What is

"Usance" refers to the customary practice, especially in international trade, of allowing a period after the delivery of goods for payment. It is essentially the credit period agreed upon between the buyer and seller. This term is quite common in the context of letters of credit and bills of exchange.


In the multifaceted world of international trade and freight forwarding, 'Usance' is a term of significant importance. Predominantly used in the context of financial transactions and trade financing, it holds relevance in the spheres of shipping, ocean and air freight, and supply chain management.  

The Role of Usance in Freight Forwarding

1. Facilitating International Transactions: Usance plays a crucial role in smoothing financial transactions in international freight forwarding by allowing buyers time to receive and sell goods before making payment.

2. Impact on Cash Flow: By providing a deferred payment structure, Usance helps businesses manage cash flow more effectively, which is essential in high-value transactions typical in ocean and air freight.

3. Risk Management: It offers a form of risk mitigation for both buyers and sellers in international trade by providing a structured and agreed-upon timeline for payment.

Usance Letters of Credit

1. Function: In Usance Letters of Credit, the credit period begins from the date of acceptance of shipping documents or the date of the bill of lading. This is critical in freight forwarding where documentation plays a key role.

2. Benefits: They provide assurance to the seller that they will receive payment, albeit after a certain period, while offering the buyer time to generate revenue from the goods before payment.

Challenges and Considerations

1. Credit Risk: The seller assumes the credit risk during the Usance period, as they must wait for payment post-delivery.

2. Interest Rate Fluctuations: Depending on the length of the Usance period, fluctuations in interest rates can impact the cost of financing.

3. Reliance on Trust and Reputation: Usance arrangements rely heavily on the trustworthiness and financial stability of the buyer, which can be a concern for new or unestablished businesses.


Usance is a critical concept in the domain of freight forwarding and international trade, bridging the gap between the delivery of goods and payment. It plays a pivotal role in facilitating global trade, aiding in cash flow management, and providing a buffer for businesses to process and sell imported goods. As the international trade landscape continues to evolve, the relevance and application of Usance terms are likely to grow, adapting to the changing dynamics of global supply chains.

In the intricate ecosystem of international trade and freight forwarding, understanding and effectively managing financial terms like Usance is vital. Shipthis Freight Forwarding Software emerges as your trusted partner, designed to streamline your shipping, ocean and air freight, and supply chain management processes. With our advanced features, you can navigate the complexities of Usance and other critical trade financing terms, ensuring smoother transactions, improved cash flow management, and robust risk mitigation strategies.

Unlock the potential of your supply chain with advanced, user-friendly software solutions tailored for today's freight forwarding professionals.

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