In the world of container logistics the jargon can be difficult to wrap your head around – not to mention the abbreviations that can make an entire text lack meaning. But we’re here to help with our container logistics glossary!



Aggregate Shipment
Shipments from different sellers are consolidated to the same consignee into one shipment.

API stands for Application Programming Interface. It is essentially the online messenger, that delivers the request a customer of the platform has to the provider, they’re asking it from. The API then delivers the response back to you. In other words, the API is a software that makes two applications interact with each other.

AWB is an abbreviation for Air Waybill.


On a return trip, a commercial truck transports cargo back to the point of origin for the truck. On the way back the truck stops at the same places as on the way to its final destination.

BAF is an abbreviation for Bunker Adjustment Factor. The BAF is an additional surcharge on the ship operators. It’s meant to compensate for the fluctuations in fuel prices. It was imposed to make up for the extra charges incurred during the shipment of goods.

Beneficial Cargo Owner (BCO)
Abbreviated BCO. A beneficial cargo owner is an importer that takes control of a shipment at the destination, using their own logistics. A BCO doesn’t use a freight forwarder nor NVOCC.

Bill of Lading
Bill of Lading is a document that serves as proof of ownership, contract of carriage and a receipt of shipment.

BPD is an abbreviation for Barrels Per Day.


The word ‘cabotage’ defines domestic transport of goods or people, done by a foreign company.

Cabotage containers
A cabotage container makes only one trip. They are to be either sold or returned at a partner’s depot in the one-way lease agreement. Cabotage containers are also called one-way containers or one trippers.

CAGR is an abbreviation for Compound Annual Growth Rate.

A carrier provides transport for cargo with its own vessels or leased vessels. A carrier can be a container liner or steamship line.

CFS Shipping
CFS is an abbreviation for Container Freight Station. This is a warehouse where consolidation and deconsolidation of cargo, that belongs to different exporters or importers, take place before the cargo is exported or imported.

A chassis is a trailer or undercarriage that is used to transport containers on the road.

CIC is an abbreviation for Container Imbalance Charges. CIC is a fee a shipping line charge when they relocate large quantities of empty containers. The charge works as compensation for the cost of moving the containers.

COC Container
COC is an abbreviation for Carrier owned Container. A container is considered a COC when the carrier owns the container and controls most of the transport chain.

The consignee is responsible for the receipt of a shipment of goods. The consignee is often also the buyer, but that is not always the case.

The consignor is the person that supplies the commodities that are being shipped. The consignor is also called the shipper.

Container Imbalance
The container imbalances happen when there is a deficit of containers in one area and a surplus of containers in another area.

Container Interchange
A container interchange takes place when a shipping line has a surplus of containers in a given location. They arrange a container interchange agreement with another carrier. This carrier moves the empty containers to a location that has a deficit of containers or active requirements.

Container Logistics
Container logistics is the planning and execution of transport and storage of containers from the origin to the delivery at its final destination.


Damage Replacement Value (DRV)
The damage replacement value is the amount one would have to pay to replace equipment. Giving the amount the equipment would be worth at the time of replacement.

Demurrage & Detention
Demurrage & Detention is a fee the user has to pay if they use the container for longer than the arranged number of free days. These charges are usually calculated per day.

Depreciated Value
Depreciated Value is an amount both parties have agreed on, that the user will pay the supplier as a replacement if equipment is lost or damaged beyond repair.

DPP is an abbreviation for Damage Protection Plan. This is an insurance that protects the user of the containers. The DPP is the amount the cleaning and repair charges have to exceed for the user to be charged for extra costs after redelivery.


ELD stands for Electronic Logging Device. ELDs are also called E-logs.

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)
EDI is the electronic exchange of business papers, such as invoices and bills of lading.

ETA is an abbreviation for Estimated Time of Arrival.

ETD is an abbreviation for Estimated Time of Departure.


Force Majeure
Translated from French, force majeure means ‘superior force’. The phrase is often used in many contract types. The clause relieves the parties of their obligations when there are circumstances beyond their control, that prevent them from following the contract.

Freight Forwarder
A freight forwarder ships commodities on behalf of other businesses. They are responsible for arranging all the steps of the shipping.


Grand Cabotage
Grand Cabotage is when the transport of goods takes place between two ports on two different coastlines of the same country by a domestic company.


HAZMAT is an abbreviation for Hazardous Material.


Intermodal container
An intermodal container is a standardized shipping container. It is designed for intermodal transportation. This means that it can be used for different modes of transportation. On ship, rail, and truck. With an intermodal container, it’s not needed to unload and reload cargo when changing transport modes.

Intermodal Transportation
Intermodal transportation is, just as multimodal transportation, a combination of at least two different ways of moving commodities. The main characteristic of this way of transporting is that every part of the process is contracted with a different provider.

ISPS is an abbreviation for International Ship and Port Facility Security Code. It is a security measure put in place after 9/11 to avoid similar attacks happening on the sea or via the sea.


Joint Rate
A joint rate is a rate that applies from a point on one line of transportation to another line. This rate is agreed upon and is the official single tariff by all transportation lines, where this rate is applicable.


Known Loss
A known loss is a loss that is discovered before or when the shipment is delivered.


Landed Cost
Landed cost is the total cost of a shipment when it has arrived at its final destination.


Multimodal Transportation
Multimodal transportation is a combination of at least two different ways of moving the cargo from a place in one country to another country. The main characteristic of this transportation form is the following: Despite including several modes of transportation, it all falls under the same Bill of Lading.

MQC is an abbreviation for Minimum Quantity Commitment. You can find it in a service contract between a BCO and a VOCC. The Minimum Quantity Commitment is one that the BCO signs. The BCO commits to ship an exact amount of a specified cargo, that both parties have agreed upon.


NVOCC stands for Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier. It is a company that organizes shipments for corporations and individuals.


Off-hire is a clause that permits the charterer of a vessel not to pay hire when the ship is out of service.

One-Way Container
One-way containers only make one trip. They are to be either sold or returned at a partner’s depot in the one-way lease agreement. One-way containers are also called cabotage containers or one trippers.

Open Top Container
An Open Top Container is a container with a removable roof so the container can be loaded and unloaded from the top.

One Trippers
One trippers are also known as one-way containers and cabotage containers.


Peak Season Surcharge
Also known as PSS. It is a surcharge, that carriers can add when there is a peak of demand. PSS is an additional charge on top of the base rate.

Per Diem
Per diem is a fee that is charged when a user exceeds the number of free days agreed upon. The fee is often calculated per day.

Petit Cabotage
Petit Cabotage is when the transports of goods take place between two ports on the same coastline by a domestic company.

Pick-up Charge
The pick-up charge is a one time charge for each container that is picked up. The charge is negotiated for each deal. The pick-up charge can be paid by either the supplier or the user. That depends on the market situation. In locations where the supplier has a shortage of containers, the cost will typically be by the user. If the user picks up containers from a location with a large surplus and moves it to a deficit location, then the supplier often pays the charge.

Port of Call
Port of call s an intermediate stop for a ship on its journey. It can be used to deliver and add equipment, taking on supplies or fuel.


A quote is an offer to sell goods or services at a stated price and terms.


Redelivery Schedule
A redelivery Schedule is a list of permissible return locations for the supplier’s equipment

A ‘reefer’ is a refrigerated container. A reefer can be used for temperature-sensitive shipments.

Replacement Value
Replacement Value means the purchase value of new equipment of the same type on the date of replacement.


SaaS is an abbreviation for Software as a Service. These software tools are companies building neutral, multi-product platforms for shippers and logistics service providers. The software is usually available to the user on a subscription basis.

Scrubbers are used to remove particulate matter from the exhaust gasses from the engines. The scrubbers remove matters such as sulfur oxides. They have become even more important since the IMO 2020’s regulation on reducing sulfur emissions by 85 %.

The shipper is the person that supplies the commodities that are shipped. The shipper is also called the consignor.

SOC Container
SOC is an abbreviation for Shipper owned Container. A container is considered a SOC container, when the freight forwarder, NVOCC and Beneficial Cargo Owner organize their own container and hire other parties to transport their goods.


Transshipment, or transhipment, is when cargo or a container is moved from one vessel to another while in transit to its final destination.


UFC is an abbreviation for Uniform Freight Classification.

Ullage is the space in a drum or tank that isn’t filled with liquid.


VOCC is an abbreviation for Vessel Operating Common Carrier. And is, unlike an NVOCC, a carrier that operates with its own vessels.


Warehousing means the storing of shipments and goods.

A waybill is also called a Bill of Lading. There are majorly three types of waybills: Air waybill, rail waybill, and road waybill.



A yard is a classification of storage or changing area.


Zulu Time
Zulu Time is based on GMT (Greenwich Mean Time).