Shipping and freight
forwarding glossary

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Term Definition
Backhaul A backhaul is transporting goods from one point to another along a return route. Since an empty backhaul is not profitable, most businesses will use this tactic to compete on transportation expenses.
Backorder Backorders are items that are out of stock with the supplier but can be supplied by the manufacturer when the goods become available.
Back Freight Back freight is a term used to describe the cost of shipping goods returned to the sender. This can happen when goods are damaged in transit or if the recipient is unsatisfied with the product and wants to return it. Back freight can also refer to the cost of shipping goods returned to a store because they were not sold.
Balance of Trade The balance of trade is the difference between the value of a country’s imports and exports over a period of time. A country has a trade surplus if its exports exceed its imports and a trade deficit if its imports exceed its exports.
Ballast Ballast is a heavy material, such as sand, used to stabilize a vessel. Ballast is typically used in vessels that do not have cargo, as the weight of the ballast helps to keep the vessel stable. Ballast is usually placed under the water line, providing the vessel with the most stability.
Barcode A barcode is a pattern of parallel lines with various widths and numbers that can be read by machines and printed on product packaging. Barcodes track inventory and can be scanned by a barcode reader to process a transaction.
Barge A barge is a flat-bottomed boat, often used for carrying goods or passengers on canals and rivers that large vessels cannot go through.
Barter Barter is an act of exchanging services or goods for other goods or any services without the use of money.
Batch Production Batch production is a manufacturing process in which items are produced in small groups or “batches.” This type of production is often used when items are too complex or expensive to be produced individually.
Batch Tracing Batch tracing is a method to track products back to their manufacturer, to special process or product characteristics or ingredients. This method is often used in the food, cosmetics, and pharmaceutical trade to protect consumers from possible defects or damaged products. In most cases, products are marked with a batch number to be easily traced.
Before Breaking Bulk Before Breaking Bulk means that the freight must be paid for before the ship is allowed to leave port.
Benchmarking Benchmarking is a method of comparing products, methods, and services of other similar businesses to ascertain gaps in the company’s performance.
Beneficial Cargo Owner (BCO) A Beneficial Cargo Owner (BCO) is a company or individual who owns the cargo being shipped. The term is often used in maritime shipping, where the BCO is the party responsible for providing the shipping documentation and paying the freight charges.
Bill of Lading A bill of lading is a legal document used to identify and track goods being shipped. The bill of lading contains information about the shipper, the recipient, and the goods being shipped.
Binding Tariff Information Binding Tariff Information (BTI) is a customs ruling that classifies a product according to the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS). The BTI ruling is binding on Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for five years unless the product’s classification changes.
Blind Shipment A blind shipment is a shipment in which the sender does not reveal their identity to the recipient. The sender’s information is typically not included on the shipping labels or other documentation. This type of shipment is often used when the sender does not want the recipient to know who sent the shipment.
Block Pallet A block pallet is a particular kind of pallet with nine solid wood blocks positioned in each of its four corners. Any four sides can be used to lift it using a forklift. It is significantly stronger and more durable than a stringer pallet.
Block Storage Block storage is a warehouse where stackable cartons, boxes, pallets, or wired mesh pallets are piled directly on or next in groups without using shelves or other equipment. Due to its variability, the block storage system is inexpensive and changeable anytime. Additionally, inventory management is not too difficult.
Box Body A box body is a type of car body that resembles a closed box and has solid walls. Typically, the chassis and box body are securely fastened together. There are nevertheless also box bodies that can be removed. Swap bodies are names for bodies that are detachable. Depending on the intended function, there are various varieties of box bodies. Aluminum, plastic, or plain plywood can construct the box. The box bodies can be used in a wide range of applications.
Bogie A bogie is a set of wheels fitted under a railcar or a locomotive. The bogie’s primary purpose is to support the railcar body and absorb vibrations on curved and straight rails to ensure stability and a smooth ride.
Bonded Goods Bonded goods are those for which the applicable customs duty has not yet been paid; as a result, they are kept in warehouses under customs control until the relevant duty is paid.
Bonded Terminal A warehouse or storage space designated by the customs administration to temporarily store imported goods is known as a bonded terminal. Until the customs duty is paid or the authorities clear the items, the commodities are detained in the terminal.
Bonded Warehouse A bonded warehouse is a storage facility where imported goods are kept until duties are paid. Bonded warehouses are located in ports and are used by importers who do not want to pay duties on their goods immediately.
Booking Booking is a service that allows customers to reserve goods, storage space, or services from various suppliers in advance. This can be useful for ensuring that you have the necessary resources for an upcoming event. The service also includes agreements on transport conditions such as price, time, and liability.
Booking Number A booking number is a unique identifier assigned to a specific booking. This number can be used to track and manage the booking.
Bracing Bracing is securing cargo within a container or truck so that it does not shift during transport and prevents damage.
Branding Branding is the process of creating a unique identity for a product or company. It involves using a name, slogan, logo, or other identifying factors to create a recognizable and distinguishable brand.
Break Bulk Break bulk is a term used in the shipping industry to describe goods that are too large or awkward to load into containers. These items must be packed individually and often require special handling. Break bulk cargo can include things such as machinery, oil and gas equipment, vehicles, lumber, and paper products, which are known as Non-Containerized Cargo (NCC).
Broker A broker is a person or firm that charges a fee or commission to bring together buyers and sellers.
Buffer Stock A buffer stock is a stockpile of a commodity maintained as a reserve. The stockpile is used to ensure enough of the commodity to meet demand in case of a shortfall in production.
Bulk Cargo Bulk cargo refers to goods that are transported in large, undivided quantities. This cargo is typically transported in special ships, trains, or other large vehicles.
Bulk Freight Bulk freight is a shipment that includes large quantities of dry goods or liquids not packaged individually. Bulk freight is often transported in tanker trucks, tanker ships, or rail cars.
Bulk Shipping Bulk transportation is the transportation of large quantities of goods at once, which are usually not packed but loaded directly. This can be done by truck, train, or ship. Bulk transport is often used for goods such as grain, coal, or oil.
Bunker Adjustment Factor (BAF) Bunker Adjustment Factor (BAF) is a surcharge assessed by ocean carriers on shippers to offset the cost of bunker fuel.

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