Common Shipping and Freight Abbreviations

We deal with a lot of abbreviations on a daily basis but not all of us always know what they exactly mean. Here is a list of some common abbreviations which is by no means complete but covers some of the most common ones:
B/L
Bill of Lading (document serving as a receipt for goods, contract of carriage and document of title) / for more details see: "Types of Documents"
BAF
Bunker Adjustment Factor ( a surcharge on the ocean freight reflecting the fluctuation of oil prices)
CAF
Currency Adjustment Factor ( a surcharge on the ocean freight reflecting the fluctuation of currency exchange rates)
C&D
Collect and Delivery ( carriage from/to customers premises to/from CFS)
CFS
Container Freight Station (place for packing and unpacking LCL consigments)
COC
Carriers owned container - container which are owned/operated by the Carrier / Shipping Line
CSC
Container Safety Convention (international agreement to ensure the safety of containers used in the international maritime trade)
CTO
Combined Transport Operator (carrier who contracts a combined transport operation involving sea and landtransport under a Combined Transport B/L)
CY
Container Yard (Collection and Ditribution place for loaded and empty FCL containers) / see also: "Basic Shipping Terms"
ETA
Estimated Time of arrival (of a ship at the port) / often with the remark: agw/wp = all going well/weather permitting
ETB
Estimated Time of Berthing ( of a ship at the port)
ETC
Estimated Time of Completion ( (of a ship's work at the port)
ETS
Estimated Time of Sailing (of a ship from the port) / also in use: ETD= Estimated Time of Departure
FAK
Freight all Kinds ( freight charged on the basis of the container irrespective of the type of cargo loaded in the container)
FCL
Full Container Load ( denotes the container has cargo that is shipped by one shipper for delivery to one consignee)
FEU
Forty Foot Equivalent Unit (denotes a standard ISO container that is 40' in length)
FIO(S)
free in and out (stowed) - shipper pays for loading/stowing and discharging see also: "Basic Shipping Terms"
H/C
High Cube (a container with a height of 9'6'' as opposed to 8'6'' for a standard ISO container)
IMO
International Maritime Organisation (the body set up by the United Nations to co
ordinate international maritime procedures and practices)
IMO-CARGO
hazardous cargo as classified by the IMO in 9 classes. In the IMDG Code the IMO has laid down rules for handling such cargo
INCO-Terms
a list of standard freight terms defined by the International Chamber of Commerce for use in the international trade esp. for defining the responsibility for cost and risks between buyer and seller of goods
ISO
International Standardisation Organisation - International Body developing uniform international standards and inter alia also responsible for setting standards for container construction
ISPS
International Ship and Port Facility Security Code. Regulations established by the IMO in 2002 to enhance the safety of ships and ports after the 9/11 events in the USA. As a consequence most ports/terminal operators and Carriers ever since collect on top of the freight an ISPS fee
L/C
Letter of Credit (a credit document issued by a bank with the purpose to guarantee the buyer the receipt of the goods and the seller the agreed purchase price
LCL
Less than Containerload (denotes the container has cargo that is shipped by more than one shipper for delivery to more than one consignee - mostly such containers are shipped by NVOCC consolidating small parcels of cargoes at freight stations)
LOI
Letter of Indemnity (sometimes used to allow consignee to take deliery of the goods without surrendering the B/L)
LO-LO
Lift-on / lift-off (defining a containership onto and from which containers are lifted by crane)
M/V
Motor vessel (usually used in front of the ship's name to specify the nature of the vessel)
MT
Metric Ton
NVOCC
Non Vessel Operating Container carrier - a carrier who issues own BIll of Ladings for carriage of goods on vessels he neither owns nor operates
O/H
Overheight (a container/ flatrack with goods protruding above the top of the corner posts)
OOG
out of gauge (if dimensions exceed those of standard iso containers)
O/T
Open Top (Container) - a container with tarpaulin covered open roof
POD
Port of discharge
POL
Port of Loading
RO-RO
roll-on/roll-off (a ship where the goods (incl. containers) are driven onto/from the ship via a side or sternramp
SOC
Shippers owned Container - a container that is owned / operated by the shipper as opposed to containers that are owned/operated by the Carrier/Shipping Line
TEU
Twenty Foot Equivalent Unit - denotes a standard ISO Container that is 20' in Length ( the nominal container capacity of a containervessel is also calculated in TEU)
THC
Terminal Handling Charge - levied by the Shipping Lines on top of the oceanfreight to cover loading/discharging and terminal handling cost for a container at the load - resp. discharge port
T/S
Transshipment (transfer from one vessel to another for on-carriage)
UN-No
a number given to each hazardous substance by the United Nations so to identify the substance being transported
VATOS
valid at time of shipment ( often used in forward quoations and meaning that the carrier reserves the right to still change the fee marked accordingly until actual time of shipment)

News Corner

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