S – Shipping Terms

An embargo imposed by a Government against another country.

SAFE Port Act
Is the Security and Accountability For Every Port Act of 2006 which is an Actof Congress in the United States that covers port security.

Abbreviation for:–Sight draft.–Sea damage.

See Owner Code.

Schedule B
The Statistical Classification of Domestic and Foreign Commodities Exported from the United States.

Sea–Bee Vessels
Ocean vessels constructed with heavy–duty submersible hydraulic lift or elevator system at the stern of the vessel. The Sea–Bee system facilitates forward transfer and positioning of barges. Sea–Bee barges are larger than LASH barges. The Sea–Bee system is no longer used.

Sea Waybill
Document indicating the goods were loaded onboard when a document of title (b/L) is not needed. Typically used when a company is shipping goods to itself.

Seawaymax Vessel
The largest vessel that can transit the locks of the St. Lawrence Seaway. Length is 226 meters (740 feet); Beam is 24 meters (78 feet); Draft is 7.92 meters (26 feet).

The fitness of a vessel for its intended use.

Secure Freight Initiative (SFI)
It is a key provision of the SAFE Port Act of 2006 and is part of the International Container Security scanning project. It builds on its current partnership between the Container Security Initiative and the Mega ports Initiative. It expands the use of scanning and imaging equipment to examine more U.S. bound containers, not just those determined to be high risk.

Security Level 1
Is the level for which minimum appropriate protective security measures shall be maintained at all times.

Security Level 2
Is the level for which appropriate additional protective security measures shall be maintained for a period of time as a result of heightened risk of a security incident.

Security Level 3
Is the level for which further specific protective security measures shall be maintained for a limited period of time when a security incident is probable or imminent, although it may not be possible to identify the specific target.

U.S. Commerce Department document, “Shipper’s Export Declaration.”

A string of vessels which makes a particular voyage and serves a particular market.

Service Contract
As provided in the Shipping Act of 1984, a contract between a shipper (or a shippers association) and an ocean common carrier (or conference) in which the shipper makes a commitment to provide a cer­tain minimum quantity of cargo or freight revenue over a fixed time period, and the ocean common carrier or conference commits to a certain rate or rate schedule as well as a defined service level (such as assured space, transit time, port rotation or similar service features). The contract may also specify provisions in the event of nonperformance on the part of either party.

Saturday and Holidays Excluded.

Saturday and Holidays Included.

(1) A vessel of considerable size for deep-water navigation. (2) A sailing vessel having three or more square-rigged masts.

Ship Chandler
An individual or company selling equipment and supplies for ships.

Ship Demurrage
A charge for delaying a steamer beyond a stipulated period.

Ship’s Bells
Measure time onboard ship. One bell sounds for each half hour. One bell means 12:30, two bells mean 1:00, and three bells mean 1:30, and so on until 4:00 (eight bells). At 4:30 the cycle begins again with one bell.

Ship Load
The amount of cargo a ship carries or is able to carry. See also “Full Shipload Lot” and “Full and Down.”

Ship’s Manifest
A statement listing the particulars of all shipments loaded for a specified voyage.

The tender of one lot of cargo at one time from one shipper to one consignee on one bill of lading.

Ship Security Officer
Is the person on board the vessel, accountable to the master, designated by the Company as respon­sible for the security of the ship, including implementation and maintenance of the ship security plan and for the liaison with the company security officer and the port facility security officers.

Ship’s Tackle
All rigging, cranes, etc., utilized on a ship to load or unload cargo.

The person or company who is usually the supplier or owner of commodities shipped. Also called Consignor.

Shippers Association
A non–profit entity that represents the interests of a number of shippers. The main focus of shippers associations is to pool the cargo volumes of members to leverage the most favorable service contract rate levels.

Shipper’s Export Declaration – SED, “Ex Dec”
A joint Bureau of the Census’ International Trade Administration form used for compiling U.S. ex­ports. It is completed by a shipper and shows the value, weight, destination, etc., of export shipments as well as Schedule B commodity code.

Shipper’s Letter of Instructions for issuing an Air Waybill
The document required by the carrier or freight forwarders to obtain (besides the data needed) autho­rization to issue and sign the air waybill in the name of the shipper.

Shipper’s Load & Count (SL&C)
Shipments loaded and sealed by shippers and not checked or verified by the carriers.

Shipping Act of 1916
The act of the U.S. Congress (1916) that created the U.S. Shipping Board to develop water transporta­tion, operate the merchant ships owned by the government, and regulate the water carriers engaged in commerce under the flag of the United States. As of June 18, 1984, applies only to domestic offshore ocean transport.

Shipping Act of 1984
Effective June 18, 1984, describes the law covering water transportation in the U.S. foreign trade.

Shipping Act of 1998
Amends the Act of 1984 to provide for confidential service contracts and other items.

Shipping Order
Shipper’s instructions to carrier for forwarding goods; usually the triplicate copy of the bill of lading.

Ships – Types

Bulk Carriers:
All vessels designed to carry bulk homogeneous cargo without mark and count such as grain, fertilizers, ore, and oil.

Combination Passenger and Cargo Vessels:
Ships with a capacity for 13 or more pas­sengers.

Breakbulk vessels both refrigerated and unrefrigerated, containerships, partial containerships, roll–on/roll–off vessels, and barge carriers. A general cargo vessel de­signed to carry heterogeneous mark and count cargoes.

General Cargo Carriers:
Breakbulk freighters, car carriers, cattle carriers, pallet carriers and timber carriers. A vessel designed to carry heterogeneous mark and count cargoes.

Full Containerships:
Ships equipped with permanent container cells, with little or no space for other types of cargo.

Partial Containerships:
Multipurpose containerships where one or more but not all compartments are fitted with permanent container cells. Remaining compartments are used for other types of cargo.

Roll–on/Roll–off vessels:
Ships specially designed to carry wheeled containers or trail­ers using interior ramps.

Ships fitted with tanks to carry liquid bulk cargo such as: crude petroleum and petroleum products, chemicals, Liquefied gasses (LNG and LPG), wine, molasses, and similar product tankers.


A prop or support placed against or beneath anything to prevent sinking or sagging.

Short Sea Shipping – SSS (European-EU)
Short Sea Shipping means the movement of cargo by sea between ports situated in geographical Eu­rope or between those ports situated in non-European countries having a coastline on the enclosed seas bordering Europe (Baltic, Mediterranean and Black). It is a successful mode of transport in Eu­rope.

Short Ton (ST)
A weight unit of measure equal to 2,000 pounds.

Shrink Wrap
Polyethylene or similar substance heat–treated and shrunk into an envelope around several units, thereby securing them as a single pack for presentation or to secure units on a pallet.

Side Loader
A lift truck fitted with lifting attachments operating to one side for handling containers.

Side–Door Container
A container fitted with a rear door and a minimum of one side door.
Sight Draft A draft payable upon presentation to the drawee.

Society of International Gas Transport and Terminal Operators, an industry organization promoting the exchange of safety information concerning the processing, transporting and handling of liquefied gases.

Battens, or a series of parallel runners, fitted beneath boxes or packages to raise them clear of the floor to permit easy access of forklift blades or other handling equipment.

Shippers load and count. All three clauses are used as needed on the bill of lading to exclude the carrier from liability when the cargo is loaded by the shipper.

Loaded containers moving within the railroad system that are not clearly identified on any internally generated reports.

A wire or rope contrivance placed around cargo and used to load or discharge it to/from a vessel.

A vessel’s berth between two piers.

Abbreviation for “Subject to Particular Average.” See also Particular Average.

Spine Car
An articulated five–platform railcar. Used where height and weight restrictions limit the use of stack cars. It holds five 40–foot containers or combinations of 40–and 20–foot containers.

Placing a container where required to be loaded or unloaded.

A piece of equipment designed to lift containers by their corner castings.

Abbreviation for Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays Excepted. Refers to loading and discharging of cargo as agreed to in the charter party. This indicates when time does not count in the calculation of demurrage and dispatch.

The force that holds a vessel upright or returns it to upright position if keeled over. Weight in the lower hold increases stability. A vessel is stiff if it has high stability, tender if it has low stability. In a ship, stability is indicated by several characteristics. Initial stability is measured by the metacentric height; also known as “GM.” If GM is low, the vessel makes long slow rolls, and is considered tender. When GM is too high, the vessel is considered stiff, and may return violently to the upright position when rolling, with possible damage to cargo and injury to passengers and crew. Other stability consid­erations include the vessel’s range of stability, maximum righting arm, and the angle of heel at which the maximum righting arm occurs.

Stack Car
An articulated five–platform rail car that allows containers to be double stacked. A typical stack car holds ten 40–foot equivalent units (FEU’s).

A rail service whereby rail cars carry containers stacked two high on specially operated unit trains. Each train includes up to 35 articulated multi–platform cars. Each car is comprised of 5 well–type platforms upon which containers can be stacked. No chassis accompany containers.

Standard Industrial Classification (SIC)
A standard numerical code used by the U.S. Government to classify products and services.

Standard International Trade Classification (SITC)
A standard numeric code developed by the United Nations to classify commodities used in interna­tional trade, based on a hierarchy.

The right side of a ship when facing the bow.

Statute Of Limitation
A law limiting the time in which claims or suits may be instituted.

Abbreviation for “Standard Transportation Commodity Code.”

Steamship Conference
A group of vessel operators joined together for the purpose of establishing freight rates.

Steamship Guarantee
An indemnity issued to the carrier by a bank; protects the carrier against any possible losses or dam­ages arising from release of the merchandise to the receiving party. This instrument is usually issued when the bill of lading is lost or is not available.

The end of a vessel. Opposite of bow.

Individual or firm that employs longshoremen and who contracts to load or unload the ship.

Store–Door Pick–up Delivery
A complete package of pick up or delivery services performed by a carrier from origin to final con­sumption point.

A marine term referring to loading freight into ships’ holds.

Said to contain.

Straddle Carrier
Mobile truck equipment with the capacity for lifting a container within its own framework.

Straight Bill of Lading
A non–negotiable bill of lading which states a specific identity to whom the goods should be deliv­ered. See Bill of Lading.

Removing cargo from a container (devanning).

Putting cargo into a container.

Said to weigh.

To put in place of another; i.e., when an insurance company pays a claim it is placed in the same posi­tion as the payee with regard to any rights against others.

Suezmax Tanker
A tanker of 120,000 to 199,000dwt.

Surface Transportation Board (STB)
The U.S. federal body charged with enforcing acts of the U.S. Congress that affect common carriers in interstate commerce. STB replaced the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) in 1997.

A wharf licensed and attended by Customs authorities.

Supply Chain
A logistical management system which integrates the sequence of activities from delivery of raw ma­terials to the manufacturer through to delivery of the finished product to the customer into measur­able components. “Just in Time” is a typical value–added example of supply chain management.

An extra or additional charge

An additional extra tax.