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Below are glossary of common shipping terms, which are used throughout this website.

ACEP: Automatic Continuous Examination Program, used for containers in shipping

AS-IS: This condition should alert the buyer that there may be damage to the container that could need repairs and is NOT inspected by us. These are the least priced containers with no guarantees. 

Backhaul: To haul a shipment back over part of a route which it has already traveled; a marine transportation carrier’s return movement of cargo, usually opposite from the direction of its primary cargo distribution. 

Box: Slang term for a container, also Can is another.

Container or Conex:
A box made of aluminum, steel or fiberglass used to transport cargo by ship, rail, truck or barge. Common dimensions are 20' x 8’ x 8' (called a TEU or twenty-foot equivalent unit) or 40' x 8' x 8', called an FEU. Variations are collapsible containers, tank containers (for liquids) and "rag tops" (open-topped containers covered by a tarpaulin for cargo that sticks above the top of a closed box). In the container industry, containers are usually simply called boxes.

Containerization: The technique of using a container to store, protect and handle cargo while it is in transit. This shipping method has both greatly expedited the speed at which cargo is moved from origin to destination and lowered shipping costs around the world.

Container chassis: A piece of equipment specifically designed for the movement of containers by highway to and from container terminals.

CW / Cargo Worthy:
This quality of container can be used in containerized export shipments. Cargo worthy containers must meet standards of structural strength and be wind and water tight. Containers meeting IICL 5 standards generally are of a better quality than containers showing as just cargo worthy

International Convention for Safe Containers (1972), the international agreement for maintaining containers in safe condition, and of the Harmonized Interpretation of the CSC with the International Maritime Organization

CSC Plate:
Approval of individual containers may be granted where the Administration, after examination and witnessing of tests, is satisfied that the container meets the requirements of the present Convention; the Administration, when so satisfied, shall notify the applicant in writing of approval and this notification shall entitle him to affix the Safety Approval Plate to such container.

DV / Dry Van:
Standard containers simply called Dry Van.

FR or F/R:
Flat Rack Container

Free on truck.

HC / High-Cube / Hi-Cube:
Refers to "high-cube" containers that are 9 feet 6 inches high (9'6" / 2.8956 meters)

Hostler (or hustler):
A tractor (truck), usually unlicensed, for moving containers within a yard. An employees who drives a tractor for the purpose of moving cargo within a container yard.

International Maritime Organization

International Organization for Standardization

International Chamber of Shipping

Institute of International Container Lessors

IICL Guide for Container Equipment Inpsection

LTL: Means a shipment that is "less than truckload". Cargoes from different sources are usually consolidated to save costs.

Marshaling yard:
This is a container parking lot, or any open area where containers are stored in a precise order according to the ship loading plan. Containers terminals may use a grounded or wheeled layout. If the cargo box is placed directly on the ground, it is called a grounded operation. If the box is on a chassis/trailer, it is a wheeled operation.

Maximum Gross Weight

OT or O/T:
Open Top Container

Open Side (curtain side) Container

Periodic Examination System

Refrigerated or reefer: A container with refrigeration for transporting frozen foods (meat, ice cream, fruit, etc.) Some reefers can also heat contents. The protective cooling of perishable freight by ice, liquid nitrogen, or mechanical devices

Rubber-Tired Gantry (RTG): Traveling crane used for the movement and positioning of containers in a container field. RTG's may also be used for loading and unloading containers from rail cars.

Semi truck or tractor-trailer: Some trucks are a solid unit, such as a van, but many have three main units. The front section where the driver sits is called the cab or the tractor (because it pulls a load). Cargo is loaded into the metal box (container), which is loaded onto the wheel base called a chassis. Sometimes called 18-wheeler for the number of wheels (18).

Single Use, One Trip or One Way: These are new containers that have had one load shipped in them. By allowing a shipper to use the container for a single load, your cost to for a new container is reduced significantly. These savings are reflected in the price to you.

SOC: SOC is a Shippers Own Container, means you as the shipper owns the container instead of using one of the shipping company's containers

Spreader: a device for lifting containers by their corner posts. The spreader bar on a container crane is telescopic to allow lifting various length containers.

Stacker: see top pick below.

Standards for Certification: Standards for Certification (previously Certification Notes) are publications that contain principles, acceptance criteria and practical information related to the Society's consideration of objects, personnel, organisations, services and operations. Standards for Certification also apply as the basis for the issue of certificates and/or declarations that may not necessarily be related to classification

Top pick or toplift: A piece of equipment similar to a forklift that lifts from above rather than below. Used to handle containers in the storage yard to and from storage stacks, trucks and railcars. Also called a stacker.

Transtainer: A type of crane used in the handling of containers, which is motorized, mounted on rubber tires and can straddle at least four railway tracks, some up to six, with a lifting capacity of 35 tons for loading and unloading containers to and from railway cards.

Twenty Foot Equivalent Unit (TEU): A unit of measurement equal to the space occupied by a standard twenty foot container. Used in stating the capacity of container vessel or storage area. One 40 ft. Container is equal to two TEU's and sometimes called a FEU

T.W.I.C. Card: Transportation Worker ID Credential is a government issued id card used by transporter, truckers who enter the port or dock worker and other maritime and transportation workers. TWIC cards are issued through Homeland Security after a background check.
UCIRC: Unified Container Inspection & Repair Criteria, A set of standards that we follow for any repairs.

WWT or Wind/Water Tight: This conditional information indicates that the container is dry and suitable for storage. Be cautious as some sellers are using temporary repair methods in order to state that the container is "wind and water tight". Be sure to ask about their methods before you buy! We only use approved weld in patches that comply with iicl standards.

Way Bill: The document used to identify the shipper and consignee, present the routing, describe the goods, present the applicable rate, show the weight of the shipment, and make other useful information notations.

Wharf: The place at which ships tie up to unload and load cargo. The wharf typically has front and rear loading docks (aprons), a transit shed, open (unshedded) storage areas, truck bays, and rail tracks.

Wharfage fee: A fee assessed by a pier, wharf owner or port management for handling incoming or outgoing cargo.

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