Glossary of Shipping Terms

- A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M - N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W - X - Y - Z

B
atmospheric pressure correction (altitude).

B/L
Abbreviation for “Bill of Lading.”

B/L NUMBERS:
U.S. Customs’ standardized B/L numbering format to facilitate elec­tronic 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 STATUS
represents whether the bill of lading has been input, rated, reconciled, printed, or released to the customer.

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.

BACKHAUL TO HAUL
a shipment back over part of a route it has traveled.

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.

BAF
Abbreviation for “Bunker Adjustment Factor.” Used to compensate steamship lines for fluctuating fuel costs. Sometimes called “Fuel Adjustment Factor” or FAF.

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.

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.16

BDY
Mon boundary monument.

BEAM
The width of a ship.

BEARING
bearing angle.

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.

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.

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 charterer 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.

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.

BFO
Beat frequency oscillator.

BIH
Bureau Internationale de l’Heure.

BILATERAL
a contract term meaning both parties agree to provide something for the other.

BILL
In the United States, commonly known as a “Draft.” However, bill of exchange is the correct term.

BILL (B/L)
(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 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.

BIMCO
The Baltic and International Maritime Council, the world’s largest private shipping organization.

BIPM
International Bureau of Weights and Measures.

BK
broken.

BKW
breakwater.

BL
blue.

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.”

BM
bench mark.

BN
beacon.

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 water An 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.21

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.

BONDED WAREHOUSE
The Customs Service authorizes bonded warehouses for storage or manufacture of goods on which payment of duties is deferred until the goods enter the Customs Territory. The goods are not subject to duties if re-shipped to foreign points.

BOOKING
Arrangements with a carrier for the acceptance and carriage of freight; i.e., a space reservation.

BOOKING NUMBER
Reservation number used to secure equipment and act as a control number prior to completion of a B/L.

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.

BPGC
Bearing per gyrocompass.

BR
breakers.

BREAK
(B/B) For consolidated air freight, it is moved under one MAWB and each consignment designated to specific consignee or recipient is under one HAWB. When freight forwarder receives the consolidated cargo from carrier, they will break the consolidation apart per HAWB then proceed customs clearance along with associated shipping and import documents. Such Break-Bulk is normally handled by airlines or their contracted ground handling agent.

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.

BRG.
bearing (as distinguished from bearing angle).

BRIDGE
bearing (as distinguished from bearing angle).

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.

BROKEN STOWAGE
a person who arranges for transportation of loads for a percentage of the revenue from the load.

BROKERAGE FREIGHT
forwarder/broker compensation as specified by ocean tariff or contract.

BU
blue.

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–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.