Mini Encyclopedia

Expert - The Mini Encyclopedia: Shipping and Importing from China Terms.

Industries often have their own internal language that is a bit non inclusive to the lay person. Freight forwarding, logistics and shipping from China is no different. Today we will help clear the haze of this improbable language barrier! Incudes a free mini encyclopedia on shipping and importing from China terms.

On route to work this morning I'm sitting on the train doing a couple of things, I suppose you could say multitasking....

1. I have a few questions in front of me from some clients and interested prospects such as.....

- How to calculate landed prices from China?

- What is the shipping process from China..?

- Are you guys a shipping agent in China?

So it's going to be a pretty China focused day albeit that's not surprising or unexpected. What is a little unexpected is...No. 2...

2. Since I can answer the above questions with respect in my sleep, I'm pretty interested, no more than that...Intrigued by the conversation held between the groups of teenagers also on their way into the city to enjoy a school holiday activity in the performing arts – I know this because firstly I'm an expert eavesdropper and secondly is it just me or do teenagers speak very, very loudly? Anyway I hear one of them say “hopefully today won't be a wombat” and they all had a good chuckle and agreed that no one likes a “wombat”. I've always thought a wombat is a very strong muscular creature often compared to being badger like or one of the main characters in the brilliant "A Country Practice" if you are old enough to remember that. No?... a wombat has another meaning – ‘Waste of money, brains and time'. They do say you learn something every day and this particular lesson I might just pass on and utilize in the right circumstances.

I began thinking about the use of acronyms and where I hear them – only seconds of me turning on my work PC and settling in for a day that involved mostly the shipping from China stuff ...the penny drops that I speak at a secret language all of its own "the International Freight Forwarding language" of sentences that are cryptic at best if you have no experience with it. So I listen for a minute and it's like..... Our little WOMBAT like gem with questions like:

- Is that DDU or DDP?

- It's an FOB shipment.

- What are the EXW on that job?

- Do they want a CFR quote or CIF?

- Did they send the SLI?

I realize that yes there is an odd code language between us International Freight Forwarders shipping from China and wherever else. Collectively they can be described as Incoterms – the international rules for the interpretation of trade terms designed by the Chamber of Commerce.

IMHO and as I RBTL my POV is that these Incoterms are very useful when organizing import and export shipments; working in different times zones and organizing shipments with many different agents and clients overseas these incoterms prove to be a valuable tool when quoting accurately, ensuring full shipment needs are met and the invoicing is correct. 

DDU – Delivery duty unpaid.

DDP – Delivery duty paid.

FOB – Free on board.

EXW – Ex works.

CFR – Cost and Freight.

CIF – Cost, Insurance and Freight.

IMHO – In my humble opinion.

RBTL – Read between the lines.

POV – Point of View.

SITD – Still in the dark.

HTH – Hope this helps.


Sharon Lopez

Thi the mini encyclopedia with the list of acronyms could really be helpful when dealing with the import/export industries in China. Although some terms might be familiar, I think it would always be safe to spell out the words so as to avoid any misunderstanding between partied involved in a transaction.

Faith Marfil

Thanks for sharing a brief educational Encyclopedia about basic Shipping and Importing Chinese Terms. This might come in handy if someday, I have a business deal in China.

Angelo Bugay

I like to call this jargon. I think it's cool to use their own language in this kind of field. It will somehow help with the confidentiality of the information being delivered.

edgar Tamayo

it is pretty useful, information for dealing international shipments and using the codes.

Dianne B.

This is truly helpful for laymen, just like me. I'm trying to understand business matters as much as possible for future reference.

Jide Idowu

Like you rightly mentioned, every industry has their own 'coded language'. I never knew most of these until now. Thanks for the enlightenment.

Nnaemeka Odimegwu

Surprisingly, I am familiar with some of your incoterms. CIF and FOB are familiar terms to anyone here in Nigeria who has done a little bit of shipping stuff by sea or air. Now I know that acronyms are not peculiar to only the accounting industry.

Maklein Cruz

I'm actually confused in this article. Are informing us of the answers that clients are asked you? Or giving us acronyms of such terms?

Therese Marie Baguio

These abbreviations are helpful for anyone in the business. A large number of clients, prospects, and partners today are millennials. So, it must be time to adapt change and use these especially those who are SITD. HTH.

Maury Cheskes

Lot of acronyms these days. Some make us more illiterate, but some save us time in the business world. In your line of work, how long did it take you to learn those acronyms?

Kevin Jonson

This mini library of acronyms is useful. But I think a larger database which is searchable is more useful. That would be a worthy encyclopedia.

Al beneth

Wow! This Mini Encyclopedia sounds cool to get to know China's business terms. These odd code language are certainly valuable for shippers.

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