Dictionary of Shipping Terms


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Free space above a liquid contained in a tank, drum or tank-container, expressed as a percentage of the total capacity. Ullage is often used to leave room for possible expansion of the liquid.
Ultimate Consignee
Party who has been designated on the invoice or packing list as the final recipient of the stated merchandise.
Ultra Large Crude Carrier
Abbreviation: ULCC
A vessel designed for the carriage of liquid cargo in bulk with a loading capacity from 250.000 till 500.000 DWT.
Unaccompanied Baggage
Luggage not accompanied by a passenger.
  1. A supporting frame or structure of a wheeled vehicle.
  2. The landing gear of an aircraft.
A carrier in a conference or consortium who carries less cargo than the allotment distributed to him.
The in 1993 revised rules of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) governing a letter of credit issued in respect of goods shipped applicable as from 1-1-1994.
Union Internationale des Chemins de Fer
Abbreviation: UIC
International railway union, in which most of the European national railway companies are united.
Unit Load
A number of individual packages bonded, palletised or strapped together to form a single unit for more efficient handling by mechanical equipment.
Unit Load Device
Abbreviation: ULD
  1. Any type of container or pallet, in which a consignment can be transported by air whether or not such a container is considered aircraft equipment.
  2. Any type of air freight container, aircraft container, aircraft pallet with a net, or aircraft pallet with a net over an igloo.
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
Abbreviation: UNCTAD
A United Nations agency whose work in Shipping includes the liner code involving the sharing of cargoes between the Shipping lines of the importing and exporting countries and third countries in the ratio 40:40:20.
United Nations Dangerous Goods Number
Abbreviation: UNDG Number
The four-digit number assigned by the United Nations Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods to classify a substance or a particular groups of substances.

Note: The prefix 'UN' must always be used in conjunction with these numbers.

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe
Abbreviation: UN/ECE
The UN/ECE is one of a number of Economic and Social Commissions established by the General Assembly of the United Nations. Despite its name it embraces both Europe and North America. The UN/ECE comprises twenty nine core member states, as well as any country which is a member of the United Nations and which applies under Article 11 of the United Nations constitution for delegate status.

The aim is to advance the economic development of Europe and associated countries through trade facilitation and common agreements.

United Nations Layout Key
Abbreviation: UNLK
A standard (ISO6422) which lays down the basic principles for the design of the image area on documents for use in international trade.
United Nations Standard Message
Abbreviation: UNSM
A collection of structured data that is exchanged to convey information related to a specific transaction between partners engaged in electronic data interchange. Messages are composed of logically grouped segments required for the type of message transaction covered.

Note: A set of segments in the order specified in a message directory starting with the message header and ending with the message trailer (ISO9735).

Abbreviation of Coordinated Universal Time, the standard measurement of time.

Universal time (UT), based on the Earth's actual rotation, was replaced by coordinated universal time (UTC) 1972, the difference between the two involving the addition (or subtraction) of leap seconds on the last day of June or Dec. National observatories (in the UK until 1990 the Royal Greenwich Observatory) make standard time available, and the BBC broadcasts six pips at certain hours (five short, from second 55 to second 59, and one long, the start of which indicates the precise minute). Its computerised clock has an accuracy greater than 1 second in 4,000 years. From 1986 the term Greenwich Mean Time was replaced by UTC. However, the Greenwich meridian, adopted 1884, remains that from which all longitudes are measured, and the world's standard time zones are calculated from it.

Utilisation Rate
The quotient of used capacity and available capacity.


Vacuum Packing
A packaging technique that sucks all the air and moisture from a product, packing the goods in a vacuum. This reduces the size of the product, allowing more goods to be packed.
Validation Rule
The validation rules are a subset of the business rules defining constraints on the logical data model. They are expressed in the definitions of entities, domains and attributes.
Valuable Cargo
A consignment which contains one or more valuable articles.
Valuation Charge
Transport charges for certain goods, based on the value declared for the carriage of such goods.
Value Added Tax
Abbreviation: VAT
A form of indirect sales tax paid on products and services at each stage of production or distribution, based on the value added at that stage and included in the cost to the ultimate customer.
Value Chain Management Definition
Maximising total performance and added value across an entire process by reviewing each internal and external operation, and the links between these operations.

The process will be reviewed in a systematic and standard way in order to optimise speed, certainty, and cost effectiveness for the parties involved.

The process review can be achieved through established procedures and existing techniques such as value chain analysis and activity based costing.

See Stuffing
Very Large Crude Carrier
Abbreviation: VLCC
A vessel designed for the carriage of liquid cargo in bulk with a loading capacity from 50.000 till 250.000 DWT.
  1. A floating structure designed for the transport of cargo and/or passengers.
  2. Boiler, drum.
Volatility Allowance
The largest difference in container availability taking into account past peaks in net demand after having removed the trend in container demand during the repositioning trade-off period.
Size or measure of anything in three dimensions.
Volume Charge
A charge for carriage of goods based on their volume (air cargo).
A receipt, entry or another document which establishes the accounts.
A journey by sea from one port or country to another one or, in case of a round trip, to the same port.
Voyage Charter
A contract under which the shipowner agrees to carry an agreed quantity of cargo from a specified port or ports to another port or ports for a remuneration called freight, which is calculated according to the quantity of cargo loaded, or sometimes at a lumpsum freight.
Voyage Number
Reference number assigned by the carrier or his agent to the voyage of the vessel.


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