BIC-Code. In order to identify all containers manufactured and used especially in shipping, each container is marked with special alpha-numeric codes that appear on the sides or plates of the containers.

Blank indorsed bills of lading. This covers contract of carriage under bills of lading containing the details of shipment and of carriage but not containing the name of a consignee or endorsee.

BARECON "A". A standard-form bareboat charterparty used for existing ships, with or without an existing mortgage.


Backloading. On a voyage charter the charterer may wish to have the opportunity to load another cargo at a port of discharge and then discharge this second cargo at any discharge port in an agreed range of ports. Without a Backloading clause, charterers do not enjoy this option. An example from SHELLVOY 5 is given:

Berth note or booking note. Fixtures of vessels on "berth note" are now very uncommon. Such berth notes or booking-notes referred to shipment of a part cargo. In the early days, the master of the ship could sign a letter or form giving fundamental details of the ship. The note was endorsed later by the owners, agents or disponent owners (charterers).


Burden of proof and bills of lading. The "burden of proof" is related to a rule in law concerning evidence of a fact. A fact is said to be proved when the arbitrator or judge is satisfied that the fact is true and correct. The evidence by which this result is caused is called the "proof".

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. BIFFEX allows shippers, shipowners and charterers to "hedge" against changes in freight rates by buying or selling "future" contracts at an expected price. If, for example, in March, it is expected that freight rates for a particular route will rise by October, the price per contract unit for settlement in October will be higher than the March BIFFEX.


BALTIME. A Uniform standard form time charter published by BIMCO. In 1974 another edition included a box type format for main details and descriptive text for the clauses. BALTIME generally favours the shipowners' side and contrasts the NYPE, the New York Produce Exchange Form of time charter, which tends to favour the charterer's side.


Back haul. This may be a diversion for a tanker to move cargo on the return leg of a voyage in order to minimise the ballast mileage.

Black list. Because oil tankers frequently load oil from Islamic countries these countries may place certain ports on a "black list" such as Israeli or South African ports, and if tankers are known to have called at ports in those countries, the tankers' names are on this black list and the ship can be boycotted and refused entry or cargo.

Berth charter. If a vessel was chartered for loading "on the berth", the contract of carriage was called a "berth charter". The exact nature of the cargo to be loaded is not known in advance; it being entirely up to the charterers to book the required quantity of cargo. If unsuccessful in booking a cargo, they are responsible for payment of any dead freight. Now a berth charter is a voyage charter where the vessel is chartered to the cargo to a particular berth as the destination.

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.

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.