Shipping terminologies for your guidance

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Rabbet or rebate

A groove cut in wood to form part of a joint.



Acronym for RAdio Detection And Ranging. An electronic system designed to transmit radio signals and receive reflected images of those signals from a 'target' in order to determine the bearing and distance to the 'target'.


Radar reflector

A special fixture fitted to a vessel or incorporated into the design of certain aids to navigation to enhance their ability to reflect radar energy. In general, these fixtures will materially improve the visibility for use by vessels with radar.


Rag Top

A slang term for an open-top trailer or container with a tarpaulin cover.


Rail Car

A wheeled wagon used for the carriage of cargo by rail.


Rail Division

The amount of money an ocean carrier pays to the railroad for overland charges.


Railand canal
(R & C)

Railand canal



A railroad terminal where containers are received or delivered and trains are loaded or discharged. Originally, trailers moved onto the rearmost flatcar via a ramp and driven into position in a technique known as 'circus loading.' Most modern rail facilities use lifting equipment to position containers onto the flatcars.



A movement where the load initiates at an origin rail ramp and terminates at a consignee's door.



A movement of equipment from an origin rail ramp to a destination rail ramp only.


Range lights

Two lights associated to form a range (a line formed by the extension of a line connecting two charted points) which often, but not necessarily, indicates the channel centreline. The front range light is the lower of the two, and nearer to the mariner using the range. The rear light is higher and further from the mariner.



The price of a transport service.

Quantity, amount or degree measured or applied.


Rate Basis

A formula of the specific factors or elements (weight, measure, equipment type, package, box, etc.) that control the making of a rate.



Rope ladders permanently rigged from bulwarks and tops to the mast to enable access to top masts and yards.



Sailing across the wind: from about 60° to about 160° off the wind. Reaching consists of 'close reaching' (about 60° to 80°), 'beam reaching' (about 90°) and 'broad reaching' (about 120° to 160°). For more information see also beating and running.


Ready about

A call to indicate imminent tacking. For more information see going about.



Under ICC and common law, reasonableness is the requirement that a rate not be higher than is necessary to reimburse the carrier for the actual cost of transporting the traffic, allowing a fair profit.



A deduction taken from a set payment or charge. As a rebate is given after payment of the full amount has been made, it differs from a discount which is deducted in advance of the payment. In foreign trade, a full or partial rebate may be given on import duties paid on goods which are later re-exported.

USA: An illegal form of discounting or refunding that has the net effect of lowering the tariff price.






Changing the consignee or destination on a bill of lading while the shipment is still in transit. Diversion has substantially the same meaning.


Reconsolidation point

A location where loose or other non-containerised cargo is regrouped for further carriage.


Red Clause Letter of Credit

A letter of credit that allows the exporter to receive a percentage of the face value of the letter of credit in advance of shipment. This enables the exporter to purchase inventory and pay other costs associated with producing and preparing the export order.


Red Duster

The traditional nickname for the Red Ensign, the civil ensign (flag) carried by civilian vessels from the United Kingdom.


Red Label

The label required on shipments of flammable articles.


Reduced cat

A light version on the cat o'nine tails for use on boys; also called 'boys' pussy'.



Reef: To temporarily reduce the area of a sail exposed to the wind, usually to guard against adverse effects of strong wind or to slow the vessel.

Reef: Rock or coral, possibly only revealed at low tide, shallow enough that the vessel will at least touch, if not go aground.


Reef points

Small lengths of cord attached to a sail, used to secure the excess fabric after reefing.



Long pieces of rough canvas sewed across the sails to give them additional strength.



An insulated container with provisions for temperature control, either self-contained or attached (Gen set, meaning GENerator SET). They come in several ISO lengths or high cube, same as standard boxes.

'Reefer Services' include power supply and temperature monitoring.



Ropes employed in the operation of reefing.






The repayment to the purchaser of the total charge or a portion of that charge for unused carriage.



The record of a ship's ownership and nationality as listed with the maritime authorities of a country; also, the compendium of such individual ship's registrations.

The registration of a ship provides it with a nationality and makes it subject to the laws of the country in which it is registered (the flag state); regardless of the nationality of the ship's ultimate owner.

For more information see also Captive Register, Flag of Convenience Register, Internal Register.


Register Ton

The unit of measurement for the internal capacity of a vessel whereby one register ton equals 100 cubic feet (2.83 cubic meter).

The gross (bruto) tonnage comprises of all spaces below the main (tonnage) deck and the enclosed spaces above the main (tonnage) deck less exempted spaces.

The net tonnage consists of the gross tonnage less exemptions like ballast tanks, engine room, living quarters etc.

The register tonnage is mentioned on the tonnage certificate.


Registered tonnage

Registered tonnage


Registro Italiano Navale

Founded in Genoa in 1861 under the name REGISTRO ITALIANO, by the 'Associazione della Mutua Assicurazione Marittima' (Mutual Marine Insurance Association). This organisation was established in Genoa in 1857 by ship managers and shipowners (or 'ship shareholders'), to cover risks related to loss and/or damage of the hull and rigging of sailing ships, to meet the needs of Italian maritime operators, as had already occurred in Great Britain and France.

Since its foundation, Registro Italiano Navale has been an instrument of support for economic development in the areas where it operates. Over 140 years later, the role of RINA has not changed, but it has expanded to meet the needs of a constantly evolving international economy.


Related Points

A group of points to which rates are made the same as, or in relation to, rates to other points in group.


Relative bearing

A bearing relative to the direction of the ship: the clockwise angle between the ship's direction and an object. For more information see also Absolute bearing and Bearing.



The transfer of containers from one ship to another.


Released Value Not Exceeding (1)

Used to limit the value of goods transported. The limitation refers to carrier liability when paying a claim for lost or damaged goods.


Released value not exceeding

Usually used to limit the value of goods transported. The limitation refers to carrier liability when paying a claim for lost or damaged goods.


Request for proposal

Request for proposal


Request for quotation

Request for quotation



Allotment in advance of space or weight capacity. Also referred to as 'Booking'.



For many reasons (ship's balance, change of destination from the shipper, operational convenience), a container already loaded on board a vessel might be re-stowed, which means that, at some port along the route, it will be moved from a previous stowage location on board the vessel to another stowage location on board the same vessel. This can sometimes be done on the vessel (ship to ship shifting), but more frequently done via shore/the pier (ship to pier shifting).

Obviously there is a cost involved for the stevedores' work and, if due to a change of destination by the shipper, that cost might be charged to the cargo.


Restricted articles

Articles handled only under special conditions.



Action taken by a country to restrain its imports from another country that has increased a tariff or imposed other measures that adversely affects the first country's exports.


Return pool

A place where equipment is returned.


Reverse IPI

An inland point provided by an all-water carrier's through bill of lading in the US by first discharging the container in an East Coast port.


Revocable Letter of Credit

For more information see Letter of Credit.



The system of masts and lines on ships and other sailing vessels.


Righting couple

The force which tends to restore a ship to equilibrium once a heel has altered the relationship between her centre of buoyancy and her centre of gravity.



The rim or 'eyebrow' above a port-hole or scuttle.


Riots and civil commotions

Riots and civil commotions


Riots, civil commtions and strikes
(RCC & S)

Riots, civil commtions and strikes


Ro /Ro

An abbreviated term for roll on-roll off. A method of ocean cargo service, using a vessel with ramps, which allows wheeled vehicles to be loaded and discharged without cranes. This term is also used to refer to this type of cargo as well.



The anchor line, rope or cable connecting the anchor chain to the vessel. For more information see Anchor Rode.



A vessel's motion rotating from side to side, about the fore-aft/longitudinal axis. List (qv) is a lasting tilt in the roll direction.

To re-book the cargo to a later vessel.



The side-to-side (athwartship) motion of a vessel.



A number of pulleys, engaged to confine the yard to the weather side of the mast; this tackle is much used in a rough sea.


Ropes (The)

The lines in the rigging.


Rope's end

A summary punishment device.