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Glossary of Trade Terms

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BAF (Bunker Adjustment Factor) - An adjustment in shipping charges to offset price fluctuations in the cost of fuel. Also known as a Bunker Surcharge (B/S). The word Bunker refers to fuel storage containers on a vessel.

Bill of Lading (B/L) - A document issued by a common carrier to a shipper that serves as:
  1. A receipt for the goods delivered to the carrier for shipment.
  2. A definition of the contract of carriage of the goods.
  3. A Document of Title to the goods described therein.
  4. This document is generally not negotiable unless consigned "to order." (See "Bill of Lading, Order" below.)

Bill of Lading, On Board - A bill of lading acknowledging that the relative goods have been received on board a specified vessel.

Bill of Lading, Order - A negotiable bill of lading. There are two types:
  1. A bill drawn to the order of a foreign consignee, enabling him to endorse the bill to a third party.
  2. A bill of lading drawn to the order of the shipper and endorsed by him either "in blank" or to a named consignee. The purpose of the latter bill is to protect the shipper against the buyer's obtaining the merchandise before he has paid or accepted the relative draft. (See also Endorsement in Blank)

Bonded Warehouse - A warehouse authorized by customs for storage of goods on which payment of duties is deferred until the goods are removed.

Break-bulk Vessel - A vessel designed to handle large or oversized cargo; generally cargo unsuitable for container stowage.

Bulk Cargo - Loose cargo that is loaded directly into a ship's hold.

Bulk Carrier - There are two types of bulk carriers, the dry-bulk carrier and the liquid-bulk carrier, better known as a tanker. Bulk cargo is a shipment such as oil, grain, or one which is not packaged, bundled, bottled, or otherwise packed and is loaded without counting or marking.

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