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Glossary Of Terms

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Glossary Of Terms


Automated Commercial System/Automated Broker Interface/Automated Manifest System. U.S. Customs programs to automate the flow of Customs-related information among Customs brokers, importers, and carriers.

Air Waybill

The Air Way bill is a non-negotiable Bill of Lading, and is used as a receipt for cargo and a contract for transportation between shipper and air carrier. Unlike an ocean carrier with a "to order" Ocean Bill of Lading, the air carrier must deliver the shipment to the consignee named on the non-negotiable Air Waybill. International air waybills or "airline air waybills," are used by the air carriers; "House air waybills, " are used as receipts by Freight Forwarders who then consolidate them with the air carriers international air waybills.

Aircargo Agent

An agent appointed by an airline to solicit and process international airfreight shipments.

Airport Code

A three letter code assigned to all airport locations worldwide.

Arrival Notice

A notice from the ocean carrier to the "notify party" indicating the vessel's estimated arrival date; identifying shipment details such as number of packages, weight, and container number, and indicating when free time expires. Often includes a freight invoice.


Bunker Adjustment Factor.

Barge To Ship

When cargo is loaded directly from the barge to the ocean carrier, therefore avoiding delivery to the wharf.

Bonded Warehouse

Goods that must be held until duties are paid are normally put in a bonded warehouse. Warehouses must be approved by the U.S. Treasury Department and must be under bond or guarantee of compliance with revenue laws.

Break Bulk

The movement by ocean of packaged goods that are not containerized.


Bunker Surcharge.

C /


C / Y

Container yard.


Currency Adjustment Factor.


Customs document, issued under the terms of a convention, that permits the holder to carry or send merchandise temporarily into foreign countries ( for display, demonstration, or similar purpose) without paying duty or posting bond. Examples are ATA (Admission Temporaire) and TIR ( Transport International Routier). Violation of any of the privileges of CARNET will result in assessment of duty and charges for damage. Click here for more info.

Carrier Certificate & Release Order

Used to advise Customs of the shipment's details. By means of this document, the carrier certifies that the firm or individual named in the certificate is the owner or consignee of the cargo.


Cubic Meter (35.314 cubic Feet = 1 CBM).

Certificate Of Origin

The document certifies that goods were manufactured in the United States. It is signed by the shipper and may also be a certified by a local Chamber of Commerce, notarized, and even visaed by a resident foreign consul. A Certificate of Origin may be required by a foreign government for control purposes, or by the foreign importer to ensure that he receives U.S. goods. Specific C/Os are required for duty reductions with Canada (U.S./Canada Free Trade Agreement) and Israel (U.S./Israel Free trade Area).


Container Freight Station.


Container Freight Station to Container Freight Station. A type of steamship line service in which cargo is transported between container freight stations, where containers may be stuffed, stripped, or consolidated. Usually used for less-than-container load shipments


Cubic Feet.

Chargeable Weight

The shipment weight used in determining air freight charges. The chargeable weight may be the dimensional weight or for container shipments, the gross weight of the shipment less the tare weight of the container.


A Charterparty is a contract signed between a ship owner and a charter who hires the vessel for a period of time (Time Charter) or for a particular voyage (Voyage Charter). There are many types of Charterparties, most codified by various shipping associations.

Clean On - Board B / L

A Bill of Lading issued without exceptions.


Collect on Delivery: cost of goods and freight.


Container on Flat Car


Collect Charges.

Collect Freight

Freight payable to the carrier at the port of discharge or ultimate destination. The consignee need not pay if the cargo does not arrive at destination.

Collection Lietter

A collection is the procedure whereby the exporter entrusts the movement of his commercial documents to a remitting bank for further processing through a collection bank for settlement from the buyer. A Collection Letter is the document used by the remitting bank to relay complete and precise instructions to the collecting bank.

Commercial Value

Assessment of monetary value of manufactured goods including production costs, packaging, shipping, overhead and profit margin; used to determine duty.


Any article or goods of commerce.

Commodity Control List

List of commodities subject to U.S. Department of Commerce export controls.

Conference Rates

Published rates which are applied equally by all the lines belonging to that particular conference for a specific commodity.


The receiver of the shipment.

Consular Invoice

Prepared from the information on the commercial invoice by the buyer's consulate or embassy in the shipper's country, these documents are usually stamped with an official seal. They may be specific forms required by the destination country's government or simply copies of the Commercial Invoice. Consular Invoices are required for control of certain commodities and to ensure valuation control.


A document certified by the Consular of some foreign countries verifying the value, quantity and nature of a shipment.

Country Of Transshipment

The country through which a shipment must pass and be re-sorted to reach its ultimate destination.

Country Of Ultimate Destination

Final country, as known by an exporter, where goods are scheduled to arrive.


A term used to connote fast, expedited, personalized package and document handling.


A Container Service Charge.

Customs Broker

A firm that represents importers in dealings with Customs. Normally responsible for obtaining and submitting all documents for clearing merchandise through Customs, arranging inland transport, and paying all charges related to these functions.

Customs Clearance

International procedure of declaring goods at the Customs Office to gain authorized entry of those goods into a country.

Customs Invoice

Certain countries require special invoices containing specific information for the Customs clearance and valuation of imported shipments. These documents contain most of the elements of the Commercial Invoice, and are usually in the language of the importing country. The Canadian Customs Invoice is the most popular of this type.

Customs Value

The value of a shipment as declared by the shipper or appraised by Customs to enable determination of accurate import duties.


Container Yard to Container Yard. A type of steamship line service in which freight is transported from origin container yard to destination container yard.


Destination Delivery Charge

Declared Value

The value of a shipment as declared by the shipper, used to determine the value for duty and carrier liability.

Delivery Order

Document issued by the Customs broker to the ocean carrier as authority to release the cargo to the inland carrier.

Delivery Service

Bringing goods to a destination on behalf of a shipper for a fee.


A charge for storage of incoming merchandise beyond the free time allotted by the shipping company. Also applies to carrier owned or leased equipment, such as containers and chassis.


The location to which a shipment is being delivered.


Dangerous Goods.

Dimensional Weight

The weight calculated by measuring the length x width x height of a package: used when calculating the rate of oversized pieces.

Dock Receipt

The Dock Receipt provides the exporter with a receipt indicating that the ocean terminal operator has taken custody of the shipment on behalf of the ocean carrier. It is basically a proof of delivery of the goods from the exporter to the pier.


Sometimes called a Bank Drafter Bill of Exchange, the Draft is a negotiable instrument which contains an order to pay. It must be signed by the drawer (seller) and be payable at sight or by a certain time. The Draft must contain an unconditional order to pay a certain sum of money to the drawee (buyer). Drafts are used in both collection and Letter of Credit methods of payment.


Door To Door.


Door to Port.


Those goods which are subject to duty as per each nation's Customs regulation.


A tax imposed by a government on merchandise imported from another country. There are several types of duty, including: A) Ad valorem duty ("According to the value") - an assessment based on of the actual value of an article. B) Specific duty - an assessment based on the weight or quantity of an article without reference to its monetary value or market price.

Duty Drawback

A refund of duty paid on imported merchandise when it is later exported.

ECCN (Export Control Commodity Number)

Number (sometimes required on international shipping documentation) that indicates the commodities subject to U.S. Department of Commerce export controls.

EIN (Exporter Identification Number)

An Employer's IRS Identification Number (needed on some international shipping documentation) assigned by the Government when exporting goods from the United States.


The prohibition of accepting freight at origin because of a crisis at the point of destination.

Entry Summary

Issued by: Customs broker on behalf of importer. Purpose: Customs Form 7501 specifies all shipment particulars that allow U.S. Customs to assess and collect import duties. Highly standardized to allow computer processing. Includes Harmonized Code number, broker identification number, and auxiliary fees. Broker figures all assessments, then submits form with supporting documents and payment. Customs later either accepts or modifies entry and payment.

Entry / Immediate Delivery

Customs Form CF3461 allows the importer or Customs Broker to take immediate delivery of imported goods prior to payment of duties and processing of an Entry Summary for most types of merchandise. The importer has ten days to file the Entry Summary and pay the appropriate duties.


Estimated Time of Arrival.


Estimated Time of Departure.


Shipper's Export Declaration.

Export Broker

An individual or organization that unites buyer and broker for a fee.

Export License

Under the Export Administration Act, the U.S. Bureau of Export Administration (BXA) is charged with controlling and licensing most items exported from the U.S. for reasons of national security, short supply, and foreign policy. There are two basic types of export licenses: Individual Validated Licenses which must be applied for and received from the BXA: and General Licenses, which are not documents but rather published authorizations covering commodities not subject to validated licensing.

A Government authorization which allows a shipper to export specified goods to designated countries.

Export Management Company

A private firm that serves as the export department for several manufacturers, soliciting and transacting export business on behalf of it s clients in return for a commission, salary, or retainer plus commission.

Export Trading Company

A firm that buys domestic products for sale overseas. A trading company takes title to the goods; an export-management company usually does not.


The person sending goods produced in one country to another country.

Express B / L

Ocean Bill of Lading issued by the steamship line when cargo is consigned directly to the customer. Cargo is automatically released. No originals are issued.


The transmission of an exact copy of a document by wire or radio.


Fuel Adjustment Factor.


Full Container Load.

Federal Maritime Commission (FMC)

Regulatory agency responsible for rates and practices of ocean carriers shipping to and from the United States.


40 foot equivalent unit.

Flat Bed

A type of truck with no side panels on to which cargo is usually strapped, chained or otherwise attached.

Flat Rack

Usually a wheel-less piece of equipment to which a piece of cargo is attached, strapped, or otherwise secured. Standard size is 20' or 40' long.

Foreign Trade Zone

A site sanctioned by the U.S. Customs Service in which imported goods are exempted from duties until withdrawn for domestic sale or use. Such zones are used for commercial warehouses or assembly plants.

Form A

"Form A" refers to an origin declaration document, required by importers from their foreign suppliers, to enable the importer to receive favorable Customs duty considerations for goods imported under the Generalized Systems of Preference (GSP). The documents may be supplied only by the foreign shipper, and are not available in the U.S.

Form B

"Form B" would refer to the U.S. . Exporter's version of an origin declaration, and is represented by the U.S./Israel Free Trade area Certificate of Origin used by U.S. exporters for shipments to Israel.

Forwarder's Receipt

Receipt issued by the appointed forwarder that goods have been received without exception for export. Could be used in case of Letter of Credit shipment under Ex-Works terms of sale.


To ensure and facilitate the passage of goods from an origin to a destination.

Free Trade Zone

A port designated by the government of a country for duty-free entry of any non-prohibited goods. Merchandise may be sorted, displayed, used for manufacturing, etc., within the zone and re-exported without duties being paid. Duties are imposed on the merchandise (or items manufactured from the merchandise) only when the goods pass from the zone into an area of the country subject to the Customs authority.

Freight Forwarder

A firm that represents shippers by arranging transport and completing documentation required for international shipping. Some freight forwarders also act as cargo consolidators.

Freight Payable at Destination

When the ocean freight of a shipment is paid at the time of delivery at the foreign port.

Full Set Off B / L's

Usually means the issuance of the three original's and three copies of the ocean Bill of Lading. This term is generally accepted by banks and shippers.


Full Value Declared.

Gateway City

Key cities of entry/departure for international shipments, strategically located for the most efficient movement of goods.

General Order (G.O.)

A Customs term referring to a warehouse where merchandise not entered within five working days after the carrier's arrival is stored at the risk and expense of the importer.

Gondola Cars

Special type of railroad equipment. Car usually shaped like a gondola (long with no top). Usually carries grain, ore, or other bulk cargo.

Harbor Maintenance Fee

Customs form CF349 is used by both exporters and importers to report, on a quarterly basis, all shipments which used a U. S. water port. A fee of .125% of the value of the shipments is collected and used to maintain U.S. harbors.


House Bill of Lading.

House to House Rates

This rate usually applied from the Shipper's Warehouse to the Consignee's Warehouse. Also known as Warehouse to Warehouse.

IATA (International Air Transport Association)

International Air Transport Association. The trade and service organization representing international airlines from more than 100 countries.


International Civil Aviation Organization. A United Nations agency organized to ensure orderly worldwide technical development of civil aviation.


International Maritime Organization. A United Nations affiliated organization representing all maritime countries in matters affecting maritime transportation, including the movement of dangerous goods. The organization also is involved in deliberations on marine environmental pollution.

Import License

Many countries have currency exchange controls which serve to limit the amount of currency available for the purchase of foreign merchandise. The import license is used to control orders sent to foreign exporters. It is important for exporters to understand their foreign buyer's licensing requirements as payment negotiations are made prior to any exportation.

Import License

A document issued by a carrier required and issued by some national governments authorizing the importation of goods into their individual countries.

In Bond

A term applied to the status of merchandise admitted provisionally to a country without payment of duties, either for storage in a bonded warehouse or for transshipment to another point, where duties eventually will be paid.

Inland Bill of Lading

The Inland Bill of Lading, usually a non-negotiable document, evidences the receipt of goods by an inland carrier for transport from the point of origin to the point of export. These bills of lading include the following export information: "for export," marks and number, "freight prepaid," and special delivery/notification instructions.

Insured Value

Dollar amount of which goods are insured by shipper.

Integrated Carrier

An airfreight company that offers a blend of transportation services such as air carriage, freight forwarding, and ground handling.

Interchange Agreement

A contract between a steamship line and the truck line, stating the (truck line) is responsible for any detention charges and/or repairs that may occur while container is in their possession. Contract also proves that truck line has the required insurance.

International Import Certificate

This document is the Bureau of Export Administration (BXA) form number BXA-645P. It is required for the import of selected commodities form COCOM nations. The U.S. importer would supply this form, after authorization by BXA, to the foreign exporter so that he could apply for an export license.

In-Transit Declaration

The In-Transit Declaration, Department of Commerce form 7513, is prepared for shipments in transit form one foreign county to another which pass through the continental U.S., the U.S. Virgin Islands, or Puerto Rico. Also used for merchandise exported from General Order warehouses and for imports rejected by the U.S. government and re-exported.


Kilogram (2.2046 pounds).

Knots Per Hour

Units of measure for ship's speed: Nautical Miles per Hour. One nautical mile is 1852 meters.


Kilo ton (1,000 kilograms).

L / C

Letter of Credit.

Lash Down

A method of securing cargo inside the hold or on deck of a vessel. Usually done with cables.




Less than Container Load.

Letter of Credit

The Letter of Credit is a financial Instrument issued by an importer's bank (opening bank, on behalf of the importer). The opening bank substitutes its own credit for that of the importer, and undertakes a commitment to designated beneficiary (the exporter) to pay a stated amount within a stated time frame, provided that the exporter complies with all the terms and conditions of the Letter of Credit.

Limits of Liability

The extent to which carrier is liable for loss or damage to a particular shipment.

Loss and Damage Claim

This document is used to claim insurance compensation for goods lost or damaged during exportation. The items lost or damaged must be fully described. Supporting documentation would include copies of the Commercial Invoice, Bill of Lading, and Insurance Certificate.


Last Receiving Date.


Long Ton (2,249 Pounds).


Less than Trailer Load.

M / N

Marks and Numbers.


Cubic Meters.


Cubic Meters.

Manufacturer's Certificate

A Certificate of Manufacture is used when a buyer intends to pay for goods prior to shipment, but the lead time for the manufacturing process is lengthy and the buyer does not which to tie up funds too far in advance. Usually, the goods are manufactured after a small down payment. when the goods have been manufactured, the seller prepares a Manufacturer's Certificate stating that the goods ordered have been produced in accordance with the contract with the buyer. Upon receiving the certificate, the buyer forwards both payment and shipping instructions, and the shipment is made by the seller.

Marine Cargo Insurance

Average - A term in marine cargo insurance signifying loss or damage to merchandise. General average - A loss arising out of a voluntary sacrifice made of any part of a shipment or cargo to prevent loss of the whole and for the benefit of all persons concerned. FPA - Free of particular average - a provision in a marine cargo insurance policy that no claim shall be paid for damage to goods in the course of a voyage unless a loss is sustained that totals or exceeds a certain percentage of the value as specified in the policy. The object of such a provision is the avoidance of petty claims. Open Policy - A contract between an insurance company and the exporter by which all shipments made by the assured are automatically protected from the time the merchandise leaves the initial shipping. Particular average - A partial loss or damage of merchandise caused by a peril insured against, but which is not a general-average loss.

Marine Cargo Insurance

Average - A term in marine cargo insurance signifying loss or damage to merchandise. General average - A loss arising out of a voluntary sacrifice made of any part of a shipment or cargo to prevent loss of the whole and for the benefit of all persons concerned. FPA - Free of particular average - a provision in a marine cargo insurance policy that no claim shall be paid for damage to goods in the course of a voyage unless a loss is sustained that totals or exceeds a certain percentage of the value as specified in the policy. The object of such a provision is the avoidance of petty claims. Open Policy - A contract between an insurance company and the exporter by which all shipments made by the assured are automatically protected from the time the merchandise leaves the initial shipping. Particular average - A partial loss or damage of merchandise caused by a peril insured against, but which is not a general-average loss.


Mini-Land Bridge.

N / P

Notify Party.

NCV (No Commercial Value)

Shipments declared as having no commercial value but having a value for Customs. Best example would be business documents.

Non-Conference Rate

Rates which are assessed by those lines that do not belong to a particular conference. Rates can be approximately 10% lower than conference rates.


Those goods which are exempt from duty as per each nation's Customs regulation.


Not otherwise specified/Not elsewhere specified. This term often appears in ocean or airfreight tariffs respectively. If no rate for the specific commodity shipped appears in the tariff, then a general class rate (for example, "printed matter NES") will apply. Such rates usually are higher than rates for specific commodities.


Non-vessel operating common carrier. A firm that offers the same services as an ocean carrier, but which does not own or operate a vessel. NVOCCs usually act as consolidators, accepting small shipments (LCL) and consolidating them into full containerloads. They then act as a shipper, tendering the containers to ocean common carriers. They are required to file tariffs with the Federal Maritime commission and are subject to the same laws and statutes that apply to primary common carriers.

O / B

Onboard Vessel.

O / F

Ocean Freight (charges).


Ocean Bill of Lading.

Ocean Bill of Lading

Issued by: Steamship line Purpose: Each carrier has its own bill of lading form. Serves as contract of carriage between carrier and shipper, spelling out legal responsibilities and liability limits for all parties to the shipment. The B/L also can be used to transfer title to the goods to a party named in the document. Specifics shipment details, such as number of pieces, weight, destination, etc. Usually three signed originals issued. Licensed consolidators (NVOCCs) issue their own B/Ls to shippers.

On-Board Courier

A dedicated messenger who physically accompanies an international shipment.

On-Deck Cargo

Cargo usually stowed on the deck of a vessel. This cargo is usually subjected to wind and sea water.


Forwarding a shipment from an intermediate stop to its final destination; subject to additional charge.

Open Tops

A 20' or 40' container with the top being open. Used for oversized cargo, and it's covered by a tarp for protection of the cargo.

Oversized Pieces

Shipments of 85 inches or greater that are too large to fit on a pallet.

Packing List

This important document describes all items in the box, crate, pallet, or container, plus the type, dimensions, and weight of the container. It is used to determine total shipping weight and volume (cubes) by Customs officials to check cargo, and by the buyer to inventory merchandise received. Prices and item values are usually omitted from the Packing List. Shipping marks, reference numbers and carton numbers are also important additions to the packing list.

Palletized Cargo

Cargo that is placed on portable platforms for easier loading/unloading or transportation. Platforms are called pallets.


Products that require expedited transport or special attention to prevent spoilage or decay such as fruits, vegetables, frozen fish or certain chemical products.

Phytosanitary Inspection Certificates

Also referred to as "plant health" certificates, these are required by many foreign countries for shipments of plants and plant products. They serve to certify conformity to local plant quarantine import regulation with respect to pest and disease infection.

Pick Up Service

Retrieving goods from a shipper to be brought to their destination for a fee.


Port of Discharge, also Proof of Delivery.

Point of Origin

The location where a shipment first starts out.


Port of Landing

Port of Entry

The Port, airport, or other location whereby a shipment enters a country.

Postal Code

A four to nine digit number identifying postal delivery zones in Canadian and international cities

Power of Attorney

Exporters and Importers authorize Freight Fowarders and Customs Brokers to act as their agents, for export control and Customs purposes, with this document. Completed Power of Attorney documents, however, do not relieve importers or exporters from liability to the U.S. Government in the event of export control or entry errors.


Prepaid Charges.

Prepaid freight

Freight paid by the shipper to the carrier when merchandise is tendered for shipment. Not refundable if the merchandise does not arrive at the intended destination

Preprinted Airbill

Airbills preprinted with shipping company name, address and account number. Preprinted airbills help speed completion of shipping documentation and assure accurate billing

Pro forma Invoice

The Pro Forma is used primarily to document to the buyer, in advance, the cost and terms of sale of a proposed export. It is used by the foreign buyer as a quotation from the exporter and also to assist in applying for a Letter of Credit from his bank. The Pro Forma Invoice serves as the basis for the subsequent Commercial Invoice.


Port to Port.

Receipt For Shipment B/L

When the steamship line gives the shipper a B/L indicating that cargo has been received at the pier, but not necessarily loaded on the vessel.


This container usually has a self-sustaining unity to keep cargo cool/cold at certain temperatures.

Restricted Articles

An airline term meaning a hazardous material as defined by Title 49, Code of Federal Regulations (U.S.) and Air Transport Restricted Articles Circular 6-D. Restricted articles may be transported domestically and may be classified as dangerous goods when transported internationally by air.

Ro / Ro

Roll-on/Roll-off. A type of vessel that transports wheeled vehicles. Also used to refer to the cargo itself.

S /


Schedule B Number

A number from a published governmental list that classifies commodities being exported from the United States. Needed for completion of international shipping documentation.

Shipper's Declaration For Dangerous Goods

Under the regulations of the Department of Transportation, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), and the International Maritime Organization (IMO), shippers and exporters are required to declare dangerous cargos to the air and ocean carriers they use for shipment. Both the IMO and IATA require specific documents to report hazardous goods, and these requirements are published in their respective Codes. IATA also provides a document specifically for non-restricted articles.

Shipper's Export Declaration (SED)

Issued by: Exporter (or freight forwarder on exporter's behalf) Purpose: U.S. Forms 7525-V and 7525-V-Alternate (for intermodal shipments) required by federal law for any commodity with value over $2,500 or any shipment requiring validated export license. Enables Bureau of the Census to compile trade statistics. Shipper or its agent submits form to carrier, which then submits SEDs for all shipments on vessel voyage or aircraft flight to U.S. Customs.

Shipper's Interest Insurance

Insurance, arranged for by carrier if specified on the Airbill, which covers shipments against risk of physical loss or damage from any external causes.

Shipper's Letter of Instruction

These instructions, often prepared along with a Shipper's Export Declaration, are the exporter's direction to the freight forwarder on how to handle the exporter's shipment. The information prepared on the SLI includes a description of the goods and containers, the ultimate consignee, shipping method desired, insurance requirements, and special instructions pertaining to the shipment.

Ship's Gear

Any equipment ( such as cranes, hatches, winches, cables) belonging to or part of the vessel.

Sight, Time Drafts

Issued by: Exporter (or freight forwarder on exporter's behalf) Purpose: Request for payment from foreign buyer. Instructs buyer's bank to collect payment; when collected it releases shipping documents to buyer. Buyer's bank then remits to seller's bank. Sight drafts are payable on receipt at buyer's bank. Time drafts extend credit; foreign bank releases documents immediately, but collects payment later, for example, 30 days after receipt of draft.

Single Access Document

Also referred to as "SAD" the Single Access Document required for movement of goods through the countries of the European Economic Community. Generally prepared by Customs Brokers in Europe for imports entering the EC.

Skidded Crate

A crate with skids underneath for easy lifting with fork lifts.

SL & C

Shipper Load and Count.


Short Ton (2,000 pounds).


Said to Contain.

Steamship Conference

A voluntary collective ratemaking body representing member steamship lines.

Steamship Line

A company that owns and/or operates vessels in maritime trade.


Railroad term which means Trailer On Flat Car.

Tare Weight

The weight of a shipment excluding the goods being shipped (compare with Gross Weight.)


A document issued by a carrier setting forth applicable rules, rates, and charges for the movement of goods. It sets up a contract of carriage between the shipper, consignee, and carrier. In international trade applications, the term also refers to a tax on imports.

Tariff Rate

The rate or price schedule for transporting different items to various countries.


A communication wire service that automatically transmits data that has been entered on a teletypewriter.


Twenty-foot equivalent unit. Used to measure a vessel's capacity.


Terminal Handling Charge.

Third Party Billing

Third Party Billing

Transmittal Letter

The Transmittal Letter, commonly prepared with a Bank Draft, is the document used to send shipping documents to a remitting bank for processing either a collection or payment/negotiation under a Letter of Credit. It contains the shipper's precise and complete instructions on how the documents are to be handled and the payments remitted.


Shipment of merchandise to the point of destination in another country on more than one vessel or vehicle. The liability may pass from one carrier to the next, or it may be covered by "through bills of lading" issued by the first carriers.


Terminal Receiving Charge.


Time Volume Contract.


Unit load device. Refers to airfreight containers and pallets.

Unit Cost

The cost associated with one unit of an item.


Labels and aluminum placards bearing the new (1991) logo of the Agency for International development. All merchandise exported under an A.I.D. program or contract must be labeled with the USAID emblem.

Validated Export License

Issued by: U.S. Department of Commerce. Purpose: Required for commodities deemed important to national security, foreign-policy objectives, or protecting domestic supplies or strategic materials. Constitutes permission to export a specific product to a specific party. Exporter applies for license, which must be returned to Bureau of Export Administration after completing specified shipments.

W / M

Weight or Measure: whichever is greater.

Weight Certificate

The Weight Certificate, usually a certified copy of the Packing List, is occasionally required by the foreign buyer for control purposes. This type of certification may be made with an export inspection company.


Weight or Weight Ton.

Zip Code

A five (or nine) digit number that identifies every Post Office and delivery station within the United States. ZIP coded shipments will be delivered quicker than uncoded shipments.

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