Free on Board FOB Explained: Who’s Liable for What in Shipping?

fob shipping point

By using FOB destination, the shipper would be responsible for the safe arrival of your goods. If anything happens in transit, they would have to replace or repair things – not you. Some companies prefer to have ownership of their materials throughout the process – either incoming or outgoing. They will handle all concerns and have their say in any decisions that must be made. If you are particular fob shipping point about your goods, such as a small business that needs to make a good reputation, you may want to retain that control. It’s important for the moment of sale to be accurately recorded for this reason, and also for entry into the company records. Understanding the differences between each is as simple as knowing how much responsibility the buyer and supplier assume under each agreement.

Where the FOB terms of sale are indicated as “FOB Origin,” the buyer is responsible for the costs involved in transporting the goods from the seller’s warehouse to the final destination. In modern domestic shipping, the term is used to describe the time when the seller is no longer responsible for the shipped goods and when the buyer is responsible for paying the transport costs. Ideally, the seller pays the freight charges to a major port or other shipping destination and the buyer pays the transport costs from the warehouse to his store or vendors. If the terms include the phrase “FOB origin, freight collect,” the buyer is responsible for freight charges. If the terms include “FOB origin, freight prepaid,” the buyer assumes the responsibility for goods at the point of origin, but the seller pays the cost of shipping. While shipping costs are determined by when the buyer takes ownership of a particular order of goods, a company’s accounting system is also impacted. If a shipment is sent FOB Shipping Point (the seller’s warehouse), then the sale is concluded as soon as the truck pulls out of the seller’s loading dock and is noted in the accounting system as such.

Proven Insights of Managing Your Logistics in Transportation

The term free on board simply refers to freight that is being shipped over water instead of land or air. About 90 percent of all global freight is shipped via ocean and sea freight. With the advent of e-commerce, most commercial electronic transactions occur under the terms of “FOB shipping point” or “FCA shipping point”. Sometimes FOB is used in sales to retain commission by the outside sales representative. International shipments typically use “FOB” as defined by the Incoterms standards, where it always stands for “Free On Board”. Domestic shipments within the United States or Canada often use a different meaning, specific to North America, which is inconsistent with the Incoterms standards.

fob shipping point

Pay the full price agreed upon between the two parties in the agreement of sale. However, you should note that they extend beyond just bringing the items to the port of loading.

Where are the risk transfers in FOB?

Therefore, international trade will almost definitely have an impact on the FOB process. According to the generally accepted accounting principles , a business cannot record revenue until the transfer of risks and rewards of the goods from the seller to the buyer.

  • Furthermore, all the risks involved in transportation of the goods are transferred to the buyer once the goods are loaded onto the vessel.
  • Describe the difference in the timing of trade execution and the certainty of trade price between market orders and limit orders.
  • Free on Board is a shipment term indicating the point at which a buyer or seller assumes ownership and liability for goods being transported.
  • Traditionally, the ownership transfer is defined in the contract of sale and bill of lading.

Goods being moved across country borders, on ocean cargo ships, or during hazardous local conditions may be at higher risk of something going wrong. Because the legal owner must deal with paperwork or accidents, you should consider carefully who you want to be on the hook.

A Small Business Guide to FOB Shipping

It is much easier to determine when title transfers by referring to the agreed upon terms and conditions of the transaction; typically, title passes with risk of loss. The transfer of title may occur at a different time than the FOB shipping term.

fob shipping point

This is the point of primary transportation in which the buyer will now assume responsibility for the treadmills. The equipment manufacturer would not record a sale until delivery to the shipping point; it is at this point the manufacturer would record an entry for accounts receivable and reduce its inventory balance.

With FOB Destination, the seller is responsible for transporting goods from the origin point to the shipping point. They are also responsible for loading the cargo onto the vessel and paying the costs of shipping the freight to the buyer’s named port.

Just like our users, you can build your ecommerce website with us and set specific shipping rules on your online store. On the screenshot image below, you will notice the shipping options that you can set prior to selling your products online. For example, on the shipping rule you can set it to flat rate per item, by order weight, or even store pickup. Truly, you can manage your shipping preferences for your products online.

As for FOB destination, the sale becomes complete when the goods are delivered and come into the buyer’s possession. In addition to their value in clarifying legal liability, shipping terms also determine the point at which one is able to record revenue for the transaction on the inventory asset account on their balance sheet. The buyer is charge of all costs after the goods are loaded onto the vessel at the port of shipment.

Peggy James is a CPA with over 9 years of experience in accounting and finance, including corporate, nonprofit, and personal finance environments. She most recently worked at Duke University and is the owner of Peggy James, CPA, PLLC, serving small businesses, nonprofits, solopreneurs, freelancers, and individuals. At sight is a form of payment due on demand when presented with required documentation. The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Investopedia receives compensation. Investopedia does not include all offers available in the marketplace. Sale is recorded in the general ledger when the goods have arrived at the point of origin. Timothy Li is a consultant, accountant, and finance manager with an MBA from USC and over 15 years of corporate finance experience.