You will become more familiar with the terms of shipping used in quoting prices and delivering goods as you gain experience. Your responsibilities vary with the terms of the agreements and orders. Check with your freight forwarder to be clear about your responsibilities.

A bill of lading is a receipt for goods shipped. It is signed by the agent of a ship or common carrier and assures the buyer that the goods were unloaded in the same condition as they were accepted. These are the documents you’ll need to produce for your banker to release the letter of credit.

FOB means free on board. The seller delivers the goods to a certain destination with no additional charges. The seller insures and takes the responsibility until that point. The buyer takes the responsibility and pays the charges after that. For example, FOB Sydney means the seller’s price quotation includes full responsibility and shipping to Sydney.

FAS means free alongside. The seller delivers the goods to the ship that will carry the merchandise. The buyer pays to load onto the ship and takes responsibility from there. FAS Sydney, for example, means that the seller will deliver and store the goods until they are ready for loading onto the ship.

C & F means cost and freight. The seller pays the freight charges. The buyer insures the merchandise and takes full responsibility after the destination.

CIF means cost, insurance and freight. The seller is responsible for the value and condition of the goods, and pays both insurance and freight charges to a certain point. The buyer is responsible from there.

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