10 Shipping Terms Every International Shipper Should Know

 In bill of lading, cargo, Cargo Insurance, cargo ship, carriers, container, container ports, container shipping, Container Shipping & Transport, customs clearance, goods, import, importing, Imports, incoterms, international business, International Shipping, logistics, Logistics Glossary,, maritime shipping, ocean freight, ocean shipping, shippers, shipping, Shipping Container, shipping containers, terminals, trucking

This is a guest post by Christopher Mansfield.

Global Digital Platform for shipping from Maersk & IBMWhat are the commonly used international shipping terms? Shipping goods across the globe is a far more sophisticated process than just transporting an object from one point to another. Businesspeople have to follow several procedures and regulations in order to ensure the safe delivery of products to their destination. It is essential for them to keep track of shipping terminology, as without knowing these terms, it may not be possible to expand their businesses worldwide. Once a person understands the meanings of these terms, they can minimize errors and avoid misunderstandings in the supply chain.

If you are about to begin importing or exporting with your business or want to target customers worldwide, then you might be interested in knowing the following shipping terms.

1. Incoterms

Incoterms means International Commercial Terms.

While buying or selling a particular product, it is important to move the item from its original place to the destination. The best and easiest way to do so is to negotiate things initially regarding who, whether seller or buyer, is responsible for the transportation and insurance of cargo on each leg of its journey. Incoterms are labels for deal-types defining just that.

The core purpose of using this international shipping terminology is to make communication regarding the cost and risks easy and straightforward.

Universal Cargo has a series that defines each Incoterm organized by the term’s groupings:

Incoterms Definitions Part 1: EXW, FCA, FAS, FOB

Incoterms Definitions Part 2: CFR, CIF, CPT, CIP

Incoterms Definitions Part 3: DAT, DAP, DDP

2. COD

COD means Change of Destination.

This term is used when the destination, whether port or city, of a product has to be changed. If your goods have been loaded onto a container ship and then you realize they are headed to the incorrect destination or you have to ship it to a different location, then you might have to use this term in clarifying where your cargo needs to be rerouted to.

COD is actually a request asking to change the destination of your goods, so your product ends up where you need it to be.

3. CYCY, CY-CY, or CY/CY

CY is the short form of Container Yard. CYCY, CY-CY, or CY/CY means container yard to container yard.

The list of shipping terms is incomplete without talking about CYCY. A container yard is a port or terminal in which your goods or products are kept to be loaded onto a ship or delivered to. CYCY, CY-CY, or CY/CY refer to the ports your cargo is loaded at and then delivered to, which should be properly listed in your paperwork.

It is the responsibility of the carrier to discharge cargo where it is meant to be sent. If they do not do so, then you might file a complaint against them or ask for a full refund.

4. DM

Demurrage or DM is the fee that a container line charges when you do not pick up the imported container on time.

In simple words, we can say that this shipment terminology is applicable to a situation when the container has arrived, but the shipper has delayed its pickup.

In such a situation, the shipper will be asked to pay a specific fee as they are responsible for arranging the transportation of their cargo from port terminals. Ideally, a shipper should arrange trucks to pick up their shipping containers on time, as this will prevent paying extra money in terms of additional charges or fines.

Unfortunately, factors out of a shipper’s control, such as port congestion, have caused shippers to be hit with demurrage fees, which creates a highly contentious situation between shippers and carriers.

5. Rollover

Rollover is one of those import and export shipping terms that are used in a situation when the container does not load onto the ship on time. Rollover means cargo is switched from its original sailing to a later one.

There are various reasons why a container may not get loaded onto its original scheduled ship, such as late delivery of cargo to the terminal, overbooking, vessel omissions, and customs problems. In rollover situations, the carrier reschedule cargo containers to the next sailing with available space or even rollover other cargo to place the shipment on the next sailing that is already booked to capacity.

6. DT

DT is the shipping abbreviation for Detention.

This is actually a fee that you might have to pay if your shipping containers of goods have been picked up from the port but have not been returned empty to the shipping line on time.

Shippers have to pay an extra fee, depending on the number of days they have taken to return empty containers. Thus, it is crucial for you to be on time when unloading and returning shipping containers when importing goods.

7. Port Storage

Port Storage is another fee shippers can be hit with after their cargo is delivered to a port.

Ports charge port storage fees when shipping containers remain at the port beyond their allotted free days.

Generally, when a shipping containers are unloaded from a cargoship, they then get moved to the container yard and the port provides a free storage period that, depending on the port, may vary depending on the quantity or weight of the containers or may be a standard number of days for all containers. Shippers are responsible for taking care of the custom clearance procedures and getting their cargo trucked out of the port within their allotted free days or face port storage fees.

8. FCL and LCL

FCL means Full Container Load and LCL means Less than Container Load.

The difference between these shipping terms may sound self-explanatory. FCL is applied to a situation when a shipper moves a sufficient amount of goods to fill a whole shipping container. Therefore, LCL is applied to a situation when the shipper is moving an amount of goods that does not require a whole shipping container.

In some situations, individual LCL consignments are combined and shipped with other LCL consignments inside a single shipping container. In this case, shippers should be assured that their individual consignments will be separated from the others when they reach their destination.

9. Bill of Lading

This is one of the most standard shipping terms there are. The Bill of Lading is a legal document that is given by the carrier to the shipper. This includes the basic details like the type of goods being shipped, their quantity, the destination address, and the freight rates.

The Bill of Lading can be regarded as an agreement between the two parties to follow given rules and regulations, guaranteeing the timely delivery of goods.

10. Stuffing and Stripping

Stuffing and Stripping are actually two shipment terms that are often used together. Stuffing is the process of loading containers with loose products before their shipment. Stripping is the unloading of a shipping container once the international shipping is complete.


If you remember these terms and get to know how and when to use them, they will definitely help your business import and export more smoothly to meet the expectations of your customers.

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This was a guest post by Christopher Mansfield.

Author Bio

Christopher Mansfield is an instructional expert with perfect essay writing service. Christopher is an author of helpful articles for students all over the world. In his free time, he enjoys reading through training books at Essay Zoo as well as hanging out with his family.









Showing 2 comments

    thanks for this information , keep this great work.

  • Shikha

    very Informative blog and thanks for sharing. keep Updated

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