Shipping terminologies for your guidance

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A type of light centreboard that is lifted vertically; often in pairs, with the leeward one lowered when beating.


Damage Report

A form on which on-board physical damage is recorded (e.g. containers).


Damaged Cargo Report

A written statement concerning established damages to cargo and/or on-board equipment.


Dangerous Articles Tariff

Dangerous Articles Tariff


Dangerous Goods

The term used by the International Maritime Organisation for hazardous cargo or materials. This includes articles or substances capable of posing a significant risk to health, safety or property, and that ordinarily require special attention when being transported.


Dangerous Goods Declaration

The document issued by a consignor in accordance with applicable conventions or regulations, describing hazardous goods or materials for transport purposes. It also states that the latter have been packed and labelled in accordance with the provisions of the relevant conventions or regulations.


Dangerous Goods Requirement

Dangerous Goods Requirement


Date Draft

The latest time cargo may be delivered to a terminal for loading to a scheduled train or ship. See Draft, bank.


Davy Jones' Locker

An idiom for the bottom of the sea.


Day Beacon

An unlighted fixed structure which is equipped with a dayboard for daytime identification.



The daytime identifier of an aid to navigation, presenting one of several standard shapes (square, triangle, rectangle) and colours (red, green, white, orange, yellow, or black).


Dead Freight

This relates to freight charges to be paid by the shipper for space previously booked but not used. The unused reserved slot in the containership represents a loss of revenue for the carrier. Therefore the deadfreight is charged to the shipper in an attempt to recoup some of that loss.


Dead Leg

A sector navigated without payload.


Dead run

See Running.



A wooden block with holes which is spliced to a shroud. It is used to adjust the tension in the standing rigging of large sailing vessels, by lacing through the holes with a lanyard to the deck. It performs the same job as a turnbuckle.



Haulage: one leg of a move without a paying cargo load. Either a bobtail tractor alone or a tractor pulling an empty container during the repositioning of an empty piece of equipment.



The design angle between the keel (q.v.) and horizontal.


(D.W. / DWT / DWAT / DWCC)

The most common, and useful, measurement for shipping as it measures cargo capacity: The number of tons (2240 lbs.) of cargo, stores and bunkers that a vessel can transport. It is the difference between the number of tons of water a vessel displaces 'light' and the number of tons it displaces 'when submerged to the 'deep load line'.' A vessel's cargo capacity is less than its total deadweight tonnage.


Deadweight Cargo

A long ton of cargo that can be stowed in less than 70 cubic feet.


Deadweight for cargo

Deadweight for cargo


Deadweight Tonnage

The number of tons (2,240 pounds) of cargo, stores and bunker fuel that a vessel can transport. It is the difference between the number of tons it displaces when submerged to the 'load water line. (The net tonnage refers only to the cargo- and-passenger-carrying capacity).


Deadweight Tonnage (1)
(D/W or Dwt)

Deadweight tonnage (also known as deadweight, abbreviated to DWT, D.W.T., d.w.t., or dwt) is a measure of how much weight a ship is carrying or can safely carry. It is the sum of the weights of cargo, fuel, fresh water, ballast water, provisions, passengers and crew. The term is often used to specify a ship's maximum permissible deadweight, the DWT when the ship is fully loaded so that its Plimsoll line is at the point of submersion.



A wooden part of the centreline structure of a boat, usually between the sternpost and amidships.


Deck Cargo

Cargo carried on deck rather than stowed under deck. On-deck carriage is required for certain commodities, such as explosives.


Deck Hand

A person whose job involves aiding the deck supervisor in (un)mooring, anchoring, maintenance, and general evolutions on deck.


Deck Supervisor

The person in charge of all evolutions and maintenance on deck; sometimes split into two groups: forward deck supervisor and aft deck supervisor.



The underside of a deck in a ship. It bears the same relationship to a compartment on the deck below as does the ceiling to the room of a house.



The structures forming the approximately horizontal surfaces in the ship's general structure. Unlike flats, they are a structural part of the ship.


Declaration of Origin

Appropriate statement as to the origin of the goods, made in connection with their exportation by the manufacturer, producer, supplier, exporter or other competent person on the commercial invoice or any document relating to goods.


Declared Value for Carriage

The value of the goods, declared by the shipper on a bill of lading, for the purpose of determining a freight rate or the limit of the carrier's liability.


Deconsolidation Point

A point where loose or other non-containerised cargo is ungrouped for delivery.


Deferred Payment Credit

A letter of credit providing payment once all shipping documents have been presented by the exporter.


Deferred Rebate

The return of a portion of the freight charges by a carrier or a conference shipper in exchange for the shipper giving all or most of his shipments to the carrier or conference over a specified period of time (usually six months). Payment of the rate is deferred for a further similar period, during which the shipper must continue to give all or most of his shipments to the rebating carrier or conference. The shipper thus earns a further rebate which will not, however, be paid without an additional period of exclusive or almost exclusive patronage with the carrier of conference. In this way, the shipper becomes tied to the rebating carrier or conference. Although, the deferred rebate system is illegal in U.S. foreign commerce, it generally is accepted in the ocean trade between foreign countries.


Deficit Weight

A weight by which a shipment is less than the minimum weight.



Relates to consolidation of cargo. The splitting up of shipments into small consignments.


Delivered Duty Unpaid

An incoterm from the ICC. This reflects the emergence of 'door-to-door' intermodal or courier contracts or carriage where only the destination customs duty and taxes (if any) are paid by consignee.


Delivered Ex-Quay/duty paid

An incoterm from the ICC.



The transfer of property/goods from consignor to carrier, one carrier to another, or carrier to consignee.


Delivery Authorised Document

A USA import Customs term.


Delivery Instructions

Provides specific information to the inland carrier concerning the arrangement made by the forwarder to deliver the merchandise to a particular pier or steamship line. Not to be confused with a Delivery Order, which is used for import cargo.


Delivery, Duty Paid

An incoterm from the ICC. Terms of sale also known as 'free domicile.'


Demise Charter

A contract whereby the shipowner leases his vessel to the charterer for a period of time during which the whole use and management of the vessel passes to the charterer, which involves that the charterer is to pay all expenses for the operation and maintenance of the vessel. Officers and crew will become servants of the charterer. A demise charter whereby the charterer has the right to place his own master and crew on board of the vessel is also called 'bareboat charter.'



Domestic: A penalty charge against shippers or consignees for delaying the carrier's equipment beyond the allowed free time provision of the tariff at the rail ramp; International Transportation: A storage charge to shippers, which starts accruing after a container is discharged from a vessel. The charge varies according to rules of the appropriate tariff. See also: Detention, Per Diem and Storage.



The weight of freight per cubic foot or other unit.


Department of Transportation

US Government abbreviation.



The place designated by the carrier where empty containers are kept in stock and received from or delivered to the container operators or merchants.


Depot, Container

The container freight station or a designated area where empty containers can be picked up or dropped off.



A lifting device composed of one mast or pole and a boom or jib which is hinged freely at the bottom.



The area where the carrier physically turns over cargo to the consignee or agent.


Destination Control Statement

Any of the various statements that the U.S. government requires to be displayed on export shipments that specify the destination for which export of the shipment has been authorised.


Destination Delivery Charge

A charge, based on container size, that is applied in many tariffs to cargo. This charge is considered accessorial and is added to the base ocean freight. It covers crane lifts off the vessel, drayage of the container within the terminal and gate fees at the terminal exit.


Destination Delivery Charge (DDC)

A charge based on container size that is applied in many tariffs to cargo. This charge is considered accessorial and is added to the base ocean freight. It covers crane lifts off the vessel, drayage of the container within the terminal and gate fees at the terminal operation.


Det Norske Veritas

Stiftelsen Det Norske Veritas or DNV is a classification society organised as a foundation, with the objective of 'Safeguarding life, property, and the environment'. The organisation's history dates back to 1864, when the foundation was established in Norway to inspect and evaluate the technical condition of Norwegian merchant vessels. DNV describes itself as a provider of services for managing risk. Together with Lloyd's Register and American Bureau of Shipping, DNV is one of the three major companies in the classification society business. DNV has its headquarters in H�vik, B�rum, just outside Oslo, Norway. It has 300 offices in 100 countries, with 8,400 employees. Important industries where the company operates include ship transport, energy, aviation, automotive, finance, food, health care and information technology. It also conducts research in several fields where it operates.



A penalty charge against shippers or receivers for delaying the carrier's equipment outside the port, terminal or depot beyond the allowed Free Time. For more information see: Demurrage, Per Diem and Storage.



The removal of freight; the unloading (unpacking, 'stripping') of a container.


Devil Seam

The devil was possibly a slang term for the garboard seam; hence 'between the devil and the deep blue sea' being an allusion to keel hauling. However, a more popular version seems to be the seam between the waterway and the stanchions which would be difficult to get at; requiring a cranked caulking iron, and a restricted swing of the caulking mallet.


Devil to Pay (or Devil to pay, and no pitch hot)

'Paying' the Devil is sealing the devil seam. It is a difficult and unpleasant job (with no resources) because of the shape of the seam (up against the stanchions) or if the devil refers to the garboard seam, it must be done with the ship slipped or careened.



An amount added or deducted from base rate to make a rate to or from some other point or via another route.


Direct Interchange

The transfer of leased equipment (container) from one lessee to another without necessarily passing through the lessor's container depot.


Directional Light

A light illuminating a sector or very narrow angle and intended to mark a direction to be followed.



Sums paid out by a ship's agent at a port and recovered from the carrier.



1. The unloading of a vehicle, a vessel or an aircraft. 2. The landing of cargo.


Discrepancy Letter of Credit

When documents presented do not conform to the requirements of the Letter of Credit, it is referred to as a 'discrepancy.' Banks will evidently not process Ls/C which include discrepancies. They will refer the situation back to the buyer and/or seller and await further instructions.



A ship's displacement is its mass at any given time, generally expressed in metric tons or long tons. The term is often used to mean the ship's mass when it is loaded to its maximum capacity. A number of synonymous terms exist for this maximum mass, such as loaded displacement, full load displacement and designated displacement. Displacement is a measurement of mass, and should not be confused with similarly named measurements of volume or capacity such as net tonnage, gross tonnage, or deadweight tonnage. The word displacement refers to the mass of the water that the ship displaces while floating. Another way of thinking about displacement is the amount of water that would spill out of a completely filled container were the ship to be placed into it. A floating ship always displaces an amount of water of the same mass as the ship. The density (mass per unit of volume) of water can vary. For example, the average density of seawater at the surface of the ocean is 1025 kg/m�, fresh water on the other hand has a density of about 1000 kg/m�. Consider a 100-ton ship passing from a saltwater sea into a freshwater river. It always displaces exactly 100 tons of water, but it has to displace a greater volume of fresh water to amount to 100 tons. Therefore it would sit slightly lower in the water in the freshwater river than it would in the saltwater sea.


Displacement Hull

A hull designed to travel through the water, rather than planning over it.



To reduce in rank or rating; demote.



A person or firm performing a service of distribution on pool cars or consolidated shipments at destination.



A change made in the route of a shipment in transit (also, reconsignment).



Carriers' practice of dividing revenue received through rates where joint hauls are involved. This is usually according to agreed formulas.



For Ships: A cargo handling area parallel to the shoreline; for Land Transportation: A pier or wharf used as a loading or unloading platform at an industrial site or carrier terminal.


Dock Receipt

A document issued by an exporter (or freight forwarder on exporter's behalf) which includes shipment description, physical details and shipping information. Used by both shipper and carrier to verify shipment particulars, condition, and delivery to carrier. Signed by receiving clerk on behalf of carrier.



Refers to the charge assessed against the vessel for berthing at the facility or for mooring to a vessel so berthed.



A document or label displaying the contents of a consignment or package.


Documents Against Acceptance

Instructions given by a shipper to a bank indicating that documents transferring title to goods should be delivered to the buyer only upon the buyer's acceptance of the attached draft.


Documents Against Payment (D/P)

An indication on a draft that the documents attached are to be released to the drawee only on payment.


Dog watch

A short watch period, generally half the usual time (e.g. a two hour watch between two four hour ones). Such a watch might be included in order to slowly rotate the system over several days for fairness, or to allow both watches to eat their meals at approximately normal times.


Doing Business As

A legal term for conducting business under a registered name.


Doing Business As (1)

A legal term for conducting business under a registered name.


Doldrums (the)

Also called the 'equatorial calms', is a nautical term for the equatorial trough, with special reference to the light and variable nature of the winds.



US phrase: A set of wheels that support the front of a container mounted on a chassis; used when the tractor is disconnected.



A structure consisting of a number of piles driven into the seabed or riverbed in a circular pattern and drawn together with wire rope.


Domestic Carriage

Carriage whereby the place of departure and the place of destination are situated within the same country.



Describes the transportation of a container and its contents or cargo from consignor to consignee; also known as House to House. Not necessarily a through rate.


Double estra strong
(XX Strong)

Double estra strong


Double extra heavy
(XX Heavy)

Double extra heavy


Double-Stack Train

Rail transport of a trainload of containers with two containers, one on top of the other, per carriage.


Double-stack train service

Double-stack train service



A line used to control either a mobile spar, or the shape of a sail.


Draft Bank

U.S.-only (rest of the world: Bill of Exchange): An order issued by a seller against a purchaser; directs payment, usually through an intermediary bank. Typical bank drafts are negotiable instruments and are similar in many ways to checks on checking accounts in a bank.


Draft or Draught (of a vessel)

1. The depth of a ship's keel below the waterline. The number of feet that the hull of a ship is beneath the surface of the water. 2. An unconditional order in writing, addressed by one party (drawer) to another party (drawee), requiring the drawee to pay at a fixed or determinable future date, a specified sum in lawful currency to the order of a specified person.


Draft, Clean

A draft to which no documents are attached.


Draft, Date

A draft that matures on a fixed date, regardless of the time of acceptance.


Draft, Discounted

A time draft under a letter of credit that has been accepted and purchased by a bank at discount.


Draft, Sight

A draft payable on demand upon presentation.


Draft, Time

A draft that matures at a fixed or determinable time after presentation or acceptance.


Draught (of a vessel)

For more information see 'Draft or Draught of a vessel' above.



A partial refund of an import fee.



The individual or firm that issues a draft and thus stands to receive payment.



A truck or other equipment designed to haul heavy loads.



Charge made for local hauling by dray or truck (same as 'Cartage').


Dressing Down

Treating old sails with oil or wax to renew them, or a verbal reprimand.



The large sail flown from the mizzen gaff.



The fifth mast of a six-masted barquentine or gaff schooner. It is preceded by the jigger mast and followed by the spanker mast. The sixth mast of the only seven-masted vessel, the gaff schooner Thomas W. Lawson, was normally called the pusher-mast.


Drop off Charge

Charge made by container owner and/or terminal operators for delivery of a leased, or pool container into depot stock. The drop-off charge may be a combination of actual handling and storage charges with surcharges.


Dry Bulk Container

A container constructed to carry grain, powder and other free-flowing solids in bulk. It is ssed in conjunction with a tilt chassis or platform.


Dry Cargo

Cargo that is not liquid and/or does not require temperature control.


Dry Cargo Container

A container which is designed for the carriage of goods other than liquids.


Dry Freight

Dry cargoes that do not need to be stored in controlled temperature environments.


Dry Port

A dry port (sometimes inland port) is an inland intermodal terminal directly connected by road or rail to a seaport and operating as a centre for the transshipment of sea cargo to inland destinations. In addition to their role in cargo transshipment, dry ports may also include facilities for storage and consolidation of goods, maintenance for road or rail cargo carriers and Customs clearance services. The location of these facilities at a dry port relieves competition for storage and Customs space at the seaport itself.



Attempt to import merchandise into a country at a price less than the fair market value, usually by subsidy by the exporting country.



1. Loose packing material used to protect a ship's cargo from damage during transport. 2. Personal baggage.



A tax imposed by a government on merchandise imported from one country to another. There are several types of duty, including: a) Ad valorem duty ('According to the value.'): An assessment based on the actual value of an article. b) Specific duty: An assessment based on the weight or quantity of an article without reference to its monetary value or market price.


Duty Drawback

A refund of duty paid on imported merchandise when it is later exported.


Duty Free Zone

An area where goods or cargo can be stored without paying import customs duties awaiting further transport or manufacturing.