Air WayBill
An AWB is a bill of lading which covers both domestic and international flights transporting goods to a specified destination. Technically, it is a non-negotiable instrument of air transport which serves as a receipt for the shipper, indicating that the carrier has accepted the goods listed therein and obligates itself to carry the consignment to the airport of destination according to specified conditions. Normally AWB refers to the Air Waybill issued by carrying airlines and also called Master Air Waybill (MAWB) which comes with three digits of numeric airline identification codes issued by IATA to non-U.S. based airlines and Air Transport Association of America to U.S. based airlines. However, air freight forwarders also issue HAWB (House Air Waybill) to their customers for each of the shipments.
Aircraft Container
A unit load device (ULD) which links directly with the airplane cargo handling and restraint system.
A term used to describe blocked space by airlines on behalf of forwarders/shippers.
Actual Time of Arrival, or
Airport-To-Airport, or
Air Transport Association of America.
Actual Time of Departute.
Automated Broker Interface (ABI)
ABI, a part of Customs’ Automated Commercial System, permits transmission of data pertaining to merchandise being imported into the United States. Qualified participants include brokers, importers, carriers, port authorities, and independent data processing companies referred to as service centers.
Automated Clearinghouse
The Automated Clearinghouse (ACH) is a feature of the Automated Broker Interface which is a part of Customs’ Automated Commercial System. The ACH combines elements of bank lock box arrangements with electronic funds transfer services to replace cash or check for payment of estimated duties, taxes, and fees on imported merchandise.
Automated Export Reporting Program
The AERP provides for electronic submission of most information required on the Shipper’s Export Declaration. The program was initiated in 1969 with the intent of enabling large volume exporters to submit electronically and facilitate Census Bureau data entry and analysis. AERP was expanded in 1982 to allow freight forwarders, and again in 1985 to allow ocean carriers, to file electronically. At the beginning of fiscal year 1994, about 220 firms — accounting for 350,000 to 400,000 records a month — were participating in AERP. The program is administered by the Automated Data Reporting Branch, Foreign Trade Division, Bureau of the Census.
Blue Lantern
Blue Lantern, a procedure pertaining to U.S. Munitions List items, is intended to verify that information stated on export license applications is valid and that the use of the commodity or service exported is consistent with the terms of the license. It includes prelicense and postshipment checks of export applications conducted by designated officials at U.S. embassies. Blue Lantern was initiated in September 1990 by the State Department’s Office of Defense Trade Controls
Bond System
The Bond System, a part of Customs’ Automated Commercial System, provides information on bond coverage. A Customs bond is a contract between a principal, usually an importers, and a surety which is obtained to insure performance of an obligation imposed by law or regulation. The bond covers potential loss of duties, taxes, and penalties for specific types of transactions. Customs is the contract beneficiary.
Bonded Warehouse
The U.S. Customs Service authorizes bonded warehouses for storage or manufacture of goods on which payment of duties is deferred until the goods enter the Customs Territory. The goods are not subject to duties if reshipped to foreign points.
Break Bulk (B/B)
For consolidated air freight, it is moved under one MAWB and each consignment designated to specific consignee or receipant is under one HAWB. When freight forwarder receives the consolidated cargo from carrier, they will break the consolidation apart per HAWB then proceed customs clearance along with associated shipping and import documents. Such Break-Bulk is normally handled by airlines or their contracted ground handling agent.
Before import customs formality has been completed cleared and released, cargo is remained at bonded warehouse under customs custody.
Cargo Selectivity System
The Cargo Selectivity System, a part of Customs’ Automated Commercial System, specifies the type of examination (intensive or general) to be conducted for imported merchandise. The type of examination is based on database selectivity criteria such as assessments of risk by filer, consignee, tariff number, country of origin, and manufacturer/shipper. A first time consignee is always selected for an intensive examination. An alert is also generated in cargo selectivity the first time a consignee files an entry in a port with a particular tariff number, country of origin, or manufacturer/shipper.
A customs document permitting the holder to carry or send merchandise temporarily into certain foreign countries for display, domonstration or other purposes without paying import duties or posting bonds.
Combi Aircraft
An aircraft configured to carry both passengers and cargo on the Main Deck.
The person or firm named in a freight contract to whom goods have been consigned or turned over. For export control purposes, the documentation differentiates between an “intermediate” consignee and an “ultimate” consignee.
Delivery of merchandise from an exporter (the consignor) to an agent (the consignee) under agreement that the agent sell the merchandise for the account of the exporter. The consignor retains title to the goods until sold. The consignee sells the goods for commission and remits the net proceeds to the consignor.
In order to handle small lot of consignment efficiently and competitively, freight forwarder usually put many consignments into one lot then tender to carrier for forwarding. In this case, each consignment will be shipped with one HAWB respectively and all of them will be under one master AWB.
The government authorities designated to collect duties levied by a country on imports and exports.
Customs Broker
An individual or company licensed by the government to enter and clear goods through Customs. The U.S. Customs Service defines a Customs Broker, as any person who is licensed in accordance with Part III of Title 19 of the Code of Federal Regulations (Customs regulations) to transact Customs business on behalf of others. Customs business is limited to those activities involving transactions with Customs concerning the entry and admissibility of merchandise; its classification and valuation; the payment of duties, taxes, or other charges assessed or collected by Customs upon merchandise by reason of its importation, or the refund, rebate, or drawback thereof.
Customs Clearance
The procedures involved in getting cargo released by Customs through designated formalities such as presenting import license/permit, payment of import duties and other required documentations by the nature of the cargo such as FCC or FDA approval.
Customs Free Zone
See: Free Trade Zone.
Customs Import Value
This is the U.S. Customs Service appraisal value of merchandise. Methodologically, the Customs value is similar to f.a.s. (free alongside ship) value since it is based on the value of the product in the foreign country of origin, and excludes charges incurred in bringing the merchandise to the United States (import duties, ocean freight, insurance, and so forth); but it differs in that the U.S. Customs Service, not the importer or exporter, has the final authority to determine the value of the good.
Customs Invoice
A document, required by some foreign countries’ customs officials to verify the value, quantity, and nature of the shipment, describing the shipment of goods and showing information such as the consignor, consignee, and value of the shipment.
Dangerous Goods
Commodities classified by IATA according to its nature and characteristic in terms of the effect of its danger to carrier’s flying safety.
Deliver Duty Paid.
Deliver Duty Unpaid.
Delivery Verification Certificate
The U.S. Customs Service defines a DVC as a form used to track imported merchandise from the custody of the importer to the custody of a manufacturer and is used to substantiate a manufacturing drawback claim. The DVC is also known as a Certificate of Delivery (Customs Form 331).

An export license may be issued with a requirement for delivery verification by Customs in the receiving country. When delivery verification is required by a foreign government for goods imported into the U.S., the U.S. Customs Service will certify a delivery verification certificate (Form ITA-647). A U.S. export license may require submission of a similar form from an importing country.
Deposit of Estimated Duties
This refers to antidumping duties which must be deposited upon entry of merchandise which is the subject of an antidumping duty order for each manufacturer, producer or exporter equal to the amount by which the foreign market value exceeds the United States price of the merchandise.
Dimentional Weight
Also called measurement weight. This is the size of consignment calculated by total square feet by 6000. Carrier charge for freight based on the dimensional weight or actual gross weight whichever is higher.
Direct Ship
Ship without consolidation and under one MAWB ie non-consolidation.
Domestic Exports
Exports of domestic merchandise include commodities which are grown, produced, or manufactured in one country, and commodities of foreign origin which have been substantially changed in this country, including Foreign Trade Zones, from the form in which they were imported, or which have been enhanced in value by further manufacture in this country.
Drawback is a rebate by a government, in whole or in part, of customs duties assessed on imported merchandise that is subsequently exported. Drawback regulations and procedures vary among countries.
Drawback System
The Drawback System, a part of Customs’ Automated Commercial System, provides the means for processing and tracking of drawback claims.
A tax imposed on imports by the customs authority of a country. Duties are generally based on the value of the goods (ad valorem duties), some other factors such as weight or quantity (specific duties), or a combination of value and other factors (compound duties).
EDIFACT, Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce, and Transportation, is an international syntax used in the interchange of electronic data. Customs uses EDIFACT to interchange data with the importing trade community.
Employer Identity Number.
An intermediary storage facility where goods are kept temporarily for distribution within a country or for reexport.
Entry Summary System
An entry is the minimum amount of documentation needed to secure the release of imported merchandise. The Entry Summary System, a part of Customs’ Automated Commercial System, contains data on release, summary, rejection, collection, liquidation, and extension or suspension.
Entry Summary Selectivity System
The Entry Summary Selectivity System, a part of Customs’ Automated Commercial System, provides an automated review of entry data to determine whether team or routine review is required. Selectivity criteria include an assessment of risk by importer, tariff number, country of origin, manufacturer, and value. Summaries with Census warnings, as well as quota, antidumping and countervailing duty entry summaries are selected for team review. A random sample of routine review summaries is also automatically selected for team review.
Entry Value
The U.S. Customs Service defines entry value (or entered value) as the value reflected on the enry documentation submitted by the importer. (see 19 CFR 141.61 for how shown on entry.)
Estimated Time of Arrival. Then, It normally takes 4 hours for carriers to Break Bulk then ready to be picked up by forwarders along with customs release notification.
Estimated Time of Departure. The cut-off time for carriers’ cargo ramp handling is normally two hours ahead of ETD. However, the freight forwraders’ consolidation cut-off time may vary depending on each forwarder’s operations respectively.
Export Control Classification Number
Every product has an export control classification number (formerly: Export Control Commodity Number) within the Commerce Control List. Each ECCN consists of five characters that identify the category, product group, type of control, and country group level of control.
Exporter’s Certificate of Origin
The U.S. Customs Service defines an Exporter’s Certificate of Origin (also known as Customs Form 353) as a document completed by the exporter, certifying that the goods described therein are eligible for a preferential rate of duty under some trade program such as the U.S.-Canada Free-Trade Agreement. (See 19 CFR 10.37(d)(1).)
Export License
A government document (also known as an “Individual Validated License”) authorizing exports of specific goods in specific quantities to a particular destination. This document may be required in some countries for most or all exports and in other countries only under special circumstances.
External Dimensions
The extreme outside measurements, including any handles or other protrusions, of a ULD.
External Volume, ULD
The amount of space a ULD occupies in an aircraft calculated using the extreme external dimensions of the unit.
Foreign Exports
Exports of foreign merchandise (re-exports), consist of commodities of foreign origin which have entered the United States for consumption or into Customs bonded warehouses or U.S. Foreign Trade Zones, and which, at the time of exportation, are in substantially the same condition as when imported.
Freight Carriage … paid to
Like C & F, “Freight/Carriage paid to …” means that the seller pays the freight for the carriage of the goods to the named destination. However, the risk of loss of or damage to the goods, as well as of any cost increases, is transferred from the seller to the buyer when the goods have been delivered into the custody of the first carrier and not at the ship’s rail. The term can be used for all modes of transport including multi-modal operations and container or “roll on-roll off” traffic by trailer and ferries. When the seller has to furnish a bill of lading, waybill or carrier’s receipt, he duly fulfills this obligation by presenting such a document issued by the person with whom he has contracted for carriage to the named destination.
Freight Carriage … and Insurance paid to
This term is the same as “Freight/Carriage Paid to …” but with the addition that the seller has to procure transport insurance against the risk of loss of damage to the goods during the carriage. The seller contracts with the insurer and pays the insurance premium.
Freight Forwarder
An independent business which handles export shipments for compensation. At the request of the shipper, the forwarder makes the actual arrangements and provides the necessary services for expediting the shipment to its overseas destination. The forwarder takes care of all documentation needed to move the shipment from origin to destination, making up and assembling the necessary documentation for submission to the bank in the exporter’s name. The forwarder arranges for cargo insurance, makes the necessary overseas communications, and advises the shipper on overseas requirements of marking and labeling. The forwarder operates on a fee basis paid by the exporter and often receives an additional percentage of the freight charge from the common carrier. An export freight forwarder must be licensed by the Federal Maritime Commission to handle ocean freight and by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to handle air freight. An ocean freight forwarder dispatches shipments from the United States via common carriers, books or arranges space for the shipments, and handles the shipping documentation.
In the context of travel activities, gateway refers to a major airport or seaport. Internationally, gateway can also mean the port where customs clearance takes place.
Harmonized System
The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (or Harmonized System, HS) is a system for classifying goods in international trade, developed under the auspices of the Customs Cooperation Council. Beginning on January 1, 1989, the new HS numbers replaced previously adhered-to schedules in over 50 countries, including the United States.

For the United States, the HS numbers and four additional digits are the numbers that are entered on the actual export and import documents. Any other commodity code classification number (SITC, end-use, etc.) are just rearrangements and transformations of the original HS numbers.
House Air waybill issued by carrying airlines’ agent, normally freight forwarder.
International Air Transport Association (IATA), established in 1945, is a trade association serving airlines, passengers, shippers, travel agents, and governments. The association promotes safety, standardization in forms (baggage checks, tickets, weigh bills), and aids in establishing international airfares. IATA headquarter is in Geneva, Switzerland.
IATA Designator
Two-character Airline identification assigned by IATA in accordance with provisions of Resolution 762. It is for use in reservations, timetables, tickets, tariffs as well as air waybill.
International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is an United Nations specialized agency which promotes international cooperation in civil aviation. The ICAO Council adopts standards and recommended practices concerning air nagivation, prevention of unlawful interference, and facilitation of border-crossing procedures for international civil aviation. Operating since 1947, ICAO includes almost all U.N. members. Headquarters are in Montreal, Canada.
Import Certificate
The import certificate is a means by which the government of the country of ultimate destination exercises legal control over the internal channeling of the commodities covered by the import certificate.
Import License
A document required and issued by some national governments authorizing the importation of goods.Also referred as import permit. With such documentation, customs clearance can be conducted.
Import Quota
A means of restricting imports by the issuance of licenses to importers, assigning each a quota, after determination of the total amount of any commodity which is to be imported during a period. Import licenses may also specify the country from which the importer must purchase the goods.
Import Quota Auctioning
The process of auctioning the right to import specified quantities of quota-restricted goods.
Import Restrications
Import restriction, applied by a country with an adverse trade balance (or for other reasons), reflect a desire to control the volume of goods coming into the country from other countries may include the imposition of tariffs or import quotas, restrictions on the amount of foreign currency available to cover imports, a requirement for import deposits, the imposition of import surcharges, or the prohibition of various categories of imports.
Importer of Record
The U.S. Customs Service defines the importer of record as the owner or purchaser of the goods; or, when designated by the owner, purchaser, or consignee, a licensed Customs broker.
Imports for Consumption
“Imports for Consumption” measure the total of merchandise that has physically cleared through U.S. Customs either entering consumption channels immediately or entering after withdrawal for consumption from bonded warehouses under Customs custody or from Foreign Trade Zones. Many countries use the term “special imports” to designate statistics compiled on this basis.
Maintained by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), this codification of terms is used in foreign trade contracts to define which parties incur the costs and at what specific point the costs are incurred.
Insurance Certificate
This certificate is used to assure the consignee that insurance is provided to cover loss of or damage to the cargo while in transit.
Integrated Carriers
Carriers that have both air and ground fleets; or other combinations, such as sea, rail, and truck. Since they usually handle thousands of small parcels an hour, they are less expensive and offer more diverse services than regular carriers.
Intermediate Consignee
An intermediate consignee is the bank, forwarding agent, or other intermediary (if any) that acts in a foreign country as an agent for the exporter, the purchaser, or the ultimate consignee, for the purpose of effecting delivery of the export to the ultimate consignee.
Movement of goods by more than one mode of transport, ie. airplane, truck, railroad and ship.
Lower deck type 3 container. This is the most commonly used container in passenger aircraft.
Live Animal
Commodities classified by IATA referring live animals such as horse, cow, … also known as┬áLivestock.
Lower Deck
The compartment below the Main Deck (also synonymous with lower hold and lower lobe).
Most commonly used type of pallet at lower deck of passenger aircraft and full cargo freighter.
Main Deck
The deck on which the major portion of payload is carried, normally known as Upper Deck of an airplane. The full cargo freighter aircraft has it entire upper deck equipped for main deck type of containers/pallets while Combi aircraft uses it rear part of the upper deck for cargo loading. There is no upper deck or main deck type of container/pallet at passenger aircraft.
Commonly used container/pallet at Main Deck or Upper Deck.
Non-Airplane Unit Load


No Value Declared.
On Board Courier.
Open Account
A trade arrangement in which goods are shipped to a foreign buyer before, and without written guarantee of, payment. Because this method poses an obvious risk to the supplier, it is essential that the buyer’s integrity be unquestionable.


Packing List
A shipping document issued by shipper to carrier, Customs and consignee serving the purposes of identifying detail information of package count, products count, measurement of each package, weight of each package, etc.


Pallet Net




Power Of Attorney, an authorization granted by consignee or importer to its customs broker for the processing of customs clearance on its behalf.
Proof Of Delivery, or a cargo/package receipt with the signature of receipant. This term has been widely used in courier and express industry and also gaining more attention and implementation at air cargo industry..
Political Risk
In export financing, the risk of loss due to currency inconvertibility, foreign government action preventing the delivery of goods, revolution, war, expropriation, confiscation, etc.
Porject License
The Bureau of Export Administration uses the project license to authorize large-scale exports of a wide variety of commodities and technical data for specified activities. Those activities are restricted to capital expansion, maintenance, repair or operating supplies, or the supply of materials to be used in the production of other commodities for sale. Items intended for resale in the form received are not permitted and must be effected under a Distribution License.


Pro Forma Invoice
An invoice provided by a supplier prior to the shipment of merchandise, informing the buyer of the kinds and quantities of goods to be sent, their value, and important specifications (weight, size, and similar characteristics). When an importer applys for Letter of Credit as the means of payment, a Pro Forma Invoice from the beneficiary of such Letter of Credit, usually the exporter, is required by the L/C issuing bank.
Quotas and Quota System
Absolute quotas permit a limited number of units of specified merchandise to be entered or withdrawn for consumption during specified periods. Tariff-rate quotas permit a specified quantity of merchandise to be entered or withdrawn at a reduced rate during a specified period. Quotas are established by Presidential Proclamations, Executive Orders, or other legislation.

The Quota System, a part of Customs’ Automated Commercial System, controls quota levels (quantities authorized) and quantities entered against those levels. Visas control exports from the country of origin. Visa authorizations are received from other countries and quantities entered against those visas are transmitted back to them. Control of visas and quotas simplify reconciliation of other countries’ exports and U.S. imports.
For export control purposes: the shipment of U.S. origin products from one foreign destination to another.

For statistical reporting purposes: exports of foreign-origin merchandise which have previously entered the United States for consumption or into Customs bonded warehouses for U.S. Foreign Trade Zones.
Refused Shipments


Schedule B
Schedule B is a U.S. Bureau of the Census publication and is based on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (Harmonized System). Export statistics are initially collected and compiled in terms of approxiximately 8,000 commodity classifications in Schedule B, Statistical Classification of Domestic and Foreign Commodities Exported from the United States. All commodities exported from the U.S. must be assigned a seven-digit Schedule B number.
The Shipper’s Export Declaration (SED) includes complete particulars on individual shipments and is used to control exports and act as a source document for the official U.S. export statistics. SEDs must be prepared for shipments through the U.S. Postal Service when the shipment is valued over $500. SEDs are required for shipments, other than by the U.S. Postal Service, where the value of commodities classified under each individual Schedule B number is over $2,500. SEDs must be prepared, regardless of value, for all shipments requiring a validated export license or destined for countries prohibited by the Export Administration Regulations. SEDs are prepared by the exporter and the exporter’s agent and delivered to the exporting carrier (such as: post office, airline, or vessel line). The exporting carrier presents the required number of copies to the U.S. Customs Service at the port of export.

The Foreign Trade Statistical Regulations (15 CFR, Part 30) provide the statistical requirements for use by exporters, freight forwarders, and ocean carriers concerning preparation and filing of SEDs.
Shipping Mark
The letters, numbers or other symbols placed on the outside of cargo to facilitate identification.
Shipping Weight
Shipping weight represents the gross weight in kilograms of shipments, including the weight of moisture content, wrappings, crates, boxes, and containers (other than cargo vans and similar substantial outer containers).
Table of Denial Orders
The TDO is a list of individuals and firms that have been disbarred from shipping or receiving U.S. goods or technology. Firms and individuals on the list may be disbarred with respect to either controlled commodities or general destination (across-the-board) exports. The list is published in the Export Administration Regulations.
TACT stands for The Air Cargo Tariff. It is published by IAP — International Airlines Publications, an IATA company.
Tare Weight
The weight of a ULD and tie down materials without the weight of the goods it contains.
A tax assessed by a government in accordance with its tariff schedule on goods as they enter (or leave) a country. May be imposed to protect domestic industries from imported goods and/or to generate revenue. Types include ad valorem, specific, variable, or some combination.
Tariff Act of 1930
Title VII of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended, provides for the imposition of antidumping duties on imported merchandise found to have been sold in the United States at “less than fair value,” if these sales have caused or are likely to cause material injury to, or materially retard the establishment of, an industry in the United States.
Tariff Anomaly
A tariff anomaly exists when the tariff on raw materials or semi-manufactured goods is higher than the tariff on the finished product.
Tariff Escalation
A situation in which tariffs on manufactured goods are relatively high, tariffs on semi-processed goods are moderate, and tariffs on raw materials are nonexistent or very low.
Tariff Quotas
Application of a higher tariff rate to imported goods after a specified quantity of the item has entered the country at a lower prevailing rate.
Tariff Schedule
A comprehensive list of the goods which a country may import and the import duties applicable to each product.
Tariff Schedules of the United States Annotated
Effective 1979 to January 1989, the U.S. import statistics were initially collected and compiled in terms of the commodity classifications in the Tariff Schedules of the United States Annotated (TSUSA), an official publication of the U.S. International Trade Commission embracing the legal text of the Tariff Schedules of the United States (TSUS) together with statistical annotations. This publication was superseded by the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated for Statistical Reporting Purposes (HTSUSA) in January 1989.

Effective 1979 to January 1989, the U.S. export statistics were initially collected and compiled in terms of the commodity classifications in Schedule B, Statistical Classification of Domestic and Foreign Commodities Exported from the United States. Schedule B is a U.S. Bureau of the Census publication and, during this period, was based on the framework of the TSUS. In January 1989, this publication was replaced by Schedule B based on the Harmonized System.
Temporary Importation under Bond
When an importer makes entry of articles brought into the United States temporarily and claimed to be exempt from duty under Chaper 98, Subchapter XIII, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States, a bond is posted with Customs which guarantees that these items will be exported within a specified time frame (usually within one year from the date of importation). Failure to export these items makes the importer liable for the payment of liquidated damages for breach of the bond conditions. (See 19 CFR 10.31.). The Temporary Importation under Bond (TIB) is usually twice the amount of duties and other payments the importer would otherwise be required to pay. Merchandise imported under TIB is usually for sales demonstration, testing, or repair.
Toxic Substance Control Act, An extra release that is needed for chemicals, hazardous material, etc. Not a charge by customs, but brokers may charge extra to get the release.
Transshipment refers to the act of sending an exported product through an intermediate country before routing it to the country intended to be its final destination.
Transit Zones
Transit zones, a form of free trade zone, are ports of entry in coastal countries that are established as storage and distribution centers for the convenience of a neighboring country lacking adequate port facilities or access to the sea. A transit zone is administered so that goods in transit to and from the neighboring country are not subject to the customs duties, import controls or many of the entry and exit formalities of the host country. Transit zones are more limited facilities then a foreign trade zone or a free port.
Transmittal Letter
A list of the particulars of the shipment and a record of the documents being transmitted together with instructions for disposition of documents. Any special instructions are also included.
Unit Load Device, Any type of container, container with integral pallet, aircraft continer or aircraft pallet.
Ultimate Consignee
The ultimate consignee is the person located abroad who is the true party in interest, receiving the export for the designated end-use.
Upper Deck
See Main Deck
Value for Customs Purposes Only
The U.S. Customs Service defines “value for Customs purposes only” as the value submitted on the entry documentation by the importer which may or may not reflect information from the manufacturer but in no way reflects Customs appraisement of the merchandise.
Without Reserve
A term indicating that a shipper’s agent or representative is empowered to make definitive decisions and adjustments abroad without approval of the group or individual represented.