Glossary

What does LT stand for? What does on-carriage mean? What's a time charter?

Shipping jargon and terminology can be confusing. In this section, we explain the meaning of the most commonly used international shipping terms.

If you still need a specific shipping term explained in detail, simply contact your nearest Safmarine office – we’re happy to help.

P
POSTNET
The POSTNET barcode is used on envelopes and postcards that are sent through the U.S. Postal Service. This barcode is placed in the lower right-hand corner of the envelope.
Packing List
A list of packages in each shipment, showing an individual breakdown of the weights/measures and quantity.
Pallet
A wooden structure used to support cargo and ease movement by forklift.
Partlow Chart
An instrument that records the internal temperature of a reefer container.
Partnerships and alliances
Shippers and providers who enter into agreements designed to benefit both parties.
Per Diem
On a daily basis.
Physical distribution
All logistics activities from the production line to the final user, including traffic, packaging, materials handling, warehousing, order entry, customer service, inventory control etc.
Pier
A structure built along a shore, and often projecting into the water, at which boats can be docked and loaded or unloaded; also known as a quay or wharf.
Piggyback
The transportation of highway trailers or demountable trailer bodies by rail on specially equipped flat carriages; also known as a trailer-on-flatcar rail service.
Pilferage
Cargo stolen from the container, warehouse or terminal.
Plimsoll Mark
Marking on the side of a ship’s hull that represents the depth to which the vessel may safely be immersed when loaded. The Plimsoll mark is identified by a circle with a vertical line through it, and a number of small horizontal lines showing the maximum depth for specific water types and temperatures. Also known as a plimsoll line.
Positioning
The strategic movement of empty containers and equipment from areas of surplus to areas of need
Pre-Carriage
The service of transporting export cargo inland, from the customer's premises to the port of loading.
Pre-trip inspection service
A service arranged by the carrier in which a technician completes extra checks on a temperature-controlled container to ensure that it is functional and ready to transport commodities at the required temperature. The inspection is performed before the release of the empty container. This service is provided upon the customer's request and/or for certain types of commodities for which it is mandatory.
Purchase order (PO)
Common grouping of orders for goods or services. Several SKU categories may be listed on one purchase order. Most customers group their orders in a particular way to facilitate efficient distribution. For example, one purchase order for an apparel importer might include 24 green sweaters and 24 red sweaters.