There’s no doubt about it — international trading makes the world go round. Take a look at an international trade directory, and consider that all of companies you see are part of a massive industry that is responsible for bringing us almost everything we use and eat on a daily basis.

The U.S. goods and services export industry sustained an estimated 9.7 million jobs in 2011, and for the last couple of decades, world trade has grown nearly twice as fast on average as world production. Hold on to that international trade directory from before, because the world’s cargo carrying fleet was already 55,138 ships strong in 2011.

Breaking into this burgeoning and competitive industry may seem quite daunting — and navigating it even more so — but if you practice some of this international shipping lingo, you’ll find it’s not as scary as it might seem.

RO-RO
In the world of cargo shipping, RO-RO, meaning “Roll on, Roll off,” refers to ships that can accommodate land transport vehicles, like forklifts. They can drive right onto the deck to load and unload cargo.

Force Majeure
In French, it means “superior force,” but in the language of international freight shipping, it refers to a contractual clause that protects both parties in the event of circumstances outside of their control, such as storms, floods, or civil unrest.

Dumping
This unattractive term refers to the practice of selling marked down goods in a foreign market, for less than they would fetch at home. Done to gain a competitive edge over other suppliers, “dumpers” are often subject to “anti-dumping” duties that the hosting country imposes to protect local suppliers.

Manifest
A manifest is very important to international shipping companies and their records — a ship or plane’s manifest is simply a list of the various things being carried by that craft.

Refeer
Don’t get excited, now… refeer is just a colloquialism for a ship’s refrigerated containers, used for the shipping of the millions of pounds of perishable goods that cross the seas everyday.

Whether you want to own your own fleet or you’re just interested in one of the biggest industries in the world, knowing the jargon of a particular field is never a bad idea!

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