The International Commercial Terms (INCOTERMS) is a set of rules published by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) describing the obligations and risks for buyers and sellers of goods crossing national borders. These terms are commonly used and referred to in international trade and transportation.


EXW – EX WORKS (… named place)

“Ex works” means that the seller fulfills his obligation to deliver when he has made the goods available at his premises (i.e. works, factory, warehouse, etc.) to the buyer. In particular, he is not responsible for loading the goods on the vehicle provided by the buyer or for clearing the goods for export, unless otherwise agreed. The buyer bears all costs and risks involved in taking the goods from the seller’s premises to the desired destination. This term thus represents the minimum obligation for the seller. This term should not be used when the buyer cannot carry out directly or indirectly the export formalities. In such circumstances, the FCA term should be used.

FCA – FREE CARRIER (… named place)

“Free Carrier” means that the seller fulfils his obligation to deliver when he has handed over the goods, cleared for export, into the charge of the carrier named by the buyer at the named place or point. If no precise point is indicated by the buyer, the seller may choose within the place or range stipulated where the carrier shall take the goods into his charge. When, according to commercial practice, the seller’s assistance is required in making the contract with the carrier (such as in rail or air transport) the seller may act at the buyer’s risk and expense. This term may be used for any mode of transport, including multimodal transport. “Carrier” means any person who, in a contract of carriage, undertakes to perform or to procure the performance of carriage by rail, road, sea, air, inland waterway or by a combination of such modes. If the buyer instructs the seller to deliver the cargo to a person, e.g. a freight forwarder who is not a “carrier”, the seller is deemed to have fulfilled his obligation to deliver the goods when they are in the custody of that person.”Transport terminal”, means a railway terminal, a freight station, a container terminal or yard, a multipurpose cargo terminal or any similar receiving point. “Container” includes any equipment used to unitise cargo, e.g. all types of containers and/or flats, whether ISO accepted or not, trailers, swap bodies, ro-ro equipment, igloos, and applies to all modes of transport.

FAS – FREE ALONGSIDE SHIP (… named port of shipment)

“Free Alongside Ship” means that the seller fulfils his obligation to deliver when the goods have been placed alongside the vessel on the quay or in lighters at the named port of shipment. This means that the buyer has to bear all costs and risks of loss of or damage to the goods from that moment. The FAS term requires the buyer to clear the goods for export. It should not be used when the buyer cannot carry out directly or indirectly the export formalities. This term can only be used for sea or inland waterway transport.

FOB – FREE ON BOARD (… named port of shipment)

“Free on Board” means that the seller fulfils his obligation to deliver when the goods have passed over the ship’s rail at the named port of shipment. This means that the buyer has to bear all costs and risks of loss of or damage to the goods from that point. The FOB term requires the seller to clear the goods for export. This term can only be used for sea or inland waterway transport. When the ship’s rail serves no practical purpose, such as in the case of roll-on/roll-off or container traffic, the FCA term is more appropriate to use.

CFR – COST AND FREIGHT (… named port of destination)

“Cost and Freight” means that the seller must pay the costs and freight necessary to bring the goods to the named port of destination but the risk of loss of or damage to the goods, as well as any additional costs due to events occurring after the time the goods have been delivered on board the vessel, is transferred from the seller to the buyer when the goods pass the ship’s rail in the port of shipment. The CFR term requires the seller to clear the goods for export. This term can only be used for sea and inland waterway transport. When the ship’s rail serves no practical purpose, such as in the case of roll-on/roll-off or container traffic, the CPT term is more appropriate to use.

CIF – COST, INSURANCE AND FREIGHT (… named port of destination)

“Cost, Insurance and Freight” means that the seller has the same obligations as under CFR but with the addition that he has to procure marine insurance against the buyer’s risk of loss of or damage to the goods during the carriage. The seller contracts for insurance and pays the insurance premium. The buyer should note that under the CIF term the seller is only required to obtain insurance on minimum coverage. The CIF term requires the seller to clear the goods for export. This term can only be used for sea and inland waterway transport. When the ship’s rail serves no practical purposes such as in the case of roll-on/ roll-off or container traffic, the CIP term is more appropriate to use.

CPT – CARRIAGE PAID TO (… named place of destination)

“Carriage paid to… ” means that the seller pays the freight for the carriage of the goods to the named destination. The risk of loss of or damage to the goods, as well as any additional costs due to events occurring after the time the goods have been delivered to the carrier, is transferred from the seller to the buyer when the goods have been delivered into the custody of the carrier. “Carrier” means any person who, in a contract of carriage, undertakes to perform or to procure the performance of’ carriage, by rail, road, sea, air, inland waterway or by a combination of such modes. If subsequent carriers are used for the carriage to the agreed destination, the risk passes when the goods have been delivered to the first carrier. The CPT term requires the seller to clear the goods for export. This term may be used for any mode of transport including multimodal transport.

CIP – CARRIAGE AND INSURANCE PAID TO (… named place of destination)

“Carriage and insurance paid to…” means that the seller has the same obligations as under CPT but with the addition that the seller has to procure cargo insurance against the buyer’s risk of loss of or damage to the goods during the carriage. The seller contracts for insurance and pays the insurance premium. The buyer should note that under the CIP term the seller is only required to obtain insurance on minimum coverage. The CIP term requires the seller to clear the goods for export. This term may be used for any mode of transport including multimodal transport.

DAT – DELIVERED AT TERMINAL (… named terminal at port or place of destination)

“Delivered at Terminal” means that the seller delivers when the goods, once unloaded from the arriving means of transport, are placed at the disposal of the buyer at a named terminal at the named port or place of destination. “Terminal” includes any place, whether covered or not, such as a quay, warehouse, container yard or road, rail or air cargo terminal. The seller bears all risks involved in bringing the goods to and unloading them at the terminal at the named port or place of destination.

DAP – DELIVERED AT PLACE (… named place of destination)

“Delivered at Place” means that the seller delivers when the goods are placed at the disposal of the buyer on the arriving means of transport ready for unloading at the named place of destination. The seller bears all risks involved in bringing the goods the the named place.

DDP – DELIVERED Duty PAID (… named place of destination)

“Delivered duty paid” means that the seller delivers the goods when the goods are placed at the disposal of the buyer, cleared for import on the arriving means of transport ready for unloading at the named place of destination. The seller bears all the costs and risks involved in bringing the goods to the place of destination and has an obligation to clear the goods not only for export but also for import, to pay any duty for both export and import and to carry out all customs formalities.

DDP represents the maximum obligation for the seller.


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