Now what exactly was …? The world of logistics is full of technical terms, and new terms are constantly being added. Our glossary explains them all in a nutshell. If a term you are looking for is not listed here, please don't hesitate to contact us. We'll be happy to add your technical term to our list.

Entries beginning with «c»

Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism

C-TPAT was established by US Customs and Border Protection authorities as a security partnership following the attacks on the World Trade Center. The aim is to combat international terrorism by ensuring a greater degree of security along all goods supply chains in the US trade sector. Any company dealing with transport or logistics who wants to join this partnership gives an undertaking to the US Customs and Border Protection authorities that they will comply with stricter security standards and contractually regulated guidelines. In return, the company is granted special status by the US Customs and Border Protection, including personally assigned customs officers and expedited customs clearance.

Currency Adjustment Factor

Adjustment applied by shipping lines or liner conferences on freight rates to offset losses or gains for carriers resulting from fluctuations in exchange rates of tariff currencies.


Goods to be transported.

Carnet ATA

The ATA Carnet, also referred to as the "merchandise passport", is a customs booklet for temporary imports.

CEP services
Courier, Express and Parcel Services

Providers of CEP services usually transport relatively low-weight items (31.5 kilograms or less) and low-volume items such as letters, documents and small packets. Such service providers are usually highly reliability and very fast. They often provide extra services like overnight or same-day delivery.

Certificate of origin

A certificate of origin is a document in which the origin of goods is certified or attested by an agency which is authorized to do so. In the Federal Republic of Germany, it is the Chambers of Industry and Commerce which are responsible for issuing the certificate of origin for exports of goods. For imports, the certificate of origin must have been issued by an agency in the exporting country that is authorized to issue certificates of origin; the Federal Minister of Economics publicizes the authorized agencies in the Federal Gazette. A standard form of the certificate of origin has been agreed for all exports from EC countries (Customs Code).


CMR stands for the French term "Convention relative au contrat de transport international de marchandises par route". In English this is called the Convention on the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road (CMR). This UN convention regulates issues of liability and duties concerning the international carriage of goods by road. It has been ratified by most European countries and is used in cross-border road transport.

Cash on delivery

Customs document permitting the holder to carry or send merchandise temporarily into certain foreign countries (for display, demonstration or similar purposes) without completing normal customs formalities. With a carnet, the holder avoids paying duties or posting bonds.

Commercial invoice

A commercial invoice is one of the standard documents used in foreign trade transactions. It contains all particulars relating to the merchandise, for example name and address of recipient (purchaser), exact description of merchandise, indication of weight (gross and net) and price (unit and total price). Regulations in the Federal Republic of Germany allow billing in the currency of your choice. A commercial invoice may also function as a declaration of origin for preferential goods, if it has the relevant entry. It must also stipulate the terms of delivery, e.g. FAS, CFR or whatever delivery clause has been agreed; the markings on the pallets, drums, etc.; the name of the ship or the number of the freight car in the case of rail shipment. The commercial invoice must also indicate the agreed payment terms as well as the purchaser's import license number, if these are required to comply with foreign exchange regulations in the importing country. The invoice should also bear the legally binding signature of the vendor.


Party, mentioned in the transport document, by whom the goods, cargo or containers are to be received.


Separate identifiable number of goods to be transported from one shipper to one consignee.

Consolidated consignments

Consolidated consignments refer to the bundled transportation of smaller shipments. The dispatching freight forwarder collects cargo from various shippers, then transports them as a consolidated consignment to the receiving freight forwarder. The receiving freight forwarder then distributes the smaller shipments to their respective recipients. The advantage is that smaller shipments do not have to be handled by several different freight forwarders; their transportation can also be effected by a single freight forwarder.


Consolidation in logistics refers to bundling of goods. There are two basic types: temporal consolidation and spatial consolidation. Both aim at greater cost-efficiency in the organization and transportation of goods. Temporal consolidation, also called inventory consolidation, means that goods are bundled at the place of consignment, if necessary by delaying delivery. The idea is to ensure better exploitation of transport capacity. Spatial consolidation aims at bundling transport flows, for example by stopping on a given route at several pick-up and drop points in addition to conveying goods from a single supplier or shipper to a single recipient on a specific transport run.

Consolidation center

A warehouse in which goods are packaged into larger units for onward distribution.


In the field of logistics, a container refers to a sealable, standardized cargo-carrying unit with a loading capacity of more than five tons and a volume of more than three cubic meters. Containers are used for the transportation of various types of loads, for example bulk cargo, refrigerated products or LCL, and can also be used for tank cargo. Designations and equipment depend on the type of use, for example waste disposal containers, ISO containers and inland containers.

Contract logistics

Contract logistics refers to the organization by a third-party logistics operator of product flows, storage, transport and information transfer on behalf of a customer who needs these services but is unwilling or unable to perform them himself. Generally, such cooperation between a contract logistics operator and his customers will be based on long-term contracts. The result is a so-called symbiotic relationship in which both parties to the contract become highly mutually interdependent. One of the aims of contract logistics is to increase efficiency for the client, who can thus dispense with logistics-related in-house administrative structures and focus more intensely on core competences.

Customer Relationship Management

CRM is a customer-oriented approach which uses modern information and communication technologies to consolidate and further develop long-term, profitable customer relationships through integrated and highly differentiated concepts of marketing, sales and service.


Cross-docking refers to the streamlined transshipment of goods so that intermediate storage or warehousing is eliminated or reduced to a minimum. The aim is to speed up the flow of goods and to cut down on the costs of storage. This method is particularly suitable for fast-moving consumer goods like foodstuffs.


Medium of exchange of value, defined by reference to the geographic location of the authorities responsible for it (ISO 4217). In general, the monetary unit is represented by a name or a symbol.

Customs agent

A customs agent is a person who has sworn to uphold the interests of Customs and carry out customs activities on behalf of the customs authorities.

Customs broking

The handling of customs formalities around the import and export of goods on behalf of importers.

Customs invoice

A customs invoice lists basically the same information as a consular invoice, but in the case of a customs invoice no certification by the consulate of the importing country is required. However, the exporter's signature often needs to be attested by a witness. Customs invoices are mainly required for exports to present or former British Commonwealth countries (with the exception of the UK). In such countries, customs invoices are designated "special customs invoice" or "combined certificate of value and of origin".

›  cf. Consular invoice