If you are not a seasoned importer of goods it may prove frustrating when following the process of organizing and keeping up to date with the progress of your shipment. We hope this small guide will help to shed some light on some of the obscurity!
Bill of Lading (B/L or BOL)
The official shipping document containing details about the shipment. It represents ownership of the goods so its ‘release’ to the intended recipient of the goods is often held until a final payment for the goods is complete. Without either an Original paper B/L or an electronic (see Telex) release, the goods cannot be delivered.
Cubic Metre. The unit that volume is usually calculated in (although cubic feet is sometimes used). 100cm x 100cm x 100cm equals one cubic metre.
C&F (or CFR) and CIF
Cost and Freight or Cost, Insurance and Freight. It is a term of trading in which the buyer of the goods pays an amount which covers the cost of the goods plus the cost of transporting the goods to the port of discharge (just landed, no local charges are prepaid). CIF also includes marine insurance.
Certificate of Origin (C of O, Form A)
A document certifying the country in which the goods originated. It’s normally issued or signed by the relevant Government Department, Chamber of Commerce or Embassy of the exporting country. These aren’t always required but can be used to lower import duties from certain countries.
The commercial invoice contains the buyer and seller’s details in addition to the type of goods, quantity, price of each product and terms of sale. The commercial invoice is used to declare the goods to customs therefore dictating the amount of Duties and Taxes to be paid.
The person or company receiving the shipment. To whom it is consigned. If you’re importing goods, it’s you or your company. The Shipper sends the goods to the Consignee.
ETA: Estimated Time of Arrival. Generally used for the date that the ship or plane is due to arrive at its destination port.
ETD: Estimated Time of Departure. Generally used for the date that the ship or plane is due to leave its port of origin and begin its journey.
FCL: Full Container Load. If you have enough goods to fill either a 20ft, 40ft or 40ftHC container then your goods would be shipped as a Full Container Load.
FOB: Free On Board is a term of sale where the seller is responsible for all charges and liabilities of transporting the goods all the way up to their arrival on board the ship. It includes all charges at the port of loading.