Welcome to TradeFord.com, Join Free | Sign In
Home Forum Business Glossary of Air Freight Terms

Glossary of Air Freight Terms


In this post we have compiled a list of wide variety of different terms and terminologies that are widely used whenever there is trade being conducted through Air Transport. Global importers, exporters, traders and manufacturers, along with those interested in knowing more about this subject would find it highly interesting to go through this Glossary of Air Freight Terms and their definitions. You would find them listed in alphabetical order.

Airway Bill Landing: This is a bill of landing which includes the transport of goods to a particular destination domestically and internationally. It is a non-negotiable instrument in air transport which is able to act as the receipt for the person shipping the goods. The carrier by having this bill shows that the carrier has accepted that the goods have to be transported. It obligates the carrier that the goods have to be transported to the airport of destination as per the conditions specified therein. It is also referred to as the Air Waybill, which is issued by the carrying airlines. It is also known as Master Air Waybill (MAWB), which has three digits of numeric airline identification codes, which are issued by the IATA.

Aircraft Container: The container that contains the goods, which have to be transported and delivered.

Allotment: It is used to refer to the blocked space, which has been blocked by airlines for the shippers and forwarders.

ATA: It is an abbreviation for the word "Actual Time of Arrival" as well as "Air Transport of America" and "Airport to Airport" depending upon the context.

ATD: It is an abbreviation for the word "Actual Time of Departure"

Bonded Warehouse: A bonded warehouse is the place where the goods that have been deferred for the payment of duties are stored, authorized by Custom Service. This is done until the goods enter the Customs Territory. If they have to be reshipped to foreign points, no duties are applicable.

Carnet: The term refers to a custom document which allows the holder of document to carry or send goods temporarily into a particular foreign country for demonstration, display or any other purposes, without custom duties being levied or the postage of bonds.:

Combi Aircraft: It is an aircraft that is designed in a way that both passengers and merchandise can be carried on the deck.

Customs Broker: This may refer to a company or an individual who has been licensed by the government to allow goods to enter through Customs. According to the U.S Custom Service, a customs broker is any individual who has been licensed according to Part III of Title 19 of the Code of Federal Regulations to allow the transfer of goods through Customs on behalf of others. The Customs Business includes activities including the entry and allowing the merchandise to pass through, the classification and valuation of the merchandise, and any kind of duties, taxes and charges which are assessed and collected by the Custom Authority for different reasons which include the import of goods, the refund, the drawback and the rebate of those goods.

Customs Clearance: This includes the procedures which are involved in getting the merchandise and cargo through the Customs which includes different formalities, such as payment of import duties, the presenting of import permit and license and other documentations which may be required by different organizations concerning the nature of cargo such as FDA or FCCA approval.

Customs Invoice: This invoice is a document which is required by the custom officials of the foreign countries in order to check the quantity, nature and value of the shipment. The invoice should be able to describe the shipment of goods and have detailed information such as the value of the shipment and details regarding the consignee and the consigner.

Dangerous Goods: These consist of merchandise which has been deemed dangerous by the IATA because of the nature and characteristics of these goods for the danger they may present to the flying safety of the carrier.

DDP: It refers to the Delivery Duty Paid.

DDU: It is the abbreviation for Delivery Duty Unpaid.

Dimensional Weight: It is the size of consignment which is calculated by taking into account the total square feet which is divided by 166 inches. The charges for the freight are applied on the dimensional weight or sometimes actual gross weight, whichever comes to be higher. Dimensional weight is also referred to as measurement weight.

Direct Ship: Direct Shipping is shipping which is done without any consolidation.

Drawback: It refers to the rebate which is done by the government which could be part or whole, as a figure which is given back because of the imported goods being exported subsequently. The procedures along with the regulations governing Drawback are different for multiple countries.

Duty: It is a kind of tax which is imposed on the value of exports by the custom office of any country. Generally, there are ad valorem duties which are levied on the value of goods, along with some duties levied on other factors include the quantity or weight known as specific duties, or sometimes the combination of both value and other factors, referred to as compound duties.

EDI: It is the abbreviation for Electronic Data Interchange. It is used whenever there is any transmit of electronic data. Customs tend to use EDI to interchange the data with the trade community that is importing goods.

ETA: ETA is the abbreviation for the Estimated Time of Arrival.

ETD: ETD is the abbreviation for the Estimated Time of Departure.

Freight Carriage Paid To: This refers to the circumstance when the seller of the goods has paid for the carriage of the goods to the specified destination. Nevertheless, the damage to the goods, or the loss of the goods, or any kind of cost increases are to be borne by the buyer instead of the seller once the goods have been transferred to the custody of the first carrier. This is used for different modes of transport which includes multi-modal operations.

Freight Carriage and Insurance Paid To: It refers to the same circumstance as the Freight Carriage Paid to, along with the fact that the seller has to pay transport insurance in case of any risk of loss or damage for the goods during the transport. The seller is the one who contacts the insurance company and pays the premium.

Gateway: For transport activities, gateway is the term for the major seaport or airport. If taken internationally, it means the port where the goods where cleared by the customs.

Harmonized System: The Harmonized Systems known as the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System refers to the system which was developed under the Customs Cooperation Council for the classification of goods in international trade. The new HS numbers, which began on January 1, 1989 changed the previously followed schedules in around 50 countries, which includes the United States.

HAWB: This is a term that refers to the House Airway Bill, which is issued by the agent of the carrying airlines.

IATA: It is the abbreviation for International Air Transport Association, which was founded in 1945 and that serves as the trade association for the passengers, airlines, travel agents as well as governments. The organization headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland provides safety and standardization in different forms that include weigh bills, tickets, and baggage checks. It also helps in the establishment of international airfares.

IATA Designator: This refers to the Airline Identification, which is two-character that is issued by the IATA keeping with the provisions of Resolution 762. This is used for timetables, tickets, reservations, tariffs as well as airway bills.

Import Certifications: This is the certification which gives right to the destination country’s government to exercise legal control over the internal channeling of the merchandise, which are covered by the import certificate.

Import License: This license is a document which is required as well as issued by the national governments of a few countries for authorizing the import of goods. It is also known as import permit, and it facilitates the customs clearance to be conducted.

Import Restrictions: These are applied by the countries that have adverse balance of trade or any other reasons to control the volume of goods which are coming into the country. This can include the imposition of quotas and traffics, along with the restrictions on the amount of foreign currency used to pay for imports, along the imposition of sub-charges, prohibition of different kinds of imports and the requirement for import deposits.

Incoterms: Incoterms codifies the terms which are used in foreign trade contracts to define the different costs that have to be incurred by different parties and at what points. This document is maintained by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), which allows international trade to be made much easier and to assist international traders in different countries to better understand each other.

Insurance Certificate: This certificate is provided by the insurance company to the consignee that adequate cover is provided for the loss or damage to the goods while they are in transit.

Intermediate Consignee: This may refer to any forwarding agent, bank or any other kind of intermediary that acts as the agent for the exporter, purchaser or consignee in the foreign country to ensure the efficiency of delivery of the exports to the ultimate consignee.

Intermodal: This refers to the movement of the cargo through more than one form of transport which includes truck, airplane, ship and railway.

LD3: This refers to the Lower Deck Type 3 Container (see Lower Deck below). This is considered to be the most widely used container for passenger aircraft.

Lower Deck: Synonymous with lower lobe and lower hold, this compartment which is situated below the main deck (see below)

Main Deck: This refers to the deck, where the majority of the load is being carried. This is known as the upper deck of the airplane. The Combi aircraft uses the rear part of the upper deck for the loading of the cargo, while the full cargo freighter has the entire upper deck for containers and pallets. On a normal passenger aircraft, there is no main deck or upper deck.

NVD: An abbreviation that means No Value Declared.

Packing List: This refers to a shipping document which is given to the carrier, the consignee or the Customs by the shipper. This has the entire list of information which includes products count, package count, and measurement of each package along with the weight of each package amongst other information.

POD: An abbreviation that refers to the Proof of Delivery Which basically has the signature of recipient on the cargo/package receipt. It has widely been used in courier and express industry and is being applied in the air cargo industry.

Pro Forma Invoice: This invoice is sent by the seller or the supplier of the goods prior to the shipment of the cargo, which shows the entire detailed information regarding the goods, which includes the kinds and quantities of merchandise that is being sent, the value of the merchandise along with the import specifications such as the size, weight and other characteristics. This is used when the Letter of Credit is being applied for by the importer as a means of payment.

Shipping Mark: This refers to the numbers, letters or any symbols that may have been placed on the outside of the cargo in order to help with the identification process.

Shipping Weight: This refers to the gross weight of shipments, which includes the weight of crates, boxes, wrappings and containers along with the weight of moisture content.

TACT: This is an abbreviation for The Air Cargo Tariff, which is published by the International Airlines Publication (IAP), which is an IATA company (see above).

Tare Weight: It refers to the weight of the tie down materials and ILD (see below) without taking the weight of the good that it contains into account.

Temporary Importation Under Bond: This term refers to when the importer claims to be exempt from the duty which is levied under Chapter 98, Subchapter XIII, Harmonized Traffic Schedule of the United States. This exemption guarantees that the items will be exported within a particular time frame (which is usually around one year from the date of the importation). If the items are not exported, then the importer is liable to pay the damages that are levied because of the breach of the bond conditions.

Transshipment: It is the method of route taken to send an export good through an intermediate country before it is routed to the intended country of the final destination.

ULD: This is the abbreviation for the Unit Load Device, which is a container that has an integral pallet, an aircraft pallet or aircraft container.

Ultimate Consignee: This refers to the individual who is located in a foreign country who intends to receive the export for the end use.

Value for Customs Purposes Only: The U.S Customs Service has defined this to the value which is submitted by the importer on the entry documentation. This will not reflect any kind of information from the manufacturer, but this does not reflect the appraisement of the merchandise by the Customs.

Without Reserve: This is a term which is indicates that the representative or the agent of the shipper is empowered to make particular decisions without the approval of the individual or group that the agent represents.

Posted by: Murad on Feb 15 2014

Tags: Air Freight Terms Air Freight Terminology Air Freight Glossary Glossary Of Freight Terms Air Cargo Glossary International Freight Terms Basics Of Import Export

TradeFord.com is a growing B2B Trade Directory and Marketplace connecting global Importers, Exporters, Manufacturers and Traders at a reliable, common platform.

Let TradeFord.com match your sourcing needs with suitable supplier or manufacturer. Just fillout RFQ form and start getting quotations only from suitable supplier.

Wanted to learn How to Trade? Need advise for launching a new products? Whatever is in your mind... Click below to post a topic and start interacting with Trade Community!