Shipping Terms


Safe Working Load

Abbreviation: SWL The maximum load any lifting appliance may handle.

Safety Stock

In general, a quantity of stock planned to be in inventory to protect against fluctuations in demand and/or supply. In the context of master production scheduling, safety stock can refer to additional inventory and/or capacity planned as protection against forecast errors and/or short terms changes in the backlog. Also referred to as 'overplanning' or a 'market hedge'.

Said to Contain

Abbreviation: STC Term in a Bill of Lading signifying that the master and the carrier are unaware of the nature or quantity of the contents of e.g. a carton, crate, container or bundle and are relying on the description furnished by the shipper.


The saving or rescue of a vessel and/or the cargo from loss and/or damage at sea.

Scale Ton

Freighting measurement used in certain trades for various commodities.


A formal specification of a group of business activities that may take place between parties to achieve a particular objective.


A timetable including arrival/departure times of ocean- and feeder vessels and also inland transportation. It refers to named ports in a specific voyage (journey) within a certain trade indicating the voyage number(s). In general: The plan of times for starting and/or finishing activities.


A device used for containers, lockers, trucks or lorries to proof relevant parties that they have remained closed during transport.

Seal Log

A document used to record seal numbers.

Seasonal Inventory

Inventory built up in anticipation of a seasonal peak of demand in order to smooth production.


Fitness of a vessel to travel in open sea mostly related to a particular voyage with a particular cargo.

Sectional Rate

The rate established by scheduled air carrier(s) for a section of a through route (air cargo).


Distance required by the rules of IMDG or BC codes between the various commodities of dangerous and or bulk cargoes.


Party selling merchandise to a buyer.

Seller's Market

A 'seller's market' is considered to exist when goods cannot easily be secured and when the economic forces of business tend to be priced at the vendor's estimate of value. In other words, a state of trade favourable to the seller, with relatively great demand and high prices of something for sale.

Semi Trailer

A vehicle without motive power and with one or more axles designed to be drawn by a truck tractor and constructed in such way that a portion of its weight and that of its load rest upon e.g. the fifth wheel of the towing vehicle.


See Shipper

Sequenced Delivery

The synchronised delivery of trucks to co-ordinate with production schedules or local delivery vehicles.

Service Based Pricing

Pricing structured to service packages provided, related to activity based costing including bought in costs.

Service Bill

A service Bill (of Lading) is a contract of carriage issued by one carrier to another for documentary and internal control purposes (e.g. in case P&O Nedlloyd cargo is carried on a non P&O Nedlloyd vessel.) For internal documentary and control purposes a so-called participating agent in a consortium uses some kind of document which, depending on the trade, is referred to as 'Memo Bill' which will among others state: Name of Carrier on whose behalf the original document (Way Bill, Bill of Lading, etc.) was issued. The original document number. The agent who issued the original document and his opponent at the discharging side. The number of packages, weight and measurement, marks and numbers and goods description. Further mandatory details in case of special cargo. No freight details will be mentioned and the Memo Bill is not a contract of carriage.

Service Level

A measure for the extent to which the customer orders can be executed at delivery conditions normally accepted in the market.

Service Level Agreement

Abbreviation: SLA An arrangement between a service provider and an organisation specifying details about the services to be provided.

Setting/Air Delivery Temperature

An indication in the documents (B/L) stating the air supply temperature to the container. Note: No other details than this temperature shall be included in the Bill of Lading.

Settlement Office

The institution to issue billing to and receive remittances from agents and to distribute the monies to CASS airlines, Billing Participants and Part Participants (air cargo).


See Warehouse

Shelf Life

The specified length of time prior to use for which items which are inherently subject to deterioration are deemed to remain fit for use under prescribed conditions.


Part of the work-program of a stevedoring company (a working day can have up to 3 shifts (24 hours)).


See Vessel

Ship Broker

Acts as intermediary between shipowners or carriers by sea on the one hand and cargo interests on the other. The functions are to act as forwarding agent or custom broker, fixing of charters, and acting as chartering agent.

Ship Operator

A ship operator is either the shipowner or the (legal) person responsible for the actual management of the vessel and its crew.

Ship's Protest

Statement of the master of a vessel before (in the presence of) competent authorities, concerning exceptional events which occurred during a voyage.


A separately identifiable collection of goods to be carried. Note: In the United States of America the word shipment is used instead of the word consignment.


The (legal) person officially registered as such in the certificate of registry where the following particulars are contained: Name of vessel and port of registry. Details contained in surveyors certificate. The particulars respecting the origin stated in the declaration of ownership. The name and description of the registered owner, if more than one owner the proportionate share of each.


The merchant (person) by whom, in whose name or on whose behalf a contract of carriage of goods has been concluded with a carrier or any party by whom, in whose name or on whose behalf the goods are actually delivered to the carrier in relation to the contract of carriage.

Shipper's Export Declaration

Abbreviation: SED A United States customs form to be completed for all exports to assist the government in compiling export statistics.

Shipper's Letter of Instruction

Abbreviation: SLI A document containing instructions given by the shipper or the shipper's agent for preparing documents and forwarding (air cargo).

Shipping Documents

Documents required for the carriage of goods.

Shipping Instruction

Document advising details of cargo and exporter's requirements of its physical movement.

Shipping Label

A label attached to a P&O Nedlloyd unit, containing certain data.

Shipping Marks

The identification shown on individual packages in order to help in moving it without delay or confusion to its final destination and to enable the checking of cargo against documents.

Shipping Note

Document provided by the shipper or his agent to the carrier, multimodal transport operator, terminal or other receiving authority, giving information about export consignments offered for transport, and providing for the necessary receipts and declarations of liability.


The negative difference between actual available or delivered quantity and the required quantity.

Shrink Wrapping

Heat treatment that shrinks an envelope of polyethylene or similar substance around several units, thus forming one unit. It is used e.g. to secure packages on a pallet.

Shuttle Service

The carriage back and forth over an often short route between two points.


A short railroad track connected with a main track by a switch to serve a warehouse or an industrial area.


The limiting of formalities, procedures, documents, information, and operations to the minimum essential requirements, steps, data and tasks acceptable by all parties concerned.

Simplification Toolkit

Collection of tools to enable simplified implementations of structured electronic commerce techniques such as, electronic data interchange, electronic funds transfer, automatic data capture, bar-code technology and unique goods/product/service/party identification schemes.


The imitation of the reality for studying the effect of changing parameters in a model as a means of preparing a decision.

Single Administrative Document

Abbreviation: SAD A set of documents, replacing the various (national) forms for customs declaration within European Community, implemented on January 1st, 1988. The introduction of the SAD constitutes an intermediate stage in the abolition of all administrative documentation in intra European Community trade in goods between member states.


National organisation for the Simplification of International Trade Procedures in the United Kingdom (e.g. in The Netherlands SITPRO is called 'Sitproneth', in France 'Simprofrance' and in Japan 'Jastpro').

Skeleton Trailer

Road trailer consisting of a frame and wheels specially designed to carry containers. See Chassis


Battens fitted underneath frames, boxes or packages to raise them off the floor and allow easy access for fork lift trucks, slings or other handling equipment.

Sliding Tandem

An undercarriage with a subframe having provision for convenient fore and aft adjustment of its position on the chassis/semi-trailer. The purpose being to be able to shift part of the load to either the king pin or the suspension to maximise legally permitted axle loads (road cargo).


Special chain, wire rope, synthetic fibre strap or ropes used for cargo handling purposes.

Slip Sheeting

Hard plastic sheeting used to stack cartons, optimising container space.


The space on board a vessel, required by one TEU, mainly used for administrative purposes.

Slot Charter

A voyage charter whereby the shipowner agrees to place a certain number of container slots (TEU and/or FEU) at the charterer's disposal.

Snake Loading

Loading products into a container in the sequence with which the goods will be unloaded and stored in at destination.


The management on purpose of the various origins of products or materials on behalf of the recipient of these products or materials. In some industries sourcing is seen as the change from push to pull delivery for a number of fast moving items. Within P&O Nedlloyd sourcing is specially dedicated to the retail industry acting as an intermediary between suppliers and the market with an integrated service for e.g. supermarkets or large department stores.

Space Charter

A voyage charter whereby the shipowner agrees to place part of the vessels capacity at the charterers disposal.

Special Drawing Rights

Abbreviation: SDR Unit of account from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), i.a. used to express the amount of the limitations of a carrier's liability.

Special Rate

A rate other than a normal rate.

Specific Commodity Rate

Abbreviation: SCR A rate applicable to carriage of specifically designated commodities.

Split Shipment

In case of indirect delivery through consolidation and if split shipment conditions occur then each split part of the shipment will be delivered in a different consignment but all consignments identified by the same unique original shipment id.


The stretch between a hub and one of the group of consignees and/or consignors being served by the hub.

Spontaneous Ignition Temperature

The lowest temperature at which a substance will start burning spontaneously without an external source of ignition.


Device used for lifting containers and unitised cargo. Beam or frame that holds the slings vertical when hoisting a load, to prevent damage to cargo.


Mooring rope rigged from the forward or aft to a quayside bollard amidships to prevent the ship from surging forward or aft when alongside.


The capacity of a vessel to return to its original position after having been displaced by external forces. The stability of a vessel depends on the meta-centric height.


An identifiable amount of containers stowed in a orderly way in one specified place on an (ocean) terminal, container freight station, container yard or depot. See also: Container Stack


To pile boxes, bags, containers etc. on top of each other.


The total weight of the containers and cargo in a certain row.

Standard Costs

A carefully prepared estimate of the cost of performing a given operation under specified conditions. In P&O Nedlloyd standard costs are determined for operations called 'standard Work Orders'. Note: A standard work order describes a standard operation for which a standard cost is to be established.

Standard Industrial Classification

Abbreviation: SIC A method, used in the United States, to categorise companies into different industrial groupings.

Standard Product Module

Abbreviation: SPM The building blocks used by business management to define services (shipment products) which can be offered to customers. They describe a more or less isolated set of activities with a standard cost attached to it. For operations management each module defines a combination of standard operations that needs to be carried out for a customer. Note: SPM's can be regarded as the interface between business and operations management.


The development of agreements whose purpose is to align formalities, procedures, documents, information, and operations. At a national level, this would be alignment with acceptable commercial norms and practices, at an international level it would alignment with identified "best" and/or most accepted practices.


Right side of a vessel when facing towards the front or forward end.

State of Origin

The state in the territory in which the cargo was first loaded.

Steering of Containers

The function, with the aid of specific software for tracking and forecasting, to direct empty containers to demanding areas at minimum costs.


The foremost part of a vessel.


A party running a business of which the functions are loading, stowing and discharging vessels.


The materials in a supply chain or in a segment of a supply chain, expressed in quantities, locations and or values. UK.

Stock Control

The systematic administration of stock levels with respect to quantity at all times.

Stock Keeping Unit

The description of the unit of measurement by which the stock items are recorded on the stock record.

Stock Locator System

A system in which all places within a warehouse are named or numbered.

Stock Point

A point in the supply chain meant to keep materials available.

Stock Record

A record of the quantity of stock of a single item, often containing a history of recent transactions and information for controlling the replenishment of stock.


The activity of placing goods into a store or the state of being in store (e.g. a warehouse).

Storage Charge

The fee for keeping goods in a warehouse.


Provisions and supplies on board required for running a vessel.


The placing and securing of cargo or containers on board a vessel or an aircraft or of cargo in a container.

Stowage Factor

Ratio of a cargo's cubic measurement to its weight, expressed in cubic feet to the ton or cubic metres to the tonne, used in order to determine the total quantity of cargo which can be loaded in a certain space.

Stowage Instructions

Imperative details about the way certain cargo is to be stowed, given by the shipper or his agent.

Stowage Plan

A plan indicating the locations on the vessel of all the consignments for the benefit of stevedores and vessel's officers.


An unwanted person who hides on board of a vessel or an aircraft to get free passage, to evade port officials. IMO definition: A person who is secreted on a ship or in cargo which is subsequently loaded on the ship, without the consent of the shipowner or the master or any other responsible person who is detected on board after the ship has departed from a port and reported as a stowaway by the master.

Straddle Carrier

Wheeled vehicle designed to lift and carry P&O Nedlloyd containers within its own framework. It is used for moving, and sometimes stacking, P&O Nedlloyd containers at a container terminal.

Straddle Crane

A crane usually running on rails and spanning an open area such as rail-tracks or roadways.


A band of metal, plastic or other flexible material used to hold cargo or cases together.


Part of the total transport chain (trade route) including overland transport identified by place of receipt, ports of call and place of delivery i.e. it has one location or an address as a starting and or ending point. The leg between two points.


The unloading of cargo out of a container.


The loading of cargo into a container.


Striving for optimum performance in one element of an organisation disregarding the effects this may cause to the performance of the other elements. In other words, a solution for a problem that is best from a narrow point of view but not from a higher or overall company point of view.


Part of a stretch. This term is used if it is necessary to distinguish between a stretch and a part thereof.


Experienced person (officer) assigned by the charterer of a vessel to advise the management of the vessel and protect the interests of the charterer.

Supply Chain

A sequence of events in a goods flow which adds to the value of a specific good. These events may include: conversion assembling and/or disassembling movements and placements

Supply Chain Definition

A sequence of events, which may include conversion, movement or placement, which adds value to goods, products, or services.

Supply Vessel

Vessel which carries stock and stores to offshore drilling rigs, platforms.


An additional charge added to the usual or customary freight.


An inspection of a certain item or object by a recognised specialist.


A specialist who carries out surveys. Note: A surveyor is often representing a classification bureau or a governmental body.

Swop Body

Separate unit without wheels to carry cargo via road sometimes equipped with legs to be used to carry cargo intermodal within Europe. The advantage being that this unit can be left behind to load or discharge whilst the driver with the truck/chassis can change to another unit. These units are not used for sea transport.


The simultaneous joint action of separate parties, which, together, have greater total effect than the sum of their individual effects.


A whole body of connected elements, which influence each other and have specific relations with the environment.

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