X-Ray Exam:

‍‍‍also known as a Non-Intrusive Inspection (NII) or a VACIS (Vehicle and Cargo Inspection System) exam, is the least intensive Custo‍‍‍ms exam.

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Logistics & Suppl‍‍‍y Chain Glossary

Below is a glossary to assist you with most of those fancy logistics and supply chain  terminology.

We try to keep the list as updated as possible and try and grab those that we missed. Let us know if you find one that we don't have.

is a non-negotiable document issued by a carrier when goods are transported by air. An air waybill acts as delivery instructions, a contract of carriage, and a cargo receipt for air freight.

Air Waybill (AWB):

is charged for all air shipments as a fee for handling the cargo.

Airline Terminal Fee:

are assessed to mitigate the impact of dumping, which is when foreign manufacturers sell products in the United States at a lower cost than their fair value.

Anti-dumping Duties (AD):

is the automated system for filing U.S. Shipper’s Export Declarations. AES authorizes the electronic filing of export and manifest information directly to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Automated Export System (AES):

is an electronic information transmission system operated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Air and ocean shipments into the U.S. require an AMS filing with detailed information about the cargo, as a security measure.

Automated Manifest System (AMS):



‍‍‍is a‍‍‍ surcharge that accounts for vessel fuel cost, set quarterly by the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement (TSA).

Bunker Adjustment Factor (BAF):

is issued to a shipper detailing the method and path of a shipment. It is a contract for the movement of the goods, and serves as a receipt for the cargo and can act as proof of ownership of the goods being transported.

Bill o‍‍‍f Lading (BOL or B/L):

is a sailing that has been canceled by the carrier. A blank sailing could mean a vessel is skipping one port, or that the entire string is canceled.

Blank S‍‍‍ailing (A void sailing):

is when the consignee involved in a shipment is unaware of who the shipper is.This type of shipment is requested by distributors who want their goods shipped directly to the retailer to avoid going through additional distribution channels.

Blind ‍‍‍Shipment:

is charged by the trucker to drop off an FCL container at the warehouse and pick it up after it has been unloaded, as opposed to a live unload.

Bobtail‍‍‍ Fee:

is a secure area where goods imported into the U.S. can be assembled, re-labeled, re-marked, manipulated, and stored without the payment of duty for up to 5 years from the date of import.

Bonded ‍‍‍Warehouse:

is a shipping term for cargo that does not fit in a standard shipping container or cargo bin. Break bulk cargo is instead transported individually in bags, boxes, crates, drums, or barrels.

Break‍‍‍ Bulk:

is a shipping term for items that are shipped loosely and unpackaged as opposed to being shipped in packages or containers.

Bulk Cargo:





is a Customs Assigned Importer Number.

Customs Assigned Importer Number (CAIN):

is coverage for your shipment from pickup to delivery, across multiple carriers and modes. It covers the purchase value (not retail value) of your goods, as well as freight and other costs associated with the cargo.

Cargo Ins‍‍‍urance:

is the day the cargo is expected to be available at the supplier or other named location (a warehouse, an airport terminal, or a container yard).

Cargo Ready Date (CRD):

is the company or individual that transports the cargo from one location to another.


is the transportation of cargo to and from a CFS via truck within a local area.


is a privately operated facility designated by CBP for physical examination where imported or exported cargo is made available for a Customs inspection.

Centralized‍‍‍ Examination Station (CES):

is a special trailer or undercarriage used to transport ocean containers over the road.


is assessed if your shipment is traveling by truck (e.g., after your cargo arrives at an ocean port, if it’s being transported via truck to a warehouse).

‍‍‍Cha‍‍‍ssis Fee:

is a location where chassis are stored and available for rental.

Chassis Pool:

is when the container is not located in the same place as the chassis. In this case, the trucking company may assess a chassis split fee to cover the costs of bringing the chassis to the container location.

Chassis ‍‍‍Split:

is assessed by the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach as part of the Clear Air Action Plan in an effort to reduce air pollution.

Clean Truck Fee:

is a third party who consolidates the cargo of two or more LCL shipments in a container before handing it over to an ocean carrier.


is a list of categories and product groups used to help you determine whether an export license is needed from the U.S. Department of Commerce for U.S. exports. Learn more: Export Control Classification Number‍‍‍ (ECCN).

‍‍‍Commerc‍‍‍e Control List (CCL):

is a document used for customs declaration that identifies the value and quantity of the shipped products.

‍‍‍Commer‍‍‍cial Invoice:

is a company that offers service to the general public and accepts cargo subject to its available capacity.

Common Carrier:

is the party to whom ownership of the goods will transfer when the cargo is released at destination.


is the act of combining two or more shipments in a truck or container.


is a warehouse that specializes in the consolidation and de-consolidation of cargo.

Container Freight Station (CFS):

is a physical facility from which ocean carriers accept and deliver ocean containers, as well as issue and receive back empty containers.

‍‍‍C‍‍‍ontainer Yard (CY):

is a form of insurance to protect the U.S. Treasury in the event an importer fails to pay the duties, taxes, and fines or fees incurred on their imports.

Continuous Customs Bond:

is a negotiated contract not subject to a tariff that is between the carrier and shipper for the transportation of cargo.

‍‍‍Con‍‍‍tract of Carriage:

are duties intended to protect the U.S. manufacturing industry from foreign goods made cheap by subsidies and tax benefits from foreign governments.

‍‍‍Co‍‍‍untervailing Duties (CVD):

is the Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism. It's a security program of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, aimed at strengthening the security of international supply chains.


is a measurement of volume one meter wide by one meter long by one meter high. CBM is used to calculate chargeable weight.

‍‍‍Cu‍‍‍bic Meter (CBM):

is an agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security, formed in 2003, that regulates international travel and trade into the U.S. CBP examines import paperwork like commercial invoices and packing lists, collects import duties, and performs cu‍‍‍stoms exams.

Customs and Border Protection (CBP):

is either an X-ray, Tail Gate, or Intensive exam.

Customs Exam:

is the fee incurred by the importer if a shipment is pulled for a customs exam. Depending on the type of inspection performed, the fee can run from $80 to more than $1,000.

‍‍‍Cu‍‍‍stoms Exam Fee:

is a form of cargo damage/loss coverage that raises the carrier’s financial liability so that it matches the declared value of the cargo. Declared value coverage is not cargo insurance.

Declared Value Coverage:



is the act of separating out LCL shipments to prepare them for final delivery.


‍‍‍is a fee ‍‍‍assessed by the trucker if the trucker has to help unload cargo at the warehouse or other destination.

Delivery Labor Fee:

is the document that the logistics company sends to the trucker with the pickup and delivery details of the shipment.

‍‍‍Del‍‍‍ivery Order:

is the fee assessed by the terminal if your cargo remains at port after the Last Free Day.


is the act of unloading cargo from a container.


is charged for clients who do not pay their duties directly to Customs. This is a fee for outlaying the 7501 payment.

Disbursement Service Fee:

is when the shipper is unaware of where a shipment will be delivered to and the consignee is unaware of where the shipment is coming from.

Double Blind Shipment:

is the transportation of a full ocean container via truck. A full container will be loaded onto a chassis and trucked to a nearby warehouse or rail ramp.


is a type of trucking delivery for FCL shipments where the trucker drops off the container at the warehouse and then leaves, instead of waiting while the container is unloaded.


also known as a drop and hook is a trucking delivery option for high-volume FCL.

Drop and Pick:

‍‍‍is cha‍‍‍rged by the trucker to drop off an FCL container at the warehouse and pick it up after it has been unloaded, as opposed to a live unload. A drop fee is also called a bobtail fee.

‍‍‍Dro‍‍‍p Fee:

is when a trucker is not able to successfully complete the pickup or delivery of a shipment. The trucker will charge full price for the extra trip.

‍‍‍Dry ‍‍‍Run:

is any shipping done in a trailer that is not a temperature-controlled trailer or a flatbed trailer.

Dry Van Shipping:

is an indirect tax imposed by government on the value of an imported or exported product.


is a refund in payments that were initially collected upon importation of foreign-made goods; these payments could have been for Customs duties, sales taxes, or other fees. Customs issues these refunds only when the imported merchandise is either exported or destroyed.

Duty Drawback:

is how the European Union (EU) identifies business entities.

Economic Operator Registration and Indetification Number (EORI):

also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number, is how the U.S. federal government identifies business entities.

Employer Identification Number (EIN):



is a five-character alphanumeric key used in the Commerce Control List (CCL) to classify U.S. exports and determine whether an export license is needed from the Department of Commerce. An ECCN categorizes a product based on its commodity, software, or technology.

Export Control Classification Number (ECCN):

is a type of U.S. export authorization document that grants someone the right to conduct an export transaction.

Export License:

is a type of bill of lading (B/L) in which the carrier is obligated to deliver the goods to the named consignee and no original bills of lading (OBL) are issued at all. Express B/Ls are non-negotiable and not a document of title to the goods; transfer of title should be documented elsewhere in the sales contract.

Express Bill of Lading:

is an Incoterm that only requires the seller to make the goods available for pickup by the buyer at the seller’s premises or another named location. The buyer is responsible for export clearance, loading the goods at the named location, and bearing all cost and risk to the destination.

Ex Works (EXW):

is an Amazon service that allows you to store your products in Amazon’s fulfillment centers (also known as Amazon FBA warehouses) until they’re purchased by Amazon customers. Amazon will then pack and ship those products to Amazon customers.

FB‍‍‍A (Fulfillment by Amazon):



are assigned to FBA shipments in Amazon Seller Central after creating a shipment plan. If a shipment is split into multiple fulfillment centers, each portion of the shipment going to a different FBA warehouse will have a different FBA ID

FBA ‍‍‍ID:

is an oc‍‍‍ean shipment in which the cargo occupies a full container (of any size). Learn more: about containers.

FCL ‍‍‍(Full Container Load):

is an Incoterm (per 2010 Incoterms) that requires the seller to clear the goods for export, and to either: deliver the goods to the buyer at the seller’s premises, or deliver the goods to the buyer at another named place. When using the FCA Incoterm, the point at ‍‍‍which the seller is delivering the goods to the buyer must be named: e.g. “FCA, Name of Origin CFS.”

FCA (Fe‍‍‍e Carrier):

is a principle of maritime law born out of the idea that the shipper and the vessel owner are entering into a joint business venture, and that if it weren’t for the shipper’s cargo, the vessel would not be sailing on its (at times dangerous) voyage.

General Average:



is a Partner Government Agency (PGA) authorized to examine any shipment being imported into the U.S. to ensure FDA compli‍‍‍ance. Learn more: Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

FDA ‍‍‍(Food and Drug Administration):

An FEU‍‍‍ (forty-foot equivalent unit) is a measure of volume in units of 40-foot long containers. Learn more: about containers.

FEU (‍‍‍Forty-foot Equivalent Unit):

is a‍‍‍n Incoterm that requires the seller to clear the goods for export, deliver the goods to the ocean vessel, and place the goods on board. Cost and risk transfer from the seller to the buyer once the goods cross the ship’s rail.

FOB ‍‍‍(Free o n Board):

is a secure geographical area “in or adjacent” to a U.S. Port of Entry that is considered to be outside of CBP territory. Learn more: about Foreign Trade Zones (FTZ).

Foreign ‍‍‍Trade Zo‍‍‍ne (FTZ):

is a type of trucking in which an entire truckload (usually 48' or 53’ long trailers) is reserved for the transportation of the cargo.

FTL (Ful‍‍‍l T‍‍‍ruckload):

is a fee assessed by a carrier to account for regional / seasonal variations in fuel costs. A fuel surcharge is most often seen in trucking, but an ocean or air carrier may also assess a fuel surcharge.

Fuel Surchar‍‍‍g‍‍‍e (FSC):

is a status given to cargo imported into the U.S. that is missing proper Customs documentation or does not quickly clear Customs.

General ‍‍‍Order (GO):

is a general rate increase that all ocean carriers may choose to apply. U.S. regulation requires that carriers must announce any GRI at least 30 days in advance. Therefore, U.S. carriers tend to announce a GRI on the 1st of a given month, to take effect the 1st of the following month.

Gene‍‍‍r‍‍‍al Rate Increase (GRI):

is assessed by U.S. Customs for products imported via ocean through U.S. ports. Find US air and seaport codes.

Harbor M‍‍‍aintenance Fee (HMF):



means “hazardous materials.”


are one foot taller than standard containers, increasing CBM (Cubic Meter) capacity. HC containers are typically available in 40' and 45' lengths. Learn more: about containers.

HC (Hig‍‍‍h‍‍‍ Cube) Container:

codes are product classification codes used by U.S. Customs and all other members of the World Customs Organization (WCO) to classify goods for customs purposes. Learn more: World Customs Organization (WCO).

HS / ‍‍‍H‍‍‍TS Code (Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System):

is the entity or individual who is responsible for all entry documents required by CBP (Customs Border Protection) and for the product classification and payment of duties, as well as any other import obligations.

Impor‍‍‍‍‍‍ter of Record:



‍‍‍are terms of sale that define who arranges for the payment and handling of the goods during shipping, from the moment the goods leave t‍‍‍he seller’s door, up until their arrival at the buyer’s final destination. Learn more: Incoterms.


‍‍‍is an exclusion found in most cargo insurance policies to account for a defect or inherent characteristic in the nature of the product.‍‍‍

Inhere‍‍‍nt‍‍‍ Vice:

is assessed by the trucker if they were required to go inside to pick up or deliver the cargo.

Inside D‍‍‍elivery Fee:

is the most thorough Customs exam.

Intens‍‍‍i‍‍‍ve Exam:

is an annual three-day event in which CVSA (Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance) inspectors examine as many trucks as possible. They’re looking for anything that doesn’t meet their safety standards for motor carriers, vehicles, or drivers.

Inter‍‍‍‍‍‍national Roadcheck:

also known as “10+2,” is a filing required by the CBP that documents importing information and details, as shipments pass from point to point.

Import‍‍‍er S‍‍‍ecurity Filing (ISF):

is the most thorough Customs exam.

‍‍‍Int‍‍‍ensive Exam:

is section 7 of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 that prohibits any non-US built or non-US flagged vessel from participating in trade between points of the United States.

Jones Act:





is the last day of a period of free storage time in which the cargo can be picked up without paying demurrage.

Last Free Day:



is a security measure put into place in response to the 9/11 attacks by the IMO (International Maritime Organization) as part of the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention.

ISPS Code (Intern‍‍‍ational Ship and Port Facility Security Code):

is a mode of shipping via ocean. If you don’t have enough cargo to fill up an entire container, consider shipping LCL.

Less than Container Load (LCL):

is used for smaller shipments that take up less than a full truckload and can be combined with other small shipments to fill up a truck. LTL shipments have longer transit times than FTL shipments because LTL trucks make multiple pickups and deliveries.

Less than Truckload (LTL):

is a piece of trucking equipment that allows cargo to be lowered to the ground from the back of a truck. Liftgates are used in situations where the cargo cannot be unloaded in any other way, like with a loading dock.


is assessed by a trucker if a liftgate had to be provided.

Liftgate Fee:

‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍is a type of trucking delivery, meaning that the warehouse will unload the container while the driver waits on site. After the conta‍‍‍iner is unloaded, the trucker will return the empty container to the container yard at the port.

Live ‍‍‍Unload:



is a‍‍‍ fee assessed by U.S. Customs for most imports into the U.S.

Merchandise Processing Fee (MPF):

is a document containing information about the potential hazards of a product, and how to safely handle it. An MSDS is required for all potentially dangerous products and all lithium battery shipments (whether dangerous or not). An MSDS may also be required for potentially dangerous products, like liquids, creams, and powders, just to prove that they aren’t dangerous. Carriers may also request an MSDS for dry or alkaline batteries, to certify they are not lithium based.

MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet):



is a document that allows the logistics company to meet FMC requirements, and protect their client's proprietary business information.

Negotiated Rate Arrangement (NRA):

is an ocean carrier that transports goods under its own House Bill of Lading, or equivalent documentation, without operating ocean transportation vessels. Rather, an NVOCC leases space from another ocean carrier, or Vessel Operating Common Carrier (VOCC), that they sell to their own customers. An NVOCC can be described as a shipper to carriers and a carrier to shippers.

Non-‍‍‍Vessel Operating Common Carrier (NVOCC):

‍‍‍‍‍‍is any party that is notified with shipment information by a carrier upon the arrival of cargo at its destination.

Notify ‍‍‍Party:



Origin charges pay for items and services provided before a shipment has departed the origin seaport or airport.

Origin Charge:

Ori‍‍‍ginal Bill of Lading (OBL):

‍‍‍is a cont‍‍‍ract of carriage that serves as a title of the cargo and confirms the carrier’s receipt of the cargo. When an original bill of lading is issued, two other identical original bills of lading are also printed, and all three original bills of lading are issued together as one contract of carriage.



is when the trucker pulls an FCL container from the port and stores it at the trucker’s yard instead of immediately delivering it.


is a flat transport structure used to increase the ease of handling, speed of loading/unloading, and protection of cargo during the transportation process.


is th‍‍‍e fee charged by the carrier if the trucker does not bring pallets to exchange with the carrier's pallets when they pick up the cargo.

Pal‍‍‍let Exchange Fee:

is the fee the ocean carrier charges for each day past the number of “free” days that the container is away from port. Per Diem is ‍‍‍also known as detention.

Pe‍‍‍r Diem Charge:

is a ‍‍‍division of the U.S. federal government that regulates specific products imported into the U.S., along with CBP.

PGA‍‍‍ (Partner Government Agency):

is assessed if cargo is moved out of the Port of Los Angeles/Long Beach port during peak hours. The LA/LB port has implemented the Pier Pass traffic mitigation fee as part of an effort to reduce traffic congestion in the region. You’ll often see this‍‍‍ charge if your shipment is unloaded at the Port of Los Angeles/Long Beach.

Pier ‍‍‍Pass Fee:

is a legal document authorizing the logistics company to conduct Customs business on your behalf. Logistics companies cann‍‍‍ot clear a shipment through Customs without a signed POA.

PO‍‍‍A (Power of Attorney):

is a variable surcharge that carriers may apply during times of peak demand. PSS may be applied at any time of year, but tends to be more common before the fall/winter holidays and before Chinese New Year.

PSS‍‍‍ (Peak Season Surcharge):



Quality Control:

is the pro‍‍‍cess during which the quality of products and the manufacturing process is evaluated.

is a shipper status determined by the TSA (Transportation Security Administration). A shipper must be a known shipper in order to load cargo on a passenger aircraft from the US. Learn more: Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

Kno‍‍‍wn Shipper:



‍‍‍Re‍‍‍lated Parties:

U.S‍‍‍. Customs looks at the seller and Importer of Record to determine if there was a relationship per the definition of U.S. Customs.

Re‍‍‍sidential Delivery Fee:

is th‍‍‍e fee a trucker may charge for delivering to a residential area.

‍‍‍R‍‍‍olled Cargo:

is cargo that could not be loaded onto the vessel it was scheduled to sail on, because that vessel ran out of capacity. Vessels run ‍‍‍out of capacity because carriers overbook spots on vessels, similar to how passenger airlines overbook seats.



refers to the Ship From address that Amazon Seller Central requires you to input when creating a shipment plan.

Ship From Address (Amazon):

is a ‘letter’ from the exporter instructing the freight forwarder on how and where to handle the export shipment. The exporter is granting permission to the forwarder to act as the authorized forwarding agent for U.S. export control and customs.

Shipper's Letter of Instruction (SLI):

is a document issued by the carrier that confirms a shipment’s booking on a vessel. An SO will contain the location of the empty c‍‍‍ontainer for pickup, and may also contain booking details like the vessel number and sailing time.

Shipping Order (SO):

is assessed when a trucker completes a delivery outside of their typical service parameters -- for example, making a delivery outside of normal hours, or delivering to an area they don’t normally service.

Special Delivery Fee:

means that cargo moving via air does not arrive on a single flight, but is instead distributed among two or more flights.

Split Shipment:

‍‍‍are the cos‍‍‍t of holding a shipment at a location (warehouse, CES, etc.).

Storage Charges:

is assessed by the trucker if a shipment is split between two delivery locations.

Stop Off Fee:

is the act of loading a container. A supplier will stuff an FCL container at their premises. An LCL (less than container load) container will be stuffed at a CFS (Container Freight Station).




‍‍‍‍‍‍is assessed by the trucker if the amount of free waiting time expires.‍‍‍

‍‍‍Truck‍‍‍ Wait Fee:

is a type of Custom exam, the next step up from an X-ray exam.

Tail Gate Exam:

‍‍‍is a tax ‍‍‍or duty to be paid on a particular class of imports or exports.


‍‍‍is an email that allows the Logistics Company to release your cargo without presentation of the hard-copy Original Bill of Lading ‍‍‍(OBL).

Telex Release:

‍‍‍is a measure of volume in units of twenty-foot long containers. For example, large container ships are able to transport more than 18‍‍‍,000 TEU (a few can even carry more than 21,000 TEU).

‍‍‍TEU (T‍‍‍wenty-foot Equivalent Unit):

‍‍‍is the ‍‍‍process of moving a shipment from one mode of transport to another (e.g., from ocean container to truck).


United Load Device (ULD):

a device used to move cargo being shipped as air freight.





Value Added Tax (VAT) Number:

is required to import goods into the EU. See the European Commission's VAT identification numbers page for more information on who needs a VAT number.




‍‍‍‍‍‍is t‍‍‍he fee charged by ocean carriers to cover the port authority’s cost of using a wharf to unload cargo from a vessel.



‍‍‍‍‍‍Yar‍‍‍d Storage:

is the storage of containers in a trucker’s gated yard. If a container cannot be delivered to its destination before the Last Free Day, th‍‍‍e container may be stored at the trucker’s yard to avoid costly demurrage charges. Truckers charge a daily fee for yard storage.



Zone Rate:

‍‍‍‍‍‍is a‍‍‍ type of freight rate based on the number of geographic areas that a delivery has to pass through to reach its final destination. The more zones a delivery needs to pass through between its starting point and its destination, the progressively higher the freight rate will be. Postal ZIP codes are often used as the basis for zone rates.

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