Logistics and supply chain management glossary of terms.



10+2 Rule: “United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has announced a new rule, known as the Importer Security Filing (ISF) or more commonly called 10+2; which requires cargo information, for security purposes, to be transmitted to the agency at least 48 hours before goods are loaded onto an ocean vessel for shipment into the U.S. 10+2 is pursuant to section 203 of the SAFE Port Act, and requires importers to provide 10 data elements to CBP, as well as 2 more data elements from the carrier. On January 26, 2010, 10+2 was officially effective and importers are required to comply. If compliance is not met, they can face fines up to $5,000 for each violation. The proposed rule was known to the trade as both the ‘Importer Security Filing proposal’ and the ‘10 + 2 proposal’. The name “10 + 2” is shorthand for the number of advance data elements CBP will collect.

The following 10 data elements are required from the importer:

  1. Manufacturer (or supplier) name and address
  2. Seller (or owner) name and address
  3. Buyer (or owner) name and address
  4. Ship-to name and address
  5. Container stuffing location
  6. Consolidator (stuffer) name and address
  7. Importer of record number/foreign trade zone applicant identification number
  8. Consignee number(s)
  9. Country of origin
  10. Commodity Harmonized Tariff Schedule number

From the carrier, 2 data elements are required:

  1. Vessel stow plan
  2. Container status messages”¹
24-Hour Rule: “An amendment to the U.S. Trade Act of 2002 requiring that sea carriers and Non-Vessel Operating Common Carriers (NVOCCs) provide U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) with detailed descriptions of the contents of sea containers bound for the United States 24 hours before the container is loaded on board a vessel. The cargo information required is that which is reasonably necessary to enable high-risk shipments to be identified for purposes of ensuring cargo safety and security and preventing smuggling pursuant to the laws enforced and administered by CBP. This information must be detailed and be transmitted electronically through approved systems.”¹ Learn more.

3rd Party Logistics (3PL): A company that provides logistics services to customers who outsource part of, or all of, their supply chain management functions (i.e. transportation, warehousing, freight forwarding, distribution, cross docking, packaging, etc.).¹


Accelerated Commercial Release Operations Support System (ACROSS): “uses advanced electronic technology to streamline the way goods are imported into Canada. With ACROSS, importers and brokers exchange information electronically with the CBSA thereby eliminating the requirement to present paper release packages, subject to certain limitations. By reducing the workload involved in the clearance of low-risk shipments, ACROSS enables goods to be released more efficiently and quickly. Importers spend less time dealing with the CBSA, which gives them more time to focus on their businesses. Further enhancements to ACROSS now give electronic data interchange (EDI) clients the option of transmitting release information that has other government department (OGD) requirements. ACROSS improves the enforcement capabilities of the CBSA by allowing more time to be dedicated to the prevention of illicit goods entering Canada. It also provides a sophisticated method for targeting high-risk shipments.”4

Accessorial Services/Charges: “Services performed by a shipping line or airline in addition to the normal transportation service. Common accessorial services include advancement of charges, pickup, delivery, C.O.D. service, signature service and storage.”¹

Accounts Payable (AP or A/P): “An accounting entry that represents an entity's obligation to pay off a short-term debt to its creditors. The accounts payable entry is found on a balance sheet under the heading current liabilities.”¹

Accounts Receivable (AR or A/R): “Money owed by customers (individuals or corporations) to another entity in exchange for goods or services that have been delivered or used, but not yet paid for. Receivables usually come in the form of operating lines of credit and are usually due within a relatively short time period, ranging from a few days to a year.”¹

Ad Valorem Duty: “The phrase ad valorem is Latin for ‘according to value’. Duty or other charges levied on an item on the basis of its value and not on the basis of its quantity, size, weight, or other factor.”¹

Advance Commercial Information (ACI): [Canada] “The ACI program is about providing CBSA officers with electronic pre-arrival information so that they are equipped with the right information at the right time to identify health, safety and security threats related to commercial goods before the goods arrive in Canada.”⁴

Advance Shipment Notice (ASN): A document transmitted (by courier, fax, or email) to a consignee in advance of delivery detailing the contents and particulars of a shipment. The particulars may include such items as shipment date, method of transport, carrier, expected date and time of arrival and a full listing of contents.”¹

Air Cargo: “Goods/cargo transported, or to be transported, by an air carrier.”¹

Air Cargo Advance Screening (ACAS): ACAS was designed to provide U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) with data concerning the parties and commodities involved in air cargo prior to loading on an aircraft at a foreign port.  With information about inbound air shipments further back in the supply chain, CBP will be able to better identify high-risk shipments into the United States. In addition, the program will speed the movement of lower-risk shipments while resources can focus on higher-risk shipments for additional screening.

Air Carrier: “An organization transporting passengers and/or cargo by aircraft.”¹

Air Freight Forwarder: “A freight forwarder for shipments by air. Air freight forwarders serve a dual role. The air freight forwarders are, to the shipper, an indirect carrier because they receive freight from various shippers under one tariff, usually consolidating the goods into a larger unit, which is then tendered to an airline. To the airlines, the air freight forwarder is a shipper. An air freight forwarder is ordinarily classed as an indirect air carrier; however, many air freight forwarders operate their own aircraft.”¹

Air Waybill (AWB): “A shipping document used by the airlines for air freight. It is a contract for carriage that includes carrier conditions of carriage including such items as limits of liability and claims procedures. The air waybill also contains shipping instructions to airlines, a description of the commodity and applicable transportation charges. Air waybills are used by many truckers as through documents for coordinated air/truck service.”¹

Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF): “ATF is a law enforcement agency in the United States’ Department of Justice that protects our communities from violent criminals, criminal organizations, the illegal use and trafficking of firearms, the illegal use and storage of explosives, acts of arson and bombings, acts of terrorism, and the illegal diversion of alcohol and tobacco products. We partner with communities, industries, law enforcement, and public safety agencies to safeguard the public we serve through information sharing, training, research, and use of technology.”32 Learn more.

Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service: "a multi-faceted Agency with a broad mission area that includes protecting and promoting U.S. agricultural health, regulating genetically engineered organisms, administering the Animal Welfare Act and carrying out wildlife damage management activities. These efforts support the overall mission of USDA, which is to protect and promote food, agriculture, natural resources and related issues."25

Anti-dumping (AD): “Anti-dumping occurs when a foreign manufacturer sells goods in the United States less than fair value, causing injury to the U.S. industry. AD cases are company specific; the duty is calculated to bridge the gap back to a fair market value.”3

Anti-dumping Duties (ADD): “An Anti-dumping Duty is a protectionist tariff that a domestic government imposes on foreign imports that it believes are priced below fair market value. Dumping is a process where a company exports a product at a price lower than the price it normally charges on its own home market. To protect local businesses and markets, many countries impose stiff duties on products they believe are being dumped in their national market.”1 Learn more.

Automated Broker Interface (ABI): “The Automated Broker Interface (ABI) is a component of the U.S. Customs Service's Automated Commercial System that permits qualified participants to electronically file required import data with Customs. ABI is a voluntary program available to brokers, importers, carriers, port authorities, and independent service centers.”³

Automated Clearing House (ACH): "The primary electronic funds transfer (EFT) system used by agencies to make payments for financial transactions in the United States. ACH processes large volumes of credit and debit transactions in batches. ACH credit transfers include direct deposit payroll and vendor payments."¹

Automated Commercial Environment (ACE): “The Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) is the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) commercial trade processing system designed to automate border processing, to enhance border security and foster our Nation's economic security through lawful international trade and travel. ACE will eventually replace the current import processing system for CBP, the Automated Commercial System (ACS). ACE is part of a multi-year CBP modernization effort that is being deployed in phases. ACE provides a solid technology foundation for all border security initiatives within CBP and will:

  1. Allow trade participants access to and management of their trade information via reports
  2. Expedite legitimate trade by providing CBP with tools to efficiently process imports/exports and move goods quickly across the border
  3. Improve communication, collaboration and compliance efforts between CBP and the trade community
  4. Facilitate efficient collection, processing and analysis of commercial import and export data
  5. Provide an information-sharing platform for trade data throughout Partner Government Agencies (PGA)”³

Automated Commercial System (ACS): “is the comprehensive system used by U.S. Customs and Border Protection to track, control, and process all commercial goods imported into the United States. Through the use of Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), ACS facilitates merchandise processing, significantly cuts costs, and reduces paperwork requirements for both Customs and the importing community. Within ACS are several methods for EDI, two of which are the Automated Broker Interface (ABI) and the Automated Manifest System (AMS). Under the “10+2” program, importers submit the Importer Security Filing using ABI or Vessel AMS, systems under ACS, to CBP. The data is immediately sent to the Automated Targeting System (ATS) for targeting purposes, and then returned to ACS for retention.”³

Automated Export System (AES): “is the system used by U.S. exporters to electronically declare their international exports, known as Electronic Export Information (EEI), to the Census Bureau to help compile U.S. export and trade statistics. This information is also shared with the Bureau of Industry and Security, the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls, and other federal agencies involved in monitoring and validating U.S. exports. Formerly, this declaration was only made on paper on the Shipper's Export Declaration form.”³

Automated Invoice Interface (AII): "allows invoice data to be transmitted to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Data Center. AII contains five types of records: invoice header input records, invoice line item input records, invoice summary records, an error record and an acknowledgment record."³

Automated Manifest System (AMS): “The Automated Manifest System (AMS) handles manifest information provided by the carrier (rather than the importer) and notifies the carrier when the merchandise can be transported from the port of entry. AMS interfaces directly with the Cargo Selectivity and In-Bond systems of ACS, and indirectly with ABI. This linkage allows faster identification and release of low risk shipments. AMS speeds the flow of cargo and entry processing that provides participants with electronic authorization of cargo prior to arrival. AMS facilitates the inter-modal movement and delivery of cargo by rail and trucks through the In-bond system. Sea, air and rail carriers, port authorities, service bureaus, freight forwarders, rail carriers, and container freight stations can participate in AMS. AMS reduces reliance on paper documents and speeds the processing of manifest and waybill data. As a result, cargo remains on the dock for less time, participants realize faster tracking, and Customs provides better service to the importing community.

Vessel AMS allows participants to transmit manifest data electronically prior to vessel arrival. Customs can then determine in advance whether the merchandise merits examination or immediate release. Upon receiving notification from Customs, the carrier can make decisions on staging cargo and the importer can arrange for examination, release, and distribution of the merchandise. All of this can be accomplished before the merchandise arrives. Vessel AMS allows communication between AMS participants and other government agencies, container freight stations, and non-vessel operating common carriers.”³

Automated Targeting System (ATS): “The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) operate the Automated Targeting System (ATS). As a decision support tool, ATS compares traveler, cargo, and conveyance information against law enforcement, intelligence, and other enforcement data using risk-based targeting scenarios and assessments.”³

Automatic On-board Recording Device (AOBRD): “[Currently Grandfathered] an AOBRD is a device that a motor carrier installed and required its drivers to use before the electronic logging device (ELD) rule compliance date of December 18, 2017. The device must meet the requirements of 49 CFR 395.15. A motor carrier may continue to use grandfathered AOBRDs no later than December 16, 2019. After that, the motor carrier and its drivers must use ELDs.”24 Learn more.


Back Haul: “The load carried by a transport vehicle all or part of the way from its original destination t its original point of departure.”¹

Balanced Scorecard (BSC): “A performance metric used in strategic management to identify and improve various internal functions and their resulting external outcomes. The balanced scorecard attempts to measure and provide feedback to organizations in order to assist in implementing strategies and objectives. This management technique isolates four separate areas that need to be analyzed: (1) learning and growth, (2) business processes, (3) customers, and (4) finance. Data collection is crucial to providing quantitative results, which are interpreted by managers and executives and used to make better long-term decisions.”¹

Barcode: “A barcode is an optical machine-readable representation of data relating to the object to which it is attached. Originally barcodes systematically represented data by varying the widths and spacing of parallel lines, and may be referred to as linear or one-dimensional (1D). Later they evolved into rectangles, dots, hexagons and other geometric patterns in two dimensions (2D). Although 2D systems use a variety of symbols, they are generally referred to as barcodes as well.”¹

Barcode Scanner: “is an electronic device for reading printed barcodes. Like a flatbed scanner, it consists of a light source, a lens and a light sensor translating optical impulses into electrical ones. Additionally, nearly all barcode readers contain decoder circuitry analyzing the barcode's image data provided by the sensor and sending the barcode's content to the scanner's output port.”¹

Batch Optimization: With batch optimization, orders and their associated pick-up/delivery date and times are either known in advance through master routes and/or placed throughout the day in dynamic environments.  Typically route planning for the next day is then done by sending all the work in batch to the route optimization system.

Batch Processing: “Executing a series of non-interactive jobs all at one time. The term originated in the days when users entered programs on punch cards. They would give a batch of these programmed cards to the system operator, who would feed them into the computer. Batch jobs can be stored up during working hours and then executed during the evening or whenever the computer is idle. Batch processing is particularly useful for operations that require the computer or a peripheral device for an extended period of time. Once a batch job begins, it continues until it is done or until an error occurs. Note that batch processing implies that there is no interaction with the user while the program is being executed.”1

Bilateral Trade Agreement: “The exchange of goods between two countries. Bilateral trade agreements give preference to certain countries in commercial relationships, facilitating trade and investment between the home country and the foreign country by reducing or eliminating tariffs, import quotas, export restraints and other trade barriers. Bilateral trade agreements can also help minimize trade deficits.”¹

Bill of Lading (BOL): "A legal document between the shipper of a particular good and the carrier detailing the type, quantity and destination of the good being carried. The bill of lading also serves as a receipt of shipment when the good is delivered to the predetermined destination. This document must accompany the shipped goods, no matter the form of transportation, and must be signed by an authorized representative from the carrier, shipper and receiver."¹

Bonded Carrier: “a) a carrier licensed to transport goods in bond. b) A carrier, licensed by the customs authority of a country to transport imported gods past the customs border of the country to another customs office in the same country where duties and taxes are then paid by the importer.”¹

Bonded Warehouse: “A Customs bonded warehouse is a building, or other secured area, in which imported dutiable merchandise may be stored, manipulated, or undergo manufacturing operations without payment of duty for up to 5 years from the date of importation. Authority for establishing bonded warehouses is set forth in Title 19, United States Code (U.S.C.), section 1555. The regulations covered the operation of bonded warehouses is found at 19 CFR 19. Upon entry of goods into the warehouse, the warehouse proprietor incurs a liability for the merchandise under a warehouse bond. This liability is generally cancelled when the merchandise is: 

  • Exported;
  • Withdrawn for supplies to a vessel or aircraft;
  • Destroyed under CBP supervisions; or
  • Withdrawn for consumption within the United States after payment of duty."3

Booking: “The act of recording arrangements for the movement of goods by vessel.”¹

Booking Number: “The number assigned to a certain space reservation by the carrier or the carrier's agent.”1

Boxcar: “A boxcar is a railroad car that is enclosed and generally used to carry general freight. Boxcars have side doors of varying size and operation, and some include end doors and adjustable bulkheads to load very large items.”1

Break Bulk: “A term used to describe goods that must be loaded individually, and not in intermodal containers nor in bulk. Ships that carry this sort of cargo are often called general cargo ships. The term break bulk derives from the phrase breaking bulk—the extraction of a portion of the cargo of a ship or the beginning of the unloading process from the ship's holds. These goods may not be in shipping containers. Break bulk cargo is transported in bags, boxes, crates, drums, or barrels. Unit loads of items secured to a pallet or skid are also used.”1

Broker: “A company that arranges for the truck transportation of cargo belonging to others, utilizing for-hire carriers to provide the actual truck transportation. However, the Broker does not assume responsibility for the cargo and usually does not take possession of the cargo.”8

Brokerage: “A business whose main responsibility is to be an intermediary that puts buyers and sellers together in order to facilitate a transaction. Brokerage companies are compensated via commission after the transaction has been successfully completed.”1

Bundling: “A marketing strategy that involves offering several products for sale as one combined product.”1

Bureau of Industry & Security (BIS): “Advance U.S. national security, foreign policy, and economic objectives by ensuring an effective export control and treaty compliance system and promoting continued U.S. strategic technology leadership.”6

Business intelligence (BI): “is a set of theories, methodologies, processes, architectures, and technologies that transform raw data into meaningful and useful information for business purposes. BI can handle large amounts of information to help identify and develop new opportunities. Making use of new opportunities and implementing an effective strategy can provide a competitive market advantage and long-term stability. BI technologies provide historical, current and predictive views of business operations. Common functions of business intelligence technologies are reporting, online analytical processing, analytics, data mining, process mining, complex event processing, business performance management, benchmarking, textmining, predictive analytics and prescriptive analytics.”¹


Canadian Automated Export Declaration (CAED): "The CAED application enables exporters or their agents (including service providers) to electronically report their goods directly to the Government of Canada thus eliminating the manual reporting process form (B13A)."

Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA): “The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) ensures the security and prosperity of Canada by managing the access of people and goods to and from Canada.”⁴

Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA): "Mitigating risks to food safety is the CFIA's highest priority, and the health and safety of Canadians is the driving force behind the design and development of CFIA programs. The CFIA, in collaboration and partnership with industry, consumers, and federal, provincial and municipal organizations, continues to work towards protecting Canadians from preventable health risks related to food and zoonotic diseases."23

Cargo: “Goods or produce transported by ship, aircraft, or other intermodal vehicles such as trains, vans or trucks.”1

Cargo Agents: “An agent appointed by an airline or shipping line to solicit and process international air and ocean freight for shipments. Cargo agents are paid commissions by the airline or shipping line.”¹

Cargo Control Number (CCN): "identifies both the carrier and shipment to the CBSA at the time of reporting and when release documents are presented. The carrier code is combined with a unique shipment number (chosen by the carrier) to create a cargo control number."4

Carrier: “A person, business, or organization, that deals in the transport of passengers or goods.”1

Carrier Liability: “Air and ocean carriers are normally liable for all damage, delay, and loss of cargo except those arising from act of God, act of the shipper, and inherent nature of the goods from acceptance of cargo through its delivery or release. Air carriers are usually liable under Warsaw convention, and ocean carriers under Hague convention.”1

Certificate of Origin (COO or C/O): “A document attesting to the country of origin of goods. A certificate of origin is often required by the customs authorities of a country as part of the entry process. A certificate of origin may be required even though the commercial invoice contains the information.”¹

Claim: “A legal demand by a shipper or consignee to a carrier for financial reimbursement for a loss or damage of a shipment.”1

Coast Guard List of Vessels Prohibited (CGCVP): “List of Vessels Prohibited from Entering or Operating Within the Navigable Waters of the United States, Pursuant to the Ports and Waterways Safety Act, as Amended by the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act.”33 Learn more.

Code of Federal Regulations (CFR): “is the codification of the general and permanent rules published in the Federal Register by the departments and agencies of the Federal Government. It is divided into 50 titles that represent broad areas subject to Federal regulation.”⁵

Cold Chain: “A temperature-controlled supply chain. An unbroken cold chain is an uninterrupted series of storage and distribution activities which maintain a given temperature range. It is used to help extend and ensure the shelf life of products such as fresh agricultural produce, seafood, frozen food, photographic film, chemicals and pharmaceutical drugs.”1

Commercial Invoice (C/I or CI): “A commercial invoice is a document used in foreign trade. It is used as a customs declaration provided by the person or corporation that is exporting an item across international borders. Although there is no standard format, the document must include a few specific pieces of information such as the parties involved in the shipping transaction, the goods being transported, the country of manufacture, and the Harmonized Tariff System codes for those goods. A commercial invoice must also include a statement certifying that the invoice is true, and a signature.”¹

Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV): "Any self-propelled or towed vehicle used on public highways in interstate commerce to transport passengers or property when: 1) The vehicle has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 or more pounds; or 2) The vehicle is designed to transport more than 15 passengers, including the driver; or 3) The vehicle is used in the transportation of hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placarding under regulations issued by the Secretary of Transportation under the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act."8

Commodity: “A basic good used in commerce that is interchangeable with other commodities of the same type. Commodities are most often used as inputs in the production of other goods or services. The quality of a given commodity may differ slightly, but it is essentially uniform across producers.”1

Commodity Code: “A system for identifying a given commodity by a number in order to establish its commodity rate in freight transport.”¹ [See also Harmonized Tariff Schedule]

Common Carrier: “Before January 1, 1996, this was a company that provided for-hire truck transportation to the general public. The services offered and the prices charged were published in a public tariff and these were the only prices the common carrier could charge.”8

Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA): "is a trade agreement between the EU and Canada. CETA will benefit European companies by getting rid of 99% of the duties (taxes) they have to pay at Canadian customs. The same will apply to Canadian businesses exporting to the EU. Most customs duties will end as soon as CETA comes into effect. After seven years, all customs duties on industrial products will disappear."22

Consignee: “The person or firm named in a freight contract to whom goods have been shipped or turned over for care.”¹

Consignment: “The act of consigning, which is placing any material in the hands of another, but retaining ownership until the goods are sold or person is transferred. This may be done for shipping, transfer of goods to auction, or for sale in a store. Consignment goods are sent to the agent for the purpose of sale and the ownership of these goods remains with the sender. The agent sells the goods on behalf of the sender, according to his/her instructions. The sender of goods is known as consignor and the agent is known as the consignee.”1

Consignor: The individual, company or entity that ships goods, or gives goods to another for care. The consignor is usually the exporter or his agent.”¹

Consolidation: “Cargo shipping method in which a freight forwarder at the port of origin combines several individual consignments to make up a full container load. This arrangement allows the goods to be shipped as containerized-cargo that offers greater security at lower shipping rates. At the port of destination, the consolidated shipment is separated (deconsolidated or ungrouped) back into the original individual consignments for delivery to their respective consignees.”1

Consumer Protection & Safety Commission (CPSC): “CPSC is an independent federal regulatory agency formed in 1972 with a mission to protect the public against unreasonable risks of injury or death from consumer products through education, safety standards activities, regulation, and enforcement. We are a small agency with a large mission, and we work to ensure the safety of consumers every day.”34 Learn more.

Container Freight Station (CFS): “A carrier-designated facility at which (export) less than container load (LCL) cargo is received from consignors for consolidation and loading into containers or at which (import) LCL cargo is unloaded from containers and delivered to consignees.”¹

Continuous Bonds (CB): "cover multiple transactions. Continuous Bonds are usually 10% of the duties, taxes and fees paid by the importer during the previous 12 months, and are valid until it is canceled either by the importer or the surety."3

Contract Carrier: “Before January 1, 1996, this was a company that provided for-hire truck transportation to specific, individual shippers based upon private contracts between the carrier and each shipper, stipulating the services offered and the prices charged to each.”8

Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA): “On August 2, 2017, the President signed into law the “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act” (Public Law 115-44) (CAATSA), which among other things, imposes new sanctions on Iran, Russia, and North Korea.”28 Learn more.

Countervailing duties (CVD): “Countervailing duties (CVD) cases are established when a foreign government provides assistance and subsidies, such as tax breaks to manufacturers that export goods to the U.S., enabling the manufacturers to sale the goods cheaper than domestic manufacturers. CVD cases are country specific, and the duties are calculated to duplicate the value of the subsidy.”3 Learn more.

Cross docking: “The immediate transfer of cargo from one transport vehicle to another, eliminating the intervening steps of receiving and shipping, thus facilitating the flow of product and reducing costs.”¹

Cube Utilization: “Loading a truck or other transportation vehicle with merchandise in order to fill as much of the horizontal and vertical space as possible.”1

[U.S.] Customs and Border Protection (CBP): “is one of the Department of Homeland Security’s largest and most complex components, with a priority mission of keeping terrorists and their weapons out of the U.S. It also has a responsibility for securing the border and facilitating lawful international trade and travel while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws and regulations, including immigration and drug laws.”³

Customs Bonded Warehouse: “A Customs bonded warehouse is a building or other secured area in which imported dutiable merchandise may be stored, manipulated, or undergo manufacturing operations without payment of duty for up to 5 years from the date of importation.”3

Customs Broker or Customs House Broker (CHB): “An individual or firm licensed to represent an importer or exporter in front of customs authorities. A customs broker must ordinarily be authorized to act as such by the local government. The broker files the appropriate paperwork and helps ensure that the goods being imported comply with all applicable regulations. A customs broker is also called a Customs House Broker, especially in the United States.”1

Customs Brokerage: “A profession that involves the "clearing" of goods through customs barriers for importers and exporters (usually businesses). This involves the preparation of documents and/or electronic submissions, the calculation, and payment of taxes, duties, and excises, and facilitating communication between government authorities and importers and exporters.”1

Customs Clearance: “The documented permission to pass that a national customs authority grants to imported goods so that they can enter the country or to exported goods so that they can leave the country. The customs clearance is typically given to a shipping agent to prove that all applicable customs duties have been paid and the shipment has been approved.”1

Customs Declaration: “An oral or written statement attesting to the correctness of description, quantity, value, etc., of merchandise offered for importation into the United States.”¹

Customs Duty: “Is a tariff or tax imposed on goods when transported across international borders. The purpose of Customs Duty is to protect each country's economy, residents, jobs, environment, etc., by controlling the flow of goods, especially restrictive and prohibited goods, into and out of the country.”3

Customs Self Assessment (CSA) Program: [Canada] “is designed for low-risk, pre-approved importers, carriers and registered drivers. To take advantage of the program, CSA-approved importers and carriers must use a registered driver to carry CSA-eligible goods into Canada in the highway mode. The CSA program simplifies many of the import border requirements so that low-risk shipments can be processed more quickly and efficiently at the border, saving businesses time and money.”⁴

Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT): “Begun in November 2001, C‐TPAT seeks to safeguard the world's vibrant trade industry from terrorists, maintaining the economic health of the U.S. and its neighbors. The partnership develops and adopts measures that add security but do not have a chilling effect on trade, a difficult balancing act.”³ Learn more.


Dangerous Goods: “are solids, liquids, or gases that can harm people, other living organisms, property, or the environment. They are often subject to chemical regulations. Dangerous goods include materials that are radioactive, flammable, explosive, corrosive, oxidizing, asphyxiating, biohazardous, toxic, pathogenic, or allergenic. Also included are physical conditions such as compressed gases and liquids or hot materials, including all goods containing such materials or chemicals, or may have other characteristics that render them hazardous in specific circumstances. (Also referred to as Hazardous Materials)”¹

Dead Heading: “Operating a motor vehicle or vessel without a load of cargo. The term most commonly applies to the trucking industry and refers to either the return trip from delivering a cargo or driving empty to a location in order to pick up cargo. Dead heading is considered a waste of resources and avoided whenever possible.”¹

Declared Value: “The value of goods declared to the carrier by the shipper for the purposes of determining charges, or of establishing the limit of the carrier’s liability for loss, damage, or delay.”¹

Delivery Appointment: An agreement between two companies whereby goods are scheduled to arrive at a specified time and location.

Demurrage: “a) The detention of a freight car or ship by the shipper beyond time permitted (grace period) for loading or unloading; b) The extra charges a shipper pays for detaining a freight car or ship beyond the time permitted for loading or unloading.”¹

Denied Parties List (DPL): “A list of individuals and entities that have been denied export privileges. Any dealings with a party on this list that would violate the terms of its denial order are prohibited.”6

[U.S.] Department of Defense (DOD): ”The Department of Defense provides the military forces needed to deter war, and to protect the security of the United States.”⁷

[U.S.] Department of Homeland Security (DHS): “Formed in 2002 from the combination of 22 departments and agencies, the Department of Homeland Security works to improve the security of the United States. The Department's work includes customs, border, and immigration enforcement; emergency response to natural and manmade disasters; antiterrorism work; and cybersecurity.”⁷

[U.S.] Department of Transportation (DOT): “The Department of Transportation is responsible for planning and coordinating federal transportation projects. It also sets safety regulations for all major modes of transportation.”⁷

Dimensional Weight (DimWt): “A term used in shipping and freight - a billing technique which takes into account the length, width, and height of a package.”1

Direct-to-Store Delivery (DSD): “Process of shipping directly from a manufacturer's facility to the customer's store, which enables the distribution center to be bypassed, hopefully reducing cost.”1

Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC): “The U.S. Government views the sale, export, and re-transfer of defense articles and defense services as an integral part of safeguarding U.S. national security and furthering U.S. foreign policy objectives. The Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC), in accordance with 22 U.S.C. 2778-2780 of the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) (22 CFR Parts 120-130), is charged with controlling the export and temporary import of defense articles and defense services covered by the United States Munitions List (USML).”11

Dispatch: “A procedure for assigning workers or vehicles to customers. With vehicle dispatching, clients are matched to vehicles according to the order in which clients called and the proximity of vehicles to each client's pick-up location. With home or commercial service dispatching, customers usually schedule services in advance and the dispatching occurs the morning of the scheduled service. Depending on the type of service, workers are dispatched individually or in teams of two or more. Dispatchers have to coordinate worker availability, skill, travel time and availability of parts. The skills required of a dispatcher are greatly enhanced with the use of computer dispatching software.”1

Distribution Center (DC): “Is a warehouse or other specialized building, often with refrigeration or air conditioning, which is stocked with products (goods) to be redistributed to retailers, to wholesalers, or directly to consumers. A distribution center is a principal part, the order processing element, of the entire order fulfillment process.”1

Distributor: “A person or company that supplies stores or businesses with goods.”1

Document Image Functionality (DIF): "related to the electronic submission of documents as part of the Single Window Initiative."4

Document Image System (DIS): "Effective no earlier than April 6, 2012, U.S. Customs and Border Protection will deliver capabilities within the Document Image System (DIS) to CBP, Participating Government Agency (PGA) and Trade users. The DIS will serve as a single automated gateway for the submission of documents and specific data by participating trade partners to CBP and PGAs."3

Drayage: “The transportation of goods over short distances, often as part of a longer overall move and is typically completed in a single work shift. Some research defines it specifically as "a truck pickup from or delivery to a seaport, border point, inland port, or intermodal terminal with both the trip origin and destination in the same urban area.”1

Drop Shipment: “A shipment of goods from a manufacturer directly to a dealer or consumer, avoiding shipment to the wholesaler (drop shipper). The wholesaler, however, is compensated for taking the order.”¹

Duty: “(Customs) Duty is a tariff or tax imposed on goods when transported across international borders. The purpose of Customs Duty is to protect each country's economy, residents, jobs, environment, etc., by controlling the flow of goods, especially restrictive and prohibited goods, into and out of the country.”3

Duty Free Zone: “Bounded and bonded area where foreign merchandise is brought in without import duties, for further processing or re-exporting. Import-duty must be paid on these goods if they are released in the local market.”1


Ecommerce: “Is a type of industry where the buying and selling of products or services is conducted over electronic systems such as the Internet and other computer networks. Electronic commerce draws on technologies such as mobile commerce, electronic funds transfer, supply chain management, Internet marketing, online transaction processing, electronic data interchange (EDI), inventory management systems, and automated data collection systems.”1

Electronic Consignment Security Declaration (eCSD): "The e-CSD allows operators to exchange and archive security information electronically to warrant that only secure cargo is shipped. This electronic document can also be audited by regulators at any point in the supply-chain and printed from electronic records."15

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI): “a) The transfer of structured data, by agreed message standards, from one computer application to another by electronic means and with a minimum of human intervention; b) The electronic exchange of documents between businesses and organizations, or between businesses and government agencies.”¹

Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, commerce, and Transport (EDIFACT): “The United Nations' EDI standard.”1

Electronic Export Information (EEI): “is the electronic export data filed in the Automated Export System (AES) or AESDirect. This is the electronic data information from an entity exporting from the United States.”3

Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT): “Is the electronic exchange, transfer of money from one account to another, either within a single financial institution or across multiple institutions, through computer-based systems.”1

Electronic Logging Device (ELD): “An electronic logging device, or ELD is technology that automatically records a driver's driving time and other aspects of the hours-of-service (HOS) records. This allows for easier, more accurate HOS recordkeeping. An ELD monitors a vehicle's engine to capture data on whether the engine is running, whether the vehicle is moving, miles driven, and duration of the engine operation (engine hours). ELD manufacturers must certify that ELDs meet technical standards in the ELD rule.”24

Electronic On-Board Recorder (EOBR): “An electronic device attached to a commercial motor vehicle, which is used to record the amount of time a vehicle is being driven. This is similar to the tachograph, and is the American equivalent of the digital tachograph used in Europe.”¹

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): “The mission of EPA is to protect human health and the environment. EPA works to ensure that: Americans have clean air, land and water; National efforts to reduce environmental risks are based on the best available scientific information; Federal laws protecting human health and the environment are administered and enforced fairly, effectively and as Congress intended; Environmental stewardship is integral to U.S. policies concerning natural resources, human health, economic growth, energy, transportation, agriculture, industry, and international trade, and these factors are similarly considered in establishing environmental policy; All parts of society--communities, individuals, businesses, and state, local and tribal governments--have access to accurate information sufficient to effectively participate in managing human health and environmental risks; Contaminated lands and toxic sites are cleaned up by potentially responsible parties and revitalized; and Chemicals in the marketplace are reviewed for safety.”27 Learn more.

European Free Trade Association (EFTA): “An intergovernmental organization set up for the promotion of free trade and economic integration to the benefit of its four Member States: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. The Association manages the EFTA Convention; EFTA’s worldwide network of free trade and partnership agreements, and the European Economic Area (EEA) Agreement.”9

European Union Sanctions (EUS): “It is the policy of the European Union to intervene when necessary to prevent conflict or respond to emerging or actual crises. In certain cases, EU intervention can take the form of restrictive measures or 'sanctions'.”22 Learn more.

Export: “A function of international trade whereby goods produced in one country are shipped to another country for future sale or trade. The sale of such goods adds to the producing nation's gross output. If used for trade, exports are exchanged for other products or services. Exports are one of the oldest forms of economic transfer, and occur on a large scale between nations that have fewer restrictions on trade, such as tariffs or subsidies.”1

Export Administration Regulations (EAR): “is an alphanumeric code assigned to articles, technology and software (collectively, "items") by the US Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security. The classification list is a slightly modified version of the list maintained by the Wassenaar Arrangement, an international regime in which member countries agree to implement export controls for "dual use" items.”1

Export Control Classification Number (ECCN): “A key in determining whether an export license is needed from the Department of Commerce is finding out if the item you intend to export has a specific Export Control Classification Number (ECCN). ECCNs are five character alpha-numeric designations used on the Commerce Control List (CCL) to identify dual-use items for export control purposes.  An ECCN categorizes items based on the nature of the product, i.e. type of commodity, software, or technology and its respective technical parameters.”6

Export Control System (ECS):

  • UK - “is the EU Export Control System for control of indirect exports, such as export consignments that are declared for export at a location in one Member State and subsequently exit the EU via another Member State.”10
  • U.S. – “The U.S. Government controls exports of sensitive equipment, software and technology as a means to promote national security interests and foreign policy objectives.”11 Learn more.

Exporter Identification Number: “An identification number given to good exporters in the United States. The identification number is required to be displayed on all shipments and is shown on the Shipper's Export Declaration.”1

eXtensible Markup Language (XML): “A flexible markup language for structured electronic documents. XML is based on SGML (standard generalized markup language), an international standard for electronic documents. XML is commonly used by data-exchange services (like blog feeds) to send information between otherwise incompatible systems.”¹


Facilities Information and Resources Management System (FIRMS): “The Facilities Information and Resources Management System (FIRMS) Code represents the location of certain goods. The FIRMS location must be bonded and on file in Automated Manifest System (AMS). The FIRMS Code is assigned to a location when the bond for that location has been filed with Customs and Border Protection (CBP). CBP does provide a list of FIRMS Codes. This information is required on all entries. If you are unable to locate your code, please contact the facility where your goods will be located pending Customs clearance to get that facility's FIRMS Code before you file your entry.”3 Learn more.

Fast and Secure Trade (FAST): “U.S. Customs program that allows importers on the U.S./Canada border to obtain expedited release for qualifying commercial shipments.”1

FDA Establishment Identifier (FEI): "a unique identifier issued by FDA to track inspections of the regulated establishment or facility. FEI numbers are also used to track GDUFA facility fee payments."30

Federal Aviation Administration: “Is the national aviation authority of the United States. An agency of the United States Department of Transportation, it has authority to regulate and oversee all aspects of American civil aviation. The Federal Aviation Act of 1958 created the organization under the name Federal Aviation Agency. The agency adopted its current name in 1966 when it became a part of the U.S. Department of Transportation.”¹Flatbed: “Is a type of trailer on a truck that consists of a floor and no sides or roof.”1Flatcar: “Is a piece of railroad (US) or railway (non-US) rolling stock that consists of an open, flat deck on four or six wheels or a pair of trucks. Flatcars are used for loads that are too large or cumbersome to load in enclosed cars such as boxcars. They are also often used to transport intermodal containers (shipping containers) or trailers as part of intermodal freight transport shipping.”1Federal Maritime Commission (FMC): “The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) is the independent federal agency responsible for regulating the U.S. international ocean transportation system for the benefit of U.S. exporters, importers, and the U.S. consumer. The FMC ensures competitive and efficient ocean transportation services for the shipping public. The FMC protects the public from financial harm, and contributes to the integrity and security of the U.S. supply chain and transportation system.”12

Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS): “The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service.”7 Learn more.

Food and Drug Administration Warning Letter (FDAWL): “When it is consistent with the public protection responsibilities of the agency and depending on the nature of the violation, it is the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA's) practice to give individuals and firms an opportunity to take voluntary and prompt corrective action before it initiates an enforcement action. Warning Letters are issued to achieve voluntary compliance and to establish prior notice. (Prior notice is discussed in Chapter 10.) The use of Warning Letters and the prior notice policy are based on the expectation that most individuals and firms will voluntarily comply with the law.”30 Learn more.

Food Safety & Inspection Service (FSIS): “USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is responsible for ensuring the safety, wholesomeness, and accurate labeling of meat, poultry, and processed egg products. FSIS enforces the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA), the Poultry Products Inspection Act, and the Egg Products Inspection Act, which require Federal inspection and regulation of meat, poultry, and processed egg products prepared for distribution in commerce for use as human food.”25 Learn more.

Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA): “The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977, as amended, 15 U.S.C. §§ 78dd-1, et seq. ("FCPA"), was enacted for the purpose of making it unlawful for certain classes of persons and entities to make payments to foreign government officials to assist in obtaining or retaining business. Specifically, the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA prohibit the willful use of the mails or any means of instrumentality of interstate commerce corruptly in furtherance of any offer, payment, promise to pay, or authorization of the payment of money or anything of value to any person, while knowing that all or a portion of such money or thing of value will be offered, given or promised, directly or indirectly, to a foreign official to influence the foreign official in his or her official capacity, induce the foreign official to do or omit to do an act in violation of his or her lawful duty, or to secure any improper advantage in order to assist in obtaining or retaining business for or with, or directing business to, any person.”32 Learn more.

Foreign Supplier Verification Programs (FSVP): “On November 27, 2015 FDA published the Final Rule on FSVP, a significant provision of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) signed by President Obama in 2011. FSVP shifts the burden of ensuring the safety of imported food from FDA to the Importers themselves. A FSVP is a program that importers (or their Agents) must have in place to ensure that foreign food suppliers are meeting the food safety standards FDA requires of domestic food manufacturers.”25 Learn more.

Federal Trade Commission (FTC): “To prevent business practices that are anti-competitive or deceptive or unfair to consumers; to enhance informed consumer choice and public understanding of the competitive process; and to accomplish this without unduly burdening legitimate business activity.”¹³

Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS): “is the public health agency in the U.S. Department of Agriculture responsible for ensuring that the nation's commercial supply of meat, poultry, and egg products is safe, wholesome, and correctly labeled and packaged.”25

Foreign Trade Zone: “Foreign-Trade Zones (FTZ) are secure areas under U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) supervision that are generally considered outside CBP territory upon activation. Located in or near CBP ports of entry, they are the United States’ version of what are known internationally as free-trade zones.”3

For-Hire Carrier: “A company that provides truck transportation of cargo belonging to others and is paid for doing so. To operate as an interstate for-hire carrier, a company must also register with FMCSA by filing a Form OP-1. There are two types of for-hire carriers, common carriers and contract carriers. A for-hire carrier may be both a common and a contract carrier, but must file separate registrations to obtain both licenses.”8

Free on Board (FOB): “Meaning that the buyer pays for transportation of the goods. Specific terms of the agreement can vary widely, in particular which party (buyer or seller) pays for which shipment and loading costs, and/or where responsibility for the goods is transferred. The last distinction is important for determining liability or risk of loss for goods lost or damaged in transit from the seller to the buyer. International shipments typically use "FOB" as defined by the Incoterm standards, where it always stands for ‘Free On Board’.”¹

Free Trade Agreement (FTA):  “Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) have proved to be one of the best ways to open up foreign markets to U.S. exporters. Trade Agreements reduce barriers to U.S. exports, and protect U.S. interests and enhance the rule of law in the FTA partner country. The reduction of trade barriers and the creation of a more stable and transparent trading and investment environment make it easier and cheaper for U.S. companies to export their products and services to trading partner markets. In 2015, 47 percent of U.S. goods exports went to FTA partner countries. U.S. merchandise exports to the 20 FTA partners with agreements in force totaled $710 billion. The United States also enjoyed a trade surplus in manufactured goods with our FTA partners totaling $12 billion in 2015.”6 Learn more.

Free Trade Zone (FTZ): “A free trade zone (FTZ) or export processing zone (EPZ), also called foreign-trade zone, formerly free port, is an area within which goods may be landed, handled, manufactured or reconfigured, and re-exported without the intervention of the customs authorities. Only when the goods are moved to consumers within the country in which the zone is located do they become subject to the prevailing customs duties. Free-trade zones are organized around major seaports, international airports, and national frontiers—areas with many geographic advantages for trade.”¹

Freight Collect: “A term used in the freight moving business that means that the freight will be paid by the person receiving the freight. If you tell the shipper that you will pay the cost when it arrives, then they will ship it ‘freight collect’, meaning the trucking company will need a check payable to them when they deliver your item. If you have an account with a certain trucking company, then you can request that the shipper use that company so that you may be billed. It will still be ‘Freight Collect’, but will be automatically billed to you by the company that you use.”1

Freight Forwarder (FF): “A freight forwarder, forwarder, or forwarding agent, is a person or company that organizes shipments for individuals or corporations to get goods from the manufacturer or producer to a market, customer or final point of distribution. Forwarders contract with a carrier to move the goods. A forwarder does not move the goods but acts as an expert in supply chain management. A forwarder contracts with carriers to move cargo ranging from raw agricultural products to manufactured goods. Freight can be booked on a variety of shipping providers, including ships, airplanes, trucks, and railroads. It is not unusual for a single shipment to move on multiple carrier types. International freight forwarders have additional expertise in preparing and processing customs and other documentation and performing activities pertaining to international shipments.”¹Freight Forwarder Bill of Lading (FBL): "A receipt for the goods shipped with other cargo as one consignment, typically a full container. Consolidation is done to take advantage of better freight rates. Freight forwarder or consolidator issues it to the shipper. The forwarder is the consignor, forwarder's agent at the destination is the consignee. This receipt can be used or negotiated for acceptance by the importer's bank to stand as the basis of payment under a letter of credit, If not specifically prohibited."1

Fulfillment: “It is the term used to describe the complete process used by a company from the point of sale onward to the delivery of a product to a customer.”1

Fulfillment House: “A company that specializes in product fulfillment services, on behalf of the product owner.”1

Full Container Load (FCL): “A shipment of cargo that fills a given container either by bulk or maximum weight.”1


Gateway: “Point at which freight moving from one territory to another is interchanged between transportation lines.”1

General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT): “Was a multilateral agreement regulating international trade. According to its preamble, its purpose was the "substantial reduction of tariffs and other trade barriers and the elimination of preferences, on a reciprocal and mutually advantageous basis." It was negotiated during the United Nations Conference on Trade and Employment and was the outcome of the failure of negotiating governments to create the International Trade Organization (ITO). GATT was signed in 1947 and lasted until 1994, when it was replaced by the World Trade Organization in 1995.”1

General Rules for the Interpretation (GRI): “The General Rules for the Interpretation of the Harmonized System are the rules that govern the classification of goods under the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS). There are 6 General Rules in all, which must be applied in consecutive order. GRI 1 prescribes how to classify products at the 4-digit Heading level, based on the wording of the headings and the relative HS Section and Chapter Notes; GRI 2 prescribes how to classify both incomplete and unassembled goods, and mixtures and combinations of goods; GRI 3 prescribes how to classify products that are, prima facie, classifiable under two different HS headings; GRI 4 prescribes how to classify products that cannot be classified according to GRI’s 1, 2, and 3; GRI 5 prescribes how to classify packaging; and GRI 6 prescribes how to classify products at the 6-digit subheading level, based on the wording of the subheadings and the relative HS Section and Chapter Notes”1 Learn more.

Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP): “The common set of accounting principles, standards and procedures that companies use to compile their financial statements. GAAP are a combination of authoritative standards (set by policy boards) and simply the commonly accepted ways of recording and reporting accounting information.”¹

Geographic Information System (GIS): “A geographic information system (GIS) is a system designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage, and present all types of geographical data. The acronym GIS is sometimes used for geographical information science or geospatial information studies to refer to the academic discipline or career of working with geographic information systems and is a large domain within the broader academic discipline of Geoinformatics. In the simplest terms, GIS is the merging of cartography, statistical analysis, and computer science technology.”¹

Global Positioning System (GPS): “The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a space-based satellite navigation system that provides location and time information in all weather conditions, anywhere on or near the Earth where there is an unobstructed line of sight to four or more GPS satellites. The system provides critical capabilities to military, civil and commercial users around the world. It is maintained by the United States government and is freely accessible to anyone with a GPS receiver.”¹

Global Trade Management: “The total optimization of the end-to-end international Supply-Chain, from product conception to final delivery — with focus on the integration of key cross-border regulatory, strategic and system components — to ensure a seamless, secure, and cost-effective flow of goods, data and payments, across international borders.”1

Goods and Service Tax (GST): [Canada] “A value-added tax levied on most goods and services sold for domestic consumption. The tax is levied in order to provide revenue for the federal government. The Goods and Services Tax is paid by consumers, but it is levied and remitted to the government by businesses.”¹

Green Supply Chain Management: “The evaluation and modification of an organization’s entire supply chain – from design, planning, purchasing, sourcing, and managing the use of materials to shipping and distributing final products – with an emphasis on reducing its environmental impact and creating a cost savings.”¹

GS1: “GS1 is an international not-for-profit association with Member Organizations in over 100 countries. GS1 is dedicated to the design and implementation of global standards and solutions to improve the efficiency and visibility of supply and demand chains globally and across sectors. The GS1 system of standards is the most widely used supply chain standards system in the world.”20


Handling Costs: “Costs related to moving, transferring, or preparing inventory for shipment, but not the shipping charges themselves.”¹

Harmonized Sales Tax (HST): [Canada] “is a consumption tax in Canada. It is used in provinces where both the federal Goods and Services Tax (GST) and the regional Provincial Sales Tax (PST) have been combined into a single value added sales tax. The HST is in effect in five of the ten Canadian provinces: Ontario, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. On April 1, 2013, British Columbia abandoned the HST and reverted to the GST/PST system and Prince Edward Island adopted the HST.”¹

Harmonized System/Harmonized Schedule (HS): “is an internationally standardized system of names and numbers for classifying traded products developed and maintained by the World Customs Organization (WCO) (formerly the Customs Co-operation Council), an independent intergovernmental organization with over 170 member countries based in Brussels, Belgium.”¹

Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS): “The Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) is the primary resource for determining tariff classifications for goods imported into the United States. It can also be used in place of Schedule B for classifying goods exported from the United States to foreign countries. The U.S. International Trade Commission is responsible for periodically updating it and makes it available in a variety of electronic formats. The U.S. Harmonized Tariff Schedule classifies a good based on its name, use, and/or the material used in its construction and assigns it a ten-digit number. There are over 17,000 unique ten-digit HTS classification code numbers. The Harmonized Tariff Schedule is based on the international Harmonized Commodity Coding and Classification System established by the World Customs Organization (WCO). Virtually all countries base their tariff schedules on the WCO's Harmonized System.”¹

Hazardous Materials: “are solids, liquids, or gases that can harm people, other living organisms, property, or the environment. They are often subject to chemical regulations. Hazardous Materials include materials that are radioactive, flammable, explosive, corrosive, oxidizing, asphyxiating, biohazardous, toxic, pathogenic, or allergenic. Also included are physical conditions such as compressed gases and liquids or hot materials, including all goods containing such materials or chemicals, or may have other characteristics that render them hazardous in specific circumstances. (Also referred to as Dangerous Goods)”¹

Hours of Service (HOS): “The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA’s) new hours-of-service final rule:

  1. Limits the maximum average work week for truck drivers to 70 hours, a decrease from the current maximum of 82 hours;
  2. Allows truck drivers who reach the maximum 70 hours of driving within a week to resume if they rest for 34 consecutive hours, including at least two nights when their body clock demands sleep the most - from 1-5 a.m., and;
  3. Requires truck drivers to take a 30-minute break during the first eight hours of a shift.
  4. The final rule retains the current 11-hour daily driving limit and 14-hour work day.

Companies and drivers that commit egregious violations of the rule could face the maximum penalties for each offense. Trucking companies and passenger carriers that allow drivers to exceed driving limits by more than three hours could be fined $11,000 per offense, and the drivers themselves could face civil penalties of up to $2,750 for each offense.”⁸ Learn more.

House Air Waybill (HAWB): “A bill of lading issued by a freight forwarder for consolidated air freight shipments. In documentary letter of credit transactions HAWBs are treated exactly the same as conventional air waybills, provided they indicate that the issuer itself assumes the liability as carrier or is acting as the agent of a named carrier, or if the credit expressly permits the acceptance of a HAWB.”¹

Hundredweight (CWT): “A unit of measurement for weight used in certain commodities trading contracts. In North America, a hundredweight is equal to 100 pounds and is also known as a short hundredweight. In Britain, a hundredweight is 112 pounds and is also known as a long hundredweight.”1


Igloo: “Pallet or container used in air transportation; the igloo shape fits the internal wall contours of a cargo airplane.”1

Import: “A good brought into a jurisdiction, especially across a national border, from an external source. The purchaser of the exotic good is called an importer. An import in the receiving country is an export from the sending country. Importation and exportation are the defining financial transactions of international trade. In international trade, the importation and exportation of goods are limited by import quotas and mandates from the customs authority. The importing and exporting jurisdictions may impose a tariff (tax) on the goods. In addition, the importation and exportation of goods are subject to trade agreements between the importing and exporting jurisdictions.”1

Import Control System (ICS): “The ICS is systems architecture developed by the Community for the lodging and processing of Entry Summary Declaration (ENS), and for the exchange of messages between national customs administrations and between them and economic operators and with the European Commission. In certain circumstances in accordance with Article 183a Consolidated Implementing provisions (CCIP) the New Computerized Transit System (NCTS) can be used instead for lodging the ENS.

ICS is made up of three “domains”:

  1. The “common domain” for exchanges between the European Union (EU) Member States and the European Commission;
  2. The “national domain” made up of the national customs computer systems and the associated risk management processes; and
  3. The “external domain” being the interface between economic operators and the national customs administrations for the lodging of ENS, issuance of Movement Reference Numbers (MRNs) as receipt for the ENS filing, any Do Not Load (DNL) messages etc.

It is through this latter “domain” that the ENS must be filed according to nationally determined technical specifications, message formats and structures etc.”²²

Import Duty: “A tax collected on imports and some exports by the customs authorities of a country. This tax is used to raise state revenue. It is based on the value of goods called ad valorem duty or the weight, dimensions, or other criteria of the item such as its size. Also referred to as customs duty, tariff, import tax and import tariff.”1

Importer Security Filing (ISF): “Under the new rule, before merchandise arriving by vessel can be imported into the United States, the 'Importer Security Filing (ISF) Importer,' or their agent (e.g., licensed customs broker), must electronically submit certain advance cargo information to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in the form of an Importer Security Filing. This requirement only applies to cargo arriving in the United States by ocean vessel; it does not apply to cargo arriving by other modes of transportation.”³

In Bond: [U.S.] “A procedure under which goods are transported or warehoused under customs supervision until they are either formally entered into the customs territory of the United States and duties paid, or until they are exported from the United States.”¹

Inbound Logistics: “The entire process of planning, acquiring and controlling the flow of raw materials, components, parts, sub-assemblies and components from outside sources (vendors, suppliers, and subsidiaries) into a production process. Inbound logistics can occur directly from the outside supplier to the production floor or indirectly through intermediate storage facilities.”¹

Inland Carrier: “In transportation, company in the business of meeting goods at a port of entry and shipping them to a point inside the continent.”1

Integrated Import Declaration (IID): "reporting tool for electronic reporting of regulated commercial imports between participating government departments and the industry."4

Interactive Voice Response (IVR): “is a technology that allows a computer to interact with humans through the use of voice and DTMF tones input via keypad. IVR allows customers to interact with a company’s host system via a telephone keypad or by speech recognition, after which they can service their own inquiries by following the IVR dialogue. IVR systems can respond with prerecorded or dynamically generated audio to further direct users on how to proceed. IVR applications can be used to control almost any function where the interface can be broken down into a series of simple interactions. IVR systems deployed in the network are sized to handle large call volumes.”¹

Intermodal Transport: “The coordinated transport of freight, especially in connection with relatively long-haul movements using any combination of freight forwarders, piggyback, containerization, air freight, ocean freight, assemblers, or motor carriers.”¹

Internal Transaction Number (ITN): “is the Automated Export System (AES) generated number assigned to a shipment confirming that the Electronic Export Information (EEI) was accepted and is on file in the AES.”3

International Air Transport Association (IATA): “is the trade association for the world’s airlines, representing some 240 airlines or 84% of total air traffic. They support many areas of aviation activity and help formulate industry policy on critical aviation issues.”¹⁵

International Commercial Terms (Incoterms): “The Incoterms® rules are an internationally recognized standard and are used worldwide in international and domestic contracts for the sale of goods. First published in 1936, Incoterms® rules provide internationally accepted definitions and rules of interpretation for most common commercial terms. The rules have been developed and maintained by experts and practitioners brought together by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and have become the standard in international business rules setting.”¹⁴

International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA): "FIATA, in French "Fédération Internationale des Associations de Transitaires et Assimilés", in English "International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations", in German "Internationale Föderation der Spediteurorganisationen", was founded in Vienna/Austria on May 31, 1926. FIATA, a non-governmental organisation, represents today an industry covering approximately 40,000 forwarding and logistics firms, also known as the "Architects of Transport", employing around 8 - 10 million people in 150 countries. FIATA has consultative status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations (inter alia ECE, ESCAP, ESCWA), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and the UN Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL)."31

International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG Code): “Is an international guideline to the safe transportation or shipment of dangerous goods or hazardous materials by water on vessel. IMDG Code is intended to protect crew members and to prevent marine pollution in the safe transportation of hazardous materials by vessel. It is recommended to governments for adoption or for use as the basis for national regulations.”1

International Maritime Organization (IMO): “is the United Nations specialized agency with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships.”16

Interstate Commerce: “Interstate commerce refers to the purchase, sale or exchange of commodities, transportation of people, money or goods, and navigation of waters between different states. Interstate commerce is regulated by the federal government as authorized under Article I of the U.S. Constitution. The federal government can also regulate commerce within a state when it may impact interstate movement of goods and services and may strike down state actions which are barriers to such movement.”1

Interstate Commerce Commission: “Was a regulatory agency in the United States created by the Interstate Commerce Act of 1887. The agency's original purpose was to regulate railroads (and later trucking) to ensure fair rates, to eliminate rate discrimination, and to regulate other aspects of common carriers, including interstate bus lines and telephone companies. Congress expanded ICC authority to regulate other modes of commerce beginning in 1906. The agency was abolished in 1995, and its remaining functions were transferred to the Surface Transportation Board.”1

Intrastate Commerce: “The buying and selling of products and services within a single state.”1

In-transit: “Of or relating to something in transit – on the way.”1

Invoice: “Is a commercial document issued by a seller to a buyer, relating to a sale transaction and indicating the products, quantities, and agreed prices for products or services the seller has provided the buyer. Payment terms are usually stated on the invoice. These may specify that the buyer has a maximum number of days in which to pay, and is sometimes offered a discount if paid before the due date. The buyer could have already paid for the products or services listed on the invoice.”1


Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA): “On July 14, 2015, the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States), the European Union (EU), and Iran reached a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to ensure that Iran’s nuclear program will be exclusively peaceful. October 18, 2015 marked Adoption Day of the JCPOA, the date on which the JCPOA came into effect and participants began taking steps necessary to implement their JCPOA commitments. January 16, 2016, marks Implementation Day of the JCPOA. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has verified that Iran has implemented its key nuclear-related measures described in the JCPOA, and the Secretary State has confirmed the IAEA’s verification. As a result of Iran verifiably meeting its nuclear commitments, the United States and the EU have lifted nuclear-related sanctions on Iran, as described in the JCPOA.”11 Learn more.

Journal of Commerce (JOC): “Since 1827, The JOC has been the leading information and marketing services provider for the domestic and international containerized cargo community. The JOC delivers high-quality intelligence and expertise to help customers make better business decisions - in print, online and face-to-face at leading industry events. In addition, the JOC provides best in breed marketing channels to help companies reach their target audience. The Journal of Commerce is a bi-weekly magazine and provides authoritative editorial content for international logistics executives to help them plan their global supply chain and better manage their day-to-day international logistics and shipping needs. This information is delivered through news, analysis, case studies, and perspective pieces.”¹⁷

Just in Time (JIT): “An inventory strategy companies employ to increase efficiency and decrease waste by receiving goods only as they are needed in the production process, thereby reducing inventory costs. This method requires that producers are able to accurately forecast demand.”¹


Key Performance Indicators (KPI): “is a type of performance measurement. An organization may use KPIs to evaluate its success, or to evaluate the success of a particular activity in which it is engaged. Sometimes success is defined in terms of making progress toward strategic goals, but often success is simply the repeated, periodic achievement of some level of operational goal (e.g. zero defects, 10/10 customer satisfaction, etc.).”¹

Kitting: “The assembly or packaging of components, parts or finished products into a new single item. This light assembly operation is sometimes performed in foreign trade zones or special economic zones. The term refers to the making of a kit (collection of items). For example, five different types and sizes of screwdrivers might be kitted into a single set of screwdrivers for sale to consumers.”¹

Known Loss: “Losses discovered at the time of a shipment's delivery.”1


Landed Cost: “The total cost of a landed shipment including purchase price, freight, insurance, and other costs up to the port of destination. In some instances, it may also include the customs duties and other taxes levied on the shipment.”1

Last Mile: “It was originally used in the telecommunications field but has since been applied to supply chain management. Transporting goods via freight rail networks and container ships is often the most efficient and cost-effective manner of shipping. However, when goods arrive at a high-capacity freight station or port, they must then be transported to their final destination. This last leg of the supply chain is often less efficient, comprising up to 28% of the total cost to move goods. This has become known as the last-mile problem. The last-mile problem can also include the challenge of making deliveries in urban areas where retail stores, restaurants, and other merchants in a central business district often contribute to congestion and safety problems.”1

Leg: “The part of a transportation route that is between two successive stops, positions, or changes in direction or carriers.”1

Less-than-Container Load (LCL): “is a shipment that is not large enough to fill a standard cargo container.”¹

Less-than Truckload (LTL): “is the transportation of relatively small freight. The alternatives to LTL carriers are parcel carriers or full truckload carriers.”¹

Letter of Credit (LOC): “A letter from a bank guaranteeing that a buyer's payment to a seller will be received on time and for the correct amount. In the event that the buyer is unable to make payment on the purchase, the bank will be required to cover the full or remaining amount of the purchase.”¹

Licensing Agreement: “This term refers to a written agreement entered into by the contractual owner of a property or activity giving permission to another to use that property or engage in an activity in relation to that property. The property involved in a licensing agreement can be real, personal or intellectual. Almost always, there will be some consideration exchanged between the licensor and the licensee.”¹

Line Haul: “The direct movement of freight between two major ports by a single ship.”¹

Load Tender: “A pick-up request by a shipper.”1

Load Tendering: “The practice of providing a carrier with detailed information and negotiated pricing (the tender) prior to scheduling pickup. This practice can help assure contract compliance and facilitate automated payments (self billing).”1

Log book: “Every driver of a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) is required to keep track of his/her time with a log book or an EOBR.[18] A log book is simply a notebook with a grid pattern on every page, dividing the 24-hour day into 15-minute (1/4-hour) segments. Drivers are required to make carbon copies of each page, so one page may be kept with the driver (to be produced upon inspection by DOT officers), and so the other copy may be sent to the driver's employer. An electronic on-board recorder can be thought of as an automated electronic log book. An EOBR records the same information as a manual paper log book, and requires less input from the driver. FMCSA rules require that a log book (or EOBR) must record for each change of duty status (e.g., the place of reporting for work, or starting to drive), the name of the city, town or village, with state abbreviation. If a change of duty status occurs at a location other than a city, the highway number and nearest milepost or the nearest two intersecting roadways followed by the name of the nearest city must be recorded. In addition to the time grid, a log book must record the date, total miles driven for the day, truck and trailer number, name of carrier, bill of lading number, and the driver's signature. The driver is required to retain a copy of each log page for the previous seven consecutive days which must be in his/her possession and available for inspection while on-duty.”1

Logistics: “The process of planning, implementing and controlling the flow of raw materials, work in progress or finished products from the point of origin to the point of destination (either to a factory for further processing, to a warehouse for storage or to the marketplace for sale) at the required time and in the desired condition.”¹

Logistics Service Provider (LSP): “A company that provides management over the flow of goods and materials between points of origin to end-use destination. The provider will often handle shipping, inventory, warehousing, packaging, and security functions for shipments.”¹

Low-value Shipment (LVS) Program: [Canada] “The Courier Low Value Shipment (LVS) Program streamlines processing of low-value shipments through customs while providing the courier industry with expedited release. Many international couriers who transport large volumes of low- value goods participate in the Courier LVS Program. The Courier LVS Program provides:

  1. A single combined cargo report and release document called the "cargo/release list" for goods valued under $1,600 CAN
  2. Expedited release of qualifying shipments based on the information contained on the cargo/release list
  3. Accounting for duties and taxes on these shipments on a consolidated monthly entry or Customs Automated Data Exchange (CADEX) transmission on an "F" type entry
  4. Compliance verification of courier and importer records by the CBSA to validate proper and complete accounting”⁴


Manifest: “A document giving the description of a ship’s cargo or the contents of a car or truck.”¹

Manufacturer Identification Code (MID): “A unique identifying reference number allocated to each manufacturer that imports goods into the United States. Unlike other numbering systems for manufacturers which may be more widely used, this system is employed by U.S. Customs in its electronic data processing.”1 Learn more.

Master Air Waybill (MAWB): “An air waybill of lading that covers a consolidated shipment of goods and lists the consolidator as the shipper.”¹

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU): “is a document describing a bilateral or multilateral agreement between two or more parties. It expresses a convergence of will between the parties, indicating an intended common line of action. It is often used in cases where parties either do not imply a legal commitment or in situations where the parties cannot create a legally enforceable agreement.”¹

Merchandise Processing Fee (MPF): “The Merchandise Processing Fee (MPF) for formal entries is an ad valorem fee of 0.3464 percent. The fee is based on the value of the merchandise being imported, not including duty, freight, and insurance charges. The maximum amount of the fee shall not exceed $485 and shall not be less than $25. For example, if .3464 percent of the amount of your merchandise is greater than the maximum amount of $485, the importer is only required to pay the maximum amount of $485.00. MPF for informal entries is assessed on goods that are transported to the U.S. via air, ship and international mail.”3 Learn more.

Modes of Transportation (MOT): "is a term used to distinguish substantially different ways to perform. The most dominant modes of transport are air, water, and land transport, which includes rail, road and off-road transport. Other modes also exist, including pipelines, cable transport, and space transport. Human-powered transport and animal-powered transport are sometimes regarded as their own mode, but these normally also fall into the other categories. In general, transportation is used for the movement of people, animals, and other things. Each mode of transport has a fundamentally different technological solution, and some require a separate environment. Each mode has its own infrastructure, vehicles, and operations, and often has unique regulations. Each mode also has separate subsystems."1

Movement Reference Number (MRN): [EU] “The MRN is a unique number that is automatically allocated by the customs office that accepts the declaration. It contains 18 digits and is composed of the following elements:

  1. Last two digits of the year of formal acceptance of export movement (YY)
  2. Identifier of the EU Member States from which the movement originates.
  3. Unique identifier for the export movement per year and country”²²

Multi-Annual Strategic Plan (MASP): “is a management and planning tool drawn up by the European Commission in partnership with Member States in accordance with Article 8(2) of the e-Customs decision. The MASP ensures effective and coherent management of IT projects by setting down both a strategic framework and milestones.”22

Multimodal: “is the transportation of goods under a single contract, but performed with at least two different means of transport; the carrier is liable (in a legal sense) for the entire carriage, even though it is performed by several different modes of transport (i.e. air, rail, sea, or road/land).”¹


Narcotics Rewards Program (NRP): “The Narcotics Rewards Program was established by Congress in 1986 as a tool to assist the U.S. Government identify and bring to justice the major violators of U.S. narcotics laws responsible for bringing hundreds of tons of illicit drugs into the United States each year. The program gives the Secretary of State statutory authority to offer rewards of up to $25 million for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of major narcotics traffickers who operate outside of the United States to send drugs into the U.S.”11 Learn more.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA): “The NHTSA was established by the Highway Safety Act of 1970 and is dedicated to achieving the highest standards of excellence in motor vehicle and highway safety. It works daily to help prevent crashes and their attendant costs, both human and financial.”26

National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS): “National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries Services - NOAA Fisheries is responsible for the stewardship of the nation's ocean resources and their habitat. We provide vital services for the nation: productive and sustainable fisheries, safe sources of seafood, the recovery and conservation of protected resources, and healthy ecosystems—all backed by sound science and an ecosystem-based approach to management.”35 Learn more.

National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC): “is a standard that provides a comparison of commodities moving in interstate, intrastate and foreign commerce. It is similar in concept to the groupings or grading systems that serve many other industries. Commodities are grouped into one of 18 classes—from a low of class 50 to a high of class 500—based on an evaluation of four transportation characteristics: density, stowability, handling and liability. Together, these characteristics establish a commodity’s ‘transportability’.”¹⁸

Natural Resources Canada (NRCAN): "seeks to enhance the responsible development and use of Canada's natural resources and the competitiveness of Canada's natural resources products. We are an established leader in science and technology in the fields of energy, forests, and minerals and metals and use our expertise in earth sciences to build and maintain an up-to-date knowledge base of our landmass. NRCan develops policies and programs that enhance the contribution of the natural resources sector to the economy and improve the quality of life for all Canadians."29

Negotiated Rate Agreement (NRA): “NRAs are written and binding arrangements between a shipper and a licensed non-vessel operating common carrier (NVOCC) to provide specific transportation service for a stated cargo quantity, from origin to destination, on and after a stated date or within a defined time frame. If an NVOCC uses NRAs and meets the conditions below, it does not have to publish its rate in the tariff it makes available to the public.”¹²

New Computerized Transit System (NCTS): [EU] “Electronic data interchange system which was introduced as the transit declaration and is due to replace the traditional paper procedure in the Community as well as in the EFTA countries (Iceland, Norway, Switzerland).”²²

Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier (NVOCC): “A carrier issuing bills of lading for carriage of goods on vessels which it neither operates nor owns. NVOCCs purchase large blocks of space at discounted rates from shipping lines and resell them in smaller blocks to other shippers at a profit.”¹

North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA): “A free trade agreement that comprises Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. The objectives of the Agreement are to eliminate barriers to trade, promote conditions of fair competition, increase investment opportunities, provide protection for intellectual property rights and establish procedures for the resolution of disputes.”¹

North American Industry Classification System (NAICS): “The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) is the standard used by Federal statistical agencies in classifying business establishments for the purpose of collecting, analyzing, and publishing statistical data related to the U.S. business economy.”6

NVOCC Service Agreements (NSA): “An exemption recently issued by the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC), allows non-vessel-operating common carriers (NVOCCs) to now enter into service arrangements with their shipper/customers called NSAs (non-vessel-operating common carrier service arrangements). 46 CFR Part 531. Under the Commission's rules, an NSA means a written contract, other than a bill of lading or receipt, between one or more NSA shippers and an individual NVOCC or two or more affiliated NVOCCs, in which the NSA shipper makes a commitment to provide a certain minimum quantity or portion of its cargo or freight revenue over a fixed time period, and the NVOCC commits to a certain rate or rate schedule and a defined service level.”¹²


Ocean Bill of Lading (OBL): “A document required for the transportation of goods overseas. An ocean bill of lading serves as both the carrier's receipt to the shipper and as a collection document. The document specifies the details of the goods being transported, such as quantity, type and destination.”¹

Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC): “administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions based on US foreign policy and national security goals against targeted foreign countries and regimes, terrorists, international narcotics traffickers, those engaged in activities related to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and other threats to the national security, foreign policy or economy of the United States.”28 

Office of Marine Conservation (OMC): “The Office of Marine Conservation (OMC) is a part of the State Department's Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES) and is responsible for formulating and implementing U.S. policy on a broad range of international issues concerning the conservation and management of living marine resources. OES/OMC negotiates bilateral and multilateral fisheries agreements, participates in international fisheries conservation and management organizations and arrangements at the regional and global levels, and represents the U.S. in a variety of other international fora associated with the conservation and management of living marine resources.”11 Learn more.

Optical Character Recognition (OCR): “is the mechanical or electronic conversion of scanned images of handwritten, typewritten or printed text into machine-encoded text. It is widely used as a form of data entry from some sort of original paper data source, whether documents, sales receipts, mail, or any number of printed records. It is a common method of digitizing printed texts so that they can be electronically searched, stored more compactly, displayed on-line, and used in machine processes such as machine translation, text-to-speech and text mining.”¹

Order Management System (OMS): “is a computer software system used in a number of industries for order entry and processing.”¹

Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM): “(a) The original definition: a company whose products are used as components in another company's product. The OEM will generally work closely with the company that sells the finished product (often called a "value-added reseller" or VAR) and customize the designs based on the VAR's needs. (b) The more recent definition: a company that buys a product and incorporates or re-brands it into a new product under its own name.”¹

Outbound Logistics: “The entire process of planning and controlling the flow of products form the end of a production line to the end user. This includes both transportation and intermediate storage.”¹

Over, Short and Damaged (OS&D): “A report that details discrepancies between a bill of lading and a shipment at hand. Extra goods are ‘overs’, missing goods are ‘short’, and damaged goods are listed as ‘damaged’.”¹


Packing List: “Is a shipping document that accompanies delivery packages, usually inside an attached shipping pouch, or inside the package itself. It commonly includes an itemized detail of the package contents and does not include customer pricing. It serves to inform all parties, including transport agencies, government authorities, and customers, about the contents of the package.”1

Pallet: “Is a flat transport structure that supports goods in a stable fashion while being lifted by a forklift, pallet jack, front loader, work saver or other jacking device. A pallet is the structural foundation of a unit load, which allows handling and storage efficiencies. Goods or shipping containers are often placed on a pallet secured with strapping, stretch wrap or shrink wrap and shipped.”1

Piggyback: “Is transportation of goods where one transportation unit is carried on the back of something else. In rail transport, it is the practice of carrying trailers or semi-trailers on a train atop a flatcar.”1

Politically Exposed Persons (PEP): “In financial regulation, "politically exposed person" (PEP) is a term describing someone who has been entrusted with a prominent public function. A PEP generally presents a higher risk for potential involvement in bribery and corruption by virtue of their position and the influence that they may hold. The terms politically exposed person and senior foreign political figure are often used interchangeably, particularly in international forums. Foreign official is a term for individuals deemed as government persons under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act or FCPA, and although definitions are similar to PEP, there are quite a few differences and should not be used interchangeably. The term PEP is typically used referring to customers in the financial services industry, while 'foreign official' refers to the risks of third party relationships in all industries.”1 Learn more.

Preloading Advance Cargo Information (PLACI): “IATA is working with the United States (Air Cargo Advance Screening, ACAS) and European Commission (Pre-Loading Consignment Information for Secure Entry, PRECISE) and Canada (PreLoad Air Cargo Targeting, PACT) to develop electronic targeting systems to identify high risk cargo prior to loading for additional scrutiny in order to mitigate security risks.” 15

Point of Purchase (POP): “A place where sales are made. On a macro-level, a point of purchase may be a mall, market or city. On a micro-level, retailers consider a point of purchase to be the area surrounding the counter where customers pay.”1

Point of Sale (POS): “Is the place where a retail transaction is completed. It is the point at which a customer makes a payment to the merchant in exchange for goods or services. At the point of sale the retailer would calculate the amount owed by the customer and provide options for the customer to make payment. The merchant will also normally issue a receipt for the transaction.”1

Pooling: “[Shipping] A term used to describe the practice of combining shipments from multiple shippers into a truckload in order to reduce shipping charges. [Logistics] An agreement among a group of carriers to share freight, customers, revenues and/or profits.”1

Port Community Systems (PCS): [EU] “(a) is a neutral and open electronic platform enabling intelligent and secure exchange of information between public and private stakeholders in order to improve the competitive position of the sea and air ports’ communities; (b) optimizes, manages and automates port and logistics efficient processes through a  single submission of data and connecting transport and logistics chains.”19

Port of Entry (POE): “(a) The port at which passengers or cargo enter the administrative or customs territory of a country. (b) An officially designated port where a vessel may enter a country’s territory and discharge passengers and cargo. (c) A port where the administrative functions of immigration and customs are handled.”¹

Port of Export: “The port, airport or customs point from which an export shipment leaves a country for a voyage to a foreign country.”¹

Prepaid Freight: The freight charge is either included in the price of the product or being paid by the shipper.

Private Carrier: “A company that provides truck transportation of its own cargo, usually as a part of a business that produces, uses, sells and/or buys the cargo being hauled.”8

Proof of Delivery (POD): “Information provided to payor containing name of person who signed for the package with the date and time of delivery.”¹

Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC): "Protects the health and safety of Canadians through the prevention of chronic disease and injuries, public health emergencies, and infectious disease outbreaks. Works closely with the provinces and territories to renew the public health system in Canada and support a sustainable health care system."29

Purchase Order (PO): “is a commercial document and first official offer issued by a buyer to a seller, indicating types, quantities, and agreed prices for products or services the seller will provide to the buyer. Sending a purchase order to a supplier constitutes a legal offer to buy products or services. Acceptance of a purchase order by a seller usually forms a contract between the buyer and seller, so no contract exists until the purchase order is accepted. It is used to control the purchasing of products and services from external suppliers.”¹


Quality Assurance (QA): “a program for the systematic monitoring and evaluation of the various aspects of a project, service, or facility to ensure that standards of quality are being met.”¹

Quality Control (QC): “is a process by which entities review the quality of all factors involved in production. This approach places an emphasis on three aspects:

  1. Elements such as controls, job management, defined and well managed processes, performance and integrity criteria, and identification of records
  2. Competence, such as knowledge, skills, experience, and qualifications
  3. Soft elements, such as personnel, integrity, confidence, organizational culture, motivation, team spirit, and quality relationships.”¹

Quality Management (QM): “The act of overseeing all activities and tasks needed to maintain a desired level of excellence. This includes creating and implementing quality planning and assurance, as well as quality control and quality improvement. It is also referred to as total quality management (TQM).”¹


Radio Frequency Identification (RFID): “A small integrated circuit (microprocessor) connected to an antenna, which can respond to an interrogating radio frequency (RF) signal with simple identifying information, or with more complex information depending on the size and complexity of the integrated circuit. Unlike barcodes which assign a number to a product or package, RFID tags attach a unique electronic code to each product, carton of products, pallet or shipping container.”¹

Real-time Visibility: “The viewing of data/information in a business application as it happens - as contrasted with storing data for input at a later time (batch processing).”

Receiving: “The function encompassing the physical receipt of material, the inspection of the shipment for conformance with the purchase order (quantity and damage) , the identification and delivery to destination, and the preparation of receiving reports.”1

Receiving Dock: “Distribution center location where the actual physical receipt of the purchased material from the carrier occurs.”1

Records of Duty Status (RODS): “Every motor carrier must require every driver to record his/her duty status for each 24-hour period using specific methods outlined by regulation. Logs/Records of Duty Status (RODs) must be kept current by showing each change in duty status. The time zone used on a driver’s daily log should be the time standard of that driver’s home terminal. For each change in duty status, the name of the city/town/village with the State abbreviations must be recorded. In addition to the status of the driver, specific information must be included as outlined in 395.8. During a Safety Audit, motor carriers may be asked to submit documents supporting the driver’s record of duty. Such documents can include any of the following: toll receipts/records, fuel receipts/records, bills of lading, trip reports or another type of document for verification.”24 Learn more.

Reefer: “A Reefer or Refrigerated Container is an intermodal container (shipping container) used in intermodal freight transport that is refrigerated for the transportation of temperature-sensitive cargo.”1

Refrigerated Container: ““A Refrigerated Container or Reefer is an intermodal container (shipping container) used in intermodal freight transport that is refrigerated for the transportation of temperature-sensitive cargo.”1

Release Notification System (RNS): [Canada] “The Release Notification System (RNS) offers a timely and efficient notification of Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) release decisions by providing brokers, importers, carriers and warehouse operators with electronic messages. The CBSA instantly notifies RNS participants when a transaction is released and when a Pre-arrival Review System (PARS) transaction is approved.”⁴

Remittance: “Payment for goods or services received.”1

Remote Location Filing (RLF): “an electronic program which allows an approved Customs broker with a valid national permit to electronically transmit data associated with an entry in a completely electronic data interchange system to a RLF operational Customs and Border Protection location.”3

Request for Information (RFI): “A document used to solicit information about vendors, products, and services prior to a formal Request-for-Quote/Request-for-Proposal (RFQ/RFP) process.”1

Request for Proposal (RFP): “A formal request by a company or organization (customer) presented to one or more potential vendors asking for a formal proposal to supply goods or services based upon specifications set forth in the request. An RFP typically includes specifications of the product or service required, quantities required, time and place of delivery, method of shipment, packaging, materials to be furnished and other technical requirements. The RFP also asks for prices and payment terms for products, services and maintenance.”¹

Request for Quotation (RFQ): “A negotiating approach whereby the buyer asks for a price quotation from a potential seller/supplier for specific quantities of goods (or services) to specifications the buyer establishes in the request for quotation letter.”¹

Return on Investment (ROI): “A performance measure used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment or to compare the efficiency of a number of different investments. To calculate ROI, the benefit (return) of an investment is divided by the cost of the investment; the result is expressed as a percentage or a ratio.”¹

Returned Goods Handling: “Processes involved with returning goods from the customer to the manufacturer. Products may be returned because of performance problems or simply because the customer doesn't like the product.”1

Reverse Logistics: “The act of, and management systems associated with, the recovery of discarded products and packaging from the end user. Reverse logistics is based upon a heightened environmental consciousness, public policy and law. The concept is that reusable packaging, as well as outdated, damaged or defective products, can best be recycled or reused by the original manufacturer. Reverse logistics, however, is much more than recycling. It involves both product and systems designs that make recovery and reuse possible, efficient and even profitable. In reverse logistics, a measure of what gets thrown away is a measure of the failure of the product design and recovery process.”¹

Rules of Origin (ROO): “Rules of origin are the criteria needed to determine the national source of a product. Their importance is derived from the fact that duties and restrictions in several cases depend upon the source of imports. There is wide variation in the practice of governments with regard to the rules of origin. While the requirement of substantial transformation is universally recognized, some governments apply the criterion of change of tariff classification, others the ad valorem percentage criterion and yet others the criterion of manufacturing or processing operation. In a globalizing world it has become even more important that a degree of harmonization is achieved in these practices of Members in implementing such a requirement.”23 Learn more.


Scan: “A computer term referring to the action of scanning bar codes or RF tags.”1

Scorecard: “A report that gives information about the status, condition, or success of someone or something.”1

Seafood Import Monitoring Program (SIMP): “The Seafood Import Monitoring Program establishes for imports of certain seafood products, the reporting and recordkeeping requirements needed to prevent illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU)-caught and/or misrepresented seafood from entering U.S. commerce, providing additional protections for our national economy, global food security and the sustainability of our shared ocean resources. This is a risk-based traceability program—requiring the importer of record to provide and report key data—from the point of harvest to the point of entry into U.S. commerce—on a list of imported fish and fish products identified as particularly vulnerable to IUU fishing and/or seafood fraud.  January 1, 2018 is the mandatory compliance date for this rule. *Shrimp and abalone compliance will be mandatory by December 31, 2018.”35 Learn more.

Seal Number: “A number located on the plastic or metal tamper seal or tag affixed to a loaded container or truck. Seals and seal numbers are not reused. A new seal and therefore a new seal number are used each time a container or truck is sealed.”¹

Serial Shipping Container Code (SSCC): “The Serial Shipping Container Code (SSCC) is used to identify individual logistic unit. A logistic unit can be any combination of units put together in a case or on a pallet or truck where the specific unit load needs to be managed through the supply chain. The SSCC enables this unit to be tracked individually which brings benefits for order and delivery tracking and automated goods-receiving. As the SSCC provides a unique number for the delivery it can be utilized as a look-up number to provide not only detailed information regarding the contents of the load but also as part of an Advanced Shipping Notice (ASN) or Dispatch Advice process.”20 Learn more.

Service Level Agreement (SLA): “is a part of a service contract where a service is formally defined. In practice, the term SLA is sometimes used to refer to the contracted delivery time (of the service or performance).”¹                                        

Shipment: “Except as otherwise provided, cargo tendered by one shipper, on one bill of lading, from one point of departure, for one consignee, to one destination, at one time, via a single port of discharge.”¹

Shipper: “Someone who sends goods for shipment, by packaging, labeling, and arranging for transit, or who coordinates the transport of goods.”1

Shipper's Export Declaration (SED): “A form required by the export authorities of many countries to document an export of goods. The form is prepared by a shipper indicating the value, weight, destination, and other basic information about the shipment. The shipper’s export declaration is used to control exports and compile trade statistics. As of September 30, 2008, the U.S. SED must be filed electronically using the Automated Export System (AES).”¹

Shipper's Letter of Instruction (SLI): “A form used by a shipper to authorize a carrier to issue a bill of lading or an air waybill on the shipper’s behalf. The form contains all the details of the shipment and authorizes the carrier to sign the bill of lading in the name of the shipper.”¹

Shipping Lane: “In general transportation, the logical route between the point of shipment and the point of delivery.”1

Skid: “a type of pallet, a metal, wood or plastic platform for holding machinery or equipment. Some pallets have planks across the bottom level, flush with the floor, but a skid has no planks along the full length or width to form a bottom level on the floor.”1

Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS): "an international maritime treaty which requires Signatory flag states to ensure that ships flagged by them comply with minimum safety standards in construction, equipment and operation."16

Single Transaction Bonds (STB): "may be used to secure a one-time importation. Single Transaction Bonds are generally for the value of the merchandise plus duties, taxes and fees." 3

Single Window Initiative (SWI): "The Canada Border Services Agency's (CBSA) Single Window Initiative streamlines the sharing of commercial import data between the Government of Canada and the import community. It balances the needs of government departments and agencies with today's globally competitive business environment. There are nine participating government departments and agencies representing 38 government programs. The Single Window has two service options: Integrated Import Declaration and License, Permit, Certificate and Other (LPCO) Documentation."4

Special Program Indicator (SPI): "a list of countries that are eligible for reduced duty rates or duty-free treatment under a trade preference program, [i.e. Generalized System of Preference (GSP), Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI), Andean Trade Preference Act (ATPA) and African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA)]. Not all goods manufactured, produced and exported from a country eligible for an international trade agreement are eligible for reduced duty rates or duty-free treatment. To find out if the goods you import are eligible, you should first find out the special program indicator (SPI) for the international trade agreement (i.e. the SPI for GSP is "A") or free trade agreement in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS). You must determine the 10 digit HTS code for the goods. After the HTS code is determined, reference the duty rate in the "Special Rates" sub column. If the SPI for your trade preference program or free trade agreement is listed, your goods are eligible for the rate indicated."<3<

Standard Carrier Alpha Code (SCAC): “The Standard Carrier Alpha Code (SCAC) is a unique two-to-four-letter code used to identify transportation companies. The Standard Carrier Alpha Code is the recognized transportation company identification code used in the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Accredited Standards Committee (ASC) X12 and United Nations EDIFACT approved electronic data interchange (EDI) transaction sets such as the 856 Advance Ship Notice, the 850 Purchase Order and all motor, rail and water carrier transactions where carrier identification is required. The SCAC is required on tariffs filed with the Surface Transportation Board (STB). The U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has mandated the use of the SCAC for their Automated Commercial Environment (ACE), Automated Manifest System (AMS) and Pre-Arrival Processing System (PAPS).”¹⁸

Stock Keeping Unit (SKU): “A store's or catalog's product and service identification code, often portrayed as a machine-readable bar code that helps the item to be tracked for inventory. A stock keeping unit (SKU) does not need to be assigned to physical products in inventory. Often, SKUs are applied to intangible, but billable products, such as units of repair time or warranties. For this reason, a SKU can be thought of as a code assigned to a supplier's billable entities.”¹

Supplier Relationship Management (SRM): “is the discipline of strategically planning for, and managing, all interactions with third party organizations that supply goods and/or services to an organization in order to maximize the value of those interactions. In practice, SRM entails creating closer, more collaborative relationships with key suppliers in order to uncover and realize new value and reduce risk.”¹

Supply Chain Execution (SCE): “Supply chain execution (SCE) is focused on execution-oriented applications, including warehouse management systems (WMSs), transportation management systems (TMSs), global trade management (GTM) systems and other execution applications, such as real-time decision support systems (for example, dynamic routing and dynamic sourcing systems) and supply chain visibility systems within the enterprise, as well as throughout the extended supply chain.”²¹

Supply Chain Management (SCM): “refers to the processes of creating and fulfilling demands for goods and services. It encompasses a trading partner community engaged in the common goal of satisfying end customers.” ²¹

Surface Transportation Board: “The Surface Transportation Board (STB) was created in the ICC Termination Act of 1995 and is the successor agency to the Interstate Commerce Commission. The STB is an economic regulatory agency that Congress charged with resolving railroad rate and service disputes and reviewing proposed railroad mergers. The STB is decisionally independent, although it is administratively affiliated with the Department of Transportation. The STB serves as both an adjudicatory and a regulatory body. The agency has jurisdiction over railroad rate and service issues and rail restructuring transactions (mergers, line sales, line construction, and line abandonments); certain trucking company, moving van, and non-contiguous ocean shipping company rate matters; certain intercity passenger bus company structure, financial, and operational matters; and rates and services of certain pipelines not regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.”8


Tariff: “A comprehensive list of ‘schedule’ of merchandise with applicable rates to be paid or charged for each listed article.

  • (Customs) A schedule of duties or taxes assessed by a government on goods as they enter (or leave) a country.
  • (Shipping) A schedule of shipping rates charged, together with governing rules and regulations. A tariff sets forth a contract of carriage for the shipper, the consignee, and the carrier. Individual carriers also publish their own tariffs covering special services.”¹
Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB): 

“The Tax and Trade Bureau collects Federal excise taxes on alcohol, tobacco, firearms, and ammunition and to assure compliance with Federal tobacco permitting and alcohol permitting, labeling, and marketing requirements to protect consumers.”28 Learn more.

Technical Commercial Client Unit (TCCU): "The CBSA's Technical Commercial Client Unit (TCCU) provides support to clients currently using or seeking to use Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) to meet their obligations. The following is a sample of the types of services provided by the TCCU: setting up/maintaining client profiles to allow access to transmit to the CBSA's EDI systems and receive messages from the CBSA; troubleshoot CBSA EDI system problems and connectivity issues; assist clients in the interpretation of system reject messages; and distribution of CBSA/EDI information bulletins."4

Temporary Importation under Bond (TIB): "is a procedure whereby, under certain conditions, merchandise may be entered -- for a limited time -- into U.S. Custom's territory free of duty. Instead of duty, the importer posts a bond for twice the amount of duty, taxes, etc. that would otherwise be owed on the importation. Under this procedure, the importer agrees to export or destroy the merchandise within a specified time or pay liquidated damages, which are twice the normal duty. Only certain items may be entered as a TIB."3

Tender: “The document which describes a business transaction to be performed.”1

Total Quality Management (TQM): “is an integrative philosophy of management for continuously improving the quality of products and processes.”¹

Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA): “The Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 provides EPA with authority to require reporting, record-keeping and testing requirements, and restrictions relating to chemical substances and/or mixtures. Certain substances are generally excluded from TSCA, including, among others, food, drugs, cosmetics and pesticides. TSCA addresses the production, importation, use, and disposal of specific chemicals including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), asbestos, radon and lead-based paint.”27

Traceability: “is defined as the ability to trace the history, application or location of that which is under consideration (ISO 9001). GS1 defines traceability as, ' The ability to track forward the movement through specified stage (s) of the extended supply chain and trace backward the history, application or location of that which is under consideration of an intended trade item/ product. It is important to also note that recall is a component of traceability. Therefore, it is critical to have documentation and records that show where all the products were distributed so that a potentially contaminated product can be removed/identified from distribution.”20

Tracking: “A carrier’s system of recording movement intervals of shipments from origin to destination.”¹

Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act (TFTEA): “The Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 (TFTEA) was signed into law P.L. 114-125 on February 24, 2016. It is the first comprehensive authorization of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) since the Department of Homeland Security was created in 2003, with the overall objective to ensure a fair and competitive trade environment.”3 Learn more.

Trading Partner: “Companies that do business with each other via EDI (e.g., send and receive business documents such as purchase orders).”1

Trading Partner Agreement: “An agreement drawn up by two parties that have agreed to trade certain items or information to each other. The agreement outlines the terms of the trade or trading process, such as compensation for the shorted party in an inequitable trade. Trading Partner The written contract that spells out agreed upon terms between EDI trading partners.”1

Trailer on Flat Car (TOFC): “A truck trailer or semi-trailer transported on a rail flatcar. This is a multimodal form of transportation often used when the rail leg of the route is less costly than transportation by roadway. Also called piggback.”¹

Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP): "is a proposed trade agreement between the European Union and the United States, with the aim of promoting trade and multilateral economic growth. T-TIP is considered a companion agreement to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The agreement is under ongoing negotiations. Its main three broad areas are market access, specific regulation, and broader rules and principles and modes of co-operation."1

Transit Time: “The total time that elapses between a shipment's pickup and delivery.”1

Transport Canada (TRCAN): "Transport Canada is responsible for transportation policies and programs. It promotes safe, secure, efficient and environmentally-responsible transportation. Transport Canada reports to Parliament and Canadians through the minister of Transport. It works with its portfolio partners, other government departments and jurisdictions, and industry to ensure that all parts of Canada's transportation system work well."29

Transportation Planning: “The process of defining an integrated supply chain transportation plan and maintaining the information which characterizes total supply chain transportation requirements, and the management of transporters, both inter- and intra- company.”1

Transportation Security Administration (TSA): “Following September 11, 2001, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was created to strengthen the security of the nation’s transportation systems and ensure the freedom of movement for people and commerce. Today, TSA secures the nation’s airports and screens all commercial airline passengers and baggage. TSA uses a risk-based strategy and works closely with transportation, law enforcement and intelligence communities to set the standard for excellence in transportation security.”²

Transportation Management System (TMS): “is used to plan freight movements, do freight rating and shopping across all modes, select the appropriate route and carrier, and manage freight bills and payments.”²¹

Truckload (TL): “A shipment of cargo that fills a given truck either by bulk or maximum weight.”¹

Twenty-Foot Equivalent Unit (TEU): “A standard 20-foot international ocean shipping container; (b) A measure of a shipping container’s capacity using a standard 20-foot international ocean shipping container as a measuring unit.”¹


Uniform Commercial Code (UCC): “is one of a number of uniform acts that have been promulgated in conjunction with efforts to harmonize the law of sales and other commercial transactions in all 50 states within the United States of America.”¹

Uniform Product Code (UPC): “a unique 12-digit number assigned to retail merchandise that identifies both the product and the vendor that sells the product. The UPC on a product typically appears adjacent to its bar code, the machine-readable representation of the UPC.”¹

United Nations Security Council (UNSC): “Under the Charter, the Security Council has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. It has 15 Members, and each Member has one vote. Under the Charter, all Member States are obligated to comply with Council decisions. The Security Council takes the lead in determining the existence of a threat to the peace or act of aggression. It calls upon the parties to a dispute to settle it by peaceful means and recommends methods of adjustment or terms of settlement. In some cases, the Security Council can resort to imposing sanctions or even authorize the use of force to maintain or restore international peace and security. The Security Council also recommends to the General Assembly the appointment of the Secretary-General and the admission of new Members to the United Nations. And, together with the General Assembly, it elects the judges of the International Court of Justice.”36 Learn more.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP): “is one of the Department of Homeland Security’s largest and most complex components, with a priority mission of keeping terrorists and their weapons out of the U.S. It also has a responsibility for securing the border and facilitating lawful international trade and travel while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws and regulations, including immigration and drug laws.”³

U.S. Department of Defense (DOD): ”The Department of Defense provides the military forces needed to deter war, and to protect the security of the United States.”⁷

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS): “Formed in 2002 from the combination of 22 departments and agencies, the Department of Homeland Security works to improve the security of the United States. The Department's work includes customs, border, and immigration enforcement; emergency response to natural and manmade disasters; antiterrorism work; and cybersecurity.”⁷

U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT): “The Department of Transportation is responsible for planning and coordinating federal transportation projects. It also sets safety regulations for all major modes of transportation.”⁷


Value-Added Network (VAN): “A private network provider hired by a company to facilitate electronic data interchange (EDI) and/or provide other network services such as message encryption, secure email and management reporting. A Value-Added Network (VAN) simplifies the communications process by reducing the number of parties with which a company needs to communicate. The VAN accomplishes this by acting as an intermediary between business partners that share standards based or proprietary data. VANs may be operated by large companies for efficient supply chain management with their suppliers, or by industry consortiums or telecommunication companies.”¹

Value-Added Reseller (VAR): “A firm that enhances the value of the products it resells by including complementary products or services, usually as part of a package deal. Value-added resellers play a prominent role in the computer industry, and may provide additional hardware, installation services, consulting, troubleshooting, or other related products or services.”¹

Value-Added Tax (VAT): “The Value Added Tax, or VAT, in the European Union (EU) is a general, broadly based consumption tax assessed on the value added to goods and services. It applies more or less to all goods and services that are bought and sold for use or consumption in the Community. Thus, goods which are sold for export or services which are sold to customers abroad are normally not subject to VAT. Conversely imports are taxed to keep the system fair for EU producers so that they can compete on equal terms on the European market with suppliers situated outside the Union. Value added tax is: a) a general tax that applies, in principle, to all commercial activities involving the production and distribution of goods and the provision of services. b) a consumption tax because it is borne ultimately by the final consumer. It is not a charge on businesses. c) charged as a percentage of price, which means that the actual tax burden is visible at each stage in the production and distribution chain.”²²

Verified Gross Mass (VGM): "The verification of the gross mass can be achieved by either of two methods: weighing the packed container; or weighing all packages and cargo items, including the mass of pallets, dunnage and other securing material to be packed in the container and adding the tare mass of the container to the sum of the single masses, using a certified method approved by the competent authority of the State in which packing of the container was completed."16

Virtual Machine (VM): "In computing, a virtual machine (VM) is an emulation of a computer system. Virtual machines are based on computer architectures and provide functionality of a physical computer. Their implementations may involve specialized hardware, software, or a combination."1

Virtual Private Network (VPN): “extends a private network across a public network, such as the Internet. It enables a computer to send and receive data across shared or public networks as if it were directly connected to the private network, while benefiting from the functionality, security and management policies of the private network. This is done by establishing a virtual point-to-point connection through the use of dedicated connections, encryption, or a combination of the two.”¹

Visibility: “The ability to access or view pertinent data or information as it relates to logistics and the supply chain, regardless of the point in the chain where the data exists.”1


Warehouse Management System (WMS): “is a key part of the supply chain and primarily aims to control the movement and storage of materials within a warehouse and process the associated transactions, including shipping, receiving, putaway and picking. The systems also direct and optimize stock putaway based on real-time information about the status of bin utilization. A WMS monitors the progress of products through the warehouse. It involves the physical warehouse infrastructure, tracking systems, and communication between product stations.”¹

Waybill: “is a document issued by a carrier giving details and instructions relating to the shipment of a consignment of goods. Typically it will show the names of the consignor and consignee, the point of origin of the consignment, its destination, and route. Most freight forwarders and trucking companies use an in-house waybill called a house bill. These typically contain "conditions of contract of carriage" terms on the back of the form. These terms cover limits to liability and other terms and conditions.”1

World Customs Organization (WCO): “Since 1952, the World Customs Organization (WCO), formally known by international convention as the Customs Co-operation Council (CCC), has provided leadership in expanding the avenues of international trade and security. The WCO's accomplishments are both numerous and varied. The organization's successes include work in areas covering the development of global standards, the simplification and harmonization of Customs procedures, trade supply chain security, the facilitation of international trade, the enhancement of Customs enforcement and compliance activities, anti-counterfeiting and piracy initiatives, public-private partnerships, integrity promotion, and sustainable global Customs capacity building activities. The WCO is the only international body dedicated exclusively to international customs and border control matters. By following the above principles, the WCO has achieved many triumphs across the entire spectrum of customs-based issues. For example, the WCO created and administers several international agreements that facilitate and secure world trade. The major international conventions created or administered by the WCO include the:

  1. Harmonized System Convention [the basis for the U.S. import and export schedules]
  2. WTO Customs Valuation and Rules of Origin Agreements
  3. Customs Convention on the ATA carnet for the temporary admission of goods [ATA Convention]
  4. The International Convention on the simplification and harmonization of Customs procedures [Revised Kyoto Convention].”³

World Trade Organization (WTO): “The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the only global international organization dealing with the rules of trade between nations. At its heart are the WTO agreements, negotiated and signed by the bulk of the world’s trading nations and ratified in their parliaments. The goal is to help producers of goods and services, exporters, and importers conduct their business.”²³


Zone Picking: “A method of order picking that involves dividing stock-keeping units (SKUs) into a series of different zones with each warehouse employee trained to pick within an assigned zone. An ordermay be moved down a conveying system from zone to zone to have items added. The goal is to create greater speed in the picking process. It also allows specialization based on skill level.”¹

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