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Freight Shipping Glossary

Freight Shipping Info Basics

Bill of Lading (BOL)

The Bill of Lading (BOL) is a legal document issued to the shipper by the carrier to acknowledge reception of their cargo, and is evidence of the contract of carriage between the two parties. It also acts as a title and materializes the transfer of ownership of the goods to the buyer upon their reception.

In addition, the Bill of Lading provides the carrier and drivers with all the necessary information to process the shipment, and can be used for insurance and customs clearance purposes. As a NVOCC, DHL Global Forwarding can issue their own Bills of Lading, called House Bills of Lading.


Buyers Consolidation

Buyers Consolidation consists in bundling orders from multiple suppliers in one or many countries into dedicated Full-Container-Load (FCL) containers delivered directly at destination, rather than managing individual Less-Than-Container-Load (LCL) shipments. It is designed to decrease shipping costs by increasing the containers’ load factor. Explore our Service


CMR is the acronym for the French title of the Convention on the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road. Along with other legal dispositions pertaining to road freight transportation, it enabled the definition of a standard road freight waybill, referred to as CMR Waybill, and is used in most European countries.


The consignee is the buyer of your shipment. It is often the same person who will receive the goods (also known as receiver), but not necessarily.

Cross Trade

Cargo transportation is defined as Cross Trade when the goods are moved from their point of origin to their destination without entering the country where the shipper is registered.

FCL (Full Container Load)

Moving your goods with an ocean Full Container Load (FCL) shipment means that the container – irrespective of its type or size – will transport your cargo exclusively. It is a reliable, flexible and cost-efficient way to transport your goods from door to door. With multiple equipment types and additional services available, FCL shipments can be tailored to the exact needs of your cargo. Learn about our FCL services

House Airway Bill (HAWB)

A House Airway Bill (HAWB) is a transport document for air shipments, issued and signed by the freight forwarder upon reception of the shipment. It states the terms and conditions of the carriage of the goods.


Incoterms® determine the rights and obligations of the parties as far as the delivery of goods from the seller to buyer is concerned. They give a common framework to understand how transport is organized and by whom, who bears the risks inherent to it, and who is in charge of the shipment’s security and customs compliance. Their naming always follow the same structure – a three-letter acronym and a location name. Learn more about Incoterms®


Moving your goods with an ocean Less than Container Load (LCL) shipment means that your cargo will be consolidated with additional orders from different shippers and/or consignees into one container. If your shipment does not require an entire container or air freight’s transit times, it reduces both your logistics costs and carbon emissions.

DHL is committed to lead the transition to clean and sustainable sea freight transport: since 1 January 2021, we are neutralizing the carbon emissions of all less-than-container load (LCL) ocean freight shipments with sustainable marine biofuels. Learn more about our LCL services

Third Party Billing

Third party billing occurs when the shipping costs are paid by a person that is neither the shipper, nor the consignee of a commercial shipment.

Customs - Shipping Glossary

Customs Clearance

Customs clearance is the process of receiving official permission to bring goods into (import) or take good out of (export) a country. Generally, a transport document, such as a bill of lading, invoice and a packing list. Customs authorities may require additional documentation, e.g. Certificate of Origin or Proof of Preference. Learn more about our Customs Services

Custom Duties

Customs or Import Duties are taxes paid on good brought into a country. Unless exempt, all imported commercial goods are subject to customs duties and taxes based on their tariff classification according to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS). Some goods are also assessed in relation to other taxes - including excise duties or anti-dumping duties.

Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding Systems (HS)

The Harmonized System is an internationally recognized system to classify products. Participating countries classify traded goods based on a common set of definition for customs purposes.



Drawback is a refund of certain duties paid on imported merchandise when the merchandise is subsequently exported either unused or having undergone a manufacturing process. Explore our Drawback services

To be eligible for drawback a company must:

  • Export merchandise of a foreign origin
  • Manufacture goods with foreign components and then export them
  • Sell foreign merchandise and/or U.S.-made goods manufactured with foreign components to a domestic company that exports them

Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ)

A Foreign Trade Zone is an area within the United States, in or near a U.S. Customs port of entry, where foreign and domestic merchandise is considered to be outside the country, or at least, outside of U.S. Customs territory. FTZ’s are designated by the FTZ Board and activated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. These zones encourage U.S. activity and jobs, in competition with foreign alternatives, by allowing delayed or reduced duty payments on foreign merchandise, as well as other savings.

In an FTZ, merchandise may be assembled, exhibited, cleaned, manipulated, manufactured, mixed, processed, relabeled, repackaged, repaired, salvaged, sampled, stored, tested, displayed, & destroyed  Certain activity, production(e.g. manufacturing/processing) needs specific approval by FTZ Board  Retail trade is prohibited. No one can reside in an active FTZ. All other federal, state, and local laws apply (FDA, TTB, EPA and Other Government Agencies regulations apply) Explore our FTZ services

Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act

On February 24, 2016, President Obama signed into law the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act. This law included the biggest expansion of drawback in U.S. history

Do I need a special license to import/export? Some goods may be subject to certain government department regulations and may require licenses, so find out the specifics before importing or exporting. In the event of a problem, such as awaiting licenses, DHL Global Forwarding can transfer the goods into our bonded warehouse and reduce port storage bills.

Focus on Sustainability

From our white papers to our glossary, we breakdown key considerations when it comes to reducing the environmental impact of your shipping