Moving abroad is overwhelming –you’ll have plenty of things on your to-do list, which may include learning a new language, so don’t let the moving industry jargon feel like a third language! When finding a trustworthy international moving company to assist you with your overseas relocation, get prepared by familiarizing yourself with some of these frequently-used terms:


Air Waybill: The contract for transportation between the customer and the air carrier. It is also the receipt for cargo.

Bill of Lading: Original contract/customer receipt for belongings. This document is related to ocean shipments, and should include the dates, services and charges involved in the international relocation.

Cargo: Goods being transported – by air, sea or land.

Certificate of Origin: A document determining the country in which shipped goods were manufactured or produced. It must be signed and sealed by a Chamber of Commerce to certify true origin, and may also require legalization by proper officials in the destination country.

Consular Invoice: A special invoice that some countries require to control and identify imported goods.

Containerization: The use of boxes, cartons, drums, barrels, etc. to transport a shipment.

Currency Adjustment: An added fee on charges for ocean freight to compensate for currency fluctuation between countries.

Customs: The place in every country where physical examination of imports and exports is done. It can also refer to fees placed on these imports and exports.

Customs Clearance: The process where the customer obtains the release of goods from customs. This process includes documentation handling, but excludes the physical handling of cargo.

Demurrage: A fee that is charged to the customer for keeping a container beyond a particular length of time.

Destination Agent: The point of contact for the customer shipping goods. This person is the authorized receiving agent for a shipment if it is going into storage.

Duties: Taxes imposed on the importation and exportation of goods.

Freight Forwarders: A licensed company that handles the formalities when it comes to foreign or domestic shipments. Freight forwarders will assemble and dispatch these shipments on the behalf of others.

Household Goods Shipment: Personal property/goods being shipped for use or intended use in the home.

Import Permit: A special permit allowing certain items into a foreign country. This permit must be issued by a government agency prior to shipping the specified goods.

Origin Agent: The agent handling the estimating, scheduling, surveying, packing and loading of an international shipment at the origin.

PBO: “Packed by Owner” – the owner/customer packs his or her own goods at origin. This method is not always acceptable in certain countries.