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  • The shipping period

     
     

    The most often-encountered trade terminology includes:

    Date of shipment:the on board or shipped date of the bill of lading. Contracts should always stipulate from which port(s) shipment is to be made. For FCA contracts the date of delivery is the date of the carrier's receipt.

    Spot goods have already arrived overseas, e.g. available ex warehouse Hamburg.

    Afloat: coffee that is en route, i.e. on board a vessel that has sailed but has not yet arrived.

    Named vessel (or substitute): shipment must be made on a specified vessel. Adding or substitute ensures that shipment can also be made if the shipping line cancels the named vessel or replaces it with another. Many contracts simply stipulate the shipping line that shall carry the goods.

    Immediate shipment: shipment within 15 calendar days counted from the date of contract.

    Prompt shipment: shipment within 30 calendar days counted from the date of contract.

    Shipment February (or any other month): shipment is to be made on any day of that month (single month); February/March sellers option means shipment will be made on any day within those two months (double month).

    The shorter the shipping period, the shorter the roasters exposure to market fluctuations and the more precise physical and financial planning can be. Buyers generally look for less exposure, and double months are not popular. After all, shipment March/April means that shipment can be made at any time during a 61-day period, which does not go well with the increasingly prevalent just-in-time (JIT) philosophy (see 05, Logistics, for more on this). Sellers in landlocked countries or those with inefficient shipping connections are often forced to sell on double months. By contrast, countries as Brazil and Colombia can guarantee coffee to be available in Europe within 21 days from the date of sale (10 days or so for the United States). Inability to offer precise shipping options (named vessel, immediate or prompt shipment, first half of a month) is a marketing handicap.

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