FOB Shipping Point vs FOB Destination: Definitions and Examples

FOB Shipping Point

As a seller, when you send the shipment via a third-party carrier like UPS, you should use a bill of lading. The seller should help the buyer/importer with acquiring any documentation necessary in the country of origin. The seller must deliver the goods to the port of origin within the agreed upon duration.

With FOB destination, ownership of goods is transferred to the buyer at the buyer’s loading dock. In this type of agreement, the buyer assumes full responsibility for the goods after the seller delivers them to the carrier. While the two terms are similar in both sound and meaning, there is a distinct difference between them. That distinction is important as it specifies who is liable for goods that have been lost or damaged during shipping. However, even with the standardization, international trade is still a complicated process, especially when you consider that trade laws are often very different from country to country.

More Definitions of F.O.B. Shipping Point

Additionally, we might assume that the products never arrived at their destination in Europe. Even though the buyer remains in contract with the seller, since a FOB destination contract was signed, the seller may take full responsibility for the lost goods. Therefore a company cannot and should not recognize revenue until the goods have arrived on location of the customer.

  • FOB Shipping Point is the terms of a sale in which legal title to the goods transfers from the seller to the buyer when those goods leave the seller’s warehouse, and as a result, the buyer pays the freight charges.
  • Sure, you want to keep costs low by making your own shipping arrangements, but can you afford the liability if something goes wrong?
  • In FOB Shipping Point buyer must record the purchase as soon as the goods leave the seller’s warehouse .
  • It is because under FOB shipping point, shipment cost is normally incurred by the buyer.
  • This is why we think it is an important matter to talk about the legal aspect of commercial agreements in terms of the shipping process.

Shipping terms are important because of the massive worldwide volume shipped, and the need to have a common understanding of these terms for contracts. The terms affect shipping costs, liability, and even financial statements for accounting. With so many languages spoken, it makes sense to have agreed-upon terms to lessen confusion. If a sale is FOB shipping point, it is recorded when the goods are shipped and the parties do not need to wait for them to reach their destination. FOB destination on the other hand, is a shipment term under which the seller transfers the risk at the moment the goods reach the destination.

FOB Shipping Point or FOB Destination – Which is Better?

An agreement is signed and the container is handed off to the freight carrier at the shipping point. With FOB shipping point, ownership of goods is transferred to the buyer once they leave the supplier’s shipping point.

FOB Shipping Point

This means that your shipment is in the proverbial hands of the supplier through the process of transporting them to a port and loading them aboard a ship. As such, FOB shipping means that the supplier retains ownership and responsibility for the goods until they are loaded ‘on board’ a shipping vessel. FOB shipping and FOB destination are the main categories to determine when the title of the goods is transferred from the seller to the buyer, who pays the fees and who is liable. But there are some finer points to know, and you may see these terms on your invoice or bill of lading. A related but separate term, “CAP,” (customer-arranged pickup) is used when the contract is for the buyer to arrange transport via a carrier of their choice, to retrieve the goods from the seller’s premises. This is also the moment that the supplier should record a sale since they’re taking ownership at the receiving dock.

What is the difference between FOB Shipping Point and FOB Destination?

The buyer should record the purchase, the account payable, and the increase in its inventory as of December 30 . Since the goods on the truck belong to the buyer, the buyer should pay the shipping costs. These shipping costs will be an additional cost of the goods purchased. If the seller of goods quotes a price that is FOB shipping point, the sale takes place when the seller puts the goods on a common carrier at the seller’s dock. Therefore, when the goods are being transported to the buyer, they are owned by the buyer and the buyer is responsible for the shipping costs.

FOB Shipping Point

The cargo arrives at the receiving dock and the buyer takes ownership and liability. The buyer is responsible, even though the watches were damaged before arriving on U.S. soil. As soon as the goods arrive at the transportation site, and are placed on a delivery vehicle, or at the shipping dock, the buyer is liable for any losses or damage that occur after. The buyer would then record the sale, and consider their inventory increased. FOB is only used in non-containerized sea freight or inland waterway transport. As with all Incoterms, FOB does not define the point at which ownership of the goods is transferred. Realistically, it is quite difficult for the buyer to record a delivery at the shipping point, since this requires proper notification into the buyer’s inventory management system from an outside location.

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If a shipper sends out freight, but that freight never arrives at the customer, the shipper is responsible for either replacing or reimbursing the cost of the goods. It’s important for the moment of sale to be accurately recorded for this reason, and also for entry into the company records. Although FOB has long been stated as “Freight On Board” in sales contract terminology, this should be avoided as it does not precisely conform to the meaning of the acronym as specified in the UCC.

  • The major difference between the two terms is the timing of the transfer.
  • Freight Collect indicates that the responsibility for freight charges payments is on the buyer/receiver of the products and goods.
  • The shipper is free of any obligation regarding the goods once they are on the ship.
  • FOB states that the seller should pack the goods and deliver and load them onto the ship fully cleared for export.
  • Now that we understand what FOB is, let’s dive into another common phrase within shipping, Freight Collect.
  • The company must record sales for the merchandiser and manufacturer when a sale is made.

Ship means a vessel of any type whatsoever operating in the marine environment and includes hydrofoil boats, air-cushion vehicles, submersibles, floating craft and fixed or floating platforms. Type YES/NO Is Required Y If the price varies throughout the state because of different delivery destinations, please indicate the price FOB Shipping Point. If the price varies throughout the state because of different delivery destinations, please indicate the price FOB Shipping Point. As I have mentioned, the laws and documents and processes that impact on importation and exportation vary for different countries. A refrigerator is a pricey purchase, so the buyer must be prepared to fork out a substantial amount of the money up front. Nowadays, if you want to buy something, the easiest way to find it is online. Ecommerce is big business, a wave that has revolutionized most industries.


We’ll go over FOB basics, its variations, and the benefits your small business can enjoy from using it. F.O.B. Shipping Pointmeans that ownership to the merchandise is transferredto the buyer upon shipment thereof. This gives the business protection, in the event of a failed payment after the business has already paid for the transportation. The timing difference from shipping terms is typically just a few days and unlikely to affect periodic financial statements. However, a CPA preparing GAAP financial statements will put in more scrutiny. Note that while international shipments use “FOB” in the definition provided by the Incoterms standards (always standing for “Free On Board”), this is not always the case for North America shipments.

  • Investopedia does not include all offers available in the marketplace.
  • FOB originally referred to overseas shipments by boat, but its use in the U.S. more generally applies to all forms of delivery transport, including truck, rail, and air.
  • The answer to who is responsible when an item or product is damaged or lost upon shipping depends on what type of agreement or contract both parties have signed.
  • A 2018 study by Ki-Moon Han of the Korea Research Society for Customs looks at the complexities of FOB contracts and explains that they are often misunderstood.

Incoterms is updated each decade, with the 2020 Incoterms published in late 2019. Incoterms are agreed-upon terms that define transactions between shippers and buyers, so importers and exporters can speak the same shipping language. While Incoterms can apply to international trade and domestic shipments, UCC is primarily used for domestic shipments. Knowing the difference between FOB shipping and FOB destination can help you determine whether the shipping charges on your bill of lading are accurate or not. Errors on your bill of lading can often lead to shipping costs that you may not be responsible for, so with proper knowledge of these terms and shipping consulting, you can protect yourself from overspending. The terms of FOB affect the buyer’s inventory cost—adding liability for shipped goods increases inventory costs and reduces net income. Cost, insurance, and freight is a method of exporting goods where the seller pays expenses until the product is completely loaded on a ship.

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With a CIF agreement, the seller pays costs and assumes liability until the goods reach the port of destination chosen by the buyer. One more difference between the FOB shipping point and FOB destination lies in the costs of transport.

What is CIF and CFR?

Cost and freight (CFR) is a trade term that requires the seller to transport goods by sea to a required port. Cost, insurance, and freight (CIF) is what a seller pays to cover the cost of shipping, as well as the insurance to protect against the potential damage of loss to a buyer's order.

FOB Shipping Point is the terms of a sale in which legal title to the goods transfers from the seller to the buyer when those goods leave the seller’s warehouse, and as a result, the buyer pays the freight charges. Under the FOB shipping point, the seller bears the cost until the shipment reaches the supplier’s shipping dock. Once the goods are on the ship, the buyer is responsible for all the expenses, including customs, taxes, and other fees. Under FOB Destination, the seller is responsible for all costs until goods reach their destination port.

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Under the Incoterms 2020 standard published by the International Chamber of Commerce, FOB is only used in sea freight and stands for “Free On Board”. A 2018 study by Ki-Moon Han of the Korea Research Society for Customs looks at the complexities of FOB contracts and explains that they are often misunderstood. According to Han, more sophisticated contracts are increasingly used to meet the needs of international traders. Peggy James is a CPA FOB Shipping Point with over 9 years of experience in accounting and finance, including corporate, nonprofit, and personal finance environments. She most recently worked at Duke University and is the owner of Peggy James, CPA, PLLC, serving small businesses, nonprofits, solopreneurs, freelancers, and individuals. Cost and freight obligates a seller to arrange sea transportation and provide the buyer the needed documents to retrieve the goods upon arrival.

  • The title of ownership is transferred at the buyer’s specified address, loading dock, office address, etc.
  • FOB destination cost – Seller is responsible for all fees and transport costs right up to the point that the goods reach the actual destination.
  • EXW. Ex Works, which only requires the seller to get products ready to be shipped from its location.
  • Therefore a company cannot and should not recognize revenue until the goods have arrived on location of the customer.

In some cases, the goods also have to be transported to the buyer’s location . Furthermore, there are extra costs, such as paying for customs clearance and other inspections or certifications. Freight costs are likely to increase drastically when you are shipping goods overseas. Every parcel shipped from one country to another has to clear customs. It doesn’t matter what you are shipping – shoes, candy, couches, refrigerators, you name it. If you are a seller using FOB destination and you are shipping using a third-party carrier such as US Postal Service or UPS, consider getting insurance on any expensive goods that you ship.

• FOB Destination

This means there is a difference between the legal terms of the arrangement and the typical accounting for it. There are a few key differences between the FOB shipping point and the FOB destination of goods. The following differences can be noted when a seller enters into a contract with a buyer. For instance, when the sale of goods and the related receivable occurs, there is a difference in the way a buyer and seller account for the inventory. Similarly, the assumed costs and liabilities can also present differences between the party responsible for shipping expenses as well as the responsibility of the products during transport. FOB shipping point, or free on board shipping point, is a shipping term that refers to the sale of goods that takes place when the seller or provider of those goods ships out a product.

FOB Shipping Point

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