Shipping terminologies for your guidance

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Validated Export License

A document required for commodities deemed important to national security, foreign-policy objectives, or protecting domestic supplies of strategic materials. The license constitutes permission to export a specific product to a specific party. The exporter applies for the license, which must be returned to an Export Administration after completing the specified shipments.


Valuable Cargo

A consignment which contains one or more valuable articles.


Valuation Charge

Transport charges for certain goods, based on the value declared for the carriage of such goods (also: 'Ad Valorem').


Value Added Tax

A form of indirect sales tax paid on products and services at each stage of production or distribution, based on the value added at that stage and included in the cost to the ultimate customer.



A rope leading from the gaff to either side of the deck; used to prevent the gaff from sagging. For more information see boom vang.


Vanishing angle

The maximum degree of heel after which a vessel becomes unable to return to an upright position.



Stowing cargo in a container.


Variable Cost

Costs that vary directly with the level of activity within a short time. Examples include costs of moving cargo inland on trains or trucks, stevedoring in some ports, and short-term equipment leases. For business analysis, all costs are either defined as variable or fixed. For a business to break even, all fixed costs must be covered. For profit, all variable costs must be recovered.



The seller or the supplier of goods or services.


Ventilated Container

A container designed with openings in the side and/or end walls to admit the ingress of outside air when the doors are closed.


Verified Gross Mass

Today, the weight of containers provided by the shippers is not always accurate, leading to accidents and posing a huge risk for the personnel, on the roads, inside the terminal, to cargo and equipment. Indeed, there were often discrepancies observed between the declared gross mass and the actual gross mass of a packed container.

In May 2014, the International Maritime Organization adopted an amendment to the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) regarding a mandatory container weight verification requirement on shippers. This convention applies to all containers shipments to which SOLAS amendments apply.

From 1st July 2016, shippers will be required to provide the Verified Gross Mass (VGM) of each shipment to their ocean carrier. The responsibility is with the shipper to confirm the VGM before the carrier’s load list cut-off date.

The new SOLAS amendments introduce two main new requirements:

  • The shipper is responsible for providing the verified weight by stating it in the shipping document and submitting it to the master or his representative and to the terminal representative sufficiently in advance to be used in the preparation of the ship stowage plan; 
  • The verified gross mass is a condition for loading a packed container onto a ship.

If not confirmed, the container will not be loaded on board (potential increased charges).

Please consult our  FAQs to know more about VGM.
More information can be found as well at IMO (International Maritime Organization).






Vessel (1)

1. A floating structure designed for the transport of cargo and/or passengers.

2. Boiler, drum.


Vessel Manifest

The international carrier is obligated to make declarations of the ship's crew and contents at both the port of departure and arrival. The vessel manifest lists various details about each shipment by bill of lading number. Obviously, the bill of lading serves as the core source from which the manifest is created.


Vessel operating common carrier

A carrier defined by maritime law, offering an international cargo transport service operating their own vessels under their own rate structure in accordance with tariffs filed with the Federal Maritime Commission.

MSC fits this description.


Vessel Supplies for Immediate Exportation

Allows equipment and supplies arriving at one port to be loaded on a vessel, aircraft, etc., for its exclusive use and to be exported from the same port.



The shape of a boat or ship which sees the shape of the hull comes to a straight line to the keel.


Visby Rules

The Protocol to amend the International Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules of Law Relating to Bills of Lading, signed at Brussels on 25th August, 1924.

These amendments to the Hague Rules, adopted in Brussels on February 23rd, 1968, came into force on June 23rd, 1977, for ten nations and since then for many more.

The Visby Rules were the result of the CMI Conference of 1963 in Stockholm, Sweden, which formally adopted the Rules in the ancient town of Visby after the Conference.

The Hague/Visby Rules are the Hague Rules as amended by the Visby Rules. A further Protocol to Amend the International Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules of Law Relating to Bills of Lading signed at Brussels on August 25th, 1924 as Amended by Protocol of February 23rd, 1968, was adopted on December 21st, 1979 and entered into force on February 14th, 1984.

Most nations which have adopted Visby have adopted this Protocol, which is called the 'Visby S.D.R. Protocol'.



Used in tariffs to specify commodities.


Voltri Terminal Europa

A Genoa-based container operator.


Volume charge

A charge for the carriage of goods based on their volume (by units of one cubic metre or 40 cubic feet).



A journey by sea from one port or country to another one or, in case of a round trip, to the same port.


Voyage Charter

A contract under which the shipowner agrees to carry an agreed quantity of cargo from a specified port or ports to another port or ports for a remuneration called freight, which is calculated according to the quantity of cargo loaded, or sometimes at a lump sum freight.


Voyage Number

The reference number assigned by the carrier or his agent to the voyage of the vessel.