Glossary of Shipping Terms
O.E.C.D. – Ofﬁce of Global Maritime Situational Awareness (OGMSA) It is the United States initiative to establish a world-wide maritime information exchange that encompasses both public and private sector entities with maritime interests. The GMSA supports maritime domain awareness by making maritime related information available and searchable. Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, headquartered in Paris with membership consisting of the world's developed nations.
O.P.I.C. – Overseas Private Investment Corporation, an agency of the U.S. government which helps U.S. businesses invest overseas.
OCP – See Overland Common Points.
ODS – Abbreviation for "Operating Differential Subsidy." An amount of money the U.S. government paid U.S. shipping companies that qualify for this subsidy.The intent was to help offset the higher subsidy. The intent was to help ofset the higher cost of operating a U.S.-ﬂag vessel.The ODS program is administered by the U.S. Maritime Administration and is being phased out.
ORFS – Abbreviation for "Origin Rail Freight Station." Same as CFS at origin except an ORFS is operated by the rail carrier participating in the shipment.
OS&D – Abbreviation for "Over, Short or Damaged" Usually discovered at cargo unloading.
Ocean Bill of Lading (Ocean B/L) – A contract for transportation between a shipper and a carrier. It also evidences receipt of the cargo by the carrier. A bill of lading shows ownership of the cargo and, if made negotiable, can be bought, sold or traded while the goods are in-transit.
On Board – A notation on a bill of lading that cargo has been loaded on board a vessel. Used to satisfy the requirements of a letter of credit, in the absence of an express requirement to the contrary.
On Deck – A notation on a bill of lading that the cargo has been stowed on the open deck of the ship.
Onboard" B/L: – - B/L validated at the time of loading to transport. Onboard Air, Boxcar, Container, Rail, Truck and Vessel are the most common types.
Open Account – A trade arrangement in which goods are shipped to a foreign buyer without guarantee of payment.
Open Insurance Policy – A marine insurance policy that applies to all shipments made by an exporter over a period of time rather than to one shipment only.
Open Sea – The water area of the open coast seaward of the ordinary low-water mark, or seaward of inland waters.
Open Top Container – A container ﬁtted with a solid removable roof, or with a tarpaulin roof so the container can be loaded or unloaded from the top.
Operating Ratio – A comparison of a carrier's operating expense with its net sales. The most general measure of operating efﬁciency.
Optimum Cube – The highest level of cube utilization that can be achieved when loading cargo into a container.
Optional Discharge B/L: – - B/L covering cargo with more than one discharge point option possibility. "
Order" B/L: – - See Negotiable B/L.
Order-Notify (O/N) – A bill of lading term to provide surrender of the original bill of lading before freight is released; usually associated with a shipment covered under a letter of credit.
Original B/L: – - The part of the B/L set that has value, especially when negotiable; rest of set are only informational file copies. Abbreviated as OBL.
Original Bill of Lading (OBL) – A document which requires proper signatures for consummating carriage of contract. Must be marked as "original" by the issuing carrier.
Origin – Location where shipment begins its movement.
Out Gate – Transaction or interchange that occurs at the time a container leaves a rail or water terminal.
Overcharge – To charge more than the proper amount according to the published rates.
Overheight Cargo – Cargo more than eight feet high which thus cannot ﬁt into a standard container.
Overland Common Point (OCP) – A term stated on the bills of lading offering lower shipping rates to importers east of the Rockies, provided merchandise from the Far East comes in through the West Coast ports. OCP rates were established by U.S. West Coast steamship companies in conjunction with western railroads so that cargo originating or destined for the American Midwest and East would be competitive with all-water rates via the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf ports. Applies to eastern Canada.
Owner Code (SCAC) – Standard Carrier Abbreviation Code identifying an individual common carrier. A three letter carrier code followed by a sufﬁx identiﬁes the carrier's equipment. A sufﬁx of "U" is a container and "C" is a chassis.