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What Does FOB Mean in Shipping? Definition of Freight On Board

what does fob stand for in shipping

Internationally, businesses that ship goods through rivers, canals and sea freight use FOB to describe shipping responsibilities. The ICC does not permit the use of FOB for road freight and instead recommends that companies use the Incoterm FCA . To fully grasp the concept, it’s important first to understand the difference between place of origin vs. place of destination and freight collect vs. freight prepaid. The term “freight on board” originated from the days of sailing ships when goods were “passed over the rail by hand,” as defined in Incoterm. The term “FOB” was used to refer to goods transported by ship since sea transport was the main method of transporting cargo from far countries. The term’s usage has changed since then, and its definition varies from one country and jurisdiction to another.

what does fob stand for in shipping

That inventory is now an asset on the buyer’s books, even though the shipment has not arrived yet. Let’s put all the shipping terms and abbreviations for FOB into action.

FOB Destination

Sweeper vessels are dedicated vessels sent by international carriers for specifi… Well, when an order is labeled as FOB Origin it simply means that any transfer of responsibility or ownership happens only when the goods leave the hands of the seller. A late shipment, a break down, a shipping slip filled out improperly – no matter what it is—a circumstance can arise to challenge the best working dynamic in logistics. Making sure the FOB terms suit your company’s needs is a powerful way to gain a competitive advantage in your day-to-day when shipping and accepting goods.

  • The term «free on board», or «f.o.b.» was used historically in relation to the transfer of risk from seller to buyer as goods are shipped.
  • Free on Board can be used to reduce costs for both the buyer and seller.
  • It indicates the point at which the costs and risks of shipped goods shift from the seller to the buyer.
  • Although FOB shipping point is often used to imply that the ownership of the freight transfers from the seller to the buyer at the origin of the shipment, this must be stated on the bill of lading.
  • Ultimately, FOB helps prevent any argument or issues in the shipping process, pre-determining where responsibility lies to avoid any confusion.

The acronym FOB, which stands for «Free On Board» or «Freight On Board,» is a shipping term used in retail to indicate who is responsible for paying transportation charges. It is the location where ownership of the merchandise transfers from seller to buyer. The seller https://www.bookstime.com/ pays the freight, and the buyer takes the title once it’s been shipped. The buyer pays the transportation costs from the warehouse or vendor to the store. In North America, domestic sellers use the term FOB for all forms of transportation, both maritime and on land.

Best Transportation Methods for Oil and Gas Shipping

This terminology helps determine who is responsible for a shipment, creating a more seamless process – something we want with each and every large purchase. At the end of the day, the logistics terms for FOB help signal who is responsible for the shipment and any damage or loss for a clear shipping process. To better understand the difference between free on board and freight on board, the freight on board meaning is not an official one and is often used in place of free on board. In its most basic meaning, freight on board is a term that signifies a seller is required to deliver goods to a buyer through a shipping vessel. Free carrier is a trade term requiring the seller to deliver goods to a named airport, shipping terminal, or warehouse specified by the buyer. Under delivered duty paid , the seller is responsible for the cost of transporting goods until customs clears them for import at the destination. For FOB destination, the seller retains ownership of the goods and is responsible for replacing damaged or lost items until the point where the goods have reached their final destination.

what does fob stand for in shipping

Hearst Newspapers participates in various affiliate marketing programs, which means we may get paid commissions on editorially chosen products purchased through our links to retailer sites. Each situation differs depending on place, parties, industry, applicable laws and relevant customs and usages. General guidance cannot be expected to determine an outcome in a dispute. Knowledge is powerful, and having a great business relationship with your vendors can overcome multiple barriers. The personal relationship will provide flexibility for difficult situations. With this new awareness, the distributor rectified the problem by adjusting the purchase terms for future orders.


“Freight Prepaid” refers to the legal fact that the seller accepts responsibility for all freight charges and freight claims exposure. Under the Incoterms 2020 standard published by the International Chamber of Commerce, FOB is only used in sea freight and stands for «Free On Board». The term is always used in conjunction with a port of loading. The term «free on board», or «f.o.b.» was used historically in relation to the transfer of risk from seller to buyer as goods are shipped. DES. Delivered Ex Ship, which requires the seller to deliver products to a particular shipping port, where the buyer will take delivery on arrival. FCA. Free Carrier, which means that the seller is obligated to deliver goods to an airport, shipping port, or railway terminal where the buyer has an operation and can take delivery there. Ultimately, FOB helps prevent any argument or issues in the shipping process, pre-determining where responsibility lies to avoid any confusion.

  • One of the most prominent examples of this standardization is the International Commercial Term, or incoterm.
  • Depending on who is held liable for the goods, it further defines the returns, claims, or delivery refusal process of the damaged freight shipment.
  • When it is indicated as “FOB Origin,” it means that the transfer occurs at the seller’s shipping dock when the goods are safely on board the ship.
  • FOB is usually followed by the term «destination» or «shipping point.» FOB destination or FOB buyer’s warehouse means that the ownership of goods transfers when the goods actually reach the seller.

The term indicates who pays for shipping costs and who is responsible for damaged goods. It does not indicate when ownership of the transported goods moves from one party to the next. Instead, FOB shipping focuses on the specific obligations of delivering the goods. When you think about legal liability, you need to know your FOB terms with vendors. In this case, the vendor with most refused shipments set “F.O.B.

FOB Add-on Terms

Of the 11 different incoterms that are currently used in international freight, Free on Board is the one that you will encounter most frequently. For example, let’s say Carl’s Computers of Texas purchased a pallet of new computers from Computers Direct in China. After receiving the freight, the manager of Carl’s Computers unpacked the machines and noticed that the monitors were broken. The manager then looked at the bill of lading to review the agreed-upon FOB terms. That is, the manager looked to see who would be paying for the damage. Incoterms are rules, that define the terms of trade for the sale of goods all ar…

  • And in that case, it has become almost inevitable for the supply chains to exist in a country without purchasing or selling products and the raw materials from foreign countries.
  • We will also explore steps you can take to deal with FOB issues at your business.
  • CIF’s are when sellers agree to pay costs and assume liability until goods reach the destination point.
  • R+L Global Logistics is a world-class logistics and transportation company with the knowledge and experience to handle any shipment.
  • A Letter of Indemnity is a document protecting the cargo owner from losses…
  • Investopedia does not include all offers available in the marketplace.
  • The term «Freight On Board» is not mentioned in any version of Incoterms, and is not defined by the Uniform Commercial Code in the USA.

Shipping is the physical moving of good from one point to another, such as the m… A Letter of Indemnity is a document protecting fob shipping point the cargo owner from losses… Ground shipping can take from a few to several days depending on the point of or…

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