What is the difference between FOB and CIF?

Whether you're selling or buying goods, understanding the different types of shipping contracts-like FOB and CIF-will help you better understand your responsibilities throughout a transaction. This in turn will help you reduce risk and lead to a smoother supply chain. So what is the difference between FOB and CIF? And how does it affect the import and export process?

Free on board (FOB) and cost, insurance, and freight (CIF) are two important rules governing domestic and international trade. These contracts determine ownership and liability from the port of origin to the destination. FOB and CIF are both Incoterms-rules for cargo transport that the International Chamber of

Commerce maintains. Incoterms determine each party's duties and dictate the transfer of ownership during a transaction.

It is vital that companies shipping or receiving goods internationally understand the important implications FOB and CIF have on shipping costs and risks.

FOB: Giving control to the buyer
The FOB Incoterm places most of the responsibility for shipping on the buyer. The seller hands off the goods to the buyer's carrier service at the port. Once the goods cross the ship's rail onto the deck, the supplier's arrangements have ended.

All further responsibilities for freight logistics and unloading belong to the buyer. After the seller delivers the goods onto the vessel at the port of origin, the buyer's chosen carrier transports the goods to the destination.

Buyer Responsibilities:
In FOB, the buyer is responsible for the following:

Paying the freight costs
Paying import duties and clearing customs
Unloading at the destination
When shipping FOB, the seller does not have to pay import duties or manage customs documents for import.

Types of FOB terms:
While FOB makes the buyer responsible for most shipping arrangements after the port of origin, the party that bears the risk for the goods depends on the specific type of FOB terms. There are two types of FOB contracts that determi