The world of international trade is vast and complex, with terms and regulations that can often seem overwhelming to non-experts. However, understanding certain terminology, such as Incoterms, is essential to ensure that international transactions run smoothly.

One of the most used and crucial Incoterms is the DAP Incoterm, or“Delivered At Place“. Throughout this article, we will break down the essential characteristics of the DAP Incoterm, its advantages and the ideal situations for its use.

In addition, we will learn about the responsibilities of both the buyer and seller under the DAP Incoterm, providing clarity and confidence in your international business transactions.

Whether you are an exporter looking to expand your market horizons, an importer looking to better understand your responsibilities, or simply someone interested in international logistics, this article will guide you through the nuances of the DAP Incoterm and help you determine if it is the right term for your needs.


Definition of the DAP Incoterm

DAP, which stands for“Delivered At Place“, is one of the terms agreed upon by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) that defines the responsibilities and obligations of both the buyer and seller in an international trade transaction.

Under the DAP Incoterm, the seller is responsible for all costs and risks associated with transporting the goods to an agreed location, excluding the payment of import duties. It is the buyer’s responsibility to clear the goods for import and pay any applicable customs duties.

The DAP Incoterm is flexible and can be used regardless of the mode of transport selected, whether by air, sea, road or rail. The essential point is that, once the goods arrive at the named point, the risk is transferred from the seller to the buyer.


Basic components of DAP

To fully understand the scope of DAP and how it can impact an international trade operation, it is crucial to break down its key components:

Agreed delivery point: Both parties, the buyer and the seller, agree on a specific delivery point, which can be anywhere from a port to the buyer’s premises.

Transportation and associated costs: The seller covers all costs until the goods arrive at the designated delivery point. This includes transportation, packaging, export licenses, and any other costs up to the point of delivery.

Risk: Although the seller bears the costs, the risk is transferred to the buyer when the goods are delivered to the agreed place. This means that any damage or loss of the goods after this point is the responsibility of the buyer.

Import duties: Although the seller delivers the goods at the agreed point, it is the buyer who is responsible for clearing the goods for import and paying any corresponding customs duties or taxes.

These components form the basis of the DAP Incoterm and establish the expectations and responsibilities for both parties to a transaction.


DAP’s role in the international trade landscape

In a globalized environment where transactions and shipments regularly cross borders, Incoterms act as a common language for traders. The DAP Incoterm, in particular, has gained relevance due to the flexibility and clarity it offers to both parties involved.

As supply chains have become more complex, the need for clear and defined terms that establish precise responsibilities is imperative. DAP, being one of the most versatile terms, has become a popular choice for many companies because:

Versatility in modes of transport: Unlike other Incoterms that may be restricted to certain modes of transport, DAP is applicable whether goods are shipped by sea, air, road or rail. This flexibility makes it ideal for transactions requiring multiple modes of transport.

-Clarity of responsibilities: By clearly stating that the seller is responsible for all costs up to the point of delivery, but that risk is transferred at the time of delivery, the parties can plan and insure their cargoes accordingly.

-Encourages competitiveness: By allowing the seller to manage logistics to a designated point, it can offer competitive terms to buyers, potentially opening up markets and opportunities that would not otherwise be viable.

Adaptability to different scenarios: DAP can be used for both large shipments and smaller transactions, offering a solution adapted to different needs and scenarios.

In the complex landscape of international trade, DAP has proven to be a vital tool that allows companies of all sizes to operate with confidence, knowing that their transactions are backed by clear and defined terms.


DAP Incoterm Obligations

One of the major benefits of using Incoterms is that they clearly and concisely delineate the responsibilities of both parties involved in an international trade transaction. With DAP, although some aspects are shared, many of the obligations are divided between the buyer and seller. Let’s dive deeper into these roles to better understand what is expected of each party.


Obligations for the buyer

Under the DAP Incoterm, the buyer has certain essential responsibilities:

Payment of the goods: The buyer must pay the price of the goods as agreed in the sales contract.

Customs clearance: Once the goods have arrived at the designated place, it is the buyer’s responsibility to manage and pay for all customs formalities necessary to import the goods.

Payment of duties and taxes: All import duties, taxes, and other fees related to the importation of the goods are the responsibility of the buyer.

Assuming the risk from the point of delivery: From the moment the goods are delivered at the agreed place, any damage, loss or additional cost is the responsibility of the buyer.

Notification to the seller: The buyer must inform the seller of the specific date or period in which he wishes the goods to be delivered.


Obligations for the seller

The seller’s responsibilities in a DAP agreement are extensive and range from initial preparation to delivery:

Provision of the goods and commercial invoice: The seller must provide the goods as stipulated in the sales contract and provide the buyer with a commercial invoice or other equivalent document.

Licenses and permits: It is the seller’s responsibility to obtain and pay for all permits, licenses and official documents required for export.

Transportation contract: The seller must contract and pay for the transportation of the goods to the designated place.

Delivery of the goods: The goods must be delivered to the buyer at the agreed place and on the agreed date or within the agreed period.

Assume risk up to the point of delivery: Any damage or loss occurring prior to delivery at the designated place is the responsibility of the seller.

Notification to the buyer: The seller must inform the buyer as soon as the goods have been delivered in accordance with the DAP terms.

Clearly delineating these responsibilities ensures that both parties understand and fulfill their roles, which reduces the chances of misunderstandings and conflicts in the transaction.


Infographic about Incoterms


Advantages of using the DAP Incoterm

The use of Incoterms is intended not only to clarify roles and responsibilities, but also to offer competitive and operational advantages for the parties involved.

DAP, as one of the most versatile Incoterms, offers distinctive benefits for both buyer and seller. Let’s look at these advantages in detail.


For the buyer

By opting for the DAP Incoterm, buyers benefit from:

Logistical ease: By not having to worry about the details of transportation and delivery to the designated location, the buyer can concentrate on other facets of his business, confident that the goods will arrive as agreed.

Customs control: Although the seller handles the transportation, the buyer has complete control over the import process, allowing him to manage customs procedures according to his preferences and experience.

Delivery point flexibility: DAP allows the buyer to designate a specific location for delivery, which can be beneficial depending on their logistical or warehousing needs.

Clear risk transition: The exact point of risk transfer is clearly defined, which facilitates the management of insurance and potential claims.


For the seller

The DAP Incoterm also has significant advantages for the seller:

Market opportunities: By offering DAP terms, sellers can make their products more attractive to buyers in foreign markets who prefer this type of arrangement.

Control over transportation: Up to the designated delivery point, the seller has complete control over the transportation process, allowing him to work with reliable logistics operators and optimize costs.

Offer flexibility: DAP allows the seller to offer different terms to different buyers, adapting to the specific needs of each transaction.

Reputation and reliability: By complying with the obligations of the DAP Incoterm, the seller demonstrates commitment and credibility, strengthening its reputation in the international market.

The choice of DAP can therefore be strategic, offering distinct advantages that help both parties achieve their business and operational objectives.


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Differences between the DAP Incoterm and other Group D Incoterms

Group D Incoterms are known to state that the seller delivers the goods in the buyer’s country. Although these terms share similar characteristics, the differences between them are crucial and can significantly impact the operations and responsibilities of the parties involved.

Let’s explore how DAP differs from other Group D Incoterms.



DAP (Delivered At Place) and DPU (Delivered at Place Unloaded) are similar in many ways, but have a fundamental difference:

Place of delivery and transfer of risk:

In DAP, the seller delivers the goods once they are available for unloading on the chosen means of transport at an agreed place.

In DPU, the seller goes one step further and delivers the goods once they have been unloaded at the agreed location.

In other words, in DPU, delivery is considered complete only after discharge, while in DAP, delivery is complete just prior to discharge.

Responsibility for unloading

At DAP, the unloading process is the responsibility of the buyer.

In DPU, the seller is responsible for the unloading of the goods.


DPU is the only Incoterm that requires the seller to unload the goods at the place of destination, which makes it suitable for certain specific scenarios where the seller is in a better position to manage the unloading.



The contrast between DAP and DDP (Delivered Duty Paid) focuses mainly on customs obligations and associated costs:

Duties and taxes

The most significant difference between DAP and DDP is who assumes responsibility for paying the duties and taxes.

At DDP, the seller assumes all costs and responsibilities, including duties, taxes and other import charges.

In DAP, these costs are borne by the buyer.

Risks and associated costs

In DDP, the seller assumes a higher level of risk and responsibility, as he has to manage and pay for all aspects until the goods are delivered to the buyer, including all customs formalities.

DAP, on the other hand, limits the seller’s responsibility to the delivery of the goods at an agreed place, without the need to arrange the import.

Flexibility for the buyer

DAP offers more control to the buyer in terms of customs management and associated costs, while DDP transfers all management and risk to the seller.

These differences between DAP and other Group D Incoterms underscore the importance of choosing the right term that aligns with the needs and capabilities of both parties in a transaction.


How to choose the right Incoterm for your needs

Choosing the right Incoterm is a crucial decision in international trade transactions. This choice influences the cost structure, risk transfer and logistical responsibilities of both parties.

But how do you determine which one is best suited to your needs? Here is a guide to help you make this decision:

Evaluate your logistical capabilities: Before deciding on an Incoterm, it is essential to analyze your own capabilities and limitations. If you have a strong team or logistics partner in a specific country, it may be advantageous to take on more transportation responsibilities in that territory.

Consider risks and costs: Some Incoterms shift more of the risk and cost to the seller, while others place more of the risk and cost on the buyer. Analyze which party is in a better position to assume these risks and costs, and choose the Incoterm accordingly.

Understands customs obligations: If one of the participants has a better understanding and ability to handle customs formalities in a specific country, it may be beneficial for that party to handle customs obligations.

Take into account the preferences of the buyer or seller: Sometimes, one of the participants may have a clear preference for a specific Incoterm due to past experience, internal policies or strategic considerations. It is important to dialogue and reach an agreement that benefits both parties.

Research the destination: The particularities of the destination country or region (such as regulations, logistics infrastructure, etc.) may influence the choice of Incoterm. It is essential to be well informed on the ground before deciding.

Review regularly: The world of international trade is constantly changing. What worked in the past may not be appropriate in the present. Regularly review your Incoterms choices to ensure they are still the most appropriate for your operations.

Consult experts: If you are unsure about which Incoterm to choose, consider consulting a logistics or international trade expert. Their experience and expertise could offer you valuable insights you hadn’t considered.

Choosing the right Incoterm requires a clear understanding of your own capabilities, as well as an appreciation of the needs and desires of the other party. By approaching this decision with due diligence, you can establish a solid foundation for a successful and mutually beneficial transaction.


Across Logistics, your reliable logistics partner

As we have seen, managing international trade can be complex, so having a reliable partner who is an expert in logistics is essential to ensure that your operations run smoothly.

Across Logistics
emerges as that indispensable partner that offers not only expertise, but also solutions tailored to the specific needs of each customer.


Proven experience: With years of market presence, Across Logistics has established itself as a benchmark in the logistics field, handling operations of all sizes and for a wide variety of industry sectors.

-In-depth knowledge of Incoterms: The correct application and understanding of Incoterms is crucial for the success of commercial operations. Our highly trained team is at the forefront of training and updates on these terms, always ensuring the best advice for our clients.

Customized solutions: We know that each customer and operation is unique. Therefore, we offer solutions adapted to the particularities of each business, ensuring efficiency and optimization at each stage of the logistics process.

Global network of contacts: Thanks to our extensive network of collaborators and partners around the world, we can ensure that your goods reach their destination in a timely and safe manner, regardless of the distances or challenges involved.

Commitment to excellence: Our main objective is to exceed our customers’ expectations in every operation. This commitment to excellence has allowed us to establish long-term relationships based on trust and mutual success.


By trusting Across Logistics as your logistics partner, you are ensuring that every detail of your operation is in expert hands. Let us be that pillar of support on your path to success in international trade.

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