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





Protection and Indemnityan insurance term.

Packing List

Itemised list of commodities with marks/numbers but no costvalues indicated.


Please Authorize DeliveryAgainst Guarantee. A request from the consignee to the shipper to allow thecarrier or agent to release cargo against a guarantee either bank or personal.Made when the consignee is unable to produce original bills of lading.

Paired Ports

A U.S. Customs program wherein at least two designated Customsports will enter cargo that arrives at either port without the necessity of anin bound document.


A platform with or without sides on which a number of packages orpieces may be loaded to facilitate handling by a lift truck.

Panamax Tanker

A liquid cargo vessel of 50000 to 70000dwt.

Panamax Vessel

The largest size vessel that can traverse the Panama Canal. Current maximum dimensions are Length 294.1 meters (965 feet),width 32.3 meters (106 feet), draft 12.0 meters (39.5 feet) in tropical freshwater, height 57.91 meters (190 feet) above the water.

Paper Ram

A technical rail ramp used for equalization of points notactually served.

Paper Rate

A published rate that is never assessed because no freight movesunder it.

Parcel Receipt

An arrangement whereby a steamship company under rules andregulations established in the freight tariff of a given trade accepts smallpackages at rates below the minimum bill of lading and issues a parcel receiptinstead of a bill of lading.

Partial Shipments

Under letters of credit one or more shipments are allowed by thephrase partial shipments permitted.

Per Diem

A charge based on a fixed daily rate.

Perils of the Sea

Those causes of loss for which the carrier is not legallyliable. The elemental risks of ocean transport.

Phytosanitary Inspection Certificate

A certificate issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to satisfyimport regulations of foreign countries, indicates that a U.S. shipment has been inspectedand found free from harmful pests and plant diseases.


The act of calling for freight by truck at the consignorsshipping platform.


The structure perpendicular to the shoreline to which a vesselis secured for the purpose of loading and unloading cargo.

Pier to House

A shipment loaded into a container at the pier or terminal thento the consignees facility.

Pier to Pier

Containers loaded at port of loading and discharged at port ofdestination.

Piggy Packer

A mobile container handling crane used to load/unload containersto/from railcars.


A transportation arrangement in which truck trailers with theirloads are moved by train to a destination. Also known as Rail Pigs.

Place of Delivery

Place where cargo leaves the care and custody of carrier.

Place of Receipt

Location where cargo enters the care and custody of carrier.

Plimsoll Mark

A series of horizontal lines corresponding to the seasons of theyear and fresh or saltwater painted on the outside of a ship marking the levelwhich must remain above the surface of the water for the vessels stability.


Port of Discharge or Port of Destination or Proof of Delivery. Adocument required from the carrier or driver for proper payment.

Point of Origin

The place at which a shipment is received by a carrier from theshipper.


Port of Loading. Or Petroleum Oil and Lubricants.

Pomerene Act Also knownas (U.S.)Federal

U.S.federal law enacting conditions by which a B/L may be issued. Penalties forissuing B/Ls containing false data include monetary fines and/or imprisonment.


Harbour with piers or docks. Or Left side of a ship when facingforward. Or Opening in a ships side for handling freight.

Port Facility SecurityOfficer

Is the person designated as responsible for the developmentimplementation revision and maintenance of the port facility security plan andfor liaison with the ship security officers and company security officers.

Port Facility SecurityPlan

Is a plan developed to ensure the application of measuresdesigned to protect persons on board cargo cargo transport units and shipsstores within the port facility from the risks of a security incident.

Port of Call

Port where a ship discharges or receives traffic.

Port of Entry

Port where cargo is unloaded and enters a country.

Port of Exit

Place wherecargo is loaded and leaves a country.

Port Security

It is the defence law and treaty enforcement andcounterterrorism activities that fall within the port and maritime domain. Itincludes the protection of the seaports themselves the protection andinspection of the cargo moving through the ports and maritime security.

Port Security GrantProgram (PSGP)

As a result of the Department of Homeland SecurityAppropriations Act of 2005 fiscal year grant funding is provided annually tothe Nations most at risk seaports for physical security enhancements to be usedin the protection of critical port infrastructure from terrorism. PSGP fundshelp ports enhance their risk management capabilities domain awareness trainingand exercises and capabilities to prevent detect respond to and recover fromattacks involving improvised explosive devices and other non conventionalweapons.


Principal Party of Interest (see USPPI and FPPI).

Pratique Certificate

Lifts temporary quarantine of a vessel, granted pratique byHealth Officer.

Pre cooling

A process employed in the shipment of citrus fruits and otherperishable commodities. The fruit is packed and placed in a cold room fromwhich the heat is gradually extracted. The boxes of fruit are packed incontainers that have been thoroughly cooled and transported through todestination without opening the doors.

Prepaid (Ppd.)

Freight charges paid by the consignor (shipper) prior to therelease of the bills of lading by the carrier.

Pro Forma

A Latin term meaning For the sake of form.

Pro Forma Invoice

An invoice prepared by the exporter prior to shipping the goods informing thebuyer of the goods to be sent their value and other key specifications.

Pro Rata

A Latin term meaning In proportion.

Product Tanker

A liquid cargo vessel of 10000 to 60000dwt. Also referred to asa Handymax Tanker. Often built with many segregated cargo tanks and thussometimes called a drugstore tanker.

Project Rate

Single tariff item established to move multiple commoditiesneeded for a specified project usually construction.

Public Service Commission

A name usually given to a State body having control orregulation of public utilities.

Publishing Agent

Person authorised by transportation lines to publish tariffs orrates rules and regulations for their account.

Pulp Temperature

Procedure where carrier tests the temperature of the internalflesh of refrigerated commodities to assure that the temperature at time ofshipment conforms to prescribed temperature ranges.


A short semi trailer used jointly with a dolly and another semi trailerto create a twin trailer.


A restraint placed on an operation to protect the public againsta health hazard. A ship may be quarantined so that it cannot leave a protectedpoint. During the quarantine period the Q flag is hoisted.


A wedge shaped piece of timber used to secure barrels againstmovement.