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Glossary of Shipping Terms


VISA – Voluntary Intermodal Sealift Agreement. Provides the U.S. defense community with "assured access" to commercial intermodal capacity to move sustainment cargoes during time of war or national emergency. In return, during peacetime, the carriers receive preference in the carriage of DOD cargoes.

VLCC – Very Large Crude Carrier. A tanker of 200,000 to 319,000dwt. It can carry about 2 million barrels of crude oil.

VLFO - Vessel Load Free Out – The loading and discharge terms for the cargo to be shipped, as agreed to in the chartger party. The vessel (carrier) pays for the loading of the cargo on board the ship and the receiver pays for the discharge of the cargo from the ship to the pier.

Validated Export License – A document issued by the U.S. government; authorizes the export of commodities for which written authorization is required by law.

Validation – Authentication of B/L and when B/L becomes effective

Vanning – A term for stowing cargo in a container.

Variable Cost – Costs that vary directly with the level of activity within a short time. Examples include costs of moving cargo inland on trains or trucks, stevedoring in some ports, and short-term equipment leases. For business analysis, all costs are either defined as variable or fixed. For a business to break even, all fixed costs must be covered. To make a profit, all variable and fixed costs must be recovered plus some extra amount.

Ventilated Container – A container designed with openings in the side and/or end walls to permit the ingress of outside air when the doors are closed.

Vessel Manifest – The international carrier is obligated to make declarations of the ship's crew and contents at both the port of departure and arrival. The vessel manifest lists various details about each shipment by B/L number. Obviously, the B/L serves as the core source from which the manifest is created.

Vessel Supplies for Immediate Exportation (VSIE) – Allows equipment and supplies arriving at one port to be loaded on a vessel, aircraft, etc., for its exclusive use and to be exported from the same port.

Viz. – Namely. Used in tariffs to specify commodities.

Voided B/L: – - Related to Consolidated B/L; those B/L's absorbed in the combining process. Different from Canceled B/L.

Voluntary Ship – Any ship which is not required by treaty or statute to be equipped with radiotelecommunication equipment.