Shipping Glossary

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Abbreviation: ABS
American classification society which has established rules and regulations for the classification of seagoing vessels or equipment.


Abbreviation: ACEP
An agreement between the owners of the equipment and the responsible governmental body to allow continuous examination of the equipment (e.g. containers).


Abbreviation: ADR
A European agreement concerning the international carriage of dangerous goods by road.


Automated guided vehicle system.


Automated System for Customs Data. This program dealing with customs declarations has been developed by UNCTAD and is presently used by some 75 countries.


Alongside, near amidships.
For navigational purposes in the direction of a right angle to the ship's heading.


Acceptance by the carrier of a portion of a joint rate or charge which is less than the amount which it would receive for the service in the absence of such joint rate or charge.

Acceptance of Goods

The process of receiving a consignment from a consignor, usually against the issue of a receipt. As from this moment and on this place the carrier's responsibility for the consignment begins.

Accommodation ladder

Movable steps arranged temporary alongside e.g. a quay to allow access on board for officials, crew or passengers.

Accompanied Transport

The transport of complete road vehicles by another means of transport (e.g. train, ferry accompanied by the driver).
Accord Relatif aux Transports Internationaux de Denrees Perissables et aux Engins Speciaux a Utiliser pour ces Transports
Abbreviation: ATP
Agreement on the international carriage of perishable foodstuffs and on the special equipment to be used for such carriage.

Acknowledgement of Receipt

A notification relating to the receipt of e.g. goods, messages and documents.

Act of God

Accidents of a nature beyond human control such as flood, lightning or hurricane usually quoted as 'force majeure'.

Active Inventory

Covers raw material, work in progress, finished products, which will be used or sold within a given period without extra cost or loss. This term does not cover the so-called reserve inventory.

Actual Demand

Customer orders and often also the allocation of items, ingredients and/or raw materials to production or distribution.

Actual Voyage Number

A code for identification purposes of the voyage and vessel which actually transports the container/cargo.

Ad Valorem

In proportion to the value: A phrase applied to certain freight or customs duties levied on goods, property, etc. set as a percentage of their value.

Added Value

The value attributed to products, and services as the result of a particular process (e.g. production process, storage, transport).

Advance Arrangement

An agreement between the shipper and the carrier, concerning contacts between those parties prior to tendering the consignment.

Advanced Amount

Quantity of cash or cash equivalents expressed in a monetary amount given to a driver to cover expenses during a trip.

Advanced Charge

A charge paid by a carrier to an agent or to another carrier, which the delivering carrier then collects from the consignee. Such charges are usually for agents' forwarding fees and incidental expenses paid out of pocket for account of the shipment by an agent or other carrier.

Advanced Interline

An interline carrier that picks up cargo from the shipper and delivers it to another carrier for shipment to the consignee.

Advice Note

A written piece of information e.g. about the status of the goods.

Aeroquip System

Special accessories in a container consisting of among others the attachment rails on the inside walls to provide facilities for lashing and separation of the cargo.


At, near or towards the stern or rear of a vessel or an aircraft.

Agency Fee

Fee payable by a shipowner or ship operator to a port agent.


A person or organisation authorised to act for or on behalf of another person or organisation or principal.

The following functions and responsibilities may apply to the activities of an agent.


Marketing, acquisition of cargo, issuing quotations, concluding contracts in co-ordination with the principal. Bookings
Booking of cargo in accordance with allotments assigned to the agent for a certain voyage by the principal.
Dealing with the national customs administration for cargo declarations, manifest alterations and cargo clearance on behalf of the principal.
Responsible for timeliness and correctness of all documentation required, regarding the carriage of cargo.
Taking care of all procedures connected with physical handling of cargo.
Equipment control
Managing of all equipment stock in a particular area.
Authorised to sign and issue Bills of Lading and other transport documents.
Authorised to collect freight and charges on behalf of the principal.
The agent who releases the cargo and is responsible for its delivery to the consignee.

Handling of cargo claims

Handling of cargo claims as per agency contract.


Handling non cargo related operations of a vessel as instructed by the master, owner or charterer.

Aggregate Inventory

The inventory for any group of items or products, involving multiple stock-keeping units.

Air Container

Any unit load device, primarily intended for transport by air, having an internal volume of 1 m3 or more, incorporating restraint provisions compatible with an aircraft restraint system, and an entirely flush base bottom to allow handling on roller-bed cargo handling systems.

Air Waybill

Abbreviation: AWB
A document made out by or on behalf of the carrier(s) confirming receipt of the goods by the carrier and evidencing the contract between the shipper and the carrier(s) for the carriage of goods as described therein.


The process of assigning activities, costs or facilities e.g. space to a certain organisational units.


A share of the capacity of a means of transport assigned to a certain party, e.g. a carrier or an agent, for the purpose of the booking of cargo for a specific voyage.

Always Afloat (AA)

Provision in a charter party, that the vessel must remain afloat at all times when unloading and discharging.

American Bureau of Shipping

Abbreviation: ABS
American classification society which has established rules and regulations for the classification of seagoing vessels or equipment.


At or in the middle of a vessel.


Device for temporary securing a ship or floating structure to the seabed by means of a chain or cable and a weight with movable extensions (arms)


A vessel's outfit, such as rigging, anchor and lifeboats.
The term used in distribution/transport of clothing for a single piece of clothing, a garment.

Approved Continuous Examination Program

Abbreviation: ACEP
An agreement between the owners of the equipment and the responsible governmental body to allow continuous examination of the equipment (e.g. containers).


The area on an airport where aircrafts are parked for embarkation and/or loading and discharging purposes (air cargo).


The process of referring to an agreed person for judgement on issues of dispute, without requiring the use of courts.

Area Code

A code for the area where a container is situated.

Area Off Hire Lease

Geographical area where a leased container becomes off hire.

Area Off Hire Sublease

Geographical area where a subleased container becomes off hire.

Area On Hire Lease

Geographical area where a leased container becomes on hire.

Area On Hire Sublease

Geographical area where a subleased container becomes on hire.

Area of Repair

Geographical area where a container is under repair.

Arrival Date

The date on which goods or a means of transport is due to arrive at the delivery site of the transport.

Arrival Notice

A notice sent by a carrier to a nominated notify party advising of the arrival of a certain shipment or consignment.

Articles Dangereux de Route

Abbreviation: ADR
A European agreement concerning the international carriage of dangerous goods by road.


The stage of production in which components are put together into an end product appropriate to the process concerned.


The transfer of certain rights from one party to another.


Behind a vessel or an aircraft.
Backward; in a reverse direction.


Across the vessel, that is, from side to side. Said of cargo stowed in this way, as opposed to length-wise.


A methodical examination and review of a situation or condition (as within a business enterprise) concluding with a detailed report of findings.

Audit Trail

A record of events, such as system access, network load, unsuccessful log-on attempts, that might have some significance for an investigation.


Proof by means of a signature or otherwise that a certain document or certain data is of undisputed origin and genuine.

Authorised Consignee / Consignor

A trader authorised by the European Commission (regulation 2454/93) to receive or despatch consignments under transit procedures without having to present goods and documents directly at the customs office.


The commission to a certain person or body to act on behalf of another person or body. The person or body can be authorised e.g. to issue Bills of Lading or to collect freight.

Auto Container

Container equipped for the transportation of vehicles.

Automated Guided Vehicle System

Unmanned vehicles equipped with automatic guidance equipment which follow a prescribed path, stopping at each necessary station for automatic or manual loading or unloading.

Automatic Identification

A means of identifying an item e.g. a product, parcel or transport unit by a machine (device) entering the data automatically into a computer.
The most widely used technology at present is bar code; others include radio frequency, magnetic stripes and optical character recognition.

Automatic Identification Manufacturers

Abbreviation: AIM
International Organisation of companies and/or associations involved or interested in automatic identification.


In marine insurance: a loss or damage to or in respect of goods or equipment.
The numerical result obtained by dividing the sum of two or more quantities by the number of quantities.

Average Adjusters

In general average affairs average adjusters are entrusted with the task of apportioning the loss and expenditure over the parties interested in the maritime venture and to determine which expenses are to be regarded as average or general average.


Description of the situation when the anchor has just been lifted from the seabed


Light structure with canvas or wooden covering rigged above an open space to provide protection from sun or rain.