vessel-Operating Common Carrier. Owns no vessels (ships), but provides ocean shipping freight-forwarding services. Provides consolidated, negotiated-rate services for ocean and inland water carriers. Often will affiliate with freight forwarders to provide pickup/delivery, other services.

Packing material
Any material used or for use with packages and cargo items to prevent damage, including, but not limited to, crates, packing blocks, drums, cases, boxes, barrels, and skids. Excluded from the definition is any material within individual sealed packages to protect the cargo item(s) inside the package.

Portainer crane
A quay is the dock. The Portainer cranes are the large cranes used to lift containers from truck chassis (or rail flatcar, or from the quay) and load onto a ship.

A deliberate delay in committing inventory to shipment by a shipper. Shippers usually utilise postponement in order to consolidate freight into larger shipments that have a lower unit transportation cost.

Private Carrier
Owned and operated by a shipper. Usually refers to private trucking fleets. Components include: vehicle fleet, drivers, maintenance equipment. Often more expensive than contracting out, but not always. Can serve special needs: fast, high on time – reliability delivery; special equipment; special handling; availability.

Quay crane
A quay is the dock. The Quay cranes are the large cranes used to lift containers from truck chassis (or rail flatcar, or from the quay) and load onto a ship.

A refrigerated container. For long storage in transit (or in ports) must be plugged into a ship’s power system (or port’s). Temporary power units can be attached that last for 18-36 hours.

“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.

SAMSA (South African Maritime Safety Authority)
SAMSA’s mission is to promote South Africa’s maritime interests, and development and position the country as an international Maritime Centre, while ensuring maritime safety, health and environmental protection.

SAMSA appointed third party
A company authorized by SAMSA to conduct certification and approvals for shippers using Method No. 2 to verify the gross weight of a packed container.

Securing material
All dunnage, lashing and other equipment used to block, brace, and secure packed cargo items in a container.

Vessel to which SOLAS chapter VI applies. Excluded from this definition are roll- on/roll-off (ro-ro) ships engaged on short international voyages where the containers are carried on a chassis or trailer and are loaded and unloaded by being driven on and off such a ship.

A legal entity or person named on the bill of lading or sea waybill or equivalent multimodal transport document (e.g. “through” bill of lading) as shipper and/or who (or in whose name or on whose behalf) a contract of carriage has been concluded with a shipping company.

Shipping document
A document used by the shipper to communicate the verified gross mass of the packed container. This document can be part of the shipping instructions to the shipping company or a separate communication (e.g. a declaration including a weight certificate produced by a weigh station).

Stock-keeping unit. A line-item of inventory, that is a different type or size of goods.

A place for a container onboard a container ship; typically, one TEU fits in a slot.

SOLAS (safety of life at sea)
The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea is an international maritime treaty which sets minimum safety standards in the construction, equipment and operation of merchant ships.

Stop off Charges
Stop off charges are levied for when shippers request that a shipment may be partially loaded at several locations and/or partially unloaded at several locations en-route.

Straddle Carrier
Mobile truck equipment with the capacity for lifting a container within its own framework, and transporting containers around yards.
Stack containers in rows one across.

Tare mass
The mass of an empty container that does not contain any packages, cargo items, pallets, dunnage, or any other packing material or securing material.

Terminal representative
A person acting on behalf of a legal entity or person engaged in the business of providing wharfage, dock, stowage, warehouse, or other cargo handling services in connection with a ship.

Twenty-foot equivalent unit. Method of measuring vessel load or capacity, in units of containers that are twenty feet long. A 40’ long container measures 2 TEUs

Through Rate
A through rate applies to the distance between the point of origin and the delivery destination.

When a freight shipment delivery is set to the earliest possible time.

Time-definite deliveries guarantee that the delivery will occur on a specific day or time of day.

Trailer-on-flatcar. Piggyback. A term used in intermodal transportation in which truck trailers or container/chassis combinations are placed directly onto rail flatcars for the rail portion of the trip. TOFC trains are generally heavier and longer per unit ton shipped, but have the advantage that unloaded trailers can be moved out of the intermodal terminal without worrying about finding a chassis; thus, the equipment management issues are simpler.

TPT (Transnet Port Terminals)
​Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) is a division of Transnet SOC Limited; South Africa’s state-owned freight transport company which owns and operates 16 terminal operations situated across seven South African Ports.

Tramp Shipping
An ocean carrier company operating vessels not on regular runs or schedules. They call at any port where cargo may be available. Sometimes used for bulk cargo shipping.

Transit Privileges
Carriers may allow cargo to be stopped in transit from initial origin to final destination to be unloaded, stored, and/or processed before reloading and final shipment. Extra charges are imposed for these transit privileges.

Transit Time
The total time from pick up to delivery.

Also known as a RTG. Rail or rubber-tired gantry crane. Large yard (ship or rail) container crane. Lifts from a stack of containers 5,6,7 wide, and deposits onto truck chassis or rail flatcar.

(TL) – A truckload is defined as freight weighing 23,000 pounds or more or that occupies half or more than the trailer’s capacity.

Free space above a liquid contained in a tank, drum or tank-container, expressed as a percentage of the total capacity. Ullage is often used to leave room for possible expansion of the liquid.

UN Dangerous Goods Number (UNDG)
The four-digit number assigned by the United Nations Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods to classify a substance or a particular groups of substances. Note: The prefix ‘UN’ must always be used in conjunction with these numbers.

Unclean Bill of Lading
A bill containing reservations as to the good order and condition of the goods, or the packaging, or both – for example, ‘bags torn;’ ‘drums leaking;’ ‘one case damaged’ or ‘rolls chafed.’

Unit Load
Packages loaded on a pallet, in a crate or any other way that enables them to be handled at one time as a unit.

The consolidation of a quantity of individual items into one large shipping unit for easier handling. This includes loading one or more large items of cargo onto a single piece of equipment, such as a pallet.

The removal of a shipment from a container to a platform or warehouse.

Utilisation Rate
The quotient of used capacity and available capacity.

Stowing cargo in a container.

Ventilated Container
A container designed with openings in the side and/or end walls to admit the ingress of outside air when the doors are closed.

Verified Gross Mass (VGM)
Today, the weight of containers provided by the shippers is not always accurate, leading to accidents and posing a huge risk for the personnel, on the roads, inside the terminal, to cargo and equipment. Indeed, there were often discrepancies observed between the declared gross mass and the actual gross mass of a packed container.
In May 2014, the International Maritime Organization adopted an amendment to the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) regarding a mandatory container weight verification requirement on shippers. This convention applies to all containers shipments to which SOLAS amendments apply.
From 1st July 2016, shippers will be required to provide the Verified Gross Mass (VGM) of each shipment to their ocean carrier.
The responsibility is with the shipper to confirm the VGM before the carrier’s load list cut-off date.
The new SOLAS amendments introduce two main new requirements:
The shipper is responsible for providing the verified weight by stating it in the shipping document and submitting it to the master or his representative and to the terminal representative sufficiently in advance to be used in the preparation of the ship stowage plan;
The verified gross mass is a condition for loading a packed container onto a ship. If not confirmed, the container will not be loaded on board (potential increased charges).

1.A floating structure designed for the transport of cargo and/or passengers.
2.Boiler, drum.

Vessel Manifest
The international carrier is obligated to make declarations of the ship’s crew and contents at both the port of departure and arrival. The vessel manifest lists various details about each shipment by bill of lading number. Obviously, the bill of lading serves as the core source from which the manifest is created.

Volume Rate
A less than truckload (LTL) term for rates that are made subject to a minimum weight of 7,000 pounds or more, or cubic volume exceeding 750 cubic feet.

A journey by sea from one port or country to another one or, in case of a round trip, to the same port.

Voyage Charter
A contract under which the shipowner agrees to carry an agreed quantity of cargo from a specified port or ports to another port or ports for a remuneration called freight, which is calculated according to the quantity of cargo loaded, or sometimes at a lump sum freight.

Waiting Time
A trucking tariff term referring to any period of time beyond the allocated Free Time that a driver has to wait while the customer loads or unloads a container. Until the Free Time period has expired a driver can wait without the customer incurring extra Time period has expired a driver can wait without the customer incurring extra expenses. Waiting Time, however, is chargeable to the client. In the event the necessary Waiting Time would be too costly, shippers may opt for a ‘drag-and-drop’ solution, whereas the trucker would drop the container and immediately leave. They will return to pick up the container once laden. This option is more costly than a straight load but may be a lot cheaper than paying for Waiting Time.

A building specially designed for 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 origin, destination, route, consignor, consignee, description of shipment and amount charged for the transportation service. A waybill is forwarded with the shipment or sent by mail to the agent at the transfer point or waybill destination. Unlike a bill of lading, a waybill is not a document of title.

Weight Load Factor
Payload achieved as against available, expressed as a percentage. Cargo is frequently limited by volume rather than weight; load factors of 100% are rarely achieved.

Weight, Legal
Net weight of goods, plus inside packing.

Weight/measurement (W/M)
The term in a Bill of Lading signifying that the master and the carrier are unaware of the nature or quantity of the contents of e.g. a carton, crate, container or bundle and are relying on the abbreviation for ‘Weight and/or measurement.’ This is also a possible method to assess a freight rate to a shipment.

Places in the ship’s hold for the pumps.

A structure built on the shore of a harbour extending into deep water so that vessels may lie alongside. For more information see Dock and Pier.

The location on a ship where the steering wheel is located; often interchanged with pilothouse and bridge.

Whether in berth or not (W.I.B.O.N.)
Whether in berth or not.

Wide berth
To leave room between two ships moored (berthed) allowing space for maneuver.

Sea conditions with a tidal current and a wind in opposite directions, leading to short, heavy seas.

The wind resistance of a boat.

Wind Bound
A condition wherein the ship is detained in one particular station by contrary winds.

A winch mechanism, usually with a horizontal axis. It is used where the mechanical advantage is greater than that obtainable by block and tackle (such as raising the anchor on small ships).

In the direction that the wind is coming from.

Windy Booking
A freight booking made by a shipper or freight forwarder to reserve space but not actually having a specific cargo at the time the booking is made. Carriers often overbook a vessel by 10 to 20 percent in recognition that ‘windy booking’ cargo will not actually ship.

With Average
A marine insurance term meaning that shipment is protected for partial damage whenever the damage exceeds a stated percentage.

With Particular Average (WPA)
An insurance term meaning that the partial loss or damage of goods is insured. The damage must generally be caused by sea water. Many have a minimum percentage of damage before payment. It can also be extended to cover loss by theft, pilferage, delivery, leakage, and breakage.

Without Recourse
A phrase preceding the signature of a drawer or endorser of a negotiable instrument; it signifies that the instrument is passed onto subsequent holders without any liability to the endorser in the event of non-payment or non-delivery.

Without Reserve
A term indicating a shipper’s agent or representative is empowered to make definitive decisions and adjustments abroad without the approval of the group or individual represented. For more information see advisory capacity.

World customs organisation (WCO)
An intergovernmental organisation, headquartered in Brussels, Belgium. With its worldwide membership, the WCO is recognised as the voice of the global Customs community. It is particularly noted for its work in areas covering the development of international conventions, instruments, and tools on topics such as commodity classification, valuation, rules of origin, collection of customs revenue, supply chain security, international trade facilitation, customs enforcement activities, combating counterfeiting in support of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), integrity promotion, and delivering sustainable capacity building to assist with customs reforms and modernisation. The WCO maintains the international Harmonised System (HS) goods nomenclature, and administers the technical aspects of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Agreements on Customs Valuation and Rules of Origin

World trade organisation (W.T.O.)
An organisation that supervises international trade.

Worm, serve, and parcel
To protect a section of rope from chafing by: laying yarns (worming), wrapping marline or other small stuff (serving) around it, and stitching a covering of canvas (parceling) over all.

The horizontal spar from which a square sail is suspended.

The acknowledgement of an order, or agreement. For more information see aye, aye.

A vessel’s rotational motion about the vertical axis, causing the fore and aft ends to swing from side to side repetitively.

Revenue, not necessarily profitable, per unit of traffic.

Yield Bucket
The remaining slot capacity for a trade/voyage in a certain port of loading after deduction of the allowance for specific contracts.

Yield Management
The process of maximising the contribution of every slot, vessel, trade and network. Basically it should be seen as the process of allocating the right type of capacity to the right kind of customer at the right price as to maximise revenue or yield. The concept should be used in combination with load factor management.

A rubber dinghy. An inflatable craft for the transport of people.

Zone Haulage Rate
The rate for which the carrier will undertake the haulage of goods or containers between either the place of delivery and the carrier’s appropriate terminal. Such haulage will be undertaken only subject to the terms and conditions of the tariff and of the carrier’s Combined Transport Bill of Lading.