International Glossary

International trade terms

Term Acronym Description
Airway Bill AWB It is used for international shipping moved via airfreight and is a legal agreement enforceable by law. It is the contract of carriage between the shipper and the carrier, as well as serving as the receipt of the goods by an airline.
ATA Carnet Allows for temporary export of goods for use as commercial samples, for trade fairs or exhibition of goods and professional equipment to countries that are part of the ATA Carnet system.
Authorised Consignee Transit simplification procedure. Approved to close transits once goods arrived at their premises rather than at an Office of Destination.
Authorised Consignor Transit simplification procedure. Approved to declare goods to depart from their premises under Transit rather than having to present at an Office of Departure.
Authorised Economic Operator AEO Globally recognised quality mark that demonstrates a business’ role in international supply chain is secure and customs control procedures are efficient and compliant by meeting AEO standards and criteria.
Bill of Laden BL Is a contract between the shipper and the carrier, issued for receipt of the cargo, it states the intended routing and method for the shipment from origin to destination. The shipper must provide full and accurate description of the cargo to be stated on the BL.
C88 The HMRC form identity number of the Single Administrative Document (SAD).
Certificate of Origin COO A document that certifies that specific goods in an export consignment are wholly obtained, produced, manufactured or processed in a particular country. They are used by customs officials in the country of import to determine the rate of any duties.
ChamberCustoms British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) Customs agency service operated by NEECC.
Commodity Code Identity number for
Convention relative au contrat de transport international de marchandises par route CMR Translates as: Convention on the contract for the International carriage of goods by road.

Consignment note that acts as proof of the contract of carriage for goods exported from the UK

Customs Declaration Service CDS HMRC system being introduced to replace CHIEF. Currently used for GB-NI customs entries.
Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight CHIEF HMRC system for recording goods customs declarations by land, air and sea. Allows customs information to be submitted electronically.
Customs Procedure code CPC 7 digit code stated on all import and export entries to declare the reason for import or export of the cargo also dictate whether duties and taxes are to be paid, suspended or relieved. Some require authorisation by HMRC to use.
Customs Union An agreement between two or more countries to not impose taxes or duty on imports from the other countries in the agreement
Direct Representation Representative makes entry in importer/exporters name on their behalf.
Declaration Unique Consignment Number DUCR Are mandatory for all export declarations as they link the cargo to the declaration. Format: Year Country EORI-Unique Ref
Economic Operator Registration Identification EORI Required as an identification number for customs purposes for businesses wishing to trade globally.
Entry in Declarants Record EIDR Simplified import customs procedure. Record import entries in own records.
Entry Summary Declaration ENS It is the safety and security declaration for the cargo being shipped. Timescales for submission prior to the cargo being exported from GB depend on the transport modality.  Responsibility for submission is the operator of the transport carrying the goods into the customs territory, exporters responsibility to provide the necessary details to complete the ENS.
European Economic Area EEA Includes all 27 EU countries as well as Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway (it does not include Switzerland).
European Union EU From 01/01/2021 the EU comprises of 27 countries
EUR1 Movement Certificate to gain preferential duty rates in selected countries
Fiscal Representation The establishment of a business or an agent on behalf of that business in a foreign country to manage VAT administration and economic activity in that country.
Flexible Accounting System FAS Is an accounting system within CHIEF, for payment of VAT and duty charges on import consignments into the UK.
Free Trade Agreement FTA An agreement according to international law between at least two countries. The aim is to make trading between those countries easier by reducing restrictions on imports and exports between them.
Full Container Load FCL A container loaded with a consignment from a single shipper.
Goods Movement Reference GMR Generated by GVMS, required by carriers from hauliers.
Goods Movement Record GMR Created in the GVMS system to link references such as DUCRs, TAD MRNs, ENS ref and EORIs together. Each record contains details for a signle
Goods Vehicle Movement Service GVMS UK Border Control System introduced in January 2021 following Brexit for use by hauliers.
Great Britain & Northern Ireland GB & NI GB: England, Scotland & Wales – Goods can move between these three countries without any customs formalities.

NI: Northern Ireland – remains in the EU customs Union and requires different customs procedures to GB.

Gross Weight Weight of cargo including packaging
Groupage Mode of transport via truck. Multiple consignments from different businesses that do not require a full trailer are consolidated into one load for.  Allows delivery to multiple receivers.
Harmonised System code HS code See Commodity Code
Incoterms Internationally recognised trade terms, to ensure
Indirect Representation Representative makes entry in their own name and are jointly and severally liable with importer/exporter.
Inventory linked Port/warehouse systems are linked electronically to the HMRC CHIEF system and means goods can be cleared automatically following submission of customs declaration.
Inward Processing IP A customs procedure that allows relief from customs duty and import VAT on goods that are imported with the sole purpose of being processed and then exported.
Less than Container Load LCL Mode of shipping via sea. Where smaller shipments from multiple exporters that do not require a full shipping container are consolidated into one container for multiple consignees.
Movement Reference Number MRN Created by HMRC CHIEF system on entry acceptance – required for RORO movements.
National Clearance Hub NCH Control customs at all ports and airports and handle all third country goods passing through the UK borders. Responsible for processing all import and export entries selected for further checks.
New Computerised Transit System NCTS System used for submitting, processing and controlling Transit and Transports Internationaux Routiers (TIR) declarations electronically. It is used by the UK and all EU member states and signatories of the Common Transit Convention.
National Export System NES Operates within CHIEF to allow export declarations to be made electronically.
Net weight Weight of the cargo only – does not include any packaging
Outward Processing OP A customs procedure that provides duty relief on goods that are re-imported following export for processing or repair.
Postponed VAT Accounting PVA HMRC option for management of VAT payments – account for import VAT on periodic VAT returns rather than pay at point of import into GB.
Non-negotiable (for AWB & BLs) A type of document that does not allow ownership of goods to be passed from one party to another. The carrier is obliged to deliver the cargo to the consignee stated on the BL.
Returned Goods Relief RGR Procedure for re-importing goods into the UK, to be eligible the goods must for comply with certain requirements and be returned to the UK within three years of being exported.
Roll On Roll Off RoRo Truck movement via ferry
Single Administrative Document SAD The name for the C88 form. It is the document that can be printed off once a customs entry has been submitted and accepted showing the full details of the entry.
T1 **See Transit
Transit The movement of goods between two customs territories via another customs territory. The use of transit allows the goods to move under the temporary suspension of VAT and duty via the other customs territory.
Transit Accompanying Document TAD Documentation for a Transit movement

Also known as a T1 routing.

Unique Consignment Number UCN Is used to control the release of goods from inventory linked ports
United Kingdom UK Constitutes of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales – customs regulations are not the same across all UK countries due to the Northern Ireland Protcol.
Waybill Is evidence of a contract of carriage and receipt of cargo but does not act as a document of title affording ownership.