International Commercial Terms - international rules for the interpretation of the most commonly used trade terms in foreign trade. Developed and published by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). For the first time the ICC has published in 1936 a set of international rules for the interpretation of trade terms. These rules are known as Incoterms 1936. Amendments and additions were later made in 1953, 1967, 1976, 1980, 1990, 2000 and now in 2010 to bring the rules into line with current international trade practices.
What is the purpose of Incoterms?
The scope of Incoterms is limited to matters relating to the rights and obligations of parties to the contract of sale in respect of the supply of these goods.
Trade terms describing the terms of delivery of goods existed prior to the Incoterms. They provide a reduction (abbreviation) of the words that describe the conditions of the transfer of goods from the seller to the buyer. However, without clear all rules of interpretation of these terms, it is difficult:
- avoid disputes related to different interpretations of a term,
- single-valued interpret the mutual rights and obligations of the parties,
- simplify processes of drafting and execution of contracts.
The International Chamber of Commerce has released the table of contents to the Incoterms 2010. Incoterms 2010 consists of only 11 Incoterms, a reduction from the 13 Incoterms 2000.
EXW (Ex Works)
The buyer bears all costs and risks involved in taking the goods from the seller's premises to the desired destination. The seller's obligation is to make the goods available at his premises (works, factory, warehouse). This term represents minimum obligation for the seller. This term can be used across all modes of transport.
FCA (Free Carrier)
The seller's obligation is to hand over the goods, cleared for export, into the charge of the carrier named by the buyer at the named place or point. If no precise point is indicated by the buyer, the seller may choose within the place or range stipulated where the carrier shall take the goods into his charge. When the seller's assistance is required in making the contract with the carrier the seller may act at the buyers risk and expense. This term can be used across all modes of transport.
FAS (Free Alongside Ship - named port of shipment)
The seller must place the goods alongside the ship at the named port. The seller must clear the goods for export. Suitable only for maritime transport but NOT for multimodal sea transport in containers (see Incoterms 2010, ICC publication 715). This term is typically used for heavy-lift or bulk cargo.
FOB (Free On Board - named port of shipment)
The seller must load themselves the goods on board the vessel nominated by the buyer. Cost and risk are divided when the goods are actually on board of the vessel (this rule is new!). The seller must clear the goods for export. The term is applicable for maritime and inland waterway transport only but NOT for multimodal sea transport in containers (see Incoterms 2010, ICC publication 715). The buyer must instruct the seller the details of the vessel and the port where the goods are to be loaded, and there is no reference to, or provision for, the use of a carrier or forwarder. This term has been greatly misused over the last three decades ever since Incoterms 1980 explained that FCA should be used for container shipments.
CPT (Carriage Paid To)
The seller pays the freight for the carriage of goods to the named destination. The risk of loss or damage to the goods occurring after the delivery has been made to the carrier is transferred from the seller to the buyer. This term requires the seller to clear the goods for export and can be used across all modes of transport.
CIP (Carriage & insurance Paid to)
The seller has the same obligations as under CPT but has the responsibility of obtaining insurance against the buyer's risk of loss or damage of goods during the carriage. The seller is required to clear the goods for export however is only required to obtain insurance on minimum coverage. This term requires the seller to clear the goods for export and can be used across all modes of transport.
CFR (Cost and Freight)
The seller must pay the costs and freight required in bringing the goods to the named port of destination. The risk of loss or damage is transferred from seller to buyer when the goods pass over the ship's rail in the port of shipment. The seller is required to clear the goods for export. This term should only be used for sea or inland waterway transport.
CIF (Cost, Insurance & Freight)
The seller has the same obligations as under CFR however he is also required to provide insurance against the buyer's risk of loss or damage to the goods during transit. The seller is required to clear the goods for export. This term should only be used for sea or inland waterway transport.
DAT (Delivered At Terminal)
New Term - May be used for all transport modes Seller delivers when the goods, once unloaded from the arriving means of transport, are placed at the disposal of the buyer at a named terminal at the named port or place of destination. "Terminal" includes quay, warehouse, container yard or road, rail or air terminal. Both parties should agree the terminal and if possible a point within the terminal at which point the risks will transfer from the seller to the buyer of the goods. If it is intended that the seller is to bear all the costs and responsibilities from the terminal to another point, DAP or DDP may apply.