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

There are 807 entries in this glossary.
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Term Definition

Authentication of B/L and when B/L becomes effective


A term for stowing cargo in a container.

Variable Cost

Costs that vary directly with the level of activity within a short time. Examples include costs of moving cargo inland on trains or trucks stevedoring in some ports and short term equipment leases. For business analysis all costs are either defined as variable or fixed. For a business to break even all fixed costs must be covered. To make a profit all variable and fixed costs must be recovered plus some extra amount.

Ventilated Container

A container designed with openings in the side and/or end walls to permit the ingress of outside air when the doors are closed.

Vessel Manifest

The international carrier is obligated to make declarations of the ships crew and contents at both the port of departure and arrival. The vessel manifest lists various details about each shipment by B/L number. Obviously the B/L serves as the core source from which the manifest is created.

Vessel Supplies for Immediate Exportatio

Allows equipment and supplies arriving at one port to be loaded on a vessel aircraft etc. for its exclusive use and to be exported from the same port.


Voluntary Intermodal Sealift Agreement. Provides the U.S. defence community with assured access to commercial intermodal capacity to move sustainment cargoes during time of war or national emergency. In return during peacetime the carriers receive preference in the carriage of DOD cargoes.


Namely. Used in tariffs to specify commodities.


Very Large Crude Carrier. A tanker of 200000 to 319000dwt. It can carry about 2 million barrels of crude oil.

VLFO Vessel Load Free Out

The loading and discharge terms for the cargo to be shipped as agreed to in the charter party. The vessel (carrier) pays for the loading of the cargo on board the ship and the receiver pays for the discharge of the cargo from the ship to the pier.

Voluntary Ship

Any ship which is not required by treaty or statute to be equipped with radio telecommunication equipment.

War Risk

Insurance coverage for loss of goods resulting from any act of war.

World Trade Organization (WTO)

The WTO is the only global international organization dealing with the rules of trade between nations. At its heart are the WTO agreements negotiated and signed by the bulk of the worlds trading nations and ratified in their parliaments. The goal is to help producers of goods and services exporters and importers conduct their business.

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