5 most-commonly used shipping terms in the industry with lucid definitions & their applications

Every industry has its own set of words and abbreviations that hold a particular meaning to express an idea or meaning in a formal manner. Likewise, the global shipping industry also uses various terms that are commonly scribbled in sales contracts and other legal paperwork. It becomes important for an individual who is associated with this industry, to understand the meaning and applications of such terms. The shipping terms express specific instructions, rules and actions that are involved in the regular events of the shipping industry. One can get easy access to all the shipping terms and acronyms that exist in the industry with the help of different online glossaries for the same.

Shipping industry massively depends upon communication to carry out the work efficiently which makes it important for the stakeholders to understand the terms that are used regularly.

The 5 most commonly used shipping terms in the industry are:

B/L (Bill of Lading)-

BOL stands for Bill of Lading which is a form of legal documentation. It is a detailed list of shipment that enlists all the data related to the goods being carried along with the names of shipper and receiver. It is typically an invoice that includes the type and amount of goods, shipper/consignee information, number of goods, tracking number, and other specific details.

The BOL is used as a receipt as well as evidence of successful shipment. It acts as a receipt of the shipment contract wherein all the details of carriage are mentioned. Also, it serves as evidence that the carriage is delivered to the rightful authority.

FCL (Full Container Load)-

FCL stands for Full container Load which refers to a shipment in which the whole container is entitled to only one consignee. A cargo occupies the full size of a container in case of FCL shipments. The freight charges are comparatively low in case of FCL shipments.

When an exporter has enough goods to accommodate a whole container then FCL method of shipment is used. The total risk of loading and unloading the container is dependent on only one shipper and one consignee. It eliminates the involvement of any third party.

LCL (Less than Container Load)-

LCL stands for Less than container load which refers to a shipment in which goods of different shippers that are to be delivered to different destinations are loaded in one container. As the name suggests, when the quantity of material of one consignee is very less than the loading capacity of a container, then LCL shipment is preferred.

It is a convenient option for exporters who do not have enough goods to meet the full loading capacity of a container. LCL is also a time-saving process as one does not have to wait for the goods to be enough for fulfilling a container load.

Air Waybill-

An Air Waybill is a document that enlists detailed information about the goods that are transported by an international air courier. It is a non-negotiable document that only contains the terms of transportation. It includes the names and other important details of the consignee and the shipper, the description of goods, Air Waybill number etc.

An Air Waybill acts as a receipt of shipment through air transportation and is a very vital document of the shipping process.

Container Yard (CY)-

A Container Yard is also a commonly used shipping term which implies a place from where ocean carriers take and dispatch containers. It is also used as an empty container storage facility.

It is important to use a proper and safe Container Yard as it is the place where the exporters send their goods for further transportation.

Thus, knowing about the shipping terms and understanding it’s proper meanings and uses is very important for an individual who is a part of the global shipping industry. These acronyms are accepted and used throughout the global shipping industry.

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