CIP Incoterms Explained: Carriage and Insurance Paid To

June 14, 2024
14 min read

Suppose you are a merchant that trades internationally. In that case, you will understand the complexity of navigating these complex business activities, especially when it comes to knowing the responsibility of everyone involved. 

From varying international trade rules to unclear tax regulations and shipping insurance, these challenges can overwhelm even the most experienced international trader. 

Luckily, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) – an organisation that makes business, especially cross-border trade, work for everyone – comes to the rescue. It comes up with a set of Incoterms (International Commercial Terms) that enable importers and exporters to successfully navigate these complicated commercial activities. 

Critical to this Incoterms is the CIP (Carriage and Insurance Paid to). But, what is CIP Incoterm? What are the buyer and seller's responsibilities under the CIP Incoterm? Find out the answers in this article. 

What Are CIP Incoterms?

CIP is a widely used international trade term where the merchant is responsible for shipping goods to a specified place. It includes paying for transport and providing insurance coverage to the agreed-upon destination. 

More specifically, this arrangement ensures that the merchant handles the carriage and insurance costs to the importer's country across any mode of transport, including maritime, land, air, or a combination. Under CIP terms, the supplier fulfils their obligation when the goods are handed over to the carrier, not when they arrive at the destination. 

This classification makes CIP a 'shipment contract' rather than an 'arrival contract', emphasising the importance of clearly identifying the delivery location within the agreement. The transfer of risk from the merchant to the purchaser occurs at the point where the goods are passed to the carrier.

How CIP Works

CIP involves the merchant covering freight and insurance costs to an agreed-upon location, such as CIP London, where the supplier pays to transport goods to London. Unlike the Cost and freight (CRF) incoterms, it encompasses all transportation charges across various modes like road, rail, sea, air, or any combination thereof.

Consider Toyota, based in Japan, arranging to send a shipment of motor parts to a US retailer. Under CIP terms, Toyota bears the costs for all freight and the minimum required insurance to ensure the goods reach the designated carrier or the appointed individual representing the retailer at an approved destination. Toyota's responsibility ends once the parts are handed over to the carrier or the retailer's representative. From this point, the retailer assumes all risks and liabilities for the shipment.

It is important to note that if the importer wishes that the insurance covers over 110% of the contract's value, they must impose additional costs. This provision allows buyers to opt for more comprehensive insurance at their expense, offering added protection against potential transit risks.

Responsibilities Under the CIP Incoterm 

Under the CIP, transactions are structured to clarify the allocation of costs and risks between the merchant and supplier. This framework facilitates smoother international trade by defining obligations and logistics management practices.

Seller’s Responsibilities

  • Preparation of goods: The supplier is tasked with adequately preparing and packaging the products in line with the requirements stated in the sales contract. This includes choosing suitable packaging materials that ensure the merchandise remains safe and intact during transportation and handling.
  • Seller pays freight: The responsibility for delivering the goods to the designated carrier falls on the seller. This involves ensuring the products are dispatched to the agreed location and on schedule to meet delivery deadlines. Additionally, the seller must cover all transportation costs to the contractually specified destination, making sure these expenses and logistics are well-documented and decided upon to prevent any misunderstandings.
  • Insurance: It is incumbent upon the supplier to secure and finance insurance for the goods during their transit. The insurance should at least comply with the minimum standards of Clause C as stipulated by the Institution of London Underwriters or an equivalent standard unless the contract states otherwise. This insurance safeguards against typical transit risks, securing the financial interests of both the merchant and the purchaser.  
  • Documentation: Essential to the transaction is the seller’s provision of all necessary documentation to the purchaser. These documents, which include bills of lading, invoices, and necessary certificates, enable the buyer to take possession of the goods from the carrier. This documentation must be complete and compliant with all applicable legal and regulatory provisions to facilitate a smooth transfer and compliance with international trade laws. 

Buyer's Obligations

  • Receiving the goods: Upon delivery of the goods to the carrier at the specified location, the importer must ensure their receipt. This step marks the transition of responsibility from the exporter to the receiver, who must verify the integrity and correctness of the merchandise upon arrival.
  • Import regulations: The buyer is accountable for adhering to all relevant import laws. This includes securing any required licences or permits essential for the legal importation of the goods into the destination country. Non-compliance can result in legal penalties or delays in goods clearance at customs.
  • Additional costs and risks: From the moment the goods are handed over to the carrier, the importer bears all subsequent costs and risks. This encompasses any further transportation fees to the trucking company, insurance premiums necessary to safeguard the goods during transit, and potential damages or losses.

By diligently adhering to these responsibilities, all parties ensure that the transaction proceeds efficiently and maintain a positive business relationship with one another.

CIP vs. DDP vs. CPT vs. FOB

Understanding the nuances of these incoterms is crucial for ensuring smooth and efficient global commerce.

CIPDDP (Delivered Duty Paid)CPT (Carriage Paid To)FOB (Free on Board)
Seller ResponsibilitiesThe seller is accountable for delivering the goods to the carrier, paying for transport to the destination, and providing insurance. The risk transfers from the merchant at this point.In DDP Incoterms [1], the exporter takes on maximum responsibility, delivering the package to the importer's location and covering all costs, including transport, insurance, and customs formalities.The supplier pays for the transport of merchandise to the named destination, but the risk is transferred to the importer once the packages are handed to the first carrier. Insurance is the buyer's responsibility.Liable to deliver the products onto the ocean vessel at the point of departure. Risk moves to the importer once the items are on board.
Buyer ResponsibilitiesAssumes risk once the goods are with the carrier, covers any additional insurance beyond the seller's coverage, and handles customs clearance and import duties.Responsible for unloading the goods at the final destination. All other responsibilities lie with the seller.Bears all risks and costs after the seller hands the goods over to the first carrier. The buyer is also responsible for import customs clearance and duties.Takes on risk from the moment the goods are on board, pays for transport from the port of departure, and manages insurance, import customs clearance, and duties.

The table above highlights key takeaways from the four terms. These terms help define the specific responsibilities in international trade, ensuring clarity and reducing disputes over who bears costs and risks at different stages of the shipping process.

Why Choose Bezos for Your eCommerce Logistics Needs?

The logo of Bezos.

Navigating the complexities of international shipping can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to understanding Incoterms like CIP or Delivery at Terminal (DAT). That's where Bezos comes in. We're not just a fulfilment service provider; we're your strategic partner in scaling your eCommerce business.

  • Save time and money: With Bezos, you can save one to five hours a day on logistics tasks. Imagine what you could do with that extra time – focus on product development, ramp up your marketing efforts, or even take a well-deserved break. Plus, save £1 to £2 per order and up to 80% on international orders.
  • Cutting-edge technology: Our proprietary AI technology identifies and resolves logistics issues before they become a problem for you or your customers. This is particularly beneficial in CIP transactions where the seller is responsible for carriage and insurance, ensuring a smooth and hassle-free process.
  • Exceptional customer support: We know how crucial timely communication is in the logistics process. That's why we offer dedicated account managers and a ticket response time of just two hours. Rest assured, your orders – and your reputation – are in safe hands.
  • Global reach: Looking to expand your business? Bezos operates in key locations like the UK, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, as well as the US and Canada. Our network of 63 fulfilment centres across 17 countries ensures your CIP shipments are handled efficiently, no matter the destination.

Ready to take the complexity out of CIP Incoterms and focus on growing your business? Get your free quote from Bezos today and start saving now!


Understanding the world of international trade can be complex, especially when it comes to implementing shipping terms like CIP. However, with the right knowledge and strategic approach, CIP can offer a plethora of benefits, from flexibility in transportation modes to enhanced insurance coverage and clarity in responsibilities. 

While it's essential to be aware of the potential disadvantages and legal intricacies, the key to successful implementation lies in meticulous planning, consultation with stakeholders, and choosing a reliable fulfilment partner.

Also, remember, if you're looking to simplify the complexities of CIP Incoterms and focus on what you do best – expanding your business – look no further than Bezos. With advanced technology, exceptional customer support, and a global reach, we've got you covered.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What does CIP mean in Incoterms? 

In Incoterms, CIP stands for "Carriage and Insurance Paid To." Under CIP terms, the seller is responsible for arranging and paying for both the transportation (carriage) of the goods to the agreed destination and the insurance coverage for the goods during transit. This means that the seller bears the costs and risks associated with both carriage and insurance until the goods are delivered to the named destination.

What is the difference between CIF and CIP? 

CIF (Cost, Insurance, and Freight) and CIP (Carriage and Insurance Paid To) are both international commercial terms used in trade contracts to specify the responsibilities of the seller and buyer regarding the transportation and insurance of goods. CIF is used for sea transport, where the seller covers freight and insurance to the destination port. CIP covers all modes of transport, with the seller responsible for carriage and insurance to the named destination.

Who pays CIP freight? 

Under CIP, the seller pays for freight and insurance to transport goods to the buyer's specified destination.

What is included in CIP? 

CIP includes transportation costs, insurance until the first carrier, and export fees, but not import duties or further transport costs.

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