In practice, it frequently happens that the parties themselves by adding words to an Incoterm seek further precision than the term could offer. It should be underlined that Incoterms give no guidance whatsoever for such additions. Thus, if the parties cannot rely on a well-established custom of the trade for the interpretation of such additions they may encounter serious problems when no consistent understanding of the additions could be proven.
If for instance the common expressions «FOB stowed» or «EXW loaded» are used, it is impossible to establish aworld-wide understanding to the effect that the seller's obligations are extended not only with respect to the cost of actually loading the goods in the ship or on the vehicle respectively but also include the risk of fortuitous loss of or damage to the goods in the process of stowage and loading. For these reasons, the parties are strongly advised to clarify whether they only mean that the function or the cost of the stowage and loading operations should fall upon the seller or whether he should also bear the risk until the stowage and loading has actually been completed. These are questions to which Incoterms do not provide an answer: consequently, if the contract too fails expressly to describe the parties' intentions, the parties may be put to much unnecessary trouble and cost.
Although Incoterms 2000 do not provide for many of these commonly used variants, the preambles to certain trade terms do alert the parties to the need for special contractual terms if the parties wish to go beyond the stipulations of Incoterms.
|EXW||the added obligation for the seller to load the goods on the buyer's collecting vehicle;|
|CIF/CIP||the buyer's need for additional insurance;|
|DEQ||the added obligation for the seller to pay for costs after discharge.|
In some cases sellers and buyers refer to commercial practice in liner and charter party trade. In these circumstances, it is necessary to clearly distinguish between the obligations of the parties under the contract of carriage and their obligations to each other under the contract of sale. Unfortunately, there are no authoritative definitions of expressions such as «liner terms» and «terminal handling charges» (THC). Distribution of costs under such terms may differ in different places and change from time to time. The parties are recommended to clarify in the contract of sale how such costs should be distributed between themselves.
Expressions frequently used in charterparties, such as «FOB stowed», «FOB stowed and trimmed», are sometimes used in contracts of sale in order to clarify to what extent the seller under FOB has to perform stowage and trimming of the goods onboard the ship. Where such words are added, it is necessary to clarify in the contract of sale whether the added obligations only relate to costs or to both costs and risks.
As has been said, every effort has been made to ensure that Incoterms reflect the most common commercial practice. However in some cases - particularly where Incoterms 2000 differ from Incoterms 1990 - the parties may wish the trade terms to operate differently. They are reminded of such options in the preamble of the terms signalled by the word.