A glossary of shipping related terms

Shipping has a language of its own and correct abbreviations play an important role in negotiations and fixtures. Listed below are some common acronyms and terms. 


AA - always afloat
AAAA - always afloat, always accessible
ABS - America Bureau of Shipping (US classification society/standard)
Abt - about
A/C - air changes (see elvent below) or account
A/D/A (or ADA) - all details about
Adcom - address commission
AG - Arabian Gulf 
ARAG - Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp-Ghent
AFSPS - arrival first sea pilot station
Aft - at or towards the stern of a ship
Aground - when the ship touches bottom
AGW - all going well
AHL - Australian hold ladders (ladders in the ships holds meeting the requirements of the Australian trades unions)
Amidships - at or towards to centre of a ship
AOB - as on board
AP - additional premium (insurance) or all purposes
APS - arrival pilot station
ARA - Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp
Arb - arbitration
ATDNSHINC - any time day/night Sundays & holidays included
ATM - at the money
ATS - all time saved (laytime)
ATUTC - actual time used to count (in relation to laytime)
AWRI - additional war risk insurance
AWIWL - always within Institute Warranty Limits


BAF - bunker adjustment factor
Bale capacity - cubic capacity of a cargo hold or holds measured as if cargo of bales/pallets
Ballast - weight taken on board by a ship other than cargo for stability purposes when empty or for making the ship lower in the water (ballast is usually sea water)
Ballast bonus - a bonus paid to the shipowner for compensation for ballasting the ship to a delivery place
BBB - before breaking bulk (meaning prior to the commencement of discharging from the ship)
BC (or B/C) - bulk carrier
Beam or BM - the extreme width of a ship
BENDS - both ends (i.e. load and discharge ports)
Berth/anchorage - in most cases the place within a port where the vessel is to load or discharge. If the word BERTH is not used, but the specific place is (or is to be) identified by its name this definition shall still apply.
BHF - Bulk Harmless Fertiliser
BIMCO - Baltic and International Maritime Council
B/L - bill of lading (document signed by the carrier, which acts as a receipt and evidence of title to the cargo)
BN - booking note (sometimes issued as a contract for a simple voyage)
BOB - bunkers on board
BOffer - best offer
Bow - the forward part of a ship
Brokerage - commission payable to the ship broker
BSS - basis
BT - berth terms
Bulkhead - vertical partition in the ship separating compartments
Bunkers - name given for the fuels used to propel a vessel
BWAD - brackish water arrival draft (brackish is neither fresh water or salt water)

CMB to C/V/E

CBM - cubic meters.
CBFT (or CUFT or CFT) - cubic feet 
CIF - cost, insurance and freight 
CFR (or C&F) - cost and freight
CHABE - charterer’s agents both ends
CHOPT - charterer's option
Clear days - Consecutive days commencing at 0001 hours on the day following that day on which a notice is given and ending at 2400 hours in the last day of the number of days stipulated.COA - contract of affreightment – a contract (Charterparty) for a specific number of voyages 
COB - close of business 
COGSA - carriage of goods by sea act
COLREG - prevention of collisions at sea convention 
CONCS - concentrates 
CONS consumption – quantity of fuel used by the ships engine 
COP - custom of (the) port 
CP (or C/P) - Charterparty 
CQD - customary quick despatch
CST - centistokes (measure of the viscosity of fuel oil)
C/V/E - cables/victualling/entertainment


DA (or D/A) - disbursement account 
DAP - Di-Ammonium Phosphate 
DAPS - days all purposes (the total number of days for loading & discharging) 
Day - a period of 24 consecutive hours running from 0001 hours to 2400 hours. Any part of a day shall be counted pro rata. DD - drydock 
DEM/demurrage - An agreed amount payable to the owner in respect of delay to the vessel beyond the laytime, for which the owner is not responsible. Demurrage shall not be subject to exceptions which apply to Laytime unless specifically stated in the Charterparty. 
DES/Despatch Money or Despatch - an agreed amount payable by the owner if the vessel completes loading or discharging before the laytime has expired.
Despatch on all time saved (ATS) - dDespatch money shall be payable for the time from the completion of loading or discharging to the expiry of the laytime including periods excepted from the laytime.
Despatch on (all) working time saved (WTS) or on (all) laytime saved (LTS) - despatch money shall be payable for the time from the completion of loading or discharging to the expiry of the laytime excluding any periods excepted from the laytime.
DDFRT - deadfreight 
DHDATSBE - demurrage half despatch on all time saved both ends 
DHDLTSBE - demurrage half despatch on all laytime saved both ends 
DHDWTSBE - demurrage half despatch on working time saved both ends 
DISCH - discharge 
DLOSP - dropping last outward sea pilot 
DOC - document of compliance (under ISM code see below) 
DOP - dropping outward pilot 
DOT - department of transport
DNRSAOCLONL - discountless and non returnable ship and/or cargo lost or not lost
DNV - Det Norske Veritas (Norwegian classification society/standard) 
Draft - depth to which a ship is immersed in water 
Dunnage - materials, often timber or matting, placed among cargo for separation and increased stability or to protect the tank tops 
DWAT or DWT - deadweight – the weight of the cargo, stores, bunkers, water.

EIU to Expload

EIU - even if used
ELVENT - electrically ventilated
ETA - estimated time of arrival
ETB - estimated time of berthing
ETC - estimated time of completion
ETD - estimated time of departure
ETS - estimated time of sailing
Excepted or excluded - the days specified do not count as laytime even if loading or discharging is carried out on them.
Expload - expected to load


FAC -fast as can
FAS - free alongside
FEU - forty foot or equivalent unit (container)
FD - free discharge or free despatch
FDD - freight, deadfreight & demurrage
FDES - free despatch
FDEOSDNRSAOCLONL - freight deemed earned on shipment , discountless & Non returnable, ship &/or cargo lost or not lost
FHEX - Fridays & holidays excluded
FHINC - Fridays & holidays included
FILO - free in/liner out
FIO - free in/out – the shipowner does not incur the loading and discharging costs
FIOS - free in/out and stowed.  As per FIO but owner also free to stowage expenses
FIOST - free in/out, stowed and trimmed but can also mean: free in/out and spout trimmed
FIOT - free in/out and trimmed
FLT - full liner terms
FO - free out but can also mean fuel oil
FOB - free onboard
FOW - first open water
FP - free pratique
FRT - freight
FWAD - fresh water arrival draft
FWDD - fresh water departure draft
FYG - for your guidance
FYI - for your information


GA - general average
GA plan - general arrangement plan
GLS (GLESS) - gearless (ship having no cranes or derricks)
GNCN - gencon
GN (or GR) - grain (cubic capacity)
GO - gas oil
GR (or Georot) - geographical rotation
Grain capacity - cubic capacity of a cargo hold or holds measured for bulk cargoes
GRT - gross registered tonnage
GSB - good and safe berth
GSP - good and safe port
GTEE - guarantee

HA to HW

HA - hatch
H and M - hull and machinery
HBF - harmless bulk fertiliser
HBI - Hot Briquetted Iron
HHDW - heavy, handy, deadweight (type of scrap)
HMS - heavy melting scrap
HO - holds (compartment below deck for cargo)
Holiday - a day of rest other than the normal weekday(s), or part thereof, when by local law or practice the relevant work during what would otherwise be ordinary working hours is not normally carried out.HRC - Hot Rolled Coils
HSS - Heavy grain sorghums and soyas
HTUTC - half time used to count (in relation to laytime)
HW - high water


IACS - International Association of Classification Societies
IFO - Intermediate Fuel Oil
IGS - inert gas system
ILOHC - In lieu of hold cleaning (on redelivering a vessel)
ILOW - in lieu of weighing (usually expressed as a percentage, for example 0.5% of freight – for cargoes with high moisture content where the freight is paid on the bill of lading quantity as the delivered weight will be less as the moisture content will reduce during the voyage)
IMO - International Maritime Organisation
INDIC - indication
INL - international navigational limits
ITF - International Transport Workers Federation (crew trade union)
ISM - International Safety Management
ISPS - International Ships and Port Security system
IU - if used
IWL - Institute Warranty Limits


Laycan (also L/C) - laydays and cancelling dates
Laytime - the period of time agreed between the parties during which the owner will make and keep the vessel available for loading or discharging without payment additional to the freight.
LBP - length between perpendiculars (of a ship)
LIFO - liner in free out
LMAA - London Maritime Arbitrators Association
LOA - length over all (of the ship)
LOC - letter of credit
LOF - lloyd’s open form
LOI - letter of indemnity
LOW - last open water
LS (or LSUM) - lumpsum
LSFO - low sulphur fuel oil
LT - liner terms – also can mean long tons (2240 lbs)
LTS - laytime saved (laytime)


MARPOL - convention for prevention of pollution from ships
MDO - marine diesel oil
MGO - marine gas oil
Midship - approximately equidistant from bow and stern of ship
MIN/MAX - minimum/maximum (usually cargo quantity or timecharter period)
MOA - memorandum of agreement
MOLCHOPT - more or less in charterers option
MOLOO - more or less in owners option
MOP - Muriate of Potash
MT - metric ton (tonne) 1000 kilos
MV - motor vessel


NAABSA - not always afloat but safely aground
NCB - National Cargo Bureau
NK -  Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (Japanese classification Society/standard)
Non Reversible - refers to laytime – the time allowed for loading respectively discharging cannot be computed together
NOR/Notice of readiness - the notice to charterer, shipper, receiver or other person as required by the Charterparty that the vessel has arrived at the port or berth, as the case may be, and is ready to load or discharge. Alternatively, the notice may be specified to relate to the vessel arriving at/off the port or berth.
NRT - net registered tonnage
NYPE - New York Produce Exchange


OO - owners option
OBO - ore/bulk/oil (vessel)
OWS - owners


P&I - protection & indemnity (insurance)
PDPR - per day or pro rata
PHPD - per hatch per day
PICO - port in charterer’s option
Port - an area, within which vessels load or discharge cargo whether at berths, anchorages, buoys, or the like, and shall in most cases also include the usual places where the vessels wait for their turn or are ordered or obliged to wait for their turn no matter the distance from that area. If the word PORT is not used, but the port is (or is to be) identified by its name, this definition shall still apply. PUS - past us
PWH - per workable hatch
PWHPD - per workable hatch per day
PWWD - per weather working day


QWT - quay weight and tonnage dues (German ports)


RCVR - receiver
Reachable on her arrival or always accessible - means that the charterer undertakes that an available and accessible loading or discharging berth will be provided to the vessel on her arrival at or off the port which she can reach safely without delay proceeding normally. Where the charterer undertakes that the berth will be ALWAYS ACCESSIBLE, the charterer additionally undertakes that the vessel will be able to arrive and depart safely from the berth without delay at any time before, during or on completion of loading or discharging.
Reversible laytime - an option given to the charterer to add together the time allowed for loading and discharging. Where the option is exercised the effect is the same as a total time being specified to cover both operations.Reversible - laytime for loading and discharging can be computed together
ROB - remaining onboard (bunkers)
RORO - roll on and roll off (vehicle carrier)
Running days or consecutive days -  days which follow one immediately after the other


SATPM - Saturday, after noon
SB - safe berth
SD - single deck (vessel)
SDBC - single deck bulkcarrier
SG - specific gravity
SP - safe port
SELFD (or) SELFDIS - self discharge (vessel)
SF - stowage factor (of cargo)
SHINC or SC - Sundays & holidays included
SHEX or SX - Sundays & holidays excluded
SMC - safety management certificate (under ISM code see above)
SOF - statement of facts
SOLAS - Safety of Life at Sea convention
S/R/B/L - signing and releasing Bills of Lading
SS - special survey
SSHEX (or SATSHEX) - Saturdays, Sundays & holidays excluded
SSHINC (or SATSHINC) - Saturdays, Sundays & holidays included
SSW - summer salt water
ST - short ton (2000 lbs)
STBC - self trimming bulk carrier. Describes a bulk carrier that is capable of loading a full cargo of free-flowing grain without trimming (other than spout/loader trimming) to the cargo after the completion of loading. This is a customary term in charter negotiations but when chartering, the term should not normally be used without offering additional explanation of exactly what is meant.
Strike - a concerted industrial action by workmen causing a complete stoppage of their work which directly interferes with the working of the vessel. Refusal to work overtime, go- slow or working to rule and comparable actions not causing a complete stoppage shall not be considered a strike. A strike shall be understood to exclude its consequences when it has ended, such as congestion in the port or effects upon the means of transportation bringing or taking the cargo to or from the port.SWAD - salt water arrival draft
SWDD - salt water departure draft
SWL - safe working load


TEU - twenty foot equivalent unit (containers)
TBN - to be named or to be nominated or to be narrowed
TBRN - to be re-named
TC - timecharter
TCP - timecharter party
TCT - timecharter trip
TFW - tropical fresh water
Time lost waiting for berth to count as loading or discharging time or as laytime - if no loading or discharging berth is available and the vessel is unable to tender notice of readiness at the waiting-place then any time lost to the vessel is counted as if laytime were running, or as time on demurrage if laytime has expired. Such time ceases to count once the berth becomes available. When the vessel reaches a place where she is able to tender notice of readiness, laytime or time on demurrage resumes after such tender and, in respect of laytime, on expiry of any notice time provided in the Charterparty.TIP - taking inward pilot
To average laytime - separate calculations are to be made for loading and discharging and any time saved in one operation is to be set off against any excess time used in the other.TPC - tons per centimetre (immersion)
TPI - tons per inch (immersion)
TSP - Triple Super Phosphate
TT - turntime
TTBE - turntime both ends
TTL - total
TW - tween deck (vessel)


Unless sooner commenced (USC) - if laytime has not commenced but loading or discharging is carried out, time used shall count against laytime.
Unless used (UU) - if laytime has commenced but loading or discharging is carried out during periods excepted from it, such time shall count.USAC - United States Atlantic Coast
USC - unless sooner commenced
USG - United States Gulf (of Mexico)
USNH - United States north of Cape Hateras
UU - unless used
UUIWCATUTC - unless used in which case actual time used to count (in relation to laytime)


Vessel being in free pratique and/or having been entered at the Custom house - the completion of these formalities shall not be a condition precedent to tendering notice of readiness, unless the Charterparty expressly requires their completion before notice is tendered. If it does not, any time lost by reason of delay on the part of the vessel in the completion of either of these formalities shall not count as laytime or time on demurrage.


WCCON - whether customs cleared or not
Weather working day (WWD) - a working day or part of a working day during which it is or, if the vessel is still waiting for her turn, it would be possible to load/discharge the cargo without interference due to the weather. If such interference occurs (or would have occurred if work had been in progress), there shall be excluded from the laytime a period calculated by reference to the ratio which the duration of the interference bears to the time which would have or could have been worked but for the interference.WECON - whether entered customs or not
Weather working day of 24 consecutive hours - a working day of 24 consecutive hours except for any time when weather prevents the loading or discharging of the vessel or would have prevented it had work been in progress, whether the vessel is in berth or still waiting for her turn. Weather working day of 24 hours A period of 24 hours made up of one or more working days during which it is or, if the vessel is still waiting for her turn, it would be possible to load/discharge the cargo without interference due to the weather. If such interference occurs (or would have occurred if work had been in progress), there shall be excluded from laytime the actual period of such interference.
Customs Whether Customs cleared or not (WCCON) - in a berth charter, notice of readiness can be tendered even if the ship has not arrived in the destination berth, which may be unavailable.
Whether in free pratique or not (WIFPON) - before a ship’s master can give notice of readiness (NOR) and trigger the commencement of the agreed laytime, the ship must be both physically and legally ready. Clearance by Customs authorities can be a formality that can take considerable time anti non-clearance can cause tile ship not to be legally ready. However, if the charterparty contains a term that the master can give NOR even if not cleared by Customs, laytime will begin at the agreed time at or after the acceptance of the NOR by the Charterer or his agent, provided the vessel has arrived at the agreed.
Whether in port or not (WIPON) - notice of readiness can be tendered outside port limits as long as the ship is at the port’s usual waiting area.
Working days (WD) - days not expressly excluded from laytime.
Whether in berth or not (WIBON) or berth or no berth - if the designated loading or discharging berth is not available on her arrival, the vessel on reaching any usual waiting place within the port, shall be entitled to tender notice of readiness from it and laytime shall commence as provided under the CharterpartyWIBON - whether in berth or not
WIFPON - whether in free pratique or not
WIPON - whether in port or not
WLTHC - water line to top of hatch coming (the distance)
WMT - Wet Metric Tons (Being the weight of cargo loaded before the voyage commences typically for iron ore and concentrates)
WOG - without guarantee
WP - weather permitting
WTS - working time saved (laytime)
WWD - weather working day
WRIC - wire rods in coils
WW - world wide
WWF - Waterside Workers Federation (Australian Union)
WWR - when and where ready
WWWW - wibon, wccon (or wecon), wifpon, wipon