International trade can be challenging, especially when it comes to ensuring that all parties involved understand exactly what their responsibilities are. The world of Incoterms a set of trade terms published by the International Chamber of Commerce, has been designed precisely to facilitate this task.

In this article, we will delve into the DPU Incoterm, breaking down its definition, obligations, benefits and how it compares to other Group D Incoterms.

This guide to the DPU Incoterm will provide you with everything you need to know about the DPU Incoterm, and will help you find out if it is really the right Incoterm for your needs.


Introduction to DPU Incoterm

Incoterms, or International Commercial Terms, are essential in global transactions, as they establish a common language that parties involved in international trade can understand without ambiguity.

These terms define the responsibilities and obligations of both the buyer and seller in relation to the shipment of goods, covering aspects such as transportation, delivery, risks and associated costs.

Within the broad spectrum of Incoterms available, the DPU has gained relevance in certain trade operations, being especially useful in specific situations that we will discuss below. Butwhat exactly is the DPU and what makes it different from other Incoterms?


Definition and meaning of the DPU Incoterm

DPU, which stands for “Delivered at Place Unloaded”, is an Incoterm that implies that the seller delivers the goods once they have been unloaded from the means of transport at an agreed place. It is the only Incoterm that requires the seller to take care of the unloading.

In essence, under DPU, the seller assumes all responsibilities and risks until the goods are unloaded and available to the buyer at the named place. This could be the buyer’s warehouse, a depot, a freight terminal or other agreed location.

The term highlights the importance of the unloading location and transfers the seller’s responsibility to the buyer as soon as unloading is completed. This differs from other Group D terms, where responsibility is transferred prior to discharge or at a different point in the process.


Duties and responsibilities at DPU

A correct understanding of the obligations and responsibilities under the DPU Incoterm is vital to ensure smooth transactions and to avoid potential disputes between buyer and seller.

Unlike other Incoterms, the DPU establishes a very clear point of transition of responsibilities: the moment of unloading of the goods. We will detail below the essential responsibilities for both parties in this commercial term.



Delivery of goods: The seller must deliver the goods at the agreed place and on the agreed date. In addition, it is your responsibility to unload the goods from the means of transport.

Transportation costs: All costs associated with the transportation of the goods to the agreed place, including the cost of unloading, are the responsibility of the seller.

-Documentation: The seller must provide the buyer with the documentation necessary for the buyer to claim the goods. This may include a commercial invoice, packing list, and shipping documents, among others.

-Licensesand Permits: It is the seller’s responsibility to obtain and pay for all licenses and permits required for the export of the goods.

Risks: Until the goods are unloaded at the named place, all risks associated with loss of or damage to the goods shall be borne by the seller.



Picking up the goods: Once the goods have been unloaded, the buyer must pick them up without undue delay.

Payment: It is the buyer’s responsibility to pay the agreed price for the goods in accordance with the terms of the sales contract.

Licenses and Permits: The buyer must obtain and pay for all licenses and permits required for the importation of the goods.

Risks: Once the goods have been unloaded at the agreed place, all risks related to the goods pass to the buyer.

-Othercosts: All additional costs incurred due to the buyer’s inability to accept the goods on the agreed date are to be borne by the buyer.


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Benefits of the DPU Incoterm

The use of appropriate Incoterms can generate great advantages for the parties involved in an international trade business. DPU, in particular, despite being a term with clearly defined responsibilities, brings with it a number of benefits for both parties, as long as it is tailored to the specific needs of the business arrangement.

Let’s look at the benefits that DPU offers both the seller and the buyer.


For the seller

Control of the unloading process: By being responsible for unloading, the seller has the advantage of controlling this crucial process, ensuring that it is carried out safely and efficiently.

Flexibility in the choice of carrier and logistics: The seller has the freedom to select the carrier and coordinate logistics to the point of unloading, which allows him to optimize costs and time.

-Clarity of risk transition: Since liability is transferred once the goods are unloaded, there is no ambiguity as to exactly when the seller ceases to be responsible for the goods.

Cost optimization: By having control over the entire transportation and unloading process, the seller can negotiate more competitive rates and optimize the associated costs.


For the buyer

-Ease ofcollection: The buyer simply has to pick up the goods once they have been unloaded, simplifying his responsibilities and reducing possible complications.

Cost transparency: Since the seller bears all costs up to the point of unloading, the buyer has a clear view of the total costs of the goods with no hidden or additional charges.

Risk reduction: Buyer assumes no risk related to the goods until the goods are unloaded and ready for pickup. This means that any damage or loss occurring before this point is the responsibility of the seller.

Simplicity in documentation: The seller takes care of all the necessary documentation up to the point of unloading, which facilitates the buyer the process of collection and subsequent customs clearance if necessary.


Infographic about Incoterms


Importance of choosing the right Incoterm for your needs

The world of international trade is full of variables and nuances that can significantly affect the success and efficiency of a transaction. In this context, the choice of the right Incoterm becomes essential, not only to clarify the responsibilities of the parties involved, but also to ensure that the operation is beneficial and sustainable for all participants.

Here we explore why it is so crucial to make an informed choice and how this decision can influence business dynamics.

Clarity in responsibilities: Incoterms set the rules of the game in international trade. By choosing the right term, misunderstandings and subsequent disputes are avoided, as both parties are clear about what is expected of them at each stage of the process.

Financial optimization: Costs associated with logistics and transportation can vary widely depending on the Incoterm selected. An appropriate choice can result in significant savings, while an inappropriate choice can result in unexpected expenses.

Risk management: Each Incoterm represents a specific point of risk transfer. Understanding and choosing the term that best suits the capabilities and preferences of the parties can minimize risk exposures and ensure that goods arrive at their destination in optimal condition.

Alignment with the commercial strategy: The choice of an Incoterm should not be arbitrary. It must be in line with the global commercial strategy, taking into account aspects such as the relationship with the customer or supplier, the characteristics of the goods or the geography of the operation.

Simplification of formalities and documentation: Some Incoterms require more formalities and documentation than others. Choosing the right term can simplify the process and reduce administrative time and costs.

Flexibility and adaptability: International trade is dynamic. Requirements and circumstances may change. Choosing an Incoterm that offers a certain degree of flexibility can be beneficial in case of unforeseen events or changes in the business environment.

The DPU Incoterm, like all other terms, has its place and usefulness in certain contexts. Therefore, it is essential to understand in depth what each term implies and how it aligns with specific business needs.

In the next segment, we will contrast the DPU with other Group D Incoterms to better understand its position and usefulness in the broad spectrum of terms available.


DPU vs. other Group D incoterms

Incoterms Group D includes those terms in which the seller assumes most of the costs and risks until the goods arrive at their destination. These terms are widely used in international trade because of the convenience and certainty they provide to the buyer.

However, although they share similarities, each term has its own specificities. Next, we will compare the DPU with other leading Incoterms in this group, specifically the DDP and DAP.



Delivered at Place Unloaded (DPU) and Delivered Duty Paid (DDP) are terms that at first glance may seem similar, but a closer look reveals key differences:

-Customs responsibilities

In DDP, the seller assumes the responsibility and cost of clearing the goods for export and import, in addition to paying all related duties and taxes.

In DPU, the seller is only responsible for export clearance, while the buyer is responsible for import clearance and all associated costs.

-Delivery point

In DPU, delivery is considered complete once the goods have been unloaded at the agreed place.

In DDP, delivery is completed when the goods are available for unloading at the place of destination, but not necessarily unloaded.

-Risk and costs

In both terms, the seller assumes almost all risks and costs. However, due to the additional customs responsibilities in DDP, the seller generally faces a higher level of financial and logistical commitment in this term compared to DPU.



While DPU and DAP have certain similarities, mainly because in both terms the seller assumes responsibility until the goods arrive at an agreed point in the destination country, there are some notable differences:

-Delivery point

The main difference between DPU and DAP lies in the place of delivery.

In DPU, delivery is made once the goods have been unloaded at the agreed place.

In DAP, delivery takes place when the goods are ready to be unloaded, but not necessarily unloaded.

-Level of commitment of the seller

In DPU, the seller has the additional responsibility for the unloading of the goods, while in DAP, that responsibility falls on the buyer.

-Flexibility and use

DAP is more flexible in terms of delivery points, as it can be any location ( e.g., the buyer’s premises, a warehouse, etc.) .

DPU, as it requires unloading, is more suitable for locations where it is possible to perform such an operation.


These comparisons highlight the importance of choosing the most appropriate Incoterm according to the particularities of the business, the type of product and the preferences of the parties.

As always, detailed knowledge and careful analysis are essential to make the best decision.

In the following section, we will discuss how a good choice of Incoterm can be complemented by a reliable logistics partner.


Across Logistics, a reliable logistics partner

In the complex world of international trade, a solid knowledge of Incoterms and contractual details is not enough. It is equally crucial to have reliable logistics partners to facilitate and ensure a continuous and efficient flow of goods across borders.

One of the companies that has proven to be a cornerstone in this area is Across Logistics.

Experience and knowledge: With years of experience in the industry, Across Logistics has built an enviable reputation based on its in-depth knowledge of logistics and international trade. This experience enables the company to deftly navigate the challenges and complexities of cross-border operations.

Customized solutions: Not all businesses are the same, and each operation has its own particularities. Across Logistics understands this perfectly and therefore offers tailor-made logistics solutions for each customer, ensuring that the specific needs of each operation are met in the most efficient way possible.

Global network: Across Logistics’ extensive global network of partners and contacts ensures that, no matter the destination, goods will arrive on time and in perfect condition. This global coverage, combined with its local knowledge in key markets, makes a significant difference in transportation efficiency and reliability.

-Commitment to excellence: Beyond the services and solutions it offers, what truly sets Across Logistics apart is its unwavering commitment to excellence. The company understands that, in international trade, there is no room for error, and therefore constantly strives to exceed expectations and deliver exceptional results.


In summary, while the right choice of Incoterm is critical to determine the liabilities and risks in a transaction, having a trusted logistics partner like Across Logistics is essential to ensure that everything flows as planned.

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