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
AAAlways Afloat
AAAAAlways Afloat Always Accessible
AAAAAlways Accessible Always Afloat
AAPAthe American Association of Port Authorities
AARAAmsterdam-Antwerpen-Rotterdam Area
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.
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
BWTSBallast Water Treatment System
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
DAPDays All Purposes (Total days for loading and disch.)
DAPSDays all Purposes (Total days for loading & discharging)
DCDischarge Capacity
DDDry Dock
DDPDelivered Duty Paid.
DDP/(U)Delivered Duty Paid (Unpaid)
DDUDelivered Duty unpaid.
DEQDelivered Ex Quay
DESDelivered Ex Ship
DHDATSBEDespatch Half Demurrage on Actual Time Saved Both Ends
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 
DOLSPDropping Off Last Sea Pilot (Norway)
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
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
UUnless Sooner Commenced
UKCSUnited Kingdom Continental Shelf
ULCCUltra Large Crude Carrier | 320,000 to dwt 549,999
USCUnless Sooner Commenced
USCUnless Used
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".