Shipping terminologies for your guidance

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A serious hazard where cold temperatures (below about -10°C), combined with high wind speed (typically force eight or above on the Beaufort scale), result in spray blown off the sea freezing immediately on contact with the ship.


Idle Time

The amount of ineffective time whereby the available resources are not used e.g. a container in a yard.



This describes members of a ship's company who are not required to serve watches. These were, in general, specialist tradesmen such as the carpenter and the sailmaker.


Immediate exit

The U.S.A. Customs IE Customs form is used when goods are brought into the USA and are to be immediately re-exported without being transported within the USA.


Immediate transport
(IT entry)

Allows foreign merchandise arriving at one port to be transported in bond to another port, where a superseding entry is filed. (US customs)



To receive goods from a foreign country.



The buyer of the goods being transported.


In Bond

A term applied to the status of merchandise admitted provisionally to a country without payment of duties, either for storage in a bonded warehouse or for transhipment to another point, where duties eventually will be paid.


In Gate

The transaction or interchange that occurs at the time a container is received by a rail terminal or water port from another carrier.


In Irons

When the bow of a sailboat is headed into the wind and the boat has stalled and is unable to manoeuvre.


In the offing

In the water, visible from on board a ship, now used to mean something imminent.


In Transit

The status of goods or persons between the outwards Customs clearance and inwards Customs clearance.



Towards the middle axis of the ship.


Inboard motor

An engine mounted within the hull of a vessel, usually driving a fixed propeller by a shaft protruding through the stern. This is generally used on larger vessels.


Inboard-Outboard drive system

For more information see stern drive.



Import (Outbound = Export).


Incentive Rate

A lower-than usual tariff rate assessed because a shipper offers a greater volume than specified in the tariff. The incentive rate is assessed for that portion exceeding normal volume.


Including particular average

Including particular average



Incoterms or international commercial terms are a series of international sales terms, published by International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and are widely used in international commercial transactions. They are used to divide transaction costs and responsibilities between buyer and seller and reflect state-of-the-art transportation practices. The first version was introduced in 1936 and the present dates from 2010. For more information see Terms of Sale. For more information see Terms of Sale.


Indemnity Bond

An agreement to hold a carrier harmless with regard to a liability.


Independent Action

The right of a conference member to publish a rate of tariff rule that departs from the Agreement's common rate or rule.


Independent Tariff

Any body of rate tariffs that are not part of an agreement or conference system.



Placing a port on a vessel's itinerary because the volume of cargo offered by that port justifies the cost of routing the vessel.


Inglefield Clip

A type of clip used to attach a flag to a flag halyard.


Inland Carrier

A transportation line that hauls export or import traffic between ports and inland points.


Inland Point Intermodal

Refers to inland points (non-ports) that can be served by carriers on a through bill of lading.


Inland Port

An inland port (sometimes Dry 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.


Inspection Certificate

A certificate issued by an independent agent or firm attesting to the quality and/or quantity of the merchandise being shipped. Such a certificate is usually required in a letter of credit for commodity shipments.


Installment Shipments

Successive shipments that are permitted under letters of credit. Usually they must take place within a given period of time.


Institute cargo clauses

Maritime insurance


Institute of Freight Forwarders

Institute of Freight Forwarders


Insulated Container

A container insulated on the walls, roof, floor and doors, to reduce the effect of external temperatures on the cargo.


Insulated Tank

The frame of a container constructed to hold one or more thermally insulated tanks for liquids.


Insurance Certificate

Assures the consignee that insurance is provided to guard against loss or damage to the cargo while in transit.


Insurance with Average-clause

This type of clause covers merchandise if the damage amounts to three per cent or more of the insured value of the package or cargo. If the vessel burns, sinks, or collides, all losses are fully-covered. In Marine Insurance, the word average means partial damage or partial loss.


Insurance, All-risk

This type of insurance offers the shipper the broadest coverage available, covering against all losses that may occur in transit.


Insurance, General-Average

In water transportation, the deliberate sacrifice of cargo to make the vessel safe for the remaining cargo. Those sharing in the spared cargo proportionally cover the loss.


Insurance, Particular Average

A marine insurance term which refers to partial loss on an individual shipment from one of the perils insured against, regardless of the balance of the cargo. Particular average insurance can usually be obtained, but the loss must be in excess of a certain percentage of the insured value of the shipment, usually three to five per cent, before a claim will be allowed by the company.


Interchange Agreement

A formal agreement whereby participants agree to exchange equipment in intermodal movements.


Interchange Points

A terminal at which freight in the course of transportation is delivered by one transportation line to another.



An interline agreement is a mutual agreement between lines to transport each other's cargoes at agreed rates.


Interline Freight

Freight moving from origin to destination over the lines of two or more transportation carriers.


Intermediate Points

A point located en route between two other points.



The term used to denote movements of cargo containers interchangeably between transport modes (motor, water and air carriers) where the equipment is compatible within the multiple systems.

This is one of the remarkable advantages brought about by containerisation. All the arrangements can be made in advance by one party; transfer from one mode to another is very quick, nobody needing to handle the merchandise, with the result of A-to-Z transit times being greatly reduced.


Intermodal container transfer facility

An on-dock facility for moving containers from ship to rail or truck.


Internal Register

A register of ships maintained as a subset of a national register. Ships on the internal register fly the national flag and have that nationality but are subject to a separate set of maritime rules from those on the main national register. These differences usually include lower taxation of profits, manning of foreign nationals, and, typically, ownership outside the flag state (when it functions as an FOC register).

The Norwegian International Ship Register and Danish International Ship Register are the most notable examples of an internal register. Both have been instrumental in stemming flight from the national flag to flags of convenience and in attracting foreign owned ships to the Norwegian and Danish flags.


Internation Maritime Organisation

Formerly known as IMCO established in Geneva in 1948, and brought into force ten years later, meeting for the first time in 1959. The IMCO name was changed to IMO in 1982.

Now headquartered in London, U.K., the IMO is a specialised agency of the United Nations with 168 Member States and three Associate Members. The IMO's primary purpose is to develop and maintain a comprehensive regulatory framework for shipping and its remit today includes safety, environmental concerns, legal matters, technical co-operation, maritime security and the efficiency of shipping.


International Air Transport Association

The trade and service organisation representing international airlines from more than 100 countries.


International Air Transport Association (1)

The trade and service organisation representing international airlines from more than 100 countries.


International Association of Classification Societies

An organisation in which the major classification societies, among others American Bureau of Shipping, Lloyd's Register of Shipping and Germanischer Lloyd, are joined, whose principal aim is the improvement of standards concerning safety at sea.

The members of IACS are:

ABS American Bureau of Shipping

BV Bureau Veritas

CCS China Classification Society

DNV Det Norske Veritas

GL Germanischer Lloyd

KR Korean Register of Shipping

LR Lloyd's Register

NK Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (ClassNK)

RINA Registro Italiano Navale

RS Russian Maritime Register of Shipping


International Chamber of Commerce

The largest, most representative business organisation in the world. Its hundreds of thousands of member companies in over 130 countries have interests spanning every sector of private enterprise. A world network of national committees keeps the ICC International Secretariat in Paris informed about national and regional business priorities. More than 2,000 experts drawn from ICC's member companies feed their knowledge and experience into crafting the ICC stance on specific business issues. The United Nations, the World Trade Organization, and many other intergovernmental bodies, both international and regional, are kept in touch with the views of international business through ICC.


International data interchange standards

The United Nations-backed electronic data interchange standards body, used to create electronic versions of common business documents that will work on a global scale.


International dhip and port facility security code

An amendment to the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention (1974/1988) on minimum security arrangements for ships, ports and government agencies.

Having come into force in 2004


International Maritime Consultative Organisation

A United Nations-affiliated organisation established in 1948 and representing all maritime countries in matters affecting maritime transportation; including the movement of dangerous goods, bulk commodities and maritime regulations.


International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG Code)
(IMDG Code)

A code, representing the classification of dangerous goods as defined by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in compliance with international legal requirements.


International Maritime Satelite Organisation

A company originally founded in 1979 as the International Maritime Satellite Organisation (Inmarsat), a not-for-profit international organisation, set up at the behest of the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

When the organisation was converted into a private company in 1999, the business was split into two parts: the bulk of the organisation was converted into the commercial company, Inmarsat plc, and a small group became the regulatory body, IMSO. It provides telephony and data services to users worldwide, via special terminals which communicate to ground stations through twelve geosynchronous telecommunications satellites.


International Organisation for Standardisation

An international standard-setting body composed of representatives from various national standards organisations. Founded on 23rd February 1947, the organisation promulgates worldwide proprietary industrial and commercial standards. It has its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.


Interstate Commerce Commission

U.S.A. abbreviation for Interstate Commerce Commission, The U.S.A. federal body charged with enforcing acts of the USA Congress that affect common carriers in interstate control.



An itemised list of goods shipped to a buyer, stating quantities, prices, shipping charges, etc.


Inward Foreign Manifest

A complete listing of all cargo entering the country of discharge. This is required at all world ports and is the primary source of cargo control, against which duty is assessed by the receiving country.


Inward freight manifest

a complete listing of all cargo entering the country of discharge - required at all world ports. Failure to provide, errors in preparation, or late submittal causes the vessel operator to be fined. IFM is the primary source of cargo control, against which duty is assessed by the receiving country. Since it is a revenue-producing document, it must be accurate.


In-water survey

A method of surveying the underwater parts of a ship while it is still afloat instead of having to drydock it for examination of these areas, as was conventionally done.


Irrevocable Letter of Credit

A letter of credit in which the specified payment is guaranteed by the bank if all terms and conditions are met by the drawee and which cannot be revoked without joint agreement of both the buyer and the seller.


ISO 9000

ISO 9000 is a series of standards, developed and published by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), intended to define, establish, and maintain an effective quality assurance system for manufacturing and service industries.


Issuing Bank

A bank that opens a straight or negotiable letter of credit and assumes the obligation to pay the bank or beneficiary if the documents presented are in accordance with the terms of the letter of credit.


Issuing Carrier

The carrier issuing transportation documents or publishing a tariff.