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The main reason for successive revisions of Incoterms has been the need to adapt them to contemporary commercial practice. Thus, in the 1980 revision the term Free Carrier (now FCA) was introduced in order to deal with the frequent case where the reception point in maritime trade was no longer the traditional FOB-point (passing of the ship's rail) but rather a point on land, prior to loading on board a vessel, where the goods were stowed into a container for subsequent transport by sea or by different means of transport in combination (so-called combined or multimodal transport).

Further, in the 1990 revision of Incoterms, the clauses dealing with the seller's obligation to provide proof of delivery permitted a replacement of paper documentation by EDI-messages provided the parties had agreed to communicate electronically. Needless to say, efforts are constantly made to improve upon the at the seller's own premises (the «E»-term Ex works); followed by the drafting and presentation of Incoterms in order to facilitate their practical implementation.