Shipping terminologies for your guidance

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The central deck of a ship between the forecastle and the quarterdeck.


Waiting Time

A trucking tariff term referring to any period of time beyond the allocated Free Time that a driver has to wait while the customer loads or unloads a container. Until the Free Time period has expired a driver can wait without the customer incurring extra expenses. Waiting Time, however, is chargeable to the client.

In the event the necessary Waiting Time would be too costly, shippers may opt for a 'drag-and-drop' solution, whereas the trucker would drop the container and immediately leave. They will return to pick up the container once laden. This option is more costly than a straight load but may be a lot cheaper than paying for Waiting Time.


Waiver Clause

A clause in a marine insurance policy stating that no acts of the insurer or insured in recovering, saving or preserving the property insured, shall be considered a dismissal from or acceptance of abandonment.



The turbulence behind a vessel; not to be confused with wash.



A number of strong and thick planks running length-wise along the ship, covering the lower part of the ship's side.


War Risk (1)

Marine insurance coverage for the loss of goods resulting from an act of war. Each time there is a 'hot spot' of unrest near a shipping port or shipping lane, tariffs will be raised because the cargo owners and vessel operators' insurance premiums are increased due to a 'War Risk Clause.'


War risk

War risk


War Risk Insurance

Insurance issued by marine underwriters against war-like operations specifically described in the policy. In former times, war risk insurance was taken out only in times of war, but currently many exporters cover most of their shipments with war risk insurance as a protection against losses from derelict torpedoes and floating mines placed during former wars, and also as a safeguard against unforeseen warlike developments.

In the US, war risk insurance is written in a separate policy from the ordinary marine insurance; it is desirable to take out both policies with the same underwriter in order to avoid the ill effects of a possible dispute between underwriters as to the cause (marine peril or war peril) of a given loss.



A building specially designed for reception, delivery, consolidation, distribution and storage of goods/cargo.


Warehouse Entry

The document that identifies goods imported when placed in a bonded warehouse. The duty is not imposed on the products when stored in the warehouse but will be collected when they are withdrawn for delivery or consumption.


Warehouse Receipt (1)

A receipt of commodities deposited in a warehouse, identifying the commodities deposited. It is non-negotiable if delivery is only permitted to a specified person or firm, but it is negotiable if made out to the order of a person or firm or to a bearer.

Endorsement (without endorsement if made out to bearer) and delivery of a negotiable warehouse receipt serves to transfer the property covered by the receipt and serves to transfer the property covered by the receipt. Warehouse receipts are common documents in international banking.


Warehouse receipt

A document that communicates proof of ownership of cargo stroed in the warehouse.


Warehouse Withdrawal for Immediate Exportation

An agreement allowing merchandise that has been withdrawn from a bonded warehouse at one US port to be exported from the same port without paying duty.


Warehouse Withdrawal for Transportation

An agreement allowing merchandise that has been withdrawn from a bonded warehouse at one port to be transported in bond to another port, where a superseding entry will be filed.


Warehouse Withdrawal for Transportation Exportation

An agreement allowing merchandise that has been withdrawn from a bonded warehouse at one port - to be transported in bond through the US - to be exported from another port, without paying duty.



A clause in marine insurance policy whereby the underwriter agrees to cover the goods while in transit between the initial point of shipment and the point of destination, with certain limitations, and also subject to the law of insurable interest. When it was first introduced, the warehouse-to-warehouse clause was extremely important, but now its importance is diminished by the marine extension clauses, which override its provisions.



The storing of goods/cargo.


Warsaw Convention

The Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules Relating to International Carriage by Air, signed at Warsaw, 12 October 1929, or that Convention as amended by the Hague Protocol, 1955, stipulating obligations or parties and limitations and/or exonerations of carriers.



The waves created by a vessel; not to be confused with wake.



A period of time during which a part of the crew is on duty. Changes of watch are marked by strokes on the ship's bell.



Water transport vessels. Ships, boats, personal water craft etc.



A strake of timber laid against the frames or bulwark stanchions at the margin of a laid wooden deck, usually about twice the thickness of the deck plank.



A document prepared by a transportation line at the point of a shipment; shows the point of origin, destination, route, consignor, consignee, description of shipment and amount charged for the transportation service. A waybill is forwarded with the shipment or sent by mail to the agent at the transfer point or waybill destination. Unlike a bill of lading, a waybill is not a document of title.



A location defined by navigational coordinates, especially as part of a planned route.


Wear and Tear

The loss or deterioration of an item resulting from ordinary use.


Wearing ship

Tacking away from the wind in a square-rigged vessel. For more information see Gybe.


Weather deck

Whichever deck is that exposed to the weather - usually either the main deck or, in larger vessels, the upper deck.


Weather gage

A favourable position over another sailing vessel to with respect to the wind.


Weather side

The side of a ship exposed to the wind.


Weather working days

Some ports might not work with strong winds presenting dangerous conditions on the cranes, some others on the handling equipment, or again on the vertical stacks of containers.



A ship that is easily sailed and manoeuvred; makes little leeway when sailing to windward.


Weigh anchor

To heave up (an anchor) - a preparatory task before setting sail.



Gross - The weight of the goods including packing, wrappers, or containers, internal and external. The total weight as shipped.

Net - The weight of the goods themselves without the inclusion of any wrapper.

Tare - The weight of the packaging or container.

Weight / Measurement Ton - In many cases, a rate is shown per weight/measurement ton, carrier's option. This means that the rate will be assessed on either a weight ton or measurement ton basis, whichever will yield the carrier the greater revenue. As example, the rate may be quoted on the basis of 2,240 pounds or 40 cubic feet or of one metric ton or one cubic metre.

Weight Ton - There are three types of weight ton; the short ton, weighing 2,000 pounds; the long ton, weighing 2,240 pounds; and the metric ton weight 2,204.68 pounds. The last is frequently quoted for cargo being exported from Europe.


Weight and inspection

Weight and inspection


Weight Cargo

A cargo on which the transportation charge is assessed on the basis of weight.


Weight Charge

A charge for the carriage of goods based on their weight.


Weight guarenteed

Weight guarenteed


Weight Load Factor

Payload achieved as against available, expressed as a percentage. Cargo is frequently limited by volume rather than weight; load factors of 100% are rarely achieved.


Weight or measurement

The basis for assessing freight charges used in breakbulk shipments. Also known as 'worm.'


Weight Ton

A ton of 1


Weight, Legal

Net weight of goods, plus inside packing.



The term in a Bill of Lading signifying that the master and the carrier are unaware of the nature or quantity of the contents of e.g. a carton, crate, container or bundle and are relying on the abbreviation for 'Weight and/or measurement.' This is also a possible method to assess a freight rate to a shipment.



Places in the ship's hold for the pumps.



A structure built on the shore of a harbour extending into deep water so that vessels may lie alongside. For more information see Dock and Pier.


Wharfage (Whfg.)

A charge assessed by a pier or dock owner against freight handling over the pier or dock against a steamship company using the pier or dock. It is often charged in measure with the ship's length (the longer part of the wharf the ship occupies, the higher the wharfage).


Wheel or ship's wheel

The usual steering device on larger vessels, a wheel connected by cables to the rudder.



The location on a ship where the steering wheel is located; often interchanged with pilothouse and bridge.


Whether in berth or not

Whether in berth or not



A vertical lever connected to the tiller, used for steering on larger ships before the development of the ship's wheel.


White horses or whitecaps

Foam or spray on wave tops caused by stronger winds (usually above Force 4).


Wide berth

To leave room between two ships moored (berthed) allowing space for manoeuvre.



The wind resistance of a boat.



A condition wherein the ship is detained in one particular station by contrary winds.



A winch mechanism, usually with a horizontal axis. It is used where the mechanical advantage is greater than that obtainable by block and tackle (such as raising the anchor on small ships).



Sea conditions with a tidal current and a wind in opposite directions, leading to short, heavy seas.



In the direction that the wind is coming from.


Windy Booking

A freight booking made by a shipper or freight forwarder to reserve space but not actually having a specific cargo at the time the booking is made. Carriers often overbook a vessel by 10 to 20 percent in recognition that 'windy booking' cargo will not actually ship.


With Average (1)

A marine insurance term meaning that shipment is protected for partial damage whenever the damage exceeds a stated percentage.


With average

With average


With particular average

With particular average


With Particular Average (1)

An insurance term meaning that the partial loss or damage of goods is insured. The damage must generally be caused by sea water. Many have a minimum percentage of damage before payment. It can also be extended to cover loss by theft, pilferage, delivery, leakage, and breakage.


Without Recourse

A phrase preceding the signature of a drawer or endorser of a negotiable instrument; it signifies that the instrument is passed onto subsequent holders without any liability to the endorser in the event of non-payment or non-delivery.


Without Reserve

A term indicating a shipper's agent or representative is empowered to make definitive decisions and adjustments abroad without the approval of the group or individual represented. For more information see advisory capacity.


World customs organisation

An intergovernmental organisation, headquartered in Brussels, Belgium. With its worldwide membership, the WCO is recognised as the voice of the global Customs community. It is particularly noted for its work in areas covering the development of international conventions, instruments, and tools on topics such as commodity classification, valuation, rules of origin, collection of customs revenue, supply chain security, international trade facilitation, customs enforcement activities, combating counterfeiting in support of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), integrity promotion, and delivering sustainable capacity building to assist with customs reforms and modernisation. The WCO maintains the international Harmonised System (HS) goods nomenclature, and administers the technical aspects of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Agreements on Customs Valuation and Rules of Origin.


World trade organisation

An organisation that supervises international trade.


Worm, serve, and parcel

To protect a section of rope from chafing by: laying yarns (worming), wrapping marline or other small stuff (serving) around it, and stitching a covering of canvas (parceling) over all.