ACS is a Customs electronic systems to allow the system participant to transmit & received data electronically from Customs, part of the system called ACE can controls import merchandise from the time a carrier’s cargo manifest is electronically transmitted to Customs until control is provided to another segment of the ACS.

Ad Valorem Duty

Duty imposed on imported merchandise based on a percentage of the value.


Antidumping duty- additional punitive duties applied on a product which found by the International Trade Commission to be sold at less than fair market value to consumer in the US.

Air Waybill

An AWB means bill of lading which covers both domestic and international flights transporting goods to a specified destination. Technically, it is a non-negotiable instrument of air transport which serves as a receipt for the shipper, indicating that the carrier has accepted the goods listed therein and obligates itself to carry the consignment to the airport of destination according to specified conditions. Normally AWB refers to the Air Waybill issued by carrying airlines and also called Master Air Waybill (MAWB) which comes with three digits of numeric airline identification codes issued by IATA to non-U.S. based airlines and Air Transport Association of America to U.S. based airlines. However, air freight forwarders also issue HAWB (House Air Waybill) to their customers for each of the shipments.

Arrival Notice

Arrival Notice is a notice used to notify the consignee on the arrival of the cargo, it usually issued by steamship lines and can also be served as the freight bill.

Assist Cost

Some specified charges provided by the US importer to the foreign supplier at free of charge or at a reduced fee that only use in the production of the products.

Automated Broker Interface

ABI is a part of Customs' Automated Commercial System. That module is responsible on allow data can be transmitted & received according to merchandise being imported into the United States. Qualified participants include brokers, importers, carriers, port authorities, and independent data processing companies referred to as service centers.

Automated Clearinghouse

The Automated Clearinghouse (ACH), one of the features of the Automated Broker Interface, which is a part of Customs' Automated Commercial System. The ACH combines elements of bank lock box arrangements with electronic funds transfer services to replace cash or check for payment of estimated duties, taxes, and fees on imported merchandise.

Bill of Lading (B/L)

Bill of lading is a type of ocean shipping document issued by the vessel carrier. It included two types. A straight bill of lading is nonnegotiable. A negotiable or shipper's order bill of lading can be bought, sold, or traded while goods are in transit and is used for many types of financing transactions. The customer usually needs the original or a copy as proof of ownership to take possession of the goods. Finally, the original B/L will be surrendered to the carrier at the destination port.


Customs surety Bond is required by law that the importer of record need to have a bond to protect the revenue of US government and compliance with other customs regulations on every each importation. If the importer failed to comply with the regulation, Customs will notify the surety company and claim the liquidated damage against the bond holder. Normally, the merchandise valued over $2000 need to be covered by a bond. The importer can either choose to purchase the single transaction bond which cover the shipment base on a single entry summary or the yearly continuous bond.

Bonded Warehouse

The U.S. Customs Service authorizes bonded warehouses for storage or manufacture of goods on which payment of duties is deferred until the goods enter the Customs Territory. The goods are not subject to duties if reshipped to foreign points.


Can be considered as a merchandise visa which is a customs document allow the holder to carry or send merchandise temporarily into certain foreign countries for display, trade show, demonstration or other purposes without paying import duties or posting bonds.

Certificate of origin

Some countries required a form as to certify the actual origination of the product so that the product can be capable to apply some special trade agreement for lower or free of import duties. Such certificates can be obtained through a local Chamber of commerce.

CF form 3461- Immediate Release

All import merchandise (except import into FTZ) must be released by US Customs before it’s delivered to the importer. The CF 3461, Immediate Release, is a form, used to obtain the proper conditional release from the Customs.


Container Freight Station (warehouse where the containers are loaded or unloaded)

Clean Bill of Lading

A receipt for goods issued by a carrier with an indication that the goods were received in "apparent good order and condition," without damages or other irregularities.


Classification is the categorization of the merchandise according to the Harmonized Tariff Schedules of the US. Classification is affecting the duty status of import merchandise.

Commercial Invoice

The commercial invoice is a bill for the goods from the seller to the buyer. These invoices are often used by governments to determine the true value of goods for the assessment of customs duties and are also used to prepare consular documentation. Governments using the commercial invoice to control imports often specify its form, content, number of copies, language to be used, and other characteristics.


The person or firm named in a freight contract to whom goods have been consigned or turned over. For export control purposes, the documentation differentiates between an "intermediate" consignee and an "ultimate" consignee.


Delivery of merchandise from an exporter (the consignor) to an agent (the consignee) under agreement that the agent sell the merchandise for the account of the exporter. The consignor retains title to the goods until sold. The consignee sells the goods for commission and remits the net proceeds to the consignor.

Consumption Entry

Consumption entry is required by US Customs for Goods entering the US which means merchandise information need to transmit to Customs system and proper duty need to be paid to Customs within 10 working days after the shipment release.

Continuous Entry Bond

A one-year bond for all entries made in a single year with up to US$50,000 coverage. A Continuous Entry Bond is only required under special circumstances.


Container Service Charge (costs for a country-sided handling of FCL containers at a "free on board" delivery)


The government branch authorities designated to collect duties levied by a country on imports and exports.

Customs Broker

An individual or company licensed by the government to enter and clear goods through Customs. The U.S. Customs Service defines a Customs Broker, as any person who is licensed in accordance with Part III of Title 19 of the Code of Federal Regulations (Customs regulations) to transact Customs business on behalf of others. Customs business is limited to those activities involving transactions with Customs concerning the entry and admissibility of merchandise; its classification and valuation; the payment of duties, taxes, or other charges assessed or collected by Customs upon merchandise by reason of its importation, or the refund, rebate, or drawback thereof.

Customs Clearance

The procedures involved in getting cargo released by Customs through designated formalities such as presenting import license/permit, payment of import duties and other required documentation by the nature of the cargo such as FCC or FDA approval.

Customs Import Value

This is the U.S. Customs Service appraisal value of merchandise. Methodologically, the Customs value is similar to f.a.s. (free alongside ship) value since it is based on the value of the product in the foreign country of origin, and excludes charges incurred in bringing the merchandise to the United States (import duties, ocean freight, insurance, and so forth); but it differs in that the U.S. Customs Service, not the importer or exporter, has the final authority to determine the value of the good.

Customs Invoice

A document, required by some foreign countries' customs officials to verify the value, quantity, and nature of the shipment, describing the shipment of goods and showing information such as the consignor, consignee, and value of the shipment.


Countervailing Duty is a special duty (similar to Antidumping duty) imposed on certain import merchandise to offset the benefits of subsidies paid to producers or exporters in the foreign countries.


Container Yard (a place where FCL shipments and empty containers will be assumed by the customer or be delivered by the ship owner to the customer)

Dangerous Goods

Commodities classified by IATA according to its nature and characteristic in terms of the effect of its danger to carrier's flying safety.

Delivery Instructions

Provides specific information to the inland carrier concerning the arrangement made by the forwarder to deliver the merchandise to the particular pier or steamship line. Not to be confused with Delivery Order which is used for import cargo.


Excess time taken for loading or unloading a vessel, thus causing delay of scheduled departure. Demurrage refers only to situations in which the charter or shipper, rather than the vessel's operator, is at fault.

Deposit of Estimated Duties

This refers to antidumping duties which must be deposited upon entry of merchandise which is the subject of an antidumping duty order for each manufacturer, producer or exporter equal to the amount by which the foreign market value exceeds the United States price of the merchandise.


Per diem (charge on container held by customers for an extended period of time)

Direct Ship

Ship without consolidation and under one MAWB i.e. non-consolidation

DO or D/O

Delivery Order

Dock Receipt

A dock receipt is used to transfer accountability when the export item is moved by the domestic carrier to the port of embarkation and left with the international carrier for export.


Drawback is a rebate by a government, in whole or in part, of customs duties assessed on imported merchandise that is subsequently exported. Drawback regulations and procedures vary among countries.

Drawback System

The Drawback System, a part of Customs' Automated Commercial System, provides the means for processing and tracking of drawback claims.


A tax imposed on imports by the customs authority of a country. Duties are generally based on the value of the goods (ad valorem duties), some other factors such as weight or quantity (specific duties), or a combination of value and other factors (compound duties).

Entry Summary System

An entry is the minimum amount of documentation needed to secure the release of imported merchandise. The Entry Summary System, a part of Customs' Automated Commercial System, contains data on release, summary, rejection, collection, liquidation, and extension or suspension.

Entry Summary Selectivity System

The Entry Summary Selectivity System, a part of Customs' Automated Commercial System, provides an automated review of entry data to determine whether team or routine review is required. Selectivity criteria include an assessment of risk by importer, tariff number, country of origin, manufacturer, and value. Summaries with Census warnings, as well as quota, antidumping and countervailing duty entry summaries are selected for team review. A random sample of routine review summaries is also automatically selected for team review.

Entry Value

The U.S. Customs Service defines entry value (or entered value) as the value reflected on the entry documentation submitted by the importer. (see 19 CFR 141.61 for how shown on entry.)


Estimated Time of Arrival. Then, It normally takes 4 hours for carriers to Break Bulk then ready to be picked up by forwarders along with customs release notification.


Estimated Time of Departure. The cut-off time for carriers' cargo ramp handling is normally two hours ahead of ETD. However, the freight forwarders' consolidation cut-off time may vary depending on each forwarder's operations respectively.

Export Control Classification Number

Every product has an export control classification number (formerly: Export Control Commodity Number) within the Commerce Control List. Each ECCN consists of five characters that identify the category, product group, type of control, and country group level of control.

Export License

A government document (also known as an "Individual Validated License") authorizing exports of specific goods in specific quantities to a particular destination. This document may be required in some countries for most or all exports and in other countries only under special circumstances.


Freight All Kind

Federal Maritime Commission

The FMC is an independent agencies which regulates ocean borne transportation in the foreign commerce and in the domestic offshore trade of the United States.


Full Container Load (full container service)

Formal Entry

Formal Entry: The entry type required for shipments valued over US$2,000 or for shipments containing specific commodities designated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Freight Forwarder

An independent business which handles export shipments for compensation. At the request of the shipper, the forwarder makes the actual arrangements and provides the necessary services for expediting the shipment to its overseas destination. The forwarder takes care of all documentation needed to move the shipment from origin to destination, making up and assembling the necessary documentation for submission to the bank in the exporter's name. The forwarder arranges for cargo insurance, makes the necessary overseas communications, and advises the shipper on overseas requirements of marking and labeling. The forwarder operates on a fee basis paid by the exporter and often receives an additional percentage of the freight charge from the common carrier. An export freight forwarder must be licensed by the Federal Maritime Commission to handle ocean freight and by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to handle air freight. An ocean freight forwarder dispatches shipments from the United States via common carriers, books or arranges space for the shipments, and handles the shipping documentation.

Harmonized System

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (or Harmonized System, HS) is a system for classifying goods in international trade, developed under the auspices of the Customs Cooperation Council. Beginning on January 1, 1989, the new HS numbers replaced previously adhered-to schedules in over 50 countries, including the United States. For the United States, the HS numbers and four additional digits are the numbers that are entered on the actual export and import documents. Any other commodity code classification number (SITC, end-use, etc.) are just rearrangements and transformations of the original HS numbers.


House Air waybill issued by carrying airlines' agent, normally freight forwarder.


House Bill of Lading issued by carrying shipping agent, normally freight forwarder.


International Air Transport Association (IATA), established in 1945, is a trade association serving airlines, passengers, shippers, travel agents, and governments. The association promotes safety, standardization in forms (baggage checks, tickets, weigh bills), and aids in establishing international airfares. IATA headquarter is in Geneva, Switzerland.

Import Certificate

The import certificate is a means by which the government of the country of ultimate destination exercises legal control over the internal channeling of the commodities covered by the import certificate.

Importer of Record

The U.S. Customs Service defines the importer of record as the owner or purchaser of the goods; or, when designated by the owner, purchaser, or consignee, a licensed Customs broker.

Importer Number

Identification number assigned by the Customs service to track the importers. Technically the IRS number or federal identification number, Tax ID of a company or the social security number of a personal.

Import License

A document required and issued by some national governments authorizing the importation of goods. Also referred as import permit. With such documentation, customs clearance can be conducted.

Import Quota

A means of restricting imports by the issuance of licenses to importers, assigning each a quota, after determination of the total amount of any commodity which is to be imported during a period. Import licenses may also specify the country from which the importer must purchase the goods.


Maintained by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), this codification of terms is used in foreign trade contracts to define which parties incur the costs and at what specific point the costs are incurred.

Informal Entry

Informal entry is a type of entry would not apply the MPF (Merchandise processing Fee) on the shipment and it does not require a bond to cover the shipment either. It normally cover the commercial shipment not over $2000 in value except the Textile product, plastic product, Rubber product and furniture product in value more than $250.


Less than Container Load (partial deliveries)

Live Entry:

A type of U.S. Customs and Border Protection entry that typically requires a visa license from the export country, when mandated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (such as textiles). These shipments usually require a formal entry and an additional day of customs clearance.

Marking (country of origin)

US Customs required every import product need to be marked in a conspicuous place as legibly, indelibly, and permanently as the nature of the article (or container) as to indicate the country of origin. Textile garment need to indicate the fabric breakdown. Failure to comply with the regulation will subject to re-export or destroy of the shipment.

Marine Cargo Insurance

Broadly, insurance covering loss of, or damage to, goods at sea. Marine insurance typically compensates the owner of merchandise for losses in excess of those which can be legally recovered from the carrier that are sustained from fire, shipwreck, piracy, and various other causes. Three of the most common types of marine insurance coverage are "free of particular average" (f.p.a.), "with average" (w.a.), and "All Risks Coverage."


Merchandise processing Fee is a fee assessed for formal entries based on 0.21% of the invoice FOB value, with a minimum of $25 per formal entry and a maximum of $485.

Ocean Bill of Lading

A receipt for the cargo and a contract for transportation between a shipper and the ocean carrier. It may also be used as an instrument of ownership which can be bought, sold, or traded while the goods are in transit. To be used in this manner, it must be a negotiable "Order" Bill-of-Lading.
  • A Clean Bill-of-Lading is issued when the shipment is received in good order. If damaged or a shortage is noted, a clean bill-of-lading will not be issued.
  • An On Board Bill-of-Lading certifies that the cargo has been placed aboard the named vessel and is signed by the master of the vessel or his representative. On letter of credit transactions, an On Board Bill-of-Lading is usually necessary for the shipper to obtain payment from the bank. When all Bills-of-Lading are processed a ship's manifest is prepared by the steamship line. This summarizes all cargo aboard the vessel by port of loading and discharge.
  • An Inland Bill-of-Lading (a waybill on rail or the "pro forma" bill-of-lading in trucking) is used to document the transportation of the goods between the port and the point of origin or destination. It should contain information such as marks, numbers, steamship line, and similar information to match with a dock receipt.

Other Government Agency Entry

Other Government Agencies work with U.S. Customs and Border Protection on regulating and controlling commodities coming into the U.S. from other countries. Special documents must be submitted to these agencies for shipments that contain controlled commodities. These agencies include the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), among others.
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