Less Common Terms

Other shipping terms that you may hear…


Bunker Adjustment Factor.  Bunker is simply the name given to the Heavy oil used to fuel ocean vessels.  BAF is a surcharge assessed by the carrier to freight rates to reflect current cost of bunker.


Currency Adjustment Factor.  A charge added to ocean freight to compensate for exchange rate fluctuations.


Container Freight Station.  A carrier facility where LCL shipments are loaded or unloaded (normally at or by a port).


China Import Service Fee.  This is a hidden cost that can arise when goods are sent using CFR or CIF shipping terms.  It’s not easy to pin down exactly what it’s paying for or who it’s going to but it can arise when the shipper pays a very low amount for the freight at origin.


Deferment is when a bank account is held with Customs to pay Duty and VAT.  If you don’t have your own Deferment account (often the case) then you can use your Import Agent/Customs Broker’s account although they often charge for this.


Charges raised by the carrier for detaining a freight vehicle or container beyond a stipulated time.  This occasionally arises when shipping full containers and they are held too long at the port or at the delivery point when longer than the 3 hours allotted time is taken to unload the container.


Delivered Duty Unpaid.  The shipper is responsible for getting the goods to the agreed delivery point.  However, the goods are not cleared for import so the Consignee must pay the local duties and taxes.


Delivered Duty Paid.   The shipper is responsible for getting the goods to the agreed delivery point and paying all costs including duties and taxes.

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The removal of cargo from a container.  Also known as unstuffing, unloading or unpacking.

Feeder Vessel

A ship that generally moves goods a short distance to and from the port where the main ocean going vessels are in operation.  They are often used when a shipper wants to use a smaller port that doesn’t have a service directly to the port of discharge.


Incoterms are a standardised set of rules that define the rights and liabilities of both buyer and seller in an international transaction.  Incoterms are drafted by the International Chamber of Commerce and include FOB, EXW, CIF, DDU etc.


A Reefer is the generic name for a temperature-controlled container.  These containers allow temperature controlled air circulation within the container from a refrigeration plant in the rear of the container.


Terminal Handling Charge.  The cost for the handling of the goods/container at a port.  The THC for FCL shipments is for moving the container itself and for LCL it’s for the packing or unpacking of the goods so is billed in w/m.


To transfer goods from one from one ship to another.


Weight per measure.  This means that the cost will depend on whether the volume or the weight of the shipment is greater.  When calculating which will be the deciding factor 1.0cbm = 1000kg.


Verified Gross Mass. Required by shippers to confirm the weight of containers before they are loaded. Implemented by SOLAS to avoid structural damages to vessels and health hazards to ship crew.



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