Glossary of Transportation Terms

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Hague Rules

Code of minimum conditions for the carriage of cargo under a bill of lading

Harbor Dues

Various local charges against all seagoing vessels entering a harbor, to cover maintenance of channel depths, buoys, lights, etc. all harbors do not necessarily have this charge.

Harbor Master

A person usually having the experience of a certificated master mariner and having a good knowledge of the characteristics of the port and its whole area. He administers the entire shipping movements that take place in and within reach of the port he is responsible for.

Hard Aground

A vessel which has gone aground and is incapable of refloating under her own power.

Hard Currency

A currency which is sound enough to be accepted internationally and which is usually fully convertible.

Harmonized Code

An internationally accepted and uniform description system for classifying goods for customs, statistical, and other purposes.

Harmonized System (HS)

A key provision of the international trade bill, effective January 1, 1989, that established international uniformity for classifying goods moving in international trade under a single commodity code.

Harter Act

(1893) This U.S. statute refers to merchandise or property transported from or between ports of the United States and foreign ports. Now partially superseded by the US Carriage of Goods by Sea Act of 1936.


The cover of, or opening in, the deck of a vessel through which cargo is loaded.

Hazardous Material (Haz Mat)

Substance or combination of substances which, because of its quantity, concentration, or physical or chemical characteristics, may cause or significantly pose a substantial hazard to human health or the environment when improperly packaged, stored, transported, or otherwise managed

Hazardous Waste

Any material, whether solid, liquid or containing gaseous material, identified in the Resource & Conservation Recovery Act (RCRA) either by name (listed) or by characteristics

Heavy Lift Vessel

A vessel specifically designed to be self-sustaining with heavy lift cranes to handle unusually heavy or outsized cargoes.

Heavy Lifts

Freight too heavy to be handled by regular ship's tackle.


A tiller or a wheel generally installed on the bridge or wheelhouse of a ship to turn the rudder during maneuvering and navigation. It is in fact the steering wheel of the ship.

Hi (or High) Cube

Any container exceeding 102 inches in height.


A general name for the spaces below the main deck designated for stowage of general cargo. A hold on a tanker is usually just forward of #1 cargo tank. Some newer tankers have no hold.


A central location to which traffic from many cities is directed and from which traffic is fed to other areas.


Shell or body of a ship.

Hundredweight (cwt.)

Short ton hundredweight = 100 pounds. Long ton hundredweight = 112 pounds.


A term used by steamship lines, agents, or port captains who are appointed to handle all matters in assisting the master of the vessel while in port to obtain such services as bunkering, fresh water, food and supplies, payroll for the crew, doctors appointments, and ship repair.

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