Shipping Abbrivations & Terms

Shipping Terms



An abbreviation (from Latin brevis, meaning “short”) is a shortened form of a word or phrase. Usually, but not always, it consists of a letter or group of letters taken from the word or phrase. For example, the word abbreviation can itself be represented by the abbreviation abbr. or abbrev. Before the e-mail, telex was the usual way of communication between ships and people/offices onshore. The cost of sending a telex was based on number of words in the message. In an effort to lower these cost, many abbreviations were introduced.



A/HAnchor Handling


AAAlways Afloat

AAAAAlways Afloat Always Accessible

AAPAthe American Association of Port Authorities

AARAAmsterdam-Antwerp-Rotterdam Area

ABSAmerican Bureau of Shipping


ADCOMAddress Commission

AFFREIGHTMENTThe hiring of a ship in whole or part

AFSPSArrival First Sea Pilot Station 

AFTAt or towards the stern or rear of a ship

AGWAll Going Well

AHLAustralian Hold Ladders

AHTAnchorHandling Tug


ANTHAMANTwerp-HAMburg range

APSArrival Pilot Station

ARAGAmsterdam-Rotterdam--Antwerp-Ghent Range

ASPWAny Safe Port in the World

ATDNSHINCAny Time Day or Night Sundays and Holidays Included

ATUTCActual Times Used to Count


BBale (cargo capacity)

B S S 1/1Basis 1 port to 1 port

B/NBooking Note

BAFBunker Adjustment Factor. A Fuel Surcharge expressed as a percentage added or subtracted from the freight amount reflecting the movement in the market place price for bunkers.

BALLASTHeavy weight, often sea water, necessary for the stability and safety of a ship which is not carrying cargo.

BBBareboat Hire / Charter

BBHPBare Boat Hire and Purchase option

BBBBefore Breaking Bulk

BDIBoth Dates Inclusive

BEBoth Ends ( Load and discharge ports)

BEAMThe maximum breadth of a ship


BENDSBoth Ends (Load & Discharge Ports)

BHPBrake Horse Power

BIBoth Inclusive

BIMCOThe Baltic and International Maritime Council

BL (1)Bale

BL (2)(Bill of Lading) A document signed by the carrier which acts as a receipt and evidence of title to the cargo.


BMMBritish Marine Mutual

BOBBunker On Board

BOFFERBest Offer

Boxeveryday term for container (or boxed vessel)


Br.ld.Break load

BRGDSBest Regards

BROBBunkers Remaining On Board

BRT / BRZGross tonnage || German previously used for GT - Gross Tonnage as BRT - Brutto Register Tonne or BRZ - Brutto Raumzahl equally Gross tonnage


BSS 1/1Basis 1 Port to 1 Port

BTBerth Terms

BUNDLINGThis is the assembly of pieces of cargo, secured into one manageable unit. This is a very flexible description, a rule of thumb is to present cargo at a size easily handled by a large (20 tonne) fork lift truck.

BUNKERSName given for vessels Fuel and Diesel Oil supplies (Originates from coal bunkers)

BVBureau Veritas

BWADBrackish Water Arrival Draft




C/XsshinC / ssheX

CAFCurrency adjusting factor (freight)

CAPCondition Assessment Programme


CBFT (or CFT)Cubic Feet

CBMCubic Meter

Ce TaCenter Tank

CFR (or C&F)Cost and Freight

CFTCubic FeeT


CHOPTCharterers Option


CIFCost, Insurance & Freight. Seller pays all these costs to a nominated port or place of discharge.

CIPCarriage and Insurance paid to…..

CIRRCommercial Interest Reference Rate

CLCCivil Liability Convention

COAContract of Affreightment - Owners agree to accept a cost per revenue ton for cargo carried on a specificnumber of voyages.

COACPContract Of Affreightment Charter Party

COBClose of Business

COBLDNClosing Of Business London time

CODCash On Delivery

COGSACarriage of Goods by Sea Act



COPCustom Of Port

COWCrude Oil Washing

CP (or C/P)Charter Party

CPDCharterers Pay Dues

CPTCarriage Paid To

CQDCustomary Quick Despatch

CRCurrent Rate



CROBCargo Remaining on Board


CTMCash To Master || the Port Agents delivers cash to the master of a ship on arrival. E.g. to pay cash to crew.

CTRContainer Fitted




D/ADisbursement Account

DAFDelivered At Frontier

DAP / DAPSDays All Purposes (Total days for loading and disch.)



DCDischarge Capacity

DDDry Dock

DDPDelivered Duty Paid.

DDP/(U)Delivered Duty Paid (Unpaid)

DDUDelivered Duty unpaid.



DEQDelivered Ex Quay

DESDelivered Ex Ship



DHDWTSBEDetpatch Half Demurrage on Working Time Saved Both Ends



DLOSPDropping Last Outwards Sea Pilot 

DNRSAOCLONLDiscountless and Non-Returnable Ship and/or Cargo Lost or Not Lost

DNV-GLDet Norske Veritas - Germanischer Lloyd

DODiesel Oil

DOLSPDropping Off Last Sea Pilot 

DOPDropping Outward Pilot

DOTDepartment Of Transport

DPDynamic Positioning


DRAFTThe ships draft - Depth to which a ship is immersed in water. The depth varies according to the design of the ship and will be greater or lesser depending not only on the weight of the ship and everything on board, but also on the density of the water in which the ship is lying.


DSVDiving System

DUNNAGEMaterials of various types, often timber or matting, placed among the cargo for separation, and hence protection from damage, for ventilation and, in the case of certain cargoes, to provide space in which the forks of a lift truck may be inserted.

DWAT (or DWT)Deadweight. Weight of cargo, stores and water, i.e. the difference between lightship and loaded displacement.

DYNPOSDynamic Positioning


E0Unattended engine room

ECEast Coast

EIUEven If Used.

EIUEven if Used

ELVENTElectric Ventilation

ETAEstimated Time of Arrival

ETCEstimated Time of Completion

ETDExpected Time of Departure


ETSEstimated Time of Sailing




F.DESP (FD)Free DESPatch

F.DISFree DIScharge

F/NFixing Note

FAFree Alongside

FACFast As Can

FASFree Alongside Ship. Seller delivers goods to appropriate dock or terminal at port of embarkation and buyer covers costs and risks of loading.

FCAFree CArrier

FDFree of Despatch

FDDFreight Demurrage Deadfreight

FDEDANRSAOCLONLFreight Deemed Earned Discountless & Non-Refundable Ship and Or Cargo Lost Or Not Lost

FDISFree Discharge

FEUForty foot container equivalency unit - Standard 40' Container

FHEXFridays/Holidays Excluded

FHINCFridays/Holidays Included

FiFIFire Fighting

FILOFree In/Liner Out. Seafreight with which the shipper pays load costs and the carrier pays for discharge costs.

FIOFree In/Out. Freight booked FIO includes the seafreight,but no loading/discharging costs, i.e. the charterer pays for cost of loading and discharging cargo.

FIOSFree In/Out Stowed. As per FIO, but includes stowage costs.

FIOSLSDFree In/Out Stowed, Lashed, Secured and Dunnaged. As per FIO,but includes cost of lashing securing and dunnaging cargo to Masters satisfaction.

FIOSTFree In/Out and Trimmed. Charterer pays for cost of loading/discharging cargo, including stowage and trimming.

FIOTFree In/Out and Trimmed. As per FIOS but includes trimming - the leveling of bulk cargoes

FITFree In Trimmed

FIWFree in Wagon

FIXINGChartering a Vessel

FLTFull Liner Terms - Shipowner pays to load and discharge the cargo


FMCFederal Maritime Commission - US government agency

FMSFathoms - 6 feet

FOFor Orders

FO (IFO)FuelOil/Intermediate FO

FOBFree on Board. Seller sees the goods "over the ship's rail" on to the ship which is arranged and paid for by the buyer

FOFFERFirm Offer

FOGFor Our Guidance

FOQFree On Quay

FORFree On Rail

FORCE MAJEUREClause limiting responsibilities of the charterers, shippers and receivers due to events beyond their control.

FOTFree On Truck

FOW (1)First Open Water

FOW (2)Free On Wharf

FPSOFloating Production Storage and Offloading unit

Fr. wa.Fresh water

Free Ex InsFREE of any EXtra INSurance (Owners)

FREE OUTFree of discharge costs to Owners


FWADFresh water Arrival Draft

FWDDFresh Water Departure Draft

FYGFor Your Guidance

FYIFor Your Information

GGrain (cargo capacity)


GAGeneral Average

GASBENDGood And Safe (Port) Both ENDs


GENSGENeralS or general cargo

GEOROTGEOgraphical ROTation

GLS / GlessGearless

GMDSSGlobal Maritime Distress Safety System

GMTGreenwich Mean Time or United Kingdom time zone

GN (or GR)Grain (capacity)

GNCNGencon - a standard BIMCO charter party form

GNSGerman North Sea

GOGas Oil



GRTGross Registered Tonnage

GSBGood Safe Berth

GSPGood Safe Port




HBFHarmless Bulk Fertilizer

HDLTSBENDSHalf Despatch Lay Time Saved Both Ends

HDWTSHalf Demurrage Weather Time Saved

HDWTSHalf Despatch Working Time Saved

HELDKHELicopter DecK

HHDWHandy Heavy d.w. (scrap)

HMSHeavy Metal Scraps

HOCargo HOld




HVFLHeaVy Fuel

HWHigh Water


I.W.L.Institute Warranty Limits

IFOIntermediate Fuel Oil

IMDGInternational Maritime Dangerous Goods Code

IMOInternational Maritime Organisation


INTERMODALCarriage of a commodity by different modes of transport, i.e. sea, road, rail and air within a single journey.

ISM(C)International Safety Management Code

ITFInternational Transport Federation - international body that regulates crewing of ships

IUIf Used

IUATUTCIf Used, Actual Time Used To Count

IUHATUTCIf Used, Half Actual Time Used To Count

IWLInstitute Warranty Limits

KMCcargo refrigerating system

KNKnots | Speed per hour

KTMKeel To top of Mast

KNTSKnots / speed per hour



L.T.Liner Terms

LANE METERA method of measuring the space capacity of Ro/Ro ships whereby each unit of space (Linear Meter) is represented width.

LASHLight Aboard SHip

LASH (1)To hold goods in position by use of Ropes, Wires, Chains or Straps etc.

LASH (2)Lighter Aboard Ship - a vessel that loads small barges direct from the water


LAYCANLAYday CANcelling date

LCLoading Capacity

LCRLowest Current Rate



LNGLiquefied Natural Gas

Lo HoLower Hold

LOALength Overall of the vessel

LOFLloyd’s Open Form

LOILetter Of Indemnity.

LOILetter of Intent \ Precontractual stage

LOLOLift On Lift Off ship

LOWLast Open Water

LPGLiquefied Petroleum Gas


LR1 TankerLong Range Tanker | abt dwt 55,000 to abt dwt 79,999

LR2 TankerLong Range Tanker | abt dwt 80,000 to abt dwt 159,999

LR TankerLong Range Tanker | abt dwt 55,000 to abt dwt 159,999 

LRLloyds Register of Shipping

LRLarge Range

LS (or LUMPS)Lumpsum

LSDLashed Secured Dunnaged

LTLiner Terms


LWLow Water

LYCNLaycan (Layday Cancelling Date)


m/rMates receipt

MR1 TankerMedium Range Tanker | abt dwt 30,000 to abt dwt 44,999 

MR2 TankerMedium Range Tanker | abt dwt 45,000 to abt dwt 54,999 

MR TankerMedium Range Tanker | abt dwt 30,000 to abt dwt 54,999 

M/VMotor Vessel

M/TMotor Tanker

MBMerchant Broker

MDO (DO)Marine Diesel Oil

MDWTMetric DeadWeight tons

MIN/MAXMinimum/Maximum (cargo quantity)

MOManaging Owner

MODUMobile Offshore Drilling Units

MOLCHOPMore Or Less CHarterers OPtion

MOLCHOPTMore or Less Charterers Option

MOLOOMore Or Less Owners (Masters) Option

MONMONitors (fire)

MOTMinistry Of Transpory

MOTMonthly OverTime

MRMedium Range

MTMetric Tonne (i.e. 1,000 kilos / 2204.6lbs)

MTONSMetric Tonnes


n.E.not East of

n.N.not North of

n.Snot South of

n.Wnot West of

NAABSANot Always Afloat But Safely Aground

NCBNational Cargo Bureau

NCSNorwegian Continental Shelf

NESTINGImplies that cargo is presented stacked in the contour of similarly shaped cargo, it may be likened to a stack of plates.

NISNorwegian International Shipsregister

NKNippon Kaiji Kyokai

NMDNorwegian Maritime Directorate

NOKUS – companyNOrsk Kontrollert Utenlandsk Selskap - Norwegian controlled foreign company in lowtax country

NON-REVERSIBLE (Detention) If loading completed sooner than expected, then saved days will not be added to discharge time allowed.

NORNotice Of Readiness

NRTNet Registered Tonnage

NYPENew York Produce Exchange


o.a.Over All

OAOver Aged

OBOOil Bulk Ore



OOOwners Option


OPA 90The US Oil Pollution Act of 1990

OSHOpen SHelter deck

OTOn Truck




P & IProtection & Indemnity


P/EPurchase Enquiry


PaxPassenger Vessel

PCPeriod of Charter

PCGOPart Cargo


PDPRPer Day Pro Rata

PERDIEMPer Diem - By the Day

PGHPer Geard Hatch

PHPDPer Hatch Per Day

POT (able)POTable water


PRATIQUELicense or permission to use a port

PSVPlattform Supply Vessel


PWHPer Workable Hatch

PWWDPer Weather Working day




REVERSIBLE (Detention) If loading completed sooner than expected at load port, then days saved can be added to discharge operations.



RNRRate Not Reported

ROBRemaining On Board

ROCReference Our Cable….(date)

RORORoll On Roll Off ship

ROTLXReference Our TeLeX …(date)

RPMRevs. Per Minute

RTRevenue Tonne || (i.e. 1.0 metric Tonne or 1.0 cubic meter, whichever greater). The overall RT is calculated on a line by line basis of the Packing List using the largest amount. The overall freight liability is calculated on the total RT amount, multiplied by the freight rate.

RYCReference Your Cable…(date)

RYTLXReference Your TeLeX…(date)


2HSecond Half

S&PSales and Purchase of Ships

S.THR.Side Thruster

S/R B/LSigning and Releasing Bill(s) of Lading

SATPMSaturday P.M.

SATSHEXSATurdays, Sundays, Holidays Excepted

SATSHINCSATurdays, Sundays, Holidays INCluded

SBSafe Berth

SBMSoya Bean Meal

SBSSafe Berth

SBTSegregated Ballast Tanks

SD (or SID)Single Decker

SEAFREIGHTCosts charged for transporting goods over the sea. This does not cover any haulage or loading/discharging costs but the sea transport only.

SELFDSelf Discharging


SFSuperficial Feet

SFStowage factor. Cubic space occupied by one ton (2,240 lbs/1,000 kgs) of cargo.

SHEXSundays, Holidays EXcepted

SHEXSundays/Holidays Excluded

SHINCSundays/Holidays Included

SIDSingle Deck

SKIDSAre bearers (timber or steel) positioned under cargo to enable fork lift handling at port, and for ease of rigging and lashing on board ship.

SLBale (capacity)


SOCShipper Owned Container

SOFStatement Of Facts

SOMSwedish Official Measure

SPSafe Port

SPBSt. PetersBurg

SRBLSigning and Releasing Bill of Lading

SSSpecial Survey | Class

SS / DDSpecial Survey and Dry Dock | Class

SS and CSame Sea and Country coast

SSHEXSaturdays, Sundays, Holidays EXcepted

SSHEX (or SATSHEX)Saturdays, Sundays, Holidays Excluded

SSHINCSaturdays, Sundays, Holidays INCluded

SSHINC (or SATSHINC)Saturdays, Sundays, Holidays Included

STShort Tons.

STABILITYIt is paramount that a vessel is stable in all respects at all times. When cargo is loaded/discharged, the stability is monitored by a computer, which takes into vessel.

STARBOARDRight side of a ship when facing the bow

STEMSubject To Enough Merchandise

STEMSubject To Enough Merchandise (Availability of Cargo)

STERNThe aft part of a ship

SUBSubject (to)

SUPERCARGOPerson employed by a ship owner, shipping company, charterer of a ship or shipper of goods to supervise cargo handling operations. Often called a port captain.

SWADSalt Water Arrival Draft

SWDDSalt Water Departure Draft



TBNTo Be Named

TBRTo Be Renamed

TCTime Charter - Owners agree to hire a particular ship for a set length of time

TCPTime Charter Party

TCTTime Charter Trip

TEUTwenty Foot Equivalency Unit - Standard 20' Container

THCTerminal Handling Cost or Charges


TIPTaking Inward Pilot

TLTotal Loss


TOPTaking Outward Pilot



TWTween Decker


UKCSUnited Kingdom Continental Shelf

ULCCUltra Large Crude Carrier | 320,000 to dwt 549,999

USCUnless Sooner Commenced

UTCUniversal Time Coordinated || Time Zone Greenwich Meantime | London UK Time

UUUnless Used

UUUnless Used If Used Actual Time Used To Count


UUIWCTAUTCUnless Used In Which Case Time Actually Used To Count.


VEGVEGetable oil

VLCCVery Large Crude Carrier | dwt 160,000 to 319,999

VPDVessel Pays Dues




WCWest Coast

WCCONWhether Custom Cleared Or Not

WCCONWhether Customs Cleared Or Not

WIBONWhether In Berth Or Not

WIFPONWhether In Free Pratique or not

WIPONWhether In Port Or Not


WLTOHC (distance)Water Line-To-Hatch Coaming

WOGWithout Guarantee

Working Copy(Copy of Charter Party – not being signed and may contain unchecked errors

WPWeather Permitting

WPDWeather Permitting Day

WRDWide Range Destillate

WRICWire Rods in Coils

WWDWeather Working Days

WWRWhen, Where Ready

WWWWWibon Wccon Wifpon Wipon


X/CssheX / sshinC

X/XssheX / ssheX


YARYork Antwerp Rules

YCYour Cable


ZUTCUniversal Time Coordinated || Prior to 1972, this time was called Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) but is now referred to as Coordinated Universal Time or Universal Time Coordinated (UTC). It is a coordinated time scale, maintained by the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures (BIPM). It is also known as "Z time" or "Zulu Time".