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What does it mean when a shipment is “on board”?

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When a shipment is “On board,” it means that the goods or cargo have been physically loaded onto the designated mode of transportation, such as a ship, airplane, train, or truck, and the journey has commenced. This term is commonly used in the context of international shipping, particularly when goods are transported by sea.

For example, when a shipment is “On board” a ship, it indicates that the cargo has been loaded onto the vessel, and the ship has departed or is about to depart from the port of origin. At this stage, the carrier or shipping company takes responsibility for the goods and their safe transportation to the destination port or final delivery location.

For air freight, the term “On board” indicates that the cargo has been loaded onto the aircraft, and the flight has departed or is about to depart from the airport of origin. Similarly, for road and rail transportation, “On board” signifies that the goods have been loaded onto the truck or train, and the journey has begun.

The “On board” status is an important milestone in the shipping process, and it is often recorded in shipping documentation, including bills of lading or air waybills, to confirm that the cargo has started its journey. This information is critical for tracking and monitoring the progress of the shipment and for providing proof of shipment to buyers, sellers, and other parties involved in the trade.

Once the goods are “On board,” the carrier assumes responsibility for their safe delivery, and any further updates regarding the shipment’s progress can usually be obtained from the carrier or the shipping company’s tracking system. Importers and exporters typically use this information to stay informed about the status of their shipments and to plan for customs clearance and subsequent distribution or delivery activities.

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