Shipping Glossary

Watch this space for terminology, abbreviations and other trivia.


AA: Always Afloat. This term means that the vessel shall not be required to touch the bottom of the sea when approaches the berth. Crazy as it may sound, in some ports the ship is aground when approaching the berth.

AAAA: Always Afloat Always Accessible. You know what always afloat is. Always accessible means is a stipulation that the loading or discharging berth (or indeed both) shall be accessible on arrival.

ABT: About. What else?     

ADCOM: Address Commission. This is the commission paid to the Charterers and is normally calculated as a percentage on various payments by the Charterer to the Shipowner and is deducted at source. Say Charterers have to pay USD100,000 to the Owners as freight and 5% ADCOM is applicable. Charterers shall ultimately pay USD95,000 to the Owners (:100,000 [total freight] – 5,000 [minus address commission]).

AGW: All Going Well.

A/S: Alongside.

ATDNSHINC: Any Time Day or Night Sundays and Holidays Included. This term relates to Laytime and it essentially means that all time shall count as Laytime including nights and holidays. Obviously, Ship Owner friendly term.

ATUTC: Actual Time Used To Count. This terms relates to Laytime and it means that only the actual time used will count as Laytime. The actual time used will be found by the Statement of Facts.


BALLAST: Weight, often sea water, which is used for the sailing stability of a ship which is not in a laden condition i.e. is not carrying cargo.

BAREBOAT CHTR:  Bareboat Charter. Certain type of Charter under which Ship Owners simply let their vessel bare of her crew or other provisions for which the Charterers shall be responsible.

BBB: Before Breaking Bulk. Breaking Bulk (not to be confused with Breaking Bad) means essentially means commence discharging. This term is often used to describe when certain amounts payable (such as freight) under the Charter fall due. This term will assist a Ship Owner to exercise its lien over a cargo for unpaid amounts as it is one of the requirements for exercising a lien that the amount has fallen due prior to exercising the lien. Phew! Said it.

BDI: Both Dates Inclusive. Pretty self-explanatory this one. Both dates shall be included.

BENDS: Both Ends. This means both at the loading and discharging (port / berth).

BI: Both Inclusive.

BIMCO: The Baltic and International Maritime Council.

BL: Bill of Lading. A very important document in shipping. This is issued by the Carrier and acts as a receipt of the cargo, as evidence of the contract of carriage and as document of title to the cargo.

BM: Beam.

BOB: Bunkers on Board. The amount of bunkers on the vessel.

BOFFER:  Best Offer

BROB: Bunkers Remaining On Board.

BSS: Basis.

BSS 1/1: Basis one Port to one Port.

BUNDLING: Putting together separate pieces of cargo into one unit.

BUNKERS:The vessels’ Fuel and Diesel Oil supplies.


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