by WO_ShippingNews

Know your shipping terms

You might be new to shipping, or you could have been sending parcels around the world for many years. But do you know what different shipping terms mean?

World Options has created a shipping terms guide so you will always have easy access to the big shipping picture.

The ‘Shipment’

This refers to the ‘cargo’ (parcels, package, pallet, freight) that you would like to transport from one destination to another. It can also be referred to as the consignment. The shipment has characteristics such as commodity, dimensions and weight.


When you get a quote for a domestic or international transportation, it’s important that know the dimensions of the cargo you wish to ship. This is measured in height, width and length, either of the total consignment or as individual pieces.

You need to keep mind that it is the external measures that are relevant, as the forwarder will need to plan how much cargo from other customers can be loaded into the container together with your shipment.

shipping vessel with containers


Some of these are obvious, but weight is exactly what you think it would be, and that is the total weight of what you wish to ship, including any packaging material you are using.

It’s important to get this right, as the shipping company will need to ensure that the shipment isn’t overloaded.


This is the carriers facility where customers can deliver their shipment at origin or take delivery of their shipment at destination. It is a typically a secure building where the carrier has forklifts and other handling equipment enabling them to offload and load cargo, and to move cargo in and out of containers.


Shipping containers can come in different sizes, they are all intended for fast and secure loading, transportation and discharge of cargo on ships, trucks and trains. When booking your shipment, you do not need to worry about the specifications of the container, the carrier will ensure the right type and size is arranged with the shipping line.


In any form of international trade, a significant number of documents are required. In general, these are referred to as the documentation required for the shipment.


When shipping, you need to describe exactly what you are sending so that the carrier will have all the correct paperwork for international shipping. The commodity will also be stated on the bill of lading (B/L), which is your receipt for the goods shipped, and the basis of customs declarations.

Destination & Origin

These terms are used for describing where a shipment is coming from or going to. If you need the cargo to be picked up and delivered at specific locations, you will need to know the exact addresses.

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