This glossary contains commonly used terms for the shipping industry, parcel forwarding and international trade. We hope that this resource helps you better navigate the logistics of global eCommerce. For expert help, consider our Checkout Solution and let us help you overcome the obstacles associated with cross-border eCommerce.

Term Definition Additional Resources
1583 Form This is a form required by the United States Post Office for delivery of mail through an Agent. Download the 1583 Form here
Advice of Shipment The notice sent to a local or foreign buyer advising that shipment has gone forward and containing details of packing, routing, etc.
Agent A person authorized to transact business for and in the name of another person or company.
Air Waybill (AWB) The air waybill, the forwarding or carrying agreement between shipper and air carrier, is the most important document issued by a carrier. It is a non-negotiable transport document that covers the transport of cargo from airport to airport. How to Complete the FedEx International Air Waybill
Airbill Several copies of a form associated with a parcel sent by express mail. The airbill contains the addresses of the sender and recipient, along with other information. The sender fills out the airbill, keeps one copy, gives one to the mail service for its records, and sends one with the parcel to indicate the destination. See a sample FedEx US Airbill with instructions
Ambient Temperature The temperature of the surrounding environment. The ambient temperature of a container is the temperature to which it is exposed.
Assignment A term commonly used in connection with a bill of lading. It involves the transfer of rights, title and interest in order to assign goods by endorsing the bill of lading.
Bill of Lading (BL) A document that establishes the terms of a contract between a shipper and a transportation company. It serves as a document of title, a contract of carriage and a receipt for goods. See example of a FedEx Uniform Straight Bill of Lading
Billed Weight The weight shown in a waybill and freight bill, i.e., the invoiced weight.
Bonded Warehouse A warehouse authorized by Customs authorities for storage of goods on which payment of duties is deferred until the goods are removed.
Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) The Bureau of Industry and Security is a bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce that is concerned with the advancement of U.S. national security, foreign policy, and economic interests. The BIS is responsible for regulating the export of sensitive goods and technologies; enforcing export control, anti-boycott, and public safety laws; cooperating with and assisting other countries on export control and strategic trade issues; and assisting U.S. industry to comply with international arms control agreements.
Call Tags An air bill/waybill that is provided by the carrier upon picking up a return from the end consumer. See sample FedEx Call Tag
Certificate of Origin Certificate of Origin A certified document showing the origin of goods; used in international commerce. It is primarily important for classifying the goods in the customs regulations of the importing country, thus defining how much duty shall be paid.
Charge Back A Charge Back occurs when the credit card company withdraws the money for a transaction from a merchant’s account and deposits into a consumer’s account following a dispute.
Clean Bill of Lading A receipt for goods issued by a carrier with an indication that the goods were received in apparent good order and condition, without damage or other irregularities. If no notation or exception is made, the B/L is assumed to be clean. See example of a FedEx Uniform Straight Bill of Lading
Commerce Control List (CCL) The Commerce Control List is a list that includes commodities, software and technology subject to the export licensing authority of the Bureau of Industry and Security.
Commerce Export License A relatively small percentage of total U.S. exports require a license from the BIS. License requirements are dependent on the items technical characteristics, the destination, the end-user, etc. Read the BIS’ FAQs on Export Licensing Requirements
Commercial Invoice A Commercial Invoice is a document used in foreign trade and primarily to calculate tariffs. See an interactive example of a Commercial Invoice from FedEx
Consolidation The combining or merging of items to be shipped. To learn about how Bongo can consolidate shipments, please refer to our International Shoppers page.
Cubic Foot 1,728 cubic inches. A volume contained in a space measuring one foot high, one foot wide and one foot long.
Customs A government agency/authority in a country that is responsible for collecting customs duties and for controlling the flow of goods, including animals, transports, personal effects, and hazardous items, into and out of a country.
Denied Party Screening A list of persons whose export privileges are currently denied. These individuals have been found by the U.S. Government to engage in terrorist activities, drug smuggling, and other elicit activities. Download the Consolidated Screening List from

Density The weight of cargo per cubic foot or other unit.
Destination The place to which a shipment is consigned. The place where carrier actually turns over cargo to consignee or his agent.
Dimensional Weight Dimensional weight is calculated by multiplying the length x width x height. That provides the cubic inches. The cubic inches is then divided by 194 (for domestic shipments) and 139 (for international shipments.) Use FedEx’s Dimensional Weight Calculator
Domestic Shipping Domestic, as it relates to commerce, means “not foreign, not originating abroad,” and thus domestic goods refer to those which are produced, distributed and sold within a country. Most domestic shipments in the United States are sent via the United States Postal Service (USPS).
Duties and Taxes Duties and Taxes are imposed to generate revenue and protect local industries against foreign competition. The duties and taxes normally must be paid before the goods are released from Customs. A shipment’s duty and tax amount will be based on the following: product value, trade agreements, country of manufacture, use of the product, and the product’s Harmonized System (HS) Code.
  • Use our Shipping Rate Calculator to determine estimated landed cost of your international shipment – including duties and taxes
End Consumer The intended recipient of a package or delivery.
Expedited Shipping Expedited shipping, by definition, is the process of shipping at a faster rate than would normally be customary. Therefore, what is deemed “expedited” will depend on the company policy of the shipper. Read about FedEx Express Services
Export A commodity, article, or service sold abroad.
Export Administration Regulations (EAR) The Export Administration Regulations are a set of federal regulations that regulate the export and re- export of most commercial items. See all EAR downloadable files
Export Control Classification Number (ECCN) ECCNs are five character alpha-numeric designations used on the Commerce Control List (CCL) to identify dual-use items for export control purposes. An ECCN categorizes items based on the nature of the product, i.e. type of commodity, software, or technology and its respective technical parameters. An ECCN is different from a Schedule B number, which is used by the Bureau of Census to collect trade statistics. It is also different from the Harmonized Tariff System Nomenclature, which is used to determine import duties. Items that are not classified under an ECCN are designated “EAR99.” Read How to Request an ECCN
Export Declaration An Export Declaration is a government document declaring designated goods to be shipped out of the country. To be completed by the exporter and filed with the U.S. Government.
Export License A government document which permits the Licensee to engage in the export of designated goods to certain destinations Read the BIS’ FAQs on Export Licensing Requirements
Exporter of Record This is the “shipper.” They are solely responsible for declaring the correct value of each package for the purpose of excise, duty and tax payments.
False Billing Misrepresenting freight or weight on shipping documents.
Free Port A restricted area at a seaport for the handling of duty exempted import goods. Also called a Foreign Trade Zone.
Freight Forwarder A person or company whose business is to act as an agent on behalf of the shipper. A freight forwarder frequently makes the booking reservation.
Harmonized System (HS) Codes Harmonized codes or HS codes are the numerical language used for reporting goods to Customs. Watch our video explaining HS Codes
Import A commodity, article, or service brought in from abroad for sale.
In Transit On its way, en route, or in passage.
International Shipping International, as it relates to commerce, indicates “foreign and abroad,” and thus refers to goods that are shipped, distributed, and sold outside of a country. (Also referred to as Cross-Border Shipping) Visit our International Shoppers page to learn how Bongo can help you ship internationally.
Invoice An itemized list of goods shipped to a buyer, stating quantities, prices, shipping charges, etc.
In-Wallet, Out of Wallet This verification process credits or withdraws a small amount from a customer’s account. The customer must then report the exact amount. Example: Paypal
Landed Cost The total cost of goods to a buyer, including the cost of shipping, duties, and taxes. Use our Shipping Rate Calculator to determine estimated landed cost of your international shipment.
Logistics The detailed coordination of a complex operation, many people, facilities, or supplies. This is generally done through a shipping company like FedEx.
NAFTA NAFTA is a treaty between Canada, Mexico, and the United States that was designed to foster greater trade between the 3 countries.
Online Shopping Cart Software used in eCommerce to assist people in making purchases online. See the Shopping Cart Platforms that are pre-integrated with Bongo’s Solutions
Packing List Itemized list of what is contained in a shipment. This list does not contain prices. See an example of a packing list
Passive Screening This process manually reviews every customer registration to see if there any inconsistencies with their registration.
Point of Origin The place at which a shipment is received by a carrier from the shipper.
Prohibited Items These are items that are not permitted to be imported or exported under any circumstances.
Restricted Items These are items that are permitted with specific paperwork and/or classifications.
Return Merchandise Authorization (RMA) An RMA is a numbered authorization provided by a retail merchant to permit the return of a product. Sample RMA form
Sanction An embargo imposed by a Government against another country.
Schedule B A Schedule B number is a 10-digit number used in the United States to classify physical goods for export to another country. The Schedule B is based on the international Harmonized System (HS) of 6-digit commodity classification codes. There is a Schedule B number for every physical product, from paperclips to airplanes. Watch our video explaining HS Codes
Shippers Export Declaration (SED or form 7525-V) The SED must be filled out for any shipment valued at $2,500 or above.
Tariff A tax or duty to be paid on a particular class of imports and exports.
Third Party Logistics (3PL) A company that provides logistics services to other companies for some or all of their logistics needs. It typically includes warehousing and transportation services. Most 3PL’s also have freight forwarding licenses.
Tracking Tracking tools let customers know where their package is during every step of its journey from origin to its final destination. Bongo Members can track their international shipments through our Tracking page. Bongo Merchants can login to their portal site to track customer shipments.
Transport To move items from one place to another.
Unclaimed Freight Freight that has not been called for or picked up by the consignee or owner.
Validated Export License A document issued by the U.S. government; authorizes the export of commodities for which written authorization is required by law. Read the BIS’ FAQs on Export Licensing Requirements
Value Added Taxes (VAT) A VAT is a general consumption tax assessed on the value added to goods and services.
Vendor A person or company offering something for sale.
Warehousing The storing of goods/cargo.