Glossary of International Shipping Customs and Regulatory terms

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Glossary of International Shipping, Customs and Regulatory terms

Brush up on you international shipping vocabulary or find the definition for a specific shipping or customs term.

Specifies the terms under which the air carrier is agreeing to transport the goods and contains limitations of liability; contract between shipper and carrier.

Program that introduces more effective risk management processes and tools to identify threats to our health, security and safety prior to the arrival of cargo and conveyances.

U.S. Customs electronic data system that provides support for ensuring trade compliance, enforcing trade and contraband laws, and providing service and information to the international trade community.

A contract between the owner of the goods and the carrier A straight bill of lading is nonnegotiable. A negotiable or shippers order bill of lading can be bought, sold, or traded while goods are in transit.

Select sender, recipient, third party, or Bill Collect (Authorized FedEx Ground Accounts Only) from the drop-down menu as the payer of transportation charges and any duties/taxes/fees associated with the shipment:

Select this option to bill the FedEx account assigned to the Sender. A valid, 9-digit Sender FedEx account number must be entered for transportation charges.

: Select this option to bill the FedEx account assigned to the Recipient. A valid, 9-digit Recipient FedEx account number must be entered for transportation charges.

: Select this option to bill the FedEx account assigned to a party other than the Sender or Recipient. A valid, 9-digit Third Party FedEx account number must be entered for transportation charges.

Select this box to prevent your recipient or third party payer (with FedEx InSight) from seeing detailed information about the shipment.

A warehouse 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 reshipped to foreign points.

A document that certifies the country where the product was made (i.e., its origin). A common export document, a Certificate of Origin is needed when exporting to many foreign markets. It may be required in order to obtain preferential tariff treatment under several Free Trade Agreements (i.e., NAFTA, APTA, DR_CAFTA, etc)

A document prepared by the exporter or freight forwarder, and required by the foreign buyer, to prove ownership and arrange for payment to the exporter. It should provide basic information about the transaction, including description of goods, address of shipper and seller as well as delivery and payment terms. In some cases, the Commercial Invoice is used to assess customs duties.

By using the Courtesy Rate Quote feature, you can find out how much it will cost to ship your package before you send it. For FedEx Express and FedEx Express Freight shipments, your quote is based on rates associated with your FedEx Account Number and will include any applicable discounts. This Online Tool is not available in all Countries, you can callCustomer Serviceto get more information.

The government service that is responsible for the assessment of import and export duties and taxes and administration of other laws and regulations that apply to the importation, transit and exportation of goods.

This term is also used when referring to any part of the customs service or its main or subsidiary offices.

This term is also used adjectivally in connection with customs officials, import or export duties control on goods, or any other matter within the purview of customs (customs officer, customs duties, customs office, customs declaration).

A document that traditionally accompanies exported goods bearing such information as the nature of the goods, their value, the recipient and their ultimate destination. Required for statistical purposes, it accompanies all controlled goods being exported under the appropriate permit.

A formal document used to clear goods through customs in the importing country by providing pertinent shipment information including but not limited to country of origin, description and value.

Offers approved importers, approved carriers, and registered drivers the benefits of a streamlined clearance option for CSA eligible goods.

(Dangerous Goods shipping is currently available via FedEx Ship Manager for U.S. domestic and U.S. export FedEx Express shipments only.) Dangerous goods are articles or substances which are capable of posing a risk to health, safety, property, or the environment and which are classified according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) regulations or 49 Code of Federal Regulations (49 CFR).

The maximum of FedExs transportation liability for any loss, damage, delay, misdelivery, nondelivery, misinformation or any failure to provide information.

The selling price or cost as determined by other valuation methods, of an international shipments contents.

While the term Ex Works signifies the sellers minimum obligation, the term Delivered/Duty Paid, when followed by words naming the buyers premises, denotes the other extreme – the sellers maximum obligation. The term may be used irrespective of the mode of transport. If the parties wish that the seller should clear the goods for import but that some of the cost payable upon the import of the goods should be excluded – such as value-added tax (VAT) and/or other similar taxes. This should be made clear by adding words to this effect (e.g., exclusive of VAT and/or taxes).

Also called Delivery Orders, these documents provide specific information to a carrier regarding delivery to a specific port, pier, terminal, airport, or steamship line. They show the shipping carrier, delivery deadlines, name and address of consignee, and the contract name and telephone number of the shipper in case of delivery problems.

Dimensional weight is a calculation of the shipments weight based on its volumetric standard instead of its actual weight. Dimensional weight is calculated by multiplying the length by width by height of each package in inches or centimeters and dividing by a dimensional weight divisor. The dimensional weight divisor varies by service offering and unit of measure (inches or centimeters).

For FedEx International Priority, FedEx International First & FedEx International Economy rates are based on the total weight of all packages in one shipment using one air waybill. Any fraction of a kilo takes the next higher weight.

When dimensional weight exceeds actual weight, shipments will be charged according to the IATA volumetric standard.

Dimensional weight in kg = Length x Height x Width in cm



For example, for U.S. or Canadian originexport shipments measured in inches, the divisor is 166.ForEMEA, LAC and APAC origin exportshipments measured in inches, the divisor is 139; if measured in centimeters, the divisor is 5,000. Contact your localFedEx Customer Servicefor more details.

Enter the length, width, and height of the package. Package dimensions must be at least 1 inch/cm for Length, 1 inch/cm for Width, 1 inch/cm for Height. For multiple piece shipments, you can ship up to 25 packages using 10 unique rows of weight/dimensions information.

International standard for EDI (standards work toward universal, international conventions for electronic data interchange).

One of the five major institutions of the European Union (EU). The Commission is responsible for ensuring the implementation of the Treaty of Rome and Union rules and obligations; submission of proposals to the Council of Ministers; execution of the Councils decisions; reconciliation of disagreements among Council members; administration of EU policies, such as the Common Agricultural Policy and coal and steel policies; taking necessary legal action against firms or member governments; and representing the Union in trade negotiations with non-member countries.

Formerly known as the European Community, it is a regional organization created in 1958 providing for gradual elimination of intra-regional Customs duties and other trade barriers, applying a common external tariff against other countries and providing for gradual adoption of other integrating measures, including a Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), and guaranteeing free movement of labor and capital. The original six members were Belgium, France, West Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. Denmark, Ireland, and the United Kingdom became members in 1973. Greece acceded in 1981. And Spain and Portugal in 1986. Austria, Finland, and Sweden joined the Union on January 1, 1995. The term European Union is used to refer to three separate regional organizations consisting of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), the European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM), and the European Economic Community (EEC). These have been served since 1967 by common institutions as the EU Commission, the EU Council, the European Parliament, and the Court of Justice of the European Communities. Currently there are 25 member states of theEU.

Similar to import licenses, exchange licenses protect a countrys foreign exchange reserves or utilize these reserves advantageously. They also authorize the conversion of currency.

A government permit sometimes required by the importers government to enable the import firm to convert its own countrys currency into foreign currency with which to pay a seller in another country.

An individual or firm who does not take part in actual sales transactions, but brings together buyers and sellers for a fee.

Most products have an export control classification number (formerly export commodity classification number) within the Commerce Control List (CCL). The ECCN consists of a five-character number that identifies categories, product groups, strategic level of control, and country groups.

A formal statement declaring full details about goods being exported, made to the collector of Customs at a port of exit.

A government document permitting participation in the export of designated goods to certain destinations.

A private firm that serves as the export department for other firms (usually manufacturers), locating customers, developing foreign advertising, transacting export business for its clients, etc., in return for a commission (ranging from 7.5 to 20%), salary, or retainer plus commission.

A firm that purchases goods directly from various domestic manufacturers, then packages and marks the merchandise for resale under its own name. Export merchants usually specialize in specific product categories.

A legal document that is necessary for the export of goods controlled by the government of Canada, specifically goods included on the Export Control List (see above) or goods destined for countries on the Area Control List.

Specific restrictions or ceilings imposed by an exporting country on the value or volume of certain exports to protect domestic producers and consumers from temporary shortages of the goods affected or to bolster their prices in world markets.

U.S. agency responsible for protecting the public health by assuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, the U.S.s food supply, medical devices, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation.

The goods are placed on board the vessel by the seller at the port of shipment specified in the sales contract. The risk of loss or damage is transferred to the buyer when the goods pass the ships rail.

A universally accepted classification system for trade goods, used to classify products and their corresponding tariff.

A means by which the government of the country of ultimate destination exercises legal control over the internal channeling of the commodities covered by the import certificate.

Some national governments issue and require this document to authorize imports into their countries.

A means of restricting imports by the issuance of licenses to importers, assigning each a quota, after determination of the total amount of any commodity which is to be imported during a period. Import licenses may also specify the country from which the importer must purchase the goods.

Applied by a country to reflect a desire to control the volume of goods coming into the country from other countries. They may include the imposition of tariffs or import quotas, restrictions on the amount of foreign currency available to cover imports, a requirement for import deposits, the imposition of import surcharges, non-tariff barriers, or the prohibition of various categories of imports.

A strategy which emphasizes the replacement of imports with domestically produced goods, rather than the production of goods for export, to encourage the development of domestic industry.

The owner or purchaser of the goods; or, when designated by the owner, purchaser, or consignee, a licensed customs broker.

Statement of charges issued after the preliminary invoice, i.e., when the goods have arrived at destination, a true weight quantity/value is determined and agreed upon.

The total weight of the merchandise, including any immediate packaging which is sold along with the goods, i.e., the weight of a tin can as well as its contents, but excluding the cartons in which the cans are packed.

An agreement, first signed in 1975 and since updated, between the European Community, now the European Union (EU), and 70 African, Caribbean, and Pacific states (mostly former colonies of the EU members). The agreement covers some aid provisions as well as trade and tariff preferences for the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries (ACP) when shipping to the EU. The most recent agreement expired in 2000, and is currently being renewed. Lom grew out of the 1958 Treaty of Romes association with the 18 African colonies/countries that had ties with Belgium and France.

Multiple package shipments consist of Individual packages that may have different weights, dimensions and declared value but can be accepted on one waybill if the shipment destined to a single address.

A trade agreement between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico that encourages free trade between these countries.

The NAFTA Certificate of Origin is a document provided for goods that qualify for reduced or duty-free entry as a product of one of the three participating member nations: Mexico, United States and Canada.

Non-document shipments are shipments that are not personal, interoffice or business documents (PIB) and usually require a Commercial Invoice.

Prior Notice requirements include a set of data elements on food imports that must be filed electronically, using either theFDA websiteor Automated Broker Interface (ABI).

An invoice prepared by the exporter prior to shipping the goods, informing the buyer of the goods to be sent, their value and other key specifications.

Explicit limits, usually by volume, on the amount of a specified commodity that may be imported into a country, sometimes also indicating the amounts that may be imported from each supplying country. Compared to tariffs, the protection afforded by QRs tends to be more predictable, being less affected by changes in competitive factors. Quotas have been used at times to favor preferred sources of supply.

An instrument in writing, signed by the captain of the ship, that lists the individual shipments constituting the ships cargo.

An official document submitted by a US exporter whenever a shipment of merchandise is shipped from the United States to a foreign destination. The joint Bureau of Census-International Trade Administration issues this form used for compiling US export control laws. In it the shipper shows the value, weight, consignee, destination, etc., of export shipments as well as Schedule B identification numbers.

A document required by the carrier or freight forwarders as a prerequisite to obtain (besides the data needed) authority to issue and sign the waybill in the shippers name.

Issued by a shipping or carrier company giving the receiving clerk at pier, dock, warehouse, airport, or on board, the authority to receive a stipulated amount of merchandise from a specified firm.

Represents the gross weight in kilograms (kg) of shipments, including the weight of moisture content, wrappings, crates, boxes, and containers (other than cargo vans and similar substantial outer containers).

A duty (or tax) levied on goods transported from one customs area to another. Tariffs raise the prices of imported goods, thus making them less competitive within the market of the importing country. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement, most duties on goods qualifying as NAFTA-originating and services from Canada to the U.S. and Mexico have been eliminated.

The point at which sellers have fulfilled their obligations so the goods are said to have been delivered to the buyer. They are shorthand expressions that set out the rights and obligations of each party when transporting the goods.

FCA/FOB (Free Carrier/Free on Board).

Free Carrier at a named port of export. The seller quotes the buyer a price that covers all costs up to and including delivery of goods aboard an overseas vessel (e.g. airplane).

CIP/CIF (Carriage Insurance Paid/Cost Insurance and Freight).

Carriage Insurance Paid to a named overseas port of disembarkation (i.e. import). Under this term, the seller quotes a price for the goods, including insurance, plus all transportation, and miscellaneous charges to the point of disembarkation from the vessel.

CPT/C&F (Carriage Paid To/Cost & Freight).

Carriage Paid To is the named overseas port of disembarkation (i.e. import). Under this term, the seller quotes a price for the goods that includes the cost of transportation to the named point of import. The cost of insurance is left to the buyers account.

Under this term, the price quoted applies only at the point of origin and the seller agrees to place the goods at the disposal of the buyer at a specific place on the date or within the period fixed. All other charges are for the account of the buyer.

Under this term, the seller fulfills his obligation to deliver when the goods have been made available at the named place in the country of importation. The seller has to bear the costs and risks involved in bringing the goods thereto as well as the costs and risks of clearing Customs.

Under this term, the seller fulfills his obligation to deliver when the goods have been made available at the named place in the country of importation. The seller has to bear the risks and cost, including duties, taxes and other charges of delivering the goods.

The declared value for carriage of any shipment represents FedExs maximum liability in connection with that shipment, including, but not limited to, any loss, damage, delay, misdelivery, non-delivery, misinformation, any failure to provide information, or misdelivery of information relating to the shipment. Exposure to and risk of loss in excess of the declared value is assumed by the shipper.

The Warsaw Convention limits FedExs liability for loss of or damage to your international shipment, unless you declare and pay the required fees. The interpretation of the Warsaw Conventions liability limits may vary depending on the destination country. If the Warsaw Convention, as amended by Montreal Protocol No. 4 applies to your shipment, FedExs liability is limited to 17 Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) per kilo, unless you declare a higher value.

Otherwise and in instances where the Warsaw Convention, as amended, does not apply, FedExs liability is limited in the U.S., as set forth in the Service Guide, to US $9.07 per pound ($20.38 per kilo) unless you declare a higher value. In Canada, FedExs liability is limited in these instances to $100 CAD unless you declare a higher value.

Assessed on the value added to goods and services. The value added tax is imposed throughout the European Community and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries and many other trading nations, but not the U.S.

Usually issued by an official weigher on the dock, this certificate records the weight (as well as measurements) being entered on the back of the second and third copies of the dock receipt by clerk on the dock.

This note, or slip, shows the individual weight of each unit and is included in cases. It is also the official weighers record.

The WTO is the only global international organization dealing with the rules of trade between nations. At its heart are the WTO agreements, negotiated and signed by the bulk of the worlds trading nations and ratified in their parliaments. The goal is to help producers of goods and services, exporters, and importers conduct their business.