Shipping Abbreviations/ Terms Simplified

Understanding some of the shipping abbreviations and terms can be difficult when you get shipping documents in your hand. Here are some shipping abbreviations/ terms simplified for your convenience.

Shipping Abbreviations/Terms Definition
ETA Estimated Time of Arrival
ETB Estimated Time of Berthing
ETD Estimated Time of Departure
ETC Estimated Time of Completion
ETS Estimate Time of Sailing; similar that of ETD.
FCL Full Container Load

Container Service Type of Shipment, where there is a full shipment whereby it is shipped by one shipper to one consignee.

LCL Less than Container Load

Container Service Type of Shipment, where there is are there are several cargos boxes to multiple recipients/consignees.

Groupage Process of collection of LCL cargo from different shippers and packing into consolidating into one container. Groupage Operators or Consolidators handles these operations.
Port and Starboard Port – Left Side of Ship

Starboard – Right Side of Ship

MSDS Material Safety Data Sheet

Form containing information of hazardous cargo, with guidance in handling and all properties and compositions in question.

MBL Master Bill of Lading

Used in Freight Forwarding.

HBL House Bill of Lading

Used in Freight Forwarding.

SLAC Shippers Load Stow and Count

Used in Containerized Shipping.

NVOCC Non Vessel Operating Common Carrier
STC Said To Contain

Used in Bills of Lading for Containerized cargo, whereby shipping line declare that the container contains cargo but cannot verify the contents.

BAF Bunker Adjustment Factor

The charges levied by the shipping lines to cover the costs of the fuel of the ship

CAF Currency Adjustment Factor

The surcharges implemented by certain countries on their trade routes to cover the volatility of their currency against the major currencies used in trade.

ISPS International Ship and Port Facilities Security Code

governments require port facility security asssements to be carried out whereby  ISPS Codes compliances  are in line with security plans developed and implemented accordingly.

VGM SOLAS Verified Gross Mass

The weight of each container that is checked and declared before loaded  and exported.

SOLAS SOLAS Convention

Conventions of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO)

MARPOL International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from
BCO Beneficial Cargo Owner
Smart Container Container equipped with real-time tracking equipped sensors