Brush up on your international shipping vocabulary or find the definition for a specific shipping or customs term.





One carrier assumes the charges of another without any increasein charges to the shipper. t

Amended B/L

B/L requiring updates that do not change financial status, thisis slightly different from corrected B/L.


Always within Institute Warranties Limits (Insurance purpose).

B/L Terms &,Conditions

The fine print on B/L, defines what the carrier can and cannot do including thecarriers liabilities and contractual agreements.

B/Ls Status

represents whether the bill of lading has been input rated reconciledprinted or released to the customer.


Bunker Adjustment Factor.Used to compensate steamship lines for fluctuating fuel costs. Sometimes calledFuel Adjustment Factor or FAF.

Balloon Freight

Light bulky articles.

Bank Guarantee

Guarantee issued by a bank to a carrier to be used in lieu oflost or misplaced original negotiable bill of lading.


An act committed by the master or mariners of a vessel for someunlawful or fraudulent purpose contrary to their duty to the owners whereby thelatter sustain injury. It may include negligence if so gross as to evidencefraud.

Barrel (BBL)

A term of measure referring to 42 gallons of liquid at 600degrees.

Base Rate

A tariff term referring to ocean rate less accessorial chargesor simply the base tariff rate.


Ballast Bonus Special payment above the Chartering price when the ship has tosail a long way on ballast to reach the loading port. Bareboat Method ofchartering of the ship leaving the charterer with almost all theresponsibilities of the owner.


Beneficial Cargo Owner. Refers to the importer of record whophysically takes possession of cargo at destination and does not act as a thirdparty 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 ofcredit is issued. The seller and the drawer of a draft.

Berth Terms

Shipped under rate that includes cost from end of ships tackleat load port to end of ships tackle at discharge port.


Used with reference to charges assessed for cargo movement pasta line haul terminating point.


A contract term meaning both parties agree to provide somethingfor the other.

Bill of Lading

A contract between the owner of the goods and the carrier A straight bill oflading is nonnegotiable. A negotiable or shippers order bill of lading can bebought sold or traded while goods are in transit.

Bill of Lading (B/L)

A document that establishes the terms of a contract between ashipper and a transportation company. It serves as a document of title acontract of carriage and a receipt for goods.

Blockingor Bracing

Wood or metal supports to keep shipments in place to preventcargo shifting.




To gain access to a vessel.


The basic unit of measurement for lumber. One board foot isequal to a one inch board 12 inches wide and 1 foot long. Thus a board 10 feetlong 12 inches wide and 1 inch thick contains 10 board feet.


A relatively small usually open craft/vessel a small often openvessel 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 thecontainer.


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

Bond Port

Portof initial Customs entry of a vessel to any country. Also known as First Portof Call.

Bonded Freight

Freight moving under a bond to U.S. Customs or to the InternalRevenue Service to be delivered only under stated conditions.

Bonded Warehouse

A warehouse for storage or manufacture of goods on which payment of duties isdeferred until the goods enter the Customs Territory. The goods arenot subject to duties if reshipped to foreign points.


Arrangements with a carrier for the acceptance and carriage offreight, i.e. a space reservation.

Booking Number

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

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 theevaporator coil for cooling and then forced through the space under the loadand up through the cargo. This type of airflow provides even temperatures.

Bottom Side Rails

Structural members on the longitudinal sides of the base of thecontainer.


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 sulphur 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.

Bureau Veritas

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