The right a marine assured has to abandon property in order to establish a constructive total loss. An underwriter is not obliged to accept abandonment, but if he does he accepts responsibility for the property and liabilities attaching thereto, in addition to being liable for the full sum insured.

Act of God:
An inevitable event occurring without the intervention of man - such as flood, tempest, or death - operating in case of certain contracts, such as those of insurers or carders.

Actual Container Gross Weight:
Total weight of a container, i.e. the weight of the payload plus empty container weight, together with any loose internal fittings.

Actual Pay Load:
The difference between the actual gross weight and the gross tare weight of a container.

Ad Valorem (Lat.):
According to the value. An ad valorum stamp on deeds or documents is one fixed in proportion to the amount of rent reserved or other element of value expressed in the deed.

Air Waybill:
A document which is receipt for cargo received by an airline and is evidence of a contract between the consignor and airline.

All Risks:
An insurance term which means that the policy covers the insured property for loss caused by any fortuity. The policy does not cover inevitable loss.


Average (General):
Partial loss of the whole adventure deliberately made to prevent total loss of the whole adventure. It may be sacrifice of property or expenditure incurred to save the adventure. Parties who benefit from a general average loss are required to make good that loss by contributing in the proportion that the saved value of the party's property bears to the saved value of all interest involved in the adventure.

Average (Particular):
A fortuitous partial loss of insured property proximately caused by an insured peril, but which is not a general average loss.

Bill of Lading:
A document which is a receipt for cargo received on board and is evidence of the contract between shipper and shipowner. It is also evidence of title to the goods described on it.

Bonded Goods:
Imported goods deposited in a Government warehouse until duty is paid.

Break Bulk Cargo:
An assembled variety of shipments in a vessel, or one hold of a vessel, to be sorted (disseminated) after discharge.  The opposite to bulk cargo where one shipment occupies the hold, or the ship alone.

Bulk Terminals:
Berths with facilities for mechanical loading or unloading of bulk products such as oil, grain, coal or mineral ores.

Bunker Adjustment Factor (BAF):
Surcharge, either as an addition or subtraction from the total freight rate, according to variation in the cost of ship fuel oil.

Carriage of Goods by Sea Act 1991:
Act of Commonwealth parliament which came into force in 1991, repealing the Sea Carriage of Goods Act 1924 and giving force to the Hague Rules as amended by the Visby and SDR (Special Drawing Rights) Protocols for export of goods by sea from Australia. The Act also makes provision for entry into force of the Hamburg Rules on a date to be proclaimed.

Certificate of Origin (CO):
A document to prove the place of growth, production or manufacture of goods specified thereon.

An agreement wherein the shipowner hires his vessel to the charterer subject to certain conditions.

Clean Bill of Lading:
One in which there is nothing to qualify the admission that the goods are shipped in good order and condition.

Combined Transport:
Means the carriage of goods by at least two different modes of transport, from a place at which the goods are taken in charge situated in one country to a place designated for delivery situated in a different country.

Conference Ship:
A ship operated by a signatory to a shipping conference agreement.

The firm or persons authorised to receive the cargo and to whom it is consigned.

Container Freight Station (CFS): 
Other names: containerbase; consolidation depot; depot; - where parcels of cargo are grouped and packed into containers.

Currency Adjustment Factor (CAF):
A charge levied by the 'Ocean Carrier' over and above the ocean freight rate to cater for fluctuations over a period in actual currency exchange rates as compared to those exchange rates set by the conferences as applying to various sailings.

The sum agreed by charter to be paid as damage for delay beyond the stipulated time for loading or discharging. It should be collected daily by the master or agent.

Storage building where goods are stored and where containers are packed, or unpacked, before:

  • containers are transported to shipping terminals.
  • goods from containers are transported to importer's warehouse.

Where demurrage is paid for an agreed number of days, any further delay is termed "detention".

Removal of contents from a container (some. times called stripping or discharging).

Through transport of containers from consignor to consignee without any discharging or reload- ing of goods, except possibly at Customs control.


  • Where the load carried in a container equals one of the two operating maxima - in a weight or volume.
  • The load in a container if the shipper was assured of a separate container exclusively for his cargo. - A shipper packed container.

Feeder Ship:
Vessel used in short sea trade to serve ports at which deep-sea container ships do not call.

Free in and out:
Cargo to be loaded and discharged free to the vessel.

Freight of all kinds (FAK):
Denotes container loads, packed by the shipping company, with several or more smaller consignments. Such a container will contain at least three different consignments and at least five different items, with no one item exceeding 6000 kilos.

Freight Container:
Article of transport equipment of a permanent character designed to facilitate the carriage of goods by one or more means of transport without intermediate rehandling of the goods them- selves. This article shall be fitted with devices permitting its ready handling, be designed in order for easy filling and emptying and have an overall volume of 8 cu.m. (282 cu.ft.) or more. The term excludes vehicles and conventional packing.

Freight Forwarder:
One who arranges the shipping of goods overseas.

Freight Rate:
The charge for transporting goods by water.

Full Container Load (FCL):
A container, generally shipped under one bill of lading, which is packed by the shipper and unpacked by the consignee. Basically, this is just a container (not necessarily full) which is not being shared by more than one shipper.

Gross Weight:
Total weight of goods and packing.

Gross Tonnage:
This is the volume of the interior of the vessel including all spaces which are permanently closed in (but excluding the double bottom), expressed in tons of 100 cubic feet. cross Weight: Total weight of goods and packing.

International rules for the interpretation of trade terms used in international trade, formulated by the International Chamber of Commerce.

Jason Clause:
A clause in a contract of affreightment relating to liability of the shipowner under the U.S. Harter Act in disputes concerning general average.

Lay Days:
Days allowed by charter for loading or discharging cargo.

Less-than-Container-load (LCL):
The combining of several consignments, which were too small to fill a container, into one container. There may be several consignees each with a separate bill of lading.

Letter of Credit:
A document authorising payment to the person named, subject to fulfilment of certain specified conditions on the part of the person authorised to receive the money (e.g. evidence that goods have been shipped). Also known as Documentary Credit.

A document containing the passenger list and details of all stores and cargo on board the vessel.

Mate's Receipt:
A receipt signed by the mate to say the cargo has been received on board in good order and condition.

Net Tonnage:
This is the gross tonnage less the machinery, boiler and bunker, crew and stores spaces.

No Cure - No Pay:
The principle of pure salvage whereby the salvager who fails in his task receives no reward for his efforts.

P. & I. Club:
A mutual association formed by shipowners to provide protection from large financial loss to one member by contribution towards that loss by all members. The P. & I. club covers liabilities not insurable in the ordinary marine insurance market and other expenses incurred by the ship-owner in the running of his ship, such as cost of defending claims made by cargo owners.

A container specially constructed to carry refrigerated cargo.

RO-RO vessel:
Ship constructed to allow cargo to be driven directly on board with trucks, forklifts and other equipment.

This may mean;

  • money paid to those who assist in saying a ship or goods from the dangers of the sea;
  • the goods so saved;
  • property saved from a fire on land.

Shipping Agent:
Company, retained by the shipowner, or the shipping company, to deal with the exporter, freight-forwarder, customs broker or importer. The shipping agent handles the administration and marketing functions on behalf the ship- owner.

Shipped on Board Bill of Lading:
A Shipped Bill of Lading is one which acknowledges that the goods mentioned have been placed on board, in distinction to a Bill of Lading which merely acknowledges receipt of the goods by the carrier.

Placing goods into a container.

The weight of a container, box or other carrier of goods when empty.

Third Party Liability:
Legal liability to anyone other than another party to contract (eg. liability of one ship to another consequent upon a collision).

Through Bill of Lading:
Bill of Lading covering receipt of goods at the place of acceptance of the cargo for delivery to the ultimate destination, embracing transport by more than one means.

The act of transferring goods from one vessel to another or from one conveyance to another, including periods at transhipping ports or places.

Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit (TEU):
Standard ISO container measuring 20ft by 8ft by 8ft 6in (about 6m by 2.4m by 2.5m).

An undertaking by one party to a contract agreeing to abide by certain conditions required by the other party in relation to performance of the contract (e.g. warranty of seaworthi ness, whereby the shipowner agrees to provide a seaworthy vessel to carry the goods specified in a contract of affreightment).

The charges made for the use of a wharf, usually levied on the cargo owner.