Here are 7 lesser known Shipping Terms and what they mean

Rohan Mathew

Updated on:

The responsibility of learning every concept and theory related to the procedures in the international shipping industry lies on the shoulders of the traders. Understanding the shipping terminology is one of those duties that exporters and importers must take on themselves. From communicating with one another to regulating the freight shipment, one may come across numerous alien words that might seem gibberish to untrained ears. What if someone uses the terms CYCY, DT, COD, DM, etc. and it falls like bouncers on the eardrums? Well, it is never feasible to fumble during conversations or getting puzzled while signing the shipping contract papers. Therefore, every trader should learn shipping terms that are a part of the industry.

Incoterms are the most commonly used shipping terms in contracts and legal paperwork. However, there are many other terms and acronyms in the shipping glossary that are worth giving all the consideration. One can never pre-plan conversation, so it is better to have prior preparation than juggling with the dictionary later. To find all the shipping terms on one dashboard, visit this link and read more.

The shipping terminology has almost all types of letters and abbreviations.

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Some Uncommon Shipping Terms Traders Must Know

There are a lot of common shipping terms that traders may come across very often like FCL (Full Container Load), LCL (Less than Container Load), Bill of Lading, Shipping Bill, etc. However, there are many more on the list that one should be aware of for performing and conversing effectively in the trade market.

CYCY (Container Yard to Container Yard)

A container yard is a storage facility offered to the traders at the seaport for storing the goods until they get loaded into a shipping vessel. Sometimes, one might even use it for delayed shipments or when the customs clearance facility is taking a lot of time. The term CYCY is the abbreviated term for explaining the shipping responsibility of an exporter/carrier. With the use of this term, the liable party agrees to ship the cargo from the container yard of the shipping port to the container yard of the delivery port.

IGM (Import General Manifest)

The Customs Act, 1962 of the government of India mandates all the shipping lines under Section 30 to follow the Import General Manifest regulation. As per this term, the shipping lines and their agents (if any) have to file with the customs department 24 hours before its shipping vessel sails on the Indian waters. This regulation is to ensure transparency between the port authorities, shippers and the government about all the goods that are entering the geographical boundaries of the country.


Wharfage is a fee or port duty charged by dock owners or the freight terminal authorities for the space used for loading/ storing/unloading cargo and the space used for cargo handling. This charge falls under the terminal handling charge or the base freight rate. Wharfage does not include loading, inspecting, demurrage, unloading, sorting, sampling or weighing charges.

DM (Demurrage)

If an importer does not pick up his shipping container from the port after it safely reaches the port of delivery, he has to pay demurrage to the port authorities. Demurrage is a fee levied on the importers for not picking up their containers after the free period expires. The port authorities will charge a fee on a per-day basis. The amount of demurrage may vary from port to port or country to country.

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DT (Detention)

Detention is the fee that the importers are liable to pay for not returning the shipping container to the port within the defined time. The port authorities offer a free period for returning a cargo just like collecting it. If an importer fails to abide by the rule and return the container within that period, he has to pay detention to the port.

COD (Change of Destination)

In the shipping industry, COD does not mean Cash on Delivery. It stands for Change of Destination, which implies the request that the importer needs to make to the carrier/exporter if he wishes to change the delivery destination after it is seaborne.

Lift-On Lift-Off (Lo Lo)

Lift-On Lift-Off or most commonly known as LoLo ships that are well-equipped with on-board cranes used for unloading and loading goods without the support or need for any external cranes.

The Bottom Line

The shipping terminology is not limited to a defined glossary as the exposure of the industry is vast enough to go through frequent updates. Traders need to stay active and catch every word and sentences while trying to expand their business.

The shipping terms are very useful in making effective conversations between traders who belong to two different origins and speak distinct languages. One should refer to the capsule form of all the terms on the online websites to get a rough understanding. After all, it is always better to stay ahead of the contemporaries!