FAS, short for “Free Alongside the Ship”, means that the exporter is obligated to deliver the goods by placing them alongside the vessel nominated by the buyer at the named port of shipment.
By placing the goods to the point of loading, the exporter has fulfilled its obligation to the importer and at that point all the risks and costs transfer to the importer. Hence, parties have to be clear about the precise point of delivery as it could be quay or barge. If it is barge, then the exporter will also bear the risks and costs until that point, because it doesn’t mean that the exporter has fulfilled its obligation when it delivers the goods to the quay of the port. The actual loading point is the barge after the quay.
Export clearance and terminal handling charges in the country of export fall on the exporter. FAS is only used for sea or inland waterway transport.
Although FAS is not a commonly preferred incoterm, it may be used for bulk cargo or where loading the cargo aboard the vessel is difficult due to physical inconveniency of the port. Most of the ports -especially the ones with busy traffic- may not allow you to drop the cargo off alongside the ship and transfer the job to another.
To conclude, the exporter loads the goods on the collecting vehicle, takes it to the port, handles customs clearance formalities and THC, then finishes its job when it places the goods alongside the vessel arranged by the buyer. The rest of the process is carried out by the importer.