Shipping Terms

You may have a variety of shipping options at your disposal, each with different customer and vendor responsibilities. The methods are listed in order of preference for the University.

Freight Option Customer Takes Title of Goods... Customer Responsibilities Vendor Responsibilities
F.O.B Destination At point of delivery • Pays freight
• Owns goods in transit
• Files claims (loss, damage, etc.)
F.O.B Destination, Freight Pre-paid & Added At point of delivery • Freight added to invoice • Pays freight
• Owns goods in transit
• Files claims (loss, damage, etc.)
F.O.B Destination, Freight Collect At point of delivery • Pays freight • Owns goods in transit
• Files claims (loss, damage, etc.)
F.O.B Origin, Freight Pre-Paid and Allowed At shipping point or factory • Owns goods in transit
• Files claims (loss, damage, etc.)
• Pays freight
F.O.B Origin, Freight Pre-paid & Added At shipping point or factory • Freight added to invoice
• Owns goods in transit
• Files claims (loss, damage, etc.)
• Pays freight
F.O.B Origin At shipping point or factory • Pays freight
• Owns goods in transit
• Files claims (loss, damage, etc.)

Freight Definitions & Terms

  • F.O.B. Destination is the University standard, since it provides the most protection to the department/school and the University. It should be negotiated into all purchases whenever possible. F.O.B. Destination means that legal ownership of the good transfers when it reaches the buyer. Therefore, the seller pays all shipping costs and is also responsible for the goods during transit. 

  • F.O.B. Origin means that NU usually pays all shipping costs and legal ownership transfers to NU when the goods leave the vendor’s warehouse. As such, this can be of great risk to the department/school and the University. If a vendor requires F.O.B. Origin, the department/school should arrange for appropriate insurance coverage for the purchased goods through the shipping company that will be transporting and delivering the goods prior to shipment. Purchasing Resources Services and the Office of Risk Management can provide assistance when necessary.

Ship-To Codes

Departments/schools are expected to select the appropriate 'ship to' code on each Requisition. There will be no ability to put a non-established ship to location on a Requisition. If a new 'ship to' location is needed, submit the Ship-To Request Form (pdf). Northwestern University has developed a list of Ship-To Codes (pdf) to be used by each department/school in NUFinancials. 

Shipping Terms on Purchase Orders

Freight/Shipping Terms are unable to be modified on a purchase order. Individual departments may agree to alternate shipping terms with vendors if necessary, but it is not possible to reflect alternate terms on a purchase order. For additional assistance, please contact PRS.

Customs

The importing and exporting of goods are subject to the rules and regulations of U.S. Customs and may require special forms to be completed for entry. These forms should be submitted before the goods arrive in the United States. Departments/schools should check the contact information of the University’s Preferred Vendor for customs clearance and freight forwarding services whenever a product is purchased that will be shipped from another country. The Preferred Vendor for customs clearance has been provided with NU’s power of attorney by OGC to help streamline these deliveries. There is an additional cost associated with this service.

More information on import and export regulations can be found at http://www.cbp.gov/ (see ‘Commercial Importing Procedures and Requirements, Importing into the United States’).