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What Is FOB Shipping and How Does It Work?

When you’re shipping goods, it’s important to know what is FOB shipping. I remember when I was starting in business and had to ship my products overseas, I didn’t know anything about what is FOB shipping and how it worked. Thankfully, I found a great resource that explained everything clearly. Now, I want to share that same resource with you so that you can understand this important concept too.

What is FOB Shipping?

FOB, or Free On Board, is a shipment term that indicates whether the seller or the buyer is liable for goods that are damaged in transit.

FOB Origin means that the buyer takes the risk after the seller ships the item.

FOB Destination means that the seller takes the risk until the goods reach the buyer.

What Is Free on Board (FOB)?

FOB means that the buyer is responsible for paying the shipping costs from the supplier. The vendor, on the other hand, is responsible for any loss or damage to the product while it’s being shipped.

The term “FOB” originally referred only to goods transported by sea, but the term has been expanded to include all types of transportation.

One of the most crucial elements of any international trade deal is the abbreviations used to describe the various elements. These can include when and where the delivery will occur, who will be responsible for covering the associated expenses, and when the risk of loss or damage will shift from the seller to the buyer.

The Incoterms are a set of international rules for trade published by the International Chamber of Commerce, but domestic shipments in the United States must follow the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC).

When negotiating FOB agreements, it is important to specify which set of laws will control the agreement. This is particularly important if the country where the goods will be transported from and to have different rules.

When purchasing goods from a vendor, it is important to include your FOB terms in the purchase contract. This determines which party is responsible for any shipping costs. By clearly stating these terms, you can avoid any confusion and misunderstanding later on.

While a signed bill of sales or agreement determines who the rightful owner of a vehicle is, the FOB designation does not.

If the terms of the purchase are FOB, the buyer is responsible for the goods once they leave the seller’s warehouse. The buyer is also responsible for paying any shipping costs.

If the term includes “freight pre-paid,” then the buyer pays for the shipping. The seller is responsible for providing the goods to the specified location.

“Freight on Board” means that the seller is obligated to deliver when the goods are placed on board the vessel.

While companies may understand the concept of a FOB term, they sometimes get confused when it comes to shipping costs and insurance coverage. The more a business buys, the more it will have to pay in shipping and handling.

By purchasing a larger quantity of goods at once, a business can save money by not having to incur shipping costs, as well as the cost of insuring and unloading the shipment.

By purchasing more inventory, a company can reduce its number of orders, which lowers its shipping costs.

Example of Free on Board (FOB)

For example, if a company like Old Navy orders $100,000 worth of denim from a factory in LA called Acme Clothing under FOB Origin terms, Old Navy is liable for any loss while the cargo is being shipped.

However, if the goods were shipped on FOB Destination, then the risk would be on Acme Clothing until the goods reached their final destination.

How Does FOB Work?

FOB is an acronym for “free on board” which indicates the liability for goods while they are being transferred from seller to buyer.

What is FOB Pricing?

FOB pricing includes all costs associated with the transportation, including loading goods onto a shipping vessel, freight transport, insurance, unloading of goods at the arrival port, and transportation from port to the final destination.

Who Pays for Freight on FOB origin?

When companies use the phrase “FOB Origin,” it means the buyers are responsible for shipping the goods and are also responsible for paying the shipping costs.

If the term “freight pre-paid” is included in a contract, then it means the shipper is responsible for paying the shipping costs.

What is the Difference Between FOB and CIF?

Incoterms are internationally recognized commercial terms, and two of the most common are Cost, Insurance, and Freight (CIF) and Free on Board (FOB).

The definitions of both terms are ultimately determined by the contract between the vendor and the client, but traditionally, FOB shifts the liability for the cargo from the seller to the buyer when the goods reach the designated port or facility.

With a Cost, Insurance, and Freight (CIF) contract, the buyer pays for shipping and insurance costs, while assuming liability for the goods until they reach their port of destination.


If you’re shipping goods, it’s important to know what is FOB shipping. From what I can tell, FOB shipping is when the buyer pays for the transportation of the goods from the seller’s location to their own. The main thing to remember with this type of shipping is that ownership of the goods changes hands once they’re loaded onto the ship. So, if something happens to them during transit, it’s not on the seller anymore!