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“What does that mean?” … Freight Glossary

When you first get interested or involved in the freight / cargo world, the terminology and documents may appear a bit daunting. 

To assist you with understanding and communicating with those in the industry, we have compiled a small glossary to assist you with some of those terms.

Click on the Blue Lines to expand

- Document raised for each airfreight shipment, outlining all the shipment's details, along with an 'Airwaybill Number', allowing trackability during transit.

AEO (Authorised Econonic Operator)
- Approved Company/Organization within a recognised secure supply chain

- Airfreight Computer System supplied by Agency Sector Management (UK) Ltd

- Taken from Wikipedia "... is a customs document used in trade between EU members and Turkey, to benefit from cheaper rates of duty."

AWRS (Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme)
- Approved Company/Organization within a recognised secure supply chai


Bill of Lading
– Document raised for each Seafreight shipment, outlining all the shipment’s details, along with an ‘Bill of Lading Number’, allowing trackability during transit.

BIP (Border Inspection Post)
– Control post operated by the Port Health Authorities

Bond (also known as a ‘T1’)
– Authorised movement of goods without Customs clearance.

– Not necessarily a shipping term, but this is the name used when the UK was leaving the European Union (EU).

Bunker Adjustment Factor (BAF)
– The Bunker Adjustment Factor, or BAF, as it is more commonly known, is one of the charges levied on goods transported via Sea Freight. This particular charge represents the fluctuating costs to the shipping, caused by the varying global oil prices.

BTI (Binding Tariff Information)
– Confirmation, direct from Customs, of the exact classification/commodity code for your goods.


CBV (Courier Baggage Voucher)
– Document raised for each courier shipment, outlining all the shipment’s details, along with an ‘Airwaybill Number’, allowing trackability during transit.

CDS (Customs Declaration Service)
– This is the name of the new computer system from UK Customs, replacing the 25 year old CHIEF system.

C of O (Certificate of Origin)
– Stamped official document declaring Country of Origin.

CHIEF (Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight)
– HM Revenue & Customs computer system.

CNS (Community Network Services Ltd)
– Port Computer System.

Currency Adjustment Factor (CAF)
– The Currency Adjustment Factor, or CAF, as it is also known, is one of the charges levied during shipping. This charge covers changes to the differing currency exchange rates.


Deferment Account
– Bank account held with Customs to pay Duty and / or VAT (DAN – Deferment Account Number)

– Port Computer system operated by MCP (Maritime Cargo Processing PLC)

– taken from Wikipedia “… the industry refers to this container usage beyond the time allowed as Container Demurrage”

Devan (Devanned, Devanning)
– Unloading of Sea Freight Container

DG Cert (Dangerous Goods Certificate)
– Document which must accompany hazardous cargo during transit


– Term used for exemption from duty and/or VAT on aircraft or Ships spares, in transit

EORI (Economic Operator Registration Identification)
– Identifying number for all Commercial importers and exporters

ERTS (Enhanced Remote Transit Shed)
– Warehouse where goods are moved under Bond for Clearance

– taken from the London Chamber of Commerce ( “The EUR1 form entitles originating UK or EU goods to lower import duties – usually zero – when shipped into twenty five foreign markets.”


FCL (Full Container Load)
– Relating to a full Sea Freight Container (Opp. LCL)

– The process of expelling any possible dangerous gases from a sea freight container


– A mixed container packed with different importers goods, is known as a ‘Groupage’ container.

GSP (Generalised System of Preferences)
– Document relating to trade agreement to give preferential rates of duty to developing countries


– UK Inland Delivery

– Person or Company making the UK Inland Delivery

– Lorry / Truck with a small crane attached

House Airwaybill (HAWB)
– Transit document issued by a Freight Forwarder for use in consolidated air freight shipments.

HS Code (Harmonised Code)
– Overseas classification / commodity code (similar to EC Code).


ICD (Inland Clearance Depot)
– Warehouse where goods are moved under Bond for Clearance

Impatex System
– Import and Export Customs and Duty Management software supplied by Impatex
Computer Systems Ltd.

IPR (Inward Processing Relief)
– Goods being imported temporarily for a process


LCL (Less than a Container Load)
– Small shipment in a shared Container (Opp. FCL)

LO-LO (Load-On, Load-Off)
– A charge for loading and unloading a container


Master Airwaybill (MAWB)
– Transit document issued by an airline

Moffitt Truck
– Lorry / Truck with a Fork-lift attached


NCTS (The New Computerised Transit System)
– The New Computerised Transit System (NCTS) is a computer system that has been developed to enable traders to submit Community/Common Transit declarations electronically.

NIRU (National Import Relief Unit)
– Temporary Import unit of Revenue & Customs

NOVA (Notification Of Vehicle Arrival)
– The HMRC/DVLA computer system used to register vehicles arriving into the UK


– Goods arrived unexpectedly (un-manifested)


POD (Proof of Delivery)
– These are usually given verbally or as a hard-copy (copy of the signed delivery note)

Pre-Lodged (Pre-Lodgment)
– Goods entered to Customs prior to goods arrival

– Record of goods has been removed from a Computer system

PVA – Postponed VAT Accounting
– VAT registered businesses can sign up for PVA, to account for their VAT in their quarterly returns, as opposed to paying the VAT at the time of arrival into the UK


– The Import Quotas system allows the import of limited amounts of goods at a rate of duty lower than would otherwise apply. Quotas apply to certain goods from particular countries – so they are very specific.


Release (Commercial Release)
– Instructions, usually a fax or email instructing the carrier to release the cleared goods to the collecting party

– Return of Container to Port (or other designated location as specified by the leasing shipping line)

RO-RO (Roll-on, Roll-Off)
– Non-containerised cargo e.g. Car, Bus

RPA (Rural Payments Agency)
– Taken from the Import licensing Branch (www. “… the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) issues import licence’s for agricultural, horticultural products and certain items of food and drink”.


– The term sometimes used when goods have not arrived, when they were supposed to.

– The short movement of a Container, usually from Port Quayside to a Warehouse, or internally around the dock yard

Status 1
– A term used in air freight, referring to the date and time at which an air cargo shipment was checked in e.g. Status 1 was set at 09:15 on the 9th March. This date starts the clock ticking of the free time, and outlines when storage charges will start.


T1 / TAD (Transit Accompanying Document)
– Document accompanying uncleared goods during transit from one authorised location to another

Tremcard (Travel Emergency Card)
– Document used when transporting hazardous cargo


– Unique Consignment Number

UOD (Use of Deferment)
– Charge for an agent paying Duty and/or VAT to Customs

UTL (Unable To Locate)
– Warehouse term meaning that they cannot find some freight.


VAT (Value Added Tax)
– UK Tax (currently 20.0%) which applies to most goods imported into the UK – Exemptions and relief’s may apply

VBS (Vehicle Booking System)
– System in place at many UK Ports, whereby vehicles must be booked-in prior to Collection / Delivery of Containers


Wet Bond
– Term used to describe a Bonded Warehouse which is authorised to store Alcohol (and other excisable goods)

Shipping to the UK?

Call us today to see if we can save you money.

We can clear goods at all the major UK Ports & Airport

UK Import Services Limited
Global Shipping and UK Customs Broker

PO Box 832
United Kingdom

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