H & I – Shipping Terms

Hague Rules, The
A multilateral maritime treaty adopted in 1921 (at The Hague, Netherlands).
Standardizes liability of an international carrier under the Ocean B/L. Establishes a legal “floor” for B/L. See COGSA

Handymax Vessel
A dry bulk vessel of 35,000 to 49,000dwt. (Note that a “Handy” dry bulk carrier is from 10,000 to 34,000dwt.) A “Handymax Tanker” is a liquid bulk carrier of 10,000 to 60,000dwt.

Any place to which ships may resort for shelter, or to load or unload passengers or goods, or to ob­tain fuel, water, or supplies. This term applies to such places whether proclaimed public or not and whether natural or artificial.

Harbor Master
An official responsible for construction, maintenance, operation, regulation, enforcement, administra­tion and management pertaining to marinas, ports and harbors.

Harmonized System of Codes (HS)
An international goods classification system for describing cargo in international trade under a single commodity–coding scheme. Developed under the auspices of the Customs Cooperations Council (CCC), an international Customs organization in Brussels, this code is a hierarchically structured prod­uct nomenclature containing approximately 5,000 headings and subheadings. It is organized into 99 chapters arranged in 22 sections. Sections encompass an industry (e.g., Section XI, Textiles and Textile Articles); chapters encompass the various materials and products of the indus­try (e.g., Chapter 50, Silk; Chapter 55, Manmade Staple Fibers; Chapter 57, Carpets).The basic code containsfour–digit headings and six–digit subheadings. Many countries add digits for Customs tariff and statistical purposes. In the United States, duty rates will be the eight–digit level; statistical suffixes will be at the ten–digit level. The Harmonized System (HS) is the current U.S. tariff schedule (TSUSA) for imports and is the basis for the ten–digit Schedule B export code.

The opening in the deck of a vessel; gives access to the cargo hold.

An industry abbreviation for “Hazardous Material.”

Heavy–Lift Charge
A charge made for lifting articles too heavy to be lifted by a ship’s normal tackle.

High–Density Compression
Compression of a flat or standard bale of cotton to approximately 32 pounds per cubic foot.
Usually applies to cotton exported or shipped coastwise.

The marrying of two or more portions of one shipment that originate at different locations, mov­ing under one bill of lading, from one shipper to one consignee. Authority for this service must be granted by tariff publication. See Bill of Lading.

Hopper Barge
A barge which loads material dumped into it by a dredger and discharges the cargo through the bot­tom.

See Door–to–Door.

Cargo loaded into a container by the shipper under shipper’s supervision. When the cargo is exported, it is unloaded at the foreign pier destination.

The process of connecting a moving rail car with a motionless rail car within a rail classification yard in order to make up a train.
The cars move by gravity from an incline or “hump” onto the appropriate track.


Abbreviation for “Independent Action.” The right of a conference member to publish a rate of tariff rule that departs from the Agreement’s common rate or rule.

Abbreviation for:(1) “Interstate Commerce Commission” (2) “International Chamber of Commerce”

Stands for “Immediate Exit.” In the U.S., Customs IE Form is used when goods are brought into theU.S. and are to be immediately re–exported without being transported within the U.S.

International Maritime Consultative Organization.
A forum in which most major maritime nations participate and through which recommendations for the carriage of dangerous goods, bulk commodi­ties, and maritime regulations become internationally acceptable.

I.M.D.G. Code
International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code.
The regulations published by the IMO for transport­ing hazardous materials internationally.

Immediate Exportation
An entry that allows foreign merchandise arriving at one port to be exported from the same port without the payment of duty.

To receive goods from a foreign country.

Import License
A document required and issued by some national governments authorizing the importation of goods.

In Bond
Cargo moving under Customs control where duty has not yet been paid.

In Gate
The transaction or interchange that occurs at the time a container is received by a rail terminal or water port from another carrier.

In Transit
In transit, or in passage.

In–Transit Entry (I.T.)
Allows foreign merchandise arriving at one port to be transported in bond to another port, where a superseding entry is filed.

Incentive Rate
A lower–than–usual tariff rate assessed because a shipper offers a greater volume than specified in the tariff. The incentive rate is assessed for that portion exceeding the normal volume.

The recognized abbreviation for the International Chamber of Commerce Terms of Sale.
These terms were last amended, effective July 1, 1990.

Indemnity Bond
An agreement to hold a carrier harmless with regard to a liability.

Independent Action
Setting rate within a conference tariff that is different from the rate(s) for the same items established by other conference members.

Independent Tariff
Any body of rate tariffs that are not part of an agreement or conference system.

Placing a port on a vessel’s itinerary because the volume of cargo offered at that port justifies the cost of routing the vessel.

Inherent Vice
An insurance term referring to any defect or other characteristic of a product that could result in dam­age to the product without external cause (for example, instability in a chemical that could cause it to explode spontaneously).
Insurance policies may exclude inherent vice losses.

Inland Carrier
A transportation line that hauls export or import traffic between ports and inland points.

Inspection Certificate
A certificate issued by an independent agent or firm attesting to the quality and/or quantity of the merchandise being shipped. Such a certificate is usually required in a letter of credit for commodity shipments.

Installment Shipments
Successive shipments are permitted under letters of credit. Usually they must take place within a given period of time.

Insulated Container
A container insulated on the walls, roof, floor, and doors, to reduce the effect of external temperatures on the cargo.

Insulated Container Tank
The frame of a container constructed to hold one or more thermally insulated tanks for liquids.

Insurance with Average–clause
This type of clause covers merchandise if the damage amounts to three percent or more of the in­sured value of the package or cargo. If the vessel burns, sinks, or collides, all losses are fully covered. In marine insurance, the word average describes partial damage or partial loss.

Insurance, All–risk
This type of insurance offers the shipper the broadest coverage available, covering against all losses that may occur in transit.

Insurance, General–Average
In water transportation, the deliberate sacrifice of cargo to make the vessel safe for the remaining cargo. Those sharing in the spared cargo proportionately cover the loss.

Insurance, Particular Average
A Marine insurance term which refers to partial loss on an individual shipment from one of the perils insured against, regardless of the balance of the cargo. Particular–average insurance can usually be obtained, but the loss must be in excess of a certain percentage of the insured value of the shipment, usually three to five percent, before a claim will be allowed by the company.

Interchange Point
location where one carrier delivers freight to another carrier.

Water service between two coasts; in the U.S., this usually refers to water service between the Atlantic and Pacific or Gulf Coasts.

Interline Freight
Freight moving from origin to destination over the Freight lines of two or more transportation car­riers.

Intermediate Point
A point located en route between two other points.

Used to denote movements of cargo containers interchangeably between transport modes, i.e., motor, rail, water, and air carriers, and where the equipment is compatible within the multiple systems.

International Ship and Port Security Code (ISPS)It
It is an amendment to the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention (1974/1988) on minimum security arrangements for ships, ports and government agencies. Having come into force in 2004, it prescribes responsibilities to governments, shipping companies, shipboard personnel, and port/facility personnel to “detect security threats and take preventative measures against security incidents affecting ships or port facilities used in international trade.”

In–Transit Entry (I.T.)Allows
foreign merchandise arriving at one port to be transported in bond to another port, where a superseding entry is filed.

An itemized list of goods shipped to a buyer, stating quantities, prices, shipping charges, etc.

Inward Foreign Manifest (IFM)A
complete listing of all cargo entering the country of discharge. Required at all world ports and is the primary source of cargo control, against which duty is assessed by the receiving country.

Abbreviation for “Inland Point Intermodal.”
Refers to inland points (non–ports) that can be served by carriers on a through bill of lading.

Irrevocable Letter of Credit
Letter of credit in which the specified payment is guaranteed by the bank if all terms and conditions are met by the drawee and which cannot be revoked without joint agreement of both the buyer and the seller.

International Standards Organization which deals in standards of all sorts, ranging from documenta­tion to equipment packaging and labeling.

Issuing Bank
Bank that opens a straight or negotiable letter of credit and assumes the obligation to pay the bank or beneficiary if the documents presented are in accordance with the terms of the letter of credit.

Issuing Carrier
The carrier issuing transportation documents or publishing a tariff.

Abbreviation for “Immediate Transport.”
The document (prepared by the carrier) allows shipment to proceed from the port of entry in the U.S. to Customs clearing at the destination. The shipment clears Customs at its final destination. Also called an “In–Transit” Entry.