With the world renowned Incoterms changing from 1 January 2020, we cover everything you need to know in order to keep up to date and prepare for the coming year in logistics.

But first, here is a brief overview of what Incoterms are and why they are important.

What are Incoterms?

Incoterms are international rules of trade for the sale of goods set out by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). ‘Incoterms’ is an acronym which stands for International Commercial Terms. They hold a set of specific acronyms which are relevant and universal for buyers and sellers around the world, these include: 

  • EXW – Ex Works
  • FCA – Free Carrier
  • FOB – Free On Board
  • FAS – Free Alongside Ship
  • CFR – Cost and Freight
  • CIF – Cost, Insurance and Freight
  • CPT – Cost Paid to…
  • CIP – Carrier and Insurance Paid to…
  • DAT – Delivery at Terminal
  • DAP – Delivery at Place
  • DDP – Delivery Duty Paid

These 11 Incoterms are then divided into four categories depending on the delivery location and who is responsible for covering costs at each stage of the journey. These can then be broken down further to refer to different possible scenarios. As an importer or exporter it is important to familiarise with the Incoterm best suited to your type of shipment. 

Why are they Important?

They are an important reference for any importer or exporter of goods as they outline important criteria such as who is responsible for different parts of the import/export journey for example, covering costs at each interval of the international journey, arrangement of transportation, goods insurance and documentation among others.

Whether you have to file a purchase order, pack and label freight shipments, or prepare documentation, these Incoterms are in place to assist you in ensuring your goods reach their destination safely, securely and as your customer expects.

What is Expected to Change in 2020?

Some criteria are expected to be retired. EXW is likely to be retired as it tends to only apply to domestic trade, and it is thought it could go against the EU’s new customs code. FAS may also be expired as it is rarely used and not seen as a necessary option.

Also due to change is the splitting of DDP, this is due to the same reasons outlined above, it is thought that they will be split as follows:

  • DTP – Delivered at Terminal Paid: this will mean the seller is responsible for all transport – related costs which includes custom duties when the goods are delivered to a port or airport, for example.
  • DPP – Delivered at Place Paid: this will refer to the seller being responsible for all transports cost when an item is delivered to anywhere other than a terminal, such as an address.

One of the most common Incoterms, FCA is also expected to be split into two criteria, one for land and  one for sea.

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