Glossary of Terms

Bill of Lading (BL): A document or a contract between a line operator and a shipper. The bill of lading lists all cargo items received from a shipper that will be delivered to the consignee named in the contract. It also lists the origin and the destination of the cargo. One bill of lading can list cargo items that are distributed among several containers. Conversely, one container can include cargo items from several bills of lading. Each bill of lading relates to a single vessel visit.

Booking: See Export Booking

Category Applies to Units : The category of the unit. IMPORT, EXPORT, TRANSSHIP, DOMESTIC, STORAGE or THROUGH (includes restow)

Complex: Two or more facilities that function as one business unit. They share reference data, containers, bookings, and other business information. An operator can have multiple complexes.

Create Time Applies to Units : Creation time of the Unit Facility Visit.

Dwell: The length of time that cargo remains in a facility before it is loaded onto a vessel or collected for domestic distribution. It is typically used to calculate storage charges. SPARCS N4 calculates the unit dwell time as the current time minus the time that the unit entered the yard at the current facility. For example, if the result is:

  • Greater than 0 days (for example 2 hours) and less or equal to 1 day, the dwell equals 1 day.
  • Greater than 1 day and less or equal to 2 days, the dwell equals 2 days.
  • Greater than 2 days and less or equal to 3 days, the dwell equals 3 days.

EC/In Time Applies to Units : Time when Transit State became EC/IN (Equipment Control In).

  • If arriving by road, the time the truck entered the gate.
  • If arriving by sea, the time of discharge.
EIR: Equipment Interchange Receipt. A receipt that is given to a truck driver for verification of the gate transactions that were performed at the terminal. The EIR number is the same as the Gate Transaction Number. This number is only unique within a specific facility.

Equipment Delivery Order (EDO): An order that is used to deliver empty containers or chassis out the gate to reposition equipment, to provide empty containers to shippers, to dispatch off-hired equipment, or for repairs.

Export Booking: An appointment made with a line operator to reserve space on a vessel for the transport of containers.

Facility: A terminal, including its yards. A complex can have multiple facilities.

Freight Kind Applies to Units : The status of a unit, based on its contents: MTY (Empty), FCL (Full Container Load), LCL (Less-than Container Load), B-BULK (Break-bulk).

Guarded Entity: An entity whose behavior is controlled by another entity that is also referred to as a guardian entity. For example, the units on board a vessel are the guarded entities, while the vessel is the guardian. Also, equipment associated with a unit, such as a container or chassis, is the guardian of the unit, while the unit is the guarded entity.

Guardian Entity: An entity that controls the behavior of another entity that is also referred to as a guarded entity. For example, a vessel is a guardian for the units on board, which are the guarded entities. Also, equipment associated with a unit, such as a container or chassis, is the guardian for the unit, which is the guarded entity.
In SPARCS N4, the term is used to identify the affected entities when holds/permissions are updated and service events are recorded. For example, a hold that is applied to a guardian entity may prevent the recording of an event for the guarded entity, or a DISCHARGE hold that is applied to a vessel prevents all units on the vessel from being discharged. This makes it unnecessary to apply a direct hold on each unit on the vessel.

Impediments Applies to Units : REQUIRED permissions and ACTIVE holds that prevent any unit event. This includes holds/permission on a guardian of a unit, such as a hold on an export booking that prevents a UNIT_LOAD event for all units associated with the export booking.

Last Move Applies to Units : Time of the unit move to its current position. For a new visit it will be the same as the Create Time.

Line Op: The current operator (shipping line) of the unit.

POD: The first Port of Discharge.

Pre-Advise: The action of providing information about an export container, such as the container number, prior to its arrival at the terminal. This can be done either through an EDI message or through data entry at the terminal. Pre-advising is allowed by line operators, customs brokers, trucking companies, and terminal representatives for containers with or without a booking.

Stop-Road: A flag that indicates whether an active hold or required permission for a service business rule is in place for the associated gate event such as a UNIT_DELIVER.

Stop-Vsl (Vessel): A flag that indicates whether an active hold or required permission for a service business rule is in place for the associated vessel event such as a UNIT_LOAD.

Tally In Applies to Export Bookings: The total amount of containers that were received for this order.

Tally Out Applies to Export Bookings/EDO: The total amount of containers that were dispatched for this order. The container need not be dispatched from one of our facilities. The Tally Out counter is incremented when a container is received that was not dispatched from one of our facilities. The Tally In count should never exceed the Tally Out count.

Time In Applies to Units : Time when Transit-State became YARD.

Time Out Applies to Units : Time when Transit-State became DEPARTED.

Transit-State (T-State) Applies to Units : INBOUND, EC/IN, YARD, EC/OUT, LOADED, ADVISED, DEPARTED, RETIRED. The Transit state will be the same as the Visit State when the container is not ACTIVE. The Transit-State is a further breakdown of the ACTIVE Visit State.
  • INBOUND: Is incoming and located on an inbound carrier, such as a pre-advised unit or a unit created via a stowplan EDI message.
  • EC/IN: Equipment Control in. Is incoming and at the facility. For example, a unit that is in a queue and waiting for the equipment control to place it in the yard.
  • YARD: Is in a specific position in a yard in a facility.
  • EC/OUT: Equipment Control out. Is in a queue at a facility and waiting for the equipment control to deliver it or load it on a vessel.
  • ADVISED, DEPARTED and RETIRED: See Visit-State.
Type ISO: Equipment Type ISO. For information about ISO codes, see the Documents section at http://www.smdg.org.

Unit: A business entity that is tracked by the system. A unit can be a single piece of equipment or any combination of equipment, such as a container and chassis, moving as a single entity through a complex. Units are created when the equipment enters a complex (or is pre-advised). A unit always has at least one unit facility visit. If equipment travels between facilities in a complex, SPARCS N4 creates a new unit facility visit for each facility that the unit visits.
Each unit facility visit displays as a separate record in the Unit tracking results. Therefore, SPARCS N4 can display multiple unit records for the same equipment in the Units list, but only one record is in an ACTIVE visit-state.
Units become historical data when their life cycle ends, such as when a unit is in a DEPARTED or RETIRED visit-state. Typically, this occurs when a unit leaves a complex.

Important characteristics:
  • You can generate multiple units from one for different pieces of equipment (for example by splitting a bundle of flat-racks).
  • You can combine multiple units into one (for example a stacked full container that is placed on a previously empty chassis).
  • You can reconfigure units (for example two containers, each on a chassis, flipped onto each others' chassis).
Examples of units:
  • A container and a chassis
  • A bundle of five flat-rack containers
  • A bare chassis
  • A container, a chassis, and an accessory

Unit Facility Visit: Each visit that a unit makes or will make to a facility. A unit always has at least one unit facility visit and can be associated with multiple unit facility visits. Each unit facility visit displays as a separate record in the Unit tracking results.

Vessel Visit: A scheduled date and time that a vessel will arrive at a terminal for the purpose of loading and discharging cargo. Vessel visits may consist of one or more voyages.

Visit-State (V-State) Applies to Units : ACTIVE, ADVISED, DEPARTED or RETIRED.
  • ACTIVE: Located on an inbound carrier, in the yard at the facility, or on an outbound carrier.
  • ADVISED: Incoming but not certain to arrive at the facility, such as a unit created via an EDI message.
  • DEPARTED: The visit life-cycle ended with the container leaving the facility
  • RETIRED: The visit life-cycle ended on the facility. (Example: The container was stripped)
Reference: SPARCS N4 Help