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Term Definition


Abandonment The act of relinquishing claim or right to property

About „About“, „Approx.“, and „Circa“ are terms which when used in a letter of credit, are construed to allow a difference not to exceed 10% more or 10% less than the monetary amount, or the quantity, or the unit price stipulated in the letter of credit.

Absolute Advantage An advantage of one nation or area over another in the costs of producing an item in terms of used resources.

Absorption 1. An economic term for the total expenditures by a nation’s residents on goods and services.

2. The assumption by one carrier of the charges of another without any increase in the charges to the shipper.

Accelerated Tariff Elimination The reduction of import duties faster than originally had been agreed upon or projected.

Acceptance 1. A draft calling for payment at a future date which the drawee has agreed to pay by signing „Accepted“ on the draft.

2. An unconditional assent to an offer; or an assent to an offer conditioned on only minor changes that do not affect any material terms of the offer;

3. An agreement to purchase goods on specified terms.

4. Receipt of a shipment by a consignee thus terminating the liability of the carrier for delivery.

Acceptance Letter Of Credit A letter of credit which instead of agreeing to pay the beneficiary immediately upon presentation of documents, requires presentation of a time draft drawn by the beneficiary upon the issuing bank or another bank. However, the beneficiary may, in effect, obtain prompt payment by discounting the draft.

Accepted Draft A draft or a bill of exchange accepted by the drawee (acceptor) by putting his signature and „accepted’ on its face. In doing so, he commits himself to pay the bill upon presentation at maturity.

Accepting Bank A bank which by signing ‘accepted’ on a time draft accepts responsibility to pay when the draft becomes due.

Acceptor The party that signs ‘accepted’ on a draft or obligation, agreeing to pay the stated sum at maturity.

Accession Accession is a process by which a country becomes a member of an international agreement (usually an agreement that has already been accepted by other countries).

Accessorial Charges In transportation, those charges made for additional, supplemental, or special services performed in addition to the basic transportation service.

Accessorial Services `In transportation, services performed which are additional, supplemental, or special, in addition to the basic transportation service.

Accommodation An arrangement or engagement made as a favor to another, not dependent upon a consideration received.

Accommodation Note Or Paper A bill of exchange or banker’s acceptance which is endorsed, accepted, or drawn by one party (the accommodating party) to benefit another party. The accommodating party generally does not charge or seek compensation for this act.

Accord And Satisfaction A means of discharging a claim whereby the parties agree to give and accept something in settlement and perform the agreement, the agreement being the „accord“ and its performance „the satisfaction.“

Account Number An identification number assigned in its records for purposes of faster and more accurate accounting and record keeping, by banks, institutions, and businesses of all kind to their depositors, users, members, subscribers, customers, vendors, or other entities.

Account Party Same as Applicant, the party at whose request a bank issues a letter of credit.

Accounts Payable A current liability representing the amounts owed to creditors for merchandise or services purchased on open account or short-term credit.

Accounts Receivable The amount of money a business expects to receive for merchandise or services furnished by it to others on open account.

Accrual Of Obligation The maturing of an obligation to the date when the obligated party must perform. (Such as a time draft which must be paid by the drawee on the date stated.)

Acquisition The act of becoming owner of a property. In finance, it is the purchase of a company’s assets or its common stock.

Act Of God A violent act of nature such as lightning, flood, earthquake or hurricane which man can neither cause nor intervene with.

Action Ex Contractu 1. A legal action for breach of a promise stated in an express or implied contract.

2. An action arising out of a contract.

Action Ex Delicto 1. A legal action for a breach of a duty that is not stated in a contract but arises from the contract.

2. A legal action that arises from a wrongful act, such as fraud, fault, misconduct or malfeasance.

Ad Valorem Duty Duty calculated on the basis of value (usually a percentage of the value.)

Address Of Record The official or primary location for an individual, company, or other organization.

Adhesion Contract A contract with standard, often printed, terms for sale of goods and services, offered to consumers who usually cannot negotiate any changes in the terms and cannot acquire the product unless they agree to them.

Adjustment Assistance Financial, training and re-employment technical assistance to workers, and technical assistance to firms and industries, to help them cope with adjustment difficulties arising from increased import competition.

Admiralty Any civil or criminal matter having to do with maritime legal issues.

Admiralty Court A court of law that has jurisdiction over maritime legal issues.

Advance Against Collection A short term loan or
credit extended to a seller (usually the exporter) by the seller’s bank once a draft has been accepted by the buyer (generally the importer).

Advance Arrangements In transportation, advance arrangements must be made for certain kinds of cargo which require special handling: hazardous cargo, over weight, over sized, over normal quantity, time sensitive, shipped unpacked, live animals etc. Not every carrier can or will transport every kind of cargo.

Advanced Technology Products (ATP) Products whose technology is from a recognized high technology field, represent leading edge technology in that field, and constitute a significant part of all items covered in the selected classification code.

Advice 1. A report from one party to another informing them of an occurrence with regard to some business transaction: a shipment, a collection, a manufacture etc.etc.

2. A notification by an advising bank on behalf of the issuing bank to a beneficiary informing them of the terms of a letter of credit,

Advised Credit A letter of credit whose terms and conditions have been notified to the beneficiary by an advising bank on behalf of the issuing bank. The advising bank does not thereby commit itself to pay or guarantee the payment of the letter of credit.

Advising Bank An ‘advising bank’ is a correspondent of a bank which issues a letter of credit, and, on behalf of the issuing bank, the advising bank notifies the beneficiary of the terms of the credit, without engagement on its part to pay or guarantee the credit.

Advisory Committee On Export Policy A U.S. government interagency dispute resolution body that operates at the Assistant Secretary level.

Advisory Committee On Trade Policy And Negotiation A U.S. government group appointed by the President to provide advice on matters of trade policy and related issues, including trade agreements.

Affiliate A condition of being united, allied, associated, or attached. An affiliate company is one effectively controlled by another.

Affreightment Contract A contract with a ship owner to hire all or part of a ship for transporting goods – may involve a charter.

Afloat Refers to a shipment of cargo which is currently on board a vessel between ports

Aft At or towards the stern of the ship or the tail of the aircraft.

After Date A notation used on financial instruments (such as drafts or bills of exchange) to fix the maturity date as a fixed number of days past the date of drawing of the draft.

After Sight A notation on a draft that indicates that payment is due a stated number of days after the draft has been presented to the drawee.

Agent A person or legal entity authorized to act on behalf of another.

Agent Bank 1. A bank acting on behalf of another bank.

2. A bank acting for lenders and bondholders, similar to an indenture trustee.

Aggregated Shipments Several shipments intended for one consignee from various shippers that are consolidated and treated as a single consignment.

Agreed Valuation The value of a shipment that is agreed upon by both the shipper and the carrier to define the freight rate and/or the liability of the carrier.

Air Cargo Property of any kind that is transported by aircraft (excluding passenger baggage and mail).

Air Express Expedited air freight service.

Air Parcel Post Parcels shipped through the mails to be transported by air.

Airwaybill The shipping document used for the transportation of air freight: includes conditions, limitations of liability, shipping instructions, description of commodity, and applicable transportation charges. It is generally similar to a straight non-negotiable bill of lading and is used for similar purposes.

Alienable Ability to be transferred or conveyed.

All-Cargo Aircraft Any aircraft that is used for the sole purpose of transporting cargo or mail.

Allowance A deduction or discount from the price permitted by a seller.

Alternative Tariff In transportation, a tariff with two or more rates for the same goods, to and from the same points, with the opportunity available to the shipper to use the lowest of the charges.

Amendment An addition, deletion, or modification of a document.

Amidships The area of a vessel midway between the front (the bow) and the rear (the stern). When the term applies to an airplane, it is midway between the nose and the tail.

Amortization 1. The provision to pay a debt over a period of time.

2. The gradual repayment of borrowings in a series of installments.

3. A transaction or security where the principal reduces over the life of the agreement.

4. The writing off or reduction in value of an intangible asset over time (c.f.depreciation)

5. Allocation of the cost of an asset over its estimated useful life.

Antidumping Duties Additional duties which are assessed on imported goods when those goods are sold to the importing country at a price that is less than „fair value“, („fair value“ usually being defined as the price on the exporting country’s domestic market or to third countries), and when those imported goods are found to cause or to threaten material injury to industry of the importing country.

Any Quantity A cargo freight rate that applies to an article without regard to the weight or quantity shipped.

Applicant (also Account Party) 1. The party at whose request a bank issues a letter of credit.

2. A person who applies for something: a job, a passport, a visa, a license, a ticket etc. etc.

Appreciation An increase in the value of
of goods, of currency, of shares of stock, etc,.

Approx. (Approximately) Same as „about“ and „circa“; terms which when used in a letter of credit are construed to allow a difference not to exceed 10% more or 10% less than the monetary amount, or the quantity, or the unit price.

Appurtenance An accessory, adjunct, or appendage connected to a primary property and used in conjunction therewith.

Apron 1. Area of the airport where planes are parked. May be used for loading and unloading of aircraft.

2. Area along the waterside edges of a pier, not under cover, used for loading and unloading of vessels.

Arbitrage A method of taking advantage of the fact that there may be different prices in different markets for identical goods such as gold, foreign exchange or commodities. Simultaneously, one buys in the lower price market and sells in the higher one.

As Is Indicates goods for sale do not include a warranty , implied or expressed; the buyer takes the entire risk as to the quality or condition of the goods involved and must trust to his own inspection. In sum, the sale is „without recourse“.

Assembly Service A service under which a carrier or a forwarder or a warehouse combines multiple shipments from multiple shippers into one shipment for one receiver.

Assessment 1. The valuation, or determination as to value, of property.

2. The act of apportioning amounts to be paid.

3. An amount assessed or charged, for example: taxes or dues.

Assignment of Proceeds of a Letter Of Credit If the bank agrees, the beneficiary assigns all or part of the proceeds to be paid to another party after the required documents have been presented.

At Sight A notation on a draft which indicates that payment is due upon its presentation.

Athwartships Across a vessel form side to side.

Automated Broker Interface (ABI) (USA) A module of the U. S. Customs Automated Commercial System which provides a communications link for the transmission of entry and entry summary data on imported merchandise between ABI users and Customs.

Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) (USA) A US Customs electronic data system, which provides support for enforcing trade and contraband laws, ensuring trade compliance, and providing service and information to the international trade community. When completed, it will cover the full gamut of Customs activities.

Automated Commercial System (ACS) (USA) The comprehensive electronic data system of U. S. Customs for tracking, controlling, and processing commercial importations.

Automated Information Exchange System (AIES) (USA) A module of the Automated Commercial System of U. S. Customs which provides an automated method of exchanging information between Field Import Specialists and National Import Specialists.

Automated Manifest System (AMS) (USA) A module of the Automated Commercial System of U. S. Customs designed to control imported merchandise from the time a carrier’s cargo manifest is electronically transmitted to U.S. Customs until the cargo is properly entered, released by customs and delivered.

Avoidance Of Contract The legal cancellation of a contract because an event occurs that makes performance of the contract terms impossible or inequitable and that releases the parties from their obligations.


Back Haul The return of a carrier to the original point or area from which its journey began. If a carrier can obtain cargo to carry on the back haul route, that cargo may often obtain a favorable freight rate because otherwise the carrier would have to return empty.

Back Order That portion of an order that cannot be delivered at the scheduled time, but will be delivered at a later date when available.

Bad Faith The intent to mislead or deceive. It does not include misleading by an honest, inadvertent or uncalled-for misstatement.

Bagged Cargo Goods shipped in sacks.

Bailment A delivery of goods or personal property by one person (the bailor) to another (the bailee) on an express or implied contract for a particular purpose related to the goods while in possession of the bailee, who has a duty to redeliver them to the bailor.

Balance Of Payments A statement summarizing all the economic and financial transactions between companies, banks, private households and public authorities of one nation with those of the other nations of the world over a specific time period. It includes merchandise trade payments, payments and receipts on account of shipping services, tourist services, financial services, government expenditures, short and long term capital movements, interest and dividends, gold movements, etc.

Balance of Trade The difference in value between a country’s total imports and exports over a specific time period.

Balanced Economy A condition of national finances in which imports and exports are equal.

Bale A large bundle or package of compressed and bound goods, usually with an outer covering, often of burlap.

Bale Cargo Cargo shipped in bales.

Ballast Heavy material or water placed in the lower holds of a ship or in strategically placed tanks along the sides to improve its stability.

Bank Acceptance A draft drawn on and accepted by a bank.

Bank Delivery Order to an Airline A letter addressed to an air carrier from a bank who is shown as consignee on an airwaybill instructing the carrier to release a shipment. Often airlines will accept as a delivery order a bank’s endorsement on the airwaybill, although an airwaybill is a non-negotiable document.

Bank Draft A
form of check drawn by a bank against its account in another bank.

Bank Guarantee An indemnity letter in which the bank commits itself to pay a certain sum if a third party fails to perform or if any other form of default occurs. One use is when a bank wants a carrier to release a shipment which it has financed but the original bills of lading are not yet available for surrender to the carrier.

Bank Holding Company (USA) Any company which directly controls, with power to vote, more than five percent of voting shares of two or more banks (as defined by the Bank Holding Company Act .

Bank Holiday A day on which banks are closed.

Bank Note A promissory note having the appearance of currency, issued by a bank or banker authorized to do so, payable to bearer on demand, and intended to circulate as money.

Bank Release A document issued by a bank who is the consignee of a shipment authorizing a carrier to deliver a shipment.

Banker’s Bank A bank that is established by mutual consent by independent and unaffiliated banks to provide a clearinghouse for financial transactions.

Banker’s Draft A draft payable on demand and drawn by, or on behalf of, a bank upon itself or upon another bank, sometimes a foreign bank, where it maintains an account or a relationship.

Bankers Acceptance A draft calling for payment at a future date on which the drawee is a bank, and the bank has agreed to pay by signing „accepted“ on the draft.

Bankruptcy The condition of a legal entity that does not have the financial means to pay their incurred debts as they come due. In the U.S. this status is established through legal procedures involving a petition by the bankrupt or by its creditors.

Bareboat Charter The charter of a vessel where the charter party has the right to use his own master and crew on the vessel. Pays all operating expenses.

Barge A flat bottomed cargo vessel primarily used on rivers and canals. Usually it is towed or pushed but it may be self-propelled.

Barratry 1. In maritime law the intentional misconduct of the ship’s master or crew; includes theft, intentional casting away of vessel, or breach of trust.

2. The offense of frequently stirring up quarrels and suits, either at law or otherwise.

Barter Trade of goods or services without the use of money.

Basing Point A location which is used to set the selling price of goods and the freight rates to all points. A price is set at a given location chosen as the ex-factory basing point with freight to the place of delivery added to create a delivered price. Then like goods, wherever they may be sold from, are charged freight to their destination as if they were shipped from the same location (the basing point).

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