Nautical Language in 21st Century

Nautical Language in 21st Century

Nautical language has influenced our modern day vocabulary more than we know. It is fascinating to discover just how many nautical words and phrases have been adopted over the centuries

Humanities close relationship with the sea has had a major influence on the words and expressions we use today.

The Western world has its roots in the areas surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. From as far back as the first Phoenician and Greek cultures (over 2,000 years ago) the Sea has not only been essential for basic survival, but in maintaining economic and social ties for the surrounding communities.

Many familiar words and phrases unexpectedly originate from this relationship with the sea; from commonly used words like ‘overwhelm’ – meaning to capsize and casual’ that was used to describe the wages paid to seamen between their regular payments.

The English language also gained many terms during the 18th and 19th centuries when British naval and merchant ships travelled the seas.

Expressions such as ‘square meal’ which refers to the tray food consumed on early British warships. Phrases like please stand by’ is an expression derived from the command given to sailors when they need to be ready.

Over the centuries new words and phrases have entered into our language from this continuous tie to our planets oceans. See just some of our examples below!

Nautical Language

If you are interested in learning more historical terms coined through humanities relationship with the sea follow the link below.
Old School Terms
Port and Starboard

Port is the nautical term for left and starboard means right. Originally the words come from the old sailing ships that did not have a rudder and were steered using a board on the right side which became known as the “steerboard” side, the other side of the vessel was called the port side as the boat was docked on this side so as to not interfere with the steering board.

Albatross Around One’s Neck

An Albatross is a large and long-winged seabird of the Southern Hemisphere capable of long flights. It was believed among seamen that albatrosses embodied the souls of dead sailors and it was considered unlucky to kill one.


From the 17th century, it described the Spanish custom of hoisting false flags to deceive (bamboozle) enemies. Today if one intentionally deceives someone, they are said to have bamboozled them.

Combing the Cat

When flogging a seaman, “combing the cat” meant to run fingers through the cat-o’-nine-tails after each stroke to separate the strands in preparation for the next stroke.

Whole Nine Yards

This expression means everything or all encompassing. The expression comes from the old square-rigged sailing vessels that had three masts with three yards of sails on each.  The whole nine yards meant all sails were up.


21st Century
Shipper / Consignor: 

An individual or firm that sends freight. A freight originator.


A transportation system design in which large hub terminals are used for freight consolidation. Medium-volume services serve the spoke-to-hub collection and hub-to-spoke distribution tasks. Large-volume services are operated in the hub-top-hub markets. In most systems, all outbound/inbound freight for a spoke uses the same hub, and thus larger shipment sizes are realised. Many transportation systems oriented in this way.


A portion of a transportation trip in which no freight is conveyed; an empty move. Transportation equipment is often dead-headed because of imbalances in supply and demand. For example, many more containers are shipped from Asia to North America than in reverse; empty containers are therefore dead-headed back to Asia.

Tramp Shipping: 

An ocean carrier company operating vessels not on regular runs or schedules. They call at any port where cargo may be available. Sometimes used for bulk cargo shipping.

Breakbulk Cargo: 

Cargo in-between bulk and containerised, that must be handled piece-by-piece by terminal workers (stevedores). Often stored in bags or boxes and stacked onto pallets. Smaller lift equipment (forklifts, small cranes) used than for containerised cargo, but more labour intensive.


Logistics Glossary

If you are interested in reading more about the language of logistics follow this link.
Shipping Emissions – Finally on Board?

Shipping Emissions – Finally on Board?

90% of global trade travels by sea. Without international shipping, the modern world would not be able to exchange goods at the level it currently does. Over the past few months there has been increasing reports of the IMO stepping up their road map to control shipping emissions, as well as large scale investments from the EU towards the sustainable future of our maritime industries. We take a look at just some of the initiatives aiming to make waves in shipping’s sustainability


During the 70th session of Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) meeting, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) walked away with clear aims.

  • A Global Sulphur Cap by 2020
  • Road mapping to reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions
  • Mandatory data collection system for Fuel Oil Consumption
  • New protected territories
  • New guidelines for Ballast Water Management
Violeta Bulc, European Commissioner for Transport said: “The maritime sector must play its part in tackling climate change. In the near future, ships will have to emit less sulphur and efforts to cut CO2 emissions have been stepped up. This will require immediate investment.”
1st January 2020 has been set as the deadline for companies to implement reduced sulphur content in fuel oil used on board. The global sulphur cap will stand at 0.50% m/m (mass/mass), cut from the 3.5% m/m global limit currently in place. Ships will be able to meet the new requirement by using low-sulphur compliant fuel oil, such as liquefied natural gas (LNG) or methanol, or by fitting exhaust gas cleaning systems, commonly known as “scrubbers”, which strip the pollutants from the emissions before they are released into the atmosphere.


Under the roadmap, which will run from 2017 through to 2023, MEPC is tasked with sorting out the role of the international shipping sector in supporting the goals of the Paris Agreement (the Paris climate change deal aims to curb emissions to levels that would prevent the world temperature from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius).

The plan so far includes a ‘to-do’ list containing tasks like further greenhouse gas (GHG) studies. Basically, MEPC are going to decide if ‘technical and operational measures’ are going to work well enough to meet IMO’s CO2 reduction commitments – so far they have reduced this by 10%.

Another measure taken has been the introduction of the data collection system (MARPOL Annex VI). This will require ships to record and report on their fuel oil consumption. The data will be collected and reported to the Flag State at the end of each year, when the ships will then receive a Statement of Compliance (as long as the ship passes). This will come into effect on the 1st of March 2018.

MEPC have also ruled in favour of making the North Sea and Baltic Sea Emissions Controlled Areas (ECA’s) for nitrous oxides (NOx). Starting January 2021 Marine Diesel Engines passing through the North Sea or Baltic Sea will have to comply with the Tier III NOx emission limit.

The IMO are doing their best to add areas of our seas to the list of Particularly Sensitive Sea Areas (PSSA). One of the new additions is the Jomard Entrance in Papua. It has joined the list of outstanding beauty and great environmental significance which is what the PSSA is there to protect.

All of these measures are clearly a step in the right direction for shipping’s sustainable future but with time ticking, targets set 4 years away and the alarming rate of global warming you can argue that this is all a little too late.


Hanjin Shipping Bankruptcy: Just the Tip of the Iceberg?

Hanjin Shipping Bankruptcy: Just the Tip of the Iceberg?

After Hanjin confirmed its collapse on Wednesday filing for court receivership, things have escalated quickly

Nearly half of Hanjin vessels have been refused from ports around the world, with ten ships and counting arrested at Asian Ports.

Freight rates between Asia-Europe and Asia-US are soaring as desperate shippers scramble to move their cargo from Hanjin vessels. The company have been suspended from the CKYHE alliance and shippers using the alliance partners may be caught up in the chaos, posing significant delays to cargo whilst the shock waves settle.

Hyundai Merchant Marine have already offered some support on the Asia – Europe routes deploying vessels on the trade lane to alleviate some of the headache for trapped shippers, (at a price of course).

Although it comes as no surprise that Hanjin announced its bankruptcy, the chain of events has sent a sobering wake up call to the industry of how quickly things unravel. Repercussions will be felt across global supply chains globally with US retailers urging government to intervene to minimise disruption.

Hanjin Shipping in Numbers Infographic

Where does the industry go from here?

Hanjin is by far the biggest bankruptcy the industry has seen and its demise has become a stark reminder of the industry’s woes.

David Fickling, Bloomberg Gadfly columnist highlighted that the acquisition of Hanjin’s assets by other shipping lines isn’t going to solve the problem, the problem being too many containerships and not enough container traffic. We are experiencing the biggest slump in global trade since 2011 alongside consistent overcapacity in the market.

“What need to happens is for these ships need to disappear and that’s just not happening. Either that demand recovers or essentially these ships have to be not just put into administration, but demolished, in Pakistan and Bangladesh beaches and torn into scrap. But scrap prices are low so this is not an attractive option.

But ultimately that is going to be how this problem is solved. Either global trade recovers and grows into this extra capacity or the solution is not going to be in the office of the bankruptcy or M&A lawyer but in a scrapyard.”

Sources: FT, Reuters, Alphaliner, Bloomberg Business


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Air Freight or Sea Freight – Which is best for my business?

Air Freight or Sea Freight – Which is best for my business?

Deciding on the best mode of transport for your import / export goods can often be a tricky, compromised decision. When it comes to air freight and sea freight, cost, speed and reliability all need to be considered in order to maximise profitability for your business

We’ll take you through just some of the pros and cons of sea freight and air freight for you to decide which is best suited to your business.




In fast paced commodity markets the speed of transport can be crucial to success. With time sensitive inter-continental consignments, air freight is often the fastest and most direct mode of transport. When importing products from China air freight can take less than 3 days to arrive in the UK but for a containership to transport the same cargo it can be up to 35 days depending on the specific routings.

Although the technological developments seen in shipping continues to improve transit times, the speed of air transport will always make this option more desirable for businesses with short delivery deadlines in fast moving consumer markets.




Sea freight is usually charged per container (20ft or 40ft) whereas air freight charges are calculated on ‘chargeable’ weight basis. Due to the limited space on the aircraft, the size of the goods have to be taken into consideration as well as cargo weight.

Generally to transport heavier, bulkier goods air freight is more expensive than sea freight. Over the past few years’ sea freight rates have dropped to record lows, widening the cost gap even further between the two modes of transport. But with smaller goods the price difference narrows and air freight becomes more attractive.


Often the reliability of transport can outweigh other factors such as cost and speed. When operations are reliant on the delivery of goods it becomes paramount that goods arrive on time and in good condition.

Air Freight is considered a less intrusive mode of transport with lower risk of damaging cargo when compared to sea freight transportation. Planes notoriously adhere to their schedules. Every minute spent on the tarmac, outside of scheduled take-off and landing, can accumulate an inordinate amount of extra costs. And with many airlines making 3-4 calls a day on certain routings if your cargo misses one flight chances are it can take the next just a few hours later. Shipping lines however suffer no extra cost penalties for late callings and so it is common for them to be way off planned schedules with 1-2 days delay.



The transparency with air freight is one of the main reasons why many companies prefer this mode of transport. Airlines and forwarding companies offer complete track and trace facilities that monitors the cargo from departure to arrival, whereas tracking containers specific location on the ocean is almost impossible until the vessel nears port. There are vessel tracking websites and devices that can track the vessel carrying your container, but you will need to obtain this information from your carrier directly.

What does it come down to?

One of the main considerations for any logistics manager is ultimately the bottom line and the difference in price between sea freight and air freight transport could be the determining factor in selecting the best shipping method for your business. It could be the difference between healthy profit margins and breaking even. As a global freight forwarder Tuscor Lloyds have worked with a multitude companies to improve their supply chain costs using the most efficient modes of transport.

If you need more information on air freight or sea freight services please contact our team:

Tel: +44 (0) 161 868 6000 Email: or visit our air freight and sea freight pages for more information.

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Tuscor Lloyds Achieves AEO Certification

Tuscor Lloyds Achieves AEO Certification

As of May 2016 Tuscor Lloyds has achieved the internationally recognised status of Authorised Economic Operator (AEO).

The AEO scheme was devised by the European Commission and is currently delivered by the customs authorities of individual member states. The principle objectives of the standard are as follows:

  • To expedite legal and recognised international trade
  • Provide assurance and security within the supply chain
  • Standardisation of customs procedures across the European Union
  • Make processes of trade more secure and efficient

The scheme obliges any company working in the international supply chain to work under approved security arrangements, customs processes and operational procedures. All sub-suppliers and contractors are vetted in advance, as are staff and management personnel, who undergo background searches and criminal conviction checks going back 5 years. Cargo handling and storage procedures and sites are reviewed on a regular basis with a view to ensuring totally safe and secure transit of cargo.

The certification is internationally recognised and in an increasingly regulated and securitised industry, it is fast becoming a necessary standard for traders, manufacturers and shipping operators throughout Europe. With regular government auditing the certificate is renewed frequently. Companies who benefit from the many advantages of certification also have to maintain high operating standards, or risk losing the status altogether.

Tuscor Lloyds has traded internationally for over 20 years and the company already has an enviable reputation in the shipping industry. A General Manager at Tuscor Lloyds explained that the AEO accreditation would “reinforce the credibility of Tuscor Lloyds and should provide full assurance that the company is fully vetted, compliant and will deliver on its promises. For existing customers the certifications allow further expansion of business as they begin to implement their own quality processes.”

The coming years will see higher demand for accreditation within the supply chain. Despite growing interest in AEO at the time of writing, Tuscor Lloyds remains one of a handful of UK freight forwarders who have achieved the certification in both customs and security aspects. This allows us to offer something truly different to our customers at a time when security and stability of international trade has become a talking point in most boardrooms around the country.

Discover how our AEO accreditation can benefit your import/export operations contact our team on +44 (0) 161 868 6000 |          

The Sunday Times BT Business SME Export Track 100

The Sunday Times BT Business SME Export Track 100

2015 Continues To Be A Busy Year For Tuscor Lloyds Awards Cabinet. We Have Proudly Placed 63rd In The Sunday Times BT Business SME Export Track 100 Researched And Compiled By Fast Track And Sponsored By BT Business And Business Is Great Britain Campaign

The league table ranks Britain’s 100 private small and medium-sized companies with the fastest-growing international sales over the last two years.

Typically the SME export track 100 companies will have:

  • Total sales ranging from £5m to £25m
  •  International sales between £1m and £20m
  • Between 10 to 100 staff
  • Average 2-year sales growth typically ranging from 35% pa to 15% pa

According to HMRC UK Trade Info, exports for March 2015 are £11.8 billion. This is an increase of £0.8 billion (7.8%) compared with last month. Although the UK economy is seeing growth, those in the Export Track List seem to be setting out the stall for UK business overseas, raising their international sales turnover by an average of 73% a year.

Just last year Tuscor Lloyds operated in over 180 destinations exporting to markets all over the world. We regularly offer support to our clients regarding exporting overseas and have been helping both UK and overseas companies grow year on year by providing simple, cost-effective export solutions.

If you are thinking about exporting goods or services from the UK then contact Tuscor Lloyds today.

For more news and industry insights from Tuscor Lloyds, click here.