DAP, short for Delivered at Place, is a widely-used term in international trade, part of the Incoterms (International Commercial Terms) established by the International Chamber of Commerce.

It represents an agreement where the seller bears all risks and costs associated with transporting goods to a specified location, typically the buyer's premises.

Applicability of DAP in Trade

As one of the Incoterms, DAP is universally acknowledged in international and domestic contracts for the sale of goods. It's versatile, applicable to various modes of transportation, and used in scenarios where goods are delivered to a specific location, making it a flexible choice for diverse shipping arrangements.

Diving into the Roles of Buyers and Sellers in DAP Incoterms

The Seller's Role: Responsibilities and Duties in DAP Transactions

Under DAP, the seller is significantly responsible for most of the delivery process. This includes managing transportation, covering all associated costs (like insurance and customs clearance in the export country), and ensuring the goods reach the agreed destination. The seller's risk ends once the goods are available for unloading at the named location.

Below are the basic responsibilities of the seller:

  1. Provision of Goods in conformity with the contract:
  2. The seller must provide the goods and the commercial invoice, or its electronic equivalent, in accordance with the contract of sale and any other evidence of conformity.
  3. Licenses, Authorizations, and Formalities:
  4. The seller must obtain any export license or other official authorization and carry out all customs formalities necessary for the exportation of the goods.
  5. Contracts of Carriage and Insurance:
  6. The seller must contract or arrange at its own cost for the carriage of the goods to the named place of destination. However, the seller is not obligated to contract for insurance, unless specified by the parties.
  7. Delivery of the Goods:
  8. The seller must deliver the goods to the buyer by placing them at the disposal of the buyer on the arriving means of transport ready for unloading at the named place of destination.
  9. Transfer of Risks:
  10. The seller bears all risks involved in bringing the goods to the named place. The risk transfers from the seller to the buyer at the moment the goods are available for unloading at the destination.
  11. Costs:
  12. The seller must pay all costs relating to the goods until they have been delivered, including transport costs, export fees, and any charges for unloading at the destination (which is assumed by the seller unless specified otherwise).
  13. Notices to the Buyer:
  14. The seller must provide sufficient notice to the buyer that the goods have been delivered to the named place.
  15. Proof of Delivery, Transport Document or Electronic Record:
  16. The seller must provide at its own expense a transport document or electronic record that enables the buyer to claim the goods from the carrier at the destination.
  17. Checking, Packaging, Labeling:
  18. The seller must pay the costs of those checking operations (such as checking quality, measuring, weighing, counting) necessary for the purpose of delivering the goods. The goods should be appropriately packaged and labeled as required for the transport.
  19. Export/Import Clearance:
  20. The seller is responsible for the export clearance and formalities, but the buyer must handle import clearance and any applicable duties and taxes.

In summary, under DAP, the seller has extensive responsibilities, including arranging transportation and covering associated costs until the goods are delivered to the agreed location. They also bear the risks until the goods are ready for unloading by the buyer. Understanding these responsibilities is crucial for sellers to manage risks and fulfill their contractual obligations effectively.

Buyers's Obligations:

Upon arrival of the goods at the specified place, the buyer's responsibilities kick in. This includes unloading the goods, handling import customs duties, and managing any subsequent transportation or storage. The buyer also assumes the risk of loss or damage to the goods from the moment they're available for unloading.

The Buyer's Role: Obligations and Expected Actions under DAP

  1. Payment for Goods:
  2. The primary obligation of the buyer is to pay the price of the goods as agreed in the contract of sale.
  3. Licenses, Authorizations, and Formalities:
  4. The buyer must obtain at its own risk and expense any import license or other official authorization and carry out all customs formalities for the import of the goods and, where necessary, for their transit through another country.
  5. Contracts of Carriage and Insurance:
  6. While the seller is responsible for arranging and paying for the transportation to the specified destination, the buyer is responsible for any additional transportation costs beyond the agreed delivery point. The buyer also arranges and pays for any insurance from the time the goods have been delivered as per the agreed terms.
  7. Taking Delivery:
  8. The buyer must take delivery of the goods as soon as they have been delivered under the DAP terms and are ready for unloading at the named place of destination.
  9. Transfer of Risks:
  10. The buyer bears all risks of loss of or damage to the goods from the time they have been delivered, i.e., from the moment the goods are ready for unloading at the named place of destination.
  11. Costs after Delivery:
  12. All costs relating to the goods from the time they have been delivered under the DAP terms are borne by the buyer. This includes unloading costs unless these are assumed by the seller under the contract of carriage.
  13. Notices to the Seller:
  14. The buyer must provide the seller with any necessary information for arranging insurance and transportation to the named place of destination.
  15. Receipt of Transport Document:
  16. The buyer must accept the transport document provided by the seller, which is typically a standard transport document that enables the buyer to claim the goods from the carrier at the destination.
  17. Inspection of Goods:
  18. The buyer is responsible for the inspection of goods upon arrival. Any costs related to inspections mandated by authorities for import are also borne by the buyer.
  19. Import Clearance and Duties:
  20. The buyer must handle and pay for the import clearance process, including all duties, taxes, and other charges incurred during the import of the goods.

In summary, under the DAP Incoterm, the buyer's responsibilities are focused on the actions and costs associated with the final stages of the delivery process, including unloading, import clearance, and handling of the goods after delivery. These obligations are vital for ensuring a smooth and compliant import process.

Overview of Roles/Responsibilites

Seller's and Buyer's Responsibilities in DAP Transactions

Seller's Responsibilities Buyer's Responsibilities
Arranging and covering the cost of transporting the goods to the named place Arranging and paying for necessary import clearance and other formalities
Providing the buyer with the necessary documents, including delivery note, invoice, and transport documents Accepting delivery upon arrival of goods at named place
Bearing the risk of loss or damage to the goods until delivery is made Assuming responsibility for risk of loss or damage after delivery is made
Notifying the buyer when goods have been delivered Paying the price of the goods as stipulated in the contract of sale
Making necessary export arrangements Making necessary import arrangements

Practical Examples: DAP in Real World International Trade

Let's translate the theoretical aspects of DAP into reality by exploring its significance in actual international trade scenarios. In these real-world situations, the function and utility of the DAP Incoterm become much clearer.

Case Study Overview

Our exploration revolves around two case studies that bring to light the practical application of DAP in cross-border and overland transport scenarios.

Example 1: Cross-Border Goods Delivery

In this first scenario, imagine a German manufacturer exporting machinery to a company in Canada. Terms of the contract were DAP. As the seller, the German manufacturer bore all risks associated with transporting the machinery to the delivery location in Canada. They were responsible for export and transit documentation, and dealing with customs. The buyer's role started on arrival of the goods at their place: they had to unload and take over the risks and cost from there. The DAP arrangement streamlined and simplified transactions, providing clarity on who's responsible for what, eliminating potential back-and-forths and reducing the chance of misunderstandings.

Example 2: Overland Transport Scenario

Consider an American furniture company selling its products to a Mexican retailer, using the DAP approach. The American seller shouldered the transportation costs and undertook the logistical responsibilities, taking the furniture all the way to the Mexico-based retailer's chosen location. However, at the point of arrival, the obligations shifted to the buyer, who took responsibility to unload the goods and bear any subsequent costs. Using DAP in this overland transport scenario allocated responsibilities clearly, preventing possible disputes.

In both situations, the use of the DAP Incoterm helped to elucidate the roles and responsibilities of buyers and sellers. Each party knew exactly what was expected of them, which contributed to smoother and more efficient transactions.

Illuminating the Legal Aspects of DAP Transactions

Delivered at Place (DAP) encapsulates a substantial amount of legal considerations in international trade. Its foundation rooted deeply in the global trade law framework, DAP provides an essential legal structure for contracts between the buyer and the seller.

DAP often exist as an integral part of trade contracts, outlining crucial aspects like delivery location and related costs. It's this detail-oriented nature that underlines its legal relevance, providing clear provisions to prevent ambiguities and potential disputes.

One of the cardinal elements of DAP is its clearly defined structure of risk and responsibility. DAP assigns risks and responsibilities between parties in a comprehensive manner, setting expectations about who is obligated for what. The seller bears all risks and costs connected with bringing the goods to the named place.

In the grand scheme of international trade, DAP plays a pivotal role in ensuring compliance with trade laws and regulations. It provides a legal pathway that aligns transactions with the norms and standards of global trade practices.

Customs procedures, always a significant consideration, also fall within the ambit of DAP. It prescribes how the buyer and the seller handle customs-related formalities, with the seller handling the responsibilities up until the named place of destination.

Dispute resolution, an inevitable aspect of international trade, has its measures within DAP. Standard procedures for solving conflicts or misunderstandings are provided for in the terms of the agreement, ensuring that both parties have a clear understanding and agreement on how to handle any potential issues.

True-life legal cases further elucidate how DAP operates. For instance, a case where a seller fulfilled his obligation by delivering the goods to the agreed place, but the buyer failed to clear them through customs, resulting in the goods being impounded. This situation underscored the buyer's obligation under DAP to take care of customs clearance.

Pros and Cons: The Implications of Choosing DAP in International Trade

Choosing DAP as a term in an international trade transaction has its advantages and pitfalls. Let's explore both sides of the coin to help you make an informed decision.

Pros of DAP:

1. Convenience: DAP simplifies the transportation process, primarily as the seller handles most logistics involved. From arranging transportation to clearing the goods in their home country, the seller takes care of nearly everything until the goods are at the named destination.

2. Cost Efficiency: Since the seller controls the transportation, they may have better access to cost-effective logistics solutions, which can result in lower prices for the buyer.

3. Risk Mitigation: The majority responsibility of the seller can reduce the risk exposure for the buyer. Since the obligation for the goods is transferred only after the goods have been delivered at the named place, the buyer can avoid the risks associated during transportation and handling.

Cons of DAP:

1. Less Control for Buyers: The buyer does not have direct control over the logistics in DAP. They have to trust the seller's choice of carriers and routes, which might not always align with the buyer's expectations or preferences.

2. Cheaper Isn't Always Better: If the seller chooses more cost-effective (sometimes meaning lower quality) logistics solutions, it might compromise the condition or timely delivery of the goods. This might not be ideal for businesses with tight schedules or high-quality standards.

3. Import Formalities: In DAP, the responsibility of clearing the goods for import rests with the buyer. This responsibility can be cumbersome for inexperienced or resource-limited buyers not capable of handling the complexities of international trade regulations and paperwork.

As with all decisions, the best choice depends on your specific situation and capabilities. Weighing these pros and cons carefully can provide a better understanding of whether DAP is the right choice for your business.

Are there any common disputes or complications under DAP terms in international trade?

Under the DAP (Delivered at Place) terms in international trade, there are indeed several common disputes or complications that can arise. One such issue is related to the delivery point. The seller is responsible for delivering the goods to a specified place, but if the location is not clearly defined or agreed upon, it can lead to disputes. This could be due to ambiguity in the contract or miscommunication between the parties.

Another common complication arises from the responsibility of customs clearance. Under DAP terms, the buyer is responsible for import clearance and any applicable taxes or duties. However, if the buyer is not fully aware of this responsibility or fails to fulfill it in a timely manner, it can lead to delays, additional costs, and potential legal issues.

Insurance coverage is another area where disputes can occur. Under DAP terms, the seller is not obligated to insure the goods during transit. If the goods are damaged or lost in transit and the buyer did not arrange for insurance, the loss falls on the buyer, which can lead to disputes.

Lastly, disputes can also arise from the transfer of risk. Under DAP terms, the risk transfers from the seller to the buyer once the goods have been made available at the specified place. However, if there is a delay in collection by the buyer, or if the goods are damaged after being made available but before collection, it can lead to disputes over who bears the risk and cost of such damage.

The facts

DAP stands for Delivered at Place, an international trade term defined by the International Chamber of Commerce.

DAP can be used for any mode of transport, including multimodal transport.

In 2020, DAP was the second most used Incoterm in international trade.

Approximately 25% of disputes in international trade are related to misunderstanding of Incoterms like DAP

Approximately 30% of international trade transactions use the DAP IncotermIn a survey, 70% of exporters reported using DAP to reduce risks associated with international trade


What is the definition of DAP (Delivered at Place) in the context of international trade?

DAP means Delivered at Place, where the seller delivers the goods to a named destination, assuming all risks and costs until the delivery point.

How are the responsibilities of buyers and sellers affected by the DAP Incoterm in international trade?

Under DAP, the seller is responsible for transport and risks until the delivery point; the buyer takes over for unloading, import clearance, and subsequent risks and costs.

What specific responsibilities and duties does a seller have under the DAP Incoterm?

A seller under DAP must deliver the goods to the specified location, handle all transportation and associated costs, and manage export formalities until delivery.

In what ways are the responsibilities of a buyer outlined under the DAP Incoterm?

Under DAP, a buyer's responsibilities include unloading the goods, handling import clearance and duties, and bearing risks and costs after delivery.

What are the potential risks for both buyers and sellers when engaging in transactions under the DAP Incoterm?

Sellers risk damage or loss before delivery; buyers face risks of delayed transit and additional costs after delivery under DAP.

In what manner does the DAP Incoterm influence pricing and cost considerations in international trade?

DAP can lead to higher seller prices to cover pre-delivery costs and risks, while buyers may incur additional post-delivery expenses.

What are some frequent misconceptions or misunderstandings about the DAP Incoterm in international trade?

A common misunderstanding is that DAP includes import duties and taxes in the seller's responsibilities, which is not the case.

In what ways does DAP differ from other Incoterms used in international trade?

DAP is unique as it requires the seller to deliver goods ready for unloading at the named place, unlike other Incoterms with different delivery points or risk transfers.

What are the legal implications for buyers and sellers when using the DAP Incoterm in trade agreements?

DAP has legal implications in terms of clear risk and cost responsibilities, affecting contractual obligations and liability for non-compliance.

Under the DAP Incoterm, what occurs if goods are damaged in transit? Who bears the responsibility?

If goods are damaged in transit under DAP, responsibility depends on the timing of the damage: pre-delivery, it's the seller's responsibility; post-delivery, it's the buyer's.


Understanding the roles and responsibilities entailed in the Incoterms DAP (Delivered at Place) is crucial for both buyers and sellers involved in international trade. This involves a comprehensive grasp of the structure and implications of DAP, from introduction and applicability, to the specific duties and obligations of all parties concerned. Real-world examples further elucidate these concepts, while a deep dive into the legal aspects and the pros and cons of DAP provides a balanced view. In summary, DAP is a valuable tool in the realm of international commerce, but like any tool, its usefulness is closely linked to how well you understand and apply it.

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