Logistics Glossary

Logistics Glossary
Air Cargo Automation
The computer system for air cargo coordination, reporting and delivery in Australia

Ad Valorem
A phrase meaning ‘in proportion to the value’, used to refer to freight or custom duties set based on a percentage on the goods value.

Air Container
Refers to containers used in air transport with an internal volume of above 1m3 with a flush base for use on roller-bed handling systems in airports.

Air Waybill
This is a document confirming receipt of goods by a carrier and stating the contract details between shipper and carrier of the goods.

Arrival Notice
A notice advising of the arrival of a shipment or consignment sent by the carrier.

Articles Dangereux de Route Specific to European regions, this is an agreement regarding the international carriage of dangerous goods by road.

Average Adjusters
Average adjusters distribute the loss and expenditure over the parties to determine which expenses are to be regarded as average or general average.


Back Haul
The return journey of any transport carrier after providing an initial service in one direction.

A 'letter of indemnity' issued by the seller or shipper in exchange for a clean bill of lading.

Before Breaking Bulk Freight payment that is required before discharge of a vessel commences.

Bill of Health
A certificate issued by medical authorities in the local port which indicates no presence of contagious disease and that all quarantine regulations have been complied with.

BL2 or B/L
Bill of Lading This document is signed by the carrier who acts as a Contract of Affreightment, it also includes receipt and evidence of title to the cargo.

Bill of Lading Clause
A stipulation, clause or provision in the Bill of Lading document.

Goods which are stored by customs until the required import duties are paid.

Bonded warehouse
A warehouse in which cargo is placed under a bond.

Bonded store
A sealed location on a sea vessel which cargo is placed until such a time as the vessel departs the country or port.

Bonded goods
Goods in which customs duties have not yet been paid and are pending clearence.

A document listing the cargo carried on a road vehicle.

Box Pallet
A pallet with vertical sides.

Break Bulk
To commence discharge.

Break Bulk Cargo
Any stowed cargo which is not containerised or unitised.

Break-even Weight
Weight at which it is cheaper to charge the lower rate for the next higher weight-break multiplied by the minimum weight indicated, than to charge the higher rate for the actual weight of the shipment.

Percentage of freight payable to broker.

Brussels Tariff Nomenclature
An Old Customs Co-operation Council Nomenclature for the classification of goods. Now replaced by the harmonised system.

Buffer Stock
Goods which are stored or warehoused to protect from shortages.

Bulk Carrier
A vessel for carriage of unpackaged dry goods such as coal or grain.

Bulk Container
A container for carriage of unpackaged dry goods such as coal or grain.

When multiple smaller cargo items are grouped together into a more manageable unit which is easy to handle by a forklift.

Storage areas for liquids such as fuel on a ship.

Bunker Adjustment Factor
Adjustment applied to offset the effect of fluctuations in the cost of bunkers.

The amount of fuel on a ship.

When cargo is transported between two locations in the same country by a carrier or vehcile registered to another country.

CAD Cash Against Documents.
When the buyer of goods pays for the goods against transfer of documents, entitling to obtain delivery.

Currency Adjustment Factor.
A surcharge or a discount on the freight charge to compensate for fluctuations in exchange rates.

When a vessel visits a port.

All goods transported or to be transported on a ship, other than mail, ship's stores, ship's spare parts, ship's equipment, stowage material, crew's effects and passengers' accompanied baggage (IMO). Any property carried on an aircraft, other than mail, stores and accompanied or mishandled baggage Also referred to as 'goods' (ICAO).

Cargo Assembly
When separate packages are held for later dispatch as a single consignment.

Cargo Disassembly
When a consignment is separated for presentation to customs or other such authorities for inspection.

Cargo Handling
Any procedures that require the physical handling of goods.

Cargo Unit
Any item not permanently fixed to a vessel such as a container, pallet used for carriage of goods.

The transportation of goods from one location to another location.

The party undertaking transport of goods from one place to another.

Carrier Haulage
The inland transport service performed a sea-carrier.

Cash On Delivery.

Cubic Metres.

Cubic Feet.

Location on board of a container vessel, where one container can be stowed.

Cell Position
The unique identification number which represents a location on board a vessel which a container is stowed.

Cellular Vessel
A vessel which carries containers.

Certificate of Origin
A certificate stating the country of origin of cargo, used by customs to confirm duty rates.

CFR or C&F
Cost and Freight.

Charter Party
When a ship owner agrees to provide a portion of the vessel storage to the charterer.

The person who has signed a charter party with the owner of a vessel or an aircraft.

CIF Cost, Insurance & Freight.
The seller pays all these costs to a nominated port or place of discharge.

Carriage and Insurance paid to.

Clean Bill of Lading
The carrier will issue a clean bill after thoroughly inspecting the packages for any damage, missing quantities or deviations in quality.

Clearance Terminal
A terminal where customs facilities are located.

Cleared Without Examination.

Closed Ventilated Container
A closed container with either mechanical or natural ventilation.

Contract of Affreightment

Carriage of Goods by Sea Act.

Combined Transport
When transport of cargo is completed by one or more modes of transport such as sea, rail and road.

Combined Transport Document

CTO Combined Transport Operator
A carrier who operates multiple forms of transport such as sea, rail and road.

Commodity Box Rate
A commodity rate quoted on a per container basis.

Commodity Code
The classification codes which are used in the Harmonised System for particular types of cargo.

Commodity Item Number
Used in air freight to indicate the specific rate to be charged.

Connecting Carrier
An intermediary carrier whom transfers the cargo for further transport.

The nominated party on the transport documents who will receive the cargo or goods.

A separate identifiable number of goods transported from one consignor to one consignee.

Consignment Instructions
A set of instructions enabling the movement of goods and associated activities such as stowage or delivery.

Consignment Note
A document stating the transport contract, details of the consignment to be carried to the port of loading and it is signed by the inland carrier as proof of receipt.

Consolidated Container
A container which includes a number of shipments from various shippers for delivery to one or more consignees.

Consolidation Point
A location where consolidation of consignments takes place.

A company that consolidates cargo.

Consular Invoice
A consular invoice is a document submitted to the consul or embassy of a country to which goods are to be exported.

Cargo transport equipment as defined by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO).

Container Bolster
A container floor without sides, walls or ISO corner fittings used for roll-on roll-off loading.

Container Chassis
A road trailer designed to transport containers.

Container Depot
Where empty containers are stored.

CFS Container Freight Station
The facility where cargo is received and loaded (stuffing) into containers ready for export and cargo is unloaded (stripped) from containers for import.

CLP Container Load Plan
The list and sequence of items to be loaded into a container.

Container Manifest
A document which lists the contents of a container. This is prepared by the party responsible for loading (stuffing) the container.

Container Number
The unique identification number of a container which consists of prefix, serial number and check digit.

Container Terminal
The facility in which containers are loaded onto each form of transport.

Container Yard

Meaning that cargo has been stowed into a container.

Contract of Affreightment
An agreement to carry goods by sea.

Contractual Port of Loading
A port at which a vessel does not call, but which is equalised with the actual port of call and upon which inland haulage services and inland tariffs are based.

Custom Of Port.

Carriage Paid To.

Cargo Remaining on Board.

CRT Cargo Retention Clauses
CIM Convention Internationale Concernant le Transport des Marchandises par Chemin de Fer International agreement, applied by 19 European railway companies, setting out conditions for international transport of goods by rail and the liabilities of the carrier(s).

Convention Relative au Contrat de Transport International de Marchandise par Route A convention for the international carriage of goods by road regarding conditions and liabilities of the carrier.

CAF Currency Adjustment Factor

Customs Broker
An intermediary who specialises in customs clearance protocols.

Customs Clearance Agent
An agent who perform customs clearance on behalf of the consignee.

Deliver At Frontier.

Dangerous Goods Declaration
Documentation describing details of hazardous cargo and stating all regulations have been followed in the packing, labelling and transport of hazardous cargo.

Dangerous Goods Packing Certificate
A certificate included in the Dangerous Goods Declaration stating that the cargo has been stowed in compliance with the IMDG regulations and properly secured.

Delivered Duty Unpaid.

Delivered Duty Paid.

DFRT Deadfreight.
Freight paid for but not used.

DWT Deadweight
The total weight of cargo, cargo equipment, bunkers, provisions, water, stores and spare parts which a vessel can lift.

Declared Value for Carriage
The value of cargo by the shipper used to determine shipping charges or carriers liability for loss, damage or delay.

Delivery Instruction
A document providing instructions for the delivery of cargo.

Delivery Note
A document recording the delivery of products to a customer.

Demise Charter or Bareboat Charter
When a vessel is fully chartered for a period of time.

DEM Demurrage (Quay Rent).
A provision for any damages incurred in the detention of a vessel beyond agreed loading time, such as exceeding the available load or unload time.

When equipment is kept beyond the allowed time.

Detention Charge
Charges incurred due to exceeding of equipment usage free time period.

Delivered Ex Quay.

Delivered Ex Ship.

DEV Deviation.
When a vessel deviates from its original course.

The freight charges which are paid out by a ship's agent at a port and recovered from the carrier.

Unloading of cargo from a vessel, road vehicle, or aircraft.

Delivery Order - DO
A document issued in exchange for the Bill of Lading in order to deliver the item.

Dock Receipt
Receipt issued at the port acknowledging that goods are received for shipping.

Domestic Carriage
When the departure location and destination are situated within the same country.

Door to Airport
A shipment which is collected from the suppliers door and transported to the nearest customs airport. The receiver is responsible for the customs clearance, delivery and local taxes.

Door to Door Transport
A shipment which is collected from the suppliers door and transported to the destination country and once cleared through customs, transported to the receivers door.

The repayment of any part of customs or excise duties collected on imported goods, when those goods are exported again.

The hauling of a load by a cart with detachable sides.

Drop off Charge
Charges for handling and storage of leased containers by the container owner or terminal.

Dry Bulk Container
A container used for the carrying of unpackaged, dry goods such as grain.

Materials used to for stowage to secure cargo and prevent movement during a voyage.

Duty Free Zone
The area where goods or cargo can be stored without paying import customs duties.

Transfer of the delivery rights to another party.

Estimated Time of Arrival

Estimated Time of Departure

Estimated Time of Completion.

Estimated Time of Sailing.

Ex Works.

Export Licence
A government document allowing permission to export goods.

Free Alongside Ship.
When the seller delivers goods to the dock or terminal and the buyer covers costs and risks of loading.

Free to Carrier.
A modern equivalent of FAS.

Full Container Load
A term used to describe a delivery whereby a container is packed by the exporter or forwarder and unpacked by the consignee. The shipping line receives and delivers the cargo as a sealed container unit.

Fully Cellular Container ship
A sea vessel designed to carry containers only.

Free Discharge.

Freight Demurrage Deadfreight.

Free Despatch.

Free In/Liner Out.
When the shipper pays loading costs and the carrier pays the discharging cost.

Free In/Out.
When the shipper pays for both loading and discharging costs.

Free In/Out Stowed.
When the shipper pays for both loading and discharging costs along with stowage costs.

Free In/Out and Trimmed.

Shipper pays for cost of loading, discharging, stowage and trimming.

Free In/Out and Trimmed.

Full Truck Load.

A sea vessel which carries cargo to sea ports not called by the main vessel.

Flat Bed Trailer
A semi-trailer with a flat deck and without any superstructure.

Flat Rack Container
A container with two end walls and open sides.

Free on Board.

Seller sees the goods on to the ship which is arranged and paid for by the buyer.

Forty Foot Equivalent Unit

Unit of measurement equivalent to one 40’ container.

Forwarder / Freight Forwarder
The party which arranges the carriage of goods.

Four Way Pallet
Pallet frame which allows access by a fork lift at all four sides.

Free In and Out

Excludes costs of loading and discharging cargo and if applicable also stowage and lashing costs.

For sea freight only, meaning no discharge costs to the cargo owners.

Free Trade Zone

The area of a state or territory exempt from any import duties and taxes.

A standard 40’ Container.

Freight All Kinds

Freight, which is charged irrespective of the commodity.

Freight Collect
Charges which are paid by the consignee.

Freight Costs
Costs incurred by the merchant in moving goods. This may also include packing, documentation, loading, unloading and transport insurance.

Freight Prepaid
Charges which are paid by the consignor.

General Average

An international act which allows the vessel’s master to sacrifice property or incur expenses in order to ensure the safety of the vessel and its cargo.

General Cargo
General cargo may be cartons, crates, bags or bales, often palletised, which can be shipped either break-bulk or containerised..

General Cargo Rate

The rate charged for carriage of cargo.

General Purpose Container
A container used for general cargo without any special requirements.

Gross Tonnage

The overall size of a vessel in tonnes.

Collection of smaller consignments to form a full load.

Hague Protocol

An amendment to the Warsaw convention 1955 regarding air cargo.

Hague Rules
An International convention dating from 1924 that determines rules to protect cargo owners from wide spread exclusion of liability by ship owners.

Half Height Container
A container with an open top, with or without a soft or hard cover.

HS Harmonised System
A numeric system for the classification of goods or groups of commonly traded products.
It is designed for customs services, but can also be used for statistics, transport purposes, export, import and manufacturing.

The inland carriage of cargo or containers between named locations/points.

A specific road carrier.

HAWB House Air Waybill.
A forwarding agents bill used to consign the cargo under.

Heavy Lift
Cargo which requires special loading equipment and rigging due to its large capacity.

Heavy Lift Vessel
A vessel specially designed for transport of heavy cargo.

Hot Hatch
The process of loading containers to enable a priority discharge at arrival port.

House to House Transport
When cargo is transported from the consignor location to the consignee location.


A staff member working within the premises of another company.

International rules interpreting common terms for foreign trade.

Compensation for loss or expenses.

Inland Clearance Depot

An inland location where cargo may cleared by customs.

Intermodal Transport
When cargo is moved via several modes of transport without individual handling of the cargo when changing modes.

International Air Transport Association

An international regulatory organisation of airlines for commercial air traffic.

International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code

The classification of dangerous goods as defined by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO)..


The unit of measurement for speed over sea.

Land Bridge

Any transport over land which follows or precedes sea transport.

Lay Days / Lay Time
Days allowed for the loading and discharging of cargo.

LCL Less than Container Load.
A consignment which does not fill a standard container.

LTL Less than Truck Load.
A consignment which does not fill a standard truck.

LOI Letter of Indemnity.
A letter stating that one party will compensate another party for the costs and consequences of carrying out an act.

LOLO Lift-On Lift-Off.
The charge from the carrier to lift containers from the truck to the vessel with cranes or derricks.

A barge.

Lighter Aboard Ship
A vessel which carries barges.

The carriage of goods within a port area by a barge.

Liner Conference
A group of vessel based carriers providing cargo services on a particular trade route at common freight rates or other agreed conditions.

Liner In Free Out.

Freight rate which includes the costs sea carriage and loading, but excludes discharging.

Liner Service
The regular service by vessels between given ports.

Liner Shipping Company
A company transporting cargo over sea in a regular service.

Lump sum Freight.

Amount paid to charter a vessel up to a certain limit irrespective of quantity of cargo.


The document which lists the specifications of goods loaded, an inventory of all cargo on board.

Master Air Waybill.

A document an airline uses to consign the cargo under.

Memorandum of Agreement.

Mate's Receipt
A receipt for a consignment on board a vessel prior to the issue of a bill of lading issued by the chief officer of a vessel.

Measurement Tonne
A tonne of one cubic metre.

Merchant Haulage
The inland transport of cargo arranged by the merchant.

Minimum Charge
The lowest amount for the transport of a consignment, irrespective of weight or volume.

Mixed Consignment
A consignment of different commodities, articles or goods, packed or tied together or contained in separate packages.

Metric Tonne.

Multi Purpose Vessel
Vessel designed for the carriage of different types of cargo: general, bulk, heavy and/or containerised cargo.

Multimodal Transport
When cargo is conveyed via two different forms of transport, such as sea and road.

Multimodal Transport Operator/Carrier

The person who is responsible for the carriage of goods pursuant to the contract of carriage.


Transferable for value by delivery or endorsement.

Nautical Mile.

NVOCC Non Vessel Operating Common Carrier
A party who undertakes to carry goods and issues in his own name a Bill of Lading for such carriage, without having the availability of any own means of transport.

NOR Notice of Readiness
Document from the master of the vessel to a charterer advising when the vessel will be ready to load or discharge.

Notify Address
Address of the party that will notified when the goods arrive.

Notify Party
The party to be notified when the goods arrive.

Open Sided Container

A container with frames at the sides covered by a tarpaulin.

Open Top Container
Similar to a general purpose container except it has a non-rigid roof such as plastic or flexible top cover.

Optional Port
A port which the vessel may or may not stop at during the voyage.

Out of Gauge Cargo
Cargo which exceeds the dimensions of a standard 20’ or 40’ container.

A carrier which operates on a route served by a liner conference but which is not a member of that conference.

Outturn Report
A statement regarding the condition of cargo discharged from a vessel, listing any discrepancies in the quantity compared with the vessel's manifest.

Overheight Cargo
Cargo which exceeds the height of a 20’ or 40’ standard container.

Overlength Cargo
Cargo which exceeds the length of a 20’ or 40’ standard container.

Overwidth Cargo
Cargo which exceeds the width of a 20’ or 40’ standard container.


Protection and Indemnity Insurance.

Packing Unit
A standardised package in which products of a specific type can be packed.

Pallet Truck
A non-stacking lift truck with forks.

The load carried on a vessel or other type of transport in which revenue is generated from.

The left side of the ship.

Port of Call
Locations in which a vessel moors during a voyage.

Port of Discharge
The port in which the cargo is unloaded from the vessel.

Port of Loading
The port in which the cargo is loaded onto the vessel.

Transport of empty containers or equipment.

Licence or permission to use a port.

The carriage of containers by road or air to the port for loading onto the vessel.

The carrier by which cargo is moved prior to the main transport.

Preshipment Inspection

Checking the quantity and quality of the goods prior to shipment by an independent inspection company.

Proof of Delivery
A receipt signed upon delivery.

Protection and Indemnity Club (P & I club)
An association of shipowners which provides protection against liabilities.

Rail Car

A wagon used for transporting containers via rail.

Rail Consignment Note
The contract document for the transport of goods by rail.

The inclined road or path which cargo may be transported on wheeled vechiles.

Receiving Carrier
The carrier receiving a consignment on behalf of a carrier, agent or shipper for onward transport.

Reefer Cargo
Temperature controlled cargo or container.

Reefer Container
A container with specialised refridgeration equipment to maintain a controlled temperature throughout transit.

When loading is completed earlier than expected, days can be added to the discharge operation.

Remaining On Board.

Revenue Tonne.

Roll Trailer
A special trailer used in roll-on roll-off vessels.

The order in which a vessel calls at ports throughout the voyage.


Simplification of International Trade Procedures in the United Kingdom.

Sea Cargo Automation.

A charge for operation of the Sea Cargo Automation System in Australia.

Said to Contain.

A Bill of Lading term which states that the carrier is unaware of the nature or quantity of the contents.

A device attached to containers in transit to ensure they have remained closed during transport.

Seal Log
The document which records container seal numbers.

Semi Trailer
A trailer having wheels at the back but supported at the front by a towing vehicle.

Stowage Factor.

The space occupied by one tonne of cargo.

Ship Broker
An intermediary between the shipowner / carrier and cargo interest.

Ship Operator
The owner of the ship, or legal entity responsible for the management of the vessel.

Ship's Protest
A statement by the master of a vessel regarding exceptional events which occurred during a voyage.

Shipper's Export Declaration

A United States customs form to be completed for all exports to assist the government in compiling export statistics.

Shipping Note
Documents provided by the shipper to the carrier which provides information about export consignments offered for transport, and providing for the necessary receipts and declarations of liability.

Shipping Marks
A type of cargo identification to aid in transport to its final destination without delay and checking of cargo against documents.

Shuttle Service
The transport back and forth over an often short route between two points.

SAD Single Administrative Document
Documents for customs declaration within the European Union (EU) which combined several documents required in the past.

Skeleton Trailer
A road trailer specifically designed to carry containers.

Battens which are positioned below boxes or packages to allow easy fork lift or sling access.

A chain, rope or strap used in the handling of cargo.

Slip Sheeting
Hard plastic sheeting used to stack cartons.

The space on board a vessel, required by one 20’ equivalent unit or TEU, for containers or similar.

Slot Charter
The agreement between the shipowner and charterer to reserve a particular number of 20’ equivalent unit (TEU) or 40’ equivalent unit (FEU).

Space Charter
The agreement between the shipowner and charterer to reserve certain parts of the vessels capacity.

Split Shipment
When indirect delivery occurs, usually through consolidation, each split part of the shipment will be delivered in a different consignment but all consignments identified by the same unique original shipment id.

A beam used when hoisting a load to ensure slings remain vertical and prevent cargo damage.

Right side of a ship.

The back of a ship.

Placement of cargo on board a vessel or aircraft.

Stowage Factor
The ratio of a cargos volume to its weight, shown as cubic metres to the tonne.

Stowage Plan
A plan which shows locations of all cargo placement on board the vessel.

Straddle Carrier
A wheeled vehicle used to lift, move and stack containers in the container terminal.

Straddle Crane
A crane which operates on rails used to lift, move and stack containers in the container terminal.

Unloading of cargo from containers.

Loading of cargo into containers.

Transports Internationaux Routiers

A treaty to simplify the administration of international road transport.

A crew member who records the number of cargo items and the cargo condition on load and discharge.

Tank Container
A specialised container frame with tank for the transport of liquids.

Twenty Foot Equivalent unit.

Used to describe the space occupied by a 20’ container.

Terminal Handling Charge.

The charge applied for handling containers and goods by the terminal.

A shipment under one Bill of Lading, whereby sea freight is broken into two or more parts.

Transit Cargo
Cargo which is between outwards customs clearance and inwards customs clearance.

Terminal Receiving Charge.

The charge applied for handling containers and goods by the terminal.

A device inserted into the corner fittings of a container which locks the container while being lifted.

Two Way Pallet
A specific pallet frame which allows fork lift access at two opposite sides.

Unit Load

A collection of individual packages strapped together or palletised to become single unit and more efficient when loading and unloading.

Unit Load Device

A container or pallet which can be carried by an aircraft.

UNDG Number
United Nations Dangerous Goods Number

A four-digit number assigned by the United Nations Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods to classify a substance or a particular groups of substances.

Very Large Crude Carrier

A vessel designed specifically to carry liquid cargo.

Vessel Pays Dues.

All cargo is charged at the greatest weight, either actual or based on volume.

Warehouse Keeper

The individual who is responsible for any goods entered into a warehouse.

Warsaw Convention
The Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules Relating to International Carriage by Air, signed at Warsaw, 12 October 1929.

A non-negotiable document which shows evidence of the contract for the transport of cargo.

Weight Or Measure

In sea freight, weight or measure is the base tonne which the freight rate amount is calculated.

Weather Permitting

That time during which weather prevents working shall not count as laytime.

Weight Tonne
1000 Kilos.