Brush up on your international shipping vocabulary or find the definition for a specific shipping or customs term.





International Maritime Consultative Organization. A forum in which most majormaritime nations participate and through which recommendations for the carriageof dangerous goods bulk commodities and maritime regulations becomeinternationally acceptable.

I.M.D.G. Code

International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code. The regulationspublished by the IMO for transporting hazardous materials internationally.


International Standards Organization which deals in standards ofall sorts ranging from documentation to equipment packaging and labeling.


Immediate Transport. Thedocument (prepared by the carrier) allows shipment to proceed from the port ofentry in the Customs clearing at the destination. The shipment clears Customs at itsfinal destination. Also called an In Transit Entry.


Independent Action. Theright of a conference member to publish a rate of tariff rule that departs fromthe Agreements common rate or rule.


Interstate Commerce Commission or International Chamber ofCommerce


Stands for Immediate Exit. In the U.S. Customs IE Form is usedwhen goods are brought into the U.S.and are to be immediately re exported without being transported within the U.S.

Immediate Exportation

An entry that allows foreign merchandise arriving at one port tobe exported from the same port without the payment of duty.

Import License

A document required and issued by some national governmentsauthorizing the importation of goods.

Importer of Record (IOR)

The owner or purchaser of the goods, or when designated by the owner purchaseror consignee a licensed customs broker.

In Bond

Cargo moving under Customs control where duty has not yet beenpaid.

In Gate

The transaction or interchange that occurs at the time acontainer is received by a rail terminal or water port from another carrier.

In Transit

In transit or in passage.

In Transit Entry (I.T.)

Allows foreign merchandise arriving at one port to betransported in bond to another port where a superseding entry is filed.

Incentive Rate

A lower than usual tariff rate assessed because a shipper offersa greater volume than specified in the tariff. The incentive rate is assessedfor that portion exceeding the normal volume.


The recognized theInternational Chamber of Commerce Terms of Sale. These terms were last amendedeffective July 1 1990.

Indemnity Bond

An agreement to hold a carrier harmless with regard to aliability.

Independent Action

Setting rate within a conference tariff that is different fromthe rate(s) for the same items established by other conference members.

Independent Tariff

Any body of rate tariffs that are not part of an agreement orconference system.


Placing a port on a vessels itinerary because the volume ofcargo offered at that port justifies the cost of routing the vessel.

Inherent Vice

An insurance term referring to any defect or othercharacteristic of a product that could result in damage to the product withoutexternal cause (for example instability in a chemical that could cause it toexplode spontaneously). Insurance policies may exclude inherent vice losses.

Inland Carrier

A transportation line that hauls export or import trafficbetween ports and inland points.|

Inspection Certificate

A certificate issued by an independent agent or firm attesting to thequality and/or quantity of the merchandise being shipped. Such a certificate isusually required in a letter of credit for commodity shipments.

Instalment Shipments

Successive shipments are permitted under letters of credit.Usually they must take place within a given period of time.

Insulated Container

A container insulated on the walls roof floor and doors toreduce the effect of external temperatures on the cargo.

Insulated Container Tank

The frame of a container constructed to hold one or morethermally insulated tanks for liquids.

Insurance All risk

This type of insurance offers the shipper the broadest coverageavailable covering against all losses that may occur in transit.

Insurance General Average

In water transportation the deliberate sacrifice of cargo tomake the vessel safe for the remaining cargo. Those sharing in the spared cargoproportionately cover the loss.

Insurance ParticularAverage

A Marine insurance term which refers to partial loss on anindividual shipment from one of the perils insured against regardless of thebalance of the cargo. Particular average insurance can usually be obtained butthe loss must be in excess of a certain percentage of the insured value of theshipment usually three to five percent before a claim will be allowed by thecompany.

Insurance with Average clause

This type of clause covers merchandise if the damage amounts tothree percent or more of the insured value of the package or cargo. If thevessel burns sinks or collides all losses are fully covered. In marineinsurance the word average describes partial damage or partial loss.

Interchange Point

Alocation where one carrier delivers freight to another carrier.


Water service between two coasts, in the U.S. this usually refersto water service between the Atlantic and Pacific or Gulf Coasts.

Interline Freight

Freight moving from origin to destination over the Freight linesof two or more transportation carriers.

Intermediate Point

Apoint located en route between two other points.


Used to denote movements of cargo containers interchangeablybetween transport modes i.e. motor rail water and air carriers and where theequipment is compatible within the multiple systems.


B/L covering cargo moving via multimodalmeans. Also known as Combined Transport B/L or Multimodal B/L.

International Ship andPort Security Code

It is an amendment to the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS)Convention (1974/1988) on minimum security arrangements for ships ports andgovernment agencies. Having come into force in 2004 it prescribesresponsibilities to governments shipping companies shipboard personnel andport/facility personnel to detect security threats and take preventativemeasures against security incidents affecting ships or port facilities used ininternational trade.


An itemised list of goods shipped to a buyer stating quantitiesprices shipping charges etc.

Inward Foreign Manifest(IFM)

A complete listing of all cargo entering the country ofdischarge. Required at all world ports and is the primary source of cargocontrol against which duty is assessed by the receiving country.


Inland Point Intermodal.Refers to inland points (non ports) that can be served by carriers on a throughbill of lading.

Irrevocable Letter ofCredit

Letter of credit in which the specified payment is guaranteed bythe bank if all terms and conditions are met by the drawee and which cannot berevoked without joint agreement of both the buyer and the seller.

Issuing Bank

Bank that opens a straight or negotiable letter of credit andassumes the obligation to pay the bank or beneficiary if the documentspresented are in accordance with the terms of the letter of credit.

Issuing Carrier

The carrier issuing transportation documents or publishing atariff.


A wood or fibre cover placed around such containers as cans andbottles.