What is Incoterms (FOB and FAS)?

Incoterms Explained Simply

Incoterms are like the rulebook for international trade. They lay out the responsibilities of buyers and sellers when shipping goods across the globe. These terms are crucial for smooth trading and are part of every global business deal.

FOB vs FAS in Shipping: Key Differences and How to Choose

Why Incoterms Matter


Incoterms are key to understanding who pays for what and who’s responsible if something goes wrong during shipping. With these rules, everyone knows their duties, from the moment a product leaves the factory to when it arrives at its destination.

FOB and FAS: Two Common Incoterms

FOB (Free On Board) and FAS (Free Alongside Ship) are two common Incoterms you’ll come across:

  • FOB means the seller gets the goods on the ship, and then the buyer takes over.
  • FAS involves the seller placing the goods next to the ship, and the buyer is responsible from there.

These terms help simplify international deals and make sure buyers and sellers are clear about their roles. Understanding FOB and FAS is essential for anyone involved in global trade.

What is FAS in Shipping incoterms ?


FAS Made Simple


FAS, or Free Alongside Ship, is a term used in shipping. It means the seller delivers the goods right next to the ship at the designated port. Once the goods are there, the buyer takes over and handles all the risks and transportation from that point onward.

The seller’s job is to get the goods to the port and near the ship quickly. After that, it’s all on the buyer.


Pros of FAS


Seller’s Ease


The seller has less to worry about. They just ensure the goods reach the ship’s side.

Buyer’s Command

The buyer gets full control. They select the ship, oversee loading, and start managing the goods right at the ship’s side.


Cons of FAS


Waiting Risks


If goods wait too long at the port, there’s a risk of damage. Delays can happen if the ship is late or if there’s a hold-up with loading.


Paperwork Mix-ups


Documents like the dock receipt can cause trouble if not prepared in time. This could mean extra hassle for the seller to fix any issues with documentation personally.

What Does FOB Mean in Shipping incoterms ?

FOB Explained in Plain English

FOB, short for Free On Board, is a term you’ll often hear in the shipping world. It’s about who is responsible for the goods at each stage of the journey. Once the seller has loaded the goods onto the ship, their part is done. Now, the buyer carries the responsibility – and the risk.

It’s all about timing. The seller must get those goods safely on the ship. Until then, they’re the ones worrying about the cargo.


The Buyer Benefits of FOB – What are the advantages ? 

FOB comes with clear advantages for the buyer:

  • Stress-free shipping: The seller deals with the details of transport and loading.
  • Cost clarity: With expenses like customs and freight nailed down early, buyers can breathe easy about their budget.
  • Choice of shipper: Buyers keep control, with the option to select their preferred shipping company.


Considering FOB Costs – What are the disadvantages ? 

Yet, FOB isn’t without its challenges:


  • Initial costs: Be prepared that the starting price may be higher, as shipping costs are bundled in.
  • Final cost uncertainty: Since the seller picks the transport, it can be tricky for buyers to guess the end-price, potentially leading to extra expenses.


With FOB, you’re getting a shipping term that’s buyer-friendly and gives you a good balance of convenience and control. It’s a straightforward choice that keeps international trading sailing smoothly.

FOB vs. FAS: Who Bears the Burden?


When it comes to shipping, knowing who is responsible for what, and when, is key. Here’s an easy-to-read breakdown of responsibilities and risk transfer for FOB and FAS Incoterms:

Understanding this table can help both buyers and sellers navigate the complexities of international shipping with confidence. Remember, clear communication and a good grasp of these terms keep trade moving smoothly.

Incoterm Seller’s Responsibilities Buyer’s Responsibilities Risk Transfer Point
FOB (Free On Board) Handles all costs and risks up to the point where goods pass the ship’s rail at the origin port. This includes export procedures and loading. Takes on all risks and costs once goods are on the ship, including freight, insurance, unloading, and customs clearance at the destination. When the goods pass the ship’s rail at the origin port.
FAS (Free Alongside Ship) Covers costs and risks until goods are placed next to the ship at the shipment port. This includes export procedures and transportation to the dock. Responsible from the moment goods are alongside the ship, including loading, freight, insurance, and customs clearance upon arrival. When the goods are placed alongside the ship at the shipment port.

FOB vs. FAS: Sorting Out the Facts

Trade terms got you tangled? Let’s set the record straight on FOB and FAS and keep your shipping savvy sharp.

FOB Myths Busted


  • Misconception: Seller Pays to Destination Port? Nope. With FOB, they’re only on the hook until those goods are on the ship at the origin port. After that, it’s the buyer’s show.
  • Misconception: FOB for Trucks and Planes? Wrong track. FOB is strictly for the sailors – it’s sea or river transport only.


FAS Facts Fixed


  • Misconception: Seller’s Done After Pickup? Not at all. In FAS, sellers play until goods are dockside, shouldering the cost and risk until then.
  • Misconception: Seller Loads the Cargo? That’s a buyer’s job in FAS. Loading? That’s on the buyer’s dime.


Armed with the right info, you’re ready to navigate the complexities of global trade. Say goodbye to the myths and hello to hassle-free shipping!

Choosing the Right Shipping Terms from China: FOB vs. FAS

When you’re shipping from China, picking between FOB and FAS can make or break your trade game. Let’s break it down.


Consider Your Cargo


  • Bulk or Big? Go FAS. It’s perfect for hefty items since they get parked right by the ship.
  • Containerized or Complex? FOB‘s your friend. The seller takes care of the tricky loading part.


Weigh the Risks and Roles


  • FOB: Once your goods are on the ship, you’re in charge. All the risks? They’re yours too.
  • FAS: You take the wheel when your goods are dockside. Want to oversee loading? Choose this.

FOB and FAS Incoterms: Real-Life Insights

Let’s dive into how FOB and FAS work outside of the textbooks, with a straightforward example.

Imagine a Chinese furniture maker sends a huge furniture batch to a US retailer under FOB terms. The toy seller makes sure the toys hit the Chinese port, handles all export paperwork, and gets them on the ship. As soon as those cargo are aboard, the US retailer takes over, managing all the costs and risks from China to the US stores.

This story sheds light on how FOB and FAS terms split the responsibilities and risks in actual trade deals.

The Future of FOB and FAS

Trade’s future is all about tech and sustainability, and FOB and FAS are keeping pace. Think smart contracts and less paperwork thanks to blockchain. Plus, eco-friendly shipping options could tilt the scales towards FAS if it means a greener footprint.

Trade laws keep shifting, too. These changes will shape how and when traders use FOB and FAS. Staying adaptable is key.

We’ve Got Your Back in Shipping from China

Super International Shipping is your go-to expert for shipping from China. We nail Incoterms like pros. Want hassle-free delivery to your global buyers? Try our DDP services. We stand for top-notch quality, security, and peace of mind. Got questions? Hit up our website’s contact section.


Knowing the ins and outs of FOB and FAS is a must for smooth sailing in international trade. They’re your roadmap for who does what, keeping things clear and conflict-free. Keep a close eye on how these terms evolve, and your business will be all the better for it in the dynamic seas of global trade.

Frequent Asked Question (FAQ) about FOB and FAS in Shipping

What is FOB in shipping terms?

FOB stands for “Free On Board”. It’s a rule that means the seller delivers when the goods are on the ship.


How do FOB and FAS differ?

The key difference is about risk. With FOB, risk passes to the buyer when the goods are on board. FAS changes hands when the goods are beside the vessel at the port.


What’s good about choosing FAS?

FAS can cut costs and lets the buyer manage the loading, which can be a big plus.


Are FOB and FAS usable for all transports?

No, they’re specific to water transportation, like sea and river shipping.


Why update Incoterms like FOB and FAS?

They need refreshing to keep up with the latest in tech, law, and global trade practices.


What’s a downside of FOB?

FOB can hit the buyer with higher costs as they’re responsible once goods are on board.


What’s the impact of FOB and FAS on shipping costs?

FOB means the seller pays until the goods are on the ship. With FAS, the buyer may save early on but pays for loading and shipping.


Under FOB, what does the buyer need to do?

The buyer takes over cost and risk once goods are boarded and must manage transport to the final stop.


Who decides to use FOB or FAS?

The buyer and seller agree on this, often based on cost, control, and preference.


When should I pick FAS over FOB?

Choose FAS if you prefer to handle loading and look to potentially save on shipping.


Can we adjust Incoterms for specific deals?

Yes, you can tailor them, but clarity is key to avoid mix-ups.


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