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Glossary of Shipping Terms


D&H – Abbreviation for "Dangerous and Hazardous" cargo.

D.B.A. – Abbreviation for "Doing Business As." A legal term for conducting business under a registered name.

D.O.T. – U.S. Department of Transportation. The executive branch department that coordinates and oversees transportation functions in the United States.

DAF (Delivered At Frontier) (...Named Place): – - A Term of Sale which means the sellers fulfill their obligation to deliver when the goods have been made available, cleared for export, at the named point and placed at the frontier, but before the customs Terms of Sale border of the adjoining country.

DDC – Abbreviation for "Destination Delivery Charge." A charge, based on container size, that is applied in many tariffs to cargo. This charge is considered accessorial and is added to the base ocean freight. This charge covers crane lifts off the vessel, drayage of the container within the terminal and gate fees at the terminal operation.

DDP (Delivered Duty paid) (...Named Port of Destination): – - "Delivered Duty Paid" means that the seller fulfills his obligation to deliver when the goods have been made available at the named place in the country of importation. The seller has to bear the risks and costs, including duties, taxes and other charges of delivering the goods thereto, clear for importation. While the EXW term represents the minimum obligation for the seller, DDP represents the maximum.

DEMDES – Demurrage/Despatch money. (Under vessel chartering terms, the amount to be paid if the ship is loading/discharging slower/faster than foreseen.)

DEQ (Delivered Ex Quay, [Duty Paid]) (...Named Port of Destination): – - A Term of Sale which means the DDU term has been fulfilled when the goods have been available to the buyer on the quay (wharf) at the named port of destination, cleared for importation. The seller has to bear all risks and costs including duties, taxes and other charges of delivering the goods thereto.

DES (Delivered Ex Ship) (...Named Port of Destination): – - A Term of Sale where the seller fulfills his/her obligation to deliver when the goods have been made available to the buyer on board the ship, uncleared for import at the named port of destination. The seller has to bear all the costs and risks involved in bringing the goods to the named port destination.

DF Car – Damage-Free Car. Boxcars equipped with special bracing material.

DRFS – Abbreviation for "Destination Rail Freight Station." Same as CFS at destination, except a DRFS is operated by the rail carrier participating in the shipment.

DSU – Delay in Startup Insurance is a policy to protect the seller of a construction project from penalties if the project is not completed on time. See "Liquidated Damages."

DWT – See Deadweight Tonnage.

Deadhead – One leg of a move without a paying cargo load. Usually refers to repositioning an empty piece of equipment

Deadweight Cargo – A long ton of cargo that can be stowed in less than 40 cubic feet.

Deadweight Tonnage (DWT) – The number of tons of 2,240 pounds that a vessel can transport of cargo, stores and bunker fuel. It is the difference between the number of tons of water a vessel displaces "light" and the number of tons it displaces when submerged to the "load line." An approximate conversion ratio is 1NT = 1.7GT and 1GT = 1.5DWT.

Deconsolidation Point – Place where loose or other non-containerized cargo is ungrouped for delivery.

Deferred Payment: – - A letter of credit issued for the purchase and financing of merchandise, similar to acceptance-type letter of credit, except that it requires presentation of sight drafts payable on an installment basis.

Delivery Instructions – Order to pick up goods at a named place and deliver them to a pier. Usually issued by exporter to trucker but may apply to a railroad, which completes delivery by land. Use is limited to a few major U.S. ports. Also known as shipping delivery order.

Demurrage – A penalty charge against shippers or consignees for delaying the carrier's equipment or vessel beyond the allowed free time. The free time and demurrage charges are set forth in the charter party or freight tariff. See also Detention and Per Diem.

Density – The weight of cargo per cubic foot or other unit.

Depot, Container – Container freight station or a designated area where empty containers can be picked up or dropped off.

Despatch – An incentive payment paid by the vessel to the charterer for loading and unloading the cargo faster than agreed. Usually negotiated only in charter parties. Also called "dispatch."

Destination Control Statements – Various statements that the U.S. government requires to be displayed on export shipments. The statements specify the authorized destinations.

Destination – - The place to which a shipment is consigned. - The place where carrier actually turns over cargo to consignee or his agent.

Det Norske Veritas – A Norwegian classification society which certifies seagoing vessels for compliance to standardized rules regarding construction and maintenance.

Detention – A penalty charge against shippers or consignees for delaying carrier's equipment beyond allowed time. Demurrage applies to cargo; detention applies to equipment. See Per Diem.

Devanning – The unloading of a container or cargo van.

Deficit Weight – The weight by which a shipment is less than the minimum weight.

Differential – An amount added or deducted from base rate to make a rate to or from some other point or via another route.

Discrepancy Letter of Credit – When documents presented do not conform to the requirements of the letter of credit (L/C), it is referred to as a "discrepancy." Banks will not process L/C's which have discrepancies. They will refer the situation back to the buyer and/or seller and await further instructions.

Dispatch – See Despatch.

Displacement – The weight, in tons of 2,240 pounds, of the vessel and its contents. Calculated by dividing the volume of water displaced in cubic feet by 35, the average density of sea water.

Diversion – A change made either in the route of a shipment in transit (see Reconsignment) or of the entire ship.

Division – Carriers' practice of dividing revenue received from rates where joint hauls are involved. This is usually according to agreed formulae.

Dock Receipt – A form used to acknowledge receipt of cargo and often serves as basis for preparation of the ocean bill of lading.

Dock – - For ships, a cargo handling area parallel to the shoreline where a vessel normally ties up. - For land transportation, a loading or unloading platform at an industrial location or carrier terminal.

Dockage – Refers to the charge assessed against the vessel for berthing at the facility or for morring to a vessel so berthed.

Docket – Present a rate proposal to a conference meeting for adoption as a conference group rate.

Documents Against Acceptance (D/A) – Instructions given by a shipper to a bank indicating that documents transferring title to goods should be delivered to the buyer only upon the buyer's acceptance of the attached draft.

Documents Against Payment (D/P) – An indication on a draft that the documents attached are to be released to the drawee only on payment.

Dolly – A set of wheels that support the front of a container; used when the automotive unit is disconnected.

Domestic B/L: – - Non-negotiable B/L primarily containing routing details; usually used by truckers and freight forwarders.

Door-to-Door – Through transportation of a container and its contents from consignor to consignee. Also known as House to House. Not necessarily a through rate.

Draft, Bank – An order issued by a seller against a purchaser; directs payment, usually through an intermediary bank. Typical bank drafts are negotiable instruments and are similar in many ways to checks on checking accounts in a bank.

Draft, Clean – A draft to which no documents are attached.

Draft, Date – A draft that matures on a fixed date, regardless of the time of acceptance.

Draft, Discounted – A time draft under a letter of credit that has been accepted and purchased by a bank at a discount.

Draft, Sight – A draft payable on demand upon presentation.

Draft, Time – A draft that matures at a fixed or determinable time after presentation or acceptance.

Draft – - The number of feet that the hull of a ship is beneath the surface of the water. - An unconditional order in writing, addressed by one party (drawer) to another party (drawee), requiring the drawee to pay at a fixed or determinable future date a specified sum in lawful currency to the order of a specified person.

Drawback – A partial refund of an import fee. Refund usually results because goods are re-exported from the country that collected the fee.

Drawee – The individual or firm that issues a draft and thus stands to receive payment.

Drayage – Charge made for local hauling by dray or truck. Same as Cartage.

Dry Cargo – Cargo that is not liquid and normally does not require temperature control.

Dry-Bulk Container – A container constructed to carry grain, powder and other free-flowing solids in bulk. Used in conjunction with a tilt chassis or platform.

Dumping – Attempting to import merchandise into a country at a price less than the fair market value, usually through subsidy by exporting country.

Dunnage – Any material or objects utilized to protect cargo. Examples of dunnage are blocks, boards, burlap and paper.

Dutiable Value – The amount on which an Ad Valorem or customs duty is calculated.