Logistic terms

We’ll help you make sense of the industry jargon and terms used.

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Abbreviation: D/A. Instructions given by a shipper to a bank indicating that documents transferring title to goods should be delivered to the buyer (or drawee) only upon the buyer’s acceptance of an attached draft.


Abbreviation: D/P. Instructions a shipper gives to its bank that the documents attached to a draft for collection are deliverable to the drawee only against their payment of the draft.


Incoterm for “Delivered at Frontier (… named place)”.

Damage Report

Form on which physical damage of a consignment or transportation unit (e.g. container) is recorded.

Damaged Cargo Report

Written statement concerning established damages to cargo and/or equipment.

Dangerous Goods

Goods are to be considered dangerous if the transport of such goods might cause harm, risk, peril, or other evil to people, environment, equipment or any property whatsoever.

Dangerous Goods Declaration

Document issued by a shipper in accordance with applicable conventions or regulations, describing hazardous goods or materials for transport purposes, and stating that the latter have been packed and labeled in accordance with the provisions of the relevant conventions or regulations.

Dangerous Goods Packing Certificate

Document as part of the dangerous goods declaration in which the responsible party declares that the cargo has been stowed in accordance with the rules in a clean container in compliance with the IMDG regulations and has been properly secured.

Data Plate

Metal identification plate affixed to a container which displays, among other things, the gross and tare weights and external dimensions.

Date Draft (Bill of Exchange)

Draft that matures in a specified number of days after the date it is issued, without regard to the date of acceptance.


Incoterm for “Delivered Duty Paid (… named place of destination)”.


Incoterm for “Delivered Duty Unpaid (… named place of destination)”.


Difference between the actual and calculated ship’s draft.


Abbreviation: DWT. Total weight of cargo, cargo equipment, bunkers, provisions, water, stores and spare parts which a vessel can lift when loaded to her maximum draft as applicable under the circumstances. The deadweight is expressed in tons.


Any extended horizontal structure in a vessel or an aircraft, serving as a floor and structural support, covering, partially or fully, a portion of the vessel or aircraft.

Deck Cargo

Cargo carried outside on deck of a vessel.

Declaration of Origin

Appropriate statement as to the origin of the goods, made in connection with their exportation by the manufacturer, producer, supplier, exporter or other competent person on the commercial invoice or any document relating to goods.

Declared Value for Carriage

Value of the goods declared to the carrier by the shipper for the purpose of determining charges or of establishing the limit of the carrier’s liability for loss, damage or delay. It is also the basis for possible applicable valuation charges (air cargo).


Specific dollar amount, or percentage of the insured value, which will be deducted from all losses recoverable under a policy.

Deep Tank

Tank fitted and equipped for the carriage of vegetable oil (e.g. palm oil and coconut oil) and other liquids in bulk.

Default Charge

Charge applicable for a trade, stretch or location. In the absence of specifics (not otherwise specified/enumerated) a general amount has been set.

Deferred Payment Credit

Type of Letter of Credit providing for payment some time after presentation of shipping documents by seller.


Splitting up shipments into small consignments.


Even under All Risk cover, damage due to delay is not recoverable. Most underwriters have inserted a “Delay Clause” in the Open Cargo Policy, which states specifically that damage caused by delay is not recoverable even if the delay was due to a peril insured against.

Delivered at Frontier (... Named Place)

Abbreviation: DAF. Incoterm

Delivered Duty Paid (... Named Place of Destination)

Abbreviation: DDP. Incoterm

Delivered Duty Unpaid (... Named Place of Destination)

Abbreviation: DDU. Incoterm

Delivered Ex Quay (... Named Port of Destination)

Abbreviation: DEQ. Incoterm

Delivered Ex Ship (... Named Port of Destination)

Abbreviation: DES. Incoterm

Delivering Carrier

Carrier that delivers the consignment to the consignee or its agent.


Process of delivering the consignment to the consignee at the agreed place.

Delivery Instruction

Document giving instructions regarding the details of the delivery of the shipment.

Delivery Order

1. A document issued by or on behalf of the carrier authorizing the release of import cargo identified thereon and manifested under a single Bill of Lading (shipping). 2. The authorization of the entitled party for the shipment to a party other than the consignee shown on the Air Waybill.

Delivery Party

Party to which goods are to be delivered.

Delivery Receipt

Document recording the delivery of shipment to a consignee.

Delivery Time

Time between order and delivery.

Demand Draft (Bill of Exchange)

Abbreviation: S/D. Draft payable on presentation to the drawee.

Demise Charter

Contract whereby the shipowner leases its vessel to the charterer for a period of time during which the whole use and management of the vessel passes to the charterer. This involves the charterer paying all expenses for the operation and maintenance of the vessel. Officers and crew become servants of the charterer. A demise charter whereby the charterer has the right to place its own master and crew on board of the vessel is also called “bareboat charter”.


1. A variable fee charged to carriers and/or customers for the use of Unit Load Devices (ULD’s) owned by a carrier beyond the free time of shipment (air cargo). 2. Additional charge imposed for exceeding the free time which is included in the rate and allowed for the use of a certain equipment at the terminal.

Density of Commodity

Mass of a commodity to its volume.


Place designated by the carrier where empty containers are kept in stock and received from or delivered to the container operators or merchants.


Incoterm for “Delivered Ex Quay (… named port of destination)”.


Lifting equipment on board a conventional vessel for loading and discharging cargo, consisting of a post attached to the deck and an inclined spar.


Incoterm for “Delivered Ex Ship (… named port of destination)”.


1. Place for which goods or a vehicle is bound. 2. The ultimate stopping place according to the contract of carriage.

Destuffing Report

A document reporting the destuffing of a container indicating time and place as well as responsible peron and any damage.

Det Norske Veritas

Norwegian classification society.


Keeping equipment beyond the time allowed.

Detention Charge

Charges levied on usage of equipment exceeding free time period as stipulated in the pertinent inland rules and conditions.


Downgrading of a product due to long storage, damage due to packing or other external influences.


Official lowering of the value of one country’s currency in terms of one or more foreign currencies. (E.g., if the U.S. dollar is devalued in relation to the French franc, one dollar will “buy” fewer francs than before.)

Deviation from a Route

Divergence from the agreed or customary route.


Measurements in length, width and height, regarding cargo.

Direct Covered

Condition which requires the insured voyage to be direct from one place to another. If the voyage is delayed en route or if there is a deviation from the direct route, the insurance cover continues subject to payment of an additional premium, but only if the assured gives prompt notice of the delay or deviation immediately on receipt of advice, unless the policy provides otherwise.

Direct Delivery

1. The conveyance of goods directly from the vendor to the buyer. Frequently used if a third party acts as intermediary agent between vendor and buyer. 2. Direct discharge from vessel onto railroad car, road vehicle or barge with the purpose of immediate transport from the port area.

Direct Route

Shortest operated route between two points.


Sums paid out by a ship’s agent at a port and recovered from the carrier.


1. Unloading of a vehicle, a vessel or an aircraft.

2. Landing of cargo.


A statement in which a company or individual says that they are not responsible for something.


Duty of the insured and their broker to tell the underwriter every material circumstance before acceptance of the risk.


Difference between the particulars given and the particulars found.

Discrepancy Letter of Credit

When documents presented do not conform to the Letter of Credit, it is referred to as a “discrepancy”.


Process of sending goods.

Dispatch Advice

Information sent by shipper to the consignee informing that specified goods have been sent or are ready to be sent advising the detailed contents of the consignment.

Dispatch Note (for Post Parcels)

Document which, according to the agreement concerning postal parcels, is to accompany post parcels.


Weight of the quantity of water displaced by the vessel. The displacement of the vessel on her light draft represents the weight of the vessel ready for use including stores, etc.

Disposable Pallet

Pallet intended to be discarded after a single cycle of use.


All activities relating to the inland movement of empty and/or full containers.


Set of activities which ensure the availability of goods in the desired quality, quantity, place and time for the customer.

Distribution Center

Warehouse for the receipt, the storage and the dispersal of goods among customers.

Distribution Channel

Route by which a company distributes goods.


Vertically mounted partition in a compartment on board of an aircraft (air cargo).

Dock Receipt

Form issued by a carrier or its representative as evidence that merchandise was in fact received by the carrier for shipment. Often referred to as a Received for Shipment Bill of Lading.

Documentary Credit

Commercial Letter of Credit providing for payment by a bank to the name beneficiary, usually the seller of merchandise, against delivery of documents specified in the credit.

Documentary Draft

Draft to which documents are attached.

Documents against Acceptance

Abbreviation: D/A. Instructions given by a shipper to a bank indicating that documents transferring title to goods should be delivered to the buyer (or drawee) only upon the buyer’s acceptance of an attached draft.

Documents against Payment

Abbreviation: D/P. Instructions a shipper gives to its bank that the documents attached to a draft for collection are deliverable to the drawee only against their payment of the draft.

Domestic Carriage

Carriage whereby the place of departure and the place of destination are situated within one country (air cargo).

Domestic Rate

Rate applicable within a country, and in most cases subject to special conditions other than those of IATA (air cargo).

Door-to-Door Transport
Double Stack Train

Railway wagons on which containers can be stacked two-high.

Double-Deck Pallet

Flat pallet with a top and bottom deck.

Down Time

Period of time when a machine is not available for production due to a functional failure or maintenance.


Draft of a vessel is the vertical distance between the waterline and the underside of the keel of the vessel. During the construction of a vessel the marks showing the draft are welded on each side of the vessel near the stem, the stern and amidships.

Draft (or Bill of Exchange)

Unconditional order in writing from one person (the drawer) to another (the drawee), directing the drawee to pay a specified amount to a named drawer at a fixed or determinable future date.


Repayment of any part of customs or excise duties previously collected on imported goods, when those goods are exported again.


Individual or firm on whom a draft is drawn and who owes the stated amount.


Individual or firm that issues or signs a draft and thus stands to receive payment of the stated amount from the drawee.


1. The hauling of a load by a cart with detachable sides (dray). 2. Road transportation between the nearest railway terminal and the stuffing place.

Drop-off Charge

Charge made by terminal operators for delivery of a container into depot stock. The drop-off charge may be a combination of actual handling and storage charges with surcharges.

Dry Bulk Container

Container consisting of a cargo-carrying structure, firmly secured within a framework, for the carriage of dry solids in bulk without packaging. Containers of this type have type codes 80 and 81.

Dry Cargo Container

Shipping container which is designed for the carriage of goods other than liquids.

Due Diligence

The care that a prudent person might be expected to exercise in the examination and evaluation of risks affecting a business transaction.


Stowage material, mainly timber or board, used to prevent damage to cargo during carriage.


Pressure that is used to make a company or an individual do something which they do not want to do.


1. Ad valorem duty means an assessed amount at a certain percentage rate on the monetary value of an import. 2. Specific duty: an assessment on the weight or quantity of an article without preference to its monetary value or market price. 3. Drawback: a recovery in whole or in part of duty paid on imported merchandise at the time of exportation, in the same or different form.

Duty Free Zone

Area where goods or cargo can be stored without paying import customs duties awaiting further transport or manufacturing.


Abbreviation: DWT. Total weight of cargo, cargo equipment, bunkers, provisions, water, stores and spare parts which a vessel can lift when loaded to her maximum draft as applicable under the circumstances. The deadweight is expressed in tons.

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