Freight Basics - Glossary - Abbreviations

The freight industry uses a huge amount of abbreviations, for everything from units of measure to pricing structures and modes of travel. We've gathered some of the most common ones here to help you navigate these terms. Click on any of the sections below to see the abbreviations used in that area.

 

Air and Ocean Freight Abbreviations

Dimensions

CBM/M³ - Cubic Metres
Height×Width×Length to work out the cubic metre of a shipment

KG - Kilograms

LB - Pounds

CF - Cubic Feet

LF - Linear Feet

R/T - Revenue tonnes
A billing unit used in the international freight industry. 

W/M - Weight or Measure
Billing will be based on whichever is greater based on the converstion factor

Document

AWB / HAWB - Air Waybill / House Air Waybill
A waybill is a document issued by a carrier or forwarder giving details and instructions relating to the shipment 

B/L or BOL - Bill of Lading
A document issued by the carrier to the shipper as a contract of carriage, it must be presented at destination in order for the goods to be released it is a document of title for the goods

D.O. or D/O - Delivery Order
A document which orders the release of freight to another party. Unless in North America, do not mistake this for delivery instructions or a document of title for the goods. In North America a delivery order IS a delivery instruction.

Freight Release
Referred to in North America as a document that orders the release of freight to another party.

L/C - Letter of Credit
This is a document issued by a bank to another bank to serve as guarantee for payments made to a specified person under specified conditions 

MSDS - Material Safety Data Sheet
Provides procedures for handling Dangerous Goods (DG) in a safe manner. It will confirm how the goods can travel and if they can be loaded with other Dangerous Goods 

SLI - Shippers Letter of Instruction
A document filled in by the shipper providing all the details related to the shipment - Shipper and Consignee, dimensions and weight, description of the goods and shipping terms

INCO Terms
Refer to our INCO Terms Page for a detailed explanation of the INCO Terms
People and Places
ATD/ATA - Actual Time of Departure / Actual Time of Arrival

ATF - Approved Transtional Facility
Has site approval and an accredited MAF person to received and inspect import containers 

AQIS - Australian Quaratine Inspection Serive
Boarder control in Australia

CFS - Container Freight Station
Container freight handling depot 

CNOR/CNEE - Consignor/Consignee
Seller / Buyer, Sender/Recevier

CY - Container Yard 
Refering to the shipping lines container storage yards, they are likely to be inland ports 

ETD/ETA - Estimated time of Departure / Estimated Time of Arrival

IATA - International Air transport Association 
An international organisation of airlines that regulate conditions of operation, safety, schedules and pricing for international air transport - We are ranked No. 1 in New Zealand

NVOCC - Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier 
Acts like a shipping line but doesn't own it's own vessels

POL/POD - Port of Loading / Port of Discharge
Surcharges
AMS - Amercian Maritime Security 
Compliance costs associated with USA border security laws and procedures

BAF - Bunker Adjustment Factor
Fuel Surcharge on a shipping vessel 

CAF - Currency Adjustment Factor 
Charged to cover currency fluctuation 

CABAF - CAF and BAF charges combined

FAF - Fuel Adjustment Factor 
Fuel charges on road units or on airfreight

GRI - General Rate Increase
Used by shipping lines to label general increase in ocean freight rates on particular trade routes

ISPS - International Ship & Port Facility Security 
To cover security handling at the origin and destination ports/depots

SCA - Sea Cargo Automation Fee
Applied by Australian Customs to the computer system that coordinates and controls the reporting and delivery of import sea-cargo in Australia
Transport Modes

20FT, 20', TEU - Standard 20 foot shipping container

40FT, 20', FEU - Standard 40 foot shipping container

FR - Flat Racks

HC - High Cube container

OT - Open top container

RF/Reefer - Refrigerated Container
 
For further information on shipping containers please click here

B/B, B/Bulk - Break-Bulk 
A large shipment, usually too big for a shipping container, that can be loaded directly onto a ship 

DG - Dangerous Goods 
Goods that could be harmfully to people and the enviroment and may require special handling 

FAK - Freight All Kind 
Full container load with a combination of freight from different shippers 

FCL - Full Container Load 
For higher volume shipments at least over 20 cubic metres total

LCL - Less than Container Load 
For smaller sea freight shipments that do not require a full container. Minimum shipment size is 1 cubic metre (CBM/M³) to 1 tonne 

LSE - Loose Airfreight 
Goods travelling by airfreight on its own and not in a consolidation with other freight 

LO LO - Lift on Lift off
Term used by carriers when shipping containers are lifed off the vessel (import) or forwarders truck (export) onto the forwarders truck (import) or vessel (export)

GP - General Purpose Container 
Otherwise known as a standard container 

OOG - Out Of Gauge  
When your shipment over hangs the dimensions of a shipping container 

RO RO - Roll On Roll Off 
When a shipment can either be driven or towed on and off a vessel 

SOC - Shipper Owned Container 
Shipping container owned by the shipper rather than the shippng line

U.L.D - Unit Load Device
Spealised containers or pallet bases used in cargo aircraft

Domestic Freight Abbreviations

Documents
POD - Proof Of Delivery 
This is used as proof that the goods have been delivered to the consignee fully and undamaged. The POD is signed by the driver when the goods are picked up from the depot and then signed by the consignee when the goods are delivered
Dimensions
KG - Kilograms

CBM/M³ - Cubic Metres 
Height×Width×Length to work out the cubic metre of a shipment

KG - Kilograms

LB - Pounds

CF - Cubic Feet

LF - Linear Feet
Insurance
DV - Declared Value  

LCR - Limited Carriers Risk 

OR - Owners Risk 
People and Places
CNOR/CNEE - Consignor/Consignee
Sender / Receiver 

ETD/ETA - Estimated Time of Departure / Estimated Time of Arrival
Surcharges
FAF - Fuel Surcharge Factor 
Fuel charges on road & rail units
Transport Modes

20FT, 20', TEU - Standard 20 foot shipping container

40FT, 20', FEU - Standard 40 foot shipping container

FR - Flat Racks

HC - High Cube container

OT - Open top container

For further information on shipping containers please click here 

DG - Dangerous Goods 
Goods that could be harmfully to people and the enviroment and may require special handling  

FCL - Full Container Load 
For higher volume shipments at least over 20 cubic metres total 

FTL - Full Truck Load 
For higher volume shipments that can fit the capacit of a truck

LCL - Less than Container Load 
For smaller sea freight shipments that do not require a full container. 

GP - General Purpose Container 
Otherwise known as a standard container 

Where to from here?

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