This latest version was launched in September 2010 but actually came into being on 1st January 2011. This sometimes leads to confusion, with people referring to Incoterms 2011; and you may hear references to Incoterms 2012 or Incoterms 2013. They are not, however, updated annually and the correct reference is currently ‘Incoterms 2010’.
As we shall see, the Incoterms are described by 3-letter acronyms that aim to make them well-known and understood anywhere, regardless of language.
This latest edition contains 11 terms. The first 7 are applied to any form of transportation: the final 4 are applicable only to sea or waterway freight.
It is important to understand the concept of ‘delivery’ as it is understood in the freight industry. It does not always mean the physical arrival of the goods at their destination. It actually means the point at which the seller completes his contractual obligation (so in the case of Ex Works, that is when the buyer loads a lorry with the goods at the seller’s plant).
It may also help to note the significance of the first letter in the terms:
C terms require the seller to pay for shipping.
D terms mean that the seller or shipper’s responsibility ceases at a specified point, and they deal with who will pay pier, docking and clearance charges.
E terms mean that when the goods are ready to leave the seller’s premises, his responsibility ceases.
F terms mean that the primary cost of shipping is not met by the seller.