Do you ever feel lost when you hear terms like FOB, CIF, or EXW while shipping products internationally? Do you find yourself searching for what these abbreviations mean and how they can impact your business? If so, then you're not alone. International shipping terms and abbreviations can be confusing, but fear not! In this article, we will break down everything you need to know to navigate the world of international shipping industry with ease.
So let's begin Now.
Terms are considered a bit more advanced than.
1. Ship Scrapping: The process of dismantling and recycling a ship at the end of its
operational life, including the safe disposal of hazardous materials and the recovery of
valuable components of value in the resale market.
2. Ballast Water Management: The practice of managing the water used in a ship's ballast tanks to prevent the transfer of invasive species and maintain stability during voyages.
3. Dry Docking: The process of taking a vessel out of the water for inspection,
maintenance, and repairs, typically done in a dry dock facility.
4. Salvage: The process of rescuing a vessel or its cargo from a distressed or damaged
condition, often involving specialized equipment and techniques.
5. Marine Pollution: The introduction of harmful substances or contaminants into the marine
environment, such as oil spills, garbage disposal, and emissions, resulting in
environmental and economic impacts.
6. Containerization: The practice of packing goods in standardized containers for efficient
transportation and handling on ships, trucks, and trains.
7. Freight Rates: The charges levied by carriers for transporting goods by sea, are
typically based on factors such as distance, volume, weight, and type of cargo.
8. Bill of Lading: A legal document that serves as a contract of carriage and a receipt for
goods shipped on board a vessel, outlining the terms and conditions of transportation.
9. Port State Control: The practice of inspecting foreign ships in the port to ensure
compliance with international safety, security, and environmental regulations.
10. Maritime Law: The body of legal principles and regulations that govern maritime
activities, including international conventions, national laws, and commercial contracts.
11. Maritime Arbitration: The process of resolving maritime disputes through arbitration, a
form of alternative dispute resolution, instead of going to court.
12. Shipbuilding: The process of designing, constructing, and outfitting ships, including naval
architecture, engineering, and production techniques.
13. Protection and Indemnity Clubs: Mutual insurance associations that provide liability coverage to shipowners and operators for third-party liabilities, including property
damage, personal injury, and pollution claims.
14. RO-RO - Roll-on/Roll-off: A type of vessel designed to transport vehicles and other
cargo that can be rolled on and off the vessel via ramps.
15. IMO numbers - International Maritime Organization numbers: Unique identification
numbers assigned to ships for tracking and safety purposes.
16. ILO - International Labour Organization: A United Nations agency that sets international
labor standards and promotes decent work for all, including seafarers' rights and
17. MLC 2006 - Maritime Labour Convention, 2006: An international labor standard
established by the ILO that sets out comprehensive requirements for the working and
living conditions of seafarers on board ships, including employment contracts, wages,
working hours, and social welfare.
18. IACS - International Association of Classification Societies: A global organization
representing classification societies that establish and apply technical standards for the
design, construction, and maintenance of ships to ensure their safety and reliability.
19. HFO - Heavy Fuel Oil: A type of fuel used in ships engines that is derived from crude oil and is commonly used in large vessels for propulsion.
20. GMDSS - Global Maritime Distress and Safety System: An internationally recognized
communications system for distress.
21. STS - Ship-to-Ship Transfer: The process of transferring cargo or fuel between two
vessels while at sea, often used in the shipping industry for transferring liquid cargoes
such as oil or gas.
22. BWM - Ballast Water Management: The process of managing the discharge of ballast
water from ships to prevent the introduction of invasive species into new environments,
as regulated by the IMO's Ballast Water Management Convention.
23. Port State Control: The inspection and enforcement of international maritime regulations
by a coastal state on foreign-flagged vessels calling at its ports, to ensure compliance
with safety, security, and environmental standards.
24. MARPOL - International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships: An
international treaty established by the IMO that sets regulations for preventing
pollution from ships, including pollution from oil, chemicals, sewage, and garbage.
25. Flag State: The country whose flag a ship flies, and therefore responsible for enforcing
its national maritime regulations on that vessel, including safety, security, and
26. Shipowner: The owner of a vessel who has legal and financial responsibility for the
operation and management of the ship.
27. Ship Operator: The entity responsible for the day-to-day operation of a vessel, including
crewing, maintenance, and logistics.
28. Port Authority: A governmental or quasi-governmental organization that manages and
regulates port facilities, services, and activities.
29. Port Terminal Operator: The entity responsible for the operation and management of a
port terminal, including cargo handling, storage, and other terminal services.
30. Shipping Line: A company that operates vessels for the transportation of goods by sea,
also known as a carrier or ocean carrier.
31. Freight Forwarder: A company that acts as an intermediary between shippers and
carriers, arranging the transportation of goods and handling logistics.
32. NVOCC (Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier): A company that consolidates and
transports goods using containers but does not own or operate vessels.
33. Charterer: The entity that hires or rents a vessel for a specific period or voyage, typically
for the transportation of goods.
34. Ship Agent: A representative of the shipowner or operator who handles administrative
and operational tasks related to vessel calls at a port, such as customs clearance, cargo
documentation, and port coordination.
35. Classification Society: An independent organization that establishes and enforces
standards for the design, construction, and maintenance of ships, ensuring their safety
36. Maritime Administration: A government agency responsible for the regulation and
oversight of maritime activities within a country's jurisdiction, including vessel
registration, safety, and environmental compliance.
37. Ship Registry: A country or territory where ships can be registered, typically for legal
and financial purposes, such as determining nationality, taxation, and liability.
38. Maritime Union: An organization that represents the interests of maritime workers,
including seafarers, dockworkers, and other maritime professionals, in areas such as
labor rights, safety, and welfare.
39. Shipbrokers: Intermediaries who facilitate the buying, selling, and chartering of vessels,
often specializing in specific types of ships or trades.
40. Maritime Insurance: The insurance coverage for risks associated with the operation
and transportation of ships, including hull and machinery, cargo, and liability insurance.
41. Maritime Training Institutions(MTIs): Educational institutions that provide training and
education for maritime professionals, such as seafarers, marine engineers, and naval
42. Shipbroker Association: Professional organizations that represent the interests of
shipbrokers and provide industry guidelines, networking opportunities, and training.
43. International Maritime Organization (IMO): A specialized agency of the United Nations
responsible for the regulation and coordination of international maritime affairs, including
safety, security, and environmental protection.
44. International Chamber of Shipping (ICS): A global trade association representing the
interests of shipowners and operators, providing advocacy, policy development, and
45. BIMCO (Baltic and International Maritime Council): A leading international
association representing shipowners, operators, brokers, and agents involved in the
global shipping industry. BIMCO provides a wide range of services and resources to its
members, including standard contracts for chartering, buying, and selling vessels, as
well as industry-related information, education, and advocacy.
46. Marine Surveyors: Professionals who conduct inspections, assessments, and audits of
vessels, cargoes, and operations to ensure compliance with regulations, standards, and
47. MLC - Maritime Labour Convention: An international labor standard established by
the International Labour Organization (ILO) that sets out minimum requirements for the
working and living conditions of seafarers on board ships.
48. SOLAS - International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea: An international
treaty established by the IMO that sets minimum safety standards for ships, including
construction, equipment, and operation requirements.
49. ISM - International Safety Management Code: A set of regulations established by the
IMO that requires shipowners and operators to develop and implement safety
management systems to ensure the safe operation of ships and the protection of the
50. STCW - International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and
Watchkeeping for Seafarers: An international treaty established by the IMO that sets
minimum training, certification, and watchkeeping standards for seafarers.
With the arrival of the year 2023, it is clear that international shipping remains pivotal in facilitating global trade. Nonetheless, accounting for the multifarious jargon and acronyms intrinsic to this industry is challenging, making it taxing for companies and individuals to maneuver through the shipping procedure.
Written by ANKUR KUNDU