What's the difference between CFR and DAP

What’s the difference between CFR and DAP?

In international trade, precise and standardized terms are essential to establish clear expectations and responsibilities between buyers and sellers.

Among these terms are the internationally recognized “Incoterms”, which define the obligations and distribution of costs throughout the course of a transaction.

Two often employed Incoterms: CFR (Cost and Freight) and DAP (Delivered at Place).

This article aims to shed light on the differences between CFR and DAP, allowing importers, exporters, and industry professionals to navigate their international trade agreements with greater confidence and precision.

By exploring the specific characteristics and implications of each Incoterm, this article will provide a comprehensive understanding of contrasting obligations, costs, and risks associated with CFR and DAP.

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Goods delivery; CFR and DAP

CFR and DAP: definition

Cost and Freight (CFR) is an Incoterm that requires the seller to organize and pay for the shipping of the goods to the designated port of destination via sea. Under CFR, the seller must handle the costs and risks associated with delivering the goods to the port, including freight charges, export clearance, and loading fees. The risks and expenses, however, are transferred to the buyer once the cargo have been placed onto the ship.

Delivered at Place (DAP) is an Incoterm that requires the seller to deliver the items to the buyer at the designated place of destination, which is often a place within the buyer's country that has been agreed upon. In accordance with DAP, the seller is in charge of all expenses and risks related to conveying the items to the designated location, except for import duties and taxes but including import clearance.

CFR vs DAP: obligations

For CFR:

  • Delivery to Port: The seller is responsible for ensuring the goods are delivered to the specified port of destination on the agreed-upon vessel.
  • Loading Costs: The costs of personnel, equipment, and any packing required for loading the items aboard the ship must be paid by the Seller.
  • Export Clearance: The seller is responsible for obtaining the necessary export permits or licenses and completing customs formalities for the goods to leave the country of origin.
  • Contact of Carriage: The principal marine transportation of the products must be organized and paid for by the seller. This includes reserving the transportation as well as choosing the shipping company or carrier.

For DAP:

  • Delivery to Destination: As agreed to the contract, the seller shall deliver the items to the specified point of destination. This could be a warehouse, port, designated address, or any other place in the buyer's nation.
  • Export Clearance: In order for the items to depart the nation of origin, the seller must complete customs procedures and get any appropriate export licenses or permissions.
  • Carriage and Unloading Costs: The major transportation of the products to the designated destination must be arranged and paid for by the seller. This comprises deciding on a mode of transportation, making reservations for transportation, and paying for the costs of offloading the cargo at the destination.
  • Import Clearance: Import clearance procedures, import taxes, or import tariffs are not the seller's responsibility. The buyer is responsible for these duties and expenses.

CFR vs DAP: risks

For CFR, The buyer is now responsible for any potential loss or damage once the items pass the ship's rail at the port of shipment; even if the seller still bears the majority of the risks up until the products are put onboard the vessel. Therefore, the buyer is now responsible for all risks related to the main carriage, such as loss, damage, or delays in transit. 

However, at the point of delivery, the risk under DAP is transferred from the supplier to the customer. The risk of any loss, damage, or theft passes to the buyer once the goods have been unloaded at the designated destination.

CFR vs DAP: costs

For CFR:

  • Freight Charges: The seller covers the cost of transporting by sea to the agreed-upon port of destination.
  • Export Costs: Export-related expenses, such as export duties, taxes, and documentation fees, are taking care of by the seller.
  • Loading and Packaging: The costs of loading the goods onto the ship, including labor, equipment, and packaging materials, must be bear by the seller.
  • Terminal Handling Charges: The buyer pays for the handling and unloading of the goods at the destination port.
  • Import Costs: The costs of getting the items into the country of destination, including customs clearance, import tariffs, taxes, and other fees, are the responsibility of the buyer.


DAP (delivered at place)

  • Carriage Costs: The costs of delivering the products to the specified location are the seller's responsibility. This covers freight fees, transportation charges, and any other expenses incurred while in transit.
  • Export Costs: The costs of export clearance, such as export duties, taxes, and documentation fees, are the responsibility of the seller.
  • Unloading Costs: The costs of labor, tools, and handling necessary to unload the items at the designated place of delivery are the seller's responsibility.
  • Import Costs: The costs of importing the items into the buyer's nation, including customs clearance, tariffs, taxes, and other fees, are their burden.

Visual chart of the difference between CFR and DAP


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CFR vs DAP: Advantages

Advantage of CFR: The seller is in charge of managing the shipping procedure; to help boost their profit margin, they can include the delivery cost in the sales price. 

The buyer may benefit from CFR because they won't have to set up the main carriage for the trip. The purchaser need just wait for the delivery of the products and ensure that all import procedures have been followed. Additionally, if the sales agreement requires it, the buyer can be required to unload the products.

Advantage of DAP: The main advantage would be that the only charges incurred by the buyer are those related to offloading. Any unforeseen expenses encountered along the way are therefore kept by the seller. The buyer's obligations during the shipping procedure are low, making their part of the bargain very simple.

CFR vs DAP: Disadvantages

Disadvantage of CFR: It mostly affects the customer. Since the sale value and transportation expenses are frequently added together, the buyer is more likely to pay greater prices for the goods. The seller has no motivation to keep expenses down because they can include the fees in the invoice.

For the seller, before getting the bill of lading from the vessel owner, he must pay for the delivery of the freight. This indicates that they will probably buy the main carriage before they get paid by the buyer.

Disadvantage of DAP: The main drawbacks of DAP often fall on the seller because they are responsible for organizing all shipping procedures to make sure the items arrive at the designated location in time for the buyer to unload them.

Moreover, the buyer should also take into account various drawbacks. The seller is in charge of the entire shipping procedure, the price of the items will probably be greater for the customer because shipping charges are included in the sale price. Then, the seller has no incentive to keep shipping costs low because the customer can readily assume responsibility for them.

The importance of knowing the difference

Understanding the distinction between DAP (Delivered at Place) and CFR (Cost and Freight) is essential for anybody involved in international trade since it establishes how the buyer and seller will split costs, risks, and responsibilities. 

The avoidance of potential misunderstandings or disagreements throughout the transaction is made possible by having an in-depth knowledge of these Incoterms. Making informed judgments about pricing, insurance, import/export clearance, transportation, and overall logistics planning requires an understanding of the consequences of CFR versus DAP. Individuals may efficiently negotiate contracts, allocate expenses, and manage risks in a way that is consistent with their business aims and preferences by being aware of the differences between various Incoterms.

To summarize

Basically, under CFR, the seller is responsible for the costs of transportation to the named port of destination. He bears the expenses incurred until the goods are loaded onto the vessel, even though he’s not responsible anymore.

Whereas DAP, the seller is responsible for delivering the goods to the place of destination within the buyer’s country. He assumes the expenses until the goods have been delivered to the agreed-upon place.

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