FOB is an important term related to the shipping of goods. It stands for “freight on board” or “free on board” indicating the designation when the ownership or liability of goods gets transferred from the seller to the buyer. The term FOB is often confusing for many in the shipping industry. However, it is crucial that both sellers and buyers must understand the proper FOB definition and scope so that they do not end up in losing dollars. This term determines the responsibility of the party for bearing the charges of freight and also decides the point of time when the shipment is passed over from the sellers to the buyers.
For instance, in case of international shipping, FOB indicates that the consignor is going to bear the loading cost and the transportation cost for sending the goods to the port. The consignee bears expenses related to insurance, ocean freight, unloading and the transportation cost of the goods from the port to the actual destination. The seller in this situation passes over the risk of the goods to the buyer when there is the loading of goods at the port for shipment.
Difference Between Origin And Destination:
FOB origin indicates that the ownership of the goods is transferred as soon as in gets out of the hands of the seller. If shipping of the goods is required then it is the buyer’s responsibility and he or she has to bear the expenses. This type of transaction is often referred to the city name like FOB Boston, FOB San Francisco, etc.
FOB destination, on the other hand, indicates that ownership of goods is transferred to the buyer when the original products reach the doorstep of the buyer. Here, the seller has to arrange for the transportation of the goods for which either he pays or charges the buyer for the expenses. The seller also has to be liable in case the goods suffer any damage while en route.
FOB comes more into the picture when there are wholesale or B2B shipments of large goods.
Use Of FOB In The Shipping Documents:
There are four ways in which the FOB term is included in the documents for shipping:
- FOB (place of origin)- Freight Collect
- FOB (place of origin)- Freight Prepaid
- FOB (place of destination)- Freight Collect
- FOB (place of destination)- Freight Prepaid
It is important that the shippers understand the FOB designations well especially in case of damages to the goods. Some of the receiving docks totally deny the delivery of the damaged goods without accepting the damage notation. However, when a shipment is designated properly, it is clear that the damage risk has to be borne by the seller or the buyer. In such cases, there is no question of confusion. Moreover, the Incoterm 2010 has also amended the definition of FOB which has made the sale contracts simpler and understandable by all.
Why Does FOB Matter?
The term is particularly important for those companies who are engaged in shipping huge quantities of goods. A clear concept of the FOB term helps in understanding the liability of the party regarding the safety in the delivery of the shipment. It also helps the buyer and the seller in knowing which party owns the materials at a particular point of the shipping cycle. This information is also helpful for the accountants who can maintain instant records of the transactions on the basis of FOB. Moreover, the term is also useful in proper logistics management.
Sales Tax And FOB:
If you are falling in the nexus of any state which charges selling taxes on shipment, then FOB can be your friend. For the packages which have FOB origin marked on them, the buyer pays the freight charges directly by contracting with a shipper. Thus, the seller has no role here. The buyer does not have to bear sales taxes as he has already paid the freight charges which most of the states consider exempted.
When people find the term quite complex to understand and interpret, they often take the help of professionals who are expert in the field. This ensures that you comply with the terms without any faults and the shipments get managed quite fast. FOB incoterms is another interesting aspect which the shipping industry must pay attention to and know about in details.