What Are Incoterms?

International commerce terms, more commonly known as Incoterms, are a set of international rules for the interpretation of the most commonly used trade terms in foreign trade. These terms are published by the International Chamber of Commerce, and are used to help traders avoid costly misunderstandings by clarifying the tasks, costs and risks involved in the delivery of goods from sellers to buyers.

Coming into full effect on January 1, 2011, there are two (2) main changes to Incoterms 2010 from the 2000 publication. Instead of 13 Incoterms, there are only 11, with two (2) new additions (DAP and DAT) and four (4) deletions (DAF, DDU, DEQ and DES). In contrast to the previous four classes, E,F,C and D, Incoterms will now be separated into 2 groups; those applicable to all modes of transport and those only applicable to maritime transport.

Incoterms 2010 also takes into account the importance of cargo security, as well as the 2004 revision of the United States' Uniform Commercial Code, which resulted in a deletion of the former U.S. shipment and delivery terms. The revised Incoterms rules also reflect the adoption in 2009 by insurance markets of the revised Institute Cargo Clauses (LMA/IUA) (2009).

Video | Drop Shipping Part 2 | Using Incoterms® To Your Benefit

The 11 Rules Are:

Any Mode Of Transportation Other Than Maritime:

EXW Ex Works (named place)

FCA Free Carrier (named places)

CPT Carriage Paid To (named place of destination)

CIP Carriage And Insurance Paid To (named place of destination)

DAT Delivered At Terminal (named destination place)

DAP Delivered At Place (named destination place)

DDP Delivered Duty Paid (named destination place)

Maritime Transportation:

FAS Free Alongside Ship (named loading port)

FOB Free On Board (named loading port)

CFR Cost And Freight (named destination port)

CIF Cost, Insurance and Freight (named destination port)

To a customs broker the correct usage of these terms on shipment documentation can identify the Importer of Record and potential deductions to the declared value for duty.

Is your organization comfortable using Incoterms? If so, what do you find are some of the benefits and drawbacks of using them?

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About Author
Cherie Storms
CCS (CA & US), CTCS, CBSA Prof. Designate

Cherie Storms is the Canadian Operations Manager with PCB Customs Brokers, with over 20 years in international trade operations and regulatory experience. Since joining the company in 2007, she has become an Executive Board Member for the Canadian Customs Brokers Society, BC Region, and spoke at the Women in Transportation Annual General Meeting in 2010 regarding her experience running international logistics for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. Cherie is a member of CSCB's National Commercial Operations and eManifest Committee and sits on the Canadian Society of Customs Brokers' Board of Directors. In 2020, Cherie received the Emerging Leader award in the annual Surrey Board of Trade, Surrey Women in Business Awards. In her off time, Cherie is a motorsports driver for the Shift Up Now racing team, SCCA and CACC Women on Track Leader, racing tracks in Daytona and Indianapolis. With multiple championships, Cherie is a leader in the Jr Ambassador Program, encouraging young girls to excel in motorsports. Cherie has spoken at many seminars on the importance of trade compliance. She is currently enrolled in the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) Business Management Program to become an international trade lawyer.

While we strive for accuracy in all our communications, as the Importer of Record it is incumbent upon your company to ensure that you are aware of the requirements under the new regulations so that you maintain compliance as always.