Free On Board FOB Shipping: Meaning, Incoterms & Pricing

In this particular arrangement, the buyer takes on the responsibility of paying the sending costs. Also, the buyer is not required to reimburse the seller for any transit, customs, or sending charges, making it a convenient option for buyers. Importantly, the ownership of the goods does not shift to the buyer until they physically receive the items at the destination. In the case of FOB Destination, the seller takes charge of export customs procedures, while the buyer handles import clearance procedures upon the goods’ arrival at the final destination. Under FOB destination, the responsibility of insuring the goods is on the seller, as they hold ownership of the goods while they are in transit to the destination. Since the buyer takes possession of the items at its receiving dock, that is also where the seller should document a transaction.

When it comes to FOB shipping point and FOB destination, there are key differences that businesses need to understand. These differences primarily revolve around the timing of the transfer of title and the division of costs. With FOB shipping point, the buyer pays for shipping costs, in addition to any damage during shipping. The buyer is the one who would file a claim for damages if needed, as the buyer holds the title and ownership of the goods.

  1. The buyer receives ownership of the goods once they arrive at their destination and may inspect them before accepting them.
  2. And with Strikingly, you can easily communicate with your shipping partner and ensure that all necessary documentation is accurately completed.
  3. The buyer assumes ownership and responsibility for the goods once they reach the shipping dock and are shipped.
  4. As an example of an FOB shipping point, let’s say a shipping point has been set, and a buyer just purchased $20,000 worth of merchandise from a seller.

It defines the point when a buyer or seller becomes liable for goods transported by sea. In this journal entry, the freight-in account is a temporary account in which its normal balance is on the debit side. This account will be cleared at the end of the period when we calculate the cost of goods purchased. Basically, the freight-in cost here is considered as a part of the cost of goods purchased.

The buyer assumes responsibility for all shipping costs from the FOB shipping point to the final destination. However, the seller is responsible for the shipping costs from the point of origin to the FOB shipping point. FOB Shipping Point is commonly used in international trade, where goods are transported across long distances.


Upper utilize advanced route optimization algorithms to streamline your logistics, ensuring timely deliveries and minimizing shipping costs. It even provides GPS tracking to help you gain insights into your shipments in real-time. In a transaction governed by FOB shipping point, the accounting process is initiated when the seller ships the goods. Simultaneously, the buyer acknowledges the purchase and registers an increase in their inventory. Under FOB destination, ownership remains with the seller until the goods reach the buyer’s designated location. The buyer only takes ownership when the goods arrive at their location, and he or she accepts delivery.

Division of Costs in FOB Shipping Point and FOB Destination

Specifically, FOB shipping point indicates that the buyer assumes responsibility the moment goods are loaded for departure. Boost customer satisfaction while driving sales growth for your ecommerce business with an effective shipping and fulfillment strategy. Use this guide to create a plan that covers all aspects of shipping and fulfillment, from how much to charge your customers to choosing the right fulfillment method. Consider your options for managing your goods during transit and purchasing cargo insurance. If your items are expensive, unique, or in a category where obtaining insurance is difficult, negotiating for FOB destination may be a better option.

Domestic shipments within the United States or Canada often use a different meaning, specific to North America, which is inconsistent with the Incoterms standards. If the same seller issued a price quote of “$5000 FOB Miami”, then the seller would cover shipping to the buyer’s location. Since there is more than one set of rules, and legal definitions of FOB may differ from one country to another, the parties to a contract must indicate which governing laws are being used for a shipment. Unloading costs typically fall under the responsibility of the buyer in FOB delivery. Notably, some Incoterms are designed exclusively for sea transport, while others are versatile enough for any mode of transportation.


Understanding the major differences between them is key for buyers and sellers alike. In a transaction governed by FOB destination, the seller shoulders crucial responsibilities, ensuring a fob shipping point smooth and secure shipping process. As an importer, exporter, or anyone involved in shipping products, you must understand that this term determines who bears responsibility during transit.

Ownership of a cargo is independent of Incoterms, which relate to delivery and risk. In international trade, ownership of the cargo is defined by the contract of sale and the bill of lading or waybill. Each party should have a firm understanding of free on board (FOB) to ensure a smooth transfer of goods from the vendor to the client. Regardless of whether that transfer occurs on the domestic or international level, FOB terms can impact inventory, shipping, and insurance costs.

Shipping orders and contracts often describe the time and place of delivery, payment, when the risk of loss shifts from the seller to the buyer, and which party pays the costs of freight and insurance. In the FOB shipping point, ownership shifts from the seller to the buyer when the goods are loaded onto the carrier at the point of shipment. The buyer is then responsible for transportation, including selecting the carrier, covering freight costs, and obtaining transit insurance. FOB historically had referred to the transfer of title and liability between buyers and sellers of goods, and it was used solely for goods transported by ship. FOB destination is a shipping term used in international trade and freight logistics.

FOB shipping points is particularly advantageous for businesses with specific operational models. Clearly understanding these responsibilities enables a smooth transition between the parties at the handover point and avoids misunderstandings. Say a company in China, Beijing Traders, sells electronics to a buyer in the USA, American Retail Inc. They negotiate a purchase order for the sale of 2,000 tablets at a unit price of $100 USD. Any vendor-client transaction should have the FOB terms spelled out very clearly in purchase orders.

Since the buyer assumes ownership and responsibility for the goods once they leave the FOB address, they also carry the risk of any damages or losses during transit. Therefore, it’s crucial to ensure proper insurance coverage to protect against potential threats or liabilities. This means that the seller is responsible for the freight charges until the goods reach the shipping point, after which the buyer takes ownership and responsibility for the goods. In FOB destination, the seller retains responsibility for the goods until they reach the buyer at the specified destination.

FOB destination shipping is in the buyer’s best interest and an effective way for businesses to enhance their customer service. Only when the purchase arrives in perfect condition does the buyer accept it and consider the sale officially complete. When goods are labeled as FOB shipping point, the seller’s role in the transaction is complete when the purchased items are given to a shipping carrier and the shipment begins.

With FOB Destination, the seller is responsible for the shipping costs and any damages that may occur during transport. This can impact the overall cost of the product and should be taken into consideration when making purchasing decisions. The main reason it is important to differentiate between FOB Shipping Point and FOB Destination is because it determines when ownership of the products transfers from the seller to the buyer. This is important for accounting purposes and can impact who is responsible for any damages that may occur during transport. Another advantage of FOB Destination is that it allows the buyer to have more control over the shipping process, as they can choose the carrier and shipping method that best suits their needs.

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