International Commercial Terms, known as “Incoterms”, are internationally accepted terms defining the responsibilities of exporters and importers in the arrangement of shipments and the transfer of liability involved at various stages of the transaction. Incoterms do not cover ownership or the transfer of title of goods. It is crucial to agree on an Incoterm at the start of a negotiation/quotation of a sale, as it will affect the costs and responsibilities involved in shipping, insurance and tariffs. The new Incoterms 2020 rules were revised by the International Chamber of Commerce.
FAS – Free Alongside Ship: Risk passes to buyer, including payment of all transportation and insurance costs, once delivered alongside the ship (realistically at named port terminal) by the seller. The export clearance obligation rests with the seller.
FOB – Free On Board: Risk passes to buyer, including payment of all transportation and insurance costs, once delivered on board the ship by the seller. A step further than FAS.
CFR – Cost and Freight: Seller delivers goods and risk passes to buyer when on board the vessel. Seller arranges and pays cost and freight to the named destination port. A step further than FOB.
CIF – Cost, Insurance and Freight: Risk passes to buyer when delivered on board the ship. Seller arranges and pays cost, freight and insurance to destination port. Adds insurance costs to CFR.
EXW – Ex Works: Seller delivers (without loading) the goods at disposal of buyer at seller’s premises. Long held as the most preferable term for those new-to-export because it represents the minimum liability to the seller. On these routed transactions, the buyer has limited obligation to provide export information to the seller.
FCA – Free Carrier: Seller delivers the goods to the carrier and may be responsible for clearing the goods for export (filing the EEI). More realistic than EXW because it includes loading at pick-up, which is commonly expected, and sellers are more concerned about export violations.
CPT – Carriage Paid To: Seller delivers goods to the carrier at an agreed place, shifting risk to the buyer, but seller must pay cost of carriage to the named place of destination.
CIP – Carriage and Insurance Paid To: Seller delivers goods to the carrier at an agreed place, shifting risk to the buyer, but seller pays carriage and insurance to the named place of destination.
DAT – Delivered at Terminal: Seller bears cost, risk and responsibility until goods are unloaded (delivered) at named quay, warehouse, yard, or terminal at destination. Demurrage or detention charges may apply to seller. Seller clears goods for export, not import. DAT replaces DEQ, DES.
DAP – Delivered at Place: Seller bears cost, risk and responsibility for goods until made available to buyer at named place of destination. Seller clears goods for export, not import. DAP replaces DAF, DDU.
DDP – Delivered Duty Paid: Seller bears cost, risk and responsibility for cleared goods at named place of destination at buyers disposal. Buyer is responsible for unloading. Seller is responsible for import clearance, duties and taxes so buyer is not “importer of record”.
Determine ownership or transfer title to the goods, nor evoke payment terms.
Apply to service contracts, nor define contractual rights or obligations (except for delivery) or breach of contract remedies.
Protect parties from their own risk or loss, nor cover the goods before or after delivery.
Specify details of the transfer, transport, and delivery of the goods. Container loading is NOT considered packaging, and must be addressed in the sales contract.
Remember, Incoterms are not law and there is NO default Incoterm!
* Information provided by Phoenix International Logistics (Pty) Ltd is intended as advice and guidance only. Phoenix International Logistics (Pty) Ltd shall not be liable for any damages or costs of any type arising out of, or in any way connected with the use of, these Fast Facts.