The Wheaton Blog
International Moving Terms- What You Need to Know!
The notion of moving overseas can be daunting, that’s not even taking into account the vocabulary that comes with it. Basically, for the uninformed, it’s an entirely different language. However, Wheaton has you covered. Below is a glossary of terms common to international moving and a simple explanation of those terms.
Actual Cash Value – Value of goods after depreciation is taken into account.
Agent Overseas – Usually another moving company appointed to act as a partner in your move. The most likely situation is that your mover will appoint someone at destination to receive your shipment, clear it through Customs and arrange final delivery.
AWB – The Air Way Bill is the most important document in airfreight transportation. It serves as a contract for carriage and shows all relevant information about the shipment, the shipper and the consignee.
BAF – Abbreviation that stands for “Bunker Adjustment Factor”.
Bill of Lading – This is your contract with the carrier. It is your receipt for your goods and the contract for their transportation. Your signature on this document acknowledges that your goods have been loaded on the moving van and “released to the carrier”.
Bonded Warehouse – A warehouse that meets with local Customs specifications, and allows shipments to be stored pending clearance by Customs.
Booker/Booking Agent – Inter-continental mover responsible for booking, coordinating and managing the shipment.
CAF – Abbreviation that stands for “Currency Adjustment Factor”.
Chargeable Weight – The weight used for tarification to determine the freight charge
COD – Cash-On-Delivery, where the payment is made upon the delivery of the goods.
Contract – Document that specifies liability between booker, client and third parties involved in a move.
Consignee – The person/ the company to whom the shipment is to be delivered.
Consolidation Freight – Shipment booked with an airfreight forwarder or consolidator. Consignment is carried on a House Airwaybill (HAWB) issued by the consolidator. Carrier issues one Master Airwaybill (MAWB) to the consolidator for the whole consolidation.
Consolidator – A company or person that will collect less than container load (LCL) shipments from moving companies and ship them to destination once a full container load (FCL) has been obtained.
Container – A modular steel box that is designed to hold goods during transport on sea and land.
Corporate Account – The organization or company that finally pays for the whole move, usually the employer of the transferee.
Crate – A timber, wooden case for an overseas shipment (often referred to as a liftvan).
Customs – Legal body in charge of formal inspection of goods before allowing a shipment into a country
Customs Clearance – Formal inspection procedures carried out before allowing a shipment into a country.
CWT – Abbreviation that stands for the rate or charge per 100 pounds
Declared Value – Value the owner declares its goods to be for the purpose of insurance. This will form the basis of your insurance cover and it is important that it reflects the value of your belongings.
Deconsolidator – A company or person that will receive the consolidated shipment at destination port and break up the consolidated shipment back into individual shipments.
Demurrage Charges – Demurrage charges are those which are charged by the customs ware house stations when the goods are stored and not cleared within the specified time i.e., these are the charges for excess period of storage of goods.
Destination Agent – The moving company appointed to act on your behalf at destination.
Detention Charges – Alternative term for demurrage charges.
Door-to-Door Shipment – Transporting the shipper’s goods from their residence at origin to their residence at destination. This type of move will increase the degree of control you have over the move and subsequently minimize claims.
Door-to-Port Shipment – Transporting the shipper’s goods from their residence at origin until the port at destination. This tends to happen if the shipper has decided to arrange transport with a destination agent of their choice from the destination port, and tends to be done by a shipper when they want to save money.
Enquiry Form – Document containing all information gathered over the phone on the transferee or the corporate account.
Export – Shipping of goods outside country borders.
Export Wrapping – Method of packing household goods and personal effects for transportation overseas. Usually involves heavier and more specialist materials.
FAIM – FIDI Accredited International Mover
FAIM Standards – Criteria’s to become a FIDI Accredited International Mover.
FCL – FCL stands for Full Container Load. One container contains one consignee’s cargo. A FCL shipment has specified move dates as agreed with your mover.
FIDI Association – The FIDI Global Alliance covers over 100 countries worldwide represented by 25 FIDI Associations. A FIDI Association is an association of moving companies, or a distinct section of such an association, which is recognised by FIDI as representing the views and interests of FIDI companies in a particular country or region. FIDI recognizes its associations by their FIDI names.
FIDI Moving Company – The FIDI alliance comprises over 600 international removal companies, all accredited by the FIDI Accredited International Mover standard (FAIM).
First Equity – First request for information from a transferee or a corporate account to a moving company.
Groupage – Groupage means filling a container with shipments that are less than container load (LCL). The entire container is filled by your own shipments but can contain several transferee’s small shipments and as such you act as a consolidator.
HHG – Abbreviation for Household goods – typically transferee’s private belongings to be moved.
HAWB – HAWB stands for “House Airway Bill” – International air waybills that contain consolidated cargo are called master air waybills (MAWB). MAWBs have additional papers called house air waybills (HAWB). Each HAWB contains information of each individual shipment (consignee, contents, etc.) within the consolidation. International AWBs that are not consolidated (only one shipment in one bill) are called simple AWBs. A house air waybill can also be created by a freight forwarder. When the shipment is booked, the airline issues a MAWB to the forwarder, who in turn issues their own house air waybill to the customer
Inbound Shipment – Import of household goods.
Insurance Certificate – The official insurance document given to you by the insurance company. You will need this in the event of a claim.
International Move – A Move across national borders.
Inventory – A list of your belongings to be moved or a list of your belongings in transit or in storage.
LCL – LCL stands for Less than Container Load. When a shipment is not large enough to fill one full size shipping container, it is packed in liftvans or wooden crates and loaded in a ISO container. So, multiple shippers will share the container.
Liftvan – A crate used in the packing of your belongings.
Marine Insurance – Insurance specifically to cover your belongings whilst in transit over long distances and/or across water by vehicle, ship or aircraft. The policy will cover specific marine risks.
MAWB – MAWB stands for “Master Airway Bill” – International air waybills that contain consolidated cargo are called master air waybills (MAWB). MAWBs have additional papers called house air waybills (HAWB). Each HAWB contains information of each individual shipment (consignee, contents, etc.) within the consolidation. International AWBs that are not consolidated (only one shipment in one bill) are called simple AWBs. A house air waybill can also be created by a freight forwarder. When the shipment is booked, the airline issues a MAWB to the forwarder, who in turn issues their own house air waybill to the customer
Multimodal Shipment – A shipment by means of different types of transportation. (Sea/Air, Sea/Road, Air/Rail, etc.)
NVOCC – Stands for non-vessel operating common carrier. A shipment consolidator or freight forwarder who does not own any vessel, but functions as a carrier by issuing its own bills of lading or air waybills and assuming responsibility for the shipments.
Origin Agent – The moving or shipping company appointed to handle your move at origin.
Outbound Shipment – Export of household goods.
PBO – Abbreviation that stands for “Packed by owner”. When you choose to pack your belongings yourself, either into cartons supplied by the mover or into your own boxes. Insurance companies often refuse to insure goods packed by their owners.
Packer – Person in charge of packing, wrapping, loading the goods at origin and unpacking, unwrapping and unloading the goods at destination.
Packing List – This document lists all the goods that are packed in a shipment and has 4 main purposes: It is used to check the goods at all stages of handling; as a receipt, therefore the importance for the customer of signing for agreement when the goods are collected and unpacked; as an attachment to the insurance certificate as it is the evidence that the goods were shipped and their conditions at the time of packing; for customs clearance as proof of the goods which are being imported.
Planning the Move – Action to find the ideal routing for shipping household goods considering time and costs constraints.
Port-to-Door Shipment – Transporting the shipper’s goods from a port to destination residence. This is quite unusual; these moves are mostly taken care of by national companies contracted for a particular international move.
Port-to-Port Shipment – Transporting the shipper’s goods from the origin port to the destination port. Generally, these types of moves are booked directly with a forwarder.
Pre-move Survey – Survey organized by the moving company at client/transferee’s house to assess the volume or weight of the goods to be moved in order to provide an accurate quote for the move.
Quotation – Detailed written proposal of the moving service and price offer, drawn up and signed by the service provider.
Relocation Company – Company that is specialized in taking care of the transferees and provide one or several services like: moving, destination services, school search, home search. Area of activities and services are much broader than just the moving aspect.
Replacement Value – Value of goods equal to the replacement cost at destination.
Ro-Ro – Roll on, Roll off. Method of sea transportation typically for cars.
Shipper – Usually – but not always – the customer whose shipping requirements are being serviced
SIT – Abbreviation that stands for “Storage in Transit”. Temporary storage of your household goods in the warehouse of the moving company, pending further transportation.
Survey Form – Standard document issued by the moving company where during the pre-move survey visit, the surveyor note down all the details that will enable the booker to make a cost estimate and later on a firm quotation.
Surveyor – The employee responsible for doing the pre-move survey at client house.
Transferee – The person being relocated or assigned to work in another country.
Transit Time – Time it takes to get goods from point A to point B. In the moving industry this usually includes the packing and unpacking.
Warehouse – The building used to store the goods (in transit, short term storage, long term storage).
W/M – Abbreviation that stands for “weight” or “measurement”.
We hope that helps you navigate some of the language that we, in the moving and storage industry, use every day! Be sure to ask your Wheaton Representative if you have any questions regarding terms or your move in general. If you’d like to learn more about how Wheaton can best meet your needs, be sure to visit our Why Wheaton page on our website!