Baltic International Freight Futures Index (BIFFEX). The dry cargo tramp charter market is usually volatile. Both shipowners and cargo interests may be uncertain about movements in the freight rates.
Ballast. In order to increase the stability of ships, which have to be dispatched without cargo and to ensure that the propeller will be immersed sufficiently, say about two-thirds of its diameter, a sufficient quantity of ballast will be loaded before sailing. The quantity of ballast depends on the type of vessel, quantity of water which can be taken in the ballast tanks and also the voyage to be made. Seasonal weather conditions which may be expected on the voyage must also be considered.
Bar draught. This expression relates to the maximum draught enabling the ship to pass over a "bar", for example the Martin-Garcia bar in the River Plate. A "bar" is a restriction in the depth of water, caused by a build-up of sand or silt on the bottom, in a river or across the entrance to a harbour.
Brokerage (or Commission). It is customary to express the remuneration for the broker's time and efforts in negotiating and arranging the contract as a certain percentage of the money earned by the shipowner. (In marine insurance, the broker is generally paid a commission by the underwriter although the assured is the broker's client and the services are for the client.) In shipbroking, the term "brokerage" is generally preferable instead of "commission" because the latter term is usually related to the charterer's reward as "address commission".
Breakbulk (cargo) (BB). Packages of cargo or "parcels" (small quantities) known as "general cargo" and individually carried in the cargo compartments of a ship. Such cargo is not in "bulk cargo" form and not in unitised or containerised form. If the term is used as a verb "to break bulk", it indicates "to open hatches and commence discharge".