Shipping terminologies for your guidance

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Free space above a liquid contained in a tank, drum or tank-container, expressed as a percentage of the total capacity. Ullage is often used to leave room for possible expansion of the liquid.


Ultimate Consignee

The party who has been designated on the invoice or packing list as the final recipient of the stated merchandise.


Ultra Large Container Ship

A container carrier with a minimum capacity of 12,500 TEUs.


Ultra Large Crude Carrier

A tanker vessel with a minimum capacity of 320,000 dwt.


UN Dangerous Goods Number

The four-digit number assigned by the United Nations Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods to classify a substance or a particular groups of substances.

Note: The prefix 'UN' must always be used in conjunction with these numbers.


UN Number

The same as UNDG. An identification number referring to hazardous cargoes as classified by the I.M.O.


Unaccompanied Baggage

Luggage not accompanied by a passenger.

A term mostly used in aircraft. Ocean Shipping uses instead 'Household Goods' or 'Personal Effects.'



Acronym for the 'United Nations Commission on International Trade Law,' established by a United Nations General Assembly Resolution in 1966.

The aim of UNCITRAL is to harmonise and unify international trade law. It was instrumental in the preparation of the Hamburg Rules, 1978, and prepared the United Nations Convention on the Liability of Operators of Transport Terminals in International Trade, 1991.

In addition, UNCITRAL has been active in the area of international commercial arbitration and has prepared the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration, 1985, the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Conciliation, 2002, the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules, the UNCITRAL Conciliation Rules, and the UNCITRAL Notes on Organising Arbitral Proceedings.


Unclean Bill of Lading

A bill containing reservations as to the good order and condition of the goods, or the packaging, or both - for example, 'bags torn;' 'drums leaking;' 'one case damaged' or 'rolls chafed.'


Under the weather

Serving a watch on the weather side of the ship, exposed to wind and spray.


Under way

A vessel that is moving under control: that is, neither at anchor, made fast to the shore, aground nor adrift.


Underwater hull or underwater ship

The underwater section of a vessel beneath the waterline, normally not visible except when in drydock.


Uniform customs and practice for documentary credits

A set of rules on the issuance and use of letters of credit.

The UCP is utilised by bankers and commercial parties in more than 175 countries in trade finance. Some 11-15% of international trade utilises letters of credit, totalling over a trillion dollars (US) each year.

The latest revision was approved by the Banking Commission of the ICC at its meeting in Paris on 25th October 2006. This latest version, called the UCP600, formally commenced on 1st July 2007.


Uniform Customs and Practices for Documentary Credits (UCP)

Rules for letters of Credit drawn up by the Commission on Banking Technique and Practices of the International Chamber of Commerce, in consultation with the banking associations of many countries.


Uniform Freight Classification

Uniform Freight Classification


Unit Load

Packages loaded on a pallet, in a crate or any other way that enables them to be handled at one time as a unit.


Unit load device

A pallet.


Unit Train

A train of a specified number of railcars, perhaps 100, which remain as a unit for a designated destination or until a change in routing is made.


United Arab Shipping Company

Established in July 1976; jointly by the six shareholding states from the Persian Gulf (Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and UAE). The head office is located in the State of Kuwait. UASC is the largest ocean carrier of dry cargo to the Middle East.


United Nations Conference on Trade and Development

Established in 1964 as a permanent intergovernmental body. It is the principal organ of the United Nations General Assembly dealing with trade, investment, and development issues.

The organisation's goals are to 'maximise the trade, investment and development opportunities of developing countries and assist them in their efforts to integrate into the world economy on an equitable basis.'

The creation of the conference was based on concerns of developing countries over the international market, multi-national corporations, and great disparity between developed nations and developing nations. In the 1970s and 1980s, UNCTAD was closely associated with the idea of a New International Economic Order (NIEO).

Currently, UNCTAD has 194 member States and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.


United Nations Convention on the Law of the SeaU.N.C.L.O.S.

Also called the Law of the Sea Convention or the Law of the Sea treaty, is the international agreement that resulted from the third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS III), which took place from 1973 through 1982. The Law of the Sea Convention defines the rights and responsibilities of nations in their use of the world's oceans, establishing guidelines for businesses, the environment, and the management of marine natural resources.


United Nations EDI for Administration, Commerce and Transport.

EDI Standards are developed and supported by the UN for electronic message (data) interchange on an international level.


United States Department of Agriculture.

United States Department of Agriculture.



The consolidation of a quantity of individual items into one large shipping unit for easier handling. This includes loading one or more large items of cargo onto a single piece of equipment, such as a pallet.



The removal of a shipment from a container to a platform or warehouse.



Slack off quickly and run slack to a belaying point. This order is given when a line or wire has been stopped off or falls have been four-in-hand and the hauling part is to be belayed.



Specially selected personnel destined for high office.


Utilisation Rate

The quotient of used capacity and available capacity.