top of page
  • Writer's pictureAncora Logystics

Understanding the Differences between Incoterms 2010 ICC and Incoterms 2020 ICC.



International Commercial Terms, commonly referred to as Incoterms, play a crucial role in global trade by defining the responsibilities of buyers and sellers involved in the shipping of goods. Established by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), these terms help parties clearly communicate the tasks, costs, and risks associated with the transportation and delivery of goods across international borders.

This blog post delves into the transition from Incoterms 2010 to the revised Incoterms 2020, highlighting the significant updates and their implications for international trade practices. By understanding these changes, businesses and trade professionals can better navigate the complexities of shipping agreements and minimize potential legal disputes.

II. Overview of Incoterms

Definition and Purpose of Incoterms

Incoterms, short for International Commercial Terms, are a series of pre-defined commercial terms published by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). These terms are internationally recognized and are used to make international and domestic trade easier and more predictable by clearly defining the responsibilities of sellers and buyers while transporting goods. Incoterms address various aspects of shipping like transportation costs, risk liability, and customs duties. Each term represents a specific agreement intended to communicate clearly the tasks, costs, and risks associated with the transportation and delivery of goods.

Role of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in Incoterms Development

The ICC first introduced Incoterms in 1936 and has been updating them regularly to ensure they remain relevant to the modern trading environment. The development of each set of Incoterms is the result of a consensus among international trade experts and reflects changes in the trade landscape. The ICC gathers feedback from various stakeholders including traders, lawyers, and transporters to ensure that the terms reflect contemporary practices and mitigate potential disputes in international trade.

What Incoterms Regulate

Incoterms play a critical role in global trade transactions by clarifying several crucial points:

  • Risk Transfer: Incoterms define the point in the transaction where the risk of loss or damage to the goods transfers from the seller to the buyer. This is vital for both parties to understand when they need to insure the goods and when they are no longer responsible for them.

  • Cost Allocation: These terms specify which party (seller or buyer) is responsible for the costs involved at various stages of the goods’ transportation. This includes packing costs, loading charges, transportation fees, insurance, and unloading costs. Understanding who bears which costs helps in preventing disputes and confusion.

  • Transportation and Logistics: Incoterms specify who is responsible for arranging the carriage of the goods, including choosing the mode of transport and the carrier. They also address the obligation to obtain necessary shipping documents and permissions.

  • Customs Clearance: The terms outline responsibilities for handling customs procedures and duties. Some terms require the seller to handle export formalities, while others place the responsibility on the buyer for import formalities.

General Categories of Incoterms

To address different types of sales, Incoterms are categorized based on the mode of transportation:

  • Any Mode(s) of Transport: These Incoterms can be used irrespective of the method of transportation and include terms like EXW (Ex Works), FCA (Free Carrier), CPT (Carriage Paid To), CIP (Carriage and Insurance Paid to), DAP (Delivered at Place), DPU (Delivered at Place Unloaded), and DDP (Delivered Duty Paid).

  • Sea and Inland Waterway Transport: These are specific to sea or inland waterway transport and include terms like FAS (Free Alongside Ship), FOB (Free On Board), CFR (Cost and Freight), and CIF (Cost, Insurance & Freight).

The versatility and global acceptance of Incoterms make them a fundamental component in international trade agreements, simplifying complex arrangements and fostering smoother transactions across borders. Understanding the roles and implications of each Incoterm is crucial for traders to manage their obligations and risks effectively.

III. Incoterms 2010: A Recap

Key Features and Principles of Incoterms 2010

Incoterms 2010 introduced a streamlined set of 11 rules, consolidating the previous version to better accommodate modern trade practices. This iteration emphasized clearer communication between buyers and sellers, aiming to reduce misunderstandings by precisely defining the responsibilities for the delivery, risks, and costs involved in the shipment of goods.

  • Grouping of Terms: Incoterms 2010 categorized these terms into two key groups based on the type of transport planned: rules for any modes of transport, and rules specifically for sea and inland water transport.

  • Universal Relevance: They were designed to be used globally by companies across different nations, regardless of the local laws governing trade.

Categories of Incoterms 2010

The terms were organized into four categories labeled E, F, C, and D, indicating different levels of responsibility and risk between the buyer and the seller:

  • E Term (Departure):

  • EXW (Ex Works): Places minimal responsibility on the seller, who merely has to make the goods available at their premises or another named place. The buyer assumes all costs and risks involved in taking the goods from the seller's location to the desired destination.

  • F Terms (Main Carriage Unpaid by Seller):

  • FCA (Free Carrier): Seller hands over the goods, cleared for export, into the custody of the first carrier at the named place.

  • FAS (Free Alongside Ship): Seller places the goods alongside the ship on the quay at the named port of shipment.

  • FOB (Free on Board): Seller loads the goods on board the vessel nominated by the buyer at the named port of shipment.

  • C Terms (Main Carriage Paid by Seller):

  • CFR (Cost and Freight): Seller pays the costs and freight necessary to bring the goods to the named port of destination, but the risk is transferred to the buyer once the goods are loaded on board the ship.

  • CIF (Cost, Insurance, and Freight): Similar to CFR, but the seller also has to procure marine insurance against the buyer's risk of loss or damage to the goods during the carriage.

  • CPT (Carriage Paid To): Seller pays for the carriage of the goods up to the named place of destination, but the risk passes when the goods are handed over to the first carrier.

  • CIP (Carriage and Insurance Paid to): Seller also contracts for insurance cover against the buyer’s risk of loss or damage to the goods during the carriage.

  • D Terms (Arrival):

  • DAT (Delivered at Terminal): Seller bears all risks involved in bringing the goods to and unloading them at the terminal at the named port or place of destination.

  • DAP (Delivered at Place): Seller bears all risks needed to bring the goods to the named place.

  • DDP (Delivered Duty Paid): Seller bears all costs and risks involved in bringing the goods to the place of destination and is obligated to clear the goods not only for export but also for import, to pay any duty for both export and import and to carry out all customs formalities.

Popular Terms from 2010

Among these, terms like FOB, CIF, and EXW were particularly popular due to their clear demarcation of costs and risks:

  • FOB (Free On Board): Commonly used in maritime trade where the seller assumes the cost and risk until the goods are on board the vessel, after which the buyer takes over.

  • CIF (Cost, Insurance, and Freight): Favored in international trading of bulk goods, CIF holds the seller responsible for covering insurance, the cost of the goods, and the freight charges to the required port of destination.

  • EXW (Ex Works): Offers maximum flexibility and minimal responsibility to the seller, making it preferred by exporters who do not wish to deal with the complexities of international shipping.

These terms provided a solid framework that reduced misunderstandings and conflicts across international borders, ensuring smoother transactions and clearer agreements.

IV. Introduction to Incoterms 2020

The Process of Updating to Incoterms 2020

Every decade, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) reviews and updates the Incoterms to ensure they reflect current international trade practices. The transition from Incoterms 2010 to 2020 involved a comprehensive revision process that included global consultations with international trade experts, business leaders, and legal practitioners. This collaborative effort aimed to address emerging trends and feedback from users to make the terms more applicable and accessible across different industries and modes of transport.

Key areas of focus during this revision were:

  • Enhancing the clarity and usability of the existing terms for easier application.

  • Addressing contemporary logistical practices, particularly in the context of security in transportation and the increased use of electronic records.

  • Ensuring that the terms are adaptable to a wide range of transaction types, including the growing importance of trade compliance and sustainability issues.

Major Changes Introduced in Incoterms 2020

The update to Incoterms 2020 did not introduce new terms, but rather focused on clarifying and refining the existing rules to make them more functional and straightforward for users worldwide. Some of the significant changes include:

  • Increased Clarity on Allocation of Costs: Incoterms 2020 provides more precise guidance on the allocation of costs between the buyer and seller. This helps parties understand exactly what charges they are responsible for, which can prevent disputes and unexpected costs.

  • Transportation and Security-Related Obligations: Enhanced provisions concerning the transportation and security-related obligations reflect the modern requirements for goods transport, including the stipulations related to various transportation modes and the increased emphasis on security throughout the supply chain.

  • Insurance Cover Adjustments in CIP and CIF: The Incoterms 2020 revision made notable changes to the insurance requirements under the CIP (Carriage and Insurance Paid to) term, increasing the level of insurance coverage required from the minimum under Clause C of the Institute Cargo Clauses to Clause A, providing more comprehensive coverage. The CIF (Cost, Insurance, and Freight) term retains its original requirement of Clause C coverage.

  • Inclusion of Arrangements for Own Transport: The 2020 version allows for the possibility that either the buyer or the seller may arrange their own transportation rather than relying on third parties, a recognition of the increasingly diverse logistics options available to companies.

  • Explanatory Notes for Users: Every Incoterm now comes with expanded explanatory notes. These notes aim to help users select the most appropriate term for their particular trade scenario by providing detailed guidance on the application of each term.

Summary of the Newly Revised Terms

While no new terms were added in Incoterms 2020, the amendments made were aimed at easing their application and making them more suited to modern trade scenarios. For example:

  • FCA (Free Carrier) now includes provisions that more clearly address the loading and unloading responsibilities when the seller provides transport.

  • DPU (Delivered at Place Unloaded), previously known as DAT (Delivered at Terminal), was renamed to reflect that delivery can occur anywhere, not just at a terminal.

  • DAP (Delivered at Place) and DDP (Delivered Duty Paid) received minor updates to clarify the steps required when approaching delivery points, especially in complex delivery environments.

Navigating the Transition

For businesses that are transitioning from Incoterms 2010 to 2020, understanding these changes is crucial. The ICC also recommends training for staff and regular review of contractual agreements to ensure that the terms are applied correctly and effectively, mitigating the risk of legal issues and facilitating smoother international transactions.

V. Detailed Comparison of Changes

Side-by-Side Analysis of Incoterms 2010 vs. 2020

To understand the differences between Incoterms 2010 and 2020, it is essential to analyze the modifications term-by-term. This side-by-side comparison will focus on the significant changes and how they impact international trade practices.

1. General Changes Across All Terms

  • Increased Clarity in Costs Allocation: Incoterms 2020 provides a clearer breakdown of costs between the seller and the buyer to ensure both parties are fully aware of their financial obligations. This includes detailed listings in each term about who is responsible for which costs.

  • Transportation and Security: The new terms emphasize the importance of security during transportation, requiring the seller to provide information to the buyer to assist with security-related clearances and obligations.

  • Insurance in CIP vs. CIF: Incoterms 2020 enhances the insurance requirements for CIP, requiring coverage conforming to Institute Cargo Clause A (ICC A), offering more comprehensive coverage than the ICC C used in CIF, which remains unchanged.

2. Specific Term Adjustments

  • FCA (Free Carrier):

  • 2010: Seller delivers goods, cleared for export, to the carrier at named place.

  • 2020: Adds an option for the buyer to instruct its carrier to issue a bill of lading with an on-board notation to the seller, a critical requirement for letter of credit transactions.

  • CIP (Carriage and Insurance Paid to):

  • 2010: Seller pays for shipping and insurance to the named destination but transfers risk when goods are handed over to the first carrier.

  • 2020: Seller must procure insurance under the Institute Cargo Clauses A (comprehensive cover), unlike the lesser cover required previously, aligning more closely with modern shipping and insurance practices.

  • DPU (Delivered at Place Unloaded) (Previously DAT):

  • 2010 (as DAT): Seller delivers when goods, once unloaded from the arriving means of transport, are placed at the disposal of the buyer at a named terminal.

  • 2020: Term changed to DPU and broadens applicability by including any place, not just a terminal. Seller is responsible for unloading.

  • DAP (Delivered at Place):

  • 2010: Seller bears all risks involved in bringing the goods to the named place of destination.

  • 2020: Clarified that the seller is responsible for all costs and risks to the final point of unloading at destination, with clearer guidelines on unloading responsibilities.

3. Enhancements in Usability and Clarity

Each Incoterm in 2020 features improved explanatory notes that help users understand when to use each term, which is particularly beneficial for those less familiar with international trade. This enhanced clarity assists in selecting the most suitable Incoterm based on the specifics of the transaction and shipping arrangements.

Practical Implications of Changes

The modifications introduced in Incoterms 2020 reflect a shift towards greater clarity and practicality in global trade practices. These changes are intended to reduce disputes and misinterpretations by:

  • Enhancing transparency in terms of cost and risk responsibilities.

  • Adapting terms to current transportation practices, especially considering the increase in security measures worldwide.

  • Ensuring that terms are applicable across various modes of transportation, thereby accommodating the complexity and diversity of modern logistical operations.

Businesses engaged in international trade need to carefully review and understand these changes to effectively negotiate contracts and manage shipments. Regular training sessions for teams dealing with procurement, logistics, and international sales are recommended to ensure everyone is up-to-date with the latest terms.

VI. Case Studies and Practical Implications

Introduction to Case Studies

Understanding the real-world impact of the changes from Incoterms 2010 to Incoterms 2020 requires examining how these rules have been applied in actual business scenarios. This section presents a series of case studies to illustrate how different industries adapted to the new Incoterms, highlighting challenges and benefits that came with the transition.

Case Study 1: Automotive Industry

  • Background: A major automotive manufacturer in Germany exports vehicles to various parts of Asia and Africa.

  • Challenge: Under Incoterms 2010, the use of DAP (Delivered at Place) often led to disputes about the point of transfer of risk and responsibility, especially when dealing with customs clearance in countries with complex import procedures.

  • Transition to 2020: The clarification in Incoterms 2020 about the unloading process and customs clearance under DAP provided the necessary guidance to streamline their international shipping operations.

  • Outcome: The manufacturer was able to negotiate terms that more clearly defined the responsibilities at the destination, reducing disputes and delays.

Case Study 2: Agriculture Exports

  • Background: A U.S.-based agribusiness frequently exports grain to Middle Eastern countries.

  • Challenge: Under Incoterms 2010, FCA (Free Carrier) terms were somewhat ambiguous about the point of risk transfer when goods were handed over at a transport hub rather than directly to the carrier.

  • Transition to 2020: Incoterms 2020 addressed this by allowing for a more detailed specification of the point of risk transfer in FCA agreements, especially useful for sellers and buyers using multiple transportation modes.

  • Outcome: Enhanced clarity allowed the agribusiness to improve their logistics management and reduce insurance costs by better defining the transfer of risks.

Case Study 3: Electronics Industry

  • Background: A South Korean electronics giant exports consumer electronics globally.

  • Challenge: Using CIF (Cost, Insurance, and Freight) for sea shipments often led to misunderstandings about insurance cover requirements.

  • Transition to 2020: The adjustments in CIP (Carriage and Insurance Paid to), which increased the insurance cover requirement, prompted the company to review and adjust its terms even under CIF to better manage risk.

  • Outcome: The company decided to shift more shipments to CIP terms for better insurance coverage, enhancing product safety and customer satisfaction.

Interviews with Experts

To add depth to these case studies, interviews with trade lawyers and logistics managers are included. They discuss the transition challenges and how businesses can better utilize the new terms for international trade.

  • Expert 1: A trade lawyer who specializes in international commerce provides insights on common legal challenges businesses face with the old and new Incoterms.

  • Expert 2: A logistics manager from a multinational corporation explains the operational adjustments made to comply with Incoterms 2020, focusing on the training and system updates.

Practical Tips for Transition

Based on the case studies and expert insights, this section concludes with actionable advice for businesses:

  • Review Contracts: Businesses should review existing contracts and update them to incorporate Incoterms 2020 where beneficial.

  • Train Staff: Ongoing training for sales, procurement, and logistics staff on the nuances of Incoterms 2020 is crucial.

  • Risk Management: Reevaluate insurance and risk management strategies to align with the revised terms, especially for international shipments.


The practical implications of Incoterms 2020 are significant, providing both challenges and opportunities for global trade. These case studies not only demonstrate how businesses have adapted but also offer insights that can help others navigate the complexities of international shipments under the new terms.

VII. Sector-Specific Impact


The changes introduced in Incoterms 2020 have various implications across different sectors. This section explores how specific industries have been affected by these updates, focusing on the unique challenges and adjustments required within each sector to comply with the new standards.

Manufacturing Sector

  • Challenges: Manufacturers, particularly those involved in exporting large machinery and equipment, often face complexities in managing logistics and risks associated with international shipments.

  • Impact of Incoterms 2020: The clearer allocation of costs and risks in terms such as FCA (Free Carrier) and DPU (Delivered at Place Unloaded) has been beneficial. Manufacturers have found the explicit terms regarding the loading and unloading responsibilities especially helpful in reducing disputes over damage claims during transport.

  • Adaptation: Many manufacturing companies have updated their standard contract templates to incorporate Incoterms 2020, ensuring that the terms of sale are clearly understood and agreed upon by all parties.

Agriculture Sector

  • Challenges: Agricultural exporters deal with perishable goods, which require clear terms regarding the timing of transportation and risk transfer.

  • Impact of Incoterms 2020: Terms like CIP (Carriage and Insurance Paid to), with enhanced insurance requirements, provide better coverage options for high-value agricultural products. The precision in defining responsibility for logistics costs has also helped in planning more effective shipping strategies.

  • Adaptation: Agribusinesses are increasingly opting for Incoterms that offer greater control over the transportation process, thereby minimizing the risks associated with delays and spoilage.

Electronics Sector

  • Challenges: The electronics industry, characterized by high-value products and rapid technological evolution, requires robust risk management strategies during transportation.

  • Impact of Incoterms 2020: The distinction between CIP and CIF terms, particularly regarding insurance coverage, has had significant implications. The increased insurance coverage required under CIP is particularly advantageous for electronics exporters to protect against transit risks.

  • Adaptation: Companies have been proactive in training their logistics and sales teams on the nuances of Incoterms 2020, ensuring that contracts are negotiated with favorable terms that reflect the high value and sensitivity of electronic goods.

Textile and Apparel Sector

  • Challenges: This sector often deals with high volumes of goods shipped to various international destinations, requiring clear terms that delineate responsibilities for large shipments.

  • Impact of Incoterms 2020: DAP (Delivered at Place) and DDP (Delivered Duty Paid) terms are frequently used, and the clarifications in 2020 have helped streamline the responsibilities regarding duties and taxes, crucial for managing costs in the highly competitive textile market.

  • Adaptation: Many in the sector have shifted to using DDP for shipments to clients who prefer a hassle-free import process, absorbing the duties and taxes to offer a better customer experience.

Energy Sector

  • Challenges: The energy sector, particularly oil and gas, involves extensive logistical arrangements for transporting large quantities of commodities internationally.

  • Impact of Incoterms 2020: FOB (Free On Board) and CIF (Cost, Insurance, and Freight) remain popular, but the clearer guidance on security-related obligations and cost allocation in 2020 updates has improved contract negotiations and risk management.

  • Adaptation: Energy companies often customize their use of Incoterms to address specific logistical and regulatory challenges in various jurisdictions, now with improved clauses from Incoterms 2020.


Each sector has its specific requirements and challenges when it comes to international trade, and the updates in Incoterms 2020 have provided tools to better manage these issues. By understanding and adapting these terms, companies can enhance their operational efficiencies, reduce legal risks, and improve profitability in the competitive global market.

VIII. Legal and Regulatory Considerations


The updates in Incoterms 2020 not only affect logistical practices but also have significant legal and regulatory implications. It is crucial for businesses to understand these aspects to ensure compliance and mitigate potential legal risks.

Legal Implications of the Transition

  • Contractual Obligations: The introduction of Incoterms 2020 necessitates revisions to existing contracts and careful drafting of new ones to incorporate the updated terms. Businesses need to be aware that using outdated terms can lead to disputes regarding risk and cost allocation.

  • Dispute Resolution: Incoterms 2020 offers clearer rules and guidelines, which can help in reducing conflicts. However, in cases where disputes arise, understanding the specific provisions of the Incoterms used is crucial in resolving these issues legally.

  • Case Law Developments: Recent case law involving Incoterms can provide insights into how courts are interpreting the new provisions. Legal practitioners should keep abreast of these developments to better advise their clients on risk management and contractual duties.

Interactions with Local and International Trade Laws

  • Customs and Compliance: Incoterms do not cover customs clearance or compliance with trade laws; however, they dictate responsibilities up to the point of delivery, which can influence customs processes. Companies must ensure that their use of Incoterms aligns with local customs regulations and international trade agreements.

  • Regulatory Changes: Changes in trade policies, such as those resulting from Brexit or changes in U.S. trade policy, can affect how Incoterms are implemented. Businesses need to stay informed about these changes to ensure that their trade practices remain compliant with international regulations.

Compliance Challenges and Solutions

  • Training and Education: One of the most effective ways to mitigate risks associated with Incoterms is to conduct regular training sessions for all relevant staff, ensuring they understand the implications of the terms used in their contracts.

  • Legal Audits: Regular audits by legal teams to review compliance with the latest Incoterms can prevent potential legal problems and ensure that all contractual terms are up to date and enforceable.

  • Collaboration with Customs Brokers and Legal Advisors: Building strong relationships with customs brokers and legal advisors who understand the intricacies of international trade laws and Incoterms can help businesses navigate complex regulatory environments.

Sector-Specific Legal Considerations

Different sectors may face unique legal challenges related to Incoterms:

  • Manufacturing: Ensuring that delivery terms clearly specify the transfer of risks, especially for goods that require installation or assembly.

  • Technology: Addressing issues related to the export and import of technology products, including compliance with international cybersecurity regulations.

  • Pharmaceuticals: Managing stringent regulatory requirements for the transportation and storage of medical products, where terms like CIP can be crucial for covering insurance adequately.


The legal landscape surrounding international trade is complex and continuously evolving. Incoterms 2020 provides a framework that can help streamline this complexity, but only if understood and applied correctly. Businesses should invest in legal expertise and continuous education to leverage Incoterms effectively while remaining compliant with local and international laws.

IX. Future of Incoterms


As global trade continues to evolve, driven by changes in technology, geopolitics, and market dynamics, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) must periodically update Incoterms to stay relevant and effective. This section explores anticipated trends and potential future updates to Incoterms, offering insights into what businesses might expect and how they can prepare.

Expert Predictions on Future Updates

  • Regular Updates: Given the pace at which international trade practices are changing, experts predict that the ICC may move towards more frequent updates or revisions of Incoterms. This could involve minor adjustments every five years instead of significant changes every ten years, allowing for quicker adaptation to global trade developments.

  • Increased Specificity: Future versions of Incoterms might include terms with greater specificity or new terms designed to address emerging types of transactions, such as digital goods and services which are not fully contemplated in current terms.

  • Sustainability and Compliance: There is an increasing focus on sustainability in global trade. Future Incoterms may incorporate provisions that address environmental concerns and ensure compliance with international regulations on sustainability.

Emerging Trends Influencing Future Incoterms

  • E-commerce Growth: The surge in e-commerce has transformed retail and global trade, necessitating adaptations in logistics and shipping terms. Future Incoterms could include terms that better cater to the unique demands of online sales and returns, especially across international borders.

  • Supply Chain Resilience: The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the fragility of global supply chains. Future Incoterms might emphasize terms that support supply chain resilience, such as more detailed obligations regarding timing and delays.

  • Technological Integration: The integration of blockchain, IoT, and AI in logistics and supply chain management could lead to Incoterms that incorporate these technologies for better tracking, verification, and automation of compliance.

Role of Technology and Digitalization

  • Digital Contracts and Blockchain: The use of blockchain technology in executing and managing contracts could see Incoterms being integrated into smart contracts, which automatically execute agreements based on coded conditions. This could reduce disputes and enhance compliance.

  • Artificial Intelligence: AI could be used to analyze contract performance under various Incoterms, offering predictive insights that could guide businesses in selecting the most appropriate terms for their transactions.

  • Digital Documentation: The move towards digitalization of shipping documents, bills of lading, and other trade documents supported by Incoterms could streamline processes, reduce paperwork, and increase efficiency.

Preparing for the Future

  • Stay Informed: Businesses should stay informed about changes in Incoterms by subscribing to updates from the ICC and participating in trade seminars.

  • Invest in Training: Ongoing training programs for staff on the latest developments in Incoterms and related technologies will be crucial.

  • Adopt Technology: Early adoption of new technologies that complement the application of Incoterms can provide competitive advantages in logistics and international trade.


The future of Incoterms is likely to be shaped by the rapid pace of technological change and shifting global trade dynamics. Businesses that anticipate these changes and adapt accordingly will be better positioned to navigate the complexities of international trade. The ICC's role in this evolution will be vital in providing clear, updated guidelines that reflect the modern commercial landscape

X. Conclusion

Summary of Key Differences

The transition from Incoterms 2010 to Incoterms 2020 brought several critical updates aimed at clarifying and enhancing the terms for modern trade needs. Among the most notable differences are:

  • Allocation of Costs: Incoterms 2020 offers a clearer allocation of costs between the buyer and the seller, helping to prevent disputes and confusion over who pays for what in the transaction.

  • Transportation and Security: The emphasis on security and safety in transportation has increased, reflecting the growing concerns over cargo security in global trade.

  • Insurance Changes in CIP and CIF: The increase in insurance coverage required under CIP terms to Clause A level, compared to the lesser Clause C coverage in CIF, aligns with the need for better risk management in higher-value shipments.

  • Incorporation of Technological Advances: The acknowledgment of electronic records and documentation provides a pathway towards digitalizing trade processes, which can improve efficiency and reduce paperwork.

Importance of Understanding Incoterms 2020

The updates in Incoterms 2020 are not just bureaucratic changes but are vital for businesses to understand and implement effectively to ensure successful international trade transactions. Misunderstandings in Incoterms can lead to costly legal disputes and logistical errors. Hence, comprehensive knowledge and correct application of these terms are crucial in international trade.

Final Thoughts and Recommendations

  • Consult Experts: Given the complexities and legal implications of Incoterms, consulting with legal experts or international trade specialists is highly recommended, especially when drafting contracts or entering new markets.

  • Regular Training: Continual training for teams involved in international trade is essential. Understanding Incoterms 2020 thoroughly allows for better negotiation on contracts and more efficient management of international shipments.

  • Stay Updated: The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) periodically reviews and updates Incoterms. Staying updated with any changes or revisions is vital for maintaining compliance and efficiency in international trade practices.

Encouragement for Adaptation

As global trade continues to evolve, so too must the practices and understanding of those who engage in it. Adapting to Incoterms 2020 is not merely about compliance but about seizing opportunities to optimize trade operations and reduce risks. Businesses are encouraged to embrace these changes proactively, leveraging the updated Incoterms to foster smoother and more secure trade relationships worldwide.

Resources for Further Guidance

  • The official ICC Incoterms 2020 book provides a detailed explanation of each term and its practical applications.

  • Workshops, webinars, and training courses specifically designed to educate on Incoterms 2020 are invaluable resources for businesses and trade professionals.

  • Legal advisory services specialized in international trade can offer personalized guidance tailored to specific business needs and challenges.

XI. Appendix and Resources


To aid readers in fully grasping the nuances of Incoterms 2010 and 2020, this section provides a comprehensive list of resources and additional tools. These include glossaries, further reading materials, official documents, and links to useful websites. The goal is to equip businesses, educators, and trade professionals with the tools they need to successfully apply Incoterms in their daily operations.

Glossary of Key Terms Used in Incoterms 2010 and 2020

  • Ex Works (EXW)

  • Free Carrier (FCA)

  • Carriage Paid To (CPT)

  • Carriage and Insurance Paid To (CIP)

  • Delivered at Terminal (DAT)

  • Delivered at Place (DAP)

  • Delivered Duty Paid (DDP)

  • Free Alongside Ship (FAS)

  • Free on Board (FOB)

  • Cost and Freight (CFR)

  • Cost, Insurance, and Freight (CIF)

  • Delivered at Place Unloaded (DPU)

Each term is defined succinctly, highlighting the critical responsibilities, risks, and cost obligations associated with each.


5 views0 comments


bottom of page