Shipping glossary


Our glossary covers everything you wanted to know about international shipping but were afraid to ask. Once you know these terms, you'll be shipping like a boss in no time! 


Air waybill: Shipping labels that couriers use

Commercial invoice: a customs document that declares the true value of an item, used to assess tax and duty (if any.) Learn more.

Consignee: The receiver of a shipment

Consignor: The sender of a shipment

DDU: Delivered Duty Unpaid. This means that duty is not included in the shipping cost and must be paid for when the item arrives at the destination port.

DDP: Delivered Duty Paid. This means that duty is included in the shipping cost at checkout, and has already been paid for before the item arrives at the destination port. We recommend using DDP at your store checkout to avoid additional delays at customs.

Learn more about DDU and DDP.

De minimis value: value at which tax & duty will need to be collected

Dead weight: the mass of your package, including all packaging materials.

DG: Dangerous Goods. These are items with materials that, if not handled carefully, can cause harm to those handling them in transit. The most common dangerous goods materials that eCommerce sellers deal with are alcohol, lithium ion batteries, and liquids. IATA, who regulates air travel, is the international organization that determines what materials are considered as dangerous. Learn more.

Flat rate shipping: a single rate charged for shipping a package, regardless of weight or size.

Fulfillment center: A warehouse that can store your inventory and handle packaging and shipping on your behalf.

GST: Goods and Services Tax

MSDS: Material Safety Data Sheet. This provides information on potential hazards of the product and how to handle it safely.

Import duty: Duty is the fee charged on manufactured and import/export goods. Learn more.

Incoterms: Rules that determine the costs associated with transporting and delivering goods cross-border.

Sales Tax: Tax is what you pay to the destination country’s government and can be applied to goods, services, and other things.

Threshold: Taxes will apply if the value of an item is above this number

UN 38.3 Test Report: A certification that ensures air transport safety when shipping lithium ion batteries. Usually required in addition to MSDS.

VAT: Value-Added Tax. Varies per country based on the value of the item. Learn more.

Volumetric weight: usually calculated by multiplying the length, width, and height of your package, then dividing this number by a cubic divisor.

WMS: Warehouse Management System. This is a web-based system that allows you to manage your store’s inventory at your warehouse of choice. Learn more.

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