International Transport Glossary

Bill of Lading:

En Français : Lettre de transport

Document issued by the carrier, describing the nature and quantity of the goods being shipped. It also includes the name of the shipper, the consignee and the ports of loading/discharge. This document is a title that serves as a contract of carriage and receipt for the goods.

Carrier haulage:

En français : Acheminement par le transporteur maritime

This refers to ground routing of maritime transport when directly organised by the shipowner, on behalf of the client, without using intermediaries or freight forwarders.

It is the opposite of Merchant Haulage , which describes ground routing of sea transport when directly organised by the shipper client or their intermediaries (freight forwarders).

IMOCA class:

Hazardous materials container classification (explosives, flammable gases and liquids, toxic and corrosive substances, etc.).

Containerisation :

This is the term applied to the process of putting goods into containers, which began in the 1960s and which led to the widespread use of containers in the transport of goods, mainly in sea transport.

This method of transport has lowered costs by reducing handling, product damage and theft.

Moreover, the supply chain was simplified, as the product remains in the container between the shipper and the final receiver.

Stripping :

Emptying a container of its goods.


The opposite of stripping, stuffing refers to filling a container with goods.

TEU (container)/Twenty Equivalent Unit:

A standardised unit of mesure to identify containers according to their size and to describe the capacities of container ships or terminals. One 20-foot IS0 container = 1 TEU.


Free on Board (Incoterm): a good is bought or sold FOB when it is purchased without the related transport costs, other costs and taxes and insurance; when a good is purchased FOB, it is then necessary to pay for its transport as well as the taxes and insurance costs for this product. The FOB price is therefore always less than the CIF (Cost, Insurance and Freight) price.

Consolidation (sea):

Often referred to as LCL (Less than Container Load), it is the solution for small consignments (from 1 m3 to 10 m3). The parcels are stuffed (grouped together with other customers) in a container. At the destination, the container is deconsolidated by a service provider. To be more specific, the terms can be further differentiated as follows: LCL typically refers to loads consolidated by the shipping line and consolidation generally refers to loads consolidated by the service provider (freight forwarder).


A transhipment point where connections can be arranged; they are found mainly at airports and seaports.


Contraction of International Commercial Terms, which establish all the rights and responsibilities of parties involved in international trade [] The latest regulation, which took effect on 1 January 2011, is named Incoterms 2010.

Today, 11 Incoterms are in effect: DAT (Delivered At Terminal), DAP (Delivered at Place), EXW (Ex Works), FCA (Free Carrier), FAS (Free Alongside Ship), FOB (Free On Board), CFR (Cost and Freight), CIF (Cost, Insurance and Freight), CIP (Carriage and Insurance Paid to), CPT (Carriage Paid to), DDP (Delivered, Duty Paid).

The Incoterms primarily define the cost transfer point between the seller and the buyer, the risk transfer point (from when the buyer assumes responsibility for the risks incurred by the goods during transport) and the documents the seller must provide to the buyer.


A contraction of lift on-lift off: a vertical loading technique, most commonly used on ships equipped with cranes or on container ships.


A contraction of roll on-roll off: a loading or unloading technique for ships via an access ramp, used by all types of wheeled vehicles. This technique is carried out on vessels called roll-on-roll-off ships. For loading vehicles, this technique works similarly to that of ferries.

Freight forwarder:

A person or company appointed by the shipper or the consignee of goods that must undergo several successive transport operations. Their mission is to organise the connections between the various carriers and so ensure continuity of transport and all related administrative operations: customs regulations, administrative and financial management, staff management, insurance, disputes, documentary credits, etc.