Shipping Slang: ARTA'S Fine Art Shipping Dictionary

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What is a "bug stamp"? What about a "gantry"? What is the difference between "Full Risk" and "Limited" Insurance?
We've written up short, digestible definitions in layman's terms of phrases and terminology you might hear thrown around when it comes to shipping fine art and high-end goods. 
 

general

Customs Broker

A licensed individual who works with customs authorities to clear freight on behalf of the importer of record.

Covers any and all damage acquired in transit "from wall to wall." Policy must be purchased and costs are in addition to shipping charges.

Full Risk Insurance

 

Coverage only offered in cases of total loss, including theft, non-delivery or total damage.

Limited Insurance

 

Individual receiving the works and/or the purchasing party.

Recipient / Buyer / Importer of Record / Consignee

 

Individual who is listed as the seller/releasing party.

Shipper / consignor

 

Agent facilitating shipping services between parties (Also written “3 PL”).

third party

 

transport

Air suspension system that absorbs shock and minimizes excessive bumps to avoid damage during transit.

Air Ride

 

A truck typically between 12 - 36 feet, often temperature controlled, air ride and includes a lift gate.

Box truck

 

When artworks are temporarily staged in a warehouse between truck transport.

Cross Docking

 

Shipments that originate in and deliver to locations with an elevated platform.  Does not include ground level doorways or garages.

Dock to Dock

 

Two drivers are present through the entire transport.

Dual Driver

 

Dedicated truck use for a single shipment.

Exclusive use

 

Climate controlled, air ride road transportation operated by two fine art technicians. Weekly, biweekly or monthly routine routes and consolidated cargo keep costs low but require flexible collection and delivery windows.

Fine art shuttle

 

Open cargo area with only a bed and no walls, used for transporting oversize artworks.

flatbed truck

 

Facilitates the shipment of crates between countries via air and sea, not including specialized art handling services.

Freight Forwarding

 

A modified tractor trailer that allows for higher internal height, reaching up to 120 inches.

High Cube

 

Hydraulic platform attached to the back of some trucks.  Often required when there is not a dock to receive or release.

Lift Gate

 

Warehouse to warehouse trucking, not including local services.

Line Haul Transport

 

A vehicle used for local collections and deliveries of small artworks, or locations that cannot be reached by larger trucks.

sprinter van

 

Maintains temperature in the cargo area, typically between 68 - 72 degree fahrenheit.

temperature control

 

Largest fine art shipping vehicle, with an average length of 53 feet.  Door heights range from 105 - 115”.  See High Cube.

tractor trailer

 

packing

Wooden travel frame used to transport works at a lean if oversized.

a-frame

 

Fitted foam sections into cardboard box or crate to fill empty space and support artwork.

cavity pack

 

Required seal that certifies that the wood used in the crate is heat treated and meets IPCC standards: debarked and heat treated.

IPPC Bug Stamp

 

Permanent hardware that screws into the back of an artwork to secure it in a travel frame or crate.

Oz-clips

 

A plywood box substitute for a more substantial crate.

ply box

 

Inexpensive plastic covering, non-abrasive and non-stick for wrapping framed and acrylic works. Not suitable for long term storage.  Often referred to as “Poly”.

Polyeutherine

 

To protect delicate or wet surfaces, cardboard collar fits around the edges of an artwork creating space between the surface of the work and any other object.  Plastic or cardboard faces are used to further protect.

Shadow Box or Collar

 

Wooden crate without walls only internal framing.  Used for works with sensitive surfaces that cannot touch padding, or to save costs on wood for siding.

Slat Crate

 

Cardboard container used for shuttle transit of two dimensional works. Not suitable for freight shipments.

slipcase

 

General term for packing artworks in materials including but not limited to; blankets, bubble, plastic, cardboard.

soft packing

 

Brand of heavy tube where two dimensional artworks are wrapped on the outside.

sonotube

 

Open wooden container used to hang artworks with relief around the edges during transit.  T-frames can be packed into larger enclosed crate. T-frames can also have poly or coroplast walls.

Travel Frame (T-Frame)

 

Slat crate with tri-wall cardboard sheets used for siding.

tri-wall crate

 

Cylindrical packing for two dimensional artwork.  Pieces are rolled and placed inside.

tube

 

High quality brand of plastic wrapping, see Polyeurethine.

tyvec

 

handling and equipment

Formal review of an artwork at collection or delivery to inspect for damage, alterations and record the current status of the item.

Condition Check / Conditioning

 

Wheeled platform for moving crates.

dolly

 

Vehicle for lifting oversized crates, weighing roughly over 500lbs.

forklift

 

Frame with adjustable hook used for lifting and placing sculptural artworks of varying sizes but often used for oversize or heavy pieces or crates.

Gantry

 

Brand of lifting equipment used for installation of heavy artworks in small locations.

genie lift

 

Wheeled metal cart with tall handles used to move crates.

Hand truck (US) / Sack barrow (UK)

 

Installation equipment including but not limited to: d-rings, cleats, oz-clips, wire and wall mounts.

hardware

 

Form of forklift used for the maneuvering of palletized items or crates, operated by hand.

pallet jack

 

warehousing and storage

Warehouses have designated climate-controlled areas that monitor temperature and humidity. Non-climate storage is available at a lower rate.

Climate Controlled vs. Non-Climate

 

Communal storage space at an economical rate.

open storage

 

White wall gallery space used for displaying, photographing and doing condition reports of artworks on site at a warehouse

viewing room

 

Administrative fee for warehouses to receive in and release artworks. Typically billed to an existing client account. Can be included in any ARTA estimate, per client request.

Warehouse Handling Fee (or Dock Fee)

 

documents

Document with collection and delivery locations, signed by releasing and receiving parties for proof of transport.

Bill of Lading (BOL) (US) / Col / Del Note (UK)

 

Proof of insurance and worker’s compensation coverage for external companies to perform tasks on site. Typically required by large residential or commercial buildings.

Certificate of Insurance [COI]

 

Record of sale, including artwork details, purchasing party and price of an artwork. Pro-forma invoices are issued prior to the actual sale.

Commercial Invoice / Pro-forma Invoice

 

Document typically required for insurance to note any damage or status changes at collection or delivery.  Commonly includes images, diagrams and written notes.

condition report

 

Provides authorization for the customs broker to clear freight on behalf of the importer of record.  Form will be provided by the customs broker to the consignee for completion prior to entry into the designated delivery country.

Power of Attorney [POA]

 

Receipt for the contract of carriage.  Unique SWB/AWB numbers can be tracked online.

Seaway / Airway Bill [SWB / AWB]

 

importing and exporting 

 

When goods are imported and payment of duty or import VAT is deferred, so long as the work does leave the bonded premises under which it is stored. This is often used with items in long-term storage.

bond

 

A contract used for guaranteeing that a specific obligation will be fulfilled between customs and an importer for any given import transaction. Usually used to guarantee the payment of import duties and taxes.

customs bond

 

Goods that have been produced in the European Union (EU), or that have been imported into an EU country with duty paid

free circulation

 

A fee collected by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to process merchandise entering into the U.S., paid at the time of entry summary.  

Merchandise Processing Fee (MPF)

 

When goods are temporarily imported into a country without payment of duties, by posting a bond to guarantee that they will be exported. 

temporary import (TI) / temporary admission (TA)