Shipping terminologies for your guidance

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National Carrier

A flag carrier owned or controlled by the state.


National committee on internation trade documentation

National committee on internation trade documentation


Nautical Mile

The nautical mile (symbol M, NM, Nm or nmi) is a unit of length corresponding approximately to one minute of arc of latitude along any meridian.

The international nautical mile was defined by the First International Extraordinary Hydrographic Conference, Monaco (1929) as exactly 1852 metres. This is the only definition in widespread current use, and is the only one accepted by the International Hydrographic Organization and by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM).

Before 1929, different countries had different definitions, and the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the United States did not immediately accept the international value.



The act of determining position, location and course to the destination of a vessel.


Navigation rules

Rules of the road that provide guidance on how to avoid collision and also used to assign blame when a collision does occur.



Imprudent action or omission which may cause injury, damage or loss.



In terms of documents, 'negotiable' means that, for example, a Bill of Lading is handed over/transferred in the right manner (viz. proper endorsement) to another person either endorsed in blank or endorsed to a person and that person acquires, by this transfer, certain rights vis-�-vis the goods - for example they are entitled to take possession of the goods.


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 Bs/L.'


Neptune Orient Lines

'Neptune Orient Lines' Limited SGX, a Singapore-based global transport company with core businesses in container shipping and supply chain management.

A subsidiary of Temasek Holdings, it wholly owns shipping company American President Lines, now known as APL and its sister logistics arm APL Logistics.



Articles packed so that one rests partially or entirely within another, thereby reducing a vessel's cubic-foot displacement.


Net Capacity

The number of tons of cargo which a vessel can carry when loaded in salt water to her summer freeboard marks. This is also called cargo carrying capacity, cargo deadweight or useful deadweight.


Net register tons

This is the theoretical cargo capacity of a ship. It is sometimes used to charge fees or taxes on a vessel. For more information see 'Net Tonnage.'


Net Short Ton

USA: 2,000 pounds.


Net Tare Weight

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


Net Terms

Free of charters' commission.


Net Tonnage

Net tonnage (often abbreviated as NT, N.T. or nt) is a calculated representation of a the internal volume of a ship's cargo holds.

It is expressed in 'tons'


Net tons

Net tons


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

A group which operates within the framework of a rate conference. Established by the member carriers to act as a self-policing force to seek out malpractices and other tariff violations.

The neutral body has authority to scrutinise all documents kept by the carriers and the carriers' personnel. Has right of entry to all areas of the carriers' facilities, including desks, briefcases, etc. Violations found are reported to the membership, and significant penalties are assessed. Repeated offences are subject to escalating penalties. Revenue from penalties is used to support the cost of the neutral body's activity.



Short rope used to bind a cable to the 'messenger' (a moving line propelled by the capstan) so that the cable is dragged along too (used where the cable is too large to be wrapped round the capstan itself). During the raising of an anchor the nippers were attached and detached from the (endless) messenger by the ship's boys. Hence the term for small boys: 'nippers'.


Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (NK)

(? ?????????, Zaidan-h?jin Nippon Kaiji Ky?kai); a ship classification society. It is also known by the brand name ClassNK or often in the industry as just CNK. It is a not for profit society dedicated to ensuring the safety of life and property at sea, and the prevention of pollution of the marine environment.

By the end of December 2007, the Society had 6,793 ships totalling 152.22 million gross tons under class. This figure represents approximately 20 percent of the world merchant fleet currently under class.

Although based in Japan, ClassNK has worldwide representation through a network of exclusive surveyor offices.


No room to swing a cat

The entire ship's company was expected to witness floggings, assembled on deck. If it was very crowded, the bosun might not have room to swing the 'cat o' nine tails' (the whip).


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 Harmonised System.


Non-Tariff Barriers

Economic, political, administrative or legal impediments to trade other than duties, taxes and import quotas.


Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier

A firm that offers the same services as an ocean carrier, but which does not own or operate a vessel.

NVOCCs usually act as consolidators, accepting small shipments (LCL) and consolidating them into full container-loads. They then act as a shipper, tendering the containers to ocean common carriers. They are required to file tariffs with the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission, and are subject to the same laws and statutes that apply to primary common carriers.


Norske Veritas

Norwegian classification society.For more information see Det Norske.


North American free trade agreement

A free trade agreement comprising the USA, Canada, and Mexico.



The front of a container or trailer - opposite to the tail where the doors are.



Cargo which has been booked but does not arrive in time to be loaded before the vessel sails. For more information see Windy Booking.


Not elsewhere classified

Not elsewhere classified


Not elsewhere mentioned

Not elsewhere mentioned


Not elsewhere specified

If no rate for the specific commodity shipped appears in the tariff, then a general class rate (for example, 'printed matter NES') will apply. Such rates usually are higher than rates for specific commodities.


Not morespecifically described

Not morespecifically described


Not otherwise enumerated

Not otherwise enumerated


Not otherwise herein provided

Not otherwise herein provided


Not otherwise indexed

Not otherwise indexed


Not otherwise indicated by number/name

Not otherwise indicated by number/name


Not otherwise specified

'Cargo N.O.S.' signifies a rate for cargo that is not mentioned elsewhere under its own name.


Notify Party

The party to be notified of arrival of goods.