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

What is an 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.

What are air cargo containers?

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

What is an arrival notice?

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

What is a 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.

What is capacity?

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

What does consign mean?

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

What is a consignment?

A shipment.

What is a declared value?

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

What is a duty?

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

What is FAK (Freight, All Kinds)?

A FAK shipment is one in which several smaller shipments from different senders have been pooled into one.

What are fixed costs?

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

What is a 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).

What is a freight forwarder?

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

What is a 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.

What is a hot load?

An emergency shipment needed in a hurry.

What is a less-than-container load (LCL)?

An LCL is a shipment that takes up less space than its containerís maximum capacity.

What is a manifest?

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

What is a mixed truckload?

A truckload of different items combined into one shipment.

What is an origin?

The site where cargo begins its journey.

What does palletized mean?

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

What is a point of entry?

The place at which a shipment is received into a country.

What is reconsignment?

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

What is a reefer?

A refrigerated container.

What is a Requested Arrival Date?

The date a shipment must arrive at its destination.

What is a scale of rates?

Rates that change in relation to one another.

What is a stevedore?

A person who works loading or unloading ships.

What is a surety bond?

A bond an importer posts to cover US Customs duties.

What is a tare weight?

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

What is 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!