EXW Incoterms: Ex-Works

Ex-Works defines majorly the place of delivery. In this case, the seller makes the goods available at the place of delivery. Then the buyer is responsible for clearing and loading the goods for transportation.

Also, the buyer is responsible for preparing the export documentation as well as getting these goods through the customs. The term EXW is used often when making the initial quotation for sale of goods without including any costs. In the Ex-Works, the seller has the least possible responsibilities.

While using EXW, there might be some practical difficulties which may arise especially when it comes to the cross-border trades. The difficulties include the inability for the buyer to arrange for the formalities used in exportation.

DDP incoterms: Delivery Duty Paid

With the DDP, the seller happens to be responsible for delivering the goods to the buyer’s country. More like the opposite version of the Ex-Works. Also, the buyer gets to pay for all costs which are associated with bringing the goods to the buyer’s destination. Inclusive costs are the import taxes and duties.

The Delivery Duty Paid (DDP) places the maximum obligations on the seller. Although the seller is not responsible for the unloading of these goods. The seller transports the goods to the named buyer location. It covers the insurance and transportation costs, then the remaining risk is transferred to the buyer.

However, just like in the EXW, there could be some practical difficulties especially when it comes to the cross-border assignments. The seller is required to clear the import formalities. But this will be quite a hassle to the seller. In such a case may be because lacking in local knowledge for clearing formalities used in importation. Most of the time a freight forwarder is used.

FCA Incoterms: The Free Carrier

With FCA incoterms, the seller gets to deliver the goods that have been cleared for export to whatever carrier the buyer would like to use. Or better still, to whatever place the two parties have agreed upon. The agreed-upon place determines the responsibilities of both the sellers and the buyers.

In that, if the delivery occurs at the premises of the seller, they are deemed responsible for the loading of these goods. However, if the loading of these goods occurs in a different location. Then the loading is no longer the seller’s responsibility. The buyer is supposed to arrange for all modes of transport that will be used and pay for export and import costs.

FOB Incoterms: Free on Board

This term is used to set up a situation where the seller has the responsibility to advance the government tax to the country of origin as a commitment to load the goods on a vessel that’s the buyer’s choice. And once the goods get on the carrier, the responsibilities are then divided into two parties. The seller gets to pay for the loading costs and the transportation of goods. Also, they get to clear the goods for export.

As soon as the goods are transferred to the buyer’s account, the risks are then transferred to the buyer. Therefore, it becomes the buyer’s responsibility to clear the goods for import. FOB is used exclusively for sea transport.

CFR Incoterms: Cost and Freight

With the CFR, the seller gets to pay for the cost as well as the freight to bring the goods to the destination port. However, as soon as the goods get on to the vessel, all the risks are then transferred to the buyer. And this is what differentiates the CFR from FOB.

It’s important to note that when a party arranges for the transportation, it does not necessarily mean that the risks involved are with that party that’s arranging for the transportation. In the CFR case, the seller happens to be the one who arranges for the main transportation of these goods.

CIF Incoterms: Cost Insurance and Freight

CIF is quite like CFR but only with a slight difference. In that, in CIF there happens to be an addition of the insurance. The risk is passed on by the buyer from the seller. This happens as soon as the shipment gets loaded on to the carrier. However, the seller is also responsible for arranging for this carrier. Since in this case, the seller happens to be the shipper.

In addition to that, the seller is required to pay for insurance. The insurance will cover for the risks that may affect the buyer during the transit. Also, the seller may opt to have another insurance that will cover his own obligations too. The buyer has the option of going for extra insurance if they wish to.

FAS Incoterms: Free Alongside Ship

Well, this term is just as simple as it sounds. In this case, the seller gets to deliver the goods to their buyer. All the goods are required to be shipped alongside the buyer’s ship. Therefore, the risk is passed on from the seller on to the buyer. As soon as the goods in transit are exported alongside the ship.

As soon as the goods are goods are delivered for shipment. All risks and responsibilities are transferred to the buyer. This includes the potential damage or loss of these goods. However, the seller will be responsible for the clearance of these goods at the export. The buyer, on the other hand, is responsible for insurance costs.

CPT Incoterms: Carriage Paid To

With the CPT the seller gets to pay for the carriage. So that he can present the shipment to the specific agreed upon location with the buyer. All in all, the risks are passed on to the buyer as soon as they are delivered to the main carrier.

As discussed earlier, the fact that the party is arranging for the carrier. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the risks are all upon them. In this case, although the seller is responsible for arranging for the carrier, at this point the risk is already passed on to their buyer.

CIP Incoterms: Carriage and Insurance Paid

The seller is responsible for paying for the carriage as well as the insurance to the agreed point of delivery. However, once the goods are handed over to the carrier, the risks are all transferred to the buyer.

This happens to be a very common, especially when it comes to intermodal deliveries. The responsibility will mostly be with the buyer. But when it comes to insurance and transportation costs, it will majorly be on the seller.

DAP Incoterms: Delivered at Place (DAP)

When DAP is use it means that the seller gets to make deliveries. When the goods get to their destination and it’s all ready for offloading. Also, the seller gets to bear all risks and costs that have been incurred. The responsibility of the seller is to bring the shipment to this location successfully.

The buyer handles only the costs of offloading and importing the fees.

Delivered at Terminal (DAT)

DAT outlines a situation where the seller gets to cover for almost entirely all costs that are incurred during shipment. This includes the insurance costs, export fees, the carriage as well as the port charges at the destination.

In this situation, the seller’s responsibility is delivering the goods to the agreed location and loading them. However, the seller doesn’t have to incur costs for clearing goods for import.


Now and again, we may use words that are not often used in other industries. This glossary acts as a guide to trade vocabulary that can help in understanding certain terms and phrases we often use in the logistics world. To learn more, you can access the Glossary Of Shipping Terms published by the U.S. Department of Transportation and Maritime Administration.

The following is an overview of the vessel types that may be employed to transport goods.


Dry Cargo

General Cargo Vessels

Bulk Carriers


Short Sea Vessels

Specialized Vessels


Tanker Market

Product Tankers

Crude Carriers

Chemical Tankers

Gas Carriers

Asphalt Carriers

Scroll to Top