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Actual Time of Arrival, or Airport-To-Airport, or Air Transport Association of America.


Actual Time of Departure.


Authorised Economic Operator is a party involved in the international movement of goods that has been approved by or on behalf of a national customs administration as complying with WCO (World Customs Organisation) or equivalent supply chain security standards.

Aircraft Container

A unit load device (ULD) is a pallet or container used to load luggage and freight onto an aircraft.

All Risk

All risks coverage is a type of marine insurance and is the broadest kind of standard coverage. However, it excludes damage caused by war, strikes, and riots.


A term used to describe blocked space by airlines on behalf of forwarders/shippers.


A phrase referring to the side of a ship. Goods to be delivered alongside are to be placed on the dock or lighter within reach of the transport ship's tackle so that they can be loaded aboard the ship. Goods are delivered to the port of embarkation, but without loading fees.


A customs document that allows goods moving between an EU country and Turkey to benefit from cheaper rates of duty.

Air Waybill (AWB)

An AWB is a bill of lading which covers both domestic and international flights transporting goods to a specified destination. Technically, it is a non-negotiable instrument of air transport which serves as a receipt for the shipper, indicating that the carrier has accepted the goods listed therein and obligates itself to carry the consignment to the airport of destination according to specified conditions. Normally AWB refers to the Air Waybill issued by carrying airlines and also called Master Air Waybill (MAWB) which comes with three digits of numeric airline identification codes issued by IATA to non-U.S. based airlines and Air Transport Association of America to U.S. based airlines. However, air freight forwarders also issue HAWB (House Air Waybill ) to their customers for each of the shipments.


BAF (Bunker Adjustment Factor)

An adjustment in shipping charges to offset price fluctuations in the cost of bunker fuel.

BIFA (British International Freight Association)

is a trade association for UK registered companies engaged in international movement of freight by all modes of transport, air, road, rail and sea. All Business undertaken by Wallis Shipping Services Ltd of whatever nature is subject to the Standard Trading Conditions of BIFA 2017 edition.

Bill of Lading (B/L)

Bills of lading are contracts between the owner of the goods and the carrier. There are two types. A straight bill of lading is non-negotiable. A negotiable or shipper's order bill of lading can be bought, sold, or traded while goods are in transit and is used for many types of financing transactions. The customer usually needs the original or a copy as proof of ownership to take possession of the goods.

Bill of Sale

A bill of sale is a legal document made by a 'seller' to a purchaser, reporting that on a specific date, at a specific locality, and for a particular sum of money or other "value received", the seller sold to the purchaser a specific item of personal, or parcel of real, property of which he had lawful possession. It is a written instrument which evidences the transfer of title to personal property from the vendor, seller, to the vendee, buyer.

BIP (Border Inspection Post)

Border controls operated by the Port Health Authorities.

Bonded Warehouse

The Customs Service authorises bonded warehouses for storage or manufacture of goods on which payment of duties is deferred until the goods enter the Customs Territory. The goods are not subject to duties if re-shipped out of the country.

Break-bulk (B/B)

Cargo that is non-containerised shipped by sea on a Break bulk vessel (see below).

Break-bulk Vessel

A general cargo vessel designed to efficiently handle un-containerised cargo. Vessels are usually self-sustaining in that they have their own loading and unloading machinery.

BTIS (Binding Tariff Information System)

A system created by the EU to help formal classification of a product to a specific Customs commodity code and to establish the amount of VAT and Duty applicable for the specific product.


CAF (Currency Adjustment Factor)

A freight surcharge or adjustment factor imposed by an international carrier to offset foreign currency fluctuations. In some cases an emergency currency adjustment factor (ECAF) may be applied when a charge or rate has been originally published in a currency that is experiencing sustained or rapid decline. The CAF is charged as a percentage of the freight.


A customs document permitting the holder to carry or send merchandise temporarily into certain foreign countries for display, demonstration or other purposes without paying import duties or posting bonds.

CDS (Customs Declaration Service)

Changes to legislation means the handling system for imports and exports needs to change. There would be a new service to process the required declaration for goods entering and leaving the UK/EU. It is the system that will replace CHIEF.

CFR (Cost and Freight)

see INCOTerms

CHIEF (Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight)

The computer system used by HM Revenue & Customs to manage both the declaration and movement of goods into and out of the UK. The system also manages movements of goods owned by UK residents and businesses across EU borders.

CIF (Cost, Insurance and Freight)

see INCOTerms

CIP (Carriage and Insurance Paid)

see INCOTerms

Clean Bill of Lading

A receipt for goods issued by a carrier with an indication that the goods were received in apparent good order and condition, without damages or other irregularities.

C of O (Certificate of Origin)

An official document that, when stamped by the relevant authorities, provide the Country of Origin of the goods in transit. This is often required when shipping textiles.

Combi Aircraft

An aircraft configured to carry both passengers and cargo on the Main Deck.

Commercial Invoice

The commercial invoice is a bill for the goods from the seller to the buyer. These invoices are often used by governments to determine the true value of goods for the assessment of customs duties and are also used to prepare consular documentation. Governments using the commercial invoice to control imports often specify its form, content, number of copies, language to be used, and other characteristics.


The person or firm named in a freight contract to whom goods have been consigned or turned over. For export control purposes, the documentation differentiates between an intermediate consignee and an ultimate consignee.


Delivery of merchandise from an exporter (the consignor) to an agent (the consignee ) under agreement that the agent sell the merchandise for the account of the exporter. The consignor retains title to the goods until sold. The consignee sells the goods for commission and remits the net proceeds to the consignor.


In order to handle small lot of consignment efficiently and competitively, freight forwarder usually put many consignments into one lot then tender to carrier for forwarding. In this case, each consignment will be shipped with one HAWB respectively and all of them will be under one master AWB.


The government authorities designated to collect duties levied by a country on imports and exports.

Customs Broker

An individual or company licensed by the government to enter and clear goods through Customs . The U.S. Customs Service defines a Customs Broker, as any person who is licensed in accordance with Part III of Title 19 of the Code of Federal Regulations (Customs regulations) to transact Customs business on behalf of others. In the UK, customs brokerage activites are carried out by freight forwarders approved by HMRC.

Customs Clearance

The procedures involved in getting cargo released by Customs through designated formalities such as presenting commercial documentation and origin certificates, import license/permit, payment of import duties and other required documentations by the nature of the cargo.

Customs Invoice

A document, required by some foreign countries' customs officials to verify the value, quantity, and nature of the shipment, describing the shipment of goods and showing information such as the consignor, consignee, and value of the shipment.

CVC (Certificate of Veterinary Check)

Certificate of Veterinary Checks/Inspection is a legal regulatory document in which the attending veterinarian attests to the veracity of the information contained in the documents.

DAP (Delivered at Place)

see INCOTerms

DPU (Delivered at Place Unloaded)

see INCOTerms

DDP (Deliver Duty Paid)

see INCOTerms

Dangerous Goods

Commodities classified by IATA according to its nature and characteristic in terms of the effect of its danger to carrier's flying safety.

Deferment Account

Organisations can apply for an account with HM Revenue & Customs – a deferment account. A guarantee is issued by the importer to HMRC and this enables duty and VAT to be paid on account and not on entry. When it’s time to pay duty or VAT it get charged to your account and you settle the bill.

Delivery Instructions

Provides specific information to the inland carrier concerning the arrangement made by the forwarder to deliver the merchandise to the particular pier or shipping line. Not to be confused with Delivery Order which is used for import cargo.


Excess time taken for loading or unloading a vessel, therefore causing delay of a scheduled departure. Demurrage refers only to situations in which the charter company or shipper, rather than the vessel's operator, is at fault.

DGN (Dangerous Goods Note)

A Dangerous Goods Note is usually completed by a consignor who is qualified within the company to complete this document.  The DGN contains all the hazardous information required for the goods to be transport in a safe manner. A DGN is required for all hazardous goods shipments via air or sea.

Dimensional Weight

Also called measurement weight. This is the size of consignment calculated by total square feet multiplied by 6000. Carriers will charge for freight based on the dimensional weight or actual gross weight whichever is higher.

Direct Ship

Ship without consolidation and under one MAWB ie non-consolidation.


Drawback is a rebate by a government, in whole or in part, of customs duties assessed on imported merchandise that is subsequently exported. Drawback regulations and procedures vary among countries.


A tax imposed on imports by the customs authority of a country. Duties are generally based on the value of the goods, some other factors such as weight or quantity (specific duties), or a combination of value and other factors (compound duties).


Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce, and Transportation, is an international syntax used in the interchange of electronic data. Customs uses EDI to interchange data with the importing trade community.

EORI (Economic Operator Registration and Identification scheme)

Businesses and individuals require to register with HM Revenue & Customs prior to arrival and/or departure for goods in the UK. An EORI number, formerly TURN number or VAT Number is a number, unique throughout the European Community, assigned by a customs authority in a Member State to economic operators (businesses) or persons. By registering for customs purposes in one Member State, an Economic Operator (EO) is able to obtain an EORI number which is valid throughout the Community. The EO will then use this number in all communications with any EC customs authorities where a customs identifier is required for example customs declarations.

ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival)


ETD (Estimated Time of Departure)



A form that, when completed and endorsed by HM Revenue & Customs, entitles goods originating in the UK or EU to lower – possible zero- import duties and they arrive in countries covered by EU trade agreements.

Express Release Bill

A bill of lading used when a shipper wants cargo to be released to a consignee immediately on arrival at a port, rather than to have to wait for the consignee to present the original bill of lading given to the shipper.

EXW (Ex Works)

see INCOTerms


FAS (Free Alongside Ship)

see INCOTerms

FCA (Free Carrier)

see INCOTerms

FCL (Full Container Load)

FEU (Forty-Foot Equivalent Unit)

FEU is a measure of a ship's cargo-carrying capacity. One FEU measures forty feet by eight feet by eight feet, the dimensions of a standard forty-foot container. An FEU equals two TEUs.

FIATA (International Federation of Freight Forwarding Associations)

The International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations is a non-governmental organisation, representing some 40,000 forwarding and logistics companies in 150 countries.

Flat Rack Containers

Especially for heavy loads and over-dimensional cargo. Containers do not have sides or a top. This allows easy fork-lift and crane access.

FMC (Federal Maritime Commission)

The FMC is an independent agency which regulates ocean borne transportation in the foreign commerce and in the domestic offshore trade of the United States.

FOB (Free On Board)

see INCOTerms

Freight Forwarder

The function of a Freight forwarder is arranging the international movement of goods, from A to B and facilitation of frontier and customs requirements. Forwarders do not ordinarily  take “ownership” of the goods and rely on the declarations made by the shipper of what the goods are, what they weigh and measure .Forwarders limit and insure their liabilities, it is the buyers and sellers responsibility to insure their cargo interests.

Freight for All Kinds

FAK is a shipping classification. Goods classified FAK term often used by consolidators or groupage operators are frequently in a container which includes various classes of cargo.


The process during which a container is filled with gases or pesticides to kill vermin or insects or other infestations that may have crept inside the container during loading before any cargo is devanned.


In the context of logistics and travel activities, gateway refers to a major airport or seaport. Internationally, gateway can also mean the port where customs clearance takes place.


The process of combining smaller shipments from separate shippers into a container to make it easier and cheaper to ship to a common destination.

GST (Goods and Service Tax)

GST in relation to importing, is payable on the landed cost of the goods, known as the CIF/CIP value. The GST is calculated thus: (Purchase price of goods + Duty + Insurance + Freight) x GST in many countries including: USA and Australia.

HAWB (House Air Waybill)

Issued by carrying airlines' agent, normally the freight forwarder. Also see AWB.

Harmonised System

The Harmonised Commodity Description and Coding System (or Harmonised System, HS) classifies goods for international trade, developed under the auspices of the Customs Cooperation Council. Beginning on January 1, 1989, the new HS numbers replaced previously adhered-to schedules in over 50 countries, including the USA.


The process of moving goods to or from a port.


Person or company responsible for moving goods to or from a port, typically using a van or truck.

HMRC (Her Majesty Revenue & Customs)

Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs or HM Revenue & Customs is a non-ministerial department of the UK Government responsible for the collection of taxes in the UK.


Standard used in the trade to describe a lorry or tuck that comes with a small crane attached. The name comes from the original manufacturer of the device – the Swedish firm, Hydraliska Industri AB.

HS Code (Harmonised Code/Tariff Heading)

A six digit coding scheme used to describe goods being shipped. Developed by the World Customs Organisation, it is understood around the world.


IATA (International Air Transport Association)

IATA, established in 1945, is a trade association serving airlines, passengers, shippers, travel agents, and governments. The association promotes safety, standardisation in forms (baggage checks, tickets, waybills), and aids in establishing international airfares. IATA headquarter is in Geneva, Switzerland.

IATA Designator

Two-character Airline identification assigned by IATA in accordance with provisions of Resolution 762. It is for use in reservations, timetables, tickets, tariffs as well as air waybill. For example: BA - British Airways, UA - United Airlines.

Import Certificate

The import certificate is a means by which the government of the country of ultimate destination exercises legal control over the internal channelling of the commodities covered by the import certificate.

Import License

A document required and issued by some national governments authorising the importation of goods. Also referred as import permit. This documentation is required so that customs clearance can be conducted.

Import Restrictions

These can be applied by any country with an adverse trade balance (or for other reasons). They are used to control the volume of goods coming into the country from other countries and may also include the imposition of tariffs or import quotas and the imposition of import surcharges, or the prohibition of various categories of imports.


Maintained by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), this codification of terms is used in foreign trade contracts to define which parties incur the costs and at what specific point the costs are incurred. (see INCOTerms)

Insurance Certificate

This certificate is used to assure the consignee that insurance is provided to cover loss of or damage to the cargo while in transit.

Integrated Carriers

Carriers that have both air and ground fleets; or other combinations, such as sea, rail, and truck. Since they usually handle thousands of small parcels an hour, they are less expensive and offer more diverse services than regular carriers.

Intermediate Consignee

An intermediate consignee is the bank, forwarding agent, or other intermediary that acts in a foreign country as an agent for the exporter, the purchaser, or the ultimate consignee, for the purpose of effecting delivery of the export to the ultimate consignee.


Movement of goods by more than one mode of transport, i.e. air, truck, railroad and sea.

IPR (Inward Processing Relief)

A relief from duty and VAT on goods being imported from outside the EU only to be process. When the process is completed the goods will be exported to countries outside the EU.

Irrevocable Letter of Credit

A letter of credit in which the specified payment is guaranteed by the issuing bank if all terms and conditions are met by the drawee.



Kilo or metric ton. 1,000 Kilos or 2,204.6 pounds.


Less than Container Load, consolidated container load. It is cargo that only occupies part of a container.


Letter of Credit

A financial document issued by a bank at the request of the consignee guaranteeing payment to the shipper for cargo if certain terms and conditions are fulfilled. Normally it contains a brief description of the goods, documents required, a shipping date, and an expiration date after which payment will no longer be made.


An Irrevocable Letter of Credit is one which obligates the issuing bank to pay the exporter when all terms and conditions of the letter of credit have been met. None of the terms and conditions may be changed without the consent of all parties to the letter of credit.


A Revocable Letter of Credit is subject to possible recall or amendment at the option of the applicant, without the approval of the beneficiary. A Confirmed Letter of Credit is issued by a foreign bank. An exporter who requires a confirmed letter of credit from the buyer is assured payment in case the foreign buyer or bank defaults.


A Documentary Letter of Credit is one for which the issuing bank stipulates that certain documents must accompany a draft. The documents assure the applicant (importer) that the merchandise has been shipped and that title to the goods has been transferred to the importer.

LO-LO (Load-On, Load-Off)

This term is usually describing the charge made for loading and or discharging a container from or onto a truck.

Lower Deck

The compartment below the Main Deck.

Main Deck

The deck on which the major portion of payload is carried, normally known as Upper Deck of an airplane. The full cargo freighter aircraft has it entire upper deck equipped for main deck type of containers/pallets while combi aircraft uses it rear part of the upper deck for cargo loading. There is no upper deck or main deck type of container/pallet at passenger aircraft.

Marine Cargo Insurance

Broadly, insurance covering loss of, or damage to, goods at sea. Marine insurance typically compensates the owner of merchandise for losses in excess of those which can be legally recovered from the carrier that are sustained from fire, shipwreck, piracy, and various other causes.

Moffett Truck

Lorry or truck that comes with a fork-lift attached.

NCTS (The New Computerised Transit System)

The computer system traders use to declare goods that will be moved by road across boarders between EU countries.

NOVA (Notice of Vehicle Arrival)

All vehicles arriving into the UK require notification to HM Revenue & Customs within 14 days. A vehicle cannot be registered or licenses with the DVLA without a NOVA declaration.


No Value Declared.


OOG (Out of Gauge)

Out-of-gauge cargo exceeds the dimensions of a 20’ or 40’ container. Depending on dimensions, OOG cargo is loaded onto a flatrack or open top container.

Open Top

An open top container is especially for over-dimensional cargo. The container does not have a top or a “roof” and instead consists of removable tarpaulin. This allows easy crane access to pack or unpack the container from above. Roof bows on an open-top container not only support the tarpaulin but also contribute to container stability. Flatracks are therefore more suitable for over height cargoes. An open top will usually have to be planned in advance with shipping lines stowage plans to ensure it is stacked last onto the vessel’s other containers. 


POD (Proof of Delivery)

Proof Of Delivery, or a cargo/package receipt with the signature of recipient. This term has been widely used in courier and express industry.

Packing List

A shipping document issued by shipper to carrier, Customs and consignee serving the purposes of identifying detail information of package count, products count, measurement of each package, weight of each package, etc.

Pro Forma Invoice

An invoice provided by a supplier prior to the shipment of merchandise, informing the buyer of the kinds and quantities of goods to be sent, their value, and important specifications (weight, size, and similar characteristics) and contract terms.

Project Cargo

This is a term normal referred to when shipping cargo by air or sea which does not fall within standard methods. For instance, over-height, or oversize cargo which requires special equipment and handle.


RORO (Roll-on, Roll-off)

A type of ship designed to load and discharge cargo which rolls on wheels or tracks. They are similar to a giant car ferry.

Shipping Mark

The letters, numbers or other symbols placed on the outside of cargo to facilitate identification.


The movement of a container over a short distance – typically from the quayside to a warehouse in a port or from place to place within a dockyard.

SSN (Standard Shipping Note)

A standard shipping note is a form that contains information about the goods and the companies involved in sending, shipping and receiving goods overseas.

Stowage Plan

What is a stowage plan?

A stowage plan or bay plan is a container vessel’s method listing the order in which containers are placed, due to size, weight and loading/unloading schedule. The plans are used to maximize the economy of shipping and safety on board. Each entry on the stowage plan details the quantity, weight and port of discharge. It is also used to calculate how many individual packages can be fitted in any given container.


Stands for The Air Cargo Tariff. It is published by IAP -- International Airlines Publications, an IATA company.

Tare Weight

The weight of a ULD and tie down materials without the weight of the goods it contains.

Temporary Importation under Bond

When an importer makes entry of articles and claimed to be exempt from duty under Chapter 98, Subchapter XIII, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States, a bond is posted with Customs which guarantees that these items will be exported within a specified time frame (usually within one year from the date of importation). Failure to export these items makes the importer liable for the payment of liquidated damages for breach of the bond conditions.

TEU (Twenty-Foot Equivalent Unit)

TEU is a measure of a ship's cargo-carrying capacity. One TEU measures twenty feet by eight feet by eight feet, the dimensions of a standard twenty-foot container. An FEU equals two TEUs. 


Through Bill of Lading

A single bill of lading covering receipt of the cargo at the point of origin for delivery to the ultimate consignee , using two or more modes of transportation.


Refers to the act of sending an exported product through an intermediate country before routing it to the country intended to be its final destination.

UCC (Union Customs Code)

Is a set of legislative requirements being rolled out across the EU impacting all custom authorities. Is part of the modernisation of customs and serves as the new framework regulation on the rules and procedures for customs throughout the EU.

UCN (Unique Consignment Number)

See Unique Consignment Reference

UCR (Unique Consignment Reference)

The number that will uniquely identify a shipment as it moves around the world. It is used by everyone in the shipping process – the shipping lines, ports and customs authorities.

ULD (Unit Load Device)

Any type of container, container with integral pallet, aircraft container or aircraft pallet.

Ultimate Consignee

The ultimate consignee is the person located abroad who is the true party in interest, receiving the export for the designated end-use.


Value for Customs Purposes Only

The value for customs purposes of imported merchandise should be based on the actual value of the imported merchandise on which duty is assessed, or of like merchandise, and should not be based on the value of merchandise of national origin or on arbitrary or fictitious values.

VAT (Value Added Tax)

A tax levied based on the value of goods or services. The rate varies according to the type of goods or service involved. Unless exempt, VAT is levied on goods as they are imported into the UK.

VAT Registration Number

Individuals and organisations are required to register for VAT if they have to levy VAT on goods or services.  The VAT registration number is issued by HM Revenue & Customs in the UK.

VGM (Verified Gross Mass)

The SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) regulation allows for two methods to verify the gross mass of packed containers which is now mandatory to provide to the shipping line’s before a container is loaded onto a vessel.

Method 1. Weighing the packed container using calibrated and certified equipment; or

Method 2: Weighing all packages and cargo items, including the mass of pallets, dunnage and other securing material to be packed in the container and adding the tare mass of the container to the sum of the single masses, using a certified method approved by the competent authority of the country in which packing of the container was completed.

Volumetric Weight

For air cargo, carriers take the volumetric weight of the goods, rather than the gross weight. To work this out you use the following calculation…

length x width x height (cm) / 6000 = volumetric weight kg


120cm x 100cm x 80cm = 960,000/ 6000 = 160 kg (volumetric)

Some airlines, especially couriers, divide by 5000, so please check with us first.


War/Strike Clause

An insurance provision that covers loss due to war and/or strike.

WCA (World Cargo Alliance)

World Cargo Alliance is the world’s largest and most powerful network of independent freight forwarders and covers more than 150 countries around the world.

WCO (World Customs Organisation)

Is an intergovernmental organisation headquartered in Brussels. The WCO is noted for its work in areas covering the development of international conventions, instruments and tools on topics such as commodity classification, valuation, rules of origin, collection of customs revenue, supply chain security, international trade facilitation, customs enforcement activities, combating counterfeiting goods in support of intellectual property, drugs enforcement, weapons illegal trading.


The WCO maintains the international harmonised system goods classification and administers the technical aspects of the world trade organisation agreements on custom valuation and rules of origin.

Wet Bond

A term used to describe a bonded warehouse which is authorised to store alcohol and other excisable goods prior to duties being paid.


A charge assessed by a pier or dock owner for handling incoming or outgoing cargo.

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