Guide to Free On Board Shipping: Point vs Destination

buyer’s location
loss or damage

Free on Board is one of the commonly used terms, which means that the legal title to the goods remains with the Supplier until the goods reach the buyer’s location. This allows for greater accuracy in maintaining inventory, and forecasting shipping costs for both buyers and sellers of goods on domestic and international scales. Describes terms indicating that the seller maintains responsibility and liability for the items throughout the shipping process, being responsible for any loss or damage that may occur along the way to the buyer. We’ve reached the part of our journey where we must look for potential risks and liabilities. While FOB shipping points can provide some great benefits, it’s also important to be aware of the potential dangers lurking in the deep waters of the shipping process.

final destination

accounting cycle destination, on the other hand, would not have recorded the sale until the package was delivered. How each of these terms function when you are shipping will depend on the FOB destination and the shipping point. Unlike FOB shipping, the supplier is not required to ensure the safe movement from port to ship. Understanding the differences between each is as simple as knowing how much responsibility the buyer and supplier assume under each agreement.

Therefore, goods in transit should be reported as a purchase and inventory by the buyer and as a sale and an increase in accounts receivable by the seller. Accountants must record revenue for the merchandiser and manufacturer when a sale is made. The term FOB Shipping Point denotes that the transaction occurred at the shipping point—the seller’s shipping dock. When the seller pays for the freight, the buyer does not include the freight amount when calculating cash settlement discounts on the invoice.

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From a practical perspective, recognition of receipt is instead completed at the receiving dock of the buyer. Thus, the sale is recorded when the shipment leaves the seller’s facility, and the receipt is recorded when it arrives at the buyer’s facility. This means there is a difference between the legal terms of the arrangement and the typical accounting for it.

FOB is a common term for all types of shipping, including domestic and international. FOB Destination transfers the title of shipped goods when it arrives at the buyer’s specified delivery location—usually the buyer’s loading dock, post office box, or office building. Once the products arrive at the buyer’s location, the legal title of the ownership transfers from the seller to the buyer. Therefore, the seller is legally responsible for the products during transport, up until the point the goods reach the buyer. FOB Destination is different to FOB Shipping Point where the buyer is responsible for the shipping and transportation instead of the seller.


Imagine the same situation as above except the terms of the agreement called for FOB destination. Instead of ownership transferring at the shipping point, the manufacturer retains ownership of the equipment until it is delivered to the buyer. Both parties to not enter the sale transaction into their general ledger until the goods have arrived to the buyer, and the seller retains risk of the goods while they are in transit. Since FOB shipping point transfers the title of the shipment of goods when the goods are placed at the shipping point, the legal title of those goods is transferred to the buyer.

What does FOB stand for in shipping?

Free Alongside Ship is a barebones ocean freight shipping option. It requires the supplier to pay for the delivery of your goods up until the named port of shipment, but not for getting the goods aboard the ship. Since the computers were shipped to the FOB destination, Dell is responsible for the damage during the shipping process. The goods were never delivered to XYZ, so Dell, in this case, is fully liable for the computer damages and would have to file a claim with its insurance company.

When the risk of loss shifts from the seller to the buyer and determining who foots the bill for freight and insurance, all depend on the nature of the contract. FOB destination cost – Seller is responsible for all fees and transport costs right up to the point that the goods reach the actual destination. Once the goods reach entry to the port, the responsibility for fees transfers to the buyer. The FOB designation on a bill of lading determines who has ownership of the goods while they are in transit.

Meaning of Freight

This means that the shipment will be delivered to your point of destination without any additional fees as the seller covers taxes and/or import duty. Freight shipping has been a fundamental part of the global economy. More and more small businesses are now relying on freight to transport their goods from one region to another. Import fees when they reach the border of one country to enter the other country under the conditions of FOB destination are due at the customs port of the destination country.

FOB Shipping Pointmeans that goods are placed free on board the carrier by the seller, and the buyer must pay the freight costs. FOB destination means that goods are placed free on board at the buyer’s place of business, and the seller pays the freight. But instead the seller adds the freight costs on to invoice they send to the buyer. In such a case, the buyer has to pay the bill on a more expensive invoice as the freight costs are included on the invoice. More to that, the buyer assumes full responsibility and ownership of the goods right from the point of origin.

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However, even with the standardization, international trade is still a complicated process, especially when you consider that trade laws are often very different from country to country. To that end, many companies establish contracts between their organization and their customers, which can help streamline the process of shipping goods internationally. International commercial laws have been in place for decades and were established to standardize the rules and regulations surrounding the shipment and transportation of goods. Having special contracts in place has been important because international trade can be complicated and because trade laws differ between countries. FOB shipping point concept can affect insurance coverage and risk management rules/procedures during transportation.

What does FOB destination mean?

There are many industry terms importers and exporters need to be well-versed in to guarantee their shipping relations are well understood. Some are more common than others, such as Free On Board , Free Carrier , and Ex Works . FOB, while being a fairly common term within freight collect shipping, is largely misunderstood. In this article, ShipCalm will explore what FOB is, the pros and cons of FOB, and how a third-party logistics company like ShipCalm can help your business with all its shipment needs. When legal ownership of a shipment changes hands, the goods also become part of someone else’s inventory. Even though a shipment may not even be at your loading dock yet, FOB shipping point means that they are technically part of your inventory.

Now that we understand the difference between a FOB shipping point and a FOB warehouse destination, let’s explore how a FOB shipping point works in practice. Imagine you’re a buyer who purchases goods from a seller in another city. The seller designates their warehouse as the FOB shipping point, and you arrange for a shipping carrier to pick up the goods from there. The FOB shipping point means the buyer assumes ownership and responsibility for the goods when they leave the seller’s designated shipping point. Think of it as a relay race – the baton are passed off to the buyer as soon as they leave the seller’s hands. When it comes to North America, the term FOB is written in the sales agreement in order to determine the liability as well as the responsibility of the goods as they are transferred from the seller to the buyer.

  • However, some call it expedited shipping; some call it priority mail, while some call it Smart Mail.
  • The best thing about it is that you always have the chance to have full control of your shipping costs and liability of your goods.
  • Once the shipment passes the buyer’s port of destination, all liability will then shift from the seller to the buyer.
  • FOB is, without doubt, one of the most effective shipment methods for international trades.

And if the goods are of particularly high value, they will also adjust your assets on financial statements, which may be of benefit in specific situations. My Accounting Course is a world-class educational resource developed by experts to simplify accounting, finance, & investment analysis topics, so students and professionals can learn and propel their careers. Check out this guide to learn about the different invoice types businesses can send and receive. Prepare Rachael Rey’s multi-step income statement for the year ended June 30, 2018. And other charges are borne by the seller until the goods are delivered. There are situations where you may be responsible for covering costs before your goods are on board.

Having a complete understanding of your shipping rights and responsibilities at the outset of your agreement will save significant time and headaches down the road. With FOB destination, ownership of goods is transferred to the buyer at the buyer’s loading dock. Freight on Board , also referred to as Free on Board, is an international commercial law term published by the International Chamber of Commerce .

If the designated carrier damages the package during delivery, Company ABC assumes full responsibility and cannot ask the supplier to reimburse the company for the losses or damages. The supplier is only responsible for bringing the electronic devices to the carrier. Delivered Ex Ship is an international commercial term that applies to all shipping methods. This is a term that indicates that the seller has to deliver the package shipments to the buyer at a decided destination. Post the delivery of goods as decided, the complete responsibility of the shipments shifts to the shipper.

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The determination of who will be charged the freight costs is usually indicated in the terms of sale. If the Freight On Board is indicated as “FOB delivered,” the seller or shipper will be wholly responsible for all the costs involved in transporting the consignment. Where the FOB terms of sale are indicated as “FOB Origin,” the buyer is responsible for the costs involved in transporting the goods from the seller’s warehouse to the final destination.

  • However, it has a few shortcomings which may majorly affect the buyer.
  • FOB destination – Means that transfer of ownership and responsibility occurs at the buyer’s loading dock, their post office or their physical location.
  • The various freight shipping types include Air Freight, Ocean Freight, Ground Freight that happens via ground, and Multimodal freight, which includes various shipments.
  • However, the disadvantage for the buyer is the lack of control over the shipment including shipment company, route and delivery time.

Use of the term “Freight On Board” in contracts is therefore very likely to cause confusion. The phrase passing the ship’s rail is no longer in use, having been dropped from the FOB Incoterm in the 2010 revision. For freelancers and SMEs in the UK & Ireland, Debitoor adheres to all UK & Irish invoicing and accounting requirements and is approved by UK & Irish accountants.

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