My Path: Home | Customer Center | Resources / Tips | Glossary of Shipping Terms

Glossary of Shipping Terms


M.M.F.B. – Middlewest Motor Freight Bureau.

MBM – 1,000 board feet. One MBM equals 2,265 C.M.

MCFS – Abbreviation for "Master Container Freight Station." See CFS.

MLB – Abbreviation for "Mini Landbridge."

MSA – Maritime Security Act.

MSP – A U.S. Department of Transportation program that helps to assure sufficient sealift to support the United States Armed Forces and U.S. emergency sealift needs, using commercial ships.

MTSA – The Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002, is designed to protect ports and waterways from terrorists attacks. The law is the U.S. equivalent of the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code(ISPS), and was fully implemented on July 1, 2004. It requires vessels and port facilities to conduct vulnerability assessments and develop security plans that may include passenger, vehicle, and baggage screening procedures; security patrols; establishing restricted areas; personnel identification, procedures; access control measures; and/or installation of surveillance equipment.

MT – Abbreviation for "Metric Ton."

Malpractice – A carrier giving a customer illegal preference to attract cargo. This can take the form of a money refund (rebate); using lower figures than actual for the assessment of freight charges (undercubing); misdeclaration of the commodity shipped to allow the assessment of a lower tariff rate; waiving published tariff charges for demurrage, CFS handling or equalization; providing specialized equipment to a shipper to the detriment of other shippers, etc.

Mandamu – A writ issued by a court; requires that specific things be done.

Manifest – Document that lists in detail all the bills of lading issued by a carrier or its agent or master for a specific voyage. A detailed summary of the total cargo of a vessel. Used principally for Customs purposes.

MarView – It is an integrated, data-driven environment providing essential information to support the strategic requirements of the United States Marine Transportation System and its contribution to economic viability of the nation.

Marine Insurance – Broadly, insurance covering loss or damage of goods at sea. Marine insurance typically compensates the owner of merchandise for losses sustained from fire, shipwreck, etc., but excludes losses that can be recovered from the carrier.

Maritime Commerce Security Plan – - establishes a comprehensive plan to secure the maritime supply chain.

Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) – It is the effective understanding of anything associated with the global maritime domain that could impact the security, safety, economy, or environment of the United States.

Maritime Domain – It is all areas and things of, on, under, relating to, adjacent to, or bordering on a sea, ocean, or other navigable waterway, including all maritime related activities, infrastructure, people, cargo, and vessels and other conveyances.

Maritime Infrastructure Recovery Plan – - recommends procedures and standards for the recovery of the maritime infrastructure following attack or similar disruption.

Maritime Security and Safety Information System (MSSIS) – It shares and displays vessel Automated Identification System (AIS) data real-time with multiple international users through a web-based, password-protected system.

Maritime Transportation System Security Plan – - responds to the President's call for recommendations to improve the national and international regulatory framework regarding the maritime domain.

Maritime – Business pertaining to commerce or navigation transacted upon the sea or in seaports in such matters as the court of admiralty has jurisdiction.

Marking – Letters, numbers, and other symbols placed on cargo packages to facilitate identification. Also known as marks.

Marlinespike – A pointed metal spike, used to separate strands of rope in splicing.

Master Inbound – U.S. Customs' automated program under AMS. It allows for electronic reporting of inbound (foreign) cargoes in the U.S.

Mate's Receipt – An archaic practice. An acknowledgement of cargo receipt signed by a mate of the vessel. The possessor of the mate's receipt is entitled to the bill of lading, in exchange for that receipt.

Measurement Cargo – Freight on which transportation charges are calculated on the basis of volume measurement.

Measurement Ton – 40 cubic feet.

Mechanically Ventilated Container – A container fitted with a means of forced air ventilation.

Megaports Initiative – It is a National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) initiative, started in 2003. It teams up with other countries to enhance their ability to screen cargo at major international seaports. The Initiative provides radiation detection equipment and trains their personnel to specifically check for nuclear or other radioactive materials. In return, NNSA requires that data be shared on detections and seizures of nuclear or radiological material that resulted from the use of the equipment provided.

Memo B/L: – - Unfreighted B/L with no charges listed.

Memorandum Bill of Lading – An in-house bill of lading. A duplicate copy.

Memorandum Freight Bill – See Multiple Container load Shipment.

Meter – 39.37 inches (approximately).

Metric Ton – 2,204.6 pounds or 1,000 kilograms.

Microbridge – A cargo movement in which the water carrier provides a through service between an inland point and the port of load/discharge. The carrier is responsible for cargo and costs from origin on to destination. Also known as IPI or Through Service.

Mile – A unit equal to 5,280 feet on land.A nautical mile is 6076.115.

Military B/L: – - B/L issued by the U.S. military; also known as GBL, or Form DD1252.

Mini Landbridge – An intermodal system for transporting containers by ocean and then by rail or motor to a port previously served as an all-water move (e.g., Hong Kong to New York over Seattle).

Minimum Bill of Lading – A clause in a bill of lading which specifies the least charge that the carrier will make for issuing a lading. The charge may be a definite sum or the current charge per ton for any specified quantity.

Minimum Charge – The lowest charge that can be assessed to transport a shipment.

Mixed Container Load – A container load of different articles in a single consignment.

Modified Atmosphere – A blend of gases tailored to replace the normal atmosphere within a container.

MultiTank Container – A container frame fitted to accommodate two or more separate tanks for liquids.

Multimodal – Synonymous for all practical purposes with "Intermodal."