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  • Writer's pictureTeam Xport-Pro

22 International Shipping Terms That Every Exporter Must Know

Isn't it simple to ship products nowadays? All that is needed is to pack the product and ship it to the consignee. Your shipment may be a parcel, an LTL, or an FTL depending on its size may be shipped by the means of air, sea, road, or rail.

But wait! Do you know what FTL, LTL, and consignee mean? If not, we are here to help. The sheer number of terminologies used to describe the process of transferring items through a supply chain might be confusing. Understanding the various types of shipments and agreements associated with them is critical for ensuring that your items are delivered on time, in compliance, and in good condition.

And so, today we bring you 22 such important terminologies that every person dealing with international trading should know!

1. Audit

A detailed review of a company's processes to see if it complies with a set of standards. As part of an inquiry into a potential compliance violation, a government agency may audit a company's processes or documents. In some industries, companies must pass periodic government audits to maintain their authorizations. Internal audits (self-audits) or hiring a third party to audit their processes are also options.

The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), the Department of Commerce's export control arm, recommends that US exporters do self-audits on a regular basis to check that compliance procedures are working effectively and that they are up to date with regulatory changes. The competence of an auditor to audit an auditee is referred to as auditability. Auditability is harmed by sloppy record-keeping.

2. Bill of Lading

A document acknowledging receipt of cargo for shipping issued by a carrier or their agent. BOL, BoL, B/L, or BL are common abbreviations. It is termed to be a clean bill of lading if there were no difficulties with the shipment indicated on the BOL.

3. Customs Value Only

Some exports, such as shipments for warranty repair or shipping of items for display at trade exhibits, do not entail a monetary transaction between the exporter and the end consignee. These shipments are still subject to duties and taxes, and exporters must indicate the monetary value of the products in the shipment on the customs invoice so that the customs authority in the receiving country can determine how much duty the importer must pay. In such cases, a customs value-only statement should be included on the invoice by the exporter.

4. Denied Party Screening

Denied party screening, also known as restricted party screening or trade party screening, is the process of vetting new consumers, partners, or vendors against a list of denied parties. These are lists of individuals or organizations that the government has designated as parties with whom one cannot do business and maybe penalized for doing so.


Export Control Classification Numbers are alphanumeric designations used to designate dual-use commodities, meaning items that have both a commercial usage as well as a potential military application.

Knowing the proper ECCN for your goods plays a part in determining if you need an export license

6. FTA

Free trade agreements have been signed between participating countries to reduce trade barriers. This typically includes lowering tariffs on cargo between participating countries, but may also include provisions such as intellectual property rights, environmental protection and dispute resolution.

7. General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)

Legal agreements between many countries have promoted international trade by removing trade barriers such as tariffs and quotas. Replaced by the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995, the original GATT text remains part of the WTO framework.

8. HS

The Harmonized System is an internationally recognized system for classifying products. The first 6 digits of the HS code are common to all countries, but each country adds additional digits to further specify the product. The HS code plays a role in determining import/export controls and tariff rates. The code for a particular product is often referred to as a customs classification, similar to the process of finding the correct code.

9. Incoterms

Incoterms is a universal trade term issued by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). These consist of a three-letter code intended to clearly communicate the obligations, costs, and risks associated with the transportation and delivery of goods in international transactions.

They explain how responsibilities are divided between the seller and the buyer for different parts of the transaction.

10. J-List

Found in 19 CFR 134.33, the J-List is a list of items exempt from the country of origin marking JList, found in 19 CFR 134.33, is a list of items that are exempt from the country of origin label when imported into the United States. J-List items are usually exempt because they cannot be labeled (such as liquids) or are not practical (such as art).

11. Letter of Credit

The letter of credit, also known as a documentary collection, often abbreviated as LC or L / C, is a written commitment by the bank issued upon request from the importer, subject to the terms of the letter of credit. The letter of credit was proved by submitting a specific document.

12. Master Bill of Lading

A bill of lading was issued by the carrier to the carrier confirming receipt of the shipping container. This is different from the bill of lading, which is issued by the carrier to the carrier and confirms receipt of the item for shipment.


A non-vessel operating common carrier functions similarly to a carrier but does not provide transportation services. An NVOCC, on the other hand, buys space from carriers and sells it to shippers.

14. Overage

When the number of units received exceeds the number specified on the export documents.

15. Proforma Invoice

Before a deal is finalized, the seller produces a document that serves as a formal quote and gives it to the possible buyer.

16. Quota

The number of goods that may be imported without restrictions over a set period of time

17. Roll-on/Roll-off

These vessels, often known as RORO or ro-ro for short, are designed to transport wheeled goods such as automobiles and trailers.

18. Shipper’s Letter of Instruction (SLI)

An exporting company's document to its freight forwarder outlines the freight forwarder's instructions. If the freight forwarder is filing on behalf of the exporter through the Automated Export System (AES), the SLI contains the information they need to complete the filing.

19. Transshipment

Transhipping cargo from one carrier to another, or from one vehicle to another, is at an intermediate point in transporting the goods to their final destination.

20. UN Number

An internationally recognized 4-digit code is used to identify dangerous goods.

21. Vessel Traffic Service (VTS)

A traffic monitoring system is used by a port or port authority to monitor vessels, similar to air traffic control used to monitor aircraft. HS & # 41; Product classification nomenclature

22. World Customs Organization (WCO)

Nomenclature for intergovernmental product classifications that help standardize customs processes around the world, including maintaining a harmonized system.


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