Export/Import Terms Company Profile

International Chemical Business Terms

Below is a list of export and import related terms to help you navigate the international chemical business. All terms are listed alphabetically.


Safe Guard

Regarding specific products that face a rapid increase in imports, the measure the government takes by imposing extra duties and restricts the amount of imports, from the perspective of protecting domestic industries. See Emergency Tariff.


A unit of measurement in the traditional Japanese system of measurement. 1 sai equals 1 cubic shaku (1 shaku = 30.3cm), therefore 30.3 x 30.3 x 30.3 = about 27,818cm³ (about 0.0278m²).

Sales Contract (Sales Note)

In trade, the contract note exchanged when a contract has been concluded. The description of articles, shipment method, delivery date, price terms, terms of payment and other items including the general terms and conditions are mentioned.

Sea Waybill

A document representing the shipping contract for the marine cargo, serving as a documentary evidence that a transportation agreement has been concluded, having the role of receipt of the transported articles. Whereas the bill of lading (BL) is a valuable paper, the sea waybill is not a valuable paper, therefore endorsement by transfer is not possible. Receipt of the cargo is possible even without a consignee (importer) submitting the original to the forwarding agent, which leads to reduced paper work, therefore it is used mainly with ongoing transactions with trustworthy partners. Same as the Surrender B/L, in order to certainly deliver the cargo to the legitimate consignee (importer) at the port of discharge, it is basically a registered form specifying the consignee.

Seasonal Duty

The custom duty with rates that vary according to the season of import. Regarding fruits and vegetables that don’t preserve well, being partial regarding the season with a period of abundant supply of domestic products on the market, high customs duties are imposed only for that season on imported products that enter into competition with the domestic products, in order to protect domestic producers. Applied to oranges, bananas, etc.


Mainly in harbors, the warehouse for sorting and providing a temporary storage for the import/export cargos. Unlike warehouses that are mainly used for storage, the shed’s storage period is up to one month.

Shipper (Consignor)

A consignor mentioned in the bill of lading (B/L). Usually it is an exporter.

Shipping Advice (S/A, Shipper’s Letter of Instruction)

A document by which the exporter notices an importer about loading completion after finishing loading an export cargo. Usually, it is sent together with the invoice, packing list and other shipping documents.

Shipping Conference (Freight Conference)

An international cartel within which shipping agents who operate ocean liners on the same route hold discussions regarding the freight, in order to limit and regulate reciprocal competition and to maintain mutual profits. Ships of the shipping companies who are members of the Shipping Conference are called conference ships, and the ships that are not members are called non-conference ships. Recently, there is a tendency to decide the freight based on negotiations between shipping companies and owners of goods, without applying the restrictions of the Shipping Conference.

Shipping Instruction (S/I)

The document created by an exporter and sent to a customs broker when requesting customs clearance, mentioning matters based on the content of the bill of lading (B/L) used for exporting a cargo. Usually, the invoice and packing list are sent together.

Shipping Mark (Cargo Mark)

The alphanumeric characters or marks displayed on the exterior of commercial cargos. Basically, it is necessary to mention an easy-to-understand mark for each packing unit for identification of cargos, especially when transporting less-than-carload cargos (LCL).


In trading, a method of fixing goods with square timbers or plywood, in order to avoid cargo shift inside the container during transportation. The shoring fee paid by the owner of goods to a forwarding agent is called a shoring fee.

Short Drayage

In marine transportation, it usually refers to overland transportation on a relatively short distance of a container filled with goods, such as from a container yard (C/Y) to a bonded warehouse.

Simplified Duty Rate

A simplified duty rate established for accompanied personal effects or unaccompanied articles of tourists and other persons entering Japan.

Skid (S/D, Skid Packing)

A simple packing method which consists of stacking goods on a base made of square timbers.

SOLAS Convention (International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea)

The international convention for ensuring safety of ships, established in response to the Titanic disaster in 1912. The “International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea” held in 1914 with the participation of main European and the U.S. maritime transportation countries, adopted equipment of lifeboats and Morse radio system, and abolition of lifesaving order based on passenger classes. However, due to the outbreak of the World War I, the revision could not come into force.
After that, the revised convention was concluded in 1929 and took effect in 1933. The actual convention is the SOLAS Convention from 1974 in its successively revised forms. Recently, a revision was made in 2002, following the terrorist attacks to the U.S. on September 11, 2001, by which counterterrorism policy to reinforce security measures for ships and harbors became a mandate.

Stevedore (Steve)

An operator who loads a cargo for export on a ship and unloads an imported cargo.

Stevedoring (Loading and Unloading, Handling the Cargo)

Work of loading and unloading a truck or cargo.

Straddle Carrier

A transportation device for containers. A self-propelled, vertically long vehicle running on rubber tires, providing space for storage of maximum four containers stacked vertically in its rectangular body. After an imported container is unloaded from a ship with a gantry crane brought along a wharf, it is carried to a container yard with a straddle carrier, and when carrying the container out of container yard, the container is moved to a chassis using also a straddle carrier. Conversely, the straddle carrier moves the container for exporting from a container yard to the gantry crane at wharf. Because the device must be able to be moved and operated freely to the place of the container, the driver’s seat is installed not in the running direction, but in a position that allows lateral sight.


In marine or air transportation, regarding expenses caused by the exchange rate or fuel prices, extra fees demanded by the shipping company or airline to the owner of the goods on top of the usual freight. Because increase in usual fares triggers the owners’ protest, given that the cause of these price fluctuations is a factor that doesn’t depend on each company’s marketing efforts, the surcharge is charged separately from the usual freight.
Some examples are Fuel Surcharge (BAF, Bunker Adjustment Factor), CAF (Currency Adjustment Factor), Peak Season Surcharge (PSS), Port Congestion Surcharge (PCS), etc.

Surrender B/L

One of the ways of processing a bill of lading (B/L). Through an endorsement made by an exporter in all of the original bills of lading (Original B/L) issued by the shipping company from the place of loading, the shipping company collects all of the bills of lading emitted in the same time from the exporter. A bill of lading with the stamp SURRENDER (or TELEX RELEASE) is handed to the exporter, however this is just a copy and not a valuable paper as the original bill of lading. The exporter sends the copy of the bill of lading stamped with SURRENDER to the importer via e-mail. The shipping company from the place of loading announces the shipping company of the importer that the bill of lading is treated as a surrender bill of lading, and the importer receives the cargo without presenting the original bill of lading to the shipping company. Surrender means that the exporter surrenders the ownership rights of the cargo (the shipping company collects them). In the case of Chinese and South Korean coasting routes, on which ships arrive at the import ports in few days from departure, because the arrival of the cargo is faster than the time it takes to send the original B/L to the importer, a surrender B/L is used. Same as the sea waybill, in order to certainly deliver the cargo to the legitimate consignee (importer) at the port of discharge, the surrender B/L is, basically, a B/L specifying the consignee, in the form of a straight bill of lading (Straight B/L).