Frequently-Used Terms for Moving Overseas

Moving overseas glossary

Are you moving overseas? This is a big move which requires a good plan. Remember that it is better not to travel before all of your goods have been shipped. Make sure you’re aware of the mistakes to avoid when planning your relocation. Travel times are estimates and subject to change. Your Freight Forwarder will confirm and track your booking. Here is a glossary of terms frequently used when moving overseas:

-AES: Automated Export System is the U.S. nationwide system designed to enforce laws relating to exporting, improve trade statistics, reduce duplicate reporting to multiple agencies, and improve customer service. It is the central point through which export shipment data required by multiple agencies is filed electronically to Customs.

-Air Freight: Air Freight is the shipment of cargo by aircraft. Almost all passenger aircraft also carry freight, along with air planes that are specifically designed to transport freight.

-Air Waybill: The contract for transportation between the customer and the air carrier. It is also the receipt for cargo.

-Bill of Lading:  A document that establishes the terms of a contract between a shipper and a transportation company. It serves as a document of title, a contract of carriage and a receipt for goods. It includes the dates, services and charges involved in the international relocation.

-Cargo: Freight loaded onto ships or aircraft.

-Containerization:  Stowage of general or special cargo in a container for transport in the various modes: boxes, cartons, drums, barrels, etc.

-Currency Adjustment: An added fee to compensate for currency fluctuation between countries.

-Customs: It’s the agency in charge of the protection of the country’s import and export revenues.  It’s the place where physical examination of imports and exports is done. It can also refer to fees placed on these imports and exports.

-Customs Clearance: The release of goods from customs. This process includes documentation handling.

Cut Off:  The latest possible time the container may be delivered to the loading port so the container can be accepted for sailing according to the schedule.

Door-to-DoorTransportation of a container from consignor to consignee. Also known as House to House. Gives customers the ability to book shipments as easily as they would send a package overnight, without worrying about pickups, paperwork and delivery.

-Door-to-Port: The shipper is responsible for loading the goods into the truck (LCL) or container (FCL). Goods must clear custom and all fees must be paid before customer can claim them. A destination agent can help with all the paperwork.

-ERD: Early Return Date,when a container must arrive at the terminal before the cut off or deadline in order to be loaded onto the ship.

-ETA: Estimated Time of Arrival, date and time which the shipping cargo is expected to arrive at named port.

-ETD: Estimated Time of Departure, date and time which the shipping cargo is expected to leave from named port.

-FCL: Full Container Load, all the cargo in the container belongs to the same owner.

-Freight Forwarders: A person/company who act as an agent on behalf of the shipper. They make all the booking reservations. In the United States, freight forwarders are now licensed by the FMC as “Ocean Intermediaries”.

-Household Goods Shipment: Personal property/goods being shipped for use or intended use in the home.

-HS CODE: Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, all goods crossing international borders have to be declared to customs by this code.

-LCL: Less Container Load, cargo less than 10 cubic meters, it’s more affordable than FCL, but the cargo is submitted to more handling (more risk of damage).

-Ocean Freight: exporting and importing cargo by shipping lines. Goods are packed in shipping containers, the freight forwarder books the reservation with the shipping agent, cargo is trucked to the shipping line at the port of origin and shipped overseas to the importer at the port of destination. The itinerary can be port- to- port or can include truck pick up and or delivery, door-to-port, port-to- door and door-to-door.

-PBO: “Packed by Owner” – the owner/customer packs his or her own goods at origin. This method is not always acceptable in certain countries.

-SCHEDULE: Timing of delivery.

-VACIS EXAM: Scan of the container.

For more info about shipping terms, visit the U.S Department of Transportation.

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