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Carriage Paid To: Know in Detail The Incoterm

sahil bajaj

Sahil Bajaj

Senior Specialist - Marketing @ Shiprocket

March 26, 2024

7 min read

If you’re involved in international trade, knowing about Incoterms is important. The rules set by the ICC ensure that everyone understands how trade works. Carriage Paid To (CPT) is one of these rules, and it specifically talks about how goods move, where they get delivered, and when the risk shifts from the seller to the buyer.

Using Incoterms, including CPT, makes global trade less confusing. It helps everyone communicate better and reduces misunderstandings by clearly saying who does what at each step of the deal. So, let’s talk more about Carriage Paid To (CPT) and how it can help deal with the complexities of international trade.

Carriage Paid To: Know in Detail The Incoterm

Carriage Paid To: Definition of the Term

In a Carriage Paid To (CPT) deal, the seller gets the goods to a specific delivery company when international customers buy something. CPT is a trade term indicating that the cost of the goods includes everything needed to get them to the agreed destination. In a CPT deal, two important locations need to be set: Place where the seller hands over the goods to the carrier (delivery point) and where the goods are going (destination). The buyer’s risk starts when the goods are handed over to the carrier, but the seller still covers the cost of shipping the goods to the destination.

The term “Carriage Paid To” means the seller hands over the goods to a carrier (like a shipping or transport company) at their own cost. The seller is responsible for any risks, including loss, until the goods are with that carrier. The seller takes on the risks and costs of getting the goods to a carrier for transport to an agreed-upon destination. The seller has fulfilled their obligation when the goods are safe with the carrier; from then on, it’s the buyer’s responsibility.

Once the goods are with the carrier, the buyer’s responsibility begins. The buyer mainly deals with local delivery and import-related charges.

Seller’s Responsibilities:

  • Ensure that the items are properly packed in export-worthy materials for safe transportation.
  • Accept responsibility for any expenses incurred when loading freight at the seller’s warehouse.
  • Cover the costs of transporting the loaded products to the selected port or location for export.
  • Accept financial responsibility for Origin Terminal Handling Charges (OTHC) at the origin terminal.
  • Cover the expenditures associated with putting the goods onto the carriage for transportation.
  • Pay the applicable shipping expenses for the items’ transportation.

Buyer’s Responsibilities:

  • Take financial responsibility for getting the package to its final destination.
  • Prepare to pay any unloading costs incurred at warehouses upon the arrival of the goods.
  • Take full responsibility for any import tariffs, taxes, and customs clearance expenses.
  • Be prepared to cover the costs of customs exams and dunnage, fines, or holding charges, which may emerge throughout the import procedure.

An Example to Explain Carriage Paid To

Imagine you’re buying a smartphone from a seller in the United States. The terms are set as CPT, which means “Carriage Paid To.” In this scenario:

  • Responsibility for Freight Costs: The US seller is responsible for paying the freight costs to get the smartphone from their location in the US to the first carrier, even if multiple means of transportation (land, then air, for example) are employed, or to a mutually agreed interim place.
  • Export Fees or Taxes: The seller also takes care of any export fees or taxes the US government requires.
  • Risk Transfer: The risk shifts from the seller to you when the merchandise is handed over to the first carrier.

The Pros and Cons of Carriage Paid To

While CPT provides many benefits to both the buyer and the seller, it also presents obstacles. These are:

Pros of Carriage Paid To (CPT) 

For the Buyer:

  1. When utilising CPT, the buyer must only pay for the items after they arrive at the agreed-upon destination.
  2. The seller provides the Bill of Lading or Airway Bill, lowering the buyer’s responsibility for logistical operations.
  3. If the buyer has a cargo clearance agent at the destination, CPT allows him to manage Destination Terminal Handling Charges (DTHC) and customs clearance.

For the seller:

  • CPT allows sellers to expand their consumer base and engage with buyers globally.
  • Sellers have no obligation to organise or incur insurance expenses.
  • The responsibility for the items ends when they reach the local port, reducing their involvement 

Cons of Carriage Paid To (CPT) 

For the Buyer:

  1. If the goods have to travel through several nations, the buyer is responsible for organising transit clearance, which becomes more complicated when the carrier is unknown or unfamiliar.
  2. CPT becomes more challenging when many carriers are involved, which increases the distance between you and the goods.
  3. CPT can complicate Letter of Credit (LC) payment conditions as banks may fail to understand CPT challenges, impacting payment processing, and resulting in delays and conflicts.

For the seller:

  • The seller is responsible for organising and covering the costs of delivering the products to the first carrier, which adds another degree of complication to the process.

Distinction Between CPT and CIF

The following table lays out important distinctions between Cost, Insurance, and Freight (CIF) and Carriage Paid To (CPT):

AspectCost, Insurance, and Freight (CIF)Carriage Paid To (CPT)
Scope of TransportationCIF applies exclusively to maritime shipping, which includes ocean freight and inland waterways.CPT is a general Incoterm that refers to various means of transportation, including marine, land, and air.
Seller’s Responsibility In CIF, the seller bears all costs, insurance, and freight until the items are placed aboard the vessel at the port.  CPT allows the seller to manage expenses, risks, and insurance until the products are delivered to the first carrier.
Transfer of ResponsibilityThe CIF transfer of responsibility happens when the cargo is successfully loaded aboard the shipping vessel, passing the duty to the buyer for the remainder of the trip. In CPT, responsibility switches to the first carrier at the time of delivery, indicating that the buyer is now responsible for the items’ safety and travel until they arrive at their final destination.

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Carriage Paid To (CPT) is an essential incoterm used in supply chain management and international trade. It establishes a framework that sets obligations, expenses, and risk sharing between buyers and sellers clearly, facilitating smooth transactions and eliminating miscommunication.  While CPT has several disadvantages, it works extremely well for transporting products across countries.

CPT is effective for cross-border commerce in which sellers organise shipments with carriers to move products across various nations. Its technology-enabled approach speeds up the process and ensures a reliable route of transportation within predefined constraints. However, all parties must thoroughly understand the implications of CPT. To minimise potential conflicts and headaches, it is critical to have clear communication and well-defined contractual arrangements.

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