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    A non-negotiable, legally binding document issued by an air carrier to acknowledge receipt of a shipment and a formal contract to transport goods.

    The air waybill indicates the shipment’s destination address and includes information about the carrier, goods, contact information for the consignor and consignee (receiver), notify party, as well as an eleven-digit reference number for the shipment.

    Also called a consignment note or dispatch note.

    The process of moving cargo from place to place using more than one method of transport – truck, rail, plane, ship, or any combination of those. It is similar to intermodal transport, but with multimodal transport, the shipper works with one carrier (called the “Multimodal Transport Operator” or MTO), who arranges the entire journey by all modes. The single carrier contracts with other carriers to move the freight by various modes end-to-end.

    Multimodal Transport is more expensive than Intermodal Transport, but it eliminates the hassle of dealing with multiple carriers.

    A legally binding document issued by a carrier that authorizes the carrier to transport goods on their behalf. It contains details about the shipment and serves as a receipt of freight transportation, a document of title to the goods shipped, and a contract of agreed terms and conditions for transportation.

    Unlike an air waybill (AWB) or a sea waybill, a bill of lading may be negotiable and may also serve as document of title.

    Fun fact: “lading” means “loading”, and specifically the loading of cargo on board a ship. Though originally “bill of lading” referred only to ocean freight, today the term is used to refer to any type of bill of lading for transport of goods by ocean or ground.

    Cargo that is shipped loosely and unpackaged in large quantities (as opposed to being shipped in packages or containers). Bulk Cargo is typically dropped or poured directly into a railway car, tanker truck, or the hold of a ship.

    Bulk cargo can be classified as either liquid or dry. Some common examples of bulk cargo include oil, grains, and coal.

    Insurance that generally protects shipments from loss, damage, or theft while in transit. This coverage is beyond basic claims insurance that may be provided, and it will reimburse for the designated value of the goods if a covered event occurs while the freight is in transit. The cost you pay to insure your items (called the premium) is generally a fraction of the actual value of the goods.

    Cargo insurance policies can cover cargo carried by land, or by air and sea (see Marine Cargo Insurance).

    Policies and options vary greatly, but covered events often include natural disasters, vehicle accidents, cargo abandonment, customs rejection, acts of war, and piracy. Issues that arise from areas where the shipper has a lot of control, including damage due to poor packaging, flawed products, or hazardous products, may not be covered.

    Also known as Freight Insurance.

    The recipient of the goods being shipped or transported. This person takes ownership of the goods once they have cleared customs, and is generally the one responsible for import duties and taxes.

    The consignee may be the importer of record (or “Sold to”) of the goods, but that is not always the case. They may also be called the “Ship to”, receiver, client, or customer.

    So why not just say “receiver”? This is because when shipping goods, we are actually consigning the goods to a freight carrier, who then transports those goods to the ultimate consignee. The right to receive the freight does not legally change until the person receiving the goods signs the bill of lading (B/L).

    The person designated on a Bill of Lading, Sea Waybill or Air Waybill to be notified when a shipment arrives at its destination. This person is often responsible for arranging customs clearance, and can be the buyer, consignee, shipping agent, or other entity.