CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) – The government body responsible for regulating U.K. airlines.


Cabotage – Where cargo is carried on what is essentially a domestic flight and therefore not subject to international agreements that fix set rates. Cabotage rates are negotiable between shipper and airline and apply on flights within a country and to its overseas territories.


CAD (Cash Against Documents) – A method of payment for goods in which documents transferring title are given to the buyer upon payment of cash to an intermediary acting for the seller.


CAF (Currency Adjustment Factor) – A surcharge on freight charges by a carrier to offset foreign currency fluctuations.


Cargo – Merchandise/commodities carried by means of transportation.


Cargo Insurance – Insurance to protect the financial interest of the cargo owner during transportation in the event of a loss.


Cargo Receipt – Receipt of cargo for shipment by a consolidator (used in ocean freight).


CARICOM – Caribbean Common Market.


Carnet – A customs document permitting the holder to carry or send merchandise temporarily into certain foreign countries without paying duties or posting bonds.


Carrier – Any person who, through a contract of carriage, undertakes to perform or procure the performance of carriage by rail, road, sea, air, inland waterway, or by a combination of modes. (See also Common Carrier)


Carrier Container/Shipper Container – A container over which the carrier or the shipper has control either by ownership or by the acquisition thereof under lease or rental from container companies or container suppliers or from similar sources. Carriers are prohibited from purchasing, leasing, or renting a shipper-owned container.


Cartel – An association of several independent national or international business organizations that regulates competition by controlling the prices, the production, or the marketing of a product or industry.


CCEF – Customs Centralized Examination Facility.


CE (Communauté Européene) Mark – A “passport” that allows manufacturers to trade industrial products freely within the internal EU market. The CE Mark is not a quality mark, but indicates conformity to the legal requirements of the EU Directives. It is mandatory for a wide range of products sold in the EU.


Certificate of Analysis – A certificate issued by a recognized organization or government authority confirming the quality and composition of goods. This is often required in importing countries for animal and plant products for consumption as well as pharmaceuticals.


Certificate of Inspection – A certificate usually required for industrial equipment and meat products. There are companies in every port city that specialize in issuing certificates of inspection for machinery. The Meat Inspection Division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture issues certificates of inspection for meat products that are recognized throughout the world.


Certificate of Manufacture – A document used under a letter of credit containing an affidavit that goods have been manufactured and are being held for the account and risk of the buyer. In war times when transportation facilities are disrupted, it is common for letters of credit to be paid against presentation of a certificate of manufacture. This is rare in ordinary times, except in the case of specially manufactured goods.


Certificate of Origin – A document containing an affidavit to prove the origin of imported goods. It is used for customs or foreign exchange purposes or both. Certificates of origin are commonly certified by an official organization in the country of origin such as a consular office or a chamber of commerce.


C&F (Cost and Freight) – An INCOTERM.


CFS (Container Freight Station) – The term CFS at loading port means the location designated by carriers for the receiving of cargo to be packed into containers by the carrier. At discharge ports, the term CFS means the bonded location designated by carriers in the port area for unpacking and delivery of cargo.


CFS/CFS (Pier to Pier) – The term CFS/CFS means cargo delivered by breakbulk to carrier’s container freight station (CFS) to be packed by carrier into containers and to be unpacked by carrier from the container at carrier’s destination port CFS.


CFS Charge (Container Freight Charge) – The charge assessed for services performed at the loading or discharging port in the packing or unpacking of cargo into/from containers at CFS.


CFS/CY (Pier to House) – The term CFS/CY means cargo delivered breakbulk to carrier’s CFS to be packed by carrier into containers and accepted by consignee at carrier’s CY and unpacked by the consignee off carrier’s premises, all at consignee’s risk and expense.


CFS Receiving Services – The service performed at the loading port in receiving and packing cargo into containers from CFS to CY or shipside. “CFS Receiving Services” referred herein are restricted to the following:

  1. Moving empty containers from CY to CFS.
  2. Drayage of loaded containers from CFS to CY and/or ship’s tackle.
  3. Tallying.
  4. Issuing dock receipt/shipping order.
  5. Physical movement of cargo into, out of, and within CFS.
  6. Stuffing, sealing, and marking containers.
  7. Storage.
  8. Ordinary sorting and stacking.
  9. Preparing carrier’s internal container load plan.


Chargeable Kilo – Rate for air freight goods where volume exceeds six cubic meters to the tonne.


Charter – Originally meant a flight where a shipper contracted hire of an aircraft from an airline, but has usually come to mean any non-scheduled commercial service.


Charter Agreement/Charter Party – A lease or agreement to hire an airplane, vessel, or other means of conveyance to transport goods to one or more designated locations. Among other specifications, the contract usually stipulates the exact obligations of the vessel owner (loading the goods, carrying the goods to a certain point, returning to the charterer with other goods, etc.), or it provides for an outright leasing of the vessel to the charterer, who then is responsible for his own loading and delivery. In either case, the charter party sets forth the exact conditions and requirements agreed upon by both sides.


Charter Party Bill of Lading – A bill of lading issued under a charter party. It is not acceptable by banks under letters of credit unless so authorized in the credit.


Chassis – A wheel assemble including bogies constructed to accept mounting of containers.


C&I – The cost of goods and insurance. (See INCOTERMS on pages 20-21)


CIA (Cash in Advance) – A method of payment for goods whereby the buyer pays the seller prior to shipping the goods.




CITES – Committee on International Trade of Endangered Species.


Class Rates – A class of goods or commodities is a large grouping of various items under one general heading, and all items in the group make up a class. The freight rates that apply to all items in the class are called class rates.


Classification – A customs term for the placement of an item under the correct number in the customs tariff for duty purposes. At times this procedure becomes highly complicated; it is not uncommon for importers to resort to litigation over the correct duty to be assessed by customs on a given item.


Clean Draft – A draft to which no documents have been attached.


cm – Centimeters.


CNS (Cargo Network Services) – An agency to which IATA forwarders pay their freight bills.


Collective Paper – All documents (commercial invoices, bills of lading, etc.) submitted to a buyer for the purpose of receiving payment for a shipment.


Combi – An aircraft with pallet or container capacity on its main deck as well as in its belly holds.


Combination Vessels – A type of ship that accommodates both container and breakbulk cargo. It can be either self-sustaining or non-self sustaining. Also known as a Container/Breakbulk Vessel.


Commercial Invoice – An itemized list of goods shipped that is usually included among an exporter’s collection papers.


Commodity Specialist – An official authorized by the U.S. Treasury to determine the proper tariff and value of imported goods.


Common Carrier – A publicly or privately owned firm or corporation that transports the goods of others over land, sea, or through the air, for a stated freight rate. By government regulation, a common carrier is required to carry all goods offered if accommodations are available and the established rate is paid.


Common External Tariff (CET or CXT) – A uniform tariff adopted by a customs union or common market on imports from countries outside the union. It is often a required part of the entry process.


Conference – A group of vessel operators joined together for the purpose of establishing freight rates.


Confirmed Letter of Credit – (See Letter of Credit, Confirmed)


Confiscation – The taking and holding of private property by a government or an agency acting for a government. Compensation may or may not be given to the owner of the property.


Consignee – The individual or company to whom a seller or shipper sends merchandise and who, upon presentation of necessary documents, is recognized as the merchandise owner for the purpose of declaring and paying customs duties.


Consignee Mark – A symbol placed on packages for identification purposes generally consisting of a triangle, square, circle, diamond, or cross, with letters or numbers as well as the port of discharge.


Consignment – The physical transfer of goods from a seller (consignor) with whom the title remains until the goods are sold, to another legal entity (consignee) who acts as a selling agent. Only if there is a subsequent sale does the seller receive any payment.


Consignor – A term used to describe any person who consigns goods to himself or to another party in a bill of lading or equivalent document. A consignor might be the owner of the goods, or a freight forwarder who consigns goods on behalf of his principal.


Consolidated Shipment – An arrangement whereby various shippers pool their boxed goods on the same shipment, sharing the total weight charge for the shipment.


Consolidator – An agent who brings together a number of shipments for one destination to qualify for preferential rates.


Consortium – The name for an agreement under which several nations or nationals (usually corporations) of more than one nation join together for a common purpose (e.g., a shipping consortium).


Consul – A government official residing in a foreign country charged with representing the interests of his or her country and its nationals.


Consular Documents – Special forms signed by the consul of a country to which cargo is destined.


Consular Invoice – A document required by some countries describing a shipment of goods and showing information such as the consignor, consignee, and value of the shipment. Certified by a consular official, a consular invoice is used by the country’s customs officials to verify the value, quantity, and nature of the shipment.


Container – A single, rigid, sealed, reusable metal “box” in which merchandise is shipped by vessel, truck, or rail. Container types include standard, high cube, hardtop, open top, flat, platform, ventilated, insulated, refrigerated, or bulk. Containers (except for flat-rack vehicle rack and portable liquid tank types) have a closure or permanently hinged door that allows ready access to cargo. All containers have constructions, fittings, and fastenings able to withstand, without permanent distortion, all stresses that may be applied in normal service use of continuous transportation. Containers must bear the manufacturer’s specifications.(See also Container Dimensions)


Container (Air Cargo) – Air cargo containers are designed in various sizes and irregular shapes to conform to the inside dimensions of a specific aircraft.


Container (Ocean) – Designed to be moved inland on its own chassis, an ocean container can be loaded at the shipper’s plant for shipment overseas. The average outside dimensions are generally 20, 35, and 40 feet in length, 8 feet wide, and 8 feet high.


Container Ship – An ocean-going ship designed to carry containers both internally and on deck. Some are self sustaining.


Containerization – A concept for the ultimate unitizing of cargo used by both steamship lines and air cargo lines. Containers allow a greater amount of cargo protection from weather, damage, and theft.


Continuous Bond – An annual customs bond insuring compliance with all regulations and requirements.


Contract Rate – This can refer to “service contract” rates which are low, favorable rates fixed over an extended period of time in exchange for which the carrier receives a volume commitment from the shipper.


Countertrade – A reciprocal trading arrangement in which the seller is required to accept goods or other instruments or trade in partial or whole payment for its products. Common transactions include: barter, buyback, counterpurchase, offset requirements, swap, switch; or triangular trade, evidence, or clearing accounts.


Countervailing Duties – Special duties imposed on imports to offset the benefits of subsidies to producers or exporters of the exporting country.


Customs Broker – An individual or service company that transacts customhouse formalities on behalf of an importer. In the U.S.A., a customs broker must be licensed by the Treasury Department and pass a government examination covering a broad range of knowledge, including all phases of import regulations, rates of duties, and customs law. Licensing and requirements vary from country to country, so check with your local United Shipping Partner for details.


Customs Court – The court to which importers must appeal or protest decisions made by customs officers.


Customs Tariff – A schedule of charges assessed by a federal government on imported goods.


Customs Union – An agreement between two or more countries in which they arrange to abolish tariffs and other import restrictions on each other’s goods and establish a common tariff for the imports of all other countries.


CWO (Cash With Order) – A method of payment for goods where cash is paid at the time of order and the transaction becomes binding on both buyer and seller.