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→ Bill of Lading

Back Letter
1. Back letters are drawn up in addition to a contract in order to lay down rights and/or obligations between both contracting parties, which, for various possible reasons, cannot be included in the original contract.
2. This expression is sometimes used for letters of indemnity.

Back Order
Customer order or commitment, which is unfilled due to insufficient stock.

1. The quantity of goods still to be delivered, received, produced, issued, etc., for which the planned or agreed date has expired. 2. The total number of customer orders which have been received but not yet been shipped.
Synonym: → Open Order

→ Bunker Adjustment Factor

Balance of Trade
Difference between a country’s total imports and exports. If exports exceed imports, a favorable balance of trade exists; if not, a trade deficit is said to exist.

The capacity of cargo spaces under the deck of a vessel (including hatchways but excluding void spaces behind cargo battens and beams) expressed in cubic meters or cubic feet.

Materials carried to improve the trim and the stability of the vessel. Vessels usually carry water in tanks as ballast. The tanks are specially designed for this purpose.

Bank Draft
Check issued by a bank.

Bank Guarantee
Undertaking by a bank to effect payment of a sum of money in the event of non performance by the party on whose behalf the guarantee is issued.

Bank Release
Negotiable time draft drawn on and accepted by a bank that adds its credit to that of an importer of merchandise.

Banker’s Acceptance
“Time draft” drawn on a bank and bearing the bank’s promise to pay at a future date.

Banking System
For marine purposes the practice of always keeping more than one piece of cargo on the quay or in the vessel ready for loading or discharging in order to avoid delays and to obtain optimal use of the loading gear.

Bar Coding
Method of encoding data for fast and accurate electronic readability. Bar codes are a series of alternating bars and spaces printed or stamped on products, labels, or other media, representing encoded information which can be read by electronic readers, used to facilitate timely and accurate input of data to a computer system.

Bareboat Charter
Charter whereby the charterer leases the bare ship and appoints the master and crew itself.

Flat-bottomed cargo transport vessel designed for canals, rivers and shallow waters with or without its own propulsion.
Synonym: → Lighter

Unlawful act or fraudulent breach of duty on the part of a master of a ship or of the mariners resulting in the injury of the owner of the ship or cargo.

Trade in which merchandise is exchanged directly for other merchandise without use of money.

Basic Stock
Items of an inventory intended for issue against demand during the re-supply lead time.
Lead Time


Collection of products or data which is treated as one entity with respect to certain operations (e.g. processing and production).

Batch Production
Production process where products/components are produced in batches and where each separate batch consists of a number of the same products/components.

Vertical division of a container vessel from stem to stern, used to indicate stowage places for containers. The numbers run from stem to stern; odd numbers indicate a 20-foot position, even numbers indicate a 40-foot position.
Cell PositionGrid Number

Bay Plan

Stowage plan which shows the locations of all the containers on the vessel.

BC Code
→ Bulk Cargo Code → Segregation

Under-floor area of an aircraft.
Hold Space

Measurement and comparison against a standard, of efforts and results in the business process (e.g. input, output, reliability, quality and customer satisfaction).

Entity or person on whom a Letter of Credit has been opened or a draft has been drawn.
Assignment of ProceedsTransferable Letter of Credit

Benefit of Insurance Clause
Clause by which the bailee of goods claims the benefit of any insurance policy effected by the cargo owner on the goods in care of the bailee. Such a clause in a contract of carriage issued in accordance with the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act is void at law.

Location in a port where a vessel can be moored, often indicated by a code or name.

Bilateral Trade
Commerce between two countries, usually in accordance with specific agreements.

Bilateral Transport Agreement

Agreement between two nations concerning transport relations.

Bill of Exchange

Bill of Lading
Abbreviation: B/L. Document that establishes the terms of a contract between a shipper and a transportation company under which freight is to be moved between specified points for a specified charge. Usually prepared by the shipper on forms issued by the carrier, it serves as a document of title, a contract of carriage, and a receipt for goods.
→ Air WaybillOcean Bill of LadingThrough Bill of Lading

Bill of Lading Clause
Particular article, stipulation or single provision in a Bill of Lading.

Bill of Material
List of all parts, sub-assemblies and raw materials that constitute a particular assembly, showing the quantity of each required item.

Bimodal Trailer
1. Road semi-trailer with retractable running gear to allow mounting on a pair of rail boogies.
Synonym: Road-Rail Trailer 2. Trailer which is able to carry different types of standardized unit loads (e.g. a chassis which is appropriate for the carriage of one FEU or two TEUs).

Block Train
Complete train moving straight from origin station to destination station without marshalling or decoupling of wagons.
Double Stack Train

Member of the vessel’s crew.

Post, fixed on a quay to lash mooring ropes.

Container Bolster

Bona Fide
In good faith; without dishonesty, fraud or deceit.

Bonded Shipments
Shipments which are permitted to travel to inland destinations before customs clearance.

Bonded Transit Warehouse
Warehouse under customs control holding cargo in transit to further destination.

Bonded Warehouse
Warehouse authorized by customs authorities for storage of uncleared goods.
In Bond

Space reservation, conclusion of contract of carriage.
Synonym for Air Cargo: Reservation

Booking Reference Number
Number assigned to a certain booking by the carrier or its agent.



Bottom Fittings
Special conical-shaped devices to avoid the container moving during the voyage.

Bottom Lift
Handling of containers with equipment attached to the four bottom corner fittings (castings).

Bottom Limit
Maximum value at risk per shipment/sending/aircraft.

Box Pallet
Pallet with at least three fixed, removable or collapsible, vertical sides.

Break Bulk

1. Physical discharge of unitized cargo. 2. Administration procedure of document splitting at destination.

Break Bulk Cargo
General cargo conventionally stowed as opposed to unitized, containerized and Roll-on/Roll-off cargo.
Synonym: → Conventional Cargo

Break-Even Weight
Weight at which it is cheaper to charge the lower rate for the next higher weight-break multiplied by the minimum weight indicated, than to charge the higher rate for the actual weight of the shipment (air cargo).

Broken Stowage
Cargo space that is unavoidably lost when stowing cargo. The percentage of wasted space depends upon the kind of cargo, the packing and the used spaces.

Person who acts as an agent or intermediary in negotiating contracts.

Brussels Tariff Nomenclature
Abbreviation: BTN. Old Customs Cooperation Council Nomenclature for the classification of goods. Now replaced by the Harmonized System.
Harmonized System (HS)

British Standards Institution.

→ Brussels Tariff Nomenclature

Buffer Stock
Quantity of goods or articles kept in store to safeguard against unforeseen shortages or demands.

Bulk Cargo
Unpacked cargo loaded directly into the vessel’s holds. Examples of commodities that can be shipped in bulk are ores, coal, scrap iron, grain, rice, vegetable oil, tallow, fuel oil, fertilizers and similar commodities.

Bulk Cargo Code
Abbreviation: BC Code. Safe working practice code for solid bulk cargo.

Bulk Carrier
Single-deck vessel designed to carry homogeneous unpacked dry cargo such as grain, iron ore and coal.

Bulk Container
Container designed for the carriage of free-flowing dry cargo, which are loaded through hatchways in the roof of the container and discharged through hatchways at one end of the container.

Bulk Shipments
→ Bulk Cargo

Bulk Unitization Charge
Charge which applies to consignments carried from airport of departure to airport of arrival, entirely in Unit Load Devices (air cargo).

1. Upright partition dividing compartments on board a vessel. 2. A vertically mounted board to provide front wall protection against shifting cargo and commonly seen on platform trailers (road cargo). 3. Partition in a container, providing a plenum chamber and/or air passage for either return or supply air. 4. Vertically mounted wall separating the fore respectively aft compartment from the rest of the aircraft (air cargo).

Bull Rings
Rings for lashing the cargo in containers.

Spaces on board a vessel to store fuel.
Synonym: Tank

Bunker Adjustment Factor

Abbreviation: BAF. Adjustment applied by shipping lines or liner conferences to offset the effect of fluctuations in the cost of bunkers.

Bureau veritas

French classification society.

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