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September 21, 2022

The Difference Between CIF (Cost, Insurance, and Freight) vs DDP (Delivery Duty Paid)

There are many terms and acronyms used in the shipping industry that can be confusing for those who are new to the world of importing and exporting.

In this blog post, we will demystify two of the most common terms used in international shipping:  CIF (Cost, Insurance, and Freight) and DDP (Delivery Duty Paid).

These Incoterms are often used interchangeably in the shipping industry. However, there is a big difference between the two terms, and it's important to understand the distinction before using either one.

What is Cost, Insurance, and Freight (CIF)?

Cost, Insurance, and Freight (CIF) is an international commercial term used to describe the price of goods, including insurance and shipping costs. Under a CIF contract, the seller is responsible for arranging and paying for transport and insurance, up to the point of delivery. The buyer is then responsible for paying the remaining cost of the goods.

What is CIF Used For?

  • Ocean or waterway transport only
  • Generally, for non-containerized or bulk freight
  • Buyers should use it if it's the most cost-effective option, whereas sellers should use it when they're knowledgeable about customs

What is Delivery Duty Paid (DDP)?

Delivery Duty Paid (DDP) is an international shipping term used to describe the delivery of goods where all costs and risks associated with transport, including customs clearance, import duties and taxes, are paid by the seller.

What is DDP Used For?

  • High-value or sensitive shipments where the buyer wants peace of mind and protection
  • To ensure safe delivery of the goods as the seller is responsible for all aspects of transport
  • To avoid any delays or issues with customs clearance, as the seller is accountable for all customs formalities
  • Buyers should use it when they want to purchase goods from a country with high import taxes, as the DDP contract means that they will not be liable for any additional charges
  • Sellers should use it when they want to offer their buyers a complete door-to-door service at a competitive price

The Difference Between CIF (Cost, Insurance, and Freight) vs DDP (Delivery Duty Paid)

Though they may appear similar at first glance, there are some important distinctions between these two methods.

The key differences between CIF vs DDP are:

  • Customs duties and taxes — under a CIF contract, customs duties and taxes are not included in the price of the goods, whereas they are included in the price of goods under a DDP contract
  • The responsibility for transport — with CIF, the buyer is responsible for arranging and paying for transport to the destination port. Under a DDP contract, the seller is responsible for both arranging and paying for transport until they reach an agreed-upon destination
  • Risk and liability — under a CIF agreement, the risk transfers to the buyer once the goods are made available to the buyer at the port of destination. Under a DDP contract, the seller is responsible until delivery to the agreed-upon location

The Difference Between CIF (Cost, Insurance, and Freight) vs DDP (Delivery Duty Paid): point of risk transfer and obligations of the seller (exporter) and buyer (importer)

When to Use CIF vs DDP?

The main deciding factor when choosing between CIF and DDP is who should be responsible for customs clearance and paying any associated duties and taxes.

If the buyer wants the seller to be liable for all aspects of transport, including customs formalities, then they should use a DDP contract. However, if the buyer is happy to take on responsibility for customs clearance and paying duties and taxes, then they should use a CIF contract.

It's also worth considering the type of product you're shipping. If you're shipping high-value or sensitive goods, then DDP is often the best option as it offers more protection for the buyer. However, if you're shipping non-containerized or bulk freight, then CIF is often the most cost-effective option.

It's up to both parties to decide which method is best for their needs. However, it's important to have a clear understanding of the difference between CIF vs DDP before entering into any shipping contracts.

Ship With Confidence

When it comes to shipping internationally, businesses have a few different options for who pays what fees associated with getting the product to its destination.

CIF and DDP are two different shipping arrangements that business owners can use when exporting their products. The choice between these terms comes down to understanding your own products and needs as well as those of your business partners.

By taking the time to understand all of the factors involved in each Incoterm, you'll be able to make an informed decision about which one is right for your business.