Free International Trade Terms Glossary

Welcome to the International Trade Terms web page that can help you quickly learn the meaning for some of the words and phrases most frequently used in global business and commerce.  The international trade terms are arranged in alphabetic order so you may easily locate them by simply clicking on the first letter 'links' located at the top and bottom of the two column glossary.

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Term Definition
Jetsam Articles from a ship or ship's cargo that were thrown overboard, (usually to lighten the load in times of emergency or distress.). The articles may sink or be washed ashore.
Jettison The act of throwing overboard at sea part of a vessel's paraphernalia or cargo or hull - usually in hopes of saving the ship from sinking.
Joint Agent A person having authority to transact business for two or more principals . In transportation it is a common occurrence.
Joint And Several Liability Liability for damages imposed on two or more individuals or legal entities who are responsible together and individually, allowing the party harmed to seek full remedy against all or any number of the wrongdoers.
Joint Rate A single freight rate on cargo moving via two or more carriers who then share the income..
Joint Stock Company An unincorporated business enterprise with ownership interests represented by shares of stock. Also a joint Stock Association.
Joint Venture A combination of two or more individuals or legal entities who undertake together a transaction for mutual gain or to engage in a commercial enterprise together with mutual sharing of profits and losses.
Jurat A statement signed by a person authorized to take oaths certifying to the authenticity of a document or affidavit.
Juristic Act Action intended to, and capable of having, a legal effect, such as the creation, termination, or modification of a legal right.
Just In Time The principle of production and inventory control that prescribes precise controls for the movement of raw materials, component parts and work-in-progress. Goods are expected to arrive when needed for production rather than arriving prior to need and becoming inventory.
Keelage The charges paid by a ship entering or remaining in certain ports.
Key Currency A major currency in the global economy. Key currencies include the U.S. dollar, the British pound sterling, the German mark, the Swiss franc, the French franc, the Dutch guilder, the Japanese yen and the Canadian dollar.
Kiosk A small structure suitable for use as a newsstand, display stand, bandstand, study stand etc.
Knocked Down An article disassembled, or unassembled, or taken apart, or folded, or telescoped to reduce its bulk; subject to easy assembly. This is usually done to reduce the dimensions of the shipping package and thereby to save transportation and storage costs.
Known Loss 1. loss discovered before or at the time of delivery of a shipment.

2. An evident loss (as opposed to a concealed loss or damage to contents within a package.)

3. A loss of which the insured and/or the insurer is aware at the time the insurance is effected.
Laissez-faire A term used to describe minimal governmental involvement in an economy, allowing market forces and individuals to make their own decisions, with little or no regulation.
Landbridge The movement of cargo (usually in containers) from one foreign country by vessel, transiting another country by rail or truck, and then being loaded aboard another vessel for delivery to the destination country. The movement across the country from port to port is the "landbridge" portion of the transportation.
Lanham Act Of 1947 Federal legislation governing trademarks and trademark registration.
Lay Order The period during which imported merchandise may remain at the place of unloading without some action being taken for its disposition.
Lead Time That period of time needed to prepare for an action.
Legal Entity Any individual, proprietorship, partnership, corporation, association, or other organization that has, in the eyes of the law, the capacity to make a contract or an agreement, and the ability to assume an obligation and to discharge an indebtedness.
Legal Tender Any money that is recognized as being lawful for use by a debtor to pay a creditor, who must accept same in the discharge of a debt unless the contract between the parties specifically states that another type of money is to be used. It is that money which is lawful for the payment of all debts, public and private, public charges, taxes, duties and dues.
Less Than Truckload A shipment which does not completely fill a truck or which weighs less than the weight required for the application of the truck load freight rate (which is usually a lower freight rate than applied to less-than-truckload cargo.)
Letter Of Assignment A document with which the assignor assigns its rights to a third party, the assignee.
Letter Of Credit A commitment, usually by a bank on behalf of a client, to pay a beneficiary a stated amount of money under specified conditions.
Letter of Indemnity A document which the writer issues to another party agreeing to protect them from liability for the performance of certain acts.
1. In the case of international transportation when a negotiable bill of lading has been issued but is not available for surrender to the carrier when it is desired to take delivery of the shipment, a bank may issue a letter of indemnity to the carrier to persuade them to release the cargo. (A Letter of Guarantee may also be used ). The bank will usually obtain a similar letter from its client to protect itself against the liability it assumes on behalf of the client.
2. On export shipments, some carriers may permit shippers to issue letters of indemnity to the carriers in order to secure from them clean bills of lading in place of foul, or to replace lost original bills of lading.
Letter of Intent A document that describes the preliminary understanding between parties who intend to make a contract or join together in another action.
Licensing Agreement The issuance of a license permitting the use of patents, trademarks, or other technology.
Lift Van A wooden or metal container used for packing household goods and personal effects.
Lighter A barge towed by a tugboat and used mainly in harbors and inland waterways for the transport of cargo to and from ships. Some may be self-powered,
Lighter Aboard Ship Some ships are constructed to carry special barges (lighters). These barges can go to smaller docks, go into inland waterways, load cargo at those places, and then carry it back to the ship which lifts the barges aboard, with their cargo, and transports them overseas. Discharge of cargo is accomplished in the same manner.
Lighterage The loading or unloading of a ship by means of a lighter (barge), especially when shallow waters prevent an ocean going vessel from approaching a berth, or if berths are unavailable.
Limitation Period A maximum period set by a statute within which a legal action can be brought or a right enforced.
Limited Liability 1. Restricted liability for obligations.

2. (USA) Limitation of Liability Act. A U.S. statute which permits a ship owner to restrict his liability to whatever value his ship has after an event such as a sinking or collision.
Limited Partnership A partnership in which at least one of the partners is a general partner who conducts the business and has personal liability for the partnership debts, and at least one of the other partners is a special partner who shares in the profits and losses but their liability is limited to the sum they contribute to the partnership.
Line Haul The direct movement of freight between two major ports by a single ship.
Line Haul Vessel A vessel which is on a regularly defined schedule between ports,
Line Release System (USA) A separate part of the U.S. Customs' Automated Commercial System used for truck traffic along the land borders designed for the release and tracking of shipments through the use of personal computers and bar code technology.
Liner A vessel carrying passengers and cargo that operates with a fixed schedule on a particular route.
Liner Terms Conditions under which a shipping company will transport goods, including in the amount payable for freight the cost both for loading and discharge of the cargo from the vessel.
Liquidated Damages A sum of money that a contracting party agrees to pay to the other party for breaching an agreement.
Liquidation 1. The act or process of settling or making clear, fixed and determined.

2. The winding up and settlement of a debt.

3. The winding up of the financial affairs of a business.

4. (USA) The final computation or ascertainment of the duties accruing on an entry.
Liquidation System (USA) A part of U.S. Customs' Automated Commercial System, which closes the file on each entry.
Liquidity 1. The availability of liquid funds in an economy.

2. The status or condition of a person or business in terms of its ability to convert its assets into cash and to meet its obligations.

3. The capacity of a market in a particular security or commodity to withstand an unusual amount of buying or selling without affecting the market substantially.
Lloyds Of London An English association of insurance underwriters, the oldest of its kind in the world. Not in itself an insurance company.
Lloyds Registry An English society, independent of Lloyds of London, which surveys and classifies the ships of the world according to their description, condition, seaworthiness, and compliance with codes and protocols. Also establishes standards for maintenance and construction. (Correct name is: Lloyds Register of Shipping.)
Loading The physical placing of cargo into a truck, a shipping container, or onto a vessel.
Longshoreman A laborer who loads and unloads ships, handles cargo and containers at shipping terminals, and loads and unloads containers at shipping terminals.
Lot Labels Labels attached to each piece of multiple lot shipment for identification purposes. Each lot label will carry the same number (the lot number) There may also be a consecutive number on each label to separately identify each package.
Lower Deck Containers Carrier owned containers specially designed as an integral part of the aircraft to fit in the cargo compartments of a wide body aircraft. These compartments are on the lower deck of the aircraft below where the passengers sit.
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