Technical terms freight forwarders must have at finger tips

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Posted on September 14, 2017

As Nigeria’s economy manifests signs of recovery with renewed interest by investors to venture in the maritime industry again most start-ups in the business are faced with new terminologies in their day-to-today operations that often sound strange to many.

Some of these  terms and their meanings have been provided below.

A/B or Able Bodied Seamen: Is a  member of the deck crew who is able to perform all the duties of experienced seaman. He is also certificated by examination and has three years sea service. He can equally be called Able Seaman or AB. Addendum – These are  additional terms at the end of a charter party. Ad Valerum means “at value.” A rate or tax on the freight based on the value of goods.

AFT: Near or towards the stern of the vessel.

Agency fee: An agency fee is a  fee charged to the ship by the ship’s agent, representing payment for services while the ship was in port. Sometimes, it is also referred to as the attendance fee. Anchor handling tug- This is a tug that moves anchors and tow drilling vessels, lighters and similar. Also anchor handling  tug/supply is used also for supplies.

AIMS: American Institute of Merchant Shipping.

AMIDSHIPS: This means in the middle portion of a vessel. Arbitration-it is the  method of settling disputes usually applied to charter parties.

ASABOSA: Association of Ship’s Agents & Brokers. ASL-Association of Shipping Lines.

ASTERN: Behind, or a backward direction in the line of a vessel’s fore.

Automatic  pilot: An instrument that controls automatically a vessel’s steering  gear to enable her to follow a pre-determined track through the water.

BAF: Bunker adjustment factor. It is a  freight adjustment factor reflecting the current cost of bunkers.

Bagged  Cargo: Various kinds of commodities usually packed in sacks or in bags, such as sugar, cement, milk powder, onion, grain, flour etc. also referred to as Breakbulk.

Barge: Flat bottomed boat for carrying cargo on protected waterways, usually without  engine or crew accommodation. On Inland River systems, barges can be lashed  together and either pushed or pulled by tugs and handle cargo of 60,000 tonnes or more. Small barges for carrying cargo between ship and shore are known as lighters.

Beam: Beam is the  width of a ship (breadth).

Bill of Lading (B/L): Is a document of title to the goods being carried on the ship, which acts as a receipt for the cargo and contains the terms of the contract of carriage.

Bonded  Warehouse: An area of security approved by customs authorities for the safekeeping or deposit of goods liable for excise duty but not yet subject to that duty.

Bow  Thrusters: A propeller at the lower sea-covered part of the bow of the ship, which turns at right angles to the fore-and-aft line and thus provides transverse thrust as a maneuvering aid.

B/P or BOP: Balance of payments

BOX: A term used for a container.

Breakbulk Vessel: This is a general, multipurpose, cargo ship that carries cargoes of non-uniform sizes, often on pallets, resulting in labour intensive loading and unloading.

Breakbulk cargo: Goods carried in the hold of ships and not in container.

Bulk: Cargo shipped in loose condition and of a homogeneous nature. Cargoes that  are shipped unpackaged either dry, such as grain and ore, or liquid, such as petroleum products. Bulk service generally is not provided on a regularly scheduled basis, but rather as needed, on specialised ships, transporting a specific commodity.

Bulk  Carrier: Ship specifically designed to transport large amounts of cargoes such as sugar, grain, wine, ore, chemicals, liquefied natural gas; coal ore etc.

Bunkers: Fuel consumed by the engines of a ship; compartments or tanks in a ship for fuel storage.

Buoy: A floating object marking the navigable limits of channels, sunken, dangers, isolated rocks, telegraph cables etc.

Cabotage: The carriage of goods or passengers for remuneration taken on at one point and discharged at another point within the territory of the same country.

Cabotage policies: Reservation of a country’s coastal (domestic) shipping for its own flag vessels.

Cargo handling: The act of loading and discharging a cargo ship.

Cargo plan: A plan giving the quantities and description of the various grades carried in the ship’s cargo tanks, after the loading is completed.

Cargo preference: Reserving a portion of a nation’s imports and exports to  national-flag vessels.

Carriers: Owners or operators of vessels providing transportation to shippers. The term is  sometimes used to refer to the vessels.

Certificate of registry: A document specifying the registry of the vessel.

Chandler: Is a  person who deals in the selling of provisions, dried stores, etc.

Charter: Means hiring out of a ship by a ship-owner.

Charterer: The person who has chartered the ship for a specified period of time.

Charter rates: The tariff applied for chartering tonnage in a particular trade.

Charter party: A contractual agreement between a ship owner and a cargo owner, usually arranged by a broker, whereby a ship is chartered (hired) either for one voyage or a period of time.

Chemical tanker: Ship specially designed for the transport of chemicals.

Classification society: Private organisation that undertakes inspections and provides advice on the hull and machinery of a ship; also supervises ships during their construction and afterwards in respect to their seaworthiness. Ships are then referred to as being ‘in Class’. Although not compulsory, an un-Classed ship will find it difficult to attract insurance.


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