Shipping Terms Glossary

Just as it’s good to know a few common foreign phrases when you’re 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!

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 handle 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 a 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 Force Majeure?

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

What is a freight forwarder?

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

What is gross payload?

The payload weight combined with the tare weight. In other words, the weight of the goods being shipped plus the weight of the container and packing materials in which they are being shipped in. 

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 containers 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 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 stevedore?

A person who works loading or unloading ships.

What is a surety bond?

A bond an importer posts to cover US Customer 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.

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    “Platinum takes professional to a whole new level!”

    Steve T.

    “Platinum moving made an extraordinary showing of moving me from DC to Mexico City, Mexico. I was somewhat focused as this was the primary worldwide move that I needed to orchestrate all alone as I had been fortunate to have the USG move me all my past times. I had a tight window, a couple of weeks in which to arrange the move. Platinum was extraordinary in working with me to plan the review rapidly and the resulting pack-out. The group they had for me was obliging, proficient, and fast. There was somewhat of a postponement in the entry of the holder from Baltimore, MD because of a mishap and activity that day yet that was minor considering everything by and large. They additionally combined me with an incredible organization in Mexico, called Balderas. There were just a couple of days postponement at the traditions/port in Veracruz before my stuff landed at my new able in Mexico City. Generally, thanks such a great amount to Platinum and Balderas for making the move easily on their parts.”

    F L.

    international moving company


    With 30+ years in the moving & shipping business, Platinum has done it all—and done it exceptionally well. Even the Smithsonian raves about us!

    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!