U V W – Shipping Terms


Abbreviation for the “Uniform Customs and Practice for Documentary Credits,” published by the In­ternational Chamber of Commerce. This is the most frequently used standard for making payments in international trade; e.g., paying on a Letter of Credit. It is most frequently referred to by its shorthand title: UCP No. 500. This revised publication reflects recent changes in the transportation and banking industries, such as electronic transfer of funds.

Abbreviation for “Uniform Freight Classification.”

Ultra Large Crude Carrier. A tanker in excess of 320,000dwt.

The space not filled with liquid in a drum or tank.

United Nations EDI for Administration, Commerce and Transport. EDI Standards are developed and supported by the UN for electronic message (data) interchange on an international level.

Unclaimed Freight
Freight that has not been called for or picked up by the consignee or owner.

To charge less than the proper amount.

A vessel is underway when it is not at anchor, made fast to the shore, or aground.

Uniform Customs and Practices for Documentary Credits (UCP)
Rules for letters of credit drawn up by the Commission on Banking Technique and Practices of the International Chamber of Commerce in consultation with the banking associations of many coun­tries. See Terms of Payment.

Unit Load
Packages loaded on a pallet, in a crate or any other way that enables them to be handled at one time as a unit.

Unit Train
A train of a specified number of railcars, perhaps 100, which remain as a unit for a designated destina­tion or until a change in routing is made.

–The consolidation of a quantity of individual items into one large shipping unit for easier handling.–Loading one or more large items of cargo onto a single piece of equipment, such as a pallet.

Removal of a shipment from a vessel.

Consular Invoice
A document required on merchandise imported into the United States.

USPPI –United States Principal Party of Interest
The party that receives the primary benefit from an export transaction, usually the seller of the goods.


Validated Export License
A document issued by the U.S. government; authorizes the export of commodities for which written authorization is required by law.

Authentication of B/L and when B/L becomes effective

A term for stowing cargo in a container.

Variable Cost
Costs that vary directly with the level of activity within a short time. Examples include costs of mov­ing cargo inland on trains or trucks, stevedoring in some ports, and short–term equipment leases. For business analysis, all costs are either defined as variable or fixed. For a business to break even, all fixed costs must be covered. To make a profit, all variable and fixed costs must be recovered plus some extra amount.

Ventilated Container
A container designed with openings in the side and/or end walls to permit the ingress of outside air when the doors are closed.

Vessel Supplies for Immediate Exportation (VSIE)
Allows equipment and supplies arriving at one port to be loaded on a vessel, aircraft, etc., for its ex­clusive use and to be exported from the same port.

Vessel Manifest
The international carrier is obligated to make declarations of the ship’s crew and contents at both the port of departure and arrival. The vessel manifest lists various details about each shipment by B/L number. Obviously, the B/L serves as the core source from which the manifest is created.

Voluntary Intermodal Sealift Agreement. Provides the U.S. defense community with “assured access” to commercial intermodal capacity to move sustainment cargoes during time of war or national emer­gency. In return, during peacetime, the carriers receive preference in the carriage of DOD cargoes.

Namely. Used in tariffs to specify commodities.

Very Large Crude Carrier. A tanker of 200,000 to 319,000dwt. It can carry about 2 million barrels of crude oil.

VLFO –Vessel Load Free Out
The loading and discharge terms for the cargo to be shipped, as agreed to in the charter party. The vessel (carrier) pays for the loading of the cargo on board the ship and the receiver pays for the dis­charge of the cargo from the ship to the pier.

Voluntary Ship
Any ship which is not required by treaty or statute to be equipped with radio telecommunication equip­ment.


War Risk
Insurance coverage for loss of goods resulting from any act of war.

A place for the reception, delivery, consolidation, distribution, and storage of goods/cargo.

Warehouse Entry
Document that identifies goods imported when placed in a bonded warehouse. The duty is not im­posed on the products while in the warehouse but will be collected when they are withdrawn for delivery or consumption.

Warehouse Withdrawal for Transportation Immediate Exportation (WDEX)
Allows merchandise that has been withdrawn from a bonded warehouse at one U.S. port to be ex­ported from the same port exported without paying duty.

Warehouse Withdrawal for Transportation (WDT)
Allows merchandise that has been withdrawn from a bonded warehouse at one port to be transported in bond to another port, where a superseding entry will be filed.

Warehouse Withdrawal for Transportation Exportation (WDT&E)
Allows merchandise that has been withdrawn from a bonded warehouse at one port to be transported in bond through the U.S. to be exported from another port, without paying duty.

The storing of goods/cargo.

Waybill (WB)
A document prepared by a transportation line at the point of a shipment; shows the point of the origin, destination, route, consignor, consignee, description of shipment and amount charged for the transportation service. It is forwarded with the shipment or sent by mail to the agent at the transfer point or waybill destination. Abbreviation is WB. Unlike a bill of lading, a waybill is NOT a document of title.

Weight Cargo
A cargo on which the transportation charge is assessed on the basis of weight.

Weights and Measures/Measurement ton:

40 cubic ft or one cubic meter

Net ton/short ton –2,000 lbs

Gross ton/long ton –2,240 lbs

Metric ton/kilo ton –2,204.6 lbs

Cubic meter –35.314 cubic ft

Well Car
Also known as stack car. A drop–frame rail flat car.

A structure built on the shore of a harbor extending into deep water so that vessels may lie alongside. See also Dock and Pier.

Wharfage (Whfge.)
Charge assessed by a pier or dock owner against freight handled over the pier or dock or against a steamship company using the pier or dock.

Whether In Berth or Not.

Windy Booking
A freight booking made by a shipper or freight forwarder to reserve space but not actually having a specific cargo at the time the booking is made. Carriers often overbook a vessel by 10 to 20 percent in recognition that “windy booking” cargo will not actually ship.

Without Recourse
A phrase preceding the signature of a drawer or endorser of a negotiable instrument; signifies that the instrument is passed onto subsequent holders without any liability to the endorser in the event of nonpayment or nondelivery.110


W.M. (W/M)
Abbreviation for “Weight or Measurement;” the basis for assessing freight charges. Also known as “worm.” The rate charged under W/M will be whichever produces the highest revenue between the weight of the shipment and the measure of the shipment. The comparison is based on the number of metric tons the cargo weights compared to the number of cubic meters of space the cargo measures. The prior English method was one long ton compared to forty cubic feet.

Abbreviation for “With Particular Average.”