O – Shipping Terms

Ocean Bill of Lading (Ocean B/L)
A contract for transportation between a shipper and a carrier. It also evidences receipt of the cargo by the carrier. A bill of lading shows ownership of the cargo and, if made negotiable, can be bought, sold or traded while the goods are in–transit.

Abbreviation for “Operating Differential Subsidy.” An amount of money the U.S. government paidU.S. shipping companies that qualify for this subsidy. The intent was to help offset the higher subsidy. The intent was to help offset the higher cost of operating a U.S.–flag vessel. The ODS program is ad­ministered by the U.S. Maritime Administration and is being phased out.

Office of Global Maritime Situational Awareness (OGMSA)It is the United States initiative to establish a world–wide maritime information exchange that encom­passes both public and private sector entities with maritime interests. The GMSA supports maritime domain awareness by making maritime related information available and searchable. Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, headquartered in Paris with membership consisting of the world’s developed nations.

On Board
A notation on a bill of lading that cargo has been loaded on board a vessel. Used to satisfy the require­ments of a letter of credit, in the absence of an express requirement to the contrary.

On Deck
A notation on a bill of lading that the cargo has been stowed on the open deck of the ship.

Open Account
A trade arrangement in which goods are shipped to a foreign buyer without guarantee of payment.

Open Insurance Policy
A marine insurance policy that applies to all shipments made by an exporter over a period of time rather than to one shipment only.

Open Sea
The water area of the open coast seaward of the ordinary low-water mark, or seaward of inland wa­ters.

Open Top Container
A container fitted with a solid removable roof, or with a tarpaulin roof so the container can be loaded or unloaded from the top.

Operating Ratio
A comparison of a carrier’s operating expense with its net sales. The most general measure of operat­ing efficiency.

Overseas Private Investment Corporation, an agency of the U.S. government which helps U.S. busi­nesses invest overseas.

Optimum Cube
The highest level of cube utilization that can be achieved when loading cargo into a container.

Order–Notify (O/N)
A bill of lading term to provide surrender of the original bill of lading before freight is released; usu­ally associated with a shipment covered under a letter of credit.

Abbreviation for “Origin Rail Freight Station.”
Same as CFS at origin except an ORFS is operated by the rail carrier participating in the shipment.

Location where shipment begins its movement.

Original Bill of Lading (OBL)
A document which requires proper signatures for consummating carriage of contract. Must be marked as “original” by the issuing carrier.

Abbreviation for “Over, Short or Damaged” Usually discovered at cargo unloading.

Out Gate
Transaction or interchange that occurs at the time a container leaves a rail or water terminal.

To charge more than the proper amount according to the published rates.

Over height Cargo
Cargo more than eight feet high which thus cannot fit into a standard container.

Overland Common Point (OCP)
A term stated on the bills of lading offering lower shipping rates to importers east of the Rockies, provided merchandise from the Far East comes in through the West Coast ports. OCP rates were es­tablished by U.S. West Coast steamship companies in conjunction with western railroads so that cargo originating or destined for the American Midwest and East would be competitive with all–water rates via the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf ports. Applies to eastern Canada.

Owner Code (SCAC)
Standard Carrier Abbreviation Code identifying an individual common carrier. A three letter carrier code followed by a suffix identifies the carrier’s equipment. A suffix of “U” is a container and “C” is a chassis.