Acronyms leading to confusion

Let’s contribute to creating a common understanding of terminology for ports and terminals and get rid of the confusion by explaining or spelling out what the acronyms in our business mean. There are so may abbreviations used, and often they lead to confusion. When working on new projects and new designs, having a common understanding of concepts is a crucial success factor.

Here is a list. There is a PDF for download included. The list is not a complete dictionary but contains a starter set of acronyms.

Acronym Meaning
AAPA American Association of Port Authorities
A-Check A check or Administrative check refers to the administrative tests done in the system before actual operations are carried out.
ACS Access Control System
AGV Automatic Guided Vehicle
AIS Automatic Identification System
ASC Automatic Stacking Crane
ATA Actual Time of Arrival
ATD Actual Time of Departure
BAPLIE EDI message containing the bayplan of a vessel
BAS Berth allocation System
BI Business Intelligence
BL or B/L Bill of Lading: Bill of Lading refers to the freight shipped; the contents of a shipment
Bulk Cargo Refers to Cargo that is not in packages or containers; shipped loose in the hold of a ship without mark and count. Grain, coal and sulphur are examples of typical bulk freight.
CALINF EDIFACT Message: Call information message; Vessel call (or truck call)
CCS Cargo Community System
CCTV Closed Circuit TV
CDM Collaborative Decision Making
CFA (C/F agent) Clearing and Forwarding Agent for whom the order is made
CFS Abbreviation for “Container Freight Station”. A shipping dock where cargo is loaded (“stuffed”) into or unloaded (“stripped”) from containers.
Chassis A frame with wheels and container locking devices to secure the container for horizontal movement
CHE Cargo or Container Handling Equipment
COARRI EDIFACT Message: Container Arrival Message – Discharging and loading confirmation message
CODECO EDIFACT Message: Container Departure Confirmation; contains Container Gate-In / Gate-Out Report
Consignee The consignee (receiver) of the goods, i.e. the person or company to which commodities are shipped.
COPARN EDIFACT Message: Container Pre-Arrival Notice
COPINO EDIFACT Message: Container Pickup inland message that is used by the inland carrier to notify the Terminal
COPRAR EDIFACT Message: Container discharge/loading order message
COREOR EDIFACT Message: Container Release Order
COS Crane Operating System
CRS Container Repair Station
CUSCAR EDIFACT Message: Customs cargo report (Customs cargo report message)
DGPS Differential Global Positioning System
EDI Electronic Data Interchange
EDIFACT Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce and Transport
EIR Equipment Interchange Report
ERP Enterprise Resource Planning
ETA Estimated Time of Arrival
ETC Estimated Time of Completion
ETD Estimated Time of Departure
Execute before A date before which the order is supposed to be executed
FCL Abbreviation for “Full Container Load”
FPOD Final Point of Destination
GC Refers to General Cargo (Breakbulk Cargo) that is not in containers but is unitized or in some kind of packaging
GOS Gate Operating System
GPS Global Positioning System
Harmonised System of codes An international goods classification system describes cargo in international trade under a single commodity-coding scheme. Developed under the auspices of the Customs Cooperation Council
HAZMAT An industry abbreviation for “Hazardous Material.”
HHT Hand-Held Terminal, a radio terminal used for tally, inventory and reefer operations
HMC Abbreviation for Harbour Mobile Crane
HR Human Resources
HSCODE Abbreviation for “Harmonised System of Codes”
IALA The International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities
IAPH International Association of Ports and Harbours
ICD Inland Container Depot
IEC International Electrotechnical Commission
IFTDGN EDIFACT Message: International Forwarding and Transport Dangerous Goods Notification
IHMA International Harbour Masters Association
IMDG International Maritime Dangerous Goods
IMDG code International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code. The regulations published by the IMO for transporting hazardous materials internationally.
IMO International Maritime Organisation
IMV Internal Movement Vehicle
ISO International Standards Organisation
ISP Internet Service Provider
ISPS The International Ship and Port Facility Security Code. Worldwide standard; An amendment to the Safety of Life at Sea Convention on Maritime security, including minimum security arrangements for ships, ports and government agencies
KPI Key Performance Indicator
LCL Abbreviation for “Less than Container Load”
Line The shipping line. Orders are issued by shipping lines to terminals
Line agent The agent represents the shipping line for which the order is made.
LPR License Plate Recognition
Manifest A document that details all the bills of lading issued by a carrier or its agent or master for a specific voyage. A detailed summary of the total cargo of a vessel or train. Used principally for Customs purposes.  Also, a detailed list of all cargo in a specific container.
MDT Mobile Data Terminal
MOVINS EDI file containing the prestow or instructions of a shipping line indicating where to load categories of containers or individual containers
MT Abbreviation for Metric Ton
MTBF Mean Time Between Failure
MTTR Mean Time To Repair
OCR Optical Character Recognition
OOG Out of gauge, over-dimensioned cargo or containers with length/height and/or width exceeding standard dimensions
Out of Gauge Cargo outside of standard dimensions. In the case of containerized cargo, cargo that does not fit fully in a container. About non-containerized, oversized cargo. Cargo exceeds the permissible height, width, and/or length limits. Out of gauge cargo requires special permits and special chassis equipment.
P-Check Physical Check. This is a check to see that the actual container or cargo was received or delivered. Other information such as damages and numbers can also be verified.
PCS Port Community System
PDS Position Detection System
Place of destination The final destination of the cargo
Place of origin The place where the cargo originates from
PLCM Product Life Cycle Management
PMBOK Project Management Book of Knowledge
PMI Project Management Institute
PMIS Port Management Information System
POD Port of Discharge/Destination
POL Port of Loading/Origin Port
QC Quay Crane
Radio Data Terminal A mobile device is used to carry out on-site operational data input. This can also be a tablet or some other suitable supported outdoor device.
RDT Radio Data Terminal
Reefer Refrigerated container. Containers whose contents are stored with a specific temperature range by refrigeration, transport, and storage.
RFID Radio Frequency Identification
RFP Request for Proposal
RFQ Request for Quotation
RMF Risk Management Framework
RMG Rail Mounted Gantry, a Container Handling Machine on rails
RMI Remote Machine Interface
RMMS Remote Maintenance Management System
RMS Remote Maintenance System
Ro-Ro Ro-Ro cargo refers to roll-on roll-off cargo. This is typically a reference to motor vehicles that can drive by themselves without needing another transporter. Ro-Ro vessels refer to vessels carrying such cargo.
RS Reach Stacker
RTG Rubber Tired Gantry
RTLS Real-Time Location System
SA Shipping Agent
SaaS Software-as-a-Service
SAT Site Acceptance Testing
SCADA Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition
Service A standard route or schedule published by Shipping lines indicates the route operation of vessels between various ports.
SFTP Secure File Transfer Protocol
Shipper The shipper of the goods
SLA Service Level Agreement
SNMP Simple Network Management Protocol
SOC Shipper Owned Container
Stripping Removing cargo from a container (Unloading or Devanning)
Stuffing Putting cargo into a container (Loading)
TAD Truck Announcement Document
Tally Physical verification of goods while receiving them, delivering them or transferring them
TEU Abbreviation for “Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit.”
TID Truck Instruction Document – a document provided by the terminal operator to a truck driver with instructions
TIR A document transferring a container from one carrier to another or to/from a terminal.  Same as EIR.
TOS Terminal Operating System – Specialized software system that assists in operations of cargo terminals
TT Terminal Truck, also known as Prime Mover
UAT User Acceptance Testing
UI User Interface
UOM Unit of Measure
VBS Vehicle Booking System
Vessel/Voyage The name of the vessel for which the order is made
VGM Verified Gross Mass certificate
VMT Vehicle Mounted Terminal: a radio data terminal fitted in cargo handling equipment to interact with the operator and send instructions for execution
VTMIS Vessel Traffic Management Information System
VTS Vessel Traffic System


20220316 Ports and Terminals glossary.xlsx