Glossary of Common Shipping Terms

  1. A-D
  2. E-H
  3. I-L
  4. M-P
  5. Q-T
  6. U-Z


In the industry, it is the generic name for a temperature-controlled container. The containers, which are insulated, are specially designed to allow temperature controlled air circulation within the container. A refrigeration plant is built into the rear of the container.

S.E.D. (Shipper’s Export Declaration or “Ex Dec”)

A U.S. Commerce Department document describing all goods exported from the U.S. The shipper of the goods is responsible to make sure the document is filled out correctly, even though it may be done as a service for them by a freight forwarder or an NVOCC. This official document must be submitted by a U.S. exporter whenever a shipment of merchandise goes from the U.S. to a foreign destination. The joint Bureau of Census-International Trade Administration issues this form used for compiling U.S. export control laws. In it the shipper shows the value, weight, consignee, destination, etc., of export shipments as well as the Schedule B identification number.

Said to Contain (STC)

A standard clause used to protect carrier, NVOCC operators or forwarders when cargoes are stuffed into the container by shippers, their agents or other third parties. See also Shipper’s Load and Count.


The property which has been recovered from a wrecked vessel, or the recovery of the ship herself.

Salvage Clause

A marine insurance policy clause which states the proportion of salvage charges for which underwriters are liable.

Salvage Lien

A maritime lien which exists when a ship or goods come into the possession of one who preserves them from the perils at sea. All salvage services carry with them a maritime lien on the items saved.

Salvage Value

The value on which salvage is awarded. It generally means the value of ship and cargoes when they have been brought to a place of safety by the salvors.

Schedule B

Refers to Schedule B, Statistical Classification of Domestic and Foreign Commodities Exported from the United States. A number assigned to each commodity being exported from the Harmonized Tariff.


A metal strip and lead fastener used for locking containers, freight cars or truck doors. Seals are numbered for record and security purposes.


The person for whom the owners of a ship agree to carry goods to a specified destination and at a specified price. Also called “Consignor”. The conditions under which the transportation is effected are stipulated in the bill of lading.

Shipper’s Load and Count

Shipments loaded and sealed by shippers and not checked or verified by the carriers or forwarders. Neither the carriers nor the forwarders will assume any liability for shortages of cargoes as long as the container seal remains intact at the time of devanning.

Straight Bill of Lading

A term for a non negotiable bill of lading.


The unloading of a container.


The loading of a container.

Supply Air

Cooled or warmed air leaving the evaporator delivered to the interior of the container. Supply air is sometimes called delivery-air.


An extra or additional charge.

Tare Weight

The weight of packing material or, in carload shipments, the weight of the empty freight car, or the weight of a container.


A publication setting forth the charges, rates and rules of transportation companies.


An assigned area in which containers are prepared for loading into a vessel or are stacked immediately after discharge from the vessel.


Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit (20″) .

Through Rate

The total rate from the point of origin to final destination.


This may be as little as 5,000 pounds, or as much as 50,000 pounds. Charges differ from LTL charges, in that the carrier typically charges on a per-mile basis, with some minimum charge for deliveries under 500 miles. These charges vary significantly in different areas of the country based on the availability of loads in that area, at that point and time.