E – H


Eastern Central Motor Carriers Association. 

Edge Protector
“An angle piece fitted over the edge of boxes, crates, bundles and other packages to prevent the pressure from metal bands or other types from cutting into the package.”
“Abbreviation for ‘Electronic Data Interface.’Generic term for transmission of transactional data between computer systems. EDI is typically via a batched transmission, usually conforming to consistent standards. ”
International data interchange standards sponsored by the United Nations.



– A charge for services performed in connection with floating elevators. – Charges assessed for the handling of grain through grain elevators.
Elkins Act

“An act of Congress (1903) prohibiting rebates, concession, misbilling, etc. and providing specific penalties for such violations. ”


Order to restrict the hauling of freight.

Eminent Domain

“The sovereign power to take property for a necessary public use, with reasonable compensation.”

Empty Repo

Contraction for Empty Repositioning. The movement of empty containers. 

A legal signature usually placed on the reverse of a draft; signifies transfer of rights from the holder to another party.


Customs documents required to clear an import shipment for entry into the general commerce of a country.


A monetary allowance to the customer for picking up or delivering at a point other than the destination shown on the bill of lading. This provision is covered by tariff publication.

Equipment Interchange Receipt (EIR)

“A document transferring a container from one  carrier to another, or to/from a terminal. ” 

– Estimated Time of Availability. That time when a tractor/partner carrier is available for dispatch. – Estimated time of arrival. 

A gas produced by many fruits and vegetables that accelerates the ripening and aging processes.


Eastern Weighing and Inspection Bureau. 

”Ex Dec”
“Contraction for ‘Shipper’s Export Declaration.”

”Ex – ‘From'”
“When used in pricing terms such as ‘Ex Factory’or ‘Ex Dock,’it signifies that the price quoted applies only at the point of origin indicated. ”


Notations made when the cargo is received at the carrier’s terminal or loaded aboard a vessel. They show any irregularities in packaging or actual or suspected damage to the cargo. Exceptions are then noted on the bill of lading.

Abbreviation for Export-Import Bank of the United States. An independent U.S. Government Agency which facilitates exports of U.S. goods by providing loan guarantees and insurance for repayment of bank-provided export credit.

Expiry Date

“Issued in connection with documents such as letters of credit, tariffs etc. to advise that stated provisions will expire at a certain time. ”

Export Shipment of goods to a foreign country.

Export Declaration

A government document declaring designated goods to be shipped out of the country. To  be completed by the exporter and filed with the U.S. Government. 

Export License
“A government document which permits the ‘Licensee’to engage in the export of designated goods to certain destinations.”

Export Rate
A rate published on traffic moving from an interior point to a port for transshipment to a foreign country.



“A factor is an agent who will, at a discount (usually five to 8% of the gross), buy receivables. ”


“Abbreviation for ‘Freight All Kinds.’Usually refers to full container loads of mixed shipments.”

False Billing
Misrepresenting freight or weight on shipping documents. 

“Abbreviation for ‘Free Alongside Ship.'” 

“Abbreviation for ‘Full Container Load.'”

“Abbreviation for ‘Free Discharge.'”


Food and Drug Administration. 

Feeder Service
Cargo to/from regional ports are transferred to/from a central hub port for a long-haul ocean voyage.

Feeder Vessel

“A short-sea vessel which transfers cargo between a central   “”hub”” port and smaller ‘spoke’ports.”


“Abbreviation for ‘Forty-Foot Equivalent Units.’Refers to container size standard of forty feet. Two twenty-foot containers or TEU’s equal one FEU. ”

Fifth Wheel
The semi-circular steel coupling device mounted on a tractor which engages and locks with a chassis semi-trailer.

See Free In and Out. 

A capacity measurement equal to one-fourth of a barrel.

Fixed Costs

“Costs that do not vary with the level of activity. Some fixed costs continue even if no cargo is carried. Terminal leases, rent and property taxes are fixed costs. ”

Flat Car
A rail car without a roof and walls. 

Flat Rack/Flat Bed Container
A container with no sides and frame members at the front and rear. Container can be loaded from the sides and top.

FMC (F.M.C.)

“Federal Maritime Commission. The U.S. Governmental regulatory body responsible for administering maritime affairs including the tariff system, Freight Forwarder Licensing, enforcing the conditions of the Shipping Act and approving conference or other carrier agreements. ”


“See Free On Board. See also Terms of Sale, FOB. ” 

“Abbreviation for ‘Free on Rail.'”

Force Majeure
“The title of a common clause in contracts, exempting the parties for non-fulfillment of their obligations as a result of conditions beyond their control, such as earthquakes, floods or war. ”

Fore and Aft
The direction on a vessel parallel to the center line. 

Foreign Sales Corporation
“Under U.S. tax law, a corporation created to obtain tax exemption on part of the earnings of U.S. products in foreign markets.  Must be set-up as a foreign corporation with an office outside the USA. ”

Foreign Trade Zone

“A free port in a country divorced from Customs authority but under government control. Merchandise, except that which is prohibited, may be stored in the zone without being subject to import duty regulations. ”

Fork Lift

A machine used to pick up and move goods loaded on pallets or skids.

Foul Bill of Lading
A receipt for goods issued by a carrier with an indication that the goods were damaged when received. Compare Clean Bill of Lading

Four-Way Pallet

A pallet designed so that the forks of a fork lift truck can be inserted from all four sides. See Fork lift.

Forwarder Compensation 
See Brokerage. 

“See ‘Free of Particular Average.'”

Free Alongside (FAS)
The seller must deliver the goods to a pier and place them within reach of the ship’s loading equipment. See Terms of Sale.

Free Astray

An astray shipment (a lost shipment that is found) sent to its proper destination without additional charge.

Free In and Out (FIO)
Cost of loading and unloading a vessel is borne by the charterer/shipper.

Free of Particular Average (FPA)
“A marine insurance term meaning that the assurer will not allow payment for partial loss or damage to cargo shipments except in certain circumstances, such as stranding, sinking, collision or fire. ”

Free on Board (FOB – U.S. Domestic Use)
Shipped under a rate that includes costs of delivery to and the loading onto a carrier at a specified point. 

– FOB Freight Allowed: The same as FOB named inland carrier, except the buyer pays the transportation charge and the seller reduces the invoice by a like amount.”

“- FOB Freight Prepaid: The same as FOB named inland carrier, except the seller pays the freight charges of the inland carrier.”

– FOB Named Point of Exportation: Seller is responsible for the cost of placing the goods at a named point of exportation. Some European buyers use this form when they actually mean FOB vessel.
FOB Vessel: Seller is responsible for goods and preparation of export documentation until actually placed aboard the vessel.

Free on Board (Int’l Use)
See Terms of Sale.

Free Out (FO)
Cost of unloading a vessel is borne by the charterer.

Free Port
A restricted area at a seaport for the handling of duty-exempted import goods. Also called a Foreign Trade Zone.

Free Sale Certificate
“The U.S. government does not issue certificates of free sale. However, the Food and Drug Administration, Silver Spring, Maryland, will issue, upon request, a letter of comment to the U.S. manufacturers whose products are subject to the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act or other acts administered by the agency. The letter can take the place of the certificate.”Free Time 
”That amount of time that a carrier’s equipment may be used without incurring additional charges. (See Storage, Demurrage or Per Diem.) ”

Free Trade Zone
“A port designated by the government of a country for duty-free entry of any non-prohibited goods. Merchandise may be stored, displayed, used for manufacturing, etc., within the zone and re-exported without duties.”


Refers to either the cargo carried or the charges assessed for carriage of the cargo.

Freight Bill
“A document issued by the carrier based on the bill of lading and other information; used to account for a shipment operationally, statistically, and financially.  An Invoice.”

Freight Forwarder
A person whose business is to act as an agent on behalf of the shipper. A freight forwarder frequently makes the booking reservation.


See Ships.


Industry-related: A point at which freight moving from one territory to another is interchanged between transportation lines.

“Abbreviation for ‘General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.’A multilateral treaty to help reduce trade barriers between the signatory countries and to promote trade through tariff concessions. The World Trade Organization (WTO) superseded GATT in 1994. ”

“Abbreviation for ‘Government Bill of Lading.'”

“Abbreviation for ‘General Department Store Merchandise.’A classification of commodities that includes goods generally shipped by mass-merchandise companies. This commodity structure occurs only in service contracts. ”

General Order (G.O.)
When U.S. Customs orders shipments without entries to be kept in their custody in a bonded warehouse.

Generator Set (Gen Set)
A portable generator which can be attached to a refrigerated container to power the refrigeration unit during transit.

“In the Far East, a warehouse where goods are stored and delivered.”

The front rails of the chassis that raise above the plane of the chassis and engage in the tunnel of a container leading to the connection to tractor.

“Abbreviation for ‘General Rate Increase.’Used to describe an across-the-board tariff rate increase implemented by conference members and applied to base rates. ”

Gross Tonnage (GT)
“Applies to vessels, not to cargo, (0.2+0.02 log10V) where V is the volume in cubic meters of all enclosed spaces on the vessel.”

Gross Weight
“Entire weight of goods, packaging and freight car or container, ready for shipment. Generally, 80,000 pounds maximum container, cargo and tractor for highway transport. ”

“A consolidation service, putting small shipments into containers for shipment. ”

“Abbreviation for ‘Gross Vehicle Weight.’The combined total weight of a vehicle and its container, inclusive of prime mover. ”


“Hague Rules, The “
“A multilateral maritime treaty adopted in 1921 (at The Hague, Netherlands). Standardizes liability of an international carrier under the Ocean B/L. Establishes a legal ‘floor’ for B/L. See COGSA ”

Harbor Master
“An officer who attends to the berthing, etc., of ships in a harbor.”

Harmonized System of Codes (HS)
“An international goods classification system for describing cargo in international trade under a single commodity-coding scheme. Developed under the auspices of the Customs Cooperations Council (CCC), an international Customs organization in Brussels, this code is a hierarchically structured product nomenclature containing approximately 5,000 headings and subheadings. It is organized into 99 chapters arranged in 22 sections. Sections encompass an industry (e.g., Section XI, Textiles and Textile Articles); chapters encompass the various materials and products of the industry (e.g., Chapter 50, Silk; Chapter 55, Manmade Staple Fibers; Chapter 57, Carpets). The basic code contains four-digit headings and six-digit subheadings. Many countries add digits for Customs tariff and statistical purposes. In the United States, duty rates will be the eight-digit level; statistical suffixes will be at the ten-digit level. The Harmonized System (HS) is the current U.S. tariff schedule (TSUSA) for imports and is the basis for the ten-digit Schedule B export code. ”

The opening in the deck of a vessel; gives access to the cargo hold.

“An industry abbreviation for ‘Hazardous Material.’ ”

Heavy-Lift Charge
A charge made for lifting articles too heavy to be lifted by a ship’s normal tackle.

High-Density Compression
Compression of a flat or standard bale of cotton to approximately 32 pounds per cubic foot. Usually applies to cotton exported or shipped coastwise.

“The marrying of two or more portions of one shipment that originate at different locations, moving under one bill of lading, from one shipper to one consignee. Authority for this service must be granted by tariff publication. See Bill of Lading.”

Hopper Barge
A barge which loads material dumped into it by a dredger and discharges the cargo through the bottom.


See Door-to-Door.

“Cargo loaded into a container by the shipper under shipper’s supervision. When the cargo is exported, it is unloaded at the foreign pier destination.”

“The process of connecting a moving rail car with a motionless rail car within a rail classification yard in order to make up a train. The cars move by gravity from an incline or “”hump”” onto the appropriate track. “