Shipping Terms Glossary

Just as it’s good to know some foreign phrases when you are visiting another country, it’s smart to familiarize yourself with shipping terms—especially when you’re sending cargo overseas. Below is a list of some common terms and phrases used in the shipping world, provided by Platinum Moving, a shipping company with more than three decades of experience!

Definitions of Shipping Terms

Agent – Your shipping agent is the person or company you authorize to act on your behalf. When you hire Platinum to ship something overseas for you, we will act as your agent when we deal with the other parties that will be helping your shipment get to its destination.

Air cargo containers – Containers used to ship items via plane: air cargo pallets; lower deck containers; box-type containers.

Arrival notice – The notice sent to the consignee (receiver) that says a shipment has arrived at its destination.

Bill of lading (BOL) – The written contract between the shipper (you) and the transportation provider (or agent) that lists the items in cargo and states where they are going and who is to receive them.

Capacity – The amount of goods that can be carried in a transport unit.

Consign – To send or address goods to another person, agent, or company.

Consignment – A shipment.

Declared value – The dollar value, given by the shipper, of an entire shipment.

Duty – The tax a government charges on the import, export, use, or consumption of goods.

FAK (Freight, All Kinds) – A FAK shipment is one in which several smaller shipments from different senders have been pooled into one.

Fixed costs – These are shipping expenses that do not vary in response to any external factors.

Force Majeure – The term for the common exemption clause for non-fulfillment of duties due to Acts of God (weather emergencies, catastrophic accidents, and the like).

Freight Forwarder – A freight forwarder is a firm that assembles small shipments into one larger shipment to expedite transport.

Gross payload – The payload weight combined with the tare weight, i.e. the weight of the goods being shipped plus the weight of the container and packing materials in which they are being shipped.

Hot load – An emergency shipment needed in a hurry.

Less-than-container load (LCL) – An LCL is a shipment that takes up less space than its container’s maximum capacity.

Manifest – The document that describes the contents of a ship or other transport unit.

Mixed truckload – A truckload of different items combined into one shipment.

Origin – The site where cargo begins its journey.

Palletized – Items that have stacked on pallets for easy loading or unloading are palletized.

Point of entry – The place at which a shipment is received into a country.

Reconsignment – A change in the routing of a shipment after it has left its origin.

Reefer – A refrigerated container.

Requested Arrival Date – The date a shipment must arrive at its destination.

Scale of rates – Rates that change in relation to one another.

Stevedore – A person who works loading or unloading ships.

Surety bond – A bond an importer posts to cover US Customs duties.

Tare weight – The tare is the weight of a container and its packing material, not including the item(s) being shipped within.

Warehousing – The storage of goods.

When you’re ready to put together your consignment, set a requested arrival date, and sign a BOL, contact Platinum Moving! We’ll get your gross payload off to its point of entry—without a vocabulary quiz!