The FAS Free Alongside Ship Incoterm 2020 is the second Incoterm of the F group, along with FCA and FOB. As we already wrote with regard to the previous F-group Incoterm, the FCA Free Carrier, one common feature of the Incoterms in this category is that the place of delivery occurs somewhere at origin, i.e. within the seller’s country.
The big difference between an FCA and an FAS Incoterms is that, in the case of the FAS, the place of delivery is always a port. You can see the difference through the way in which these two Incoterms are written:
FCA Free Carrier (named place of delivery)
FAS Free Alongside Ship (named port of shipment)
FAS Free Alongside Ship: a maritime Incoterm
Actually, the FAS Incoterm is quite self-explanatory when it comes to the place of delivery: this occurs in the port of shipment alongside the vessel, prior to loading; all charges beyond that delivery point (including loading onboard the vessel at origin) are for the buyer.
We write this many times in our articles, but it is always worthwhile mentioning (you can read the full topic in How to use Incoterms) that, according to Incoterms, delivery may not be physical delivery, or delivery at destination, but it is intended as the moment where the transfer of risk (risk of loss, damage, etc) along with certain obligations (export clearance for example) shifts from the seller to the buyer.
In the case of FAS, that is clear: delivery occurs, as the Incoterm itself says, alongside the ship where the goods will be loaded.
As a result, in contrast with FCA, in the case of an FAS Incoterm, obligations such as export clearance and inland charges up to the delivery point are for the seller’s account.
Another big difference is that the FAS Incoterm is intended only for ocean or inland waterway transportation.
Uses of FAS Free Alongside Ship: big stuff
In fact, FAS is typically used for oversized, out of gauge (OOG), super-heavy cargo that does not fit into a container.
You can think about things like giant generators that go into power plants, or oilfield equipment with their unique configurations that would not fit any cargo, or other types of machinery.
It is not a rule, you could use FAS for other things, but it is common practice that the FAS is used for OOG cargo and special transportation.
The seller may be inclined to use FAS also because he wants to remain responsible for inland transportation up to the delivery point for the sake of the goods. If you have to ship new machinery, you do not want that it gets damaged along the way.
Moreover, since these are exceptional items, it would be very difficult for the buyer to arrange such transportation in the seller’s territory. However, once the seller places the goods alongside of the ship, that is where his responsibility ends.
Even if it does not have to be so, FAS is a very specialized Incoterm used only for OOG gargo and other exceptional items that require special transportation.
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