, Free On Board, is a term ininternational commercial lawspecifying at what point respective obligations, costs, and risk involved in the delivery of goods shift from the seller to the buyer under theIncoterms 2010standard published by theInternational Chamber of Commerce. FOB is only used in non-containerized sea freight or inland waterway transport. FOB terms do not define transfer of ownership of the goods.
The term FOB is also used in modern domestic shipping within the USA to describe the point at which a seller is no longer responsible for shipping cost.
Ownership of a cargo is independent from Incoterms. In international trade, ownership of the cargo is defined by the bill of lading or waybill.
Under theIncoterms 2010standard published by theInternational Chamber of Commerce, FOB is only used in sea freight and stands for Free On Board. The term is always used in conjunction with a port of loading.
Indicating FOBportmeans that the seller pays for transportation of the goods to the port of shipment, plus loading costs. The buyer pays the cost ofmarine freighttransport,insurance, unloading, and transportation from the arrival port to the final destination. The passing of risks occurs when the goods are loaded on board at the port of shipment. For example, FOB Vancouver indicates that the seller will pay for transportation of the goods to the port ofVancouver, and the cost of loading the goods on to the cargo ship (this includes inland haulage, customs clearance, origin documentation charges,demurrageif any, origin port handling charges, in this case Vancouver). The buyer pays for all costs beyond that point, including unloading. Responsibility for the goods is with the seller until the goods are loaded on board the ship. Once the cargo is on board, the buyer assumes the risk.
The use of FOB originated in the days ofsailing ships. When the ICC first wrote their guidelines for the use of the term in 1936,the ships rail was still relevant, as goods were oftenpassed over the rail by hand. In 1954, in the case ofPyrene Co. Ltd.v.Scindia Steam Navigation Co. Ltd.,Justice Devlin, ruling on a matter relating to liability under an FOB contract, described the situation thus:
Only the most enthusiastic lawyer could watch with satisfaction the spectacle of liabilities shifting uneasily as the cargo sways at the end of a derrick across a notional perpendicular projecting from the ships rail.
In the modern era ofcontainerization, the term ships rail is somewhat archaic for trade purposes, as with a sealed shipping container there is no way of establishing when damage occurred after the container has been sealed. The standards have noted this. Incoterms 1990 stated,
When the ships rail serves no practical purpose, such as in the case of roll-on/roll-off or container traffic, theFCAterm is more appropriate to use.
The phrasepassing the ships railis no longer in use, having been dropped from the FOB Incoterm in the 2010 revision.
Due to potential confusion with domestic North American usage of FOB, it is recommended that the use of Incoterms be explicitly specified, along with the edition of the standard.For example, FOB New York (Incoterms 2000). Incoterms apply to bothinternational tradeanddomestic trade, as of the 2010 revision.
In North America, FOB is written into a sales agreement to determine where the liability responsibility for the goods transfers from the seller to the buyer. FOB stands for Free On Board or so there is no line item payment by the buyer for the cost of getting the goods onto the transport. There are two possibilities: FOB origin, or FOB destination. FOB origin means the transfer occurs as soon as the goods are safely on board the transport. FOB destination means the transfer occurs the moment the goods are removed from the transport at the destination. FOB origin (also sometimes phrased as FOB shipping or FOB shipping point) indicates that the sale is considered complete at the sellers shipping dock, and thus the buyer of the goods is responsible for freight costs and liability during transport. With FOB destination, the sale is complete at the buyers doorstep and the seller is responsible for freight costs and liability during transport.
The two terms have a specific meaning in commercial law and cannot be altered. But the FOB terms do not need to be used, and often are not. In this case the specific terms of the agreement can vary widely, in particular which party, buyer or seller, pays for the loading costs and shipment costs, and/or where responsibility for the goods is transferred. The last distinction is important for determiningliabilityorrisk of lossfor goods lost or damaged in transit from the seller to the buyer.
For example, a person inMiamipurchasing equipment from a manufacturer inChicagocould receive a price quote of $5000 FOB Chicago, which would indicate that the buyer would be responsible for the shipping from Chicago to Miami. If the same seller issued a price quote of $5000 FOB Miami, then the seller would cover shipping to the buyers location.
Internationalshipments typically useFOB as defined by the Incoterms standards, where it always stands for Free On Board. Domestic shipments within the United States or Canada often use a different meaning, specific to North America, which is inconsistent with the Incoterms standards.
North American FOB usage corresponds toIncotermsapproximately as follows:
A related but separate term CAP (customer-arranged pickup) is used to denote that the buyer will arrange a carrier of their choice to pick the goods up at the sellers premises, and the liability for any damage or loss belongs to the buyer.
Although FOB has long been stated asFreightOnBoard in sales contract terminology, this should be avoided as it does not precisely conform to the meaning of the acronym as specified in theUCC.
Sometimes FOB is used in sales to retain commission by the outside sales representative. It is unclear where this originated.
In the past, the FOB point determined when title transferred for goods. For example, at year- and period-end goods in transit under FOB destination (North American usage) appear on the sellers balance sheet but not in the buyers balance sheet, as the risk and rewards of ownership change to the buyer at the destination port.
It is much easier to determine when title transfers by referring to the agreed upon terms and conditions of the transaction; typically, title passes with risk of loss. The transfer of title may occur at a different time (or event) than the FOB shipping term. The transfer of title is the element of revenue that determines who owns the goods and the applicable value.
Import fees when they reach the border of one country to enter the other country under the conditions of FOB destination are due at the customs port of the destination country.
With the advent ofe-commerce, most commercial electronic transactions occur under the terms of FOB shipping point orFCAshipping point.
Some sources claim that FOB stands for Freight On Board. This is not the case. The term Freight On Board is not mentioned in any version ofIncoterms, and is not defined by theUniform Commercial Codein the USA.Further to that, it has been found in the US court system that Freight On Board is not a recognized industry term.Use of the term Freight On Board in contracts is therefore very likely to cause confusion.
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Pyrene Co. Ltd. v. Scindia Navigation Co. Ltd.
QUEENS BENCH DIVISION  2 Q.B. 198
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Incoterms FAQ. International Chamber of Commerce. Archived fromthe originalon 2005-11-02
Preambles to Incoterms 2000. International Chamber of Commerce. Archived fromthe originalon 2008-10-05
What is the significance of FOB Shipping Point and FOB Destination?. AccountingCoach, LLC. 2006-07-12
What are FOB Shipping Terms?. Simplestudies LLC. 2010-02-24
United States Court of International Trade, Quinn v. United States and United States Secretary of the Treasury, May 10, 2000
This page was last edited on 24 January 2018, at 01:14.