There are several key concepts that used across all forms of transport:
The person or legal entity that is sending the goods from point of origin. The shipper does not have to be the owner of the cargo. The shipper can also be referred to as the sender.
The person or legal entity that either owns the vehicle or vessel upon which cargo is transported - or "carried" - or has legal responsibility for physically stewardship of the cargo between two points.
The person or legal entity that is duly authorized to receive cargo on the receiving end. Receivers are also sometimes called "consignees," however the term consignee has specific legal meaning in customs proceedings, while a receiver is more generic could take possession of cargo through a variety of means, domestic or international.
|Agent||A person or legal entity who is legally and contractually designated to act on behalf of a shipper, carrier or receiver. Agents can act in a variety of functions, from handling goods to processing documentation.|
|Service Provider||Any contracted third-party entity that offers a service, usually on a for profit basis. A service provider may be involved in a variety of activities, including being an acting agent or a contracted carrier.|
|"Take Possession"||When physical goods are transmitted into the direct care and stewardship of one party, be it a transporter, a warehouse, or customs, that party is said to have "taken possession" of the cargo. Taking possession does not mean the party holding the cargo then owns the cargo, they are only physically holding it for their part of the transport process.|
|Intermodal||Any form of transport that changes between two or more modes of transport. Intermodal transport can be facilitated through the use of containerized shipment, however cargo can also be transported through intermodal means simply by directly loading and offloading through a variety of means.|
|Material Handling Equipment (MHE)||MHE is any form of mechanical equipment used to facilitate the loading and offloading of cargo, or the movement of cargo around an open space such as a port or a warehouse. MHE includes forklifts, cranes, pallet jacks, and more.|
|Incoterms||Incoterms - "International commercial terms" - are mutually agreed upon international shipping terms that designate responsibilities, risks and limitations of shippers, carriers and receivers. Incoterms generally are only applicable and enforceable for international shipments.|
The Role of Transport
In the humanitarian context, transport is defined as: