Dictionary of Shipping Terms


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EDI For Administration, Commerce and Transport
Abbreviation: UN/EDIFACT
The ISO application level syntax rules for the structuring of user data and of the associated service data in the interchange of messages in an open environment.
Econometric Models
A system of simultaneous equations for forecasting, based on mutual dependency among the variables used.
Economic Speed
That speed of a means of transport which produces the best possible financial result for the owner. Such speed should not be in excess of the maximum or minimum output allowed for the engine(s).
Economy of Scale
A phenomenon which encourages the production of larger volumes of a commodity to reduce its unit cost by distributing fixed costs over a greater quantity.
Electronic Business
The process of transacting business electronically. This includes the sharing of unstructured of structured business information by any electronic means among suppliers, customers, governmental bodies, service providers and other parties in order to conduct and execute transactions in business, administrative and other activities.
Electronic Data Interchange
Abbreviation: EDI
The transfer of structured data, by agreed standards from applications on the computer of one party to the applications on the computer of another party by electronic means.
Electronic Data Processing
Abbreviation: EDP
The computerised handling of information (e.g. business data).
Equipment used to discharge some bulk cargoes such as grain which is removed from the hold by a continuous line of buckets or by suction and carried on a conveyor belt to store.
Email (Electronic mail)
The sending of unstructured messages through the use of computer systems from one person to others.
  1. A government order prohibiting the entry or departure of commercial vessels or goods at its ports.
  2. The refusal by a carrier, for a limited period, to accept for transport over any route or segment thereof, and to or from any area or point, of a connecting carrier, any commodity, type of class of cargo duly tendered (air cargo).
Emergency Medical Service
Abbreviation: EMS
Medical procedures in case of emergencies on board of vessels.
A method of converting information into a form which can be transmitted over insecure channels such as phone lines so that confidentiality is preserved.
The transfer of the right to obtain delivery of the goods of the carrier by means of the consignee's signature on the reverse side of a bill of lading. If the name of the new consignee (transferee) is not stated, the endorsement is an open one which means that every holder of the document is entitled to obtain delivery of the goods.
Document issued by a party interested in the purchase of goods specified therein and indicating particular, desirable conditions regarding delivery terms, etc., addressed to a prospective supplier with a view to obtaining an offer.
  1. Flag declaring a ship's country of registry.
  2. Commissioned officer, lowest rank.
An Organisation created to provide products and/or services to customers.
A tangible or abstract thing of relevance to business about which data may be kept. Example: Customer, Order
Material resources necessary to facilitate the transport and handling of cargo. Transport equipment does under the given circumstances not have the ability to move by its own propulsion (e.g. sea container, trailer, unit load device, pallet).
Equipment Damage Report
Abbreviation: EDR
Written statement concerning damage to equipment, based on a physical inspection.
Equipment Interchange Receipt
Abbreviation: EIR
Physical inspection and transfer receipt.
Estimated Time of Arrival
Abbreviation: ETA
The expected date and time of arrival in a certain (air)port.
Estimated Time of Departure
Abbreviation: ETD
The expected date and time when a certain (air)port is left.
European Article Numbering Association
Abbreviation: EAN
An international body responsible for administering the European Article Numbering system.

It has affiliates in many countries such as: CCG in West Germany, DCC in Japan, ANA in the United Kingdom.

Note: The North American body responsible for the Uniform Product Code (UPC) coding is the Uniform Code Council. (UPC is considered a subset of EAN).

European Pallet Pool
Pool for the exchange of standard size pallets (the so-called Europallets) in European cargo traffic, formed in 1961 by a number of European rail administrators.
European Zone Charge
Abbreviation: EZC
A charge for inland haulage transport in case of carrier haulage in Europe.
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Even Keel
Said of a vessel which is balanced in such a way that the draft forward and aft is the same as the draft in the midship of the vessel on both sides.
An occurrence.
Something which supports a claim or hypothesis.
Ex Works (...named place)
Abbreviation: EXW
See Inco Terms
Exceptions Clause
See Exemption Clause
Going over the prescribed amount or degree e.g. excess luggage is luggage of which the weight is over the weight for free carriage.
Excess Stock
That portion of stock on hand which is over and above the desired stock level.
Exchange Rate
The rate at which one currency can be exchanged for another, usually expressed as the value of the one in terms of the other.
The actual act of carrying out a task.
Exemption Clause
A clause in a contract, which relieves the carrier's responsibility for certain events.
Likely to occur or appear.
The 'rushing' or 'chasing' of production or purchase orders which are needed in less than the normal lead time.
Expendable Pallet
See Disposable Pallet
Costs paid out in connection with booking of cargo and arranging transport (e.g. commission).
Termination of a certain period.
The process of carrying or sending goods to another country or countries, especially for purposes of use or sale in the country of destination. The sale of products to clients abroad.
Export Licence
Document granting permission to export as detailed within a specified time.
Export Packer
Company, packing goods for export.
The party responsible for the export of goods.
Summary or copy of something written, e.g. used in connection with the log book.

Facilitation Committee of the IMO.
Federal Maritime Commission (Control of Shipping acts USA)
Full Truck Load, an indication for a truck transporting cargo directly from supplier to receiver.
A term used to distinguish manufacturing operations for components as opposed to assembly operations.
The implementation of measures leading to the simplification, standardisation and harmonisation of the formalities, procedures, documents and operations inherent to international trade transactions.
Factory Delivery
The delivery of goods by a factory whereby the goods are put at the disposal of another (internal) party such as a commercial department.
A navigable channel for vessels, often the regular or prescribed track a vessel will follow in order to avoid dangerous circumstances.
Fashion Transport
Transport of clothing and/or garments including shoes, belts and handbags in dedicated means of transport.
Feed Back
The flow of information back into the control system so that actual performance can be compared with planned performance.
A vessel normally used for local or coastal transport (for carriage of cargo and/or containers) to and from ports not scheduled to be called by the main (ocean) vessel, directly connecting these ports to the main (ocean) vessel.
An appliance made of rubber, timber and/or rope or other materials normally attached to a dock or quay used to prevent damage to the hull of a vessel especially during mooring and un-mooring operations.
Ship carrying passengers and or vehicles engaged in regular short voyages, e.g. across a river or narrow body of water, between two or more places or ports.
Fifth Wheel
Circular or wheel-shaped bearing mechanism, secured on the rear of the chassis of a truck- tractor that engages the semi-trailer king pin with a spring lock device and supports the weight of the front end of the semi-trailer.
First Carrier
The carrier who actually performs the first part of the air transport (air cargo).
First In First Out
Abbreviation: FIFO
The method whereby the goods which have been longest in stock (first in) are used, delivered (sold) and/or consumed first (first out).
Five Freedoms
A collective term which depicts the five areas of 'rights' for the air-transportation of passengers or cargo, viz. (expressed in terms of an airline of country A):
  Freedom 1 the right to overfly a foreign country.
  Freedom 2 the right to make a non-traffic stop at a foreign country C en route to foreign country B.
  Freedom 3 the right to set down (off loading) passengers or cargo in a foreign country B from home country A.
  Freedom 4 the right to pick up (loading) passengers/ cargo from a foreign country B to country A.
  Freedom 5 the right to carry passengers or cargo between two foreign countries.
Fixed Crane
A crane of which the principal structure is mounted on permanent or semi-permanent foundations.
Fixed Height Load-carrying Truck
Truck carrying its load on a non-elevating platform.
Fixed Platform Truck
See Fixed Height Load-carrying Truck
An indication of the country in which a means of transport is registered through a reference to the ensign of this country.
Capable to be set on fire under given circumstances. (Amendment 25 IMO DGS).
Flash Point
The lowest temperature at which a good produces enough vapour to form a flammable mixture with air.
See Flat Rack
Flat Bed Trailer
A wheeled trailer or a semi-trailer with a flat cargo carrying surface or deck and without any superstructure.
Flat Pack
Garments packed in cardboard boxes.
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Flat Rack Container
A container with two end walls and open sides.
Any group of means of transport acting together or under one control.
The extent to which and the rate at which adjustments to changed circumstances are possible.
Flight Number
A combination of two letters, indicating the airline, and three or four digits indicating the number of the voyage.
Freely suspending in water of an object.
Floating Crane
A crane mounted on a barge or pontoon, which can be towed or is self-propelled.
Floating Dock
A floating structure which can be partially submerged to enable vessels to enter and to leave and which can be raised for use as a dry dock.
Floating Stock
See Pipeline Inventory
Goods lost by shipwreck, found floating in the sea.
Flow Chart
A diagram, using symbols and depicting the sequence of events that should take place in a complex set of tasks.
Flow Control
A term often used to describe a specific production control system.
Flow Line
The direction of flow in which e.g. pallets have been positioned and stowed.
Flow of materials
The flow of materials and components which goes to and through the factory for the production process.
See Forecastle
Force Majeure
Circumstance which is beyond the control of one of the parties to a contract and which may, according to the terms and conditions, relieve that party of liability for failing to execute the contract.
Fore and Aft Stowage
Stowage from the bow to the stern (lengthwise), as opposed to stowage athwartships.
  1. An estimation or calculation in advance; a prediction.
  2. The amount of cargo expected to be booked for a certain sailing of a vessel.
  3. The number of containers expected to be used in a certain area, for steering purposes.
Abbreviation: Fo'c's'le
Forward part of a vessel where stores, ropes and anchor chains are located.
Fork Lift Pockets
See Fork Pockets
Fork Lift Truck
A three or four wheeled mechanical truck with forks at the front designed for lifting, carrying and stowing cargo.
Fork Pockets
Openings or recesses in a side of a container for the entry of the forks of a fork lift truck.
Formal Performance Evaluation
Evaluation of carrier؟s performance as per agreed contract.
Forms EDI
A screen presenting to a user the contents of an EDI message in a manner that is easy to use and interpret. The form may reside on a web site or the computer of the party viewing or completing the form. The form may be based on the UN Layout key (UNLK).
Formula of Camp
A mathematical formula on behalf of inventory management for calculating the optimum order quantity.
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Forty Foot Equivalent Unit
Abbreviation: FEU
Unit of measurement equivalent to one forty foot  container.
At, near or towards the bow or front of a vessel or an aircraft.
The party arranging the carriage of goods including connected services and/or associated formalities on behalf of a shipper or consignee.
Forwarding Charge
Charges paid or to be paid for preliminary surface or air transport to the airport of departure by a forwarder, but not by a carrier under an Air Waybill (air cargo).
Forwarding Instruction
Document issued to a freight forwarder, giving instructions to the forwarder for the forwarding of goods described therein.
Four Way Pallet
A pallet of which the frame permits the entry of forks of e.g. a fork lift truck at all four sides.
Easily breakable. Term denoting that goods should be handled with care.
Franc Poincar
Unit of value in which the limitation of the carrier's liability is sometimes expressed. One franc poincar؟onsists of 65.5 milligram of gold with a fineness of nine hundred thousands.
Amount which in case of damage will have to be borne by the assured.
Avoidance of payment of taxes and duties in full or in part or the claiming and obtaining of fictitious export refund claims. (Customs)
Free Alongside Ship (...named port of shipment)
Abbreviation: FAS
See Inco Terms
Free Carrier (...named place)
Abbreviation: FCA
See Inco Terms
Free House Unclear
Delivered at a certain destination without payment of certain duties or incurred costs.
Free In Liner Out
Abbreviation: FILO
Transport condition denoting that the freight rate is inclusive of the sea carriage and the cost of discharging, the latter as per the custom of the port. It excludes the cost of loading and, if appropriate, stowage and lashing.
Free In and Out
Abbreviation: FIO
Transport condition denoting that the freight rate excludes the costs of loading and discharging and, if appropriate, stowage and lashing.
Free Lift
The maximum elevation of the forks of a fork lift truck.
Free On Board (...named port of shipment)
Abbreviation: FOB
See Inco Terms
Free Port
An international port or an area within an international port at which, crew, passengers, baggage, cargo, mail and stores may be disembarked or unloaded, may remain and may be transhipped, without being subjected to any customs charges or duties. (Examination is possible for instance to meet security or narcotics control requirements.) Source: IMO.
Free Pratique
Permission granted by local medical authorities, denoting that the vessel has a clean Bill of Health so that people may embark and disembark.
Free Trade Zone
Abbreviation: FTZ
A part of the territory of a state where any goods introduced are generally regarded, in so far as import duties and taxes are concerned, as being exempted (Kyoto Convention).
Distance measured vertically from the freeboard deck accepted and indicated by the class bureau to the waterline under specified conditions.
Freeboard of a Vessel
Vertical distance from the main deck to the surface of the water measured at the middle of the vessel's length.
The amount of money due for the carriage of goods and payable either in advance or upon delivery.
Freight All Kinds
Abbreviation: FAK
Single freight which is charged irrespective of the commodity.
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Freight Collect
Freight and charges to be paid by the consignee.
Freight Container
See Container
Freight Costs
Costs incurred by the merchant in moving goods, by whatever means, from one place to another under the terms of the contract of carriage. In addition to transport costs this may include such elements as packing, documentation, loading, unloading and transport insurance.
Freight Forwarder
See Forwarder
Freight Invoice
An itemised list of goods shipped and services rendered stating fees and charges.
Freight Manifest
A (cargo) manifest including all freight particulars.
Freight Payer
The party which, by virtue of an agreement is responsible for the payment of freight charges to the carrier.
Freight Prepaid
Freight and charges to be paid by the consignor.
Freight Ton
A unit for freighting cargo according to weight and/or cubic measurement.
A vessel or an aircraft used for the carriage of cargo.
Full Container Load
Abbreviation: FCL
  1. A container stuffed or stripped under risk and for account of the shipper and/or the consignee.
  2. A general reference for identifying container loads of cargo loaded and/or discharged at merchants' premises.
Full Trailer
A truck trailer constructed in such way that its own weight and that of the cargo rest upon its own wheels, instead of being supported by e.g. a tractor.
Fully Cellular Containership
Abbreviation: FCC
A vessel specially designed to carry containers, with cell-guides under deck and necessary fittings and equipment on deck.
To expose certain spaces to the action of fumes in order to disinfect or kill vermin. For containers done in line with national legislation.
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(A-B) (C-D) (E-F) (G-H) (I-J) (K-L) (M-N) (O-P) (Q-R) (S-T) (U-V) (W-X) (Y-Z)