Dictionary of Shipping Terms


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A number of workmen acting together especially for loading and/or discharging operations of a vessel in combination with the necessary gear. (On a vessel for instance 6 gangs can be ordered to discharge or load.)
Bridge laid from an opening in the railing or side of a vessel to the shore or to a platform with the purpose of giving access to and from the vessel.
Gantry Crane
A crane or hoisting machine mounted on a frame or structure spanning an intervening space, which often travels on rails.
Garments On Hangers
Clothes in containers on hangers and hung from rails during transit, reducing the handling required for the garments.
  1. A point at which cargo is interchanged between carriers or modes of transport.
  2. A means of access, an entry.
Motor generator set as power source for, e.g., thermal containers.
General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade
Abbreviation: GATT
Major international agreement on trade and tariffs between many nations all over the world. The discussions are now held by the WTO.
General Average
Abbreviation: G/A
Intentional act or sacrifice which is carried out to safeguard vessel and cargo. When a vessel is in danger, the master has the right to sacrifice property and/or to incur reasonable expenditure. Measures taken for the sole benefit of any particular interest are not considered general average.
General Average Act (York-Antwerp Rules)
There is a general average act when, and only when any extraordinary sacrifice or expenditure is intentionally and reasonably made or incurred for the common safety for the purpose of preserving from peril the property involved in a common maritime adventure.
General Average Statement
This shows in detail all general average costs and expenses and the contribution of each interest in the general average in proportion to its value.
General Cargo
  1. Cargo, consisting of goods, unpacked or packed, for example in cartons, crates, bags or bales, often palletised. General cargo can be shipped either in breakbulk or containerised.
  2. Any consignment other than a consignment containing valuable cargo and charged for transport at general cargo rates (air cargo).
General Cargo Rate
Abbreviation: GCR
The rate for the carriage of cargo other than a class rate or specific commodity rate (air cargo).
General Purpose Container
A container used for the carriage of general cargo without any special requirements for the transport and or the conditioning of the goods.
Germanischer Lloyd
German classification society.
A warehouse or cargo shed. This term is often used in the Far East.
  1. Common term indicating movable property, merchandise or wares.
  2. All materials which can be used to satisfy demands.
  3. Whole or part of the cargo received from the shipper, including any equipment supplied by the shipper.
Goods Control Certificate
Document issued by a competent body evidencing the quality of goods described therein, in accordance with national or international standards, or conforming to legislation in the importing country, or as specified in the contract.
Goods Flow
The direction and path of the movement of goods and sequence of placement of those goods in a supply chain.
Goods Item
A separate identifiable quantity of products or articles of a single type.
Goods Receipt
Document issued by a port, warehouse, shed, or terminal operator acknowledging receipt of goods specified therein on conditions stated or referred to in the document.
Goods in Transit
The goods which have departed from the initial loading point and not yet arrived at the final unloading point.
  1. Gooseneck shaped front end of a trailer or chassis.
  2. Recess front bottom of a container to reduce the total height of the chassis plus container.
Green Equipment Availability
The availability of environmentally friendly equipment for transport.
Grid Number
An indication of the position of a container in a bay plan by means of a combination of page number, column and line. The page number often represents the bay number.
Gross Manifest
A manifest containing freight details without any appropriate disbursements.
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Gross Tonnage
Abbreviation: GRT
The measure of the overall size of a vessel determined in accordance with the provisions of the international convention on measurement of vessels usually expressed in register ton.
Gross Weight
  1. Weight (mass) of goods including packing, but excluding the carrier's equipment expressed in whole kilograms.
  2. The weight of a shipment including materials necessary for blocking etc. (air cargo).
Gross Weight of Container
Total weight of container including cargo (in kilograms).
Charge for permission to anchor.
The collection of several small consignments and the formation of one large shipment thereof (road cargo).
Groupage Centre
A location where groupage activities take place (road-cargo).
Guarantee for customs
An enforceable legal instrument with which a customs administration can recover duties and taxes which become payable in the event of irregularities during a transit movement.

Hague Protocol
Amendment of the Warsaw convention at The Hague, September 28, 1955 (air cargo).
Hague Rules
International convention for the unification of certain rules, relating to Bills of Lading (1924). These Rules include the description of responsibilities of Shipping Lines.
Hague-Visby Rules
Set of rules, published in 1968, amending the Hague Rules.
Half Height Container
An open top container, fitted with or without soft or hard cover, 4'3" in height.
Light rope or tackle fitted to a staff, spar or gaff used for flying flags.
Hamburg Rules
United Nations Convention on the carriage of goods by sea of 1978 adopted in 1992.
Handling Instructions
Indication how cargo is to be handled.
Handling Service
Service concerning the physical handling of cargo.
Place of shelter for vessels. Most of the time used as an indication for the geographical location.
Harmonized System
Abbreviation: HS
It is a numeric multi purpose system, the international convention on the HS was established under auspices of the World Customs Organisation in 1983, for the classification of goods with its six digits covering about 5000 descriptions of the products or groups of products most commonly produced and traded. It is designed for customs services, but can also be used for statistics, transport purposes, export, import and manufacturing.
Hatch Cover
Watertight means of closing the hatchway of a vessel.
Hatch Way
Opening in the deck of a vessel through which cargo is loaded into, or discharged from the hold and which is closed by means of a hatch cover.
The inland carriage of cargo or containers between named locations/points.
  1. Merchant inspired Carrier Haulage or customer nominated Carrier Haulage or shipper preferred Carrier Haulage service performed by a sub-contractor of the merchant.
  2. Carrier inspired Merchant Haulage means Haulage service performed by a sub- contractor of the Carrier
Road carrier.
Header Board
See Bulkhead (road cargo)
Heated Container
Thermal container served by a heat producing appliance.
Heavy Lift
Single commodity exceeding the capacity of normal loading equipment and requiring special equipment and rigging methods for handling.
Heavy Lift Vessel
A vessel specially designed and equipped for the carriage of heavy cargo.
Buying or selling earlier and more than really needed in order to protect the company against price increases or shortages of commodities or components to realise profits when prices fluctuate.
The process of solving problems by evaluating each step in the progress, searching for satisfactory solutions rather than optimal solutions. It comprises XE "A form of problem solving where the results are determined by ex" a form of problem solving where the results are determined by experience or intuition instead of by optimisation.
The inland area served by a certain port.
Hitchment Cargo
An amount of goods which is added to an original consignment as the owner and the destination are the same as those of the original consignment.
Loading condition of a vessel in such a way that the centre of the vessel is slightly raised (arch-wise in the centre).
The space below the deck of a vessel, used to carry cargo.
Home Port
The port of registration of a vessel.
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Hot Hatch
Sequenced on deck loading of containers to enable priority discharge at arrival port ؟ usually required for direct discharge to vehicle to meet a Just In Time delivery.
House Address
Place of receipt respectively delivery (name and address) in case of carrier haulage.
House to House Transport
The transport of cargo from the premises of the consignor to the premises of the consignee.

Note: In the United States the term 'Point to Point Transport' is used instead of the term 'Door to Door Transport', because the term 'house' may mean 'customs house' or 'brokers house', which are usually located in the port.

The central transhipment point in a transport structure, serving a number of consignees and/or consignors by means of spokes. The stretches between hubs mutually are referred to as trunks.
Huckepack Carriage
See Piggyback
Outer shell of a vessel, made of steel plates or other suitable material to keep water outside the vessel.
Taking care of a vessel's non cargo related operations as instructed by the master or owner of such vessel.


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