The Basics:

Bill of Lading: is a legal document which contains all information about your shipment

Shipper: The company overseas who is shipping the product. This is different than “Manufacturer”. The same company can sometimes be both Shipper and Manufacturer, double check to make sure.

Consignee: This is the importer information. Sometimes one company has 2 names (i.e. one for import purpose and one for retail store). Make sure the correct company name is used for which the Customs Bond is purchased under.

Notify Party: Any third-party who are associated with this shipment can be listed here. If you have an assigned Customs House Broker, you may insert in this area. Other common third-party Notify Party can be your final customer’s info, distribution center, etc… it all depends how much information you would like to be public.

Vessel/Voyage: Information about the Vessel Name and Voyage no. of your shipment. (If a vessel requires trans-shipment (change of vessel), this information will change accordingly.)

Place of Receipt: Origin of the cargo.

Port of Loading: Origin Port

Port of Discharge: Destination Port

Final Destination: Depending on the booking, this could be the destination port/warehouse or the actual final delivery address.

Steamship Line/Carrier (VOCC – Vessel Operating Common Carrier): The company who owns and operates the ships that brings the containers into the country.

Freight Forwarding (NVOCC – Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier): Agent between Importers and Carriers

Customs Broker: Licensed company/individual who represents you to Customs

Most commonly used Terms:

FOB Term: Free On Board

Most common term used. It means your shipper (aka seller), pays for all associated charges at origin excluding Freight. It includes, but not limited to: local drayage, export customs clearance at origin, warehouse charges and port fees. Most exporters shipping via FOB includes all the FOB charges in the final product pricing.

Ex-Work Term: Unlike FOB, Ex-W is where the buyer (aka importer) pays for everything.

DDP Term (Destination Duty Paid): Shipper pays for everything, including destination Duty.

DDU Term (Destination Duty Unpaid): Shipper pays for everything, except destination Duty.

Cargo Information Basics

Markings: Usually on the boxes or pallets. Something that identifies your cargo if it gets lost.

Quantity: Total piece count

Description: Product that you’re importing

Weight: Total weight of the products (Learn more about Gross Weight vs. Net Weight here.)

CBM: Total cubic meter of the products

FCL: Full Container Load or CY (Container Yard)

For when you have enough product to fill up an entire container. Below is a chart with general guideline of each

container size and its capacity. Container capacity varies per carrier.

LCL: Less than Container Load or CFS (Container Freight Station)

For when you have less products that would not use up the entire container.