Shipping “Incoterms“ are a series of international commercial terms that help determine the responsibilities and obligations of the seller and the buyer in an international shipment.
The most common shipping incoterms are: FCA, DAP, CPT, CIP, DAT.
INCO terms first appeared in 1936. This is a set of 11 rules to define the scope of responsibility of each party in international transactions.
The table below outlines all 11 INCOTERMS, as well as which modes of transportation they apply to.
Table of Contents
- 1 What are INCO TERMS ?
- 1.1 EXW – Ex Works
- 1.2 FCA – Free Carrier (Place of Delivery)
- 1.3 FAS – Free Alongside Ship (Port of Shipment)
- 1.4 FOB – Free On Board (Port of Shipment)
- 1.5 CFR – Cost and Freight (Port of Destination)
- 1.6 CIF – Cost, Insurance and Freight (Port of Destination)
- 1.7 CPT – Carriage Paid to
- 1.8 DAT – Delivered At Terminal (Terminal at Port or Place of Destination)
- 1.9 DAP – Delivered At Place (Place of Destination)
- 1.10 DDP – Delivered Duty Paid (Place of Destination)
- 2 Main Areas of Responsibility
- 3 What are the most used Incoterms?
- 4 CIF Cost, Insurance & Freight (named port of shipment)
- 5 DDP Delivered Duty Paid (named place of destination)
- 6 FOB Free On Board (named port of shipment)
- 7 FAS Free Alongside Ship (named port of shipment)
- 8 FCA Free Carrier (named place of delivery)
- 9 Which Incoterms are best for buyer? Tips from Super Intl shipping expert
- 10 Why Not Use FOB?
- 11 Why Not Use CIF?
- 12 FREE Shipping Quotation in 24 hours
What are INCO TERMS ?
Incoterms are a set of internationally recognized commercial terms for describing the transfer of goods from one country to another. They have been in use since 1936 and are used in international trade. The terms can be found under the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC).
EXW – Ex Works
EXW is an abbreviation for “Ex Works”. This means that the seller only needs to deliver goods to a transportation carrier or other designated place, which is usually their warehouse or factory, where goods can be collected by UPS, which refers to any postal service where a buyer can collect the goods from the shipping carrier.
This means that the seller does not have an obligation to deliver the goods or make them available at any particular location.
FCA – Free Carrier (Place of Delivery)
FAS – Free Alongside Ship (Port of Shipment)
FOB – Free On Board (Port of Shipment)
FOB shipping is a term that is used in the shipping industry to indicate that the seller has delivered the goods to the carrier’s freight terminal, but not cleared customs.
The FOB (Free on Board) term means that once you have paid for your goods and they are loaded onto a vessel, you are responsible for them until they are delivered to their destination. The responsibility for clearing customs and paying any duties or taxes falls on you as well.
Fob shipments are not insured by either party when they are in transit. The risk of loss or damage is carried by whoever takes possession of the goods at their destination. This means that if your shipment arrives damaged, you will need to make a claim with your local post office rather than with your shipping company or supplier.
CFR – Cost and Freight (Port of Destination)
CIF – Cost, Insurance and Freight (Port of Destination)
CIF is a term for “Cost, Insurance, and Freight.” This is a type of shipping that includes all three of these costs: the cost of the goods, the insurance for the goods, and the freight for delivery.
The acronym CIF can be used to describe any type of shipping that includes all three of these costs.
CPT – Carriage Paid to
“C” terms are for CFR–Cost and Freight. CFR means that the seller agrees to pay to have the goods transported to their destination and that they will be unloaded when they arrive.
DAT – Delivered At Terminal (Terminal at Port or Place of Destination)
DAP – Delivered At Place (Place of Destination)
DAP stands for “Delivered at Place”. This is a term used in shipping. It means that the goods are delivered to the place where they are to be used.
DAP is often used in international trade, where it is common for goods to be delivered from one country to another.
DDP – Delivered Duty Paid (Place of Destination)
DDP is a door-to-door service with one of the fastest delivery times. It takes 2-5 days for the package to arrive at its destination. This service includes customs clearance and door delivery by the freight company. The customer pays for all shipping costs and taxes at the time of purchase so they don’t have to worry about any additional charges when they get their order delivered.
The International Chamber of Commerce has created a list of terms that apply to all modes of transportation. These terms are used to ensure the seller does not assume high-cost risks and liabilities during a transaction. In addition, these terms are recognized globally for each commercial invoice.
These terms are very detailed in describing the work, risks, and costs involved in a transaction between the seller and buyer. Every commercial invoice processed according to the requirements of its shipment greatly reduces potential high cost risk arising from misunderstandings.
All INCO TERM applicable to all modes of transportation
Main Areas of Responsibility
Incoterms are a set of rules created by the International Chamber of Commerce which govern international trade. They also cover four main responsibilities: they outline who can sell, buy, ship and transport goods.
- Delivery stage: Here, the buyer and seller make an agreement for when your cargo’s status will change to “final delivery.” They also agree on the details of your final delivery. Once this is complete and upon the expiry of our agreement, we will release you from all liability.
- Transportation stage: Incoterms are a set of internationally accepted terms for the process of buying and selling goods. They have been around for decades and provide standardized terms that avoid confusion when it comes to different pricing structures.
- Documentation and formalities: These internationally recognized terms describe the responsibilities of the parties involved in international trade, and they vary according to different types of dealings.
- Insurance: Incoterms are rules dictating to whom insurance coverage is provided during transportation.
What are the most used Incoterms?
Incoterms are terms that are used to describe the mode of transportation of goods in international trade. They are used to specify the responsibilities and liabilities involved with the movement of goods.
The most commonly used incoterms include: FOB, CIF, and DDP.
Over 90% of world trade is conducted on the seas, which is why Incoterms used there are mostly maritime terms.
There’s been a recent boom in e-commerce, and traditional methods for transactions were not established for every industry. When e-commerce first became popular, it was a new idea and it took some time to be widely accepted. We see the D-Group Incoterms in use quite often nowadays.
Here are a list of the most common Incoterms
CIF Cost, Insurance & Freight (named port of shipment)
The reason that CIF is the most popular Incoterms around is because it provides benefits for both parties involved. Most of the time, when you’re selling goods, this type of Incoterms will allow you to negotiate with different buyers and get more in return. It’s a good example of how advanced agreements can be beneficial.
The seller will provide delivery service up to destination and include this in the total cost of the order. However, they do not shoulder the risk that goods are damaged or lost along the way. That is why it’s important for buyers to keep an eye on their belongings during transport and inspect them carefully at destination.
For most goods, the buyer has the option of having them delivered to their own port. The tradeoff is that they take on a part of the risks from transportation. Most importantly, an insurance system recovers for any losses covered by your business
CIF is used in the transportation of vehicles, commodities, and machinery. It’s not recommended that you use it to carry containers though.
For these reasons, CIP Carriage and Insurance Paid To has a higher insurance minimum than CIF. We prefer using it to CIF overall.
DDP Delivered Duty Paid (named place of destination)
The price of the goods you buy often includes all the costs for getting them from the foreign country to your home: transport, import clearance, taxes.
You receive the goods at your door and only at that moment they are delivered to you.
You’re entitled to new goods if your truck has an incident and damages the goods or destroys them. You’re not at risk for any of this, though. You are only at risk for paying for a new shipment.
With DDP, you don’t need to worry about who will be sending it or what the conditions are. This is just one of the many reasons why DDP is so popular.
However, the lack of transparency in international shipping has prompted many e-commerce companies to use Dispatched Duty Paid (DDP) with their customers. This means that they will be charged duties and taxes upon shipment and not collected until the package arrives at its destination.
DDP is one of the most popular Incoterms, and it will continue to grow alongside e-commerce.
FOB Free On Board (named port of shipment)
There’s a monopoly on containerized Original Goods (OG) cargos, and there’s monopoly on containerized Originating Goods (OG) shipments.
The abbreviation FOB typically stands for First on Bill and the phrase can be used in a variety of different scenarios. However, it is often misunderstood & not appropriate in certain situations, which may lead to losses for both parties.
It is true that FOB is not usually used for cases like international cargo or domestic truck shipments, but we have actually seen it even being used to transport container-bound ground cargo.
Buyers often request a FOB (Free On Board) shipment rather than CIF (Cost, Insurance and Freight), because goods that require handling or are hazardous for shipping are likely to need assistance. This often happens when the goods involved are also heavy in weight or unusually shaped. In order to achieve a standard on time delivery for your container shipping needs, you will need a supplier that can handle the additional logistics and responsibilities involved in this type of shipment. It is important that it be packaged properly to prevent any damage that may occur during transport.
These goods are important to your success in international trade. Purchasing them from FOB allows for a low cost shipping process, but only three options are available: Choose in-location pickup, choose self-contain carrying case and choose a lower cost shipment option.
FAS Free Alongside Ship (named port of shipment)
Imagine you have to ship various machinery, like a large power generator or something else that would not fit in a container… This is also referred to as out-of-gage cargo.
For this type of products, the best Incoterms is definitely FAS. While OOG cargos of course do not account for most shipments, rather just a small part, the fact that FAS has a monopoly over such merchandise means you can rely on them entirely.
FAS (Free Alongside Ship) means you don’t have to worry about loading your goods, shipping costs, or customs. Just be sure to send them the bill and they will handle it.
FCA Free Carrier (named place of delivery)
Sellers who use EXW often don’t realize that it was never meant to be used internationally. EXW involves the buyer picking up the product at once and the seller shipping it to them. This can be an obstacle in many cases since customers might find this difficult or inconvenient.
The Incotser FCA is seen as a much better option and has the same features with some minor changes made for international transactions.
There are many advantages to holding a FCA registration, including: – An ability to accept credit card orders. – A streamlined process. – Point-of-sale fee waivers for sellers offering your FCA registration product or service in the EU member nations.
- Sellers don’t want to be involved in transport costs
- Sellers rather not take any additional risks
The new FCA regulation is just one of many legal changes that trucking businesses in Europe are required to make. The same outcome typically arrives from FAS and FOB, but the new regulation mainly covers cargo shipments by truck.
If you are a seller, FAS and FOB require you to ship your goods internationally by a certain date. If you are buying internationally, then the seller could meet their obligation by putting the goods on board and sending them to an international port, airport or warehouse in close proximity.
FCA refers to the economic principle where goods are sold with the seller’s cost being included in the price. FCA is similar to EXW in that sellers can include their margin and avoid any discrepancies regarding what has been provided for free.
Not only is FCA as convenient as your standard e-commerce transaction, it’s also a lot more flexible than store sales- meaning you can set up a metric or fixed price and still sell items via one platform. FCA refers to the economic principle where goods are sold with the seller’s cost being included in the price. FCA is similar to EXW in that sellers can include their margin and avoid any discrepancies regarding what has been provided for free.
Which Incoterms are best for buyer? Tips from Super Intl shipping expert
There are many differences between FOB and CIF. One important difference is their transfer of responsibility ownership and liability. Contrary to FOB, which assigns responsibility and title as soon as goods leave the point of origin, CIF does not assign responsibility and title until a buyer receives the goods.
In general, FOB benefits buyers and CIF benefits sellers. However, we often recommend that new buyers use CIF until they’re more comfortable with the import process.
Why Not Use FOB?
The use of FOB (Free on Board), is considered the safest method when it comes to importing goods. Because importers assume more liability in shipment, they might turn away some potential buyers who want to purchase your item. Because of the new buyers’ inexperience, they can often make mistakes with their shipments that could cost your business very dearly.
As more people know that the importation process isn’t efficient, they might buy a contract with a larger quantity.
Why Not Use CIF?
Since sellers often charge extra fees when it comes to delivery, buyers may end up paying more for shipping in the end. Buyers might agree to a FOB agreement because they don’t want to be responsible for the wholesale costs of shipping. But in this case, CIF will probably be more cost effective.
Basically, many buyers are paying a special premium for the convenience of CIF service. They are also giving up their ability to control shipment status and contact shipping information. If something goes wrong with the shipment, getting a refund or replacement becomes much harder as it’s difficult to get noticed by customer service.. In addition, buyers are also required to receive the Importer Security Filing document from the seller. If they don’t file this late, there are serious consequences. This gives buyers little control over how they can protect themselves.
Insurers often offer special terms with CIF insurance when a seller owns the policy. It’s important to consult with your insurer before buying, as they control the insurance policies. If anything happens to the goods while they’re being shipped, the seller will receive the payout. You’ll probably already paid for those goods once. In this case, the buyer will also not be able to get their money back because product returns can be difficult to handle. Similarly, there can be legal complications caused by these returns or a lack of communication.