Shipping Terms


If a freight rate is quoted on FIOS basis, it means that the shippers are responsible for and bear the cost of the loading, discharging and stowing charges. The ship is responsible for and bears the cost of bringing in the vessel to port, the cost of pilotage, the cost of tug, etc. The loading and discharging rates are a worry only to the shipper and this is one of the things about which a shipper has to think carefully. If the vessel overstays the intended period, the shipper has to pay demurrage.

Free In/Out and Trimmed

As per FIOS but includes trimming, e.g. the leveling of bulk cargoes. FIOS includes sea freight, but excludes loading/discharging and stowage costs.

Free In and Out Stowed and Trimmed

Charterer pays for cost of loading/discharging cargo, including stowage and trimming.


The shippers are responsible for and bear the cost of the loading and discharging. The stowage charges will be covered by the ship.


If a freight rate is quoted on LINER TERMS HOOK / HOOK basis, it means that the ship is responsible for and bear the cost of the loading, discharging and stowing charges. The loading and discharging rates are a worry only to the ship.

The Shipper/Receiver arranges for delivery or receipt of cargo to/from directly under ships hook. Shore-based stevedoring remains the responsibility of the shipper/receiver.

A shipper, therefore, has to consider carefully when signing a contract and should know that costs just before the goods are loaded (or just before the ship’s crane’s hook lifted it – so to speak) or just after they are discharged (or just after the ship’s crane’s hook released it – so to speak) are for his/her account.



Free In/Liner Out

The shippers are responsible for and bear the cost of the loading; the ship is responsible for and bears the cost of the discharging.

Liner In Free Out

The shippers are responsible for and bear the cost of the discharging; the ship is responsible for and bears the cost of the loading.

These terms may be used in different combinations and to be absolutely sure of all liabilities, it is always advisable to request that terms clearly and concisely indicate what is/isn’t included in your particular contract - in layman’s terms. 


The following terms can be encountered in times of chartering, booking cargoes, receiving shipping notes, etc. Only what are essential in the context of Ethiopian business is put here. However, the list may not be inclusive of all the terms that are essential to the Ethiopian context and hence the terms will be updated from time to time.

ABT About
ADDENDUM Additional chartering terms at the end of a charter party
AFFREIGHTMENT the hiring of a ship in whole or part
AGW All Going Well
ANCHORAGE When a vessel is near a port or coast (in a suitable place for anchorage) laying anchors and not sailing (either for purpose of repairs or waiting for clearance/ space availability from the port).
A/S Alongside
ASPW Any Safe Port in the World
ATDNSHINC Any Time Day/Night Sundays and Holidays Included: Such Kind of clauses are inserted in charter parties or shipping contracts to indicate the time/period the vessel will be loading or discharging
ATUTC Actual Times Used to Count
BAF (Bunker Adjustment Factor) A Fuel Surcharge expressed as a percentage added or subtracted from the freight amount, taking into account the change of price for bunkers (fuel oil).
BALE CAPACITY Cubic capacity of a vessel’s holds to carry packaged dry cargo such as bales/pallets
BALLAST Heavy weight, often sea water, necessary for the stability and safety of a ship which is not carrying cargo
BALLAST BONUS Compensation for relatively long ballast voyage

BAREBOAT/ Demise Charter
The owner gives ‘possession’ of the ship to the charterer and the charterer hires its own master and crew. Charterers take over all responsibility for the operation of the vessel and expenses for the duration.
BDI Both Dates Inclusive
BENDS Both Ends (Load & Discharge Ports)
BI Both Inclusive
The Baltic and International Maritime Council
BL (Bill of Lading) A document signed by the carrier which acts as a Contract of Affreightment, a receipt and evidence of title to the cargo. The BL in many cases is a negotiable document.
BN Booking Note
BOB Bunker on Board
BOFFER Best Offer
Bunkers Remaining on Board
BUNKERS Name given for vessels Fuel and Diesel Oil supplies
CAF Currency Adjustment Factor: A surcharge on the freight amount, taking into account the costs that are incurred arising from the constant changes of the exchange rates between the US dollar and other currencies.

CBM (Cubic Metres)

used as a means of charging freight especially when a cargo’s volume in cubic meters exceeds its weight in metric tones.
CBFT (or CFT) Cubic Feet
CFR or (C&F) Cost and Freight Seller pays the FOB cost and the freight cost to a nominated port or pace of discharge.
CHOPT Charterers Option
CHTRS Charterers
CIF (Cost, Insurance & Freight) Seller pays all these costs to a nominated port or place of discharge.
COB Close of Business
COBLDN Close of Business London
C/SNEE or CONSIGNEE: Name of agent, company or person receiving consignment
COP Custom of Port
CP or C/P Charter Party
CQD (Customary Quick Despatch) indicates the loading or discharging rate customary at a certain port. That means there is no special obligation to whoever is responsible for the loading and discharge rates as long as they maintain the customary rate.
DAPS Days all Purposes (Total days for loading & discharging)
DAMFORDET Damages for Detention Penalty if cargo is not ready when ship arrives for working (1st day of Laycan). This is not detention which is charged for ships time on delay.
DESP Despatch Time saved, reward for quick turnaround - in dry cargo only
DET Detention (See DAMFORDET)
DFRT Dead freight Space booked by shipper or charterer on a vessel but not used
DRAUGHT (or DRAFT) Depth to which a ship is immersed in water. The depth varies according to the design of the ship and will be greater or lesser depending not only on the weight of the ship and everything on board, but also on the density of the water in which the ship is lying (sea water is denser than fresh water).
DUNNAGE Materials of various types, often timber or matting, placed among the cargo for separation, and hence protection from damage, for ventilation and, in the case of certain cargoes, to provide space in which the tynes of a fork lift truck may be inserted.
DWAT (or DWT) Deadweight
Weight of cargo, stores and water, i.e. the difference between lightship and loaded displacement.
ETA Estimated Time of Arrival (of a ship at a certain port)
ETC Estimated Time of Completion (of loading or discharging of a ship at a certain port)
ETD Estimated Time of Departure (of a ship from a certain port)
ETS Estimated Time of Sailing (of a ship from a certain port)
EXW (Ex Works) The buyer pays for the cost of the goods, the transportation from the factory (hence ex works) and the insurance. In other words, the seller’s responsibility ends at his own factory/warehouse.
FENDER A cushion (like old tires), placed between ships, or between a ship and a pier, to prevent damage
FEU Standard 40’ Container (or Forty Equivalent Unit)
FHEX Fridays/Holidays Excluded
FHINC (Fridays/Holidays Included) Such Kind of clauses are inserted in charter parties or shipping contracts to indicate the time/period the vessel will be loading or discharging. (The ‘Fridays’ clause is especially applicable in Muslim countries where Friday is a holiday instead of Sunday)
FME Force Majeure Excepted
FOB Free on Board. Seller sees the goods "over the ship’s rail" on to the ship which is arranged and paid for by the buyer.
FORCE MAJEURE Clause limiting responsibilities of the charterers, shippers and receivers of cargo.
FYG For Your Guidance
FYI For Your Information
GRT Gross Registered Tonnage
GSB Good, Safe Berth
GSP Good, Safe Port
HA Hatch (See Hold)
HMS Heavy Metal Scraps
HO (Hold) A compartment below deck in a large vessel, used solely for carrying cargo
IMDG International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code
IMO International Maritime Organisation
INTERMODAL Carriage of a commodity by different modes of transport, i.e. sea, road, rail and air within a single journey
ITINERARY Route, Schedule
KNOT A measurement of speed equal to one nautical mile (1.85200 kilometers) per hour
LASH To hold goods in position by use of Ropes, Wires, Chains or Straps etc.
LAYCAN or Laycan (Layday Cancelling Date)
LAYTIME Time at Charterers disposal for purpose of loading/discharging
L/C Letter of Credit
LEEWARD The direction away from the wind. Opposite of windward
LEEWAY The sideways movement of the ship caused by either wind or current
LOI Letter of Indemnity
LS (or LUMPS) Lumpsum Freight Money paid to Shipper for a charter of a ship (or portion) up to stated limit irrespective of quantity of cargo
LSD Lashed Secured Dunnaged
MANIFEST Inventory/list of cargo on board
MT Metric Tonne (i.e. 1,000 kilos)
NOR Notice of Readiness (such as given by the master of a ship to indicate that his ship is ready to enter a port)
P&I Protection and Indemnity Insurance
PCT Percent
PERDIEM By the Day
PER SE By Itself
PORT The left side of a ship looking forward. Also a harbor
PWWD Per Weather Working Day
SEAFREIGHT Costs charged for transporting goods over the sea. This does not cover haulage or loading/discharging costs but the sea transport only.
Statement of condition of the vessel (valid certificates, fully equipped and manned etc.)
SF (Stowage Factor) Cubic space (measurement tonne) occupied by one tonne
1,000 kgs of cargo this is useful when calculating the freight to be paid, as freight is usually quoted as USD (amount)/ WM, which means the stated amount per weight or measurement is whichever is higher.
SHINC Sundays/Holidays Included
SHEX Sundays/Holidays Excluded
SSHEX Saturdays, Sundays, Holidays Excluded
SSHINC (or SATSHINC) Saturdays, Sundays, Holidays Included Such Kind of clauses are inserted in charter parties or shipping contracts to indicate the time/period the vessel will be loading or discharging.
SOC Shipper Owned Container, this is mentioned when quoting freights. If it’s SOC, the freight is usually less.
STABILITY It is very important that a vessel is stable in all aspects at all times. When cargo is loaded or discharged, the stability is monitored taking into account the weight and position of cargo within the vessel.
STARBOARD Right side of a ship when facing the front or forward end.
STEM Subject to Enough Merchandise (Availability of cargo).
SUB Subject (to). Depending upon as a condition
SUPERCARGO Person employed by a ship owner, shipping company, charterer of a ship or shipper of goods to supervise cargo handling operations.
TBN To Be Named / To Be Nominated
TC Time Charter - Owners agree to hire a particular ship for a set length of time and provide technical management, crewing etc.
TEU Standard 20' Container (or Twenty Equivalent Unit)
WOG Without Guarantee
WP (Weather Permitting) That time during which weather prevents working shall not count as laytime