Free On Board FOB Shipping: Meaning, Incoterms & Pricing

fob port meaning

While you may not need to know the full meaning of FOB in your everyday interactions, it is important to understand when handling shipments. This terminology helps determine who is responsible for a shipment, creating a more seamless process – something we want with each and every large purchase. FOB Ningbo and FOB Manila mean that the consignor needs to deliver the goods to the ship at the designated port of departure before the delivery is completed.

Ideally, the seller pays the freight charges to a major port or other shipping destination and the buyer pays the transport costs from the warehouse to his store or vendors. As with all Incoterms, FOB does not define the point at which ownership of the goods is transferred. While the possession of the cargo transfers to the buyer once the freight is loaded onto a truck at the seller’s warehouse, the seller still maintains responsibility in ensuring the shipment safely clears the rails of the ship. Buyers can calculate the total costs of a FOB agreement by combining the FOB price from the seller and requesting a quotation from their freight forwarding company for the logistics.

Freight Collect vs Freight Prepaid

The phrase “passing the ship’s rail” was dropped from the Incoterm definitions in the 2010 amendment. There are many reasons FOB is important to the shipping process, but it becomes most essential in situations where damages occur in the shipping process. In fact, some receiving ports will refuse the delivery of damaged goods in many cases where the FOB does not clearly state where responsibility lies.

  • By utilizing our easy-to-use self-service tools, you can efficiently manage your shipping strategy, should any issues arise.
  • The seller passes the risk to the buyer when the goods are loaded at the originating port.
  • The seller filed a lawsuit against the carrier for delivery of the goods without B/L, which was rejected by the court on the grounds of not having the right to sue.
  • How effective products move from the vendor to the customer depends on how well both sides understand free on board (FOB).
  • The buyer assumes all risks and benefits of ownership as of the moment the shipment arrives at the shipping dock.

Not only must vendors and buyers account for the cost of lost or damaged items, but insurance costs can go up or down depending on how many claims are made. Whether the seller or the buyer’s insurance covers loss or damage that occurs during shipping, the costs add up and impact the bottom line. The buyer takes responsibility for the transport cost and liability during transportation.


Under the Incoterms 2010 standard published by the International Chamber of Commerce, FOB is only used in sea freight and stands for “Free On Board”. Once the delivery is unloaded in the receiving country, responsibility is transferred to you. An FOB shipping point agreement is signed and the container is handed off to the freight carrier at the shipping point. With FOB destination, ownership of goods is transferred to the buyer at the buyer’s loading dock.

fob port meaning

Below we have included a list of the route timelines and estimated rates to ship standard containers via FOB from China. We recommend buyers consider FOB Incoterms when they wish to use a China Freight Forwarder to organize their shipments. We suggest this because FOB will offer low unit pricing for the cargo sold while also allowing fob port meaning the seller to take partial responsibility for the freight for as long as it remains within their country. Additionally, the buyer doesn’t have the opportunity for the delivery to be made to its final destination. Instead, the goods arrive at their destination port, and the buyer must arrange any onward carriage to the warehouse.

What is FOB shipping point example?

Issue false bills of lading, charter unseaworthy ships, or forge quality certificates and certificates of origin. This means that the seller is responsible for loading the cargo into the cabin and bears the shipping costs including trimming fees. The trimming fee refers to the cost of leveling the bulk cargo loaded into the cabin. In the FOB contract for export business, some importers colluded with the designated freight forwarder, and the designated forwarder released the bill of lading without the permission of the consignor, causing the exporting company to lose the payment. Additionally, FOB terms can help streamline operations by eliminating unnecessary paperwork and processes related to international shipments.

fob port meaning

When the terms are FOB shipping point, the supplier relinquishes all of his responsibility for the goods at his shipping point and the buyer is obligated to cover the freight costs required for getting them to the desired location. As such, FOB shipping means that the supplier retains ownership and responsibility for the goods until they are loaded ‘on board’ a shipping vessel. Under DDP, the seller is responsible for moving the goods to the port of origin and loading them onto the vessel. The buyer is then responsible for the main carriage, import clearance, duties, taxes, and transport at the destination. For the buyer, there are potential situations where they might be responsible for covering costs before the goods are on board the vessel.

FOB Origin vs. FOB Destination

With the ship’s rail as the dividing line, the goods are in After crossing the ship’s rail during shipment, the risk assumed is transferred from the seller to the buyer. The following articles are very helpful for newcomers to international trade and e-commerce rookies because Incoterms has so many trade terms that it is really difficult to make a choice. The seller is responsible for paying the freight cost when the terms are FOB Destination. Given that it offers many benefits to both exporters and importers, it can be an attractive choice for companies that want to minimize risks and streamline operations. However, it’s important to consider your unique needs when deciding if FOB shipping is the right choice for your business. Free on Board (FOB) is one of the most commonly used Incoterms, and understanding it can help ensure your business is compliant with international trade regulations while also protecting your interests as a shipper.

What is free or freight on board (FOB), and why should shippers … – Supply Chain Dive

What is free or freight on board (FOB), and why should shippers ….

Posted: Thu, 28 Sep 2017 07:00:00 GMT [source]

Domestic shipments within the United States or Canada often use a different meaning, specific to North America, which is inconsistent with the Incoterms standards. Abbreviated trade terms can be confusing, but this acronym is an important one to know. Usually, this port is the port of departure closest to the supplier or source of goods. The buyer must pay all the expenses incurred in obtaining the documents or equivalent electronic messages mentioned in A10, and reimburse the expenses incurred by the seller in providing assistance.

Of course, generally speaking, the commercial reputation of importers in Europe and the United States, and Canada is generally relatively good. FOB shipping is the most common logistics method for shipping to Europe, the United States, and Canada. The above three items are usually included in the FOB unit price of the product when the factory provides the FOB price quotation. Our team of experts can help you assess your options and choose the best shipping agreement for your needs so that you can make an informed decision about whether FOB is right for your business. The world of international shipping can be difficult to navigate, even for those with experience.

  • Upon delivery of the goods to the destination, the title for the goods transfers from the supplier to the buyer.
  • However, the significant cost savings and control quickly outweigh this disadvantage.
  • In modern domestic shipping, the term is used to describe the time when the seller is no longer responsible for the shipped goods and when the buyer is responsible for paying the transport costs.
  • But it’s good practice for either the buyer or seller to obtain China freight insurance.

For a partner in the process, freight shipping company has extensive experience in legal matters arising from FOB designation. For help with your next shipment, get freight transportation quote to arrange the transportation for a better shipping experience. 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. As touched on before, the main difference between what FOB shipping point means versus destination is in regards to when the seller transfers responsibility and ownership of the shipment to the purchaser.

Under FOB conditions, the seller has to bear the risks and expenses, obtain an export license or other official documents, and be responsible for handling export procedures. Pay all local expenses incurred at the port of departure until the goods are safely on board. 3 All local fees and all additional costs incurred at the port of departure are borne by the factory or the shipper. The prepaid freight agreement says that the seller is responsible for the freight charges until the order arrives at the buyer’s destination. Then, the seller sends an invoice to the buyer for reimbursement when the items are delivered. When a product is sold “FOB shipping point,” the buyer pays the seller or supplier nothing more than the cost of transporting the product to the designated shipment point.

Why does FOB matter?

Depending on the agreement with your supplier, your goods may be considered delivered at any point between the port of destination and your final delivery address. Once you are satisfied with the shipping quotation, the next step is to inform your logistics company that you would like to use them to ship your products. Depending on where the cargo is traveling, they will usually send you some documentation, and ask you to sign an agreement stating that you wish for the forwarder to handle your shipment. We also recommend that newer importers work with a China third-party logistics company company to assist them in the process. Importers lacking experience in FOB shipments are encouraged to tell their logistics company so the forwarder can walk them through the process more thoroughly and fully know what to expect before starting the shipment.

The seller’s responsibility ends when the items are placed with a shipment carrier, and the buyer must ensure their goods reach their final destination on time and undamaged. When using the term “place of origin” on shipping documents, the seller only maintains ownership of the package until the moment the carrier picks up the package. However, if it reads “place of destination,” the seller takes on responsibility until the shipment is delivered. 4) FOB ocean freight must be paid to the freight forwarder at the port of destination or the designated freight forwarder selected by the person at the port of departure. If the parties do not intend to deliver the goods across the ship’s rail, the CIP term should be used.

The seller has no legal reason to accept those goods back and the return shipment could possibly result in additional damages. Ownership of a cargo is independent of Incoterms, which relate to delivery and risk. In international trade, ownership of the cargo is defined by the contract of sale and the bill of lading or waybill.

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