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In our opinion, it is important to define our main, professional, and technical vocabulary.

Air Waybill

The air waybill is the contract of carriage between the airline or authorised agent and the shipper.

Authorised agent

Company certified by the State to secure a shipment by air.

Authorised customs agent

Service provider approved by customs, responsible for carrying out customs transit, import or export formalities in their own name or on behalf of operators at customs clearance offices by direct or indirect representation.

Bill of exchange

A written document notifying the debtor of an order to pay all or part of a receivable on a given date.

Bill of lading (B/L)

A document evidencing the contract of carriage by sea between the shipper and the shipping company. It is a document representing the goods and an endorseable title. Delivering the goods to the intended port of destination is only possible upon presentation and surrender of an original bill of lading by the recipient.

Binding Tariff Information (BTI)

Tariff classification of goods is a document issued by the customs administration, enabling companies to secure their commercial operations. (Sentence to be revised) The tariff classification of a good originating from a third country establishes the applicable taxation as well as the related regulations such as sanitary, technical, commercial policy measures, and so on.

Bonded warehouse

An area enabling the storage of goods awaiting customs clearance.


The process of reserving space on the ship or aircraft.


Intermediary responsible for bringing together a buyer and a seller. It brings the parties together, helping them to negotiate and conclude the contract.

Bunker Adjustment Factor (BAF)

A surcharge applied by the shipowner according to fluctuations in the price of the fuel.

Carriage forward

Freight is payable at destination. The shipowner delivers the goods against payment of the freight by the consignee.


An individual or legal entity hiring a ship or aircraft for a specific operation or duration.

Commercial invoice

Statement of the transaction between the buyer and seller, issued by the seller describing: the goods, their cost, and the terms of sale…

Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)

Economic policy implemented by the European Community in the field of agriculture and trade in agricultural products. This policy is based on five guiding principles: the uniformity of agricultural prices, free movement, Community preference, financial solidarity, and co-responsibility.


Freight that is not containerised by virtue of its size or volume.


Represents all types of goods transport requiring at least one stop on a platform for a sorting, groupage or unbundling operation. A faster yet more expensive transport method than ordinary carriage.


Triangle sale, direct delivery to the final consumer without the main buyer physically handling the transacted item.

Currency Adjustment Factor (CAF)

A surcharge applied by the shipowner according to fluctuations in the exchange rate.

Customs duties

Customs duties and taxes are payable in full. They must be paid before the goods are collected. Facilities are available to expedite collection (collection credit). Payment by bond is also permitted.


Harm to a ship/truck/airplane or to the goods being transported.


Compensation to be paid when loading or unloading time extends beyond the scheduled time, whether voluntary or not (e.g. port congestion).


Directorate General for Civil Aviation.

Documents against Payment

Instructions given by the sender to their bank whereby the documents are linked to a bank draft due, and these documents are to be given to the drawee on condition that they pay the draft.


Estimated Time of Arrival is the anticipated arrival date.


Estimated Time of Departure is the expected departure date.


Document also known as a “movement certificate” certifying the origin of the goods, in the context of certain preferential agreements. EUR2 applies to low-value consignments.

Express freight

By air, documents and small parcels requiring urgent delivery


Federal Customs Administration.


Full Container Load refers to a completely filled container.


Name for a vessel carrying out pre- and post-transportation of containers to ports where the mother ship of the Regular Line does not call.


International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations was founded in Vienna on 31 May 1926. FIATA is a non-governmental organisation representing approximately 40,000 companies, employing 8-10 million people in 150 countries. FIATA has a consultative voice in organisations such as ECOSOC, UNCTAD, and UNICE. FIATA serves as the representative of the transport organisation industry to bodies such as the International Chamber of Commerce, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the International Union of Railways (UIC), the International Road Transport Union (IRU), and the World Customs Organisation (WCO) among others.


Goods transported in bulk by truck, train, ship, or aircraft.

Freight forwarder

Service provider who, on behalf of its clients, handles all operations relating to their goods: transport, breaking bulk, handling, storage, commercial, and administrative formalities.

Freight rate

Price of sea or air transport.

Gross weight

Weight of the goods and their packaging.

Handling agent or Handler

Provides for the packaging of goods and their transportation on board the aircraft.

House Air Waybill (HAWB)

House air waybill. An HAWB is issued by an exporter or importer. This single document specifies the details of the sender and the receiver, the number of packages, the gross weight, the volume, and/or the dimensions. The various HAWBs that make up the groupage are listed on a cargo manifest.


International Air Transport Association


International Civil Aviation Organisation AEO-Authorised Economic Operator AEO Certification Certification granted by the customs administration after an inspection for companies requesting it. At a time when security measures are becoming more stringent, certification enables authorised business partners to benefit from simplified procedures.


Name in maritime transport given to dangerous goods.

Import licence

Goods that can only be imported under the control of customs issuing authorisations or licences.

Incoterm / InCoTerms

English abbreviation for “International Commercial Terms”, translated into French as “C.I.V.” “Conditions internationales de vente”. Incoterms stem from a codification of the terms and conditions of a commercial transaction established by the International Chamber of Commerce. Each term is coded by three letters, inseparable from the place of delivery to which it applies. The purpose of Incoterms is to provide a set of international rules for interpreting the most commonly used commercial terms in foreign trade.


Action by the customs or inspection body to control the goods. Verification of the conformity of the goods.


International Ship and Ports facility Security code. Surcharge for the investment in port security.

Less than container load (LCL)

Groupage container for multiple shippers, multiple consignees.

Letter of credit

A payment promise made by a bank on behalf of the beneficiary, usually the seller of the goods, against the delivery of documents specified in the credit.


All of the methods and means used to achieve optimal management of the flows of information and products between the supplier, the distributor, and the final consumer. Logistics covers everything from inventory management to preparing orders and organising deliveries.

Master Air Waybill (MAWB)

Master AWB. All House Air Waybills (HAWBs) are grouped together in a MAWB that includes all packages, gross weight, and volume.

Multimodal transport

Combining several modes of transport to move from one point to another.

Net weight

Weight of the goods only.

Non-Vessel-Operating Common Carrier (NVOCC) or consolidator

Non Vessel Operating Common Carrier.Term for a company buying shipping capacity that it then offers to its clients under its own responsibility. It issues the bill of lading in its name.

Packing / Unpacking

The operation of loading/unloading goods inside a container.

Packing list

A document, normally drawn up by the exporter, providing a detailed description of the characteristics of the packages being shipped, such as number, gross and net weight, dimensions, marks and contents, and so on.

Port congestion

Traffic density in a port.

Proforma invoice

Invoice issued by the supplier before the goods are shipped. This informs the buyer of the nature and quantities shipped, as well as their commercial value and other details such as weight, dimensions, and the like.


A price estimate for a sea, air, or road shipment.

Roll on – Roll off (RORO)

The technique of loading and unloading using ramps on vessels designed for transporting vehicles (roll-on/roll-off loading).

Rolling stock

The term “rolling stock” includes light and heavy vehicles.

Ship’s Manifest

Description of the goods contained in the cargo of a ship.


Person who operates a ship.


The owner of a ship’s cargo, or part of it. The shipper may be the exporter or the importer.


Storage of a large number of goods in a warehouse


See Stockpiling


Costs levied by transport service providers in addition to the negotiated tariff depending on a specific context (e.g. increase in the price of oil).

T.I.R. Carnet

A detachable booklet used during an international road transit operation.

Terminal Handling Charge (THC)

THCs refer to handling charges at the port of loading and unloading.

TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit)

Unit in which containerised traffic and container ship capacity is measured.


Union of Transport and Logistics Companies of France


Customs procedure enabling, under certain conditions, goods to be transported under waiver of all duties, taxes, and restrictions within the customs territory of the European Community or, under a convention, between the EU and the customs territories of partner countries. At present, EU transit applies to all forms of land, air, rail, sea, inland waterway, and canal transport.

Transport agent or forwarding agent

A transport organiser, who carries out the transport of goods entrusted to them by the shipper in their own name, choosing the various carriers required. They have a performance obligation and a duty to advise their client. The profession is regulated by the French Regional Directorate for the Environment, Planning, and Housing (DREAL).


Transfer from one vessel or means of transport to another, in order to continue the transport.

Twenty Equivalent Units (TEU)

Twenty Foot Equivalent Units → 1 container 20′ = 1 TEU / 1 container 40′ = 2 TEU

United Load Device (ULD)

Load units adapted in terms of their shape and size to air transport, enabling easier consolidation of goods.

UP (Unit of pricing)

When calculating the price of cargo, a unit of charge that is either per tonne or per cubic metre for the benefit of the ship/aircraft.

War Risk

The risk of war occurring. War Risk refers to the surcharge incurred if a war risk is identified.