What Are The Most Common Incoterms?

Updated on August 14, 2023

Most Common Incoterms

For businesses to ensure smooth transactions and reduce the likelihood of disputes in the complex world of international trade, understanding the nuances of shipping and delivery terms is essential. Where Incoterms are useful in this situation. International Commercial Terms, or Incoterms, are uniform guidelines that specify the obligations and risks between buyers and sellers in international trade. These clauses specify the time period during which the goods' ownership, liabilities, and costs pass from the seller to the purchaser.


This blog aims to give a thorough overview of the most popular Incoterms while shedding light on their significance, practicality, and potential advantages for companies involved in international trade.


1. EXW - Ex Works


Ex Works is the most fundamental Incoterm, requiring the buyer to cover all costs of transporting the goods from the seller's premises. Only the goods' availability for pickup at the seller's location is required. The buyer is responsible for all loading, transportation, and import/export clearance costs and risks. EXW is frequently chosen when the buyer wants to deal directly with their preferred freight forwarders and has better control over the shipping process.


2. FCA - Free Carrier


Free Carrier is a flexible term that means the seller is in charge of shipping the goods to a designated location, which could be their premises or a designated carrier. The risk passes to the buyer when the item is delivered to the carrier. FCA is a popular Incoterm for many different kinds of shipments because it can be used for all modes of transportation.


3. FOB - Free on Board


When goods are sold "Free on Board," the seller assumes all costs and risks up until the time the goods are loaded onto the ship at the port of shipment. The buyer is now in charge after loading and is responsible for all additional transportation-related expenses and risks. Since the buyer may only control the shipping process once the goods are loaded, FOB is frequently used for sea freight and can be risky for the buyer.


4. CIF - Cost, Insurance, and Freight


Pricing, insurance, and With the Incoterm "freight," the seller's responsible for planning and covering the cost of the goods' principal transportation to the destination port. 
The seller must also offer insurance to protect the buyer from the possibility of loss or damage while in transit. But the moment the goods are loaded onto the ship, the risk is handed over to the buyer. CIF is frequently used for bulk cargo and merchandise that is shipped by sea.


5. CPT - Carriage Paid To


Carriage Paid states that the seller sends the goods to the carrier or a specific location specified in the buyer's country. When the product is given to the carrier, the risk is passed on to the buyer. CPT can be used with any mode of transportation and is especially helpful when the buyer wants more control over the transportation process starting at the destination port.


6. CIP - Carriage and Insurance Paid To


Paid for Carriage and Insurance Similar to CPT, TO calls for the delivery of the goods to the carrier or a predetermined spot within the buyer's country. However, in this instance, the seller must also offer insurance against the risk of loss or damage to the buyer during transit. Regardless of the mode of transportation, CIP is appropriate for goods.


7. DAT - Delivered at Terminal


Delivered at the Terminal denotes the seller is responsible for covering all transportation expenses and risks to get the goods to the specified terminal at the final port or location. The buyer is now responsible after the goods are unloaded at the terminal. DAT clarifies the point of delivery and is mainly used for shipping via the sea and inland waterways.


8. DAP - Delivered at Place


Delivered at Place calls for the seller to deliver to the buyer at a particular location, which need not be a terminal. Prior to the delivery of the goods to the buyer at the designated location, the seller is in charge of all costs and risks. DAP is adaptable and can be used with any type of transportation.


9. DDP - Delivered Duty Paid


The term "Delivered Duty Paid" places the greatest responsibility on the seller because they are in charge of shipping the goods to the buyer's location, clearing them through customs, and paying any duties or taxes that may be necessary. Once the goods are prepared for unloading at the destination, the buyer is then responsible. DDP can be a practical choice for customers who want a simple shipping process.




As a result, Incoterms are essential for streamlining global trade operations and reducing the likelihood of risks and legal wrangling. Based on their unique needs, the nature of the goods, and their familiarity with the shipping procedure, businesses must carefully choose the most suitable Incoterm. Understanding the most prevalent Incoterms and their implications enables both buyers and sellers to make knowledgeable choices, ensuring the quick and secure transfer of goods across international borders. By following these standardized rules, businesses can promote easier transactions, strengthen partnerships, and succeed in the international market.

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