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.

 

Barrel (Bbl). A unit of measurement of liquid cargoes, usually oil. One bbl contains 34.97261 Imperial gallons or 42 U.S. gallons, or 1 cubic metre of oil measures 6.29 bbls. If the specific gravity of the oil is 0.8, one tonne of oil will be approximately 7.9 bbls

 

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".

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.

 

Break bulk cargo. This is cargo carried on board traditional, conventional general cargo ships. The cargo is loaded and discharged one piece at a time (heavy cargoes) or a few pieces at a time, such as a number of bales or drums or a bundle of steel sheets.

 

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.

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.

 

Bilge. The bilge of a vessel with double bottom tanks is a triangular channel on both sides formed by the margin plate of a double bottom, the curvature of the outer skin of the vessel and the bilge ceiling.

Back Letter. Back letters may be drawn up to complement a contract in order to lay down rights and/or obligations between both contracting parties, which, for some reason or other, cannot be included in the original contract. This expression is also used for “letters of indemnity”.

 

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.

 

Booking office. Conference lines, operating in certain trades, may decide to establish a booking office to take bookings and also ensure that each line carries its agreed share. Shippers may not be permitted to insist on carriage by a specific line although the booking office may try to meet shippers’ wishes in this respect as much as possible.

 

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.

 

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.

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