Glossary: C

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C&F -(Cost and Freight) Seller owns goods until they are loaded on vessel; selling price includes all costs so far plus the cost of freight. The buyer is responsible for insurance.

Cabotage -Rules restricting commerce between a nation's ports to carriers of that nation. Many nations, including the United States, have cabotage laws that require national flag vessels to provide domestic interport service.

CAD - Acronym meaning 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 sellers.

Calendar Days - Consecutive days without regards to weekends or holidays.

CAF - Stands for Currency Adjustment Factor. A charge, expressed as a percentage of a base rate that is applied to compensate ocean carriers for currency fluctuations.

Call Option - The right to buy a fixed amount of a commodity, security or currency from the option writer (option seller) at a predetermined rate and/or exercise price within a specified time limit.

Capacity Plate - Plate affixed to a forklift truck indicating maximum weight that can be raised/moved by that equipment.

Capstan - Mechanical device for moving/raising heavy weights, used at docks in mooring vessels at rail terminals to move dead engines.

Captain Of The Port (COTP) - The Coast Guard representatives designated by law to enforce within their prescribed area: port safety and security and marine environmental protection regulations, including, without limitation, regulations for the protection and security of vessels, harbors, and waterfront facilities; anchorages; security zones; safety zones; regulated navigation areas; deep-water ports; water pollution; and ports and waterways safety.

Captain's Protest - Declaration by master of ship on arrival in port to accidents/damage to ship/cargo during voyage designed to relieve ship owner of liability.

Carfloat - A barge equipped with tracks on which approximately 12 railroad cars are moved in harbors or inland waterways.

Car Pooling - Use of individual carrier equipment through a central agency for the benefit of carriers and shippers.

Car Seal - Metal strip and lead fastener used for locking freight car or truck doors. Seals are numbered for record purposes.

Cargo - Supplies, materials, stores, baggage, or equipment, good of all kinds or equipment transported by land, water, or air.

  • BULK - Dry or liquid cargo (oil, coal, gain, ore, sulfur, or fertilizer which is shipped unpacked in large quantities. Also, air cargo that fits within the dimensions of a 463L pallet and the design height of 96".
  • CONTAINERIZEABLE CARGO - Items that can be stowed or stuffed into a container closed
  • NON-CONTAINERIZEABLE CARGO - Items that cannot be stowed or stuffed into seavans or milvans (i.e. overdimensinal or overweight cargo).
  • OVERSIZE - Air cargo that exceeds the dimensions of bulk cargo but is equal to or less than 1,090" in length, 117" in width, and 105" in height.
  • OUTSIZE -Air cargo that exceeds the dimensions of oversize cargo and requires the use of a C-5 or C-17 aircraft.
  • SOURCE STUFFED CARGO - Cargo which economically fills a container from a single point of origin.

Cargo Manifest - A manifest that lists only cargo, not charges.

Cargo NOS - Cargo Not Otherwise Specified. Usually the first rate entry in a tariff that can apply to commodities not covered under a specific item or sub-item in the applicable tariff.

Cargo Preference - See Preference Cargo.

Cargo Tonnage - Most ocean freight is billed based on weight or measurement tons (W/M). Weight tons can be expressed in short tons of 2000 pounds, long tons of 2240 pounds or metric tons of 1000 kilos (2204.62 pounds). Measurement tons are usually expressed as cargo measurement of 40 cubic feet (1.12.meters) or cubic meters (35.3).

Carload Rate - Amount of freight necessary to qualify for a rail carrier's carload rate.

Carnet - A customs documents permitting the holder to carry or send merchandise temporarily into certain foreign countries (for display, demonstration or similar purpose) without paying duties or posting bonds.

Carriage and Insurance Paid To (CIP) - An international trade term of sale, in which, for the quoted price, the seller/exporter clears the goods for export, delivers them to the carrier and is responsible for paying for carriage and insurance to the named port of destination. However, once the goods are delivered to the carrier, the buyer is responsible for all additional costs.

Carriage of Goods by Sea Act (COGSA) - 1936 U.S. Statute that governs the acts a carrier is responsible for and defines the terms used in shipping. The act provides that the ship owner's liability will be limited to $500 per shipping package and it stipulates a one-year time limit for filing a suit against the carrier. This act automatically applies to international ocean movements but not to domestic ocean transits unless the carrier agrees to be bound by it.

Carrier - Usually means a Steamship Company but can also refer to a trucking company, airline or railroad as a transporter of cargo.

Carrier's Certificate - A certificate required by U.S. Customs to release cargo properly to the correct party.

Cartage - The transporting of goods by truck to or from a vessel, aircraft or bonded warehouse, all under customs custody or transporting cargo between locations in the same city, town, suburb or local area.

Cartment - Customs form permitting in-bond cargo to be moved from one location to another under Customs control, within the same Customs district. Usually in motor carrier's possession while draying cargo.

Case Mark - Information shown on the outside of a shipping carton, including destination and contents.

Cash against Documents - Payment for goods in which a commission house or other intermediary transfers title documents to the buyer upon payment in cash.

Cash in Advance (CIA) - Payment for goods in which the price is paid in full before shipment is made. The method is usually used only for small purchases or when the goods are built to order.

Cash with Order - Payment for goods in which the buyer pays when ordering and in which the transaction is binding on both parties.

Caveat Emptor - Latin term meaning "let the buyer beware". Common law imposes on the buyer duty of examining a purchase; there is no recourse against sellers because of the defects.

CBD (Terms of Sale) - Cash Before Delivery; seller assumes no risk and extends no credit because he is paid before shipment.

CBM (CM) - Abbreviation for Cubic Meter.

CE - Abbreviation for Consumption Entry. The process of declaring the importation of foreign-made goods for use in the United States.

Cells - The construction system employed in container vessels; permits below ship containers to be stowed in vertical line with each container supporting the one above it.

Cellular Vessel - Ship constructed for transportation of containers stacked on top of each other in vertical guide shafts, no general freight is carried.

Center of Gravity - The point of equilibrium of the combined weight of the containership, or stacktrain and its cargo.

Certificate of Inspection - A document often required with shipments of perishable or other goods, when certification notes the good condition of the merchandise immediately prior to shipment.

Certificate of Insurance - Issued (usually on Form E or Form H) by an officer of an insurance company to state agency or other party, stating the fact that the party named has insurance coverage in amount types; not a binding agreement.

Certificate of Manufacture - A statement sometimes notarized by a producer, usually also the seller or merchandiser that indicates the goods have been manufactured and are at the disposal of the buyer.

Certificate of Origin - A specified document, required by certain foreign counties for tariff purposes, certifying the country of origin of the merchandise. Sometimes requires the signature of the consul of the country to which merchandise is destined.

Certificate of Public Convenience And Necessity - The grant of operating authority that is given to common carriers. A carrier must prove that public need exists and that the carrier is fit, willing and able to provide the needed service. The certificate must specify the commodities to be hauled, the area to be served, and the routes to be used.

Certificate of Registry - Documents issued to maritime authorities indicating legal restrictions of a shipment.

Certificate of Weight - An authoritative statement of the weight of a shipment.

Certificated Carrier - A for-hire carrier that is subject to economic regulations and that require an operating certification to provide services.

CFS - Abbreviation for Container Freight Station. A shipping dock where cargo is loaded (stuffed) into or unloaded (stripped) from containers. Most of the time, this involves less than containerload shipments, even though small shipments destined to the same consignee are often consolidated. Container reloading from/to foreign rail or motor carrier equipment is a usual activity.

Channel Airlift - Common-user airlift service provided on a recurring basis between two points.

Channel Traffic - Passengers and cargo moving over established worldwide routes served by either scheduled DOD aircraft under the control of AMC or commercial aircraft under contract to and scheduled by AMC.

Chargeable Weight - The weight used by airlines to determine the airfreight charge.

Charter Party - A written contract between the owner of a vessel and the one (the charterer) desiring to operate the vessel setting forth the terms of the arrangement, i.e. freight rate and ports involved in the contemplated trip.

Chassis - A trailer-type device with wheels constructed to accommodate containers enabling the load to be moved over-the-road.

Chemtrec - Chemical Transportation Emergency Center; organization available on a 24-hour basis to providing immediate critical response information for incidents involving hazardous materials and dangerous goods.

Chock - A piece of wood or other material placed at the side of cargo to prevent it from rolling about or moving sideways.

Cl - Abbreviation for Cost and Insurance. A price that includes the cost of the goods, the marine insurance and all transportation charges except the ocean freight to the named point of destination.

CIA - Cash in Advance. Method of payment for goods in which the buyer pays the seller in advance of the shipment of goods. Usually employed when the goods, such as specialized machinery, are built to order.

CIF - Cost, Insurance and Freight. Seller owns goods until they are loaded on vessel; selling price includes cost of goods, insurance and freight.

CIF&C - Price includes commission as well as CIF.

CIF&E - Acronym for Cost, Insurance, Freight, and Exchange.

CIFCI - Acronym for Cost, Insurance, Freight, Collection and Interest.

CIFI&E - Short for Cost, Insurance, Freight, Interest and Exchange

Civil Reserve Air Fleet (CRAF) - Commercial aircraft and crews allocated in time of emergency for exclusive military use in both international and domestic service.

CKD - Abbreviation for Cars Knocked Down. Automobile parts and subassemblies manufactured abroad and transported to a U.S. assembly plant.

CL - Short for Carload and Containerload.

Claim - A written demand made upon the carrier for the payment due to loss or damage alleged to have occurred while the shipment was in the care, custody and control of the carrier. In addition, a claim may be filed to demand a refund due to overcharge for freight by the carrier.

Classification - A publication such as the Uniform Freight Classification (railroad) or the National Motor Freight Classification (motor carrier), that assigns ratings to various articles and provides bill of lading descriptions and rules.

Classification Rating - The class to which an article is assigned for the purpose of applying transportation charges. The rating expresses a mathematical relationship of the freight rate for the group to a base rate, called the first class rate. The class ratings are expressed as percentages of the first class rate if they are less than the first class rate. If higher than the first class rate, they are called multiples. For example, a class 70 rate would be 70% of first class. A rating of 150 would be 1.5 times the first class rate.

Classification Yard - A railroad yard with many tracks used for assembling freight trains.

Class Rate - A transportation charge set for a group of commodities. Unless an article is given a special freight rate, it is grouped with others of a similar nature into a class. A transportation rate is set for the class. This charge or rate applies to each type of article in the class. See Classification Rating for further explanation.

Clayton Act - An anti-trust act of the U.S. Congress, making price discrimination unlawful.

Clean Bill of Lading - A receipt for goods issued by a carrier, indicating that the goods were received in apparent good order and condition without damages or other irregularities. Compare with "Foul Bill of Lading."

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

Cleaning in Transit - The stopping of articles, such as peanuts, etc., for cleaning at a point between the point of origin and destination.

Clearance Limit - The size beyond which cars or loads cannot use bridges, tunnels, etc.

Cleat - A strip of wood or metal used to afford additional strength, to prevent warping, or to hold in place.

Clip-On - Refrigeration equipment attachable to an insulated container that does not have its own refrigeration unit.

CM - Abbreviation for Cubic Meter (capital letters).

cm - Abbreviation for centimeter.

Coastwise - Water transportation along the coast.

COD - Short for Collect (Cash) on Delivery or Carried on Docket (pricing). Shipments where the customer pays moving charges at the time of delivery.

Code of Conduct - International instruments that indicate standards of behavior by nations, states or multinational corporations deemed desirable by the international community. Each of these codes is monitored by a special committee that meets under the auspices of GATT and encourages consultations and the settlement of disputes arising under the codes.

COFC - Acronym meaning "Containers on Flat Cars" indicating the movement of containers on rail flatcars.

COGSA - Carriage of Goods by Sea Act. U.S. federal codification passed in 1936 that standardized carrier's liability under carrier's bill of lading. U.S. enactment of The Hague Rules.

Collect Freight - Freight payable at destination provided the vessel delivers the goods as specified.

Collecting - A bank that acts as an agent to the seller's bank (the presenting bank). The collecting bank assumes no responsibility for either the documents or the merchandise.

Collection - A draft drawn on the buyer, usually accompanied by documents, with complete instructions concerning processing of payment or acceptance.

Collection Papers - This encompasses all documents, such as commercial invoices and bills of lading, submitted to a buyer for the purpose of receiving payment for a shipment.

Collective Papers -All documents (commercial invoices, bills of Jading, etc.) submitted to a buyer for the purpose of receiving payment for a shipment.

Co-loading -Several shippers combining their shipments in order to qualify for a lower rate.

Combi Aircraft - An aircraft specially designed to carry unitized cargo loads on the upper deck of the craft, forward of the passenger area.

Combination Export Mgr. - A firm that acts as an export sales agent for more than one non-competing manufacturer.

Combination Rate - A rate made up of two or more factors, separately published.

Command Sponsored Dependent Entry Approval - Authorization for a military dependent to reside at an overseas location with the military sponsor. With this authorization comes the benefit of having the government cover transportation to and from the duty station.

Commerce Control List (CCL) - All items - commodities, software, and technical date, which is subject to U.S. Bureau of Export Administration export controls.

Commercial Attache - This person is the commerce expert on the diplomatic staff of his or her country's embassy or large consulate.

Commercial Air Movement - The movement of a group of persons routed by Military Traffic Management Command (MTMC) in regular or chartered commercial air service.

Commercial Bill of Lading (CBL) - Carrier documentation used for transportation of shipments, such as that used by small package express carriers. It includes the commercial procedures related to the use of such documentation.

Commercial Invoice - A statement of transaction between a seller and buyer prepared by the seller, and a description of the merchandise, price, terms, etc.

Commercial Letter of Credit - An instrument by which a bank lends to a customer to enable him/her to finance the purchase of goods. It authorizes the seller to draw drafts on the bank under the terms stated in the letter.

Commercial Set - Set of four "negotiable" documents that represents and takes the place of goods themselves in the financing of the cargo sales transaction.

Commingling - The packing or mingling of various articles subject to different rates of duty in such a way that the quantity or value of each class of articles cannot be readily ascertained by Customs. Commingled articles are subject to the highest rate of duty applicable to any part of the commingled Jot.

Commission - Fee charged by brokers as compensation for their services in purchasing or selling commodities/securities at the direction of a customer.

Commission Agent - See Purchasing Agent

Committee of American Steamship Lines - An industry association representing subsidized U.S. flag steamship firms.

Commodity - Any article of cargo, goods shipped.

Commodity Rate - A special rate on a specific type of goods. A commodity rate replaces a class rate for the goods, except when the tariff specifies the alternative use of class and commodity rates.

Common Carrier - Transporter who holds itself out to the general public for the transportation of goods over a definite route and according to a regular schedule.

Common-Carrier Duties - Common carriers are required to serve, deliver, charge reasonable rates and not discriminate.

Common Law - Law that derives its force and authority from precedent, custom and usage rather than from statutes, particularly with reference to the law of England and the United States.

Common-User Land Transportation (CULT) - A program managed by a designated single manager for all DOD motor carrier cargo movement in a theater, specific country, or geographic region. Theater commander in Chief (CINC) usually designates the predominate DOD Component as the CULT manager.

Common User Lift - USTRANSCOM-controlled lift: The pool of strategic transportation assets either government-owned or chartered that are under the operations control of AMC, Military Sealift Command (MSC), or MTMC for the purpose of providing common-user transportation to the DOD across the range of military operations. These assets range from common-user assets available day-to-day to a larger pool of common-user assets phased in from other sources.

Completely (CKD) - Parts of a vehicle or machine shipped unassembled to a plant for assembly.

Concealed Damage - Damage that is not evident from viewing the unopened package.

Conference - An association of ship owners operating in the same trade route who operate under collective conditions and agree on tariff rates.

Confirmed Letter of Credit - A letter of credit issued by a foreign bank, whose validity has been confirmed by a domestic bank. An exporter with a confirmed letter of credit is assured of payment even if the foreign buyer or the foreign bank defaults.

Confirming Bank - The bank that adds its confirmation to another bank's (the issuing bank's) letter of credit and promises to pay the beneficiary upon presentation of documents specified in the letter of credit.

Connecting Carrier - A carrier that has direct physical connection with, or forms a link between two or more carriers.

Consignee - A person or company to whom commodities are shipped. Officially, the legal owner of the cargo.

Consignee Mark - A symbol placed on packages for identification purposes; generally a triangle, square or circle with letters and/or numbers and port discharge.

Consignment - 1) A stock of merchandise advanced to a dealer and located at his place of business, but with title the source of supply. 2) A shipment of goods to a consignee.

Consignor - A person or company shown on the bill of Jading as the shipper.

Consolidation - Cargo containing shipments of two or more shippers or suppliers for one or more consignees, often in cointainerload quantities.

Consolidator - A person or firm performing a consolidation service for others. The consolidator takes advantage of lower full carload or FCL rates and the savings are passed on to the shippers.

Construction Differential Subsidy - A program whereby the U.S. government attempted to offset the higher shipbuilding cost in the U.S. by paying up to 50% of  the difference between cost of U.S. and non-U.S. construction. The difference went to the U.S. shipyard. It has been unfunded since 1982.

Constructive Placement - Placing a conveyance at a point other than that designated by the consignor or consignee for loading, unloading, or hold, because the consignor or consignee is not yet ready to accept it at the place normally designated for loading or unloading . The conveyance (truck, trailer, railcar, etc.) is considered as being under placement or as spotted for loading or unloading for purpose of computing free time and demurrage or detention charges.

Consul - A government official residing in a foreign country who represents the interests of his or her country and its nationals.

Consular Declaration - A formal statement describing goods to be shipped; filed with and approved by the consul of the country of destination prior to shipment.

Consular Invoice - A document, certified by a consular official, is required by some countries to describe a shipment. Used by Customs of the foreign country, to verify the value, quantity and nature of the cargo.

Consular Visa - An official signature or seal affixed to certain documents by the consul of the country of destination.

Consumption Entry (CE) - The process of declaring the importation of foreign-made goods into the United States for consumption or use in the United States.

Container - A standardized, demountable receptacle for transporting cargo on a chassis, rail car or vessel.

  • DROMEDARY - A container that can be mounted behind the power unit of a truck or carried on a flatbed trailer or in a van and which can be used to transport less-truckload shipments of classified or other sensitive materials.
  • FLAT-RACK – Open-sided and top International Standards Organization (ISO) container with two removable/adjustable ends.
  • HALF-HEIGHT - Standard ISO container with one end door and open top.
  • MILITARY VAN (MILVAN) - Military owned demountable container that conforms to U.S. and international standards and operates in a centrally controlled fleet for movement of military cargo.
  • MILITARY SEALIFT COMMAND VAN - SEAVAN leased and controlled by MSC.
  • SEAVAN - Commercial or government-owned (or leased) shipping containers that are moved via ocean transportation without bogey wheels attached.

Container Booking - Arrangements with a steamship line to transport containerized cargo.

Container Freight Station - See CFS

Container Handling Equipment (CHE) - Material handling equipment (MHE) required for specifically receive, maneuver, and dispatch containers.

Container Load - A load sufficient in size to fill a container either by cubic measurement or weight.

Container Manifest - Document showing content and loading sequence of a container.

Container Pool - An agreement between parties that allows for the efficient use and supply of containers.  A common supply of containers available to the shipper as required.

Container Ship - A ship specifically constructed and equipped to carry on containers. Container ships are usually non self-sustaining and do not have built-in capability to load or off-load containers, and require port crane service. A containership with shipboard installed cranes, capable of loading and off-loading containers without assistance of port crane service, is considered self-sustaining.

Container Yard (CY) - A materials handling and/or storage facility used for completely unitized loads in containers and/or empty containers. Commonly referred to as CY.

Containerizable Cargo- Cargo that will fit into a container and result in an economical shipment.

Containerization - The use of containers to unitize cargo for transportation, supply, and storage. Containerization incorporates supply, transportation, packaging, storage, and security together with visibility of a container and its contents into a distribution system from source to user.

Continental United States (CONUS) - The 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia.

Contingency Insurance - Also called difference in condition insurance. Protects the interests of the insured in the event another party's insurance fails or falls short. Commonly used in both import and export situations.

Contingency Operations - Operations declared by the National Command Authorities that involve the use of U.S. military forces to achieve U.S. objectives, usually in response to an emergency caused by natural disasters, terrorism, subversive actions, or required military operations. The National Command Authorities are the President and the Secretary of Defense or their duly deputized alternates or successors.

Contraband - Cargo that is prohibited.

Contract - A legal binding agreement between two or more persons/organizations to carry out reciprocal obligations or value.

Contract Administration Office - The activity responsible for administering the contract against which the shipment was made.

Contract Carrier - Any person not a common carrier who, under special and individual contracts or agreements, transports passengers or property for compensation.

Controlled Atmosphere - Sophisticated, computerized systems that manage the mixture of gases within a specific container during an intermodal journey, which helps in minimizing delays.

Controlled Port - Ports, which have access controls for vessels from certain countries due to national security issues. Controlled ports are: New London/Groton, CT; Portsmouth, NH (including Kittery, ME and Dover, NH on the Piscataqua River); Hampton Roads, VA (including Norfolk, Newport News, Jamestown, Yorktown, and Portsmouth, VA); Charleston, SC; Kings Bay, GA; Port Canaveral, FL; Panama City, FL; Pensacola, FL; Port St. Joe, FL; Port Hueneme, CA; San Diego, CA; and Honolulu, HI.)

CONUS - The continental United States. The 48 contiguous United States and the District of Columbia.

Corner Posts - Vertical frame components fitted at the comer of the container, integral to corner fitting and connecting the roof and floor structures. Containers are lifted and secured in a stack using the castings at the ends.

Correspondent Bank - A bank that, in its own country, handles the business of foreign banks.

Cost, Insurance and Freight (CIF) - Cost of goods, marine insurance and all transportation (freight) charges are paid to the foreign point of delivery by the seller.

Countervailing Duty - An additional duty imposed to offset export grants, bounties or subsidies by the government of a country for the purpose of promoting export.

CPPSO - Consolidated Personal Property Shipping Office.

Cross Member - Transverse members fitted to the bottom side rails of a container, which supports the floor.

Cu. - The abbreviation for Cubic. A unit of volume measurement.

Cube Out - When a container has reached its volumetric capacity before its permitted operational weight limit.

Cubic Foot - 1,728 cubic inches

Customhouse - A government office where duties are paid, import documents filed, etc. on foreign shipments.

Customhouse Broker - An individual or company, licensed by the Treasury Department, engaged in entering and clearing goods through customs.

Customs - Government agency charged with enforcing the rules passed to protect the country's import revenues.

Customs Bonded Warehouse - A warehouse in any country authorized and established by Customs.

Customs Clearance - Formal inspection procedures carried out before allowing a shipment to enter a country.

Customs Entry - All countries require that the importer make a declaration on incoming foreign goods. The importer then normally pays a duty on the imported merchandise. The importer's statement is compared against the carrier's vessel manifest to ensure that all foreign goods are properly declared.

Customs Invoice - A form requiring all data in a commercial invoice along with certificate of value and/or a certificate of origin. Required in a few countries (usually former British territories) and usually serves as a seller's commercial invoice.

Cut-off Time - The latest time a container may be delivered to a terminal for loading to a scheduled train or ship.

CWO - The acronym meaning 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 the seller and the buyer.

CWT - Hundred weight (United States, 100 pounds: U.K., 112 pounds)

CY - Abbreviation for Container Yard. The designation for full container receipt/delivery.