B – Shipping Terms

Abbreviation for “Bill of Lading.”

To haul a shipment back over part of a route it has traveled.

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.

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 60 degrees.

Base Rate
A tariff term referring to ocean rate less accessorial charges, or simply the base tariff rate.

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.

The width of a ship.

Belt Line
A switching railroad operating within a commercial area.

–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.

Used with reference to charges assessed for cargo movement past a line–haul terminating point.

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.

Amended B/L:
B/L requiring updates that do not change financial status; this is slightly different from corrected B/L.

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.

Canceled B/L:
B/L status; used to cancel a processed B/L; usually per shipper’s request; different from voided B/L.

Clean B/L:
A B/L which bears no superimposed clause or notation which declares a defective condition of the goods and/or the packaging.

Combined B/L:
B/L that covers cargo moving over various transports.

Consolidated B/L:
B/L combined or consolidated from two or more B/L’s.

Corrected B/L:
B/L requiring any update which results in money –or other financially related changes.

Domestic B/L:
Non–negotiable B/L primarily containing routing details; usually used by truckers and freight forwarders.

Duplicate B/L:
Another original Bill of Lading set if first set is lost. Also known as reis­sued B/L.

Express B/L:
Non–negotiable B/L where there are no paper copies printed of origi­nals.

Freight B/L:
A contract of carriage between a shipper and forwarder (who is usually a NVOCC); a non–negotiable document.

Government B/L (GBL):
A bill of lading issued by the U.S. government.

B/L covering parts of a shipment which are loaded at more than one location. Hitchment B/L usually consists of two parts, hitchment and hitchment memo. The hitchment portion usually covers the majority of a divided shipment and carries the entire revenue.

House B/L:
B/L issued by a freight forwarder or consolidator covering a single shipment containing the names, addresses and specific description of the goods shipped.

Intermodal B/L:
B/L covering cargo moving via multimodal means. Also known as Combined Transport B/L, or Multimodal B/L.

Long Form B/L:
B/L form with all Terms & Conditions written on it. Most B/L’s are short form which incorporate the long form clauses by reference.

Memo B/L:
Unfreighted B/L with no charges listed.

Military B/L:
B/L issued by the U.S. military; also known as GBL, or Form DD1252.

B/L Numbers:
U.S. Customs’ standardized B/L numbering format to facilitate elec­tronic communications and to make each B/L number unique.

Negotiable B/L:
The B/L is a title document to the goods, issued “to the order of” a party, usually the shipper, whose endorsement is required to effect is negotiation. Thus, a shipper’s order (negotiable) B/L can be bought, sold, or traded while goods are in transit and is commonly used for letter–of–credit transactions. The buyer must submit the origi­nal B/L to the carrier in order to take possession of the goods.

Non–Negotiable B/L:
See Straight B/L. Sometimes means a file copy of a B/L.

“Onboard” B/L:
B/L validated at the time of loading to transport. Onboard Air, Box­car, Container, Rail, Truck and Vessel are the most common types.

Optional Discharge B/L:
B/L covering cargo with more than one discharge point op­tion possibility.

“Order” B/L:
See Negotiable B/L.

Original B/L:
The part of the B/L set that has value, especially when negotiable; rest of set are only informational file copies. Abbreviated as OBL.

Received for Shipment B/L:
Validated at time cargo is received by ocean carrier to com­mence movement but before being validated as “Onboard”.

Reconciled B/L:
B/L set which has completed a prescribed number of edits between the shipper’s instructions and the actual shipment received. This produces a very accurate B/L.

Short Term B/L:
Opposite of Long Form B/L, a B/L without the Terms & Conditions written on it. Also known as a Short Form B/L. The terms are incorporated by reference to the long form B/L.

Split B/L:
One of two or more B/L’s which have been split from a single B/L.

Stale B/L:
A late B/L; in banking, a B/L which has passed the time deadline of the Letter of Credit (L/C) and is void.

Straight (Consignment) B/L:
Indicates the shipper will deliver the goods to the consignee. It does not convey title (non–negotiable).Most often used when the goods have been pre–paid.

“To Order” B/L:
See Negotiable B/L.

Unique B/L Identifier:
U.S. Customs’ standardization: four–alpha code unique to each carrier placed in front of nine digit B/L number; APL’s unique B/L Identifier is “APLU”. Sea–land uses “SEAU”. These prefixes are also used as the container identification.

Voided B/L:
Related to Consolidated B/L; those B/L’s absorbed in the combining pro­cess. Different from Canceled B/L.

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.

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

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.

Abbreviation for “Bales.”

To gain access to a vessel.

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.

A relatively small, usually open craft/vessel a small, often open vessel for traveling on water. An inland vessel of any size.

Movement of a tractor, without trailer, over the highway.

A set of wheels built specifically as rear wheels under the container.

A device fitted on a chassis or railcar to hold and secure the container.

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.

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.

The front of a vessel.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

A French classification society which certifies seagoing vessels for compliance to standardized rules regarding construction and maintenance.