A complete glossary of terms for international trade on Exporting and Importing.

SB (Short Bill)

A bill of exchange that is payable on demand or within a very short time.

SD (Sight Draft)

A sight draft or Bill of Exchange that is 'Payable at sight' is synonymous with 'payable on demand', i.e. payable upon presentation to the drawee.

Ships Manifest

Captains statement giving details of ship, crew, cargo and ports of call.

Short Form Bill of Lading

A short form bill of lading is a Bill of Lading issued without the full terms of the contract of carriage being printed on its reverse. There will be reference to terms and conditions on the face of the Bill of Lading. Short term Bills of Lading are not used very frequently in the UK as there is a risk that in a dispute the holder of the Bill of Lading may claim that he was not made aware of particular conditions.

Simplified Clearance System

If your business imports any goods from outside the EU (European Union) this freight must be tracked using what is called the CFSP or Customs Freight Simplified Procedures. This is an electronic system that HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) use to help businesses in the UK import goods from countries outside the EU (called Third Countries) efficiently. If your business uses the system it will be able to transport goods to the UK and move them through customs quickly, thus saving time and money.

SOB (Shipped on board)

B/L which certifies that the specified goods have been received in apparent good order and condition from the named shipper (consignor), and have been taken aboard the named ship (vessel) on the stated date. Banks funding a shipment require this type of B/L and not a received for shipment bill of lading. Also called onboard bill of lading.

SSN (Standard Shipping Note)

The Standard Shipping Note (SSN) is a shipping document that gives details about the contents of a consignment to carriers, receiving authorities and forwarders. The SSN is used to accompany deliveries of non-hazardous goods in transit.The SSN can be used for all consignments except dangerous goods.By using the SSN, you can complete the same standard document for all consignments, regardless of which port or depot they are going to.If you use the Customs Freight Simplified Procedures, you can use the SSN as a pre-shipment advice..When you use the SSN it gives the receiving authority complete, accurate and timely information about your consignment. So they have clear and precise details on how your goods should be handled.Using the SSN also means that everyone with an interest in your consignment has adequate information at each movement stage, until its final loading on board a vessel or aircraft.

Standby Letter of Credit

A letter of credit that guarantees payment in the case of the buyer defaulting on the purchase.

STC (Said to Contain)

Bill of lading term that the carrier acknowledges the receipt of stated number of packages but is unaware of the exact nature, quantity, and/or value of their contents. This is an important issue because, in case of an insurance claim, the carrier's liability (depending on the ruling convention, such as Hague-Visby or Hamburg) may be limited only to the number of packages (for which a standard compensation is paid) and not to the total value of the claim.


SWIFT is a standard format of Bank Identifier Codes approved by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). It is the unique identification code of a particular bank. These codes are used when transferring money between banks, particularly for international wire transfers, and also for the exchange of other messages between banks.