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Shipping Terms Glossary


ARA - Antwerp/Rotterdam/Amsterdam. Major coal importing ports in northwest Europe.

Ballast - (a) the material (usually water in ballast tanks) used to stabilise a vessel when partially loaded or empty, (b) In Ballast - term to describe vessel sailing empty to next loading port.

BENDS - Abbreviation for 'both ends'. Used when any loading and discharging term for a vessel is the same for both loading and discharging operations.

BFI - Baltic Freight Index - an index reflecting a composite number of routes, issued on a daily basis.

BIFFEX - Baltic International Freight Futures Exchange -exchange on which freight future contracts are traded and the BFI is published.

Bill of Lading (B/L) - Document serving three functions: (1) receipt for cargo prepared by the shipper and signed by the carrier; (2) 'document of title' to the cargo i.e. proof of ownership; and (3) provides evidence of terms and conditions of the contract of carriage of cargo by sea.

Brokerage - the remuneration for brokers' time and effort in negotiating the Charter Party (qv); expressed as a % of freight or hire payment received by shipowner.

Bunkers - term for fuel used by a vessel.

Bunker Clause - Time Charters stipulate that charterer accepts & pays for all fuel on the vessel at port of delivery; on redelivery owner shall pay for any fuel remaining on board.

Bunker Escalation / De-escalation Clause - in a COA it is sometimes usual to link freight rate to market price of bunkers at time of fixing, in order to adjust freight rate in line with bunker price movements at time of each shipment.

C & F / CFR - Cost and Freight - method of selling cargo where seller pays for loading costs and ocean freight.

Capesize - a ship of about 80,000 DWT. (A vessel which is too large to transit the Panama Canal and thus has to sail via Cape of Good Hope from Pacific to Atlantic and vice versa.)

Charter Party - document containing details of the fixture of the chartered vessel. Standard form charter parties for various trades are normally used, but some charterers use private forms.

CIF - Cost, Insurance and Freight - method of selling cargo where seller pays for loading costs, ocean freight and insurance.

COA - Contract of Affreightment - a Charter Party covering more than one voyage.

Deadfreight - freight payable on cargo space booked but not actually used.

Demurrage - financial compensation paid by charterer to the vessel for delays after the laytime has expired at the load/discharge port.

Despatch - financial reward paid by the owner to the charterer if the load / discharge operations are completed in advance of expiry of laytime. Usually paid at half the demurrage rate.

Draught - vertical distance between the waterline and the keel. Figures quoted refer to a fully-laden vessel.

Draught Survey - survey undertaken at the load/ discharge port to determine by means of draught measurement how much cargo is on board.

DWT - Deadweight Tonnes - deadweight capacity of vessel comprising cargo, bunker fuel, fresh water, stores etc.

DWCC - Deadweight Cargo Capacity - the portion of the deadweight available for the carriage of the cargo.

ETA - Estimated Time of Arrival (of vessel).

ETD - Estimated Time of Departure (of vessel).

ETR - Estimated Time of Readiness.

FIO - Free In and Out - confers the responsibility to the charterers (shippers / receivers) to arrange the stevedores and to load / discharge the cargo on their own account ie free of expense to vessel owners, who are still accountable for port charges.

FIOST - Free In and Out Stowed and Trimmed - as for FIO, but also including stowing and trimming free of expense to vessel owner.

FOB - Free On Board - method of selling cargo excluding ocean freight and insurance, but including loading costs.

FOBT - Free On Board Trimmed - as for FOB, but including trimmingof cargo after loading.

Force Majeure - circumstances beyond reasonable control of the party/parties.

Free Pratique - clean bill of health for ship and crew.

Freight - the money paid on a Voyage Charterby the charterer to the owner.

Gearless - a ship without means on board for the loading/unloading of cargo.

Handymax - inexact term, but normally taken to mean a vessel of about 40-60,000 DWT.

Handysize - inexact term, but normally taken to mean a vessel of about 10-40,000 DWT.

Hire - money paid on a Time Charterby the charterer to the owner.

Laycan - Laydays & Cancelling Date - the earliest and latest dates on which the vessel must be ready to load at the port or be delivered to the time charterer.

Laydays - specific time period (days) during which the vessel must arrive at the loading port ready for loading.

Laytime - time allowed for the vessel's cargo to be loaded/discharged without incurring demurrage.

LOA - Length Overall - total length of vessel aft to fore.

Mate's Receipt - document signed by Chief Officer acknowledging receipt of cargo on board a vessel.

MOLOO - More Or Less in Owner's Option (tonnage caveat).

NOR - Notice of Readiness - notice given by ship that it is ready to load/discharge its cargo.

OBO - Ore/Bulk/Oil Multi-purpose Carrier.
Outreach - total distance that a port's loading/ discharging equipment can reach out over a vessel.

Panamax - vessel of about 60-80,000 DWT. (Technically the maximum size vessel that can transit the Panama Canal - restriction of 32.2 M beam.)

Port Costs / Disbursements - charges normally paid by shipowner to the port authorities for use of port facilities.

SATSHEX - Saturdays, Sundays & Holidays Excluded.

SB - Safe Berth - a berth, which the vessel can reach and depart from without being exposed to danger that is unavoidable by good seamanship. It is the responsibility of the charterrer to provide this.

SF - Stowage Factor - used to determine whether a vessel's holds will be filled before the vessel reaches its maximum draught. The SF for coal, depending on type, is between 37 and 48 cubic feet per long ton.

SHINC - Sundays & Holidays Included.

SHEX - Sundays & Holidays Excluded.

SP - Safe Port - as Safe Berth except relates to port.

Spot - term for suitably sized vessel readily available for short-term charter, usually in vicinity of charterer's requirement.

Stevedore - company engaged in providing loading/ discharging services for vessels.

SWAD - Salt Water Arrival Draft.

Time Charter - fixture whereby charterer hires vessel for a specified period; payment made on a daily basis and includes fuel used, port costs etc.

Trimmed - when vessel is stabilised by (a) levelling off cargo within each hold, and (b) stowing cargo throughout ship so that fore and aft drafts are practically the same.

Trip Time Charter - fixture whereby charterer hires vessel for single voyage or round trip; terms and conditions similar to Time Charter.

Turn Time (TT) - time allowed in the charter party, after NORtendered and before laytime commences. Usually quoted in hours.

Voyage Charter - fixture whereby the charterer pays a rate per ton loaded or on a lump sum basis.

WWD - Weather Working Days - working days in which it is possible to load/discharge cargo without the interference of weather.

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