Glossary of Shipping Terms
B/L Numbers: – - U.S. Customs' standardized B/L numbering format to facilitate elec- tronic communications and to make each B/L number unique.
B/L Terms & Conditions: – - the ﬁne print on B/L; deﬁnes what the carrier can and cannot do, including the carrier's liabilities and contractual agreements.
B/L's Type: – - refers to the type of B/L being issued. Some examples are: a Memo (ME), Original (OBL), Non-negotiable, Corrected (CBL) or Amended (AM) B/L.
B/L – Abbreviation for "Bill of Lading."
BAF – Abbreviation for "Bunker Adjustment Factor." Used to compensate steamship lines for ﬂuctuating fuel costs. Sometimes called "Fuel Adjustment Factor" or FAF.
BB – Abbreviation for: - Ballast Bonus: Special payment above the Chartering price when the ship has to sail a long way on ballast to reach the loading port. - Bareboat: Method of chartering of the ship leaving the chatterer with almost all the responsibilities of the owner.
BCO – Abbreviation for "Beneﬁcial Cargo Owner." Refers to the importer of record, who physically takes possession of cargo at destination and does not act as a third party in the movement of such goods.
BIMCO – The Baltic and International Maritime Council, the world's largest private shipping organization.
Back-to-Back: – - A new letter of credit issued to another beneﬁciary on the strength of a primary credit. The second L/C uses the ﬁrst L/C as collateral for the bank. Used in a three-party transaction.
Backhaul – To haul a shipment back over part of a route it has traveled.
Balloon Freight – Light, bulky articles.
Bank Guarantee – Guarantee issued by a bank to a carrier to be used in lieu of lost or misplaced original negotiable bill of lading.
Barge Carriers: – - Ships designed to carry barges; some are ﬁtted to act as full containerships and can carry a varying number of barges and containers at the same time. At present this class includes two types of vessels LASH and Sea-Bee.
Barratry – An act committed by the master or mariners of a vessel, for some unlawful or fraudulent purpose, contrary to their duty to the owners, whereby the latter sustain injury. It may include negligence, if so gross as to evidence fraud.
Barrel (BBL) – A term of measure referring to 42 gallons of liquid at 600 degrees.
Base Rate – A tariff term referring to ocean rate less accessorial charges, or simply the base tariff rate.
Beam – The width of a ship.
Belt Line – A switching railroad operating within a commercial area.
Beneﬁciary – - Entity to whom money is payable. - The entity for whom a letter of credit is issued. - The seller and the drawer of a draft.
Berth Terms – Shipped under rate that includes cost from end of ship's tackle at load port to end of ship's tackle at discharge port.
Beyond – Used with reference to charges assessed for cargo movement past a line-haul terminating point.
Bilateral – A contract term meaning both parties agree to provide something for the other.
Bill of Exchange – In the United States, commonly known as a "Draft." However, bill of exchange is the correct term.
Bill of Lading (B/L) – A document that establishes the terms of a contract between a shipper and a transportation company. It serves as a document of title, a contract of carriage and a receipt for goods.
Bill of Lading Port of Discharge – Port where cargo is discharged from means of transport.
Bill of Sale – Confirms the transfer of ownership of certain goods to another person in return for money paid or loaned.
Bill to Party – Customer designated as party paying for services.
Billed Weight – The weight shown in a waybill and freight bill, i.e, the invoiced weight.
Blanket Bond – A bond covering a group of persons, articles or properties.
Blanket Rate – - A rate applicable to or from a group of points. - A special rate applicable to several different articles in a single shipment.
Blanket Waybill – A waybill covering two or more consignments of freight.
Blind Shipment – A B/L wherein the paying customer has contracted with the carrier that shipper or consignee information is not given.
Block Stowage – Stowing cargo destined for a specific location close together to avoid unnecessary cargo movement.
Blocked Trains – Railcars grouped in a train by destination so that segments (blocks) can be uncoupled and routed to different destinations as the train moves through various junctions. Eliminates the need to break up a train and sort individual railcars at each junction.
Blocking or Bracing – Wood or metal supports to keep shipments in place to prevent cargo shifting. See also Dunnage.
Bls. – Abbreviation for "Bales."
Board Feet – The basic unit of measurement for lumber. One board foot is equal to a one-inch board, 12 inches wide and 1 foot long. Thus, a board 10 feet long, 12 inches wide, and 1 inch thick contains 10 board feet.
Board – To gain access to a vessel.
Boat – A relatively small, usually open craft/vessel a small, often open vessel for traveling on waterAn inland vessel of any size.
Bobtail – Movement of a tractor, without trailer, over the highway.
Bogie – A set of wheels built speciﬁcally as rear wheels under the container.
Bolster – A device ﬁtted on a chassis or railcar to hold and secure the container.
Bond Port – Port of initial Customs entry of a vessel to any country. Also known as First Port of Call.
Bonded Freight – Freight moving under a bond to U.S. Customs or to the Internal Revenue Service, to be delivered only under stated conditions.
Bonded Warehouse – A warehouse authorized by Customs authorities for storage of goods on which payment of duties is deferred until the goods are removed.
Booking Number – Reservation number used to secure equipment and act as a control number prior to completion of a B/L.
Booking – Arrangements with a carrier for the acceptance and carriage of freight; i.e., a space reservation.
Bottom Side Rails – Structural members on the longitudinal sides of the base of the container.
Bottom-Air Delivery – A type of air circulation in a temperature control container. Air is pulled by a fan from the top of the container, passed through the evaporator coil for cooling, and then forced through the space under the load and up through the cargo. This type of airﬂow provides even temperatures.
Bow – The front of a vessel.
Boxcar – A closed rail freight car.
Break Bulk – - To unload and distribute a portion or all of the contents of a rail car, container, trailer, or ship. - Loose, non-containerized mark and count cargo. - Packaged cargo that is not containerized.
Bridge Point – An inland location where cargo is received by the ocean carrier and then moved to a coastal port for loading.
Bridge Port – A port where cargo is received by the ocean carrier and stuffed into containers but then moved to another coastal port to be waded on a vessel.
Broken Stowage – - The loss of space caused by irregularity in the shape of packages. - Any void or empty space in a vessel or container not occupied by cargo.
Brokerage – Freight forwarder/broker compensation as specified by ocean tariff or contract.
Broker – A person who arranges for transportation of loads for a percentage of the revenue from the load.
Bulk Cargo – Not in packages or containers; shipped loose in the hold of a ship without mark and count." Grain, coal and sulfur are usually bulk freight.
Bulk Carriers: – - All vessels designed to carry bulk homogeneous cargo without mark and count such as grain, fertilizers, ore, and oil.
Bulk-Freight Container – A container with a discharge hatch in the front wall; allows bulk commodities to be carried.
Bulkhead – A partition separating one part of a ship, freight car, aircraft or truck from another part.
Bull Rings – Cargo-securing devices mounted in the ﬂoor of containers; allow lashing and securing of cargo.
Bunker Charge – An extra charge sometimes added to steamship freight rates; justiﬁed by higher fuel costs. Also known as Fuel Adjustment Factor or FAF.
Bunkers – A maritime term referring to fuel used aboard the ship. In the past, fuel coal stowage areas aboard a vessel were in bins or bunkers.
Bureau Veritas – A French classiﬁcation society which certiﬁes seagoing vessels for compliance to standardized rules regarding construction and maintenance.