What Does “CIF” Stand for in Shipping?

CIF stands for “cost, insurance and freight” in shipping. This is a trade term meaning that the seller must arrange for the carrying of goods by sea to a destination port as well as provide the buyer with any necessary documents to receive the goods from the carrier.

The seller pays all costs, insurance and freight associated with shipping the goods. However, the buyer is responsible for shipping costs from the destination port to a final destination as well as any unloading charges that may be incurred. In contrast, FOB stands for “free on board” and only requires that the seller arrange and pay for goods to be shipped to a point of origin.