August 18, 2021

Glossary of Maritime Terms – 2

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)

The exchange of information through an
electronic format. Electronic commerce has been under intensive development in
the transportation industry to achieve a competitive advantage in international


A complex including storage facilities, computerized loading; inspection
rooms and docks to load and unload dry bulk cargo such as grain or green coffee.

Export packers

Firms that securely pack export products into a container to crate
to protect the cargo from damage during an ocean voyage.

Feeder service

Ocean transport system involving use of centralized ports to
assemble and disseminate cargo to and from ports within a geographic area.
Commodities are transported between major ports, then transferred to feeder
vessels for further transport to a number of additional ports.

Fender piles

The wooden or plastic pilings on the outer edge of the wharf function
like the fenders on a car. They are there to absorb the shock of a ship as it docks at
the wharf and to protect the structural pilings that actually support the wharf.
Fender piles are also called sacrifice piles since they are designed to be discarded
after they are broken.


The area at which barges, towboats and tugs are berthed until needed.
The operation of building or dismantling barge tows.

Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ)

Known in some countries as a free zone, a foreign
trade zone (FTZ) is a site within the USA (in or near a U.S. Customs port of entry)
where foreign and domestic goods are held until they ready to be released into
international commerce. If the final product is imported into the U.S., duties and
taxes are not due until the goods are release into the U.S. market. Merchandise
may enter a FTZ without a formal Customs entry or the payment of Customs duties
or government excise taxes. In the zone, goods may be: stored; tested; sampled;
repackaged or relabeled; cleaned; combined with other products; repaired or
assembled, etc.


Merchandise hauled by transportation lines.

Freight forwarder

An individual or company that prepares the documentation and
coordinates the movement and storage of export cargoes. See also Customs house

Gantry crane

Track-mounted, shoreside crane utilized in the loading and
unloading of breakbulk cargo, containers and heavy lift cargo.

General cargo

Consists of both containerized and breakbulk goods, in contrast to
bulk cargo. See: breakbulk, container, bulk, dry bulk). General cargo operations
produce more jobs than bulk handling.

Grain elevator

Facility at which bulk grain is unloaded, weighed, cleaned, blended
and exported.

Gross tonnage

The sum of container, breakbulk and bulk tonnage.


A port of haven where ships may anchor.

Heavy hauler

A truck equipped to transport unusually heavy cargoes (steel slabs,
bulldozers, transformers, boats, heavy machinery, etc.)

Heavy lift

Very heavy cargoes that require specialized equipment to move the
products to and from ship/truck/rail/barge and terminals. This “heavy lift”
machinery may be installed aboard a ship designed just for such transport. Shore
cranes, floating cranes and lift trucks may also adapted for such heavy lifts.

Home port

Port from which a cruise ship loads passengers and begins its
itinerary, and to which it returns to disembark passengers upon conclusion of
voyage. Sometimes referred to as “embarkation port” and “turn around port.”

Hopper car

A freight car used for handling dry bulks, with an openable top and
one or more openings on the bottom through which the cargo is dumped.

Hostler (or hustler)

A tractor, usually unlicensed, for moving containers within a
yard. An employees who drives a tractor for the purpose of moving cargo within a
container yard.


Point of entry/exit for trucks delivering and picking up containerized
cargo. Point where pickups and deposits of containers in storage area or yard are


International Longshoremen’s Association, which operates on the East and
Gulf Coasts. See labor unions and longshoremen.


International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which operates on the
West Coast. See labor unions and longshoremen.

Intermodal shipment

When more than one mode of transportation is used to
ship cargo from origin to destination, it is called intermodal transportation. For
example, boxes of hot sauce from Louisiana are stuffed into metal boxes called
containers at the factory. That container is put onto a truck chassis (or a railroad
flat car) and moved to a port. There the container is lifted off the vehicle and lifted
onto a ship. At the receiving port, the process is reversed. Intermodal
transportation uses few laborers and speeds up the delivery time.


This is transportation shorthand for intermodal exchange. In an IMX yard,
containers can be lifted from truck chassis to rail intermodal cars or vice versa.


International Organization for Standardization. Worldwide organization formed
to promote development of standards to facilitate the international carriage and
exchange of goods and services. Governs construction specifications for ISO


The abbreviation for “just in time,” which is a way to minimize warehousing
costs by having cargo shipped to arrive just in time for its use. This inventory
control method depends on extremely reliable transportation.

Labor union

An organization of workers formed to serve members’ collective
interests with regard to wages and working conditions. The maritime unions within
ports can include locals of the larger union, such as the General Longshore
Workers; Clerks and Checkers; Sack-sewers, Sweepers, Water boys and Coopers;
Dock Loaders and Unloaders of Freight Cars and Barges; Dray Clerks, Weighers and
Samplers; plus the Seafarer’s International Union; the National Maritime Union; the
Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association and the Teamsters. Some laborers don’t
belong to a union.

Landlord Port

At a landlord port, the port authority builds the wharves, which it
then rents or leases to a terminal operator (usually a stevedoring company). The
operator invests in cargo-handling equipment (forklifts, cranes, etc), hires
longshore laborers to operate such lift machinery and negotiates contracts with
ocean carriers (steamship services) to handle the unloading and loading of ship
cargoes. (See also: operating port.)


These 900-foot-long ships carry small barges inside the vessel. LASH stands
for Lighter Aboard Ship. Just as cargo is transported by barge from the shallower
parts of the Mississippi River to the Port of New Orleans for export aboard oceangoing ships, LASH barges are lifted into these unusual ships. Overseas, the ship can
discharge clusters of barges in the open waters. Then several towboats will
assemble the barges into tows bound for various ports and inland waterways,
without the ship having to spend time traveling to each port.

Launch service

Companies that offer “water-taxi” service to ships at anchor.


The acronym for “less than container load.” It refers to a partial container load
that is usually consolidated with other goods to fill a container.

Length Overall (LOA)

Linear measurement of a vessel from bow to stern.

Lift On-Lift Off (LO/LO)

Cargo handling technique involving transfer of
commodities to and from the ship using shoreside cranes or ship’s gear.


Means a shipment that is “less than truckload”. Cargoes from different sources
are usually consolidated to save costs.

Long ton

A long ton equals 2240 pounds.


Dock workers who load and unload ships, or perform
administrative tasks associated with the loading or unloading of cargo. They may or
may not be members of labor unions. Longshore gangs are hired by stevedoring
firms to work the ships. Longshoremen are also called stevedores.

Glossary courtesy of: The Port of New Orleans www.pola.com, Georgia Ports Authority www.gaports.com, and the Port of Halifax www.portofhalifax.com.

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