Understanding DPU Incoterms: A Comprehensive Guide

If you’re in the world of international trade, you’ve probably heard of DPU incoterms. But what exactly are they, and how can they impact your business? In this article, we’ll dive deep into the world of DPU incoterms, explaining their meaning, when to use them, and the responsibilities of both buyers and sellers. We’ll also weigh the pros and cons and compare DPU to DAP. Plus, you’ll find a real-life DPU incoterms example and answers to frequently asked questions. Let’s get started on this journey of trade terminology and shipping strategies.

What is DPU Incoterms?

DPU, which stands for Delivery at Place Unloaded, is an international trade term introduced in 2020, replacing the DAT incoterm initiated in 2010. Under the DPU incoterm, the seller takes on the risk of damage until the goods are unloaded at the chosen location. It’s unique because it’s the only rule that obligates sellers to unload goods from the arriving means of transport. DPU accommodates all modes of transport, whether by sea or inland waterway.

When to Use DPU Incoterms?

DPU is best suited for situations involving consolidated containers with multiple consignees, as it allows for greater control over the unloading process. It’s an excellent choice when dealing with delicate or high-maintenance items.

Buyers and Sellers’ Responsibilities with DPU Incoterms

Responsibilities of the Seller:

  • Performing duties as per the contract’s “terms of delivery.”
  • Unloading goods and delivering them at the agreed location.
  • Providing the necessary documents to the buyer upon delivery (a crucial aspect of DPU incoterms).
  • Acquiring documents for import customs formalities, pre-carriage, and transit.
  • Bearing responsibility for transporting the goods.
  • Ensuring proper export licenses and documentation on export packaging.

Responsibilities of the Buyer:

  • Informing the seller of safety requirements for the transported goods.
  • Assisting the seller in obtaining critical documents for export and transit.
  • Handling the costs associated with duties and local taxes.
  • Paying for the goods and preparing documents for import formalities as specified in the sales contract.

Pros and Cons of DPU Incoterms


  • Buyers can rest easy knowing the seller is responsible for any damage until goods are unloaded.
  • Complete control over transportation and unloading, reducing the risk of damage.
  • No need to worry about obtaining transport and ownership documents.
  • Potential for improved collaboration between buyer and seller.


  • Buyers bear the cost of import permits, customs formalities, security clearance, and taxes.
  • Sellers cover the costs of obtaining documents for transit clearance and export, as well as transit and export costs.


DPU (Delivered at Place Unloaded) and DAP (Delivered at Place) share similarities but have a key difference. With DPU, the seller unloads the goods at an agreed location, whereas DAP only requires the seller to deliver the cargo to the place chosen by the buyer. Both require sellers to cover the cost and risk of delivering goods to the buyer, along with providing the necessary permits.

DPU Incoterms Example

Let’s look at a real-life example to illustrate DPU incoterms:

(Buyer): Peter, a business owner in Quebec, Canada. (Seller): A reputable manufacturer in Chengdu, China. Agreed Term: DPU QUE Terminal, Canada Seller’s Duties: Arrange carriage, documentation, and the cost of transport and unloading at QUE Terminal. Buyer’s Duties: Pay for import clearances and cargo transportation after unloading at QUE Terminal. Point of Risk Transfer: Risk shifts to Peter (buyer) upon unloading at QUE Terminal, Canada.

FAQs about DPU

1. Who pays for what under DPU?

  • Under DPU, the buyer covers the acquisition of documents for import clearance and import formalities, while the seller bears the delivery cost and the risk of main carriage.

2. What does DPU mean in shipping terms?

  • DPU, or Delivered at Place Unloaded, means the seller assumes all costs and risks until the goods are unloaded.

3. Is DPU the same as DDU?

  • DPU and DDU are similar in requiring the buyer to pay for import duties, but they differ in that DPU mandates the seller to unload the goods.

What’s Next

DPU incoterms offer a new approach to international trade, and they can be a game-changer for your business. If you’re shipping delicate goods or dealing with consolidated containers, DPU might be your ideal choice. If you have any questions or issues related to DPU incoterms or shipping in general, don’t hesitate to reach out to Ningqu. We’re here to help you navigate the complexities of international trade.

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