Shipping Terms

Agent (Agt.) - A person authorized to transact business for and in the name of another person or company. Types of agent are:

  • Brokers (Custom House or Freight Forwarders),
  • Commission merchants,
  • Resident buyers,
  • Sales agents,
  • Manufacturer's representatives, - Destination agents,

All cargo with a value over $2500 that leaves the country must be filed with the U.S. Government through a form called a Shippers Export Declaration (SED). This is the responsibility of the shipper. Many times, the shipper does not know how, or may not want to do this work. They must then sign a limited power of attorney form, that authorizes the carrier to file on their behalf. New regulations state filing must now be submitted electronically through Automated Electronic Shipper export declaration (AES). Also, this must be filed 24 hours before time of sailing. Because of this rule, some of the ship lines are making documentation cuts very early, to make sure they are in compliance.

All cargo with a value over $2500 that leaves the country must be filed with the U.S. Government through a form called a Shippers Export Declaration (SED). This is the responsibility of the shipper. Many times, the shipper does not know how, or may not want to do this work. They must then sign a limited power of attorney form, that authorizes the carrier to file on their behalf. New regulations state filing must now be submitted electronically through Automated Electronic Shipper export declaration (AES). Also, this must be filed 24 hours before time of sailing. Because of this rule, some of the ship lines are making documentation cuts very early, to make sure they are in compliance.

Bill of Landing

Abbreviation for "Bunker Adjustment Factor." Used to compensate steamship lines for fluctuating fuel costs. Sometimes called "Fuel Adjustment Factor" or FAF.

A tariff term referring to the ocean rate less accessorial charges, or simply the base tariff rate.

  • B/L Terms & Conditions: the fine print on B/L; defines what the carrier can and cannot do, including the carrier's liabilities and contractual agreements.
  • Express B/L: Non-negotiable B/L where there are no hard copies of originals printed.
  • Negotiable B/L: The B/L is a title document to the goods, issued "to the order of" a party, usually the shipper, whose endorsement is required to effect its negotiation. Thus, a shipper's order (negotiable) B/L can be bought, sold, or traded while goods are in transit and is commonly used for letter-of-credit transactions. The buyer must submit the original B/L to the carrier in order to take possession of the goods.
  • Non-Negotiable B/L: Sometimes means a file copy of a B/L. See Straight B/L.
  • Original B/L: The part of the B/L set that has value, especially when negotiable; rest of set are only informational file copies. Originals must be presented for the consignee to receive cargo. Abbreviated as OBL.
  • Straight B/L - A non-negotiable bill of lading which states a specific identity to whom the goods should be delivered

Wood or metal supports (Dunnage) to keep shipments in place to prevent cargo from shifting.

Arrangements with a carrier for the acceptance and carriage of freight; i.e., a space reservation.