Dictionary of Shipping Terms


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A tangible of abstract thing of relevance to business.
Object Oriented Approach
The development of classes of business objects may support and have an impact on the developments in the area of simplification of EDI and its standards. A business object is a true representation of a tangible concept stemming from real business usage.
Obsolete Stock
The products or materials that cannot be or is unlikely to be used in future processes and which is to be sold or disposed of through the usual outlets.
Contracting work carried out at sea (e.g. drilling for oil).
Oil Bulk Ore Vessel
Abbreviation: OBO-Vessel
A vessel designed for the carriage of either dry or liquid bulk cargo.
On-line Charge
The charge which applies to carriage over the lines of a single carrier.
On-line Rate
See On-line Charge
The carriage of goods (containers) by any mode of transport to the place of delivery after discharge from the ocean vessel (main means of transport) at the port (place) of discharge.
One Stop Shop
An organisation, which provides all needed requirements in one location.
One Way Pallet
Note: The addition 'One Way' has nothing to do with the number of pallet sides in which the forks of e.g. a fork lift can enter, as opposed to the two and four way pallets.
See Disposable Pallet
Open Order
See Backlog
Open Sided Container
Container with frames with wire-mesh at the sides covered by means of a tarpaulin, which can be dropped down to, give unrestricted access to the sides of the container for loading or discharging.
Open Top Container
A freight container similar in all respects to a general purpose container except that it has no rigid roof but may have a flexible and movable or removable cover, for example one made of canvas or plastic or reinforced plastic material normally supported on movable or removable roof bows.
Operating Efficiency
A ratio of the actual output of a piece of equipment, department, or plant as compared to the planned or standard output.
Operations Research
The development and application of quantitative techniques to the solution of problems. More specifically, theory and methodology in mathematics, statistics, and computing are adapted and applied to the identification, formulation, solution, validation, implementation, and control of decision making problems.
The party responsible for the day to day operational management of certain premises such as ware-houses, terminals and vessels.
Optimal Trim
The best calculated TRIM related to speed engine capacity, fuel consumption for a specific sailing condition.
Achieving the best possible solution to a problem in terms of a specified objective function.
One of a limited range of choices or features that is offered to a customer when purchasing an otherwise basic standard product and that has to be an integral part of the product (used in commercial trading).
Optional Cargo
Cargo of which the final destination is not known at the moment of booking but will be indicated during the transport.
Optional Port
A port of which it is not known whether or not a vessel during a voyage will make a call.
A request to deliver specified quantities of goods or to render specific services.
Order Line
Each line on a customer's purchase order. An order line always contains one Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) only, but the number may vary.
An identifiable social unit with a particular responsibility which endeavour to achieve multiple goals by co-ordinated activities and relationships between members and objects.
Out of Gauge Cargo
Cargo which dimensions are exceeding the normal dimensions of a 20 or 40 feet container, e.g. overlength, overwidth, overheight, or combinations thereof.
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A carrier, which operates on a route served by a liner conference but which is not a member of that conference.
Subcontracting of activities.
Outturn Report
Written statement by a stevedoring company in which the condition of cargo discharged from a vessel is noted along with any discrepancies in the quantity compared with the vessel's manifest.
Outward Handling
The operations to be performed on outgoing goods from a production unit, both administrative and physical, starting at the moment forwarding orders can be executed to the moment of actual departure of the goods.
Over Pivot Rate
The rate per kilogram to be charged for the over pivot weight (air cargo).
Over Pivot Weight
The weight in excess of the pivot weight (air cargo).
A carrier within a consortium who carries cargo beyond the allotment distributed to him.
Overheight Cargo
Cargo, exceeding the standard height.
Overlength Cargo
Cargo, exceeding the standard length.
A unit used by a single shipper to contain one or more packages and to form one handling unit for convenience of handling and stowage. Dangerous goods packages contained in the overpack must be properly packed, marked, labelled and in proper condition as required by the Regulations regarding dangerous goods (air cargo).
Work beyond normal established working hours which usually requires a premium to be paid to the employees concerned.
Overwidth Cargo
Cargo, exceeding the standard width.
The legal owner of cargo, equipment or means of transport.
Owner's Container Code
See Container Prefix
P & I Club
See Protection and Indemnity Club
  1. Any physical piece of cargo in relation to transport consisting of the contents and its packing for the purpose of ease of handling by manual or mechanical means.
  2. The final product of the packing operation consisting of the packing and its contents to facilitate manual or mechanical handling.
Materials used for the containment, protection, handling, delivery and presentation of goods and the activities of placing and securing goods in those materials.
Any container or other covering in which goods are packed.
Packing Instruction
Document issued within an enterprise giving instructions on how goods are to be packed.
Packing List
Document specifying the contents of each individual package.
Packing Unit
A type of package where a standard quantity of products of a specific product type can be packed and that requires no additional packaging for storage and shipment.
A platform on which goods can be stacked in order to facilitate the movement by a fork lift or sling.
Pallet Convertor
Superstructure which can be applied to a pallet to convert it into either a box or post pallet.
Pallet Rack
A skeleton framework, of fixed or adjustable design, to support a number of individual pallet loads.
Pallet Truck
Pedestrian- or rider-controlled non-stacking lift truck fitted with forks.
Panamax Size
The maximum measurements and dimensions of a vessel capable to pass the Panama Canal.
See Package
Participating Carrier
  1. A carrier participating in a tariff and who therefore applies the rates, charges, routing and regulations of the tariff.
  2. A carrier over whose air routes one or more sections of carriage under the Air Waybill is undertaken or performed (air cargo).
Particular Average
A fortuitous partial loss to the subject matter insured, proximately caused by an insured peril but which is not a general average loss. Particular average only relates to damage and/or expenses which are exclusively borne by the owners of a vessel which has sustained damage as a result of e.g. heavy weather or by the owners of the cargo, which has been damaged in transit.
See Divider
An ongoing relationship between two organisations which involves a commitment over an extended time period and a mutual sharing of the risks and rewards of the relationship.
A party to whom a payment is made or owed.
A party who pays or is to pay.
The revenue-producing load carried by a means of transport.
That which discharges a debt.
Payment Against Documents
Instructions given by a seller to a bank to the effect that the buyer may collect the documents necessary to obtain delivery of the goods only upon actual payment of the invoice.
Performance Indicator
A variable indicating the effectiveness and/or efficiency of a process.
Performance Measurement
The comparison of the results of business processes with each other or with standards in order to know the effectiveness of these processes and/or the supportive actions.
Ratio expressed as a percentage assumed for the volume of a compartment which can be flooded by water after damage, to the total volume of that compartment; respectively the actual calculated value of that ratio.
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Phased Delivery
The delivery of parts of the shipment.
Physical Distribution
Those activities related to the flow of goods from the end of conversion to the customer.
Physical Distribution Management
The planning execution and control of those activities which are related to the flow of goods from the end of conversion to the customer.
Pick Order
An order to pick certain quantities of goods out of a stock.
Pick Up Service
The carriage of outbound consignments from the point of pick up to the airport of departure (air cargo).
Pick Up and Delivery
A service concerning the collection of cargo from the premises of the consignor and the delivery to the premises of the consignee.
Pick and Pack
Taking goods out of a stock and packing them according to customer conditions.
Taking products or components out of a stock.
Picking List
A list used to collect items from stores needed to fulfil an order.
See Quay
The carriage of road vehicles and trailers on railway wagons.
Petty stealing of goods from a ship's hold, cargo shed or warehouse.
  1. Local expert advising a vessel's captain on safe navigation in those areas where the captain is ignorant of local circumstances or where it is obligatory to take a pilot.
  2. A person qualified to operate the controls of an aircraft.
Pilot In Command
The pilot responsible for the operation and safety of the aircraft during flight time.
  1. A line of pipes for conveying liquids and gasses.
  2. The physical goods flow from a supplying organisation to a receiving organisation.
Pipeline Inventory
The amount of goods in a pipeline: the sum of loading stock, goods in transit and receiving stock.
Pivot Weight
Minimum chargeable weight of a Unit Load Device.
Place of Acceptance
See Place of Receipt
Place of Delivery
The location where a consignment (shipment) is delivered to the consignee viz. the place where the carrier's liability ends for the transport venture.
Place of Despatch
Name and address specifying where goods are collected or taken over by the carrier (i.e. if other than consignor).
Place of Receipt
The location where a consignment (shipment) is received by the carrier from the shipper viz. the place where the carrier's liability for transport venture commences.
The activity of positioning an object or goods in a chosen location or position.
The setting of goals over a certain time and the determination of how to achieve these goals and with what resource.
Planning Horizon
The period of time to which a certain particular plan relates.
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The area on an airport where aircrafts are parked for embarkation and/or loading and discharging purposes (air cargo).
Platform Body
A truck or trailer without ends, sides or top but with only a floor.
Plimsoll Mark
A mark, welded on both sides of the vessel, which gives the limit to which a vessel may be loaded, depending on the specific gravity of the water in which the vessel is situated.
Point Value
The point value can be seen as the relative value of an empty container of a certain size type in a depot location. The system serves to quantify the imbalance costs resulting from a full container move and are the result of empty optimisation calculations.

Point values are created on forecasted container flows between depot locations.

They are calculated taking into account a.o. the forecasted imbalances plus repositioning, storage and container costs for empty moves and expressed in USD.

Note: In the various computer systems point values are used to calculate the imbalance charge or credit for a particular container flow. This charge or credit is the difference in point values between start and end depot location.

Point to Point Transport
See House to House Transport
A floating flat structure used for work alongside the ship, to facilitate embarkation or disembarkation of persons, or to move cargo alongside.
The shared use of e.g. equipment by a number of companies, which make together the investments in the equipment mentioned.
Aft part of a vessel where the steering engine is located.
  1. Harbour having facilities for vessels to moor and load or discharge.
  2. Left side of a vessel when facing towards the front or forward end.
Port of Call
Place where a vessel actually drops anchor or moors during a certain voyage.
Port of Discharge
The port where the cargo is actually discharged (unloaded) from the sea (ocean) going vessel.
Port of Loading
The port where the cargo is actually loaded on board the sea (ocean) going vessel.
Portal Crane
A type of gantry crane with vertical legs of sufficient height and width to permit vehicles or railroad equipment to pass between the legs.
A statement concerning a vessel containing the actual arrival and departure time used tugs, draft, dead-weight, quantity of discharged and loaded goods/containers and any other important particulars.
The transport of empty equipment from a depot to shipper's premises or from consignee's premises back to a depot as the empty leg of a carrier haulage transport.
Postal Code
A national code maintained by the Postal Authorities designed to indicate areas and accumulated addresses to facilitate sorting and the delivery of mail and other goods.

Note: The coding system is different in the various countries throughout the world. In the Netherlands the code consists of 4 figures and 2 characters.

That what has become customary as a result of repeated acts.
The act of placing goods in slings which are left in position and used for loading into and discharging from a conventional vessel.
Pre-trip Inspection
Abbreviation: PTI
A technical inspection of Reefer containers prior to positioning for stuffing.
The carriage of goods (containers) by any mode of transport from the place of receipt to the port (place) of loading into the ocean vessel (main means of transport).
The carrier by which the goods are moved prior to the main transport.
Preshipment Inspection
Abbreviation: PSI
The checking of goods before shipment for the purpose of determining the quantity and/or quality of said goods by an independent surveyor (inspection company) for phytosanitary, sanitary and veterinary controls.

Presently there is a tendency by developing countries to use the inspection also for the purpose of determining whether the price charged for certain goods is correct.

Person for whom another acts as agent.
Principal Carrier
See Responsible Carrier
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Principal Corporate Body
The company that owns the various subsidiary companies or branches acting as customers on their own and is registered as the corporate customer for statistical purposes.
Priority Order
An order which is identified as taking precedence over other orders to ensure its completion in the minimum time.
Private Warehouse
A warehouse operated by the owner of the goods stored there.
Pro Forma Invoice
Draft invoice sent to an importer by the exporter prior to order confirmation and shipment to assist in matters relating to obtaining import licences or foreign exchange allocations, or simply to advise the value of a consignment so that letters of credit can be opened.
Steps to be followed in order to comply with a formality, including the timing, format and transmission method for the submission of required information.
Process Mapping
A diagrammatically break down of a supply chain.
The activities which ensure the availability of the material and or services in the desired quantity, quality, place and time from the supplier.
Procurement Logistics
Control of the flow of materials up to the manufacturing process.
A result, end items or output from a certain process.
Product Chain
All phases in the transformation- or production process of one product.
Product Life Cycle
The period of time between the introduction date and end date of a product in the market.

Note: Phases are introduction, growth, maturity, saturation, decline & end.

  1. The conversion of materials and or assembly of components to manufacture goods, products or services.
  2. The total quantity of goods manufactured or to be manufactured in a particular period of time expressed in quantitative or financial terms. (The term manufacturing is often used specifically for physical operations resulting in a product).
Relative measure of output of labour hour or machine hour.
Profit Centre
An organisational unit which will be held responsible for its own profits and losses.
Project Cargo
Quantity of goods connected to the same project and often carried on different moments and from various places.
Project Management
Managing a transport project, which involves the design and implementation of logistics solutions including resource planning, costing and profits.
Proof of Delivery
The receipt signed by the consignee upon delivery.
Proper Shipping Name
A name to be used to describe particular goods on all  documents and notifications and, if appropriate, on the goods. basis (air cargo).
Protection and Indemnity Club
Abbreviation: P & I club
A mutual association of shipowners who provide protection against liabilities by means of contributions.
A statement drawn up to attest certain events.
Public Authorities
The agencies or officials in a state responsible for the application and enforcement of the laws and regulations of that state. Source: IMO.
Public Warehouse
A warehouse which is available to all companies and persons who wish to make use of the services offered.
Published Charge
A charge, the amount of which is specifically set forth in the carrier's rates tariff.
Published Rate
See Published Charge
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Pull Distribution System
A system to provide warehouses with new stock on request of the warehouse management.
Purchase Order
A definite order for one or more deliveries by the supplier to the customer of a specific quantity of goods, materials, services or products under agreed terms of delivery and prices.
Purchase Order Management
Supply chain management to purchase order article level.
Push Distribution System
A system to provide warehouses with new stock upon decision of the supplier of the goods.


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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)