Bona fide. "Good faith”. This is a legal term that comes from the Latin language and suggests honesty or sincerity. For example, in negotiations for a charter fixture one side must give bona fide information about the ship or the cargo to the other side.


Blockade. Belligerent powers have the right of blockade, i.e., the right to blockade enemy ports or coastal territory for ocean shipping by military measures.

The blockade must be respected by neutral states. Running a blockade, if unsuccessful, may entail boarding and searching for contraband and confiscation of ship and cargo.


Bill of health. The Bill of Health is the certificate that used to be issued by the local authorities indicating the general health conditions in the port of departure or ports of call.

Broker. In the context of chartering, the most common "broker" is a "shipbroker". In general, in shipping, a broker is a person who acts as a "middleman" between two parties and negotiates the terms of a contract into which the two parties enter. The broker acts as an agent and usually represents only one of the parties, negotiating with the other party directly or with another broker representing the other side. In addition to a shipbrokerwho can be an owner's broker or a charterer's agent negotiating a charter.

BB. This abbreviation can be and is used for a variety of different terms such as: "Ballast Bonus", "Below bridges", "Breaking bulk" and "Bulbous bow".

Breakdown clause. Time charterparties contain a clause providing that if the ship is unavailable for the charterer's use because there is loss of time as a result of "...breakdown or damages to hull, machinery or equipment..." (among other causes) payment of the hire money to the shipowner ceases for all or some of the time lost.

Baltic Exchange. Situated in London, England, this is the foremost shipping market-place in the world. Shipbrokers meet in the Exchange daily to charter ships and to exchange information. Trade is also carried out in commodities such as grain. The Baltic also lends its name to an "Index", the Baltic Freight Index (BFI). Since 1985 there has been a development of freight futures (BIFFEX), and these are also transacted on the "floor" of the Exchange.


Bonding. This is an operation that was performed (and can still be used in some ports) on oil tankers to prevent electrical discharges caused by a difference of discharged.

Bulkheads. These are steel divisions across the vessel either transversely or fore and aft. The functions of bulkheads are:

Box rates. This is the freight rate for the carriage of a container, usually irrespective of the cargo in the container although some conferences and liner operators may offer their services on a box commodity rate.


Bills of lading and charterparties. In exercising the authority to sign bills of lading the charterers, agents and masters must ensure that the terms within the bill of lading are consistent with those in the charterparty that require a bill of lading to be signed and issued.

Bill of lading identifier. In the United States the Customs authorities require that all shipping documents covering cargo imported into the U.S. be marked with an identity code, identifying the issuer of tile bill of lading.

Cancelling date (Laycan). This is an abbreviation for the "Laydays and Cancelling" clause in a charterparty. This clause establishes the earliest date, when the ship is required by the charterer, (e.g. "Laytime for loading shall not commence before . . .") and the latest date for the commencement of the charter (e.g. “ . . . and should the vessel's Notice of Readiness not be given before . . . ") when the charterers have the option of cancelling the charter.