Shipping Glossary




Ad Valorem

“According to the value” or “on the value”. Rates of duty expressed as a percentage of the value of goods are known as “ad valorem rates”.


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


A term used to describe blocked space by airlines and shipping lines on behalf of forwarders/shippers.


Airway Bill – is a bill of lading which covers both domestic and international flights transporting goods to a specified destination. Technically it is a non-negotiable instrument of air transport which serves as a receipt for the shipper, indicating that the carrier has accepted the goods listed therein and obligates itself to carry the consignment to the airport of destination according to specified conditions.





Bunker Adjustment Factor. Adjusts the freight to reflect current cost of bunkers (fuel for ships).


Buyers Consolidation. Full container shipments from multiple suppliers for the one consignee.


Bill of Lading – acts as a receipt for the cargo and contains the terms of the contract of carriage and is a document of title to the goods.

Bonded Warehouse

A place of security approved by the custom authorities for the deposit, keeping and securing of goods liable to excise duty, without payment of this duty.


A colloquial name for a shipping container.

Break Bulk (Seafreight)

Goods shipped loose in a vessel’s hold and not in containers.

Break Bulk (Airfreight)

For consolidated air freight, it is moved under one MAWB and each consignment designated to specific consignee or recipient is under on HAWB. When the freight forwarder receives the consolidated cargo from the carrier they will break the consolation apart per HAWB then proceed with the customs clearance along with associated shipping and import documents.





Current adjustment factor – adjusts the freight to reflect currency exchange fluctuations.


Currency and Bunker adjustment factor, a combination of CAF and BAF.


Cubic Meter – calculated as length x width x height.

Certificate of Origin

A document certifying the country of origin of goods which is issued or signed by a chamber of commerce or embassy.


Cost and freight. An Incoterm where the seller includes the cost of transportation in the price for his goods (freight prepaid). Formally known as C&F.


Container Freight Station – a place for the packing and unpacking of LCL consignments.


Cost, Insurance and freight. An Incoterm where the seller arranges and pays for the main carriage to the port of destination and organizes the insurance cover for the cargo while in transit.

Commercial Invoice

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


Clip on unit – a portable refrigeration unit.


Delivery or merchandise from an exporter (the consignor) to an agent (the consignee) under agreement that the agent sell the merchandise for the account of the exporter. The consignor retains title to the goods until sold. The consignee sells the goods for commission and remits the net proceeds to the consignor.


In order to handle small lots of consignments efficiently and competitively, freight forwarders usually put many consignments into one lot then tender to carrier for forwarding. In this case, each consignment will be shipped with one house bill of lading respectively and all of them will be under one master bill of lading.


Container Yard – a collection and distribution point for FCL Containers.


An organisation of a group of shipping lines operating in one trade who have agreed to operate a common tariff.


A group of ‘Combined Transport’ operators who agree to rationalize sailing in a trade and carry each other’s cargo.

Cut Off Date

The last date for which goods can be accepted for a nominated sailing.

Consignee (CNEE)

The party, to whom a consignment is dispatched, having legal title to the goods.

Consignor (CNOR)

The sender of the goods.


Cash on Delivery – full payment for goods on delivery.




Detention and Demurrage

A charge raised for detaining cargo, containers or trailers for a longer period than provided for in the tariff.


Delivery Duty Paid – an Incoterm meaning the seller fulfils his obligation to deliver when the goods have been made available at the named place in the country of importation. The seller has to bear the risks and costs, including duties, taxes and other charges of delivering the goods thereto, cleared for importation.

Deconsolidation Point

Place where loose cargo is ungrouped for delivery.

DO – Delivery order

A document given to the party surrendering the original Bill of Lading authorizing them to take delivery of the goods.

Documentary Credit

The basis of international trade by means of which payment is made against surrender of specified documents.


Repayment of a duty upon re-exportation of goods previously imported.