There are various liner terms when it comes to shipping bulk cargo via an ocean vessel. Each of these terms outline the responsibilities of the shipper, shipowner and the consignee. One of the most commonly used liner terms is FIOST.

FIOST stands for Free In/Out, Stowed, and Trimmed and is a shipping term whereby the shipper is responsible for the loading, stowage, and trimming of the cargo, the vessel owner for transport and the consignee for the unloading.

  • Loading (shipper’s responsibility)
  • Stowage (shipper’s responsibility)
  • Trimming (shipper’s responsibility)
  • Transport (shipowner’s responsibility)
  • Unloading (consignee’s responsibility)

This article aims to provide in-depth information about the FIOST shipping term and outline which scope is covered by each respective party. We’ll also be discussing how vessel demurrage comes into play with this liner term.

What Does the FIOST Shipping Term Cover?

To understand the FIOST term, you’ll need to know which party is responsible for what activity. A quick way to understand the responsibilities, you’ll need to look at the liner term in the perspective of the vessel owner. 

As this liner term stands for Free In/Out, Stowed, and Trimmed, the shipper and consignee cover the in/out handling, stowage as well as trimming. The shipowner is responsible for the transport. If you need more context, you can find a more detailed explanation below.

Shipper Responsibilities:

  • Loading – Under the FIOST liner term, the shipper is responsible for loading the bulk cargo into the vessel. They have the option between self-loading and working with a service provider or the port terminal. 
  • Stowage – They will also have to ensure that the break bulk cargo is safely stored in the vessel’s cargo hold. Depending on the type of cargo, it may be stored in boxes, drums, barrels, cartons, crates or even on its own.
  • Trimming – Certain cargo may also need to be trimmed. By trimming, the bulk cargo is evenly distributed to ensure that the vessel has optimal weight distribution. The shipper is also responsible for cargo trimming.

Shipowner Responsibilities:

  • Transport – Under the FIOST liner term, the only responsibility of the shipowner is to make the vessel available at the agreed timelines and the transport from the port of loading to the port of discharge. Depending on the charter party, they may also have to account for any accessorial charges, such as berthing, channel lighting or pilotage. 

Consignee Responsibilities:

  • Unloading – The consignee is responsible for the unloading of the bulk cargo from the vessel at the port of discharge. This part of the scope may also be organized by the shipper, depending on the agreement between the shipper and the consignee.

How Vessel Demurrage Works With the FIOST Shipping Term

The charter party will typically outline the vessel demurrage terms. Vessel demurrage under the FIOST liner term occurs when the shipper does not manage to load the cargo onto the vessel in the agreed laytime.

Once that happens, the vessel owner must pay additional berthing fees to the port operator to account for the excess loading time. The same principle is applicable for the unloading activity at the port of discharge. To offset this, the shipowner will collect a vessel demurrage fee from the cargo owner.

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Gerrit Poel

Co-Founder & Writer
at freightcourse

About the Author

Gerrit is a certified international supply chain management professional with 16 years of industry experience, having worked for one of the largest global freight forwarders.

As the co-founder of freightcourse, he’s committed to his passion for serving as a source of education and information on various supply chain topics.