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“A carrier giving a customer illegal preference to attract cargo. This can take the form of a money refund (rebate); using lower figures than actual for the assessment of freight charges (undercubing); misdeclaration of the commodity shipped to allow the assessment of a lower tariff rate; waiving published tariff charges for demurrage, CFS handling or equalization; providing specialized equipment to a shipper to the detriment of other shippers, etc. ”


A writ issued by a court; requires that specific things be done.


Document that lists in detail all the bills of lading issued by a carrier or its agent or master for a specific voyage. A detailed summary of the total cargo of a vessel. Used principally for Customs purposes.

Marine Insurance 

“Broadly, insurance covering loss or damage of goods at sea. Marine insurance typically compensates the owner of merchandise for losses sustained from fire, shipwreck, etc., but excludes losses that can be recovered from the carrier. ”


Business pertaining to commerce or navigation transacted upon the sea or in seaports in such matters as the court of admiralty has jurisdiction.


“Letters, numbers, and other symbols placed on cargo packages to facilitate identification. Also known as marks.”


“A pointed metal spike, used to separate strands of rope in splicing. ”

Master Inbond 

U.S. Customs’ automated program under AMS. It allows for electronic reporting of inbound (foreign) cargoes in the U.S.

Mate’s Receipt

“An archaic practice. An acknowledgement of cargo receipt signed by a mate of the vessel. The possessor of the mate’s receipt is entitled to the bill of lading, in exchange for that receipt. ”


“1,000 board feet. One MBM equals 2,265 C.M. ”


“Abbreviation for ”

“Master Container Freight Station.”

” See CFS.”

Measurement Cargo 

Freight on which transportation charges are calculated on the basis of volume measurement.


40 cubic feet.

Mechanically Ventilated Container 

A container fitted with a means of forced air ventilation.

Memorandum Bill of Lading

An in-house bill of lading. A duplicate copy.

Memorandum Freight Bill

See Multiple Containerload Shipment.


39.37 inches (approximately).


”2,204.6 pounds or 1,000 kilograms. ”


A cargo movement in which the water carrier provides a through service between an inland point and the port of load/discharge. The carrier is responsible for cargo and costs from origin on to destination. Also known as IPI or Through Service.


“A unit equal to 5,280 feet  on land.  A nautical mile is 6076.115.”

Mini Landbridge

“An intermodal system for transporting containers by ocean and then by rail or motor to a port previously served as an all water move (e.g., Hong Kong to New York over Seattle).”

Minimum Bill of Lading 

A clause in a Bill of lading which specifies the least charge that the carrier will make for issuing a lading. The charge may be a definite sum or the current charge per ton for any specified quantity.

Minimum Charge 

The lowest charge that can be assessed to transport a shipment.

Mixed Container Load

A containerload of different articles in a single consignment.


“Abbreviation for ‘Mini Landbridge.'”


Middlewest Motor Freight Bureau.

Modified Atmosphere

A blend of gases tailored to replace the normal atmosphere within a container.


“Abbreviation for ‘Metric Ton.'”


“Synonymous for all practical purposes with ‘Intermodal.'”

MultiTank Container 

A container frame fitted to accommodate two or more separate tanks for liquids.


Nautical Mile

Distance of one minute of longitude at the equator, approximately 6,076.115. The metric equivalent is 1852.”


National Committee on International Trade Documentation.


“Abbreviation for ‘Not Elsewhere Classified.'”

Negotiable Instruments 

“A document of title (such as a draft, promissory note, check, or bill of lading) transferable from one person to another in good faith for a consideration. Non-negotiable bills of lading are known as “”straight consignment.”” Negotiable bills are known as ‘order b/l’s.'”


“Abbreviation for ‘Not Elsewhere Specified.'”


“Articles packed so that one rests partially or entirely within another, thereby reducing the cubic-foot displacement. ”

Net Tare Weight

The weight of an empty cargo-carrying piece of equipment plus any fixtures permanently attached.

Net Tonnage (NT)

“(0.2+0.02 log10(Vc)) Vc (4d/3D)2, for passenger ships the following formula is added: 1.25 (GT+10000)/10000 (N1+(N2/10)), where Vc is the volume of cargo holds, D is the distance between ship’s bottom and the uppermost deck, d is the draught N1 is the number of cabin passengers, and N2 is the number of deck passengers.) ‘Ton’is figured as an 100 cubic foot ton.”

Net Weight

“Weight of the goods alone without any immediate wrappings, e.g., the weight of the contents of a tin can without the weight of the can. ”

Neutral Body

“An organization established by the members of an ocean conference acts as a self-policing force with broad authority to investigate tariff violations, including authority to scrutinize all documents kept by the carriers and their personnel. Violations are reported to the membership and significant penalties are assessed. ”


National Motor Freight Classification.


“Abbreviation for ‘Not Otherwise Indexed.'”


“Abbreviation for ‘Not Otherwise Indexed By Name.'”

Nomenclature of the Customs Cooperation Council 

The Customs tariff used by most countries worldwide. It was formerly known as the Brussels Tariff Nomenclature and is the basis of the commodity coding system known as the Harmonized System.

Non-Dumping Certificate 

Required by some countries for protection against the dumping of certain types of merchandise or products.

Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier (NVOCC) 

“A cargo consolidator in ocean trades who will buy space from a carrier and sub sell it to smaller shippers. The NVOCC issues bills of lading, publishes tariffs and otherwise conducts itself as an ocean common carrier, except that it will not provide the actual ocean or intermodal service. ”

Notice of Readiness. (When the ship is ready to load.) 


“Abbreviation for ‘Not Otherwise Specified.'”

Front of a container or trailer – opposite the tail.


“Cargo which has been booked but does not arrive in time to be loaded before the vessel sails.  See also ‘Windy Booking.'”


North Pacific Coast Freight Bureau.


Ocean Bill of Lading (Ocean B/L)

“A contract for transportation between a shipper and a carrier. It also evidences receipt of the cargo by the carrier. A bill of lading shows ownership of the cargo and, if made negotiable, can be bought, sold or traded while the goods are in-transit.”


“See ‘Overland Common Points.'”


“Abbreviation for ‘Operating Differential Subsidy.’  An amount of money the U.S. government paid U.S. shipping companies that qualify for this subsidy.  The intent was to help offset the higher subsidy.  The intent was to help ofset the higher cost of operating a U.S.-flag vessel.  The ODS program is administered by the U.S. Maritime Administration and is being phased out.”


“Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, headquartered in Paris with membership consisting of the world’s developed nations. ”

On Board 

“A notation on a bill of lading that cargo has been loaded on board a vessel. Used to satisfy the requirements of a letter of credit, in the absence of an express requirement to the contrary. ”

On Deck

A notation on a bill of lading that the cargo has been stowed on the open deck of the ship.

Open Account 

A trade arrangement in which goods are shipped to a foreign buyer without guarantee of payment.

Open Insurance Policy 

A marine insurance policy that applies to all shipments made by an exporter over a period of time rather than to one shipment only.

Open Top Container 

“A container fitted with a solid removable roof, or with a tarpaulin roof so the container can be loaded or unloaded from the top. ”

Operating Ratio 

A comparison of a carrier’s operating expense with its net sales.   The most general measure of operating efficiency.


Overseas Private Investment Corporation.

Optimum Cube 

The highest level of cube utilization that can be achieved when loading cargo into a container.

Order-Notify (O/N) 

A bill of lading term to provide surrender of the original bill of lading before freight is released; usually associated with a shipment covered under a letter of credit.


“Abbreviation for ‘Origin Rail Freight Station.’ Same as CFS at origin except an ORFS is operated by the rail carrier participating in the shipment. ”


Location where shipment begins its movement.

Original Bill of Lading (OBL)

“A document which requires proper signatures for consummating carriage of contract. Must be marked as ‘original’by the issuing carrier.”


“Abbreviation for ‘Over, Short or Damaged’Usually discovered at cargo unloading.”

Out Gate

Transaction or interchange that occurs at the time a container leaves a rail or water terminal.


To charge more than the proper amount according to the published rates.

Overheight Cargo 

Cargo more than eight feet high which thus cannot fit into a standard container.

Overland Common Point (OCP)

“A term stated on the bills of lading offering lower shipping rates to importers east of the Rockies, provided merchandise from the Far East comes in through the West Coast ports. OCP rates were established by U.S. West Coast steamship companies in conjunction with western railroads so that cargo originating or destined for the American Midwest and East would be competitive with all-water rates via the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf ports. Applies to eastern Canada. ”

Owner Code (SCAC)

“Standard Carrier Abbreviation Code identifying an individual common carrier. A three letter carrier code followed by a suffix identifies the carrier’s equipment. A suffix of “”U”” is a container and ‘C’is a chassis. “