International Shipping Terminologies - A

AAR: Abbreviation for Against All Risks (insurance clause) or Association of American Railroads.

Abaft: A point beyond the midpoint of a ship's length.

Abandon: A proceeding wherein a shipper/consignee seeks authority to abandon all or parts of their cargo.

Abatement: A discount allowed for damage or overcharge in the payment of a bill.

ABI: Automated Broker Interface, US Custom's computer system by which brokers file importers' entries electronically.

Aboard: Referring to cargo being put, or laden, onto a means of conveyance.

Absorption: One carrier assumes the charges of another without any increase in charges to the shipper.

Acceptance: A time draft (or bill of exchange) that the drawee (payer) has accepted and is unconditionally obligated to pay at maturity.

Account Party/Accountee: The purchasing party, the importer, the buyer in any transaction.

Accessorial charges: Charges that are applied to the base tariff rate or base contract rate (e.g. bunkers, container, destination/delivery).

ACS: Automated Commercial System, the US Customs master computer system.

Act of God: An act beyond human control, such as lightning, flooding or earthquake.

Act of Man: In water transportation, the deliberate sacrifice of cargo to make the vessel safe for the remaining cargo. Those sharing in the spared cargo proportionately cover the loss.

Ad Valorem: According to value

Admiralty (Adm.): Refers to marine matters such as Admiralty Court.

Advance: To move cargo up-line to a vessel leaving sooner than the one booked.

Advanced charge: Transportation charge advanced by one carrier to another to be collected by the later carrier from the consignor or consignee.

Adventure: Shipment of goods on shipper's own account. A bill of adventure is a document signed by the master of the ship that carries goods at owner's risk.

Advice, Letter of: This document is sent by one party to another to whom a shipment has been sent, on consignment or otherwise. It involves a description of the goods sent, the carrier or other type of transportation being used, the date of departure, and any additional pertinent data. (Bankers use the term letter of advice when notifying interested parties of such actions as the opening of credits, the drawing of drafts and the payment or nonpayment of drafts.)

Advice of Shipment: A notice sent to a local or foreign buyer advising that shipment has gone forward and containing details of packing, routing, etc. A copy of the invoice is usually enclosed and sometimes, if desired, a copy of the bill of lading.

Affreightment, Contract of: An agreement by an ocean carrier to provide cargo space on a vessel at a specified time and for a specified price to accommodate an exporter or importer.

Aft: Movement toward the stern (back end) of a ship.

Agency tariff: A tariff published by an agent on behalf of several carriers.

Agent: A person authorized to transact business for and in the name of another person or company.

Types of agents are: brokers, commission merchants, resident buyers,sales agents, manufacturer's representatives.

Aggregate Shipment: Numerous shipments from different shippers to one consignee that are consolidated and treated as a single consignment.

Agreed valuation: The value of a shipment agreed upon in order to secure a specific freight shipment.

Agreed weight: The weight prescribed by agreement between carrier and shipper for goods shipped in certain packages or a certain number.

A.I.D.: Agency for International Development.

Air Waybill:The forwarding agreement or carrying agreement between shipper and air carrier and is issued only in non-negotiable form.

All-In: The total price to move a container from origin to destination, inclusive of all charges.

All Water: Transport exclusively by water.

Alongside: A phrase referring to the side of a ship. Goods delivered "alongside" are to be placed on the dock or barge within reach of the transport ship's tackle so that they can be loaded.

Alternative Rates: Privilege to use the rate producing the lowest charge.

Ambient Temperature: The temperature of a surrounding body. The ambient temperature of a container is the atmospheric temperature to which it is exposed.

Amendment: A written notice of a change in the terms of a letter of credit. The change becomes an integral part of the original letter of credit.

American Bureau of Shipping: US classification society which certifies seagoing vessels for compliance to standardize rules regarding construction and maintenance.

AMS: Automated Manifest System, U.S. Customs computerized system to automate the flow of customs-related information among customs brokers, importers, and carriers.

Any-Quantity (A.Q.): Usually refers to a rating that applies to an article regardless of weight.

Appraisement: Determination of the dutiable value of imported merchandise by a customs official who follows procedures outlined in their country's tariff, such as the U.S. Tariff Act of 1930, as amended.

Arbitrary: A stated amount over a fixed rate to one point to make a rate to another point.

Arrival Notice: A notice from the ocean carrier to the "notify party," indicating the vessel's estimated arrival date; identifying shipment details such as number of packages, weight, and container number; and indicating when free time expires. Often includes a freight invoice.

ASC X12: American Standards Committee X12 responsible for developing EDI standards for the US.

Assignment: A term commonly used in connection with a bill of lading. It involves the transfer of rights, title and interest in order to assign goods by endorsing the bill of lading.

Astern: Behind a vessel; move in a reverse direction.

A.T.A.: American Trucking Association.

ATLAS: ACL's customer service and documentation software.

Athwartships: A direction across the width of a vessel.

Avoirdupois Pound: 0.4535924277 kilograms

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